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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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British health chief dubbed “minister for magic”

LONDON (AP) — He supports homeopathy, a practice that many experts liken to snake oil. He opposes late-term abortion, falling afoul of this mostly pro-choice nation. During the London Olympics, he offended many Britons with a jab at the cherished National Health Service. This is Jeremy Hunt — Britain's new health minister. He's only been in his job since Tuesday, but already some experts fret that his controversial views and general knack for inviting scandal could sow confusion in an already fragile health system.

Agent Orange victims get Scientology ‘detox’

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnamese with ailments linked to Agent Orange are undergoing a "detoxification" treatment involving saunas and vitamins that was developed by the Church of Scientology and which has been criticized as pseudoscientific. Scientologists use the "Hubbard Method" to try to cure drug addiction and alcoholism. The church set up a center in New York after the 9/11 attacks offering a similar service for first responders who may have been exposed to toxins.

Some notable rulings on transgender people

Some court rulings in recent years on transgender people's access to gender-related medical care: — In 2010, the U.S. Tax Court found that the costs of female hormones and sex-reassignment surgery were deductible as medical expenses in the case of a Massachusetts woman. Rhiannon O'Donnabhain, who was born a man, sued the Internal Revenue Service in 2007 after the agency rejected a $5,000 deduction for about $25,000 in medical expenses associated with the surgery, finding it was a cosmetic procedure and not medically necessary. The Tax Court found that O'Donnabhain should have been allowed to deduct the costs of her treatment for gender-identity disorder.

Some notable rulings on transgender people

Some court rulings in recent years on transgender people's access to gender-related medical care: — In 2010, the U.S. Tax Court found that the costs of female hormones and sex-reassignment surgery were deductible as medical expenses in the case of a Massachusetts woman. Rhiannon O'Donnabhain, who was born a man, sued the Internal Revenue Service in 2007 after the agency rejected a $5,000 deduction for about $25,000 in medical expenses associated with the surgery, finding it was a cosmetic procedure and not medically necessary. The Tax Court found that O'Donnabhain should have been allowed to deduct the costs of her treatment for gender-identity disorder.

Author Judy Blume diagnosed with breast cancer

NEW YORK (AP) — Children's author Judy Blume says she was diagnosed with breast cancer over the summer but is "feeling stronger every day" after surgery. The 74-year-old Blume wrote on her blog Wednesday that she learned in June that she had cancer and underwent a mastectomy and reconstruction in late July. She writes that she now walks a couple of miles each morning and dines out at night. Blume hopes to begin writing again soon.

News Summary: Pfizer gets OK for leukemia drug

WASHINGTON (AP) — FDA APPROVAL: The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved a new drug from Pfizer for treating a rare form of blood and bone-marrow cancer. BAD BLOOD CELLS: Pfizer's Bosulif is a daily pill to treat chronic myeloid leukemia, a disease that causes the bone marrow to produce unhealthy white blood cells. White blood cells are needed to help the body fight off infection.

FDA approves Pfizer drug for rare blood cancer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved a new Pfizer drug to treat a rare form of blood and bone marrow cancer that causes a buildup of unhealthy white blood cells. Pfizer's Bosulif is a daily pill to treat chronic myeloid leukemia patients who carry a specific genetic variation. The disease is one of four types of the blood cancer, and accounts for about 15 percent of leukemia cases.

Refunds on way to cover CVS business’ price error

NEW YORK (AP) — The Federal Trade Commission said that it is mailing refund checks to 13,000 Medicare Part D beneficiaries who were overcharged for drugs because a CVS Caremark Corp. business understated the price of the medications. The FTC says its redress administrator Rust Consulting Inc. began mailing the checks Tuesday. The checks are valid for 60 days from the date they were issued and they must be cashed within that time.

Study questions how much better organic food is

WASHINGTON (AP) — Patient after patient asked: Is eating organic food, which costs more, really better for me? Unsure, Stanford University doctors dug through reams of research to find out — and concluded there's little evidence that going organic is much healthier, citing only a few differences involving pesticides and antibiotics.

Ukrainian orphan treated for severe burns in Mass.

BOSTON (AP) — Not much is known about how Ihor Lakatosh ended up with burns over 30 percent of his body. The little Ukrainian boy was severely malnourished and unable to walk or bend his arms when neighbors in Lviv, Ukraine, urged his mother to take him to a hospital about a year ago. She did, and never came back.

Study questions how much better organic food is

WASHINGTON (AP) — Patient after patient asked: Is eating organic food, which costs more, really better for me? Unsure, Stanford University doctors dug through reams of research to find out — and concluded there's little evidence that going organic is much healthier, citing only a few differences involving pesticides and antibiotics.

Medical marijuana backers seek inroads in South

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The home state of the president who didn't inhale has become an unlikely front in the battle over medical marijuana. This fall, Arkansas will be the first Southern state to ask voters whether to legalize medical uses for pot, a move that offers supporters a rare chance to make inroads in a region that has resisted easing any restrictions on the drug.

Surgery allows blind orangutan to see her babies

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A formerly blind Sumatran orangutan can see her baby twins for the first time after undergoing cataract surgery in the first such operation in Indonesia. The orangutan, named Gober, was captured for her own safety in late 2008 in North Sumatra province after she went blind in both eyes due to cataracts. She gave birth to the twins in early 2011 as part of a breeding program.

Renowned pianist Van Cliburn diagnosed with cancer

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Renowned classical pianist Van Cliburn has been diagnosed with advanced bone cancer and is resting comfortably at his Texas home, his publicist said Monday. The 78-year-old Cliburn is under excellent care and his spirits are high, said longtime friend and publicist Mary Lou Falcone.

FDA approves 4-in-1 HIV combination pill

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved a new anti-HIV pill that combines four medicines to combat the virus that causes AIDS. The agency approved Gilead Sciences' Stribild as a once-a-day treatment to control HIV in adults who have not previously been treated for infection.

Circumcision pluses outweigh risks: Pediatricians

CHICAGO (AP) — The nation's most influential pediatricians group says the health benefits of circumcision in newborn boys outweigh any risks and insurance companies should pay for it. In its latest policy statement on circumcision, a procedure that has been declining nationwide, the American Academy of Pediatrics moves closer to an endorsement but says the decision should be up to parents.

Kidney for Ohio patient’s transplant put in trash

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — A nurse accidentally disposed of a kidney from a living donor this month at an Ohio hospital, and doctors tried unsuccessfully for at least two hours to resuscitate the organ in what medical experts describe as a rare accident, health officials said. "Human error rendered the kidney unusable," University of Toledo Medical Center spokesman Toby Klinger said Saturday, but he declined to give more details, citing the hospital's investigation into what happened and its respect for the privacy of the patients involved.

Alzheimer’s drug fails study but flashes potential

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Alzheimer's treatment from Eli Lilly and Co. failed to slow memory decline in two separate patient studies, but the drug did show some potential to help in mild cases of the mind-robbing condition that is notoriously difficult to treat. The Indianapolis drugmaker's announcement could be a step toward a long-awaited breakthrough in the fight against the disease. But researchers not tied to the studies — and Eli Lilly itself — cautioned against overreacting to the initial results.

Study: Obesity surgery can help prevent diabetes

Doctors are reporting a new benefit from weight-loss surgery — preventing diabetes. Far fewer obese people developed that disease if they had stomach-shrinking operations rather than usual care to try to slim down, a large study in Sweden found. The results, published in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine, are provoking fresh debate about when adjustable bands and other bariatric procedures should be offered.