Reuters Health News Summary

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Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Lonely heart patients more likely to die within year of leaving hospital

Patients hospitalized for heart problems may be at greater risk of dying within a year of discharge when they live alone or feel lonely, a Danish study suggests. Social isolation has long been linked to worse health outcomes and shortened life spans, particularly among older adults with complex chronic health problems like heart disease. But it hasn't been clear whether the connection between loneliness and longevity might vary based on the type of heart problems people have, researchers note in the journal Heart.

China's tobacco monopoly means big risks for e-cigarette startups

In a glass-walled laboratory, chemists puff on vaping devices as they test liquid nicotine flavors. Nearby, staffers with cartons of instant noodles on their desks tap away at laptops, messaging suppliers and customers. Here at the Shenzhen offices of e-cigarette start-up RELX Technology, workers scramble to keep pace with the rush of firms vying for sales in the world’s biggest tobacco market. Their potential-customer base starts with 300 million Chinese smokers of traditional cigarettes – about nine times the number in the United States. Founded by former employees of Didi Chuxing, China’s answer to Uber, RELX aims to become China’s answer to Juul Labs Inc, the San Francisco startup that captured a huge share of the U.S. vaping market with a sleek and addictive e-cigarette.

's 'conscience' rule for healthcare workers struck down by U.S. judge

A federal judge on Wednesday voided a White House-backed rule making it easier for doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers to avoid performing abortions and other medical services on religious or moral grounds. U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer in Manhattan said the "conscience" rule was unconstitutionally coercive because it would let the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) withhold billions of dollars of funding from hospitals, clinics, universities and other healthcare providers that did not comply.

'Crisis pregnancy centers' endanger adolescent health, doctors say

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"Crisis pregnancy centers" look and act like healthcare clinics but fail to meet medical and ethical standards, often using biased and inaccurate information to persuade women not to pursue an abortion, say two national doctors' groups. The "misinformation" these centers offer typically includes limited options for the next steps of pregnancy and unscientific sexual and reproductive health explanations, according to a joint statement by the Society for Adolescent Health and the North American Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology that was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Juul Labs to stop sales of mint-flavored nicotine pods in U.S

E-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc will immediately stop selling its mint-flavored nicotine cartridges in the United States, the company said on Thursday, after new signs that the mint variety is increasingly popular among teenagers. Research released this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that mint was by far the most popular flavor among U.S. 10th and 12th grade Juul users, with more than 40% saying it was the most frequently used variety of nicotine pod.

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Johnson & Johnson files for European approval of Ebola vaccine

Johnson & Johnson said on Thursday it had filed for an approval from European regulators for its two-dose experimental vaccine to protect against Ebola, less than a month after the agency recommended approval of Merck & Co Inc's vaccine. J&J said it submitted two marketing authorization applications to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for its vaccine regimen targeting the Zaire strain of the Ebola virus, which most commonly causes outbreaks of the deadly disease.

Cardinal Health Inc wins $2.25 billion U.S. defense contract: Pentagon

Cardinal Health 200 LLC, a unit of Cardinal Health Inc , has been awarded a maximum $2.25 billion modification for a contract with the Defense Logistics Agency for ordering and distribution of medical surgical supplies, the Pentagon said on Thursday.

U.S. vaping-related deaths climb to 39, illnesses to 2,051

U.S. health officials on Thursday reported 2,051 confirmed and probable cases and 2 more deaths from a mysterious respiratory illness tied to vaping, taking the total death toll to 39. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 1,888 cases and 37 deaths from the illness.

Fagron to pay $22.5 million to settle U.S. allegations over inflated drug prices

Pharmaceutical supplier Fagron Holding USA LLC will pay $22.5 million to resolve allegations that its subsidiaries inflated average wholesale prices for compound drug ingredients and submitted fraudulent claims to federal healthcare programs, the U.S. Department of Justice said on Thursday. The settlement will resolve legal actions filed against Fagron units Freedom Pharmaceuticals, B&B pharmaceuticals and Pharmacy Services Inc, the department said in a statement.

Chinese government bodies call for prohibition on vaping in public

Chinese government bodies have jointly called for a ban on consuming e-cigarettes in public, as the country gradually works to regulate its fast-growing vaping industry. In a document dated Oct. 29 and published online on Thursday, China's National Health Bureau, the State Administration for Market Regulation, the domestic tobacco monopoly China Tobacco, and five other bureaus urged local governments to curb both tobacco consumption among young people, as well as e-cigarette consumption.

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