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Reuters Health News Summary

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Trump says he’s likely to sign healthcare order this week

President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he likely will sign an order this week that is expected to allow Americans to buy stripped-down health insurance policies, a step some experts say would further undermine the Obamacare law that Trump opposes. Unable to win passage of legislation to dismantle the 2010 law in a Congress led by his own party, Trump indicated he would take unilateral action. He offered few specifics beyond saying his action would let people cross state lines to obtain “great, competitive healthcare” costing the United States “nothing.”

Big Soda scores victory as Chicago-area tax repealed

Government officials in Chicago’s home county voted on Wednesday to repeal a tax on sugary drinks, a win for a soda industry that has faced criticism from public health officials who link excessive consumption to health epidemics like obesity. The 15-2 vote to end the tax starting Dec. 1 was largely expected after preliminary action to do so by commissioners in Cook County, Illinois, but was significant as the first such move since a string of U.S. cities last year voted in favor of such taxes.

Trump healthcare order could face strong legal objections

U.S. President Donald Trump’s expected plan to let Americans buy insurance across state lines could violate federal law governing employee benefit plans and will almost certainly be challenged in court, several legal experts said. Trump said on Tuesday he would likely sign an executive order this week allowing people to cross state lines to obtain “great, competitive healthcare” that would cost the United States “nothing.”

U.S. government undercounted civilians killed by police

U.S. police killed 1,166 people – more than three a day – in 2015, but an official government count missed a majority of the deaths, a new study shows. The Guardian, a U.K.-based newspaper and media company with U.S. and international editions, counted 93 percent of the U.S. police-related deaths, while the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics counted only 45 percent, the report in PLOS Medicine found.

Ardelyx’s constipation drug succeeds in late-stage trial

Ardelyx Inc said a second late-stage trial of its drug for irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) met the main goal of reducing abdominal pain and increasing bowel movement, sending its shares up sharply in extended trading. The company’s shares, which jumped nearly 60 percent, were up 33.3 percent at $7.20 on Wednesday.

Italy culls birds after five H5N8 avian flu outbreaks in October

Italy has had five outbreaks of highly pathogenic H5N8 avian flu in farms the central and northern parts of the country since the start of the month and about 880,000 chickens, ducks and turkeys will be culled, officials said on Wednesday. The biggest outbreak of the H5N8 virus, which led to the death or killing of millions of birds in an outbreak in western Europe last winter, was at a large egg producing farm in the province of Ferrara.

Prostate cancer patients unclear on differences among treatments

Many patients with localized prostate cancer donĀ“t understand the differences between their treatment options, a new study suggests. “Prostate cancer is the most common male cancer in Western Europe, but this study shows that men facing treatment have a poor understanding of how their treatment decision will affect their lives,” Marie-Anne Van Stam of the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands told Reuters Health in an email interview.

Marital ups and downs tied to shifts in heart health

Married men who see their relationship with their spouse improve over the years may also experience positive changes in their health that can lower the risk of heart disease, a recent U.K. study suggests. Researchers examined data on 620 married fathers to see what they thought of their relationship when their child was almost 3 years old and again when their child was 9. The study team also assessed risk factors for heart disease like blood pressure, cholesterol, weight and blood sugar.

For some kids, bullying may not leave lasting mental scars

Children who are bullied during their pre-teen years may experience mental health issues like anxiety and depression, but a study of twins suggests that some victims may not experience lasting psychological problems. Researchers examined data on about 11,000 twins born in England and Wales from 1994 to 1996. The youth completed assessments on their exposure to bullying when they were 11 and 14 years old, and they had mental health evaluations when they were 11 and 16 years old.

Merck says will not seek approval of cholesterol treatment

Merck & Co Inc said on Wednesday it will not seek regulatory approval for its experimental cholesterol drug, anacetrapib, as the clinical profile of the treatment does not support regulatory filings. In August, a large study on anacetrapib found that the treatment cut the risk of heart attack and death by a modest 9 percent, while causing a build up of the drug in fat tissue, leaving its commercial future uncertain.

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