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FDA approves new type of flu shot
November 21st, 2012
12:34 PM ET

FDA approves new type of flu shot

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new flu vaccine for adults that is not egg-based, although it hasn't yet been tested on people with egg allergies.

The manufacturing process for the vaccine, called Flucelvax, is similar to the egg-based production method, but the virus strains included in the new vaccine are "grown in animal cells of mammalian origin instead of in eggs," the FDA says.

"The cell-based vaccine is as safe and effective as traditional egg-based vaccine and the technology used to manufacture it is more flexible and reliable than the traditional technology," said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a statement Tuesday.

It is, however, only approved for adults 18 and older, according to the FDA.
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November 21st, 2012
10:01 AM ET

Lessons learned from surviving cancer 5 times

Editor's note: In the Human Factor, we profile survivors who have overcome the odds. Confronting a life obstacle – injury, illness or other hardship – they tapped their inner strength and found resilience they didn't know they possessed.  Chef Eric LeVine has won awards, written a cookbook and beat out three competitors to become a Food Network "Chopped" champion.  But his biggest battles have been with cancer. He's won five times, and in the process he's learned about the importance of support and the weight of the family burden that comes with those battles.

When I found out that I had cancer for the first time, I decided not to say anything to my family members for about six weeks.  Why?  That's the question my family asked me when I finally told them.

I had a lot to consider.  I had thought about the pressure and concern they would all have for me.  I thought about the weight that would put on them, the worry they would have and I just didn't want them to worry.  I have always been the one to carry my friends and family,  to help when I could, to be the strong one.  I didn't want to be perceived as needy or weak. It's just not in my DNA.

I never asked for help; I never wanted it, no matter how sick I was. I drove myself to treatments and asked everyone to just treat me as if nothing was wrong. FULL POST


Online access associated with uptick in doctor visits
November 20th, 2012
04:53 PM ET

Online access associated with uptick in doctor visits

Patient online access to doctors and medical records was associated with increased use of almost all in-person and telephone medical services, according to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Those services included doctor appointments, telephone consults, after-hours clinic visits, emergency room visits and hospitalizations.

Dr. Ted Palen and his team looked at members of Kaiser Permanente Colorado, an integrated health system with more 500,000 members that includes an online patient portal known as MyHealthManager (MHM). FULL POST


UNAIDS: Rate of new HIV infections drops by half in 25 countries
Volunteers in Taiwan join a human chain in the form of a red ribbon for HIV/AIDS for World Aids Day 2011.
November 20th, 2012
02:17 PM ET

UNAIDS: Rate of new HIV infections drops by half in 25 countries

New HIV infections have dropped more than 50% in 25 low- and middle-income countries, according to a new World AIDS Day report by the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

There were 700,000 fewer new infections last year than in 2001, according to the report "Results."  More than half of the countries reporting fewer infections are in sub-Saharan Africa, the region with some of the highest number of HIV cases in the world.  Infection rates have dropped dramatically in Malawi (73%), Botswana (71%), Namibia (68%) Zambia (58% ), Zimbabwe (50%) and by 41% in Swaziland and South Africa, for example.

Along with these reductions, AIDS experts say the number of people getting antiretroviral treatment increased 63% in the past two years.  Sub-Saharan Africa treated a record 2.3 million people, and the number of people treated in China jumped 50% last year. FULL POST


New draft recommendations issued for HIV testing
A woman takes a home test to detect HIV. A task force of experts has expanded its recommendations for who should be tested.
November 19th, 2012
05:03 PM ET

New draft recommendations issued for HIV testing

Teens and adults aged 15 to 65, as well as all pregnant women, should be tested for HIV according to new draft recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).

The new recommendations include pregnant women who show up at a hospital in labor but don't know their HIV status, and younger adolescents and older adults who are at increased risk of HIV.

In 2005, the task force recommended screening for all adolescents and adults at increased risk and all pregnant women. No recommendations were made regarding routine testing in that same population who were not at an increased risk.

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More teens using muscle enhancing products
November 19th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

More teens using muscle enhancing products

More teens are using muscle enhancing products, according to a study published Monday in Pediatrics, a journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

"These behaviors are a little more common among young people than we previously thought," said lead study author Dr. Marla Eisenberg  "We want to put it on the radar for pediatricians, parents and other people working with adolescents."

