Company news: Merck

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American Idol judge Randy Jackson will serve as the face of Merck's Taking Diabetes to Heart education campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the complications of type 2 diabetes and of the importance of early and effective management of the disease. The Grammy Award-winning music producer was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes nine years ago. The campaign, anchored at takingdiabetestoheart.com, stresses the “ABCs” of diabetes care—A1C levels, blood pressure and cholesterol.

The latest jobs report from outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas has somewhat positive news: planned layoffs fell to a 10-month low in March. Although this still means 37,880 jobs will be eliminated, the drop spells a bit of a reprieve for the pharmaceutical industry, which lost 123 jobs in March.  This is in stark contrast to telecommunications, education, industrial goods and finance which racked up losses between 4,000 for telecom and 3,000 for financial services in March.

Former NASA astronaut and Parkinson's patient Michael “Rich” Clifford is featured in the April issue of the American Academy for Neurology's Neurology Now mag for patients and caregivers, telling the story of how he was diagnosed with the disease in 1994 and didn't let it keep him from a third trip into space on the shuttle Atlantis. “Don't let Parkinson's drive what you want to do,” says Clifford. “Remember that you're in charge of your future.”

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