Trending News Today: Pharma Merger May Advance Liver Disease Treatment

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

A new superbug may be spreading through contaminated poultry that is handled and ingested by humans, reported The Washington Post. The newly identified strain of the bacterium MRSA has been found in Denmark and, although most individuals who are infected with MRSA do not get it from food, the new study suggests the poultry-associated strain may be more easily transmitted from food to people. The findings highlight the importance of reducing antibiotic use in food-producing animals to boost their growth, according to researchers. On Wednesday, the issue is expected to be discussed prominently at an unusual meeting at the United Nations, reported the Post.

On Tuesday, Allergan PLC stated its agreement to acquire the biopharmaceutical company Tobira Therapeutics Inc, which develops therapies for liver diseases, reported The Wall Street Journal. Tobira’s main focus is on products that treat a common liver disease associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). NASH develops when liver fat accumulation is accompanied by inflammation and cellular damage, and can lead to scarring of the liver that progresses to cirrhosis, liver cancer, and eventual liver failure. According to the Journal, the deal is worth as much as $1.7 billion, or 19 times Tobira’s previous market value.

Men with generalized anxiety disorder, who are over 40-years-old, are more than twice as likely to die of cancer than men who do not suffer from this mental disorder, reported The Los Angeles Times. The findings came from the largest study to date, which explored the link between anxiety and cancer. It tracked 15,938 Britons over 40-years-old for 15 years. Additionally, the study did not find an increased risk of cancer death for women who suffered from severe anxiety. Authors noted that, although the findings do not show how cancer and anxiety are related, it does show that anxiety causes cancer.