Texas abortion restrictions struck down.

A federal judge on Monday blocked part of a recently signed Texas law that requires abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.
District Judge Lee Yeakel wrote Monday that the provision violates the rights of abortion doctors to do what they think is best for their patients and would unreasonably restrict a woman’s access to abortion clinics. Attorney General Greg Abbott is expected to file an emergency appeal of Yeakel’s order to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
Lawyers for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers brought the lawsuit, arguing that a requirement that doctors have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic would force the closure of a third of the clinics in Texas.
They also complained that requiring doctors to follow the Food and Drug Administration’s original label for an abortion-inducing drug would deny women the benefit of recent advances in medical science.
The Texas attorney general’s office argued that the law protects women and the life of the fetus.
Mississippi passed a similar law last year, which a federal judge also blocked pending a trial scheduled to begin in March. Mississippi’s attorney general asked the 5th Circuit to lift the temporary injunction so the law could be enforced, but the judges have left it in place signaling they believe there is a legitimate constitutional question.
Unlike the Mississippi case, Yeakel’s order is a final decision, setting the groundwork for the 5th Circuit to review the merits of the law, not just an injunction against it.
The proposed restrictions were among the toughest in the nation and gained notoriety when Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis launched a nearly 13-hour filibuster against them in June. The law also bans abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy and beginning in October 2014 requires doctors to perform all abortions in surgical facilities.
The filibuster forced Gov. Rick Perry to call a second special legislative session for the Republican-controlled Legislature to pass the law. Davis is now running for governor on a women’s rights platform. Since Perry is retiring, Abbott is Davis’ likely Republican opponent, adding a political layer to the legal drama.
During the trial, officials for one chain of abortion clinics testified that they’ve tried to obtain admitting privileges for their doctors at 32 hospitals, but so far only 15 accepted applications and none have announced a decision. Many hospitals with religious affiliations will not allow abortion doctors to work there, while others fear protests if they provide privileges. Many have requirements that doctors live within a certain radius of the facility, or perform a minimum number of surgeries a year that must be performed in a hospital.

Posted by SirVic for wetopup(News Laboratry)

ASUU Strike: NMA Expresses Fears over Medical Education, Training

As the effects of the nationwide strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) bit harder across the country, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) Sunday in Abuja expressed fears over the strike, stating that it is negatively impacting medical education and training of medical professionals in the country.
In a statement made available to, NMA observed that the four-month strike had further worsened the education system that was previously under deterioration.
In the statement, NMA President, Dr. Osahon Enable, said the association “expresses great worry over the inability to resolve the logjam in the universities occasioned by the lingering issue of ASUU and the federal government.”
The body explained that, the impasse has continued to hamper the smooth operation of medical training and education in tertiary institutions.
“We are deeply concerned with the impact of crisis on the quality of university graduates, including medical graduates, as well as the negative impacts of the deteriorating educational system with a lots of capital flight on account of increasing enrolment of Nigerian students in stable foreign universities.”
Further, the NMA called on ASUU and the federal government to expedite action in reaching a common ground for settlement, and ensure the implementation of agreements reached.
Meanwhile, ahead of the Physicians’ Week, the NMA has deplored the contributions of state government to the sustenance of primary healthcare system in the country.

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Ogun Bails out Ailing Actor, Pa Kasumu

