Category: Health

Testosterone gel shows no benefit for older men’s memories

BY LINDSEY TANNER – AP MEDICAL WRITER CHICAGO (AP) — Testosterone treatment did not improve older men’s memory or mental function in the latest results from landmark government research that challenges the anti-aging claims of popular supplements. While testosterone use for one year appeared to strengthen bones and reduce anemia, it also showed signs of worsening artery disease and questions remain about other potential risks. The researchers said more studies are needed to determine long-term effects – the kind of research the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has already asked supplement makers to conduct. "I don’t think anybody would...

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Altering heredity to fight disease?

WASHINGTON (AP) — Don’t expect designer babies any time soon – but a major new ethics report leaves open the possibility of one day altering human heredity to fight genetic diseases, with stringent oversight, using new tools that precisely edit genes inside living cells. What’s called genome editing already is transforming biological research, and being used to develop treatments for patients struggling with a range of diseases. The science is nowhere near ready for what would be a huge next step – altering sperm, eggs or embryos so that babies don’t inherit a disease that runs in the family,...

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Games, crafts, other activities may safeguard aging brain

CHICAGO (AP) — Even in your 70s and beyond, simple activities including web-surfing, playing bridge and socializing can stave off mental decline, new research says. Benefits were greatest in computer users and in those without a gene variation linked with Alzheimer’s disease. But even among seniors with that trait, mental decline that sometimes precedes dementia was less common among those who engaged in mind-stimulating activities. The results don’t apply to costly, computer-based games that purport to keep the brain sharp – those were not studied. The benefits were found from activities that many seniors have access to. "They don’t...

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New prescription: Doctor offices that look like Apple stores

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — After a relative suffered a heart attack a few years ago, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Adrian Aoun got an unsettling look at a health-care system that he diagnosed as an inefficient and outdated mess. Now he believes he has a remedy. It’s called Forward, a health-management service that charges a $149 per month – roughly $1,800 a year – to tend to all of its patients’ primary-care needs. And not just with attentive doctoring, either; Forward plans to deploy body scanners, sensors, giant touch-screen monitors, infrared devices and other high-tech gizmos that could make a doctor’s...

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It’s all good: Any exercise cuts risk of death, study finds

Weekend warriors, take a victory lap. People who pack their workouts into one or two sessions a week lower their risk of dying over roughly the next decade nearly as much as people who exercise more often, new research suggests. Even people who get less exercise than recommended have less risk than folks who don’t break a sweat at all. "If someone is completely inactive, the best thing they can do is even getting out and taking a walk," said Hannah Arem, a health researcher at George Washington University. For people who think they don’t have enough time for...

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Texas to launch massive youth-athlete concussion study

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — This week, Texas will launch what state officials say is the nation’s largest effort to track brain injuries among young athletes. The University Interscholastic League, Texas’ governing body for public high school sports, is partnering with the O’Donnell Brain Institute at UT Southwestern Medical Center for the project, from which they hope to gauge whether rules or equipment changes are improving player safety and what more can be done to protect athletes. A state as large as Texas, which has more than 800,000 public high school athletes, would be a key step in developing a...

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A grim tally soars: More than 50,000 overdose deaths in US

NEW YORK (AP) — More than 50,000 Americans died from drug overdoses last year, the most ever. The disastrous tally has been pushed to new heights by soaring abuse of heroin and prescription painkillers, a class of drugs known as opioids. Heroin deaths rose 23 percent in one year, to 12,989, slightly higher than the number of gun homicides, according to government data released Thursday. Deaths from synthetic opioids, including illicit fentanyl, rose 73 percent to 9,580. And prescription painkillers took the highest toll, but posted the smallest increase. Abuse of drugs like Oxycontin and Vicodin killed 17,536, an...

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House OKs bill bolstering medical research, drug approvals

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House easily approved a sweeping biomedical bill Wednesday that would help drug and medical device companies win swifter government approval of their products, boost disease research and drug-abuse spending and revamp federal mental health programs. The compromise, which envisions spending $6.3 billion over the next decade, was condemned by consumer groups and some Democrats as a present to drugmakers that promised only paltry spending increases for underfunded federal programs. But their objections were overwhelmed by an alliance among Republicans, many Democrats and the White House for a 996-page measure that bore wins for both parties....

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Famed Texas heart surgeon Denton Cooley died at 96

HOUSTON (AP) — Dr. Denton Cooley, the cardiovascular surgeon who performed some of the nation’s first heart transplants and implanted the world’s first artificial heart, died Friday. He was 96. A leading practitioner of the coronary bypass operation, Cooley contributed to the development of techniques to repair and replace diseased heart valves and was renowned for operations to correct congenital heart problems in infants and children. He performed the first successful human heart transplant in the U.S. in 1968 and implanted the world’s first artificial heart in 1969 as a temporary measure while a heart transplant was arranged. Cooley...

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Drug prices don’t budge even after pressure from Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress’s routine of publicly shaming drug company executives over high prices works no better than a placebo: It may make some people feel better, but it doesn’t treat the problem. In the last two years, House and Senate committees issued more than a dozen subpoenas to price-hiking drugmakers, collecting hundreds of thousands of documents and berating executives for more than 16 hours of public hearings. But a review by The Associated Press of the list prices of nearly 30 brand-name medications and generic versions targeted by congressional investigators shows most haven’t budged since coming under federal...

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DIY breast reconstruction: Device lets women do part at home

This might be the ultimate do-it-yourself project: Doctors are testing a device that would let women do part of their own breast reconstruction at home. It’s aimed at not only making treatment more comfortable and convenient, but also giving women a sense of control – something cancer often takes away. More than 100,000 women each year in the United States have surgery to remove a cancerous breast, and many of them choose reconstruction with an implant. To make room for a permanent one, many of them get a tissue expander, a temporary pouch that is gradually enlarged with saline...

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Cholesterol drug shows promise to help reverse heart disease

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — For the first time, a new drug given along with a cholesterol-lowering statin medicine has proved able to shrink plaque that is clogging arteries, potentially giving a way to undo some of the damage of heart disease. The difference was very small but doctors hope it will grow with longer treatment, and any reversal or stabilization of disease would be a win for patients and a long-sought goal. The drug, Amgen Inc.’s Repatha, also drove LDL, or bad cholesterol, down to levels rarely if ever seen in people before. Heart patients are told to aim...

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