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04/29/2016

Massachusetts Senate approves under-21 ban on tobacco sales

Washington Post

The Massachusetts Senate voted overwhelmingly Thursday to raise the minimum age for purchasing cigarettes and other tobacco products across the state, which could make it the second to raise its threshold to 21 years old.

04/28/2016

Taking Sperm From the Dead

The Atlantic

Post-mortem sperm extraction gives widows the chance to have children with the recently departed.

04/27/2016

Letters Telling Women About Breast Density Are Often Too Darn Dense

NPR

Over the past decade, states have passed laws intended to help women understand the results of their breast cancer screening mammograms if they have dense breasts. But those notifications can be downright confusing and may, in fact, cause more misunderstanding than understanding.

04/26/2016

Advisers to F.D.A. Vote Against Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Drug

New York Times

In a confrontation between the hopes of desperate patients and clinical trial data, advisers to the Food and Drug Administration voted on Monday not to recommend approval of what would become the first drug for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

04/25/2016

Teens most drawn to e-cigarettes by online ads

Reuters

While many forms of e-cigarette advertising increase the odds that teens will try the devices, a new U.S. study suggests that this generation of digital natives is most enticed by promotions they see online.

04/22/2016

New York Hospital to Pay $2.2 Million Over Unauthorized Filming of 2 Patients

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital has agreed to pay a $2.2 million penalty to federal regulators for allowing television crews to film two patients without their consent — one who was dying, the other in significant distress. Regulators said on Thursday that the hospital allowed filming to continue even after a medical professional asked that it stop.

04/21/2016

White Americans Are Dying Younger as Drug and Alcohol Abuse Rises

Life expectancy declined slightly for white Americans in 2014, according to new federal data, a troubling sign that distress among younger and middle-age whites who are dying at ever-higher rates from drug overdoses is lowering average life spans for the white population as a whole.

04/20/2016

Loneliness can harm your heart, study finds

Loneliness and social isolation can take a toll on health in a number of ways, and new research shows it may seriously damage the heart. While loneliness has previously been linked to high blood pressure, a compromised immune system, and even an early death, its relationship to heart problems like cardiovascular disease and stroke wasn’t as clear.

04/19/2016

Study Backs Pancreas Cell Transplants for Severe Diabetes

Transplants of insulin-producing pancreas cells are a long hoped-for treatment for diabetes — and a new study shows they can protect the most seriously ill patients from a life-threatening complication of the disease, an important step toward U.S. approval.

04/18/2016

Doctors Unsure About How To Talk With Patients About End-Of-Life Care

Doctors know it’s important to talk with their patients about end-of-life care. But they’re finding it tough to start those conversations. When they do, they’re not sure what to say, according to a national poll released Thursday.

04/15/2016

Justin Trudeau Seeks to Legalize Assisted Suicide in Canada

The government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced legislation on Thursday to legalize physician-assisted suicide for Canadians with a “serious and incurable illness,” which has brought them “enduring physical or psychological suffering.”

04/14/2016

Theranos Under Fire as U.S. Threatens Crippling Sanctions

Federal regulators have threatened a series of stiff sanctions against Theranos, the embattled blood-testing company, including closing down its flagship laboratory and potentially barring its chief executive from owning or operating its labs for two years.

04/13/2016

IBM and American Cancer Society Want to Create the Ultimate Cancer Advisor

IBM and the American Cancer Society are launching a new partnership that will combine the power of Big Blue’s cognitive computing platform, Watson, with the wealth of cancer research and patient support services provided by the non-profit organization.

04/12/2016

How Do ‘Genetic Superheroes’ Overcome Their Bad DNA?

Scientists say they’ve figured out how to track down people they call “genetic superheroes.” These are people who remain healthy even though they were born with genetic mutations that would usually lead to devastating disorders. If enough of these people can be identified and studied, the researchers hope they could yield important new insights into the causes of many genetic disorders and possibly lead to new ways to prevent or treat them.

04/11/2016

Brazilian scientists find new Zika-linked brain disorder in adults

Scientists in Brazil have uncovered a new brain disorder associated with Zika infections in adults: an autoimmune syndrome called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, or ADEM, that attacks the brain and spinal cord.

04/08/2016

Should food labels include exercise ‘equivalents’?