The Ogun State Government at the weekend bailed out the ailing Nollywood actor, Mr. Kayode Odumosu, popularly called Pa Kasumu with the sum of N2million for his medical treatment.
The Secretary to the State Government,, Taiwo Adeoluwa, who made the donation on behalf of the government, said Governor Ibikunle Amosun  was moved when he learnt of the health  condition of the foremost Nollywood actor and  decided to extend the lifeline.
Adeoluwa told the actor and members of his family at the actor’s residence in Mushin, Lagos that “There
was no formal request for help from the Governor of Ogun State. Like everybody else, we heard the news that you are indisposed on the television and  the governor instructed us to go and find out the exact state of health of Pa Kasumu. It was during the investigation that we discovered that you are from Ogun State. We learnt you are from Odogbolu local government. The governor didn’t even know you are one of us.”
The SSG who explained that he was making the donation on behalf of the governor, described Kasumu as part of the large pool of successful indigenes of the state that have served the nation in their various areas of endeavour and expertise and must not be left to suffer in trying period.
“Wherever and whenever we see anybody who is one of us particularly people like you who have made your marks and helped to put Nigeria and Ogun State on the map, we are more than happy to identify with you and assist you,” the governor added.
Amosun also called on colleagues, family members and well wishers of Kasumu to rally round him for support, saying more than anything else, he needed to be shown love at this particular time.
Speaking after, the co-ordinator of the Save Pa Kasumu Initiative, Mrs. Olajide Idowu, while thanking Amosun for the gesture ,noted that the donation was unprecedented as no state government, group or individual had made such a singular donation to the course of saving the life of the ailing actor.
“I was sceptical when the state government said they were going to assist him, and the reason is simply because we have had a lot of empty promises from various quarters in the past. But when the SSG called me that they would bring the money, was so happy. This morning when you said you were on your way, I said Ogun State? They must mean business. They’ve really done Pa Kasumu proud. This, at least, will go a long way for his treatment,” Mrs. Olajide said.
Responding, a visibly sick Pa Kasumu thanked the state government for the lifeline and requested other public spirited individuals and corporate bodies to come to his aid.
“Though I cannot speak very well now, but I want to thank Amosun for this. I want the government to take me out of this noisy area,” he said.
In their respective reactions, Pa Kasumu’s colleagues in the theatre world including Dele Odule, Bolaji Amusan aka Mr. Latin who both witnessed the cheque presentation ,thanked the state government for the gesture extended to one of them.
“This is beyond our comprehension. We never knew a government could be so passionate about the plight of one of us,” Odule remarked.

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New discoveries on HIV- Making the cure distant.

In the fight to cure human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), researchers have been dealt a blow. A new study by Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) scientists discovered that the pool of inactive HIV viruses that lingers silently in a patient’s body is larger than expected. The new findings show that the virus reservoir may be up to 60 times larger than previous estimates. These viruses continue to be a threat because they retain the ability to become active even after treatment with the best HIV drugs.
The new results published in the journal Cell, suggest that efforts to eradicate HIV may be ineffective over the long-term if therapies fail to target the inactive viruses, which are called pro-viruses. “The findings suggest that there are a lot more of these pro-viruses that we have to worry about than we thought,” says Robert Siliciano, an HHMI investigator at The Johns Hopkins University who led the new study.
“It doesn’t mean that it’s hopeless, but it does mean we need to focus on getting an even clearer idea of the scope of the problem.”
In patients with HIV infection, the virus targets the immune system’s T cells, where its genes are integrated into the cell’s human genes. The viral genes contain the instructions to turn the T cell into a virus-producing factory, if they’re turned on. But in some cells, the virus remains latent – present in the cell but not actively replicating to produce new viruses.
While anti-retroviral drugs can target active forms of the virus, researchers don’t yet know how to eliminate the inactive viruses. And until now, they didn’t even have an accurate idea of how large this reservoir of inactive pro-viruses was, and how many of the viruses retained the ability to become active again in the future.

“For people that are working on HIV, figuring out the size of the reservoir has been a really critical issue,” says Siliciano. “The field has struggled with what you even measure in people who are participating in eradication studies. How do you know how much virus is left?”

Different techniques 
In the past, to gauge the size of the reservoir, researchers have used one of two approaches: In one technique, they forced all T cells to be activated, which was thought to turn on all inactive viruses – but that had never been confirmed. With another method, they could count how many viral genomes were present, but the approach was thought to count copies with mutations that made them unable to function, therefore posing no clinical threat.
Ya-Chi Ho, an HHMI international student research fellow in Siliciano’s lab, didn’t think that either test was giving a full picture of the inactive virus reservoir. “In the case of both these assays, it was unclear whether what was being measured was the entire reservoir,” says Ho.
So Ho, Siliciano, and their colleagues developed a technique to study not only the size, but also the composition of the viral reservoir. They first stimulated T cells to activate them, and focused on non-induced pro-viruses – those that remained inactive, or latent, in response to this activation signal.
The team then studied the genomes of the non-induced pro-viruses. While 88% contained obvious defects that made the virus permanently unable to replicate, 12 percent contained fully intact viral genomes with no glaring mutations. Next, they synthesized new viral genomes matching those from the intact non-induced pro-viruses. They expected that small mutations might prevent these viruses from functioning.
“To our surprise, the non-induced pro-viruses that we judged to be intact based on their genetic sequence all replicated beautifully,” says Siliciano. This suggests that the pro-viruses could be activated in the future. Indeed, when the scientists performed a second round of T-cell activation on the virus-containing cells that had remained inactive after the first round, some of the viruses became active.

