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April 12, 2014 | Melissa Healy
Twenty-five years after scientists first identified the hepatitis C virus, doctors are declaring victory over an infection that afflicts more than 3 million Americans and kills more of them than HIV. In a series of clinical trial results, a new generation of antiviral medications was able to clear the liver-ravaging virus from virtually all patients' bloodstreams in as little as eight weeks. Even in patients with the most stubborn infections, the new drugs were capable of suppressing the virus completely at rates well over 90%. The treatments, however, come with a steep price tag. The "sustained virologic responses" reported in the trials typically mean an infection has been permanently cleared.
April 9, 2014 | By Joel Rubin and Hailey Branson-Potts
The Los Angeles Police Department was in mourning with news that a veteran motorcycle officer hit by a driver suspected of being high on cocaine Saturday had died of his injuries. Chris Cortijo, a 27-year veteran of the department, died Wednesday afternoon. Jorge Villegas, the commanding officer of the LAPD's Valley Bureau, said he first met Cortijo in 2006 and over the years had “observed him to be an absolute quality, outstanding individual,” adding that Cortijo was “very humble.” Late last week, just days before he was struck, Cortijo was awarded “Valley motor officer of the quarter” - a commendation given for an officer's all-around performance in the field, Villegas said.
April 7, 2014 | By Ricardo Lopez
Irish pharmaceutical company Mallinckrodt will pay $5.6 billion in cash and stock for Anaheim-based Questcor Pharmaceuticals Inc., a fast-growing bio-pharmaceutical firm that specializes in treating multiple sclerosis, the companies announced Monday. Under the terms of the deal, Questcor shareholders will be paid $30 a share in cash and 0.897 of a share of Mallinckrodt stock for each share of Questcor common stock they own.  If the deal is approved, Mallinckrodt shareholders will own nearly 51% of the combined company; former Questcor shareholders will own the remaining stake.  The merger "will substantially increase the scale, diversification, cash flow and profitability of our business," said Mark Trudeau, Mallinckrodt's chief executive.
April 7, 2014 | By Jenny Deam
DENVER - It was spring break, and Levy Thamba, a 19-year-old college student from Africa, had checked into a fourth-floor hotel room with three of his buddies. They had come from their small college in Wyoming looking for an adventure. No one is sure how much Thamba ate of the marijuana cookie purchased by one of his friends at a local pot shop. But soon the engineering student, who had never tried marijuana before, began acting strangely hostile, tearing around the room and pulling pictures from the wall.
April 7, 2014 | By Ricardo Lopez
Irish pharmaceutical giant Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals said it will pay $5.6 billion in cash and stock for a fast-growing Anaheim bio-pharmaceutical firm that specializes in treating multiple sclerosis, the companies announced Monday. The deal for Questcor Pharmaceuticals Inc. would give Mallinckrodt drugs that primarily treat chronic autoimmune and inflammatory disorders. Questcor's Acthar Gel, used in the treatment of multiple sclerosis, accounts for most of the company's sales.
April 6, 2014 | By Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic
Five Thoughts on the War on Drugs at the Troubadour on Saturday. 1. Timing is everything. Were this still an era in which a few properly placed club performances at the right moment could send reverberations across the music world, the War on Drugs' Adam Granduciel would be zipping on the magic carpet of success right about now.  On Friday and Saturday, the band gigged two sold-out shows at the Troubadour in West Hollywood and rightly...
April 6, 2014 | By Theshia Naidoo and Lynne Lyman
Jesse Snodgrass had recently transferred to Chaparral High School in Temecula and was feeling out of place and alone in 2012 when a boy named Dan, another newcomer, befriended him. Jesse, a 17-year-old autistic student, wasn't good at making friends and he was pleased by the overture. But there was something he didn't know about Dan: He was an undercover narcotics officer attending class at Chaparral hoping to bust student drug dealers. Dan quickly began exerting pressure on Jesse to sneak a pill from his parent's medicine cabinet or buy him some marijuana.
April 5, 2014 | By Eryn Brown
Reginald Clarke is someone Obamacare was designed to help. The 55-year-old, who was homeless for a time, now has an apartment in Gardena and a street-cleaning job that pays him $14,000 a year. He hadn't visited a doctor in four or five years. Then, last fall, his girlfriend told him he would be eligible for Medi-Cal starting Jan. 1. "I was excited. I could go get a physical," he said. "There are a few things I need. " But joy turned to exasperation when Clarke's application, filed in December, was mistakenly rejected - and then seemed to disappear from county and state computer systems.
April 5, 2014 | By Joseph Serna
The two new tunnels discovered this week along the San Diego-Mexico border mark the sixth and seventh cross-border passages that authorities have located in the last four years. Officials have found more than 80 tunnels from California to Arizona since 2006. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in San Diego announced the discovery of the two new drug-smuggling tunnels Friday, calling them sophisticated and elaborate. On Wednesday, ICE officials arrested a 73-year-old Chula Vista woman on suspicion of overseeing the operation of an underground tunnel leading under the border to an Otay Mesa industrial park in San Diego.
April 4, 2014 | By Monte Morin
Researchers studying the effects of immune suppressant drugs on  transplant patients with HIV have made a surprising discovery: A drug intended to hobble the body's defense system may actually help destroy dormant reservoirs of the virus that causes AIDS. In a paper published this week in the American Journal of Transplantation , authors found that when a small group of transplant patients received the drug sirolimus, they experienced a two- to threefold drop in HIV levels, whereas patients who received other immunosuppressants did not. "We were pleasantly surprised," said study coauthor Dr. Steven Deeks, an HIV expert and professor of medicine at University of California San Francisco.
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