Sunday, October 31, 2004

Health Headlines - October 31

Grumpy British Bosses Need More Sleep

A quarter of Britain's bosses are likely to be in a bad mood at work because of too little sleep, research released on Monday showed.

New Childhood Vaccine Helps Elderly, Too

A new vaccine used in U.S. children since 2000 has slashed deadly pneumococcal bacteria infections in older adults, experts said on Sunday.

World Unprepared for Avian Flu, Experts Warn

The current U.S. flu vaccine shortage shows perfectly how poorly the world is prepared to handle the next global epidemic of influenza, health experts said on Sunday.

Florida Court to Review Tobacco Ruling

A decade has passed since a group of sick and angry cigarette smokers banded together in an unprecedented legal fight against the tobacco industry. A two-year trial produced the biggest award ever delivered by an American jury — $145 billion.

Diarrheal Disease Vaccine Shows Promise

A new vaccine against rotavirus, the diarrheal infection that kills millions of children worldwide, doesn't appear to raise the risk of serious bowel blockages that caused a previous vaccine to be pulled from the market five years ago, doctors reported Sunday.

Ohio Clinic Plans Human Face Transplant

The Cleveland Clinic says it is the first institution to receive review board approval of human facial transplant for someone severely disfigured by burns or disease.

Vegan CEO Offers Meat-Free Cafeteria

For telephone company CEO Norm Mason, a vegan and lifelong animal lover, there was never any doubt what he'd offer at his company cafeteria. Soy steaks and soy sloppy joes, veggie burgers, nachos and other meatless, eggless, butter-free delicacies are common.

Getting a Good Night's Sleep

Many people suffering from insomnia use sleep medications to help them nod off, but this isn't a good first choice for combating sleep problems.

Blood Pressure Drugs Protect Diabetics' Kidneys

Two new studies show that standard blood pressure medications may have an even greater effect than originally thought on kidney disease in people with type 2 diabetes.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Health Headlines - October 30

Despite Vaccines, Whooping Cough Creeps Back

Whooping cough is making a comeback 40 years after most industrialized countries started vaccinating children, and the culprit seems to be weakening effects of the shot, researchers said on Saturday.

Novartis Breast Cancer Drug OK'd for Wider U.S. Use

Novartis AG won U.S. approval to promote the drug Femara for women who have finished standard therapy for early-stage breast cancer and run out of options, the company said on Friday.

Poland Attracts Plastic Surgery 'Tourism'

A rising number of Germans and others from western Europe are traveling to Poland — and other new EU members such as Hungary and Slovakia — to pay less for plastic surgery, fertility treatment and dental work.

Breast Cancer

The five-year survival rate for localized breast cancer is 97 percent if it's caught quickly.

Allergies Can Crop Up Indoors

Spring and summer aren't the only seasons that can cause allergies in children.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Health Headlines - October 29

AstraZeneca's Crestor May Harm Kidneys

Twenty-nine patients who took AstraZeneca Plc's (AZN.L) (AZN.N) anti-cholesterol drug Crestor have developed kidney damage, a U.S. consumer group said on Friday as it called again for a ban on the medicine.

Novartis Breast Cancer Drug OK'd for Wider U.S. Use

Novartis AG won U.S. approval to promote the drug Femara for women who have finished standard therapy for early-stage breast cancer and run out of options, the company said on Friday.

Demand, Canada Supply Concern Cut U.S. Flu Shot Trips

A cruise operator ferrying U.S. residents to Canada for flu shots said on Friday it has cut back on its popular service due to overwhelming demand and concerns about diminishing supplies north of the border.

Ducks Pose Further Bird Flu Risk for Humans

Ducks also spread bird flu, increasing the risk to humans from a virus that has killed 32 people in Thailand and Vietnam this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

Cell Transplants Restore Lost Skin Color

Transplantation of pigment-producing cells called melanocytes appears to be a safe and effective treatment for vitiligo, in which patches of skin lose their coloration, appearing whitish, according to two reports in the Archives of Dermatology.

Laser and Ultrasound Help Wounds Heal, in Rats

Laser therapy and ultrasound promote wound healing, Turkish researchers have shown in animal experiments.

Focused Ultrasound Treats Gynecologic Problem

Vulvar dystrophy is a common gynecologic disorder usually involving white lesions on tissues of the vulva that are often accompanied by intense itching. Currently, various treatments can help but may not be long-lasting.

African-American Men Do Well After Prostatectomy

After undergoing prostate removal because of localized cancer, African-American men have better recovery of sexual and urinary function than do non-Hispanic white men, researchers report.

Bristol Hepatitis B Drug Beats Glaxo's in Study

An experimental Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. pill for the liver disease hepatitis B proved better than a commonly-used anti-viral medicine made by GlaxoSmithKline in late-stage clinical studies, researchers said.

FDA Wants More Safety Data on Merck Drug

The Food and Drug Administration told Merck & Co. that it requires further safety and efficacy data before it will approve its successor drug to now defunct pain reliever Vioxx, the pharmaceutical maker announced Friday.

Illinois Has to Have Flu Vaccine Cleared

U.S. regulators told Illinois officials Friday they will examine a flu vaccine manufactured in France before clearing it for use by state residents.

FDA Warns of Egg Protein in Lollipops

With Halloween approaching, federal health officials on Friday warned that lollipops labeled "Jelly Candy Pops Sour Zip Kids" could contain enough egg protein to cause serious injury to people severely allergic to eggs.

D.C. Sues Parents Over Immunizations Flap

Dozens of parents were charged with misdemeanor truancy in the nation's capital on Friday after their children missed school because they lacked required immunizations. The charges carry possible jail time and fines.

EU Proposes Aid to Poor Nations With Drugs

The European Union's head office proposed new regulations Friday to allow the export of cheap copies of patented drugs to poor nations fighting AIDS and other killer diseases.

Traffic Accidents Hurt Productivity

Drivers and passengers involved in motor vehicle crashes in the United States between 1993 and 2001 lost a total of 60.8 million days of work, resulting in lost productivity costs of more than $7.5 billion.

Discovery Shines Ray of Hope on Eye Diseases

Human retinal stem cells can regenerate when implanted into the eyes of chicks and mice, says a University of Toronto study.

One Shot Eases Pain After Surgery

A single-dose epidural injection called DepoDur is safe and effective in treating postoperative pain, according to two clinical trials.

Keeping Organ, Tissue Transplants Safe

Routine screening for viral RNA in blood samples from tissue and organ donors could help reduce the risk of transmission of viral diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C, says a study in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Health Headlines - October 28

Drug May Block Alzheimer's, Scientists Say

It might be possible to make a pill that prevents the brain damage that marks Alzheimer's disease, U.S. researchers said Thursday.

CDC: Rare Infection a Risk to Gay, Bisexual Men in US

A rare sexually transmitted disease that is spreading among gay and bisexual men in Europe could be poised to surface in the United States, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday.

Mammograms Not Helpful for Most Women Over 80

Breast cancer screening in the US is common among women 80 years of age or older, but it is of little benefit to the majority of them, according to a new study.

Snoring May Affect Kids' Mental Abilities

Five-year-old children who snore or have sleep apnea -- the more serious disorder in which breathing stops intermittently while they sleep-- score worse on tests of memory and intelligence than unaffected kids, investigators report.

Umbilical Cord Blood May Help Predict Allergy Risk

Blood from a baby's umbilical cord could help doctors predict which children will suffer from allergies and asthma later in their lives, British and American scientists said on Thursday.

MedImmune Says FluMist Recommended for Kids

MedImmune's FluMist nasal vaccine should be included in the U.S. government's Vaccines for Children program, expanding its distribution to children over the age of 5 and teens, federal advisers said on Thursday.

New Drug Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes

Long-term use of exenatide, an experimental diabetes drug derived from lizard saliva, reduces blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes who don't do well with sulfonylurea-type drugs, investigators report.

Researchers: Stress Causes Forgetfulness

How many people have gotten home after a blindingly stressful day and realize they've forgotten some important event or errand? Well, now at least there's a scientific explanation for the oversight. Stress makes you forgetful.

Taste Sensitivity Linked to Lower Weight

Could a sensitive palate be the key to a svelte figure? Maybe, say researchers at Rutgers University and elsewhere who have found people especially sensitive to bitter compounds in broccoli and other foods tend to be thinner than others.

U.S. Works to Import 5 Million Flu Shots

The Bush administration said Thursday it is working to buy another 5 million doses of flu vaccine from manufacturers in Canada and Germany, mixing the ticklish issue of prescription drug imports with the flu shot shortage.

Consumers Save Less Amid High Health Costs

A rising number of Americans say health care is the most critical issue facing America today, and many are having trouble covering the costs.

Mel Gibson Weighs in on Stem Cell Issue

A proposition to fund stem cell research turned into the battle of the Hollywood stars Thursday when actor Mel Gibson spoke out against the $3 billion bond measure and offered his help to an opposition campaign.

