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August 2nd, 2010
10:40 PM ET

Study raises questions about industry funded trials

 

Drug trials funded by the pharmaceutical industry usually have positive outcomes according to a new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Researchers from the United States and Canada looked at 546 drug trials registered in ClinicalTrials.gov, a registry of both federal and private trials in the United States and abroad.  346 of them, or 63 percen, were funded by the drug industry. The remaining 200 were paid for by government or non-profit organizations.  Study authors found that more than 85 percent of industry-funded trials in their sample posted favorable outcomes and were 4 times more likely to report findings that favored their drug.

"We did this study in order to determine whether there is an inherent bias because pharmaceutical companies fund trials on products in which they have a financial interest," said study co-author Dr. Kenneth Mandl of Children's Hospital, Boston. "The most reassuring result would have been that the rate of favorable outcomes would be the same regardless of funding sources. In a very dramatic way that was not the case and what we need to ascertain is if the cause of this shift toward favorable findings among trials funded by pharmaceutical companies is related to the details of the protocols and study design."

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August 2nd, 2010
05:44 PM ET

What bacteria has to say about allergies

Why food allergies are on the rise is still a mystery. One idea is that in Western countries, ramped-up hygiene efforts have made it so children do not get as much exposure to different bacteria that would have helped stave off illnesses such as allergies and inflammatory bowel disease.

A study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences compared the gut bacteria from 15 children in Florence, Italy, with gut bacteria in 14 children in a rural African village in Burkina Faso. The variety of flora in these two groups was substantially different, they found.

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August 2nd, 2010
04:56 PM ET

Low-fat, or low-carb? That is the question

Over the years there's been a lot of debate between low-fat and low-carb diets- which one is the healthiest for you? Which one works the best? Now a study out of Temple University's Center for Obesity Research and Education, finds that both diets help people lose weight, but the low-carb diet seemed to raise the HDL or good cholesterol in the body.

In the largest study of its kind, researchers followed 300 people for two years. Some were given a low-carb diet to follow, others a low-fat. In addition all participants underwent behavior therapy programs. All were taught about goal settings, how certain things trigger people to over eat and why it's important to keep track of weight and diet.

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August 2nd, 2010
04:48 PM ET

Makeshift clinic caring for Pakistan flood survivors

A medical team from a hospital in northwest Pakistan is using a grammar school near the edge of floodwaters as a makeshift clinic to care for survivors of the region's devastating flooding.

The owner of the school was trapped on his roof for about 12 hours, but pitched in to help once he was rescued, said Atif Mumtaz with the UM Healthcare Trust, which provides affordable healthcare in rural Pakistan.

Doctors have treated about 400 people since the clinic opened in Nosherha on Sunday – mostly injuries, water-born diseases, pneumonia, heart problems, dehydration and exhaustion, Mumtaz said.
See his iReport.

Supplies at the clinic are pretty "meager," said Mumtaz said there's an urgent need for antibiotics, vaccines and other drugs as well as clothes, clean water and utensils.

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Filed under: Emergency care

August 2nd, 2010
04:42 PM ET

New regulations may cut down infections in hospitals

In the United States, hospital-acquired infections alone afflict almost 2 million patients and kill approximately 100,000 people annually, more than diabetes or influenza and pneumonia. That's according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control.  Beginning next year, Americans will be able to check to see how their hospitals or medical facilities fare when it comes to preventing these types of infections.

Under the new hospital acquired infection reporting regulations adopted by the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), patients will be able to see how many hospital induced infections have been filed at their particular medical institution. According to the Consumer's Union Safe Patient project, public reporting of infection rates will help save lives and money by pressuring hospitals to improve preventive measures against hospital acquired infections.

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August 2nd, 2010
12:34 PM ET

FDA warns against using Miracle Mineral Solution

The Food and Drug Adminstration is warning people not to use a supplement that claims to treat diseases ranging from HIV to acne, after receiving reports it is making consumers sick.  When used as directed,  the FDA says Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS) produces chlorine dioxide, a potent bleach often used in industrial water treatment and stripping textiles.  

The FDA has received numerous reports of serious side effects including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and life threatening low-blood pressure from dehydration. 

MMS is also marketed under the name Miracle Mineral Supplement.  It is distributed on the internet by a variety of companies. Although all the products share the MMS name, the labels look different.   CNN has called the companies for comment, but so far, there's been no response.

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August 2nd, 2010
09:58 AM ET

Three questions with Jake Glaser

Jake Glaser is a just regular 25-year old, who is just beginning to define what he wants to do in life – at least for now (he wants to be a chef). But he's also the son of famous parents. His father is actor/director, Paul Michael Glaser, who is known around the world as Starsky from the hit '70s TV series "Starsky and Hutch". His mother, Elizabeth became famous in her own right as an AIDS activist. She had contracted HIV after receiving a blood transfusion while giving birth to Jake's older sister Ariel. Because she was unaware she had become infected, Elizabeth unknowingly passed HIV on to her daughter when she breastfed her.

Jake's mother also unknowingly passed the virus on to him, while he was still in the womb. Elizabeth and Ariel Glaser both died from AIDS. Jake, on the other hand, has been living with the virus for 25 years now and is very healthy. He says despite having to live with HIV from the day he was born, "both my mom and my dad blessed me with a very healthy immune system." Jake Glaser talked to Dr. Sanjay Gupta about some of the stereotypes that persist about HIV/AIDS and how he's hopeful about his future.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta:  Why do you think [people still believe] you can get HIV/AIDS [from touching people].  Still today?

Jake Glaser: Well, in the 80's when my mom started the [Pediatric AIDS] Foundation, she made it very clear, she stood up on stage, and she took a cookie, she took a bite of that cookie, she handed it to her friend and she took a bite.  And you know, kind of, everybody gasped, what's going to happen now?  Listen, it's not the case, this is a very preventable disease... I know now that a lot of the transmission that we do see is through sexual activity.  Like I was saying before, for me, I was born with HIV, this isn't something I had a choice about.  I do have a choice to practice safe sex.  For those people out there who were not born with HIV, they have an amazing opportunity to actively work towards stopping the transmission of the virus, to go get tested, to practice safe sex and spread that knowledge to their friends and family.
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August 2nd, 2010
09:04 AM ET

Weight loss pill comes from addiction drugs

What do you get when you combine a drug used to help people stop smoking with a drug that helps people stop drinking?

It turns out that, in a particular combination, you get a weight loss drug, according to researchers.

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August 2nd, 2010
09:00 AM ET

‘Recovery sleep’ can make up for lost ZZZs

Let's be honest: Sleeping eight blissful hours every night is nothing but a dream for most people, especially during the hectic workweek. Weekends and vacations provide the few opportunities our chronically sleep deprived population has to catch up on some missed hours of shut-eye. Thankfully a new study just published in the journal Sleep has found that those periods of "recovery sleep" are good for us and can actually undo some of the damage caused by sleep deprivation.

The study authors recruited more than 150 healthy sleepers, aged 22 to 45, who regularly slept 6.5 to 8.5 hours a night. None of the participants worked irregular shifts or had traveled internationally in the months leading up to the study.

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August 2nd, 2010
12:01 AM ET

Study: Spray cleaners pose poisoning threat

Household cleaning products in spray bottles pose the biggest risk to children 5 and under, according to a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

Spray bottles accounted for two in five cases of poisonings and other injuries from household cleaning products that resulted in emergency room visits from 1990 to 2006, the study found.

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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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