Dr. Jennifer Shu, a pediatrician in Atlanta, says some teens don't always realize that these type behaviors can be harmful.

"First thing to do is try to educate and say, 'You know, I’m glad you are active and playing sports and trying to be happy. Just remember most kids don’t need protein supplements, or even energy drinks because they are getting the electrolytes in their diet,'" Shu says. "It's good for parents to be aware because they might think it’s good and buy teens these protein powders."

Researchers found the number of teens reporting muscle enhancing behavior to be substantially higher than in previous years. Boys were more likely to report these behaviors, which included supplement use and consumption of protein shakes. The concern is that this type of behavior leads to more serious behavior, excessive use and use of illegal substances (something that was reported by some of the teens).
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FDA: Several violations uncovered at Sunland's peanut plant
November 16th, 2012
01:00 PM ET

FDA: Several violations uncovered at Sunland's peanut plant

Health officials have found more clues about the nut product contamination that lead to at least 41 people getting sick this summer.

Conditions at the Sunland, Inc. facility in Portales, New Mexico, may have contributed to the contamination of peanut butter and almond butter products with salmonella bredeney, according to new observations posted on the Food and Drug Administration website Thursday. These conditions were observed during inspections of the facility that took place between September 17 and October 16.

Federal investigators determined that between June 2009 and August 2012, Sunland cleared - and in some cases distributed - peanut or almond butter products from 11 different lots, even though internal testing showed the presence of the salmonella bacteria.
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Makers of diabetes drug will pay $90 million
November 15th, 2012
06:26 PM ET

Makers of diabetes drug will pay $90 million

GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturer of the diabetes drug Avandia, will pay tens of millions of dollars to resolve allegations that the company unlawfully promoted its drug.

In February 2010, a 334-page report by the Senate Finance Committee claimed that the drug was linked with tens of thousands of heart attacks and that GlaxoSmithKline knew of the risks for years but worked to keep them from the public. At the time, GlaxoSmithKline rejected any assertions that the drug is not safe.

"On November 15, 2012, GSK entered into a settlement with 37 states and the District of Columbia over allegations regarding the sales and promotion of Avandia. GSK has agreed to pay $90 million to be divided among the 37 states and the District of Columbia," Bernadette King, a U.S.-based spokeswoman for the company, said in a statement.

"With regards to Avandia, we firmly believe we acted responsibly in conducting the clinical trial program, in marketing the medicine, in monitoring its safety once it was approved for use and in updating information in the medicine's labeling as new information became available," she wrote.
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Diabetes diagnoses increasing at alarming rate
November 15th, 2012
01:42 PM ET

Diabetes diagnoses increasing at alarming rate

The odds are increasing that you or someone you know has Type 2 diabetes. The latest Morbidity and Mortality report (MMWR) released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that from 1995 to 2010, there was at least a 100% increase in the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes cases in 18 states. Forty-two states saw an increase of at least 50%.

"Even when you know that [the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes] is increasing, to see that level of increase was shocking to me," says Linda Geiss, a statistician with CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation and the lead author of the MMWR.

"It was the 100% figure. 100% – that's a large increase."

Predictably, states in the South where obesity levels have also steadily increased had some of the highest increases in diabetes. Oklahoma topped the list with an increase of 226%, followed by Kentucky with 158%, Georgia with 145%, Alabama with 140% and the state of Washington with 135%.
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Filed under: CDC • Conditions • Diabetes • Obesity

Anti-smoking laws spreading in large cities
November 15th, 2012
12:01 PM ET

Anti-smoking laws spreading in large cities

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that significant strides have been made in enacting anti-smoking laws across the United States, but still areas of the country remain that are largely lacking in protective measures against second-hand smoke.

Back in 2000, only one of America's 50 largest cities had laws that prevented people from smoking in bars, restaurants and private workplaces. In 2012, 30 of them were covered by anti-smoking laws, representing a 60% increase.

Also in 2000, there were no states with statewide anti-smoking policies of this nature. By 2010, there were 26 states.

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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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