Missouri Joins Drug Import Program

Missouri joined Illinois and Wisconsin in a new drug import program to make cheaper prescription drugs available from Canada and Europe despite a federal ban on the imports.

FDA Warns Against Decorative Contacts

Federal health officials are warning people not to use decorative contact lenses as part of Halloween costumes.

New Drug Helps Gout Patients

The investigational drug febuxostat helps lower serum uric acid levels in people with gout, says new research.

Testosterone Tied to Memory

Men who are given testosterone-deprivation treatment for prostate cancer forget things faster than healthy men, says a study by Oregon Health & Science University researchers.

Link Between Migraine, Endometriosis Found

There's evidence of a possible link between endometriosis and migraine, says an Italian study in the latest issue of Human Reproduction.

Obesity Linked to Higher Stroke Risk

Obesity nearly doubles the risk that an otherwise healthy middle-aged man will eventually have a stroke, a long-running Swedish study finds.

Red Wine May Protect Against Lung Cancer

Researchers say they may have found yet another health benefit conferred by red wine -- it seems to reduce the risk of lung cancer, at least in men.

Scientists Find Key to Iron Disorders

For years, experts have known that a hormone called hepcidin regulates the amount of iron circulating in the bloodstream, but the way in which it interacts with cells has remained a mystery.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Health Headlines - October 27

Study: Red Wine Slows Lung Cancer, White Raises Risk

Drinking red wine could protect against lung cancer, but white wine may increase the risk, Spanish scientists said Thursday.

Sleepy Interns Committing Key Errors, Study Shows

America's doctors-in-training are committing serious errors as a result of being forced to work over 80 hours a week, says new research which suggests the U.S. medical community has been slow to tackle sleep deprivation in its staff.

Canadian Study Says Glucosamine No Arthritis Help

Glucosamine, a popular food supplement used by arthritis sufferers to prevent painful flare-ups, has no long-term benefit, Canadian researchers said on Wednesday.

Americans a Bit Taller, Much Heavier, Report Says

Americans are getting taller on average but they are much heavier too, according to government figures released on Wednesday showing that the U.S. population is, literally, growing.

C-Section More Likely with Obesity, Diabetes

When women who have diabetes or are overweight become pregnant, they have an increased likelihood of having to undergo a cesarean delivery, according to a new report.

Depression Interferes with Exercise Stress Testing

People with depression who have suspected heart disease don't do well on exercise tests, Canadian investigators report.

Impact of Domestic Violence on Kids Can Be Reduced

Children who are exposed to domestic violence in the home may have less behavior problems if the couple takes time to help them express and manage their emotions, new study findings show.

Judge Bars Military from Forced Anthrax Shots

A federal judge on Wednesday barred the U.S. military from forcing troops to be vaccinated for anthrax without either getting their informed consent or obtaining a special order from President Bush.

Study: Viagra Promising in Pulmonary Hypertension

Viagra, Pfizer Inc's famous impotence treatment, demonstrated promise in a late-stage clinical trial for use in treating the often-fatal disease pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Swallowing One Magnet Bad, Two Much Worse

If a child swallows a magnet it might pass without incident, but if two or more magnets go down, urgent surgery should be considered, according to Dr. Alan E. Oestreich.

Red Cross: Aid Agencies May Hurt Victims

Many of the methods being used by international aid workers may do more to hurt than to help the lives of disaster victims, the international Red Cross said Thursday in its annual report.

Half-Ton Man Recovers From Obesity Surgery

A man who weighed about half a ton when he was admitted to a hospital was recovering Wednesday from obesity surgery. Doctors said he was "doing very well," moving around and even cracking jokes.

CDC Chief: Flu Season Off to Slow Start

Seeking to ease fears about flu vaccine shortages, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday that the flu season is starting slowly.

WHO Plan Aims to Reduce Medical Mistakes

Citing statistics that one in 10 hospital patients are victims of preventable medical mistakes, the World Health Organization on Wednesday announced an initiative to create a "culture of safety" in health care.

Medical Journal to Be Available Online

A new online medical journal will make its research articles available to the public free of charge and accessible through the Internet.

Measles Kills 12 in Remote Nigerian Town

An outbreak of measles in a remote Nigerian village has killed a dozen people, Nigeria's state-owned news agency reported Wednesday.

Anesthesiologists Vulnerable to Drug Abuse

Drug abuse among some anesthesiologists may be linked to exposure to low doses of powerful anesthetic drugs administered intravenously to surgery patients, according to a University of Florida study.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Health Headlines - October 26

Behavior Therapy Helps Kids with Mental Disorder

The best initial treatment for children and teens with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is cognitive-behavior therapy -- either alone or in combination with an antidepressant like Zoloft -- the results of a clinical trial show.

Genetic Defect Linked to Brittle Bone Disease

A genetic mutation and environmental factors before and after birth can increase the risk of suffering from brittle bone disease decades later, researchers said on Tuesday.

Study: Racial, Economic Gap in Appendicitis Care

In another sign of racial and economic disparities in the U.S. health care system, researchers said on Tuesday that minority children and those without private insurance are more likely to have a ruptured appendix.

Dutch Study Links Treated Stomach Acid to Pneumonia

Hugely popular stomach acid-blocking drugs may slightly increase the risk of pneumonia by stripping the body of one of its defenses against ingested germs, researchers said on Tuesday.

Shrunken Foot Muscles Signal Diabetic Nerve Damage

The total volume of muscles in the foot is halved in people who have nerve damage resulting from diabetes, compared with diabetics without neuropathy, according to researchers.

'TwoDay' Method Helps Women Avoid Pregnancy

A technique that teaches women to track their vaginal secretions cues them when they are most likely to get pregnant, and offers a "valuable addition " to family planning, according to researchers.

First Artificial Spinal Disc Cleared for U.S. Market

The first artificial disc for the spine, a metal-and-plastic implant made by Johnson & Johnson, won U.S. approval on Tuesday for treating severe lower back pain.

Ill. Finds 200,000 More Doses of Flu Shots

Illinois officials have located 200,000 more doses of flu vaccine in Europe, but the state still hasn't received federal approval to import those or any other supplies of vaccine they have tracked down on the international market.

Wash. Elders Head to Canada for Flu Shot

In an enterprising combination of tourism and health care, people are taking a high-speed ferry cruise across scenic Puget Sound to British Columbia, and getting a flu shot, too.

Researchers Announce Diabetes Gene

Researchers at Wake Forest University have discovered a gene that could cause up to 20 percent of Type II diabetes.

Organ Donor Takes Lie Detector Test

A man who gave up one of his kidneys in response to a commercial Web site solicitation said Tuesday he would be willing to take a lie detector test to show he did not sell the organ, despite claims to the contrary.

Group Calls for New Treatments for TB

Doctors Without Borders on Tuesday urged for "massive" international investment for drugs and testing for tuberculosis, the curable lung disease that kills about 2 million people per year.

MRI Spots Vessel Trouble

Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to detect and define low-flow vascular malformations -- such as birthmarks -- may help improve treatment, says a study in the November issue of Radiology.

New Treatment Blocks Cancer's Spread

A new kind of treatment against metastatic cancer cells, which carry cancer from one location to other parts of the body, has been identified by scientists at the Scripps Research Institute.

Over-the-Counter Drugs Cut Cost of Colds

Savings of $4.75 billion a year could be achieved in the United States if more people used over-the-counter (OTC) medications to treat common upper respiratory infections, says a Northwestern University study.

Anesthesia Can Dim Elderly Patients' Minds

Many elderly people suffer cognitive decline for up to two years after having surgery that requires anesthesia.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Health Headlines - October 25

Illinois Gov. Wants to Import European Flu Vaccine

Illinois authorities asked on Monday for federal approval to import from Europe thousands of doses of flu vaccine that the state located through its controversial program to buy cheaper medicines for older Americans.

Professor Says Pressured to Be Tobacco Advocate

A pharmacology professor testifying in the U.S. government's $280 billion suit against the cigarette industry said on Monday he quit working as an expert witness for a tobacco trade group after it pressured him to be more of an advocate.

Chief Justice's Cancer Raises New Election Issue

U.S. Chief Justice William Rehnquist, the leader of the Supreme Court's conservative majority, has undergone surgery for thyroid cancer, suddenly throwing a political spotlight on the highest court in the land just eight days before the presidential election.

New TB Vaccine Promising in Early Clinical Trials

The results of the first early test of a new type of tuberculosis vaccine show that it elicits strong immune responses in adults with or without a previous bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccination.

Britons Want National Smoking Ban

Nearly seven out of 10 Britons want to see smoking banned in restaurants, pubs and offices, according to a poll published on Tuesday.

Repeat Concussions May Have Lingering Symptoms

Athletes with a history of concussion are at risk of suffering lasting symptoms the next time they take a blow to the head, according to a study published Monday.

