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Senator Probes Opioid Makers' Role in U.S. Drug Abuse Epidemic

Posted today in Daily MedNews

A U.S. senator wants information from the five top makers of opioid painkiller drugs in order to assess their role in the nation's opioid epidemic. Sen. Claire McCaskill wants to determine whether the five companies -- Purdue Pharma, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Insys Therapeutics, Mylan, and Depomed -- have contributed to overuse and overprescribing of opioids, the Washington Post reported. Since 2000, 180,000 people in the U.S. have died of prescription opioid overdoses and tens of thousands...

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Got the HPV Vaccine Before You Knew You Were Pregnant? Don't Worry

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WEDNESDAY, March 29, 2017 -- The cancer-preventing HPV vaccine does not appear to have any ill effect on babies unintentionally exposed to it in the womb, researchers report. Babies whose mothers were vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV) during pregnancy did not have a significantly higher risk for major birth defects, low birth weight, preterm birth or stillbirth, compared with unexposed babies, according to a new study. "We found no support for an adverse effect on the unborn baby of...

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Cases of Zika-Linked Birth Defects Dropped in Brazil in 2016

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WEDNESDAY, March 29, 2017 -- Brazil experienced a smaller-than-expected increase in cases of microcephaly in 2016, despite the continued spread of the mosquito-borne Zika virus. Researchers predicted 1,133 cases of microcephaly would occur between May and December 2016, but only 83 cases were reported by local health officials, said senior researcher Christopher Dye. He is director of strategy, policy and information for the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. Zika causes...

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Healthy Gums Tied to Longer Lives for Women

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WEDNESDAY, March 29, 2017 -- Here's another reason to get flossing: New research suggests that gum disease is linked with earlier death in older women. "Older women may be at higher risk for death because of their periodontal condition," study author Michael LaMonte said in a news release from the Journal of the American Heart Association. LaMonte is research associate professor in epidemiology at the University at Buffalo, in New York. His team published its findings in the journal on March...

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'Menstrual Cycle in a Dish' Explores Intricacies of Female Body

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WEDNESDAY, March 29, 2017 -- Scientists say they have created a palm-size model of the female reproductive system that even has a period. Dubbed a menstrual cycle in a dish, the miniature 3-D replica includes human and rodent tissue and models of ovaries, fallopian tubes, the uterus, cervix, vagina and liver. The technology could lead to improvements in treating diseases in women's reproductive organs, including cancer and infertility, the model's creators said. "This is nothing short of a...

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Ocrevus Approved to Treat Severe Form of Multiple Sclerosis

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WEDNESDAY, March 29, 2017 -- The injected drug Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat adults with primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) and relapsing forms of the disease, the agency said Wednesday in a news release. MS is an inflammatory autoimmune disease of the central nervous system, characterized by periods of active symptoms (relapses) and recovery periods (remission). Disrupting communication between the brain and the rest of...

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Preventive Mastectomy Rates Vary by State

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WEDNESDAY, March 29, 2017 -- In certain areas of the United States, more women diagnosed with early stage breast cancer are choosing to have the unaffected breast removed, new research finds. The study also found that younger women are especially likely to have the second breast removed. Nearly half of women under age 45 diagnosed with early breast cancer in five states opted for the procedure, said the study's senior author, Dr. Ahmedin Jemal. He's vice president of the American Cancer...

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Trauma as a Teen May Boost Depression Risk Around Menopause

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WEDNESDAY, March 29, 2017 -- Women who suffered trauma and stress during their teens have a greater risk of depression during the years leading into menopause, a new study suggests. Depression is common during these midlife years, the period called perimenopause. But whether certain women might be at higher risk has been unclear. "Our results show that women who experience at least two adverse events during their formative years -- whether it be abuse, neglect or some type of family...

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Smokers May Be Prone to Risks From Breast Cancer Radiation Therapy

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WEDNESDAY, March 29, 2017 -- Breast cancer patients who smoke have an increased risk for serious long-term complications from radiation therapy, a new study finds. "This research highlights that breast cancer patients who smoke need to be offered help and support in order to try and quit to minimize any risks from their treatment," Dr. Julie Sharp said in a Cancer Research UK news release. She's head of health information for the research and awareness charity based in the United...

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FDA-OK'd Ocrevus Offers Hope to Sickest MS Patients

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WEDNESDAY, March 29, 2017 -- A new multiple sclerosis drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration late Tuesday offers hope to patients with the most severe form of the progressive disease. The intravenous drug, made by Genentech, is called ocrelizumab (Ocrevus). Given every six months, it worked best for patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS) -- the most common form of the disease, the FDA reported. But Ocrevus also appeared to slow progression of a more severe type of the...