Imagine you’re choosing between two different boxes of cookies at the grocery store. One has a label informing you that you could burn off the calories in a serving by jogging for 10 minutes, while the label on the other box says you would have to jog for 20 minutes. Would that help you decide which cookie to buy?

04/07/2016

The DEA will decide whether to change course on marijuana by July

In a lengthy memo to lawmakers, the Drug Enforcement Administration said it hopes to decide whether to change the federal status of marijuana “in the first half of 2016.”

04/06/2016

Diabetes cases reach 422 million as poorer countries see steep rises

The number of adults with diabetes has quadrupled worldwide in under four decades to 422 million, and the condition is fast becoming a major problem in poorer countries, a World Health Organization study showed on Wednesday.

04/05/2016

The disturbing reason some African American patients may be undertreated for pain

African Americans are routinely under-treated for their pain compared with whites, according to research. A study released Monday sheds some disturbing light on why that might be the case.

04/04/2016

Exclusive: Makers took big price increases on widely used U.S. drugs

Major drug companies took hefty price increases in the U.S., in some cases more than doubling listed charges, for widely used medications over the past five years, a Reuters analysis of proprietary data found.

04/01/2016

WHO sees scientific consensus on Zika as cause for disorders

Researchers around the world are now convinced the Zika virus can cause the birth defect microcephaly as well as Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare neurological disorder that can result in paralysis, the World Health Organization said on Thursday. The statement represented the U.N. health agency’s strongest language to date on the connection between the mosquito-borne virus and the two maladies.

03/31/2016

F.D.A. Eases Requirements on Abortion Pill Label

The Food and Drug Administration stepped into the politics of abortion on Wednesday, relaxing the requirements for taking a medication that induces abortion, a move that is expected to expand access to the procedure.

03/30/2016

Is Ebola Hiding in the Eyes of Survivors?

Some West Africans who have beat the deadly disease are now going blind—and doctors, unsure if treatment would unleash the virus back into the population, are powerless to help them.

03/29/2016

Blood Test for Concussions? Researchers Report Some Progress

New research bolsters evidence that a simple blood test may someday be used to detect concussions. It suggests that a protein linked with head trauma may be present in blood up to a week after injury, which could help diagnose patients who delay seeking treatment.

03/28/2016

Choosing to die at home does not hasten death for patients with terminal cancer

A large study from Japan found that cancer patients who died at home tended to live longer than those who died in hospitals. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the findings suggest that oncologists should not hesitate to refer patients for home-based palliative care simply because less medical treatment may be provided.

03/25/2016

Most Americans Would Donate a Kidney for Cash

For more than 20 years, it’s been illegal to give or accept money for organ donation in the U.S. The law was intended to prevent wealthy patients from having a better chance of receiving donor organs than their less affluent counterparts. As a result, many experts say there is now a shortage of most organs. Case in point: kidneys, the only full organ that can be transplanted from someone who is still alive and not significantly impact the donor’s long-term health. Deaths from end-stage renal disease can easily be prevented with a donor, but the line for one is very long.

03/25/2016

Pretty Much Nobody In The U.S. Leads A Healthy Lifestyle

Only 2.7 percent of U.S. adults hit the four key metrics of living a healthy lifestyle — abstaining from smoking, eating well, exercising and maintaining a healthy body fat percentage — according to a disheartening new study.

03/24/2016

FDA Takes Important Step to Increase the Development of, and Access to, Abuse-Deterrent Opioids

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today issued a draft guidance intended to support industry in their development of generic versions of approved opioids with abuse-deterrent formulations (ADF) while ensuring that generic ADF opioids are no less abuse-deterrent than the brand-name drug. Today’s actions are among a number of steps the agency recently outlined in an action plan to reassess its approach to opioid medications. The plan is focused on policies aimed at reversing the epidemic, while still providing patients in pain access to effective relief.

03/23/2016

FDA Now Requires ‘Black Box’ Warning on Painkillers

In an attempt to help slow the prescription drug abuse epidemic, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday that immediate-release opioid painkillers such as oxycodone and fentanyl will now have to carry a “black box” warning about the risk of abuse, addiction, overdose and death.

03/22/2016

In Conservative Indiana, Medicaid Expansion Makes Poorest Pay

Reginald Rogers owes his dentist a debt of gratitude for his new dentures, but no money.  Indiana’s Medicaid program has them covered, a godsend for the almost-toothless former steelworker who hasn’t held a steady job for years and lives in his daughter’s basement.