Breast Cancer Chemo May Increase Stroke Risk

In general, chemotherapy appears to increase the risk of stroke in patients with breast cancer.

Teens, Parents Alerted to Possibility of Pertussis

The Society for Adolescent Medicine is urging parents to be aware that their teen's runny nose, watery eyes, and nagging cough may signal whooping cough, or pertussis.

Physical Fitness Helps Kids' Minds, Too

The most physically fit group of third-, fourth- and fifth-graders tend to score highest on an academic test known as the Illinois Standard Achievement Test, a group of researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign reports.

Childhood Cancer Ups Later Breast Cancer Risk

Women who survived childhood cancer have an increased risk of developing breast cancer compared with other women their age, the results of the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study reveal.

Officials Say Most Can Skip Flu Shot

Public health officials say Americans should roll up their sleeves for a dose of reality: For most of us, getting a flu shot is not a life-or-death matter.

Puberty Gene May Be Linked to Obesity

A gene that delays female puberty and may be linked to obesity has been identified by Oregon Health & Science University researchers.

Girl, 14, Dies of Bird Flu in Thailand

A 14-year-old girl in northern Thailand has died of bird flu, a health ministry official said Monday, raising the number of human fatalities in Southeast Asia this year to 32.

Group B Strep and Pregnant Women

If you are pregnant, you need to be aware of group B strep, a common bacterial infection that can be deadly to your newborn if passed on during labor.

Health Tip: Genital Warts

Some 8 million Americans each year acquire genital warts, transmitted by sexual contact. They're caused by the human papilloma virus, according to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery.

Exercise Might Protect Against Parkinson's Disease

In research with rats, University of Pittsburgh scientists found that exercising limbs helps protect brain cells that are normally damaged or destroyed by Parkinson's disease.

Stress a Double-Edged Sword

While stress may help your ability to recall, it also makes it more difficult for you to solve complex problems, according to Ohio State University researchers.

New Guidelines for Kawaski Disease Issued

The American Heart Association has issued revised guidelines to help doctors and nurses diagnose, treat, and manage care for children with Kawasaki disease.

Restless Leg Syndrome Explained

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is probably caused by iron-deficient brain cells that trigger the central nervous system to send confusing signals to the arms and legs.

Hispanics, Women Less Likely to Be Tested for Colon Cancer

Colorectal cancer is curable if detected early, but many Americans -- particularly Hispanics and women -- don't get the screening tests.

Key Protein in Breast, Ovarian Cancer Found

Researchers have identified a protein which, when present in large amounts, might indicate that a cancer is particularly aggressive.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Health Headlines - October 24

Transatlantic Live Brain Surgery to Be Beamed to UK

It's not for the squeamish but Britons with a strong constitution will get a rare opportunity to view brain surgery as it happens, in an operating room 4,000 miles away in the United States.

S.Africa AIDS Group Drops Legal Case on Drug Delays

South Africa's main AIDS treatment lobby group has dropped a court case against the government demanding it reveal target dates for the rollout of life-prolonging drugs, activists and officials said Sunday.

Strangers' Organ Donations Concern MDs

The national transplant waiting list has grown to more than 87,000 because organ donations from the dead have not kept up with demand. For help, frustrated patients increasingly are turning to the living — even to strangers.

Infants Adjust to Heart Transplants

Infants receiving heart transplants from donors with a different blood type can learn to tolerate the foreign tissue, possibly expanding the pool of organs available to babies who might otherwise die on the waiting list, researchers say.

Volunteers Hunt Produce to Feed Hungry

Volunteers fanned across Texas farm fields to pick up sweet potatoes missed by mechanical harvesters, joining a national network to feed the poor with produce that might otherwise go to waste, from California oranges to Indiana beans and Florida squash.

Fitness Guru Jack LaLanne Turns 90

Jack LaLanne keeps going and going, and so do the parties celebrating his 90th birthday. On Saturday, nearly a month after the fitness guru turned 90, friends gathered to honor him near the Muscle Beach that LaLanne and his bodybuilding colleagues made famous.

Internet Study Looking for Best Ways to Quit Smoking

SUNDAY, Oct. 24 (HealthDayNews) -- A large Internet study designed to evaluate the best way to help smokers kick the habit is being sponsored by the American Cancer Society.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Health Headlines - October 23

Vaccine Production Relies on Quaint System

The quaint system of producing flu vaccine based on seasonal egg-laying has harsh implications for what would happen if new batches had to be made in a hurry to fight a super-strain pandemic. At best, it would take half a year.

AP Poll Shows Concern About Flu Risk

The flu vaccine shortage is causing widespread worries among a substantial group of Americans — the four in 10 who are in families with a member at high risk of getting the flu, an Associated Press poll found.

Therapists Help Hurt Troops Learn Skills

As thousands more wounded troops return from Iraq and Afghanistan, occupational therapists are now caring for a new generation of soldiers, working to return them to civilian life or the military using a variety of rehabilitation programs.

Many Foods Serve Up Health Benefits

Recent studies have given every chocolate lover reason to rejoice: Chemicals known as flavonoids -- found in abundance in dark chocolate -- loosen up the arteries and promote heart health.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Health Headlines - October 22

U.S. Works to Deliver Flu Shots, Some Don't Wait

U.S. health officials worked to redistribute flu vaccine to the neediest as worried Americans took matters into their own hands, heading across borders to Canada and Mexico to get shots on Friday.

Bush Signs Law Banning Certain Steroid-Like Drugs

President Bush signed a law on Friday banning certain steroid-like drugs, used by some athletes as performance enhancers.

Arthritis Drugs May Help Fight Cancer

Arthritis drugs like Celebrex and the recently withdrawn Vioxx may boost the immune system's ability to attack brain tumors, and possibly other types of cancer, researchers said on Friday.

Study Links Sleep Loss to Teens' Suicide Behaviors

Teenagers who usually fall into bed at 2 a.m. each night and get up a few hours later to make their 8 a.m. classes are putting themselves at risk for more than chronic tiredness.

Inhaled Insulin as Effective as Injection

For people with type 2 diabetes, taking an inhaled form of insulin before meals and a single daily injection of long-acting insulin provides blood sugar control comparable to that of a conventional all-injection insulin regimen, researchers report.

Gene May Account for Range of Ills, Study Finds

A rare genetic mutation may help explain why some people get hit with a triple whammy of high blood pressure, cholesterol and a tendency to gain weight easily, U.S. researchers reported on Friday.

New Method Improves Therapy for Prostate Cancer

British scientists have discovered a new way to improve the effectiveness of drugs used to treat prostate cancer.

U.S. Approves Ultrasound to Treat Uterine Fibroids

A new device to treat uterine fibroids -- fibrous clumps that can cause miscarriages, painful menstruation and other related problems in women -- won U.S. regulatory approval on Friday.

Doctor for U.S. Lawmakers Donates Flu Vaccine

The attending physician for U.S. lawmakers, their staffs and others who work at the U.S. Capitol received additional doses of the flu vaccine and is donating them to city medical officials, top U.S. Republican lawmakers said on Friday.

Trial Rejected in Fla. Right-To-Die Case

A judge Friday refused to order a new trial to determine whether a severely brain-damaged Terri Schiavo would want to be kept alive artificially.

Doctors Give Toddler a Second Heart

A little girl just a week shy of her second birthday has become the youngest person in the United States ever to receive a "piggyback" heart transplant, a procedure that involved implanting a second heart into her tiny chest.

Doctor Uses Maggots on Diabetic Sores

Dr. Hideya Mitsui's patients were in trouble — diabetes-triggered lesions on their feet weren't responding to antibiotics, and amputation was the next step. So Mitsui turned to an unsightly remedy he says has never used before in Japan: maggots.

Expert: World Unprepared for Flu Pandemic

It's only a matter of time before another deadly flu pandemic strikes, an international vaccine expert warned Friday, saying that the world is ill-prepared to cope with a major outbreak of disease.

Carnivals Offer Workers Free Dental Care

Downwind from the cotton candy, the caramel apples and the deep-fried Oreos, carnival worker Robert Weaver stepped into a mobile dentist's office on the state fair midway to pay the price for his love of sweets: three pulled teeth.

Drug Treatment Keeps Multiple Sclerosis at Bay

A European study offers more evidence that weekly injections of interferon beta reduce the risk that people with early symptoms of multiple sclerosis will progress to the full-blown disease within two years.

Cybill Shepherd Now an IBS Role Model

Pushing through the pain while starring in movies and hit TV series such as Moonlighting, actress and singer Cybill Shepherd said that for more than 20 years she suffered from IBS.

Protein Test May Detect Lung Cancer

Duke University Medical Center researchers have developed a new method to detect differences between normal and cancerous lung tissue.

