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Top stories summarized by our editors
12/11/2017

Seventeen schools in South Carolina are participating in a three-year pilot program that seeks to study the effectiveness of robots in teaching students with autism. The robot used in the study is designed to offer social, emotional and behavioral lessons.

12/11/2017

Migrating birds can bring avian influenza to North America from other continents, threatening poultry and waterfowl, according to a genomic study by scientists with the US Geological Survey's National Wildlife Health Center. Influenza viruses that probably evolved in Asia spread easily among wild birds and between domestic and wild birds in North America in a 2014-15 outbreak, but the spillover rate was minor, and the infection in poultry persisted without further transmission from wild birds, researchers reported in Evolutionary Applications.

12/11/2017

A puppy may be an adorable present, but dogs require time, patience, lifestyle changes and a significant financial investment, and the decision to get a dog or puppy should be carefully considered, writes Emily Birch, who studies human-canine interactions at Nottingham Trent University. A UK dog adoption charity said the number of dogs abandoned at its shelters increased 54% last year around Christmas, Birch notes.

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The Conversation (UK)
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Nottingham Trent University
12/11/2017

Cats are naturally curious about holiday decorations and plants but also may become anxious about the changes in their environment, says Jacqueline Munera, a certified cat behavior consultant. Decorating carefully and giving cats a safe place to hide from guests go a long way toward ensuring a safe, low-stress holiday, Munera says.

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Catster
12/11/2017

Luke Miels, the new head of pharmaceuticals at GlaxoSmithKline, said the company will focus on buying or licensing early-stage cancer and immunology drugs. After gaining recent approvals for three new products -- for shingles, HIV and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease -- the company will not launch others until after 2020.

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Reuters
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GSK, GlaxoSmithKline, COPD, HIV
12/11/2017

A study in the Journal of Diabetes Investigation showed that type 2 diabetes patients who received pioglitazone or SGLT2 inhibitors as add-ons to insulin therapy had a greater A1C reduction than those on placebo. Korean researchers conducted a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials involving 7,226 patients and found that those in the SGLT2 inhibitor and pioglitazone groups also showed reduced fasting plasma glucose levels and insulin dose requirements, compared with the placebo groups.

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pioglitazone
12/11/2017

Researchers evaluated 99 studies involving 13,816 pregnant women with gestational diabetes and infants born to mothers who had GD and found no differences in the risk for infant mortality, infant hypoglycemia or childhood adiposity at 18 months between women who received insulin injections or oral medications. The findings in Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews also revealed no difference in the risk for type 2 diabetes development, preeclampsia or birth by cesarean section between those who received insulin and oral medications.

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Endocrinology Advisor
12/11/2017

Children who watched TV or played video games before going to bed had 30 minutes less sleep on average, while those who used cellphones or computers before bed received an hour less sleep on average, compared with those who didn't use such devices, researchers reported in the journal Global Pediatric Health. The findings also showed an association between increased technology use before bedtime and higher body mass index.

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body mass index
12/11/2017

Researchers found that young people who participated in experimental exercise programs had improved math, reading and language skills, compared with those who didn't. The findings in Pediatrics, based on a review of 26 studies involving more than 10,000 children ages 4 to 13, also showed that integrated physical activity was more beneficial to school performance than extracurricular physical activity.

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Reuters
12/11/2017

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said she has yet to decide whether to support the final tax bill being negotiated by House and Senate leaders after House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., indicated he was not bound by Collins' health care deal with Senate GOP leaders. Collins voted earlier this month for a tax bill that included a repeal of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate after receiving a commitment from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., that he would work for passage of bills designed to stabilize insurance markets.