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When Heart Stops Beating, Survival Better at Specialized Heart Centers

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WEDNESDAY, March 29, 2017 -- Getting immediate treatment at a specialized heart center -- rather than the nearest local hospital -- improves your chance of survival if your heart stops beating, a new study suggests. Researchers reviewed data from more than 41,000 people in Denmark. All of them had cardiac arrest -- which means their hearts suddenly stopped beating -- between 2001 and 2013. None were in a hospital when their cardiac arrest happened. Of those patients, 29 percent were admitted...

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Heroin Epidemic Expands Its Grip on America

Posted today in Daily MedNews

WEDNESDAY, March 29, 2017 -- Heroin use in the United States jumped fivefold over a decade, and young, white males are the epidemic's most likely victims, a new study finds. One addiction specialist blamed the lax use of prescription opioid painkillers -- narcotics such as Oxycontin, Percocet and Vicodin -- for the surge in heroin use. "A nation awash with prescription opioids has led to a large increase in addiction, overdose deaths and transition to heroin-fentanyl [a powerful synthetic...

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Exercising 2.5 Hours a Week May Slow Parkinson's Progression

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WEDNESDAY, March 29, 2017 -- Parkinson's disease can cause tremors, stiffness and trouble with walking. But a new study suggests that regular exercise can slow the progression of the disease. Even those with advanced Parkinson's can benefit from activity, the study authors said. The research included more than 3,400 patients in North America, the Netherlands and Israel who were followed for more than two years. During that time, Parkinson's-related changes in mobility were assessed by timing...

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Health Highlights: March 29, 2017

Posted today in Daily MedNews

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay: Senator Probes Opioid Makers' Role in U.S. Drug Abuse Epidemic A U.S. senator wants information from the five top makers of opioid painkiller drugs in order to assess their role in the nation's opioid epidemic. Sen. Claire McCaskill wants to determine whether the five companies -- Purdue Pharma, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Insys Therapeutics, Mylan, and Depomed -- have contributed to overuse...

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Health Tip: Spring Cleaning?

Posted today in Daily MedNews

-- An organized, comfortable bedroom helps you feel less stressed and helps you sleep more soundly. So if you're ready to spring clean, do your bedroom first. Here are suggestions from the National Sleep Foundation: Rid the room of all electronics, including the TV. Make sure all light bulbs are 60 watts or less. Make sure curtains black out sunlight. Inspect your mattress and look for signs of wear. Also, consider whether you wake with pain. If so, replace the mattress. Make sure...

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Health Tip: Help Your Child with Body Image

Posted today in Daily MedNews

-- What you say rubs off on your children, even if you don't think they're listening. So when you're talking about body image, remember that a positive attitude is good for both of you. The Womenshealth.gov website suggests: Don't speak negatively about food, weight, body shape and body size. Provide an array of healthy meals and snacks, and let your child make decisions about what to eat. Praise your child for values, accomplishments, efforts and talents. Communicate openly and...

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Knee Replacement Doesn't Always Pay, Researchers Say

Posted yesterday in Daily MedNews

TUESDAY, March 28, 2017 -- Knee replacement surgery isn't always a game changer, according to a new study that raises questions about the increasingly common procedure. The patients who benefit most have severe osteoarthritis. But for people with milder symptoms, the expense might not be justified, researchers determined. "This study suggests we should reconsider doing this procedure on people who have more mild pain, and less severe knee arthritis and loss of function," said Daniel Riddle....

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More Older Women Hitting the Bottle Hard

Posted yesterday in Daily MedNews

TUESDAY, March 28, 2017 -- More older American women than ever are drinking -- and drinking hard, a new study shows. Most troubling was the finding that the prevalence of binge drinking among older women is increasing dramatically, far faster than it is among older men, the researchers noted. The difference was striking: Among men, the average prevalence of binge drinking remained stable from 1997 to 2014, while it increased an average of nearly 4 percent per year among women, the researchers...

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Kids Peppered With Pot Ads

Posted yesterday in Daily MedNews

TUESDAY, March 28, 2017 -- There has been an alarming increase in young Americans' exposure to marijuana ads as more states legalize the drug, a new study contends. Recreational and/or medicinal use of marijuana is now legal in more than half of U.S. states, researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis said. "Advertising can be powerful," said study first author Melissa Krauss, a research statistician in the department of psychiatry. "That's why we're concerned that...

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Brain-Computer Link Restores Some Movement to Quadraplegic Man

Posted yesterday in Daily MedNews

TUESDAY, March 28, 2017 -- Grabbing a mug of coffee, having a sip. It's something most people would do without thinking, every day. But for Bill Kochevar, it's a life-changing move. That's because Kochevar, 56, lost all movement below his shoulders eight years ago in a bicycling accident. But now he's the first quadriplegic in the world to successfully use a dual-implant technology to regain some motion. "For somebody who's been injured eight years and couldn't move, being able to move just...

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