Keep Sex Life Sweet Despite Menopause

One-third of women over 50 struggle with some kind of sexual problem, but most can improve their love lives by focusing on the problem and making some changes, doctors report.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Health Headlines - October 21

More Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine Coming

Another 1 million doses of a nasal spray influenza vaccine will be available in the United States this year, Bush administration officials said on Thursday as they sought to calm concerns about a flu shot shortage.

Study Backs Link Between Father's Age, Schizophrenia

Children born to older fathers have a higher than normal risk of developing schizophrenia later in life, Swedish scientists said on Friday.

Height Treatment Could Reduce Fertility

Estrogen treatment given to tall adolescent girls to reduce their height can lead to fertility problems, Australian scientists said on Friday.

Record Number of Pool-Related Diseases in U.S.

The number of Americans who got sick from swimming or bathing in tainted pools, spas and other facilities jumped 21 percent to a record high during 2001 and 2002, the government said on Thursday.

Some Supplements Can Damage Eyes

Many herbal remedies and nutritional supplements can damage the eyes, including some alternative therapies that are used by people trying to correct eye problems, new research reports.

U.S. Military Short of Flu Vaccine Too

The U.S. military will give flu shots to troops in Iraq and other key areas overseas and to high-risk family dependents, but thousands of others will go unprotected this year, the Pentagon said on Thursday.

Interferon Injections May Improve Penile Curvature

A course of injections of alpha-interferon (Intron-A) seems to improve penile curvature and sexual satisfaction in men with Peyronie's disease.

Annan Backs Stem Cell Studies, Differing with Bush

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Thursday endorsed scientific research involving the cloning of human embryos, differing with the Bush administration's push for a treaty to ban such studies.

Texas Charges Flu Vaccine Distributors with Gouging

Texas charged two distributors of the scarce influenza vaccine on Thursday with price gouging, saying they hiked the price of the medicine by more than 1,000 percent.

Syphilis Through Oral Sex on the Rise

Many people mistakenly believe that oral sex is safe, unaware that they can readily catch or pass on syphilis in this manner, according to a report put out by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More Nasal Mist Flu Vaccine Coming

A Maryland manufacturer will provide an additional 1 million doses of its FluMist vaccine, making a total of 3 million doses of the nasal spray available, Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said Thursday.

Size May Matter When It Comes to Sperm

Beer bellies may take a toll on men below the belt, not just around it.

Gene Mutation Linked to Illness Clusters

A study of a closely knit family with several members suffering from a rare illness is providing what researchers say may be important clues to the cause of diseases ranging from high blood pressure to high cholesterol and even obesity and insulin resistance.

New Weight-Loss Device to Be Tested

Portland has been chosen as one of three nationwide sites where doctors will begin testing new weight-loss surgery technology designed to reduce weight without dramatic changes to digestive systems.

Bush Signs Youth Suicide Prevention Law

President Bush on Thursday signed into law a bill authorizing $82 million in grants aimed at preventing suicide among young people.

Study: Pill Cuts Cancer, Coronary Risks

Women on the birth control pill had surprisingly lower risks of heart disease and stroke and no increased risk of breast cancer, according to the largest women's health study ever done.

Black Coaltion to Target Drug Policies

For years, many of the nation's leading black legislators, attorneys and social scientists complained that the nation's war on drugs was both ineffective and unfair.

New Hope for Leaky Bladders

An implanted pacemaker that stimulates the sacral nerve and helps regulate the bladder offers a new treatment option for leaky bladders, a common problem of aging.

Antipsychotics Tied to Insulin Problems in Kids

Prescription drugs commonly used to treat children and teens with aggression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia may lead to insulin problems, in turn boosting the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease later in life.

Study: Breast Milk Is Best When Fresh

Breast milk is better than formula, but a new study says it loses some of its best properties once it's refrigerated.

Gene Passed by Mom Tied to Metabolic Syndrome

Genetic mutations passed down from mother to child may increase the chances for metabolic syndrome in adulthood, researchers report.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Health Headlines - October 20

Doctors Advise Chemo Before Rectal Cancer Surgery

Administering chemotherapy and radiation before surgery for rectal cancer may not help patients live longer, but it produces fewer side effects than when it is given afterward, doctors reported on Wednesday.

Vioxx-Type Drugs May Not Have Same Risk

Pain relievers in the same class as Vioxx may not carry the same cardiovascular risk as the blockbuster drug that was withdrawn from the market three weeks ago, a U.S. regulator said on Wednesday.

Caesarean Birth May Raise Allergy Risk in Babies

Being born by Caesarean section may increase a baby's risk of suffering from food allergies and diarrhea in the first year of life, German doctors said on Thursday.

German Study Links Traffic Jams, Heart Attacks

In a study that gives new meaning to the concept of a "killer commute," researchers have concluded that people caught in traffic are three times more likely to suffer a heart attack within the hour than those who aren't tied up on the road.

Coke Vs. Pepsi Test Shows Logos 'Brand' the Brain

Whether people prefer Coke or Pepsi is not just a matter of taste. Knowing which one they are drinking apparently influences their preference, new findings suggest.

Adjustable Desks Help Productivity, Muscle Pain

Working at electrically adjustable desks that enable people to stand for a while at a computer appears to reduce muscle pain and boost productivity, new research shows.

Vitamin D May Help Arthritic Knees Function Better

Boston researchers report a link between low serum levels of vitamin D and decreased knee function in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee.

Nervous System Anomaly Seen in Gulf War Syndrome

Veterans with Gulf War syndrome appear to have subtle damage to the involuntary part of the nervous system, likely caused by low-level exposure to the chemical warfare agent sarin, according to a new study.

Cost, Stigma Are Barriers to Depression Treatment

Some people with depression may refuse treatment because of the associated stigma, but the majority may go untreated simply because it is too expensive, according to the findings of an international study.

Study: Pill Cuts Cancer, Coronary Risks

The same huge federal study that led millions of women to abandon use of hormones after menopause now provides reassurance that another hormone concoction — the birth control pill — is safe.

Man Undergoes Web-Arranged Transplant

A Colorado man underwent surgery for a new kidney Wednesday in what was believed to be the first transplant brokered through a commercial Web site — a transaction that has raised a host of ethical and legal questions.

Flu Shot Crisis Prompts Schools' Concerns

For millions of students and school workers who will miss flu shots this year, the advice is elementary: Wash your hands and stay home if you are sick.

Flu Vaccine in January Could Be Too Late

More flu vaccine is expected to be available for millions of Americans in January, but that could be too late.

Thai Tigers to Be Killed on Bird Flu Fears

Authorities will kill about 40 tigers believed to be sick with bird flu after 30 others died at a private zoo, officials said Wednesday.

Wis. Teen Diagnosed With Human Rabies

A teenager has been diagnosed as having a rare case of human rabies, only the second case in Wisconsin in nearly 50 years, health officials said Wednesday

The Changing Role of America's Pharmacists

Helping customers pick appropriate over-the-counter preparations to soothe minor coughs and colds, bee stings and poison ivy rashes is all in a day's work for Patty Johnston, a registered pharmacist.

Health Tip: A Shingles Source of Chickenpox

Shingles, or herpes zoster, is caused by the chickenpox virus that remains dormant in people who had the virus as children or young adults.

Health Tip: Travelers, Be Wary of Cholera

While cholera has been virtually eliminated by modern sewage- and water-treatment systems in the industrialized world, travelers to parts of Latin America, Africa or Asia need to be cautious.

Betel Nut Tied to Head, Neck Cancers

There's a link between increased betel nut quid nut production and consumption and a substantial rise in the incidence of head and neck cancers among Taiwanese men, says a National Taiwan University Hospital study.

Insulin Drugs Help Treat Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Insulin-sensitizing drugs help both thin and heavy women with polycystic ovary syndrome, says a Virginia Commonwealth University study in the October issue of Fertility and Sterility.

Walking Kids Through Aftermath of Domestic Violence

A technique called emotion coaching can help parents help children surmount the effects of family violence, says a University of Washington study.

New Surgery for Atrial Fibrillation Shows Promise

A minimally invasive surgical procedure to treat atrial fibrillation -- the most common form of heart rhythm abnormality -- works as well as the traditional surgical treatment and takes half the time.

Tamoxifen Doesn't Increase Stroke Risk

Taking tamoxifen to treat breast cancer won't increase your risk of stroke.

Gene Variant Offers Asthma Protection

Researchers have identified a form of a particular gene that, when present, can help protect people from developing asthma.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Health Headlines - October 19

U.S. Squeezes Out a Few Million More Flu Vaccines

U.S. health officials, stung by political attacks after losing 40 percent of the flu shot supply, got a small break on Tuesday as one vaccine supplier announced it had squeezed out an extra 2.6 million doses.

Coffee Tied to Inflammation, Perhaps Heart Disease

Consuming moderate-to-high amounts of coffee is associated with increased levels of several inflammatory markers, a finding that could help explain previous reports linking the beverage to heart disease.

