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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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today issued a draft guidance intended to support industry in their development of generic versions of approved opioids with abuse-deterrent formulations (ADF) while ensuring that generic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.

03/21/2016

Our Healthcare System Abandons Adult Sickle Cell Patients

When Janoi Burgess was a child, he thought doctor appointments were fun.  “I used to love it because they had a section where you could play games,” said Burgess, who was born with sickle cell anemia, an inherited blood disorder. “They were really nice and friendly.”

03/21/2016

C.D.C. Painkiller Guidelines Aim to Reduce Addiction Risk

In an effort to curb what many consider the worst public health drug crisis in decades, the federal government on Tuesday published the first national standards for prescription painkillers, recommending that doctors try pain relievers like ibuprofen before prescribing the highly addictive pills, and that they give most patients only a few days’ supply.

03/18/2016

Health Workers Rush to Contain Fresh Ebola Outbreak in Guinea

Health workers are rushing to the site of a fresh Ebola outbreak in Guinea to bolster efforts to contain the virus and prepare for the likelihood of more cases, aid agencies said on Friday.

03/17/2016

Scientists Grow “Dinosaur Legs” in Chicken Embryos

It’s said that dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago, but we technically still have dinosaurs running around Earth today (or at least their descendants). Modern-day birds evolved from certain species of dinosaurs, and now scientists have used birds to bring a little piece of the dinosaurs back. In a study published in Evolution, researchers announced that they had successfully grown “dinosaur legs” in chicken embryos.

03/17/2016

New CDC Guidelines Seek Doctors’ Help In Fighting Opioid Epidemic

In an effort to curb America’s deadly opioid crisis, federal health officials are urging doctors to largely avoid prescribing highly addictive painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin when treating patients for chronic pain.

03/16/2016

‘Difficult’ patients may tend to get worse care, studies find

What happens to medical care when the patient is a jerk?  Dutch researchers asked the question in two new studies, and the answer should make grumps think the better of their bad behavior: “Disruptive” patients may get worse care from physicians.

03/16/2016

Vaccination aversion has fueled measles and whooping cough outbreaks, study finds

A comprehensive new study of measles and pertussis outbreaks in the United States suggests that adults’ reluctance or refusal to vaccinate themselves and their children has played a key role in the resurgence of diseases that had been largely eradicated in this country.

 

03/15/2016

Should All Research Papers Be Free?

Drawing comparisons to Edward Snowden, a graduate student from Kazakhstan named Alexandra Elbakyan is believed to be hiding out in Russia after illegally leaking millions of documents. While she didn’t reveal state secrets, she took a stand for the public’s right to know by providing free online access to just about every scientific paper ever published, on topics ranging from acoustics to zymology.

03/14/2016

When Gene Tests for Breast Cancer Reveal Grim Data but No Guidance

At a time when genetic testing and genetically personalized treatments forcancer are proliferating, buoyed by new resources like President Obama’s $215 million personalized medicine initiative, women with breast cancerare facing a frustrating reality: The genetic data is there, but in many cases, doctors do not know what to do with it.

03/14/2016

Screening for Alzheimer’s Gene Tests the Desire to Know

Marty and Matt Reiswig, two brothers in Denver, knew that Alzheimer’s disease ran in their family, but neither of them understood why. Then a cousin, Gary Reiswig, whom they barely knew, wrote a book about their family, “The Thousand Mile Stare.”

03/11/2016

‘Body Hacking’ Movement Rises Ahead Of Moral Answers

A curious crowd lingered around Amal Graafstra as he carefully unpacked a pair of gloves, a small sterile blanket and a huge needle. A long line of people were waiting to get tiny computer chips implanted into their hands.

03/10/2016

New Procedure Allows Kidney Transplants From Any Donor

In the anguishing wait for a new kidney, tens of thousands of patients on waiting lists may never find a match because their immune systems will reject almost any transplanted organ. Now, in a large national study thatexperts are calling revolutionary, researchers have found a way to get them the desperately needed procedure.

03/09/2016

Should Therapists Analyze Presidential Candidates?

Not long ago, a journalist asked me what I thought, as a psychiatrist, of Donald J. Trump.  Many psychologists have been quick to offer diagnoses, calling him and other presidential candidates “narcissists,” and even providing thoughts about possible treatments.

03/08/2016

No Paid Sick Leave Means Workers Skip Medical Care

U.S. workers without paid sick leave are more likely to keep going to work when they’re sick and to forgo medical care for themselves and their families, compared to workers who do get paid for sick days, according to a new study.

03/07/2016

Living With the Parents I’m Losing to Alzheimer’s

My parents called me one day in March and started singing “Happy Birthday.” It was unsettling. My birthday is in May.  My uncle called, too. He and my father had owned an upholstery shop in Philadelphia for 50 years, and it was really bothering him that my dad couldn’t do simple math anymore.

03/04/2016

Zika Kills Cells Key to Fetal Brain Development, Study Says

The Zika virus destroys cells that give rise to the brain cortex in the developing fetus, scientists reported on Friday. The finding, published in the journal Cell Stem Cell, may help explain how the virus might cause microcephaly, or unusually small heads, in infants whose mothers are infected during pregnancy.

03/03/2016

NY Attorney General to Investigate Insurers Over Hepatitis C Drugs

New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office has asked 16 health insurers for documentation on patients who have been denied coverage of drugs used to cure hepatitis C, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.

03/02/2016

First Uterus Transplant in the US Gives 26-year-old Woman Chance at Pregnancy

Surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic have performed the nation’s first uterus transplant, offering a 26-year-old infertile woman a chance at getting pregnant.

03/01/2016

All Surrogacy is Exploitation – The World Should Follow Sweden’s Ban

That something is not quite right about surrogacy has been evident for some time. Ever since the commercial surrogacy industry kicked off in the late 1970s, it has been awash with scandals, exploitation and abuse. From the infamous “Baby M” case – in which the mother changed her mind and was forced, in tears, to hand over her baby – to the Japanese billionaire who ordered 16 children from different Thai clinics. There has been a total commodification of human life: click; choose race and eye colour; pay, then have your child delivered.

02/29/2016

520-million-year-old fossilized nervous system is most detailed example yet found

Researchers have found one of the oldest and most detailed fossils of the central nervous system yet identified, from a crustacean-like animal that lived more than 500 million years ago. The fossil, from southern China, has been so well preserved that individual nerves are visible, the first time this level of detail has been observed in a fossil of this age.

02/26/2016

Benzodiazepine prescriptions, overdose deaths on the rise in U.S.

Even as opiate abuse has become a growing problem in the U.S., overdose deaths involving sedatives and antiseizure medications in the benzodiazepine category have also risen steeply, according to a recent study.