Category: Health

Puerto Rico finds unexpected source of growth in agriculture

GUANICA, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Ricans are buying rice produced on the island for the first time in nearly 30 years. They are also eating locally grown mushrooms, kale and even arugula, along with more traditional crops such as plantains and pineapples. The U.S. territory is seeing something of an agricultural renaissance as new farms spring up across the island, supplying an increasing number of farmers’ markets and restaurants to meet consumer demand for fresher produce. Farming has become one of the few areas of growth on an island struggling to emerge from a 10-year-old recession and a...

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Walking is medicine? It helped high-risk seniors stay mobile

WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s not too late to get moving: Simple physical activity – mostly walking – helped high-risk seniors stay mobile after disability-inducing ailments even if, at 70 and beyond, they’d long been couch potatoes. One health policy specialist said the study released Monday suggests prescribing exercise may be just as important as prescribing medications. "Once you lose that mobility piece of your life, then you really lose independence," said Patricia Katz of the University of California, San Francisco, who wasn’t part of the new research but said physicians need to put the findings to use. Katz called...

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Research finds talc doesn’t cause cancer; juries disagree

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Two lawsuits ended in jury verdicts worth $127 million. Two others were tossed out by a judge who said there wasn’t reliable evidence that the talc in Johnson & Johnson’s iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer. So who’s right? And is baby powder safe? Most research finds no link or a weak one between ovarian cancer and using baby powder for feminine hygiene, a practice generations of American mothers have passed on to their daughters. Most major health groups have declared talc harmless. Johnson & Johnson, whose baby powder dominates the market, says it’s perfectly...

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Italy campaign to combat infertility stumbles with racist ad

ROME (AP) — Italy’s efforts to combat infertility and reverse one of Europe’s lowest birthrates stumbled badly Thursday following an ad campaign denounced as sexist, racist and ignorant of the economic reasons why Italians aren’t having babies. Italy on Thursday celebrated its first-ever “Fertility Day,” promoted by the Health Ministry to prevent infertility and sterility through education and health programs. Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin sought to keep on message during the official launch, decrying the fact that 700,000 Italians who want to have children can’t because of infertility problems. The campaign focuses on tobacco, drug and alcohol abuse. But...

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Remote Alaska port clinic goes modern with telemedicine

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The only clinic in one of the nation’s busiest commercial fishing ports is so remote that even conventional telemedicine for emergencies has been impossible for its limited staff – until this week. Starting Thursday, a new partnership with an Anchorage hospital will virtually beam critical care doctors 800 miles away to the emergency room on Unalaska Island, home to Dutch Harbor. But instead of transmissions with fiber-optics, which are nowhere near the isolated Alaska island, the team putting together the system is relying on satellite technology in what is believed to be a first in...

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Miami’s Wynwood cleared of Zika; focus shifts to Miami Beach

MIAMI (AP) — With health authorities declaring a win against Zika in Miami’s Wynwood arts district, their emphasis shifts to the remaining transmission zone on nearby Miami Beach, where residents have objected to the aerial pesticide spraying crediting with halting infections. No new cases of Zika have been reported in Wynwood since early August, and on Monday health officials declared it to be no longer a zone of active local transmission. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lifted a warning for pregnant women to stay out of Wynwood altogether, but continued to caution them about traveling to...

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FDA tentatively approves first drug for muscular dystrophy

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal health regulators have granted tentative approval to a highly contested drug for muscular dystrophy that has become a flashpoint in the debate over patient access to experimental medicine. The Food and Drug Administration said it cleared Sarepta Therapeutics’ injection for a rare form of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a deadly inherited disease that affects boys. It’s the first FDA approval for the degenerative condition, which causes muscle weakness, loss of movement and eventually death. Monday’s announcement comes nearly five months after the agency and a panel of outside advisers panned the drug at a public meeting,...

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Brain cancer now leading childhood cancer killer

NEW YORK (AP) — Brain cancer is now the deadliest childhood cancer in the U.S., now ahead of leukemia, a result of improved leukemia treatment and a frustrating lack of progress on brain cancer. Government statisticians reported the change in rankings Friday, drawing from a review of 15 years of death certificates. "I think most people, when they think of childhood cancer, think of leukemia," said Sally Curtin of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "This is kind of a changing of the guard." Cancer is the fourth leading cause of death for children overall, accounting for about...

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Treat or monitor early prostate cancer? 10-yr survival same

LONDON (AP) — Men with early prostate cancer who choose to closely monitor their disease are just as likely to survive at least 10 years as those who have surgery or radiation, finds a major study that directly tested and compared these options. Survival from prostate cancer was so high – 99 percent, regardless of which approach men had – that the results call into question not only what treatment is best but also whether any treatment at all is needed for early-stage cases. And that in turn adds to concern about screening with PSA blood tests, because screening...

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Big Food’s biggest trend? Crusading against Big Food

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Gathered for a free music festival, a crowd waits to see one of the headline attractions – an exhibit about fast-food ingredients. On display: Beakers of powders and liquids that purportedly go into what is clearly meant to look like a McDonald’s burger. Just below are leaves and spices that Chipotle says make up its burrito. As pop bands perform nearby, other festivalgoers play an online game fighting a “galactic battle against artificial ingredients.” Chipotle’s “Cultivate” festivals encapsulate the food industry’s hottest marketing trend: crusading against Big Food. While the burrito maker still struggles...

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Why insurance denies your claim, but pays your neighbor’s

Tracey Stahl lost part of a leg to bone cancer last fall, and she has to wince through bouts of crippling pain from an ill-fitting artificial limb because of a strange health insurance limit: Her plan covers just one limb per lifetime. She now has to weigh whether to dump the nearly $9,000 cost of a new leg on her credit card as she fights her insurance company over the restriction. “I feel – it’s embarrassing to say – paralyzed about what to do,” said Stahl, from her home in Penfield, New York. Caiti Riley’s left leg was amputated...

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Innovative program, CAPABLE, is helping seniors care for themselves at home

WASHINGTON (AP) — Where you live plays a big role in staying independent as you age. Now researchers say an innovative program that combined home fix-ups and visits from occupational therapists and nurses improved low-income seniors’ ability to care for themselves in their own homes. Still to be answered is whether that better daily functioning also saves taxpayer dollars – by helping enough older adults with chronic health problems avoid costly hospital or nursing home stays. “We’re improving people’s lives, improving their abilities,” said Sarah Szanton, a Johns Hopkins University associate nursing professor who leads the experimental program reported...

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