Poor, Uninsured Don't Fill Emergency Rooms

A new study on emergency rooms disputes the common wisdom that the poor and uninsured are filling them up.

Sneakers Help Protect Elderly from Falls

When it comes to choosing fall-proof footwear, elderly people should wear athletic shoes whenever possible, and avoid going barefoot, new research suggests.

No Benefit Seen for Stopping Epidural During Labor

Stopping epidural medications during the last stages of labor does not improve pregnancy outcomes, but it does markedly increase pain, results of a review study suggest.

Testosterone Shut-Off Doesn't Affect Men's Mood

Testosterone levels in men decline with age, and this could have an effect on their mental well-being. However, experiments in healthy young men indicate that artificially shutting down androgens -- male hormones -- doesn't have much effect on their mood.

Gene Therapy for Erectile Dysfunction on Horizon

The first three patients participating in an early test of a "revolutionary" human gene therapy for erectile dysfunction have not developed any treatment-related side effects, according to preliminary results.

Acupuncture, Herbs Ease Hay Fever

Regular sessions of acupuncture and daily doses of Chinese herbal medicine may help ease the burden of seasonal allergies, new research indicates.

Nearly 1.7 Million U.S. Vets Lack Insurance

Nearly 1.7 million U.S. veterans had no health care coverage in 2003 -- no access to private insurance, to Medicare or Medicaid or to the Veterans Affairs health program, health care advocates said on Tuesday.

Testosterone Patch Hailed As Female Viagra

Menopausal women had more sex and were happier about it when using an experimental hormone patch hailed by some as a possible female equivalent of Viagra, doctors reported Tuesday.

Doctors OK Web-Arranged Organ Transplant

Doctors who postponed a kidney transplant between two men who met through a private organ donation Web site decided Tuesday to allow the operation to proceed, despite legal and ethical concerns about the surgery.

Milk Duct Test May Not Detect Cancer

Analyzing cells from milk ducts doesn't reliably detect breast cancer, researchers reported Tuesday — dashing hopes that the experimental technique could diagnose high-risk women sooner.

Overweight People Struggle to Exercise

Tom Burns realized he was woefully out of shape after he ran a block and a half around his neighborhood and felt "every bone, muscle and joint in my body was killing me."

Some Prison Inmates Will Get Flu Shots

Norman Cooper has been unable to find a flu shot for his wife who takes daily oxygen treatments for asthma, emphysema and bronchitis. So he was incensed to learn that some inmates in the state prison 30 miles down the road were getting flu shots.

Health Tip: Get Enough Riboflavin

Riboflavin is important to maintaining a healthy metabolism -- the ability to convert proteins, fats, carbohydrates and alcohol to a form of energy that the body can use.

Health Tip: Find the Hidden Sugar

Lots of people have a reason to avoid sugars -- for the simple fear of gaining weight or because sweets could be deadly among those who have diabetes.

Toothpaste Ingredient Guards Against Skin Cancer

A common antibacterial and antifungal ingredient in mouthwashes and toothpaste also can also guard against skin cancer.

Hepatitis C Ups Risk of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

People infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) are six times as likely to develop non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) than people who aren't infected with HCV.

Way to Treat Rare Genetic Disease Found

Scientists at UCLA have developed a way to fix one of the genetic mutations that causes a life-shortening disorder called ataxia telangiectasia, a new study says.

Experimental Drug Could Prevent Bone Loss

An experimental drug injected twice a year may prevent bone loss in postmenopausal women with low bone density, claims a new study funded by the drug's maker.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging Better For Stroke Diagnosis

In the critical hours after a stroke, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) pictures of the brain give doctors more valuable information than computerized tomography (CT) scans do, a study says.

New 'Superaspirin' Prevents Colon Cancer in Mice

An aspirin that is "thousands of times more powerful" than traditional forms of the drug but has no gastrointestinal side effects looks promising in animal studies, researchers say.

Apple Skins Might Keep Colon Cancer Away

An apple skin a day could keep colon cancer away, and a common gout drug might also help, two new studies claim.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Health Headlines - October 18

Temporary Artificial Heart Wins U.S. Approval

The first artificial heart won U.S. approval Monday for use as a temporary measure to keep alive patients on the verge of death while they wait for live organs to become available for transplants.

Gulf War Illness May Never Be Explained

Veterans of the Gulf War suffer more health problems than other members of the military but the causes of the mysterious array of symptoms may never be known, a leading British scientist said on Monday.

Merck Evaluating Why Vioxx Raises Risk to Heart

Merck & Co Inc. is evaluating why its withdrawn painkiller Vioxx raises the chance of heart attack and stroke, but it has not found a mechanism of action, a company official said on Monday.

Pfizer to Test Heart Safety of Celebrex

Pfizer Inc. on Monday said a major new trial will test whether its popular Celebrex arthritis drug increases the risk of heart attacks, as seen with Merck and Co.'s recalled Vioxx pill.

Flu Shot Shortage Prompts Political Debate

Emergency room doctors warned of a "perfect storm" in hospitals due to a flu vaccine crisis on Monday, and politicians watched anxious Americans line up for shots and argued about whose fault it was.

Acupuncture Helps Knee Pain, Study Finds

Acupuncture can help boost the power of drugs in reducing the pain suffered by patients with arthritis in their knees, researchers report.

UK Develops Cheap Child Vaccine for World's Poor

British scientists have developed a new way of storing childhood vaccines without refrigeration in a move that could slash costs and increase access to life-savings shots in poor countries.

IVF Success Varies Greatly by Race
Black and Asian women have much lower rates of success with assisted reproductive techniques such as in vitro fertilization than other racial groups, researchers reported at the annual meeting of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine.

Study Finds No Drug Resistance in Sinus Treatments

Patients with chronic sinus infections do not appear to develop resistance to antibiotics taken for the condition if the drugs are closely matched to attack the bacteria involved, a study said on Monday.

Drug Combo Shown to Halt Arthritis Damage to Joints

Combining new biologic drugs with an older treatment can stop joint damage in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, according to new research.

Seniors Urged to Relax Over Flu Vaccine

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said Monday that enough flu vaccine will be available for most people who need it and told seniors to stop standing in long lines to get a shot.

Elderly Urged to Get Pneumonia Vaccine

The flu-shot shortage makes it more imperative for elderly Americans to get a second, often overlooked vaccine that protects against a type of pneumonia germ that's a common complication of influenza.

Advances May Help Preserve Fertility

Doctors are reporting two advances that may give women with cancer safer ways to preserve their ability to have children without compromising their chances of beating the disease.

AFL-CIO Sues Over Ad Campaign for Nexium

The AFL-CIO joined senior citizens groups Monday in suing the makers of the heartburn drug Nexium, alleging that pharmaceutical maker AstraZeneca waged a massive and misleading campaign for the purple pill.

How Dry I Am

As people age, their glands tend to produce less saliva, causing dry mouth.

Avoid Hot Tub Rash

Dermatitis is a skin infection that's often acquired from contaminated swimming pools, spas or hot tubs. The skin may become itchy and progress to a blistery, tender red rash, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

Planned Changes to AIDS Prevention Funds Draw Fire

An overhaul of federal guidelines for HIV prevention funding is drawing fire from AIDS activists, who fear that new regulations will water down effective programs that target gay men and minority groups.

Study to Test Imaging Method for Alzheimer's

The National Institute on Aging has launched a landmark study aimed at finding a way to use imaging technology to reduce the time and cost of clinical trials for Alzheimer's disease medications.

New Treatment for Lupus Found

Mayo Clinic researchers have found an effective treatment for non-renal lupus that produces minimal side effects.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Health Headlines - October 17

Pfizer to Fund Study of Celebrex as Heart Aid

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. will announce plans for a large-scale clinical trial of the ability of blockbuster drug Celebrex to prevent heart attacks and strokes in patients with cardiovascular disease, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.

Lilly Antidepressant Effective in Treating Pain
Eli Lilly and Co.'s new antidepressant Cymbalta was shown in a small clinical trial to be effective in reducing pain in women suffering from fibromyalgia, a chronic disorder that causes widespread pain in the muscles and soft tissues, researchers said.

Bristol-Myers Arthritis Drug Promising in Trial

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. said on Sunday its experimental drug for rheumatoid arthritis showed highly promising results in two late-stage clinical trials.

Merck's Arcoxia Appears Safe Medium Term

Drug firm Merck & Co. will present data this week showing that an experimental arthritis drug, Arcoxia, a treatment in the same class as its recently withdrawn Vioxx, showed no significant difference in the number of serious side effects than those treated with a common medicine called diclofenac.

UN Urged to Ignore Bush Plea for Human Cloning Ban

Britain's national academy of science urged the United Nations on Monday to ignore a call by President Bush to ban all forms of human cloning.

