Category: Health

FDA issues warning about risky vein opening procedure

BY LINDA A. JOHNSON TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday again warned patients and doctors to avoid a risky, experimental procedure promoted as a treatment for several nervous system disorders, including multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. The procedure involves inflating a tiny balloon in narrowed veins, usually in the neck, to widen them and improve blood flow. The FDA said it has seen no evidence the procedure – called transvascular autonomic modulation, or TVAM – is safe or effective. It’s similar to balloon angioplasty, which is commonly used to open up clogged heart arteries....

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Mayo, wings, butter: ‘Fake milk’ is the latest food fight

BY CANDICE CHOI – AP FOOD INDUSTRY WRITER NEW YORK (AP) — Is “fake milk” spoiling the dairy industry’s image? Dairy producers are calling for a crackdown on the almond, soy and rice “milks” they say are masquerading as the real thing and cloud the meaning of milk for shoppers. And a group that advocates for plant-based products, the Good Food Institute, countered by asking the Food and Drug Administration this week to say foods can use terms such as “milk” and “sausage,” so long as they’re modified to make clear what’s in them. It’s the latest dispute about...

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New help for that bane of middle-age: blurry close-up vision

BY LAURAN NEERGAARD – AP MEDICAL WRITER WASHINGTON (AP) — Squinting while texting? Always losing your reading glasses? An eye implant that takes about 10 minutes to put in place is the newest in a list of surgical repairs for the blurry close-up vision that is a bane of middle age. But who’s really a good candidate to toss their specs? “It’s not bringing anybody back to being 20 again,” cautioned Dr. Shilpa Rose, a Washington ophthalmologist who tests whether patients’ eyes are healthy enough to qualify. “But it decreases the need to rush to get that pair of...

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Adding friendly bacteria to skin lotion wards off bad germs

BY LAURAN NEERGAARD – AP MEDICAL WRITER WASHINGTON (AP) — Bacteria live on everyone’s skin, and new research shows some friendly germs produce natural antibiotics that ward off their disease-causing cousins. Now scientists are mixing the good bugs into lotions in hopes of spreading protection. In one early test, those customized creams guarded five patients with a kind of itchy eczema against risky bacteria that were gathering on their cracked skin, researchers reported Wednesday. “It’s boosting the body’s overall immune defenses,” said Dr. Richard Gallo, dermatology chairman at the University of California, San Diego, who is leading the work....

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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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