Huge increase in barrier
When they calculated the new size of the viral reservoir, based on the finding that 12% of non-induced pro-viruses retained the ability to reactive, Siliciano and Ho found that the reservoir could be as much as 60 times larger than previous estimates.
“This is a huge increase in the barrier to curing this disease.” Even if a patient is successfully treated with antiretroviral drugs that stop all active HIV replication, the silent viruses could activate to cause disease at any point after antiretroviral therapy is stopped. Drugs targeting the inactive viruses are required to lead to a complete cure, or remission, of HIV, Siliciano says.
The study doesn’t answer everything about the reservoir. “We propose that the reactivation of HIV is somehow stochastic, or random,” Ho says. “But we don’t understand what is required to turn the viruses back on.”
That’s next on the researchers’ list of goals.
For those already developing drugs that aim to activate T cells in order to turn all copies of the HIV virus on, the news is disheartening: T cell activation doesn’t turn all viruses back on. But better understanding the viral reservoir, Siliciano and Ho say, is what will be needed to find the next generation of HIV-fighting drugs.

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‘Telecom infrastructure are safe for human’- NCC

Contrary to the view that telecommunication infrastructure was harmful to human beings, it has been stated that they pose no health hazard to human beings.
Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Mohammed Sani has revealed stating this yesterday at the 10th edition of the Consumer Town Hall meeting  in Okigwe, Imo State.
Sani said the NCC in  an effort to protect telecommunication infrastructure and ensure improvement in quality of service, the commission would soon complete emergency communication centres in all parts of the country to assist in enforcing the law.
He explained that broadcasting antenna and mobile telecommunications (cellular) antenna were far separated in intensity in the sense that while broadcasting antenna emits over 10,000 watts, that of cellular mast for telecommunication produces only 1 to 10 watts.
According to Sani, most of the household equipment such as generating sets, colour television sets, microwave oven, stove among others, possess much more harmful substances than the telecommunication infrastructure that enables subscribers to receive communication effectively.
In that regard, he maintained that while colour television should be at least three metres away from body contact, microwave oven emits harmful gas when leakage occurs, generating sets produce dangerous carbon monoxide and over-head water tank causes danger when it falls, while the telecommunication infrastructure like masts does not produce such health-related organs.
He urged the public not to harbour fear as a result of the telecommunication equipment within their vicinity, and frowned on the attitude of those who vandalise such equipment as their nefarious activities had made communication difficult, resulting in danger when there was no communication especially during emergencies.
Sani observed that the highest rate of vandalisation of telecommunication equipment comes from the South Eastern part of the country while over 1000 cases of vandalisation were being reported annually across the country by network service providers. He said vandalisation also occur in such states like Borno, Yobe, Taraba, etc.
He listed over 1200 cases of fiber cable cut due to road construction across the country, loss  of about one generating set (33KVA) daily, theft of diesel, interference from government agencies as well as multiple taxes as some of the challenges confronting the free-flow of telecommunication in the country.
In his remarks, the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholders Management of NCC, Mr. Okechukwu Itanyi stated that the commission recognised telecom consumers as the target beneficiary of all the activities parastatal and therefore enjoys a primary focus in terms of ensuring that they get the best of quality service, value for money, timely and fair redress of complaints and protection from unwholesome practices of some Service Providers.

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NDLEA arrest 72 suspects in Akwa Ibom

The Akwa Ibom command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) said it arrested 72 offenders for drug related offences within the third quarter of 2013 in the state.
A breakdown of the figure showed that 60 of the suspects are men, while 12 are women.
This is contained in the command’s third quarter performance report signed by its press officer, Mr Akintayo Toyin, and made available to newsmen in Uyo on Thursday.
The command stated that it had seized 136 kg of cannabis sativa, 16.7 grammes of cocaine, 54.6 grammes of heroin, 24 litres of combine, four sachets (480mg) of tramadol and one tablet diaze-pharm (psychotropic substance).
The agency stated that within the same period, an unrepentant drug baron (named withheld) was also arrested on Sept. 13.
It said the baron was arrested with some whitish and brownish substances suspected to be cocaine and heroin weighing 13.1 and 53.6 grammes respectively.
The report stated that upon transfer to the agency’s head office at Nwaniba road in Uyo, one of the suspects confessed that the baron owned the drugs.
It said investigation had been concluded and that the suspects would be charged to court.
The agency recalled that the baron and her sister were previously arrested with hard drugs and arraigned at an Uyo High Court on July 27, 2007.