Pilates Promoter Praises Exercise

She's often seen in a ubiquitous infomercial peddling Pilates videos, but Mari Winsor's lean and sinewy body may be the best walking advertisement of the exercise phenomenon.

Kerry Talks Stem Cells in Radio Address

Sen. John Kerry said he would reverse President Bush's restrictions on embryonic stem cell research as he remembered the late actor Christopher Reeve, a quadriplegic, as a hero and a friend in the Democrats' radio address Sunday.

Jury Still Out on Testosterone Therapy

In older men, flagging sexual prowess, decreased muscle mass, a tendency to pack on pounds, and a general lack of energy may all point to what some call "male menopause."

The Need for Light in Darker Seasons

The shorter days of fall and winter mean that millions of Americans with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) need to find ways to get enough light to fight off symptoms of depression.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Health Headlines - October 16

New Hope in the Fight Against Breast Cancer

Mammograms have become a rite of passage for 40-year-old American women, and a compulsory exercise for those over 40.

Binge Drinking May Be Bad for the Blood

Moderate alcohol use has been shown to be healthier for the heart than abstinence or heavy drinking, but consuming large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time has been linked to higher death rates from all causes, including cardiovascular ones.

Malaria Vaccine Success Hailed as Breakthrough

It's been a long, tough fight, but researchers say results of a major malaria vaccine trial mean science may be winning the war against a disease that claims millions of lives each year.

Fertility Concerns Impact Breast Cancer Therapy

Concerns about infertility resulting from breast cancer therapy influenced treatment decisions in nearly one-third of young patients, according to a study published in the Oct. 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Thousands Line Up for Dwindling Flu Shots

Seventy-year-old Homer Fink spent eight hours sitting next to a supermarket Halloween display for a flu shot that he wasn't able to get at five other places.

U.S. to Quit Inspecting Tobacco

Legislation just passed by Congress abolishes the requirement that the government inspect imported tobacco to ensure it is not laced with chemicals and pesticides banned in the United States but permitted elsewhere.

Experts: Fewer Take Statins Than Should

Perhaps no medicine today is so widely regarded as a wonder drug as the cholesterol-lowering statin. From Zocor to Lipitor to Pravachol, statins are top sellers in a country where half of American adults have high cholesterol.

The Truth About Colds and Flu

Even though they're common, there are still many misconceptions about colds and flu.

New York-Presbyterian Hospital offers some information to help you sort through the facts and fictions of colds and flu.

To begin, colds and flu are different. A cold is usually an upper respiratory tract infection. Symptoms include a sore throat, head congestion, sinus pain, and low-grade fever. Flu symptoms usually include a higher fever, a sore throat, cough and body aches.

A cold usually lasts two to three days while a flu can last as long as a week. Flu can lead to more serious health complications, especially in the elderly and people with asthma.

Now, here are some facts about colds and flu:

The best way to prevent a cold is to wash your hands and to avoid people with colds.

You can't catch a cold by staying outside in the cold too long. You catch a cold by touching something that's been touched by someone infected with a cold or by breathing in moisture that's been coughed out by someone with a cold. People get colds more often in the winter because they spend more time indoors in contact with one another.

Antibiotics cannot cure a cold or flu, which are caused by viruses. The best way to defend against the flu is to get a flu shot. There is no vaccine against the common cold.

If you have the flu, don't go to work. If you go to work, you'll expose your colleagues to flu infection. Stay home where you can rest and recover.

Flu shots cannot give you the flu. They may cause mild flu-like symptoms, but this is rare.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Health Headlines - October 15

No Chance of Chiron Vaccine, U.S. Says

None of Chiron Corp.'s (CHIR.O) flu vaccine made at a British plant is safe, which means the U.S. flu vaccine supply will be half of what was expected, U.S. health officials said on Friday.

Calif. Woman Dies After Wait for Flu Shot

A 79-year-old woman who stood in line outside a supermarket for more than five hours waiting for a flu shot collapsed and later died, the woman's daughter said.

Pfizer Says Bextra, Heart Problems Linked

Pfizer Inc. on Friday said two small clinical trials showed heart bypass surgery patients taking Bextra, an anti-inflammatory in the same class as the recently withdrawn drug Vioxx, had a higher risk of stroke and heart attack.

Support Group May Help Women with 'Cancer Genes'

Professionally led support groups may ease anxiety and depression in women who carry gene mutations linked to breast and ovarian cancers, a new study suggests.

FDA Orders Strong Antidepressant Warnings

All antidepressants must carry a "black box" warning, the government's strongest safety alert, linking the drugs to increased suicidal thoughts and behavior among children and teens taking them, the Food and Drug Administration said Friday.

Urinary Incontinence Can Run in the Family

The risk of urinary incontinence appears to be one of the things mothers can pass on to their daughters, according to new findings released Friday.

Difficult Asthma Can Often Be Well Controlled

Most people with uncontrolled asthma can achieve good control over their disease using a combination of the inhaled steroid fluticasone and the long-acting beta-2-agonist salmeterol, according to a study supported by GlaxoSmithKline R&D Limited.

Drug Counters Sleepiness from Antidepressants

Some people taking the newer class of antidepressants experience excessive sleepiness and fatigue, but this can be prevented with a drug that's used to treat narcolepsy, according to a new report.

Prostate Drug Might Cut Cancer Risk

Men who take Avodart (dutasteride) to treat an enlarged prostate apparently have a reduced risk for developing prostate cancer, a new study indicates.

Arthritis Drug Lumiracoxib Has Low Ulcer Risk

Compared with ibuprofen, the use of the lumiracoxib by patients with osteoarthritis is associated with a lower risk of gastric ulcers. The risk is similar to that seen with celecoxib (Celebrex), another COX-2 inhibitor.

Singapore Hit by Rare Cholera Outbreak

Singapore was investigating on Friday a rare cluster of cholera cases after eight people contracted the illness in the eastern part of the city-state.

Memo Warned About Medicare Cards

A day before the first presidential debate, the government's health policy watchdog raised concerns that early mailings to seniors about the new Medicare prescription discount cards championed by President Bush were confusing or inadequate.

Ovarian Transplant Recipient Pregnant

Stephanie Yarber had her first bout of morning sickness Friday, but she's not complaining. The nausea only confirmed what she had dreamed would happen some day. The Alabama woman, who came to St. Louis in April to have the first known ovary transplant in this country, is pregnant. Five weeks and four days to be precise.

Herbal Cholesterol Drug Bad Mix for Many Prescription Meds

The cholesterol-lowering herbal drug gugulipid breaks down about 60 percent of prescription drugs, including some used to fight AIDS and cancer, says a University of Kansas study.

Laser Zaps Sun Damage

A new laser treatment that can be used to treat the wrinkles and discoloration of sun-damaged skin has been developed by researchers at the Wellman Laboratories of Massachusetts General Hospital.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Health Headlines - October 14

Mobile Phones Increase Tumor Risk, Study Says

Ten or more years of mobile phone use increases the risk of developing acoustic neuroma, a benign tumor on the auditory nerve, according to a study released on Wednesday by Sweden's Karolinska Institute.

Study Sees Link Between Breast Cancer, Adolescence

A study of more than 117,000 Danish women provides the most convincing evidence yet of a link between a girl's growth rate and her risk of developing breast cancer later in life, researchers said on Wednesday.

New Study Looks Into Brains of Alzheimer Patients

A new study will look at the brains of Alzheimer's patients to see if various scans can chart the disease and if new drugs can slow it down, doctors said on Wednesday.

Harvard Seeks Permission to Clone Human Embryos

Harvard University researchers said on Wednesday they were seeking permission to use cloning technology to make human stem cells.

U.S. Making Flu Shots Priority for Elderly

Health officials are scurrying to secure flu vaccines so the elderly, who are most vulnerable to influenza, have first access to shots after the nation's supply was cut in half.

Prices Skyrocket on Scarce Flu Shots

Caught off-guard by a last-minute flu vaccine shortage, hospitals and health officials are grappling with a side-effect perhaps more virulent than the bug itself: price gouging.

Boy Receives Newly Developed Heart Pump

A 14-year-old boy who became only the second child to receive a newly developed miniature heart pump smiled shyly Wednesday as he was introduced at a news conference attended by his doctors and inventors of the device.

Should I Worry About Feeling Blue?

Everyone has a short stint of the blues now and then. But if you feel "down in the dumps" or hopeless for weeks at a time, this may indicate depression, a serious medical illness.

Anti-inflammatory Creams Ease Arthritis in Knee

Pain and stiffness caused by arthritis in the knee can be relieved through the use of topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Laughter Breaks Ice During Psychotherapy

Therapists and their patients can develop a stronger relationship by sharing a laugh, a new study suggests.

