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Tuesday, Oct 21st

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Big Food to divulge chemical info

Big Food to reveal chemicalsFood companies are trying to beat the federal government’s push to make chemicals in food more transparent.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association, which represents America’s biggest food companies, announced a major new initiative Wednesday that will give the Food and Drug Administration access to a large database of safety information for chemicals commonly used in processed foods, from Twinkies to almond milk.

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WHO: Ebola outbreak accelerates, could infect 20,000 people

Ebola outbreakThe Ebola outbreak could infect more than 20,000 people within nine months, and efforts to halt its spread could cost up to half a billion dollars, the World Health Organization said Thursday.

In an assessment released Thursday, the U.N. agency said the epidemic "continues to accelerate" with more than 40 percent of reported cases occurring within just the last three weeks.

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3 ways insurers can still avoid covering the sick

Insurers can avoid high risk patientsInsurers can no longer reject customers with expensive medical conditions thanks to the health care overhaul, but there's still wiggle room for them to discourage the sickest and costliest patients from enrolling.

Insurance companies can exclude some well-known cancer hospitals or certain individual specialists who treat pricey conditions from the list of providers they cover under a plan. They can dissuade HIV patients from signing up for coverage by requiring heavy initial payments of the bill for their prescriptions. They also might simply wait for competitors to jump into a market first and take all the risky patients who were hungry for coverage.

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Fraud at the CDC uncovered, 340% increased risk of autism hidden from public

CDC cover up: vaccinesA top researcher at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) played a key role in helping uncover data manipulation by the CDC. This fraud obscured a higher incidence of autism in African-American boys.

The whistleblower, Dr. William Thompson, came forward after a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for original data on an autism study was filed and these highly sensitive documents were received with the assistance of U.S. Representative Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The CDC documents and discussions with the whistleblower reveal widespread manipulation of scientific data and top-down pressure on CDC scientists to suppress a causal link between the MMR vaccine and later autism diagnosis, particularly in a subset of African-American males who received their immunization “on-time” in accordance with the recommended CDC schedule.

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Japan to provide experimental Ebola drug

Japan offer ebola drugJapan is ready to provide an unapproved, anti-influenza drug to help treat the deadly Ebola virus, the Japanese government announced on Monday, a day after the Democratic Republic of Congo declared an Ebola outbreak in its northern Equateur province on Sunday caused by a strain different from the West Africa one, according to the health ministry.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters that Japan could offer the drug any time at the request of the World Health Organization (WHO) and was willing to make an international contribution to help control the epidemic that has claimed at least 1,427 lives — mostly in Sierra Leone, Liberia and neighboring Guinea. There have been six outbreaks of Ebola in DRC since the disease was discovered there in 1976, with a total of more than 760 deaths.

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DEA imposes restrictions on hydrocodone amid painkiller addiction epidemic

Hydrocodone restrictedThe federal government will tighten restrictions on narcotic painkillers made with hydrocodone in order to curb the widespread abuse of prescription opioids.

Under new rules published Friday by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), patients seeking painkillers such as Vicodin, the most widely prescribed drug in the United States, will only be allowed one 90-day prescription and would have to see a doctor to get a refill. Doctors won’t be allowed to call in the prescriptions on the phone, and in some states, nurses or physician assistants won’t be able to prescribe the drugs. Pharmacies will be required to keep the drugs in special vaulted areas.

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WHO: Extent of Ebola outbreak has been 'underestimated'

Ebola underestimatedAs the death toll from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa nears 1,500, the World Health Organization said Friday that its "magnitude... has been underestimated."

The outbreak is likely on a scale larger than realized, says WHO, and attributes that to various factors including keeping infected family members at home to die, denial of infection and fear that medical quarantine will be lethal to ill family members.

"As Ebola has no cure, some believe infected loved ones will be more comfortable dying at home."

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