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Samsung health hazards

Court: Studies Understate Samsung Health Hazards
A South Korean court says studies conducted to evaluate safety at Samsung chip factories failed to fully examine workplace health hazards.
The finding by the Seoul Administrative Court is part of a ruling on the case of a Samsung worker who died of leukemia in 2009 aged 29.
A panel of three judges said Friday that a “considerable causal relationship” existed between Kim Kyung-mi’s leukemia and her five years of work at a Samsung memory chip factory, dipping wafers in chemicals.
The judges said Kim must have been exposed to more toxic chemicals than safety studies said existed at Samsung’s factories.
Samsung has cited studies that found no dangerous level of benzene, formaldehyde or other carcinogens to ease public concerns about workplace hazards.

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CDC: Flavoured tobacco products luring underage smokers

Federal health officials say flavored tobacco products are luring an alarming number of underage smokers.
The warning comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its first study measuring the number of American youth using flavored ‘little cigars’ and flavored cigarettes. More than 42 percent of middle and high school smokers reported they have used either product, according to the study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
“What’s at stake here is another generation of kids who may face a lifetime of addiction to tobacco products,” said CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden.
The CDC study used data from the 2011 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS), an anonymous pencil and paper questionnaire of students in grades six through 12.
When asked, “Are you seriously thinking about quitting the use of all tobacco?” nearly 60 percent of respondents using flavored little cigars indicated they had no intention to stop. For those using unflavored little cigars, the figure was slightly less than 50 percent.
Although tobacco companies insist their products are marketed to smokers of legal age, public health officials say added flavors — such as chocolate, strawberry and grape — appeal to children and teens.
Such concerns led the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban the sale of most flavored cigarettes in 2009. However, the ban did not affect menthol cigarettes or flavored cigars.
Little cigars look like cigarettes and carry the same toxins and carcinogens. However, their wrappers contain at least some tobacco, preventing them from being categorized as cigarettes, which face more regulation than cigars. Some manufacturers have increased the weight of little cigars to qualify for the lower tax rates of conventional cigars.
“Flavored little cigars exploit a loophole and exploit our kids,” Frieden said. “We need to take comprehensive action to reduce the availability of these products to our kids, to protect the next generation.”
The minimum legal age to buy tobacco products is 18 in most states. However, many underage smokers skirt the rules by shopping at stores that fail to check for identification or by paying older friends to purchase the products for them. According to the Friedan, the way tobacco companies package and market little cigars makes them all the more attractive to minors.
“You can buy them in one, two or five packs. So, they’re more accessible to kids,” Frieden said. “And because of the flavors, they’re very appealing to kids. It’s frankly disgraceful that the industry is using this to get another generation of our kids hooked on tobacco.”
According to federal health officials, the FDA is assessing whether a ban on flavored little cigars could withstand legal challenges by the tobacco industry. Regulators may also consider minimum package sizes to boost prices.
Although the CDC’s study is the first to look at the prevalence of flavored little cigar use among youth, federal tax data suggested that while cigarette consumption decreased by nearly 33 percent from 2000 to 2011, consumption of cigars and other non-cigarette smoking tobacco products increased more than 123 percent. And according to an earlier CDC study, youth have higher rates of cigar use than adults.

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FG intervenes in Plateau cholera outbreak

The outbreak of cholera in  Namu, Qua’pan Local Government Area of Plateau State, is being investigated by the  Federal Ministry of Health.
   A Chief Consultant Epidemiologist with the Ministry, Dr Akin Oyemakinde,  told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Monday that the investigation  would assist government   on the type of  intervention to address the problem.
“The ministry is already aware of the outbreak of cholera in Plateau and has sent some team of experts to carry out proper investigations”, he told NAN

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