U.N. Health Body Warns Against 'Kitchen Killer'

Some 1.6 million people, mainly small children, die each year from a "kitchen killer" -- disease brought on by inhaling smoke from cooking stoves and indoor fires, the World Health Organization said.

U.S. Asks States to Probe Flu Vaccine Pricing

U.S. health officials urged states on Thursday to investigate reports of price gouging by companies distributing scarce supplies of influenza vaccine and to prosecute offenders.

Study Confirms Ephedrine Diet Supplements Can Kill

A study in dogs confirms that ephedrine weight loss supplements can kill, U.S. researchers said on Thursday, supporting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's action to ban them.

Half of Older Americans Face Bone Loss

Half of Americans older than 50 will be at risk of fractures from too-thin bones by 2020, the surgeon general warned Thursday, urging people to get more calcium, vitamin D and exercise to avoid crippling osteoporosis.

Personality Disorders Change Over Time

Experts have long believed that personality disorders -- types of mental illness in which people have trouble functioning with others -- were relatively inflexible, and endured throughout a person's life.

Testosterone Rises with Treatment for ED

Men who use Viagra or Cialis for erectile dysfunction (ED) have increases in levels of testosterone, Italian researchers report.

New Technique Treats Heart Defect in Babies

Cardiac surgeons at the University of Chicago have developed a technique for treating a severe congenital heart malformation that is less invasive than open heart surgery.

Obesity Surgery Can Lead to Nerve Damage

Operations to treat obesity such as stomach-stapling may work a little too well, causing some patients to develop nerve damage -- a symptom of malnutrition, doctors warned Thursday.

Blood Glucose Spikes Impair Mental Function

People with type 2 diabetes experience a decline in mental function and mood during episodes of hyperglycemia -- an excessive rise in blood glucose -- according to new study findings.

Drug Protects Monkeys from AIDS in Experiment

A souped-up version of a naturally occurring immune system protein can protect female monkeys from the AIDS virus, scientists reported on Thursday in a finding they say may lead to a new way to prevent infection in people.

Malaria Vaccine Has Promising Test Results

Scientists have made important progress in the quest for a malaria vaccine, showing for the first time that childhood shots can prevent nearly one-third of cases and slash the risk of severe, life-threatening attacks by almost two-thirds.

Gel May Protect Women From HIV

A chemical specially designed to thwart how the AIDS virus invades during sex offers scientists a new lead in the long quest for a vaginal gel that women could apply to protect themselves when men don't use a condom.

Panel Mulls Transfusion-Related Infection

Federal health advisers unanimously agreed Thursday that current safeguards on blood donations in the United States are sufficient despite the disclosure that a second British resident most likely acquired mad cow disease through a tainted transfusion.

Americans Buy Cheaper Medicines in Canada

A 68-year-old Pennsylvania woman said Thursday that she happily took a 600-mile train ride to Toronto to buy medicine that would save her thousands of dollars if compared to prices in the United States.

420-Pound Teen to Get Free Gastric Bypass

Two doctors and a hospital offered a free gastric bypass to a 420-pound teenager after another medical center canceled the procedure because his insurance would not pay for it.

FDA Approves Use of Chip in Patients

Privacy advocates are concerned that an implantable microchip designed to help doctors tap into a patient's medical records could undermine confidentiality or could even be used to track the patient's movements.

New Technology Clears Clogged Arteries

A new technique that uses infrared light and radiofrequency energy to clear blocked arteries may reduce the number of patients who need bypass surgery, says a Dutch study in the October issue of the journal Cardiovasc...

Sinus Infections Crop Up in Autumn

Not only is fall the start of the cold and flu season, it's also the time of year when sinus infections become more common.

Epilepsy Drug Linked to Developmental Delays in Offspring

The epilepsy drug sodium valproate has been linked to children born with developmental delays and lower IQs, says research published in the current issue of the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.

Study Suggests How Obesity Causes Diabetes

Scientists know that obesity is a key player in the development of type 2 diabetes, but exactly how excess weight causes the disease isn't clear.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Health Headlines - October 13

New Treatment for Aortic Aneurysm Triggers Debate

A cutting-edge way of repairing dangerously enlarged blood vessels in the belly is better than the traditional treatment, Dutch doctors said on Wednesday, but a U.S. doctor immediately called the finding premature and possibly wrong.

Congress, SEC Look at Chiron Flu Suspension

The U.S. Congress began investigating on Wednesday whether the U.S. Food and Drug Administration overlooked problems at a British plant that led to the withdrawal of half the country's flu vaccine supply.

Scientists Find Protein That May Be Key to Hearing

A protein in the ear that converts sound into nerve impulses that are sent to the brain could be the long-sought key to understanding hearing and deafness, scientists said on Wednesday.

FDA: Chip Implant Can Be Used to Get Health Records

A computer chip that is implanted under the skin won U.S. approval on Wednesday for use in helping doctors quickly access a patient's medical history.

Low Birth Weight Affects IQ Into Teen Years

The effects of low birth weight on academic achievement persist well into adolescence, even among young people from relatively affluent backgrounds, a new study shows.

Early Growth Patterns Influence Breast Cancer Risk

Confirming previous research, the results of a population-based Danish study show that a high birth weight is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer later in life.

Software Helps Schools Stock Better Snacks

A new computer program rates snack foods according to their nutritional components, enabling kids to make healthier choices from school vending machines, according to researchers.

SEC Opens Informal Probe of Chiron

Chiron Corp., forced to halt shipment on its flu vaccine because of manufacturing woes at its plant in England, is the subject of an informal civil investigation by U.S. regulators, the company said on Wednesday.

Gene Therapy for Eyes Seen Feasible

In animal experiments, researchers have achieved permanent transfer of a functioning gene to targeted tissues in the eye, in what they say is the first step toward gene therapy for glaucoma.

Scientists, Patients Fight UN Stem Cell Study Ban

A coalition of 125 scientific and patients' groups urged the United Nations on Wednesday to reject a global ban on stem cell research sought by the Bush administration and more than 50 other countries.

Survey: U.S. Finally Holds Line on Weight

Americans are more calorie-conscious and holding the line on weight gain after years of expanding waistlines, according to a market survey released Wednesday, but nutrition experts were wary of the findings.

CDC Flu Plan Aims to Guard Those at Risk

The government moved Tuesday to direct scarce remaining flu shots straight to pediatricians, nursing homes and other places that care for the patients who need them most.

Congress Passes Bill Allowing Inhalers

Schools would be encouraged to allow asthmatic schoolchildren to carry and administer their own medication under a bill passed by Congress and sent to the President for his signature.

Common Heart Drugs May Slow Alzheimer's

Standard blood pressure-lowering medications already used by millions of patients may also slow the mental decline seen in Alzheimer's disease, a small study suggests.

Differences in Autism Detailed

Autistic boys with language impairment have brain structures different from autistic boys with normal language abilities, researchers have found.

Therapy Slows Down Multiple Sclerosis

A therapy designed to boost the body's immune system could reduce the risk of a second attack of symptoms related to multiple sclerosis, according to an article in the October issue of The Archives of Neurology.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Breast Cancer Awareness

by Meredy - Nurse Tips Guru

Breast cancer rates are higher now than they have ever been with approximately 150,000 new cases and over 40,000 deaths annually. 99% of people who develop breast cancer are women. Most women with breast cancer range in age from 30 to 80. In fact, the majority of breast cancer cases -- about 80% -- occur in women age 50 and up.

A woman`s risk increases as she ages. At age 30, your risk of getting breast cancer is only one in 5,900. By age 40, the number rises to one in 1,200. By age 50, your odds are one in 590. And women who live to age 95 have a one in eight chance of developing the disease.

One of the most important things a woman can do for health is to perform a monthly breast self-examination [BSE]. You`ll find information on how to properly perform a BSE below.


Breast Self Examination (BSE) should be done every month.

When to do BSE:
* If you still menstruate (have your period) the best time is two or three days after your period ends. These are the days when your breasts are least likely to be tender or swollen.
* If you no longer menstruate, pick the same day of every month. It will be easy to remember.
* If you take hormones, check with your doctor about the best time for your BSE.

Facing a mirror

Standing before a mirror to look for asymmetry in breast size, nipple inversion, bulging, or dimpling is the preferred method to maximize visualization. Note any skin or nipple changes, such as a hard knot or nipple discharge.

Inspect breasts in the following 4 steps:
* Arms at sides
* Arms overhead
* Hands on hips - Press firmly to flex chest muscles.
* Bending forward

Lying down

Right breast
* Place a pillow under your right shoulder.
* Put your right hand under your head.
* Check the entire breast area with the finger pads of your left hand.
* Use small circles and follow an up-and-down pattern.
* Use light, medium, and firm pressure over each area of the breast.
* Feel the breast with the surfaces of the second, third, and fourth fingers, moving systematically and using small, circular motions from the nipple to the outer margins.
* Gently squeeze the nipple for any discharge.

