Health Highlights: July 16, 2013
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Jenny McCarthy's Anti-Vaccine Stance Worries Experts As She Joins 'The View'
Public health groups are worried that actress Jenny McCarthy will use her new position on a television talk show to spread her anti-vaccination views.
In recent years, McCarthy has become well-known for her claims that vaccines caused her son's autism and her anti-vaccination stance. Vaccine advocates fear that as co-host of ABC's The View, McCarthy will spread dangerous misinformation, USA Today reported.
One group wrote to The View producer Barbara Walters last week asking her to keep McCarthy off the show.
"Jenny McCarthy's unfounded claims about the dangers of vaccines has been one of the greatest impediments to efforts to vaccinate children in recent decades," said Amy Pisani, the executive director of Every Child by Two, an international vaccination group co-founded by former first lady Rosalynn Carter, USA Today reported.
"Children have died due to this misinformation, and those who perpetuate lies for personal gain ought to be held responsible," Pisani said.
Two dozen studies have failed to find any link between autism and vaccines, and the advocacy group Autism Speaks has said there is "no connection" between vaccines and autism, USA Today reported.
McCarthy has appeared on The View 17 times and will begin her co-host duties on Sept. 9. In its announcement, ABC did not mention whether McCarthy will talk about vaccines or other medical issues.
Good 'Spatial Reasoning' May Be Sign of Creativity in Kids: Study
A high level of spatial reasoning in children may be a better indicator of creativity and innovative thinking than math or verbal skills, according to a new study.
Spatial reasoning is the ability to visualize and manipulate two- and three-dimensional objects. Children who are gifted in this area may be inspired to do things such as dismantle a clock or refrigerator, The New York Times reported.
In this study, researchers concluded that standardized tests such as SAT and ACT should be revised to included greater focus on spatial reasoning in order to identify children who excel in this skill and nuture their ability.
"Evidence has been mounting over several decades that spatial ability gives us something that we don't capture with traditional measures used in educational selection," study lead author David Lubinski, a psychologist at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, told The Times. "We could be losing some modern-day Edisons and Fords."
The study was published in the journal Psychological Science.
FDA Approves Brain Test for ADHD
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved the first brain test that could help doctors diagnose attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) using biological evidence, and not just the results of psychiatric evaluations.
The device, called the NEBA System, is a 20-minute test that uses an electroencephalogram (EEG) test to look at a patient's brain waves. Specifically, it measures the ratio between beta and theta brain wave frequencies, which studies have shown is higher in children and teens with ADHD.
"Diagnosing ADHD is a multi-step process based on a complete medical and psychiatric exam," Christy Foreman, director of the Office of Device Evaluation at the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in an agency statement. "The NEBA System, along with other clinical information, may help health care providers more accurately determine if ADHD is the cause of a behavioral problem."
The test is already used to assess sleep issues, measure unconsciousness, diagnose side effects from head injuries and monitor the brain during surgery, according to CBS News.
A company-funded study of almost 300 children and teens with behavior problems showed that the test, when coupled with standard diagnostic criteria, helped physicians more accurately diagnose ADHD than a doctor's exam alone.
ADHD affects nearly 7 percent of children between the ages of 3 and 17, and a recent government report found that 11 percent of all school-aged children have been diagnosed with the disorder, the FDA statement said.
Posted: July 2013