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Big Tobacco Sues FDA Over New Packaging Guidelines

big tobaccoThe nation's largest tobacco companies are suing the Food and Drug Administration over recent guidelines that they claim overstep the agency's authority over labeling and packaging for cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Units of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Altria Group Inc. and Lorillard Tobacco filed the lawsuit Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, claiming the FDA's guidance infringes on their commercial speech.


90% of Adults Now Have Health Insurance

90% in US have health insuranceUnderlining a change across the nation, nearly 9 out of 10 adults now say they have health insurance, according to an extensive survey released Monday.

As recently as 2013, slightly more than 8 out of 10 had coverage.

Whether the new number from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index turns out to be a high-water mark for President Barack Obama's health care law, or a milestone on the path toward his goal of getting virtually all U.S. residents covered, remains to be seen.


Doctors Without Borders to launch rescue ship

rescue ship DWBThe humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders said Friday it would begin involvement in a rescue operation of Mediterranean Sea migrants to Europe.

The non-governmental organization, based in Geneva, Switzerland and formally known as Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), announced it would have a patrol boat of its own on the Mediterranean Sea from May to October to provide search, rescue and medical air operations. Thousands of people are expected to attempt to travel from North Africa and the Middle East to Europe in search of asylum and relief from human rights violations and military conflict.


Missouri health care navigator law pre-empted, court rules

Health insuranceAn appeals court ruled Friday that Missouri can't limit health insurance navigators' ability to help people obtain insurance under President Barack Obama's health care law — a ruling that advocates say could have implications for other states that have instituted similar restrictions.

The 8th Circuit Court in St. Louis blocked some parts of a Missouri law that limits the information certified counselors authorized by the health care law could give people seeking health insurance. However, the court said the state can institute licensure requirements for navigators and counselors.


Obama Calls For End To LGBT Conversion Therapy

obamaU.S. President Barack Obama called on Wednesday for an end to psychiatric therapies that seek to change the sexual orientation of gay, lesbian and transgender youth, the White House said.

The White House statement, written by senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, is in response to a petition calling for Obama to back a law to ban conversion therapy, which is supported by some socially conservative organizations and religious doctors.


Kansas becomes first state to ban a second trimester abortion procedure

Kansas abortion banKansas became the first state to ban a common second trimester abortion procedure when Governor Sam Brownback, a Republican, on Tuesday signed into a law an act to halt what lawmakers said are "dismemberment abortions."

The law that goes into effect on July 1 prohibits the use of dilation and evacuation. The bill says the procedure can result in the fetus being extracted in pieces.


New magnetic field detector could improve medical imaging

new imaging sensorResearchers at MIT say they've designed a hyper-sensitive magnetic field detector that could be used to improve medical imaging technologies and more effectively identify contraband at security checkpoints.

Magnetic field detectors, or magnetometers, are used for metal detection, medical imaging and geological observation, but the devices as currently designed have limitations. Many require "buffer gas" chambers filled with caesium vapor, which are hefty and expensive. Some work within only a narrow frequency range.


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