Left breast
* Repeat these steps on your left breast using your right hand.

In the shower

Breast self-examination (BSE) can easily be performed during bathing or showering, because some women discover breast masses when their skin is moist.
* Raise your right arm.
* With soapy hands and fingers flat, check your right breast.
* Use the same small circles and up-and-down pattern described earlier.
* Repeat on the left breast.

For further information on breast cancer, visit The National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations [NABCO] at

NABCO is the leading non-profit information and education resource on breast cancer and a network of nearly 400 member organizations, agencies and organizations in the United States breast cancer community that deliver detection, diagnosis, treatment, support and care.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Experts: Good Hygiene Can Ward Off Flu

The wisdom mothers have been dispensing for ages — wash your hands, eat your vegetables, go to bed earlier — turns out to be great advice for avoiding the flu.

Doctors and nutritionists say careful hygiene, a balanced diet and plenty of rest and fluids can go a long way toward keeping people healthy during the influenza season, especially considering this year's vaccine shortage.

"Taking care of yourself from a health standpoint is probably the best thing you can do," said Dr. R. Michael Gallagher, a family physician and dean of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey's School of Osteopathic Medicine.

"People who are run down, they're overworked, not getting proper rest or proper nutrition, these people increase their risk" of illness, he said.

Besides getting enough sleep — at least seven hours a night for adults and more for youngsters — managing stress is important, Gallagher said, because too much can weaken one's immune system.

Frequent hand-washing, using soap and hot water and rubbing vigorously for about half a minute, also is crucial.

"What you want to do it is try to interrupt transmission of disease with the kinds of things our mothers taught us," said Dr. Mitchell Cohen of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, because germs on your hand could infect you, he said. And, if you do get the flu, stay home from work or school so you don't infect others.

The United States will get only half its expected supply of flu vaccine this year because British health authorities suspended the license of vaccine producer Chiron Corp. at the company's Liverpool, England, factory because of contamination.

Cohen said the CDC is planning two public education campaigns, first to explain the shortage and who should or shouldn't get vaccinated, and second to teach people how to protect themselves through hygiene and "cough etiquette."

The old advice was to cough or sneeze into your hands, then wash them, but children and many adults don't wash up immediately. That means they can spread the flu virus or other germs via a handshake or touching a doorknob, computer keyboard or other surface, where those germs can live for hours. Now doctors are urging that, if a tissue isn't at hand, people — especially children — should sneeze into their sleeve.

"Doctors have been emphasizing this in the last several years," said Dr. Ron Davis, an American Medical Association trustee and preventive medicine specialist.

Davis said hand sanitizers are a good option when soap and water aren't available, but anti-bacterial soaps offer little benefit.

Another new piece of advice is to stop refilling the bottles of water so many of us carry.

The bottles accumulate germs and shouldn't be reused or shared, said American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Gail Frank, a professor of nutrition at California State University-Long Beach. But don't skip the water, because eight glasses of fluid a day is essential to health, aiding in almost every process in the body.

People, especially the elderly and those in poor health, also should avoid crowds and people who are coughing or sneezing, said Dr. Michele Bachhuber, an internal medicine specialist at Marshfield Clinic in Marshfield, Wis.

"Regular exercise helps boost our immune system, so that's important, too," she said.

Then there's the role of diet. Frank said it's crucial to eat a healthy and substantial breakfast, about one-fourth of the day's calories.

Variety in the diet is important, but people should emphasize plant foods, including whole grains and at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, said Elisa Zied, another American Dietetic Association spokeswoman and a registered dietitian in New York.

She said people can help keep their immune system strong by eating foods rich in vitamins A, C and E: milk, eggs and fish oil; citrus fruits, melons and red peppers; and nuts, spinach, peanut butter and corn oil.

Moms, doctors and health officials have been dispensing most of this advice for decades, but many people clearly forget or ignore it.

"We always worry about the healthy behavior fading over time as the crisis subsides, so we have to keep reminding people about the benefits of good hygiene and vaccination and taking care of themselves," said Davis, of the AMA. "I expect that people will listen more carefully ... because many people are going to have a hard time getting their flu shot."

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Demand for flu vaccine takes off

Demand for flu vaccine escalated Thursday, and doctors' concerns for their high-risk patients grew as the reality of the flu vaccine shortage began to sink in.

Millions of Americans who are over 65 or have chronic health problems might not be able to find a flu shot this year, placing them at risk of serious flu complications, doctors say. Health officials can't predict how severe the flu season will be, but the main flu strain expected this year is known to cause high rates of hospitalization and death, raising fears that this season could be even worse than usual. On average, flu kills 36,000 people a year and hospitalizes 200,000.

On Tuesday, Chiron Corp., which had been expected to ship about 48 million doses from its plant in Liverpool, England, had its license suspended through the flu season by British regulators because of contamination. That announcement cut the U.S. supply by half: Aventis Pasteur expects to produce 55.4 million doses, and MedImmune will make 1.5 million doses of its nasal spray vaccine.

The effects are being felt:

• Maxim Health Systems, a Columbia, Md., company that operates flu clinics in stores across the country, received less than half of the more than 2 million doses it ordered from Aventis. The rest is being reallocated by Aventis, company spokesman Steve Wright said. Maxim has canceled all 7,000 to 10,000 planned workplace flu shot campaigns and will continue to run public clinics in stores as long as supplies last.

• The National Association of County and City Health Officials, NACCHO, reports that except for Los Angeles County, California health agencies ordered from Chiron and have no vaccine. Los Angeles County has received 20,800 doses of the 150,000 that it ordered from Aventis but expects to receive only 45,000.

• NACCHO surveyed 150 local health departments and found that half had no flu vaccine and 85% already had canceled or delayed flu clinics. Those that did receive vaccine got only 25% to 50% of what they ordered.

• InterFit Health Services, one of the largest providers of vaccinations, including through flu clinics at Safeway grocery stores, expects to be out of vaccine by Saturday.

Much of the 30 million doses of Aventis-Pasteur vaccine that have been shipped went to bulk purchasers, including hospitals, health departments and agencies that do mass vaccine clinics in retail stores, said Michael Fleming, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. "Our patients find it hard to understand why Kroger's has flu vaccine and their doctors don't," he said.

"There's a great deal of concern, particularly among our high-risk patients," Fleming said. "They want to know what to do, and it's hard to tell them because we don't know."

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Flu Facts

The viruses that cause influenza change rapidly, making different strains coexist on the planet at any given time. Influenza vaccines are developed each year to protect people from the three strains expected to be most prevalent.


Since the immunity provided by the vaccine wanes after several months, it is given at the beginning of the "flu season"--usually late October or early November in the U.S. People traveling to other countries should be aware that influenza occurs throughout the year in tropical countries and that the "flu season" for temperate countries in the Southern Hemisphere is April to September.

U.S. flu vaccine sliced in half

Nearly half the USA's expected supply of flu vaccine won't be delivered because British health authorities suspended Chiron Corp.'s (CHIR) license to make it, company officials said Tuesday.

The announcement, which caught U.S. health officials by surprise and came roughly a month before flu season starts, raises concern about whether there will be enough vaccine to protect children, older Americans and others who are at greatest risk.

Healthy people should "forgo vaccination at this time" to allow people at high risk of flu complications and death to be immunized first, said Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health officials are asking doctors to prioritize patients, giving vaccine first to babies ages 6 months to 23 months; people 65 and older; anyone with chronic health problems, such as heart or lung disease; and pregnant women. Health care workers and people in close contact with anyone in the high-risk groups also should be vaccinated.

Gerberding said Aventis Pasteur, the only other major maker of flu shots, expects to meet its production goal of 54 million doses, and health officials are working to assure that it is evenly distributed.

"We don't want to create a rush for vaccine," Gerberding said. "Take a deep breath. This is not an emergency. We'll work through this as we have with other shortages in the past."

Only last week Chiron said it planned to begin shipping about 48 million doses of vaccine to the USA from its Liverpool plant this month. But on Tuesday, British regulators suspended for three months the release of vaccine. In August, Chiron announced that it would delay delivering vaccine because some lots did not meet sterility requirements.

"This is a much bigger hit, and it's going to cause serious problems," said Martin Blaser, chairman of medicine at New York University and president-elect of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Very little extra vaccine is made each year.

"One of the problems is we don't have a national policy" on vaccine production, Blaser said. "It's just based on whether companies want to be in or not."

In an average year, flu kills 36,000 people in the USA and causes more than 200,000 hospitalizations. The season typically runs from November through March.

Officials have said the flu strain expected this season, the same one that circulated last year, is known to cause more hospitalizations than other strains. Add to that a vaccine shortage, and Blaser predicted that "this will be a worse flu year than usual."

Tommy Thompson, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said U.S. scientists would visit the Chiron plant and meet with U.K. regulators to evaluate the British report and "see what other recommendations can be made."