December 31st, 2012
11:10 AM ET
Medicare patients are but another segment of the population that have to worry about the country going over the so-called fiscal cliff.
Doctors at Virginia Heart, a practice of 35 physicians in nine Northern Virginia locations, say they might have to turn away new Medicare patients after the first of the year.
That's because a nearly 30% cut across the board in Medicare reimbursement to doctors goes into effect if we go over the cliff. Virginia Heart, the largest cardiovascular group in the Washington Metropolitan area, says its doctors simply cannot afford a 30% decrease in pay.
December 14th, 2012
11:21 AM ET
The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy recently sent an alert to law enforcement, particularly along the Canadian border, warning them that Canada had approved non-abuse resistant generic versions of oxycodone, the active ingredient in OxyContin, Percocet and about 40 other painkillers.
"ONDCP expects companies will begin offering these generics without the abuse-resistant features in Canadian pharmacies within the next month," according to the alert.
The letter warned of the potential for these generics to show up here in the United States, where they are no longer available.
December 3rd, 2012
02:52 PM ET
If you haven't received your flu shot yet, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says now is the time to make sure you're protected. The agency says flu season is ramping up early this year - for the first time in almost a decade.
According to CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden, H3N2 is the predominant strain this year. It's generally associated with a severe flu season. "The strains we are seeing suggest this could be a bad flu year," Frieden said. "But this year's vaccine is an excellent match with the influenza that's circulating."
November 20th, 2012
02:17 PM ET
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
November 19th, 2012
05:03 PM ET
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.
November 16th, 2012
01:00 PM ET
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.
November 12th, 2012
09:02 AM ET
If your child gets recurring headaches and you think they might need glasses, you may be mistaken - a new study says children's headaches are rarely triggered by vision problems.
The study, presented Monday at the American Academy of Ophthalmology's annual meeting, was conducted by researchers at the ophthalmology clinic of Albany Medical Center in New York. They evaluated medical records of nearly 160 children under the age of 18 who were being seen at the clinic for frequent headaches.
October 24th, 2012
03:26 PM ET
A federal advisory committee is recommending all pregnant women be immunized for pertussis or whooping cough.
The Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP) for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention met Wednesday and voted 14 to 0, with one abstention, to recommend health care providers begin immunizations programs for Tdap. This is a vaccine that provides protection against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough).
The committee says the vaccine should be administered during each pregnancy in the late second or third trimester (27 to 36 weeks gestation), regardless of whether the patient has had Tdap in the past. If that's not possible, the mother should receive the vaccine immediately after childbirth or before leaving the hospital or birthing center. Jennifer Liang, a member of the ACIP pertussis vaccine working group, told the committee the vaccine is very safe in all trimesters and could be given at any time during pregnancy.
October 17th, 2012
04:47 PM ET
More than 20 million people with tuberculosis (TB) are living today because of successful care and treatment, according to a new report by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The WHO's Global Tuberculosis Report 2012 found that access to care has been expanded significantly and over the last 17 years, 51 million people have been cured of the disease worldwide. The number of new cases has been on the decline for the last few years. Since 1990, the TB mortality rate decreased 41%, but the news is still mixed.
October 2nd, 2012
09:43 AM ET
President Obama's Affordable Care Act, when fully implemented, will most likely reduce the number of uninsured in every state, age group and income level - a stark contrast to a GOP presidential nominee and Mitt Romney's plan, according to a new report by The Commonwealth Fund, which compares the ACA to Romney's pledge to repeal the law and replace it with more targeted policies.
According to the report, children and low- and middle-income Americans would be hardest-hit if the ACA were repealed. The report found that by the year 2022, with the ACA in place, about 27 million Americans would still be uninsured - a reduction of nearly 33 million people. But with a Romney plan in place, about 72 million will be without coverage, the report projects. By 2022, according to the organization, an estimated 18 million kids under the age of 19 would be without insurance under Romney's plan compared to about 6 million under Obama's plan.
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.