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Concerns about generic painkillers increase
December 14th, 2012
11:21 AM ET

Concerns about generic painkillers increase

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.

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December 12th, 2012
12:39 PM ET

From 58 pounds to thriving: One woman's story

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.  This week we introduce you to Chelsea Roff, who had a stroke at 15 brought on by her severe anorexia. At the time she arrived at Children's Medical Center Dallas, she weighed 58 pounds. Now 23, Roff is a writer, speaker and yoga instructor. Portions of this article were originally published in the book 21st Century Yoga: Culture Politics and Practice and on Intent Blog, where Roff is managing editor.

The first emotion I remember is rage. It was a violent, fire-in-your-veins, so angry-you-could-kill-someone kind of rage. I wanted out. I wanted the pain to be over. I wanted to die. I was mad at myself for not having the courage to just do it quickly, angry at the hospital staff for thwarting my masked attempt.

I was convinced that I was “meant to” endure this, that my long, drawn-out starving to death would prove my willpower to God. In the days prior to my stroke, I’d had vivid hallucinations — of Jesus on a wooden cross outside my bedroom window and a satanic figure sneaking up under my bedroom covers to suffocate me at night. I thought I was meant to be a martyr. I thought God wanted me to die. FULL POST


December 11th, 2012
02:57 PM ET

HIV helps put girl's leukemia in remission

An experimental treatment in which researchers reengineer a patient's own immune system to attack cancer cells seems to have worked in a 7-year old girl named Emma Whitehead. The acute lymphoblastic leukemia that almost claimed Whitehead's life is now in remission.

Whitehead received the treatment, called T-cell immunotherapy, in April. First doctors drew Whitehead's blood, separated out white blood cells called T-cells, and then, using a disabled AIDS virus to transmit genetic material, made the T-cells capable of identifying and attacking leukemia cells.

Finally, the genetically modified T-cells were transfused back into Whitehead, where they went to work wiping out her leukemia to below the level of detection, a process that can itself be deadly. FULL POST


Doctors urged to intervene, prevent youth smoking
December 11th, 2012
11:50 AM ET

Doctors urged to intervene, prevent youth smoking

Primary care physicians should offer children and teens counseling and guidance to prevent them from starting smoking, according to draft guidelines issued by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).

That’s a change from the group's 2003 guidelines, which found insufficient evidence to recommend for or against doctors taking actions to thwart tobacco use among younger patients.

Since then, “there were a bunch of new studies that were published throughout the last nine years that do point to a positive effect by primary physicians in their efforts to prevent tobacco initiation by kids,” explained USPSTF member Dr. David C. Grossman, a practicing pediatrician at the Group Health Cooperative in Seattle, Washington. FULL POST


Oxygen deprivation in utero linked to ADHD
New research shows a potential link between ADHD and decreased oxygen in utero or at the time of birth.
December 10th, 2012
04:29 PM ET

Oxygen deprivation in utero linked to ADHD

A study published in this week’s Pediatrics finds that infants who experienced oxygen deprivation in utero are at an increased risk of developing attention-deficit (hyperactivity) disorder in childhood.

Prenatal exposure to oxygen deprivation conditions, known as ischemic-hypoxic conditions, can result from birth asphyxia, neonatal respiratory distress syndrome and preeclampsia.

Researchers went through the medical records of nearly 82,000 children between the ages of 5 and 11 and found that children who had experienced those conditions were 16% more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD later in childhood. FULL POST


Overeating in children may be linked to drug use
December 10th, 2012
02:49 PM ET

Overeating in children may be linked to drug use

Do bad nutrition habits like overeating or binge eating lead to smoking pot? Some health experts think they might, according to a study published Monday.

Habits like overeating have always been known to affect our health, nutritionists say.  In some cases, people say they lose control and just can’t stop. Now scientists are finding that both habits and that feeling of lacking control may lead to other health issues.

Researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital studied a group of 16,882 boys and girls between the ages of 9 and 15 who participated in the Growing Up Today Study, beginning in 1996. From that time to 2005, investigators sent out questionnaires every 12 to 24 months, asking if these children were overeating or binge eating. Binge eating was defined as eating an amount of food that is larger than most people would eat in the same time span under similar circumstances and feeling a lack of control over eating during that time. Overeating did not have to be connected to loss of control.

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New prenatal genetic test gives parents more answers
A new genetic test can identify potential developmental delays in a fetus or determine why a pregnancy failed, researchers say.
December 6th, 2012
04:41 PM ET

New prenatal genetic test gives parents more answers

New applications of a genetic test could help parents learn more about the genetics of their unborn children.

Three studies released Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine highlight the use of microarray testing as the latest technology in chromosome analysis.  Researchers suggest using this test to identify potential intellectual disabilities, developmental delays, autism and congenital abnormalities as well as determining why a pregnancy failed.

During pregnancy a number of tests are suggested by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists based on the mother's age, medical history or ethnic or family background, along with results of other tests. Chromosomal microarray analysis is a genetic test that finds small amounts of genetic material that traditional testing such as karyotyping cannot detect.

The genetic material is obtained during a regular amniocentesis (where small amounts of amniotic fluid and cells are taken from the sac surrounding the fetus and tested during the second trimester of pregnancy) or another commonly used test called CVS, or chorionic villus sampling (where a small amount of cells is taken from the placenta during the first trimester).  FULL POST


December 5th, 2012
03:01 PM ET

Anti-cancer champion coach beats his own cancer

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.  This week we introduce you to Brigham Young University Men's Basketball Coach Dave Rose.   For the past two decades, he has been involved with a group called Coaches vs. Cancer. Being part of this group took on a whole new meaning for Rose over the past three years.  

In June of 2009, my wife and I went on vacation with our children and grandchildren to Disneyland.  At that time, I was very intense about my job, so my wife will say she had to drag me away from my team and coaching.  I'm so glad she did.  We had a wonderful time.  It was the perfect vacation with my whole family.

After Disneyland, things for me took a turn.  I became very sick on a flight from California to Las Vegas, and when we landed I was taken by ambulance to Spring Valley Hospital.  A CT scan showed there was a mass in my abdomen, so the doctors went in and removed it along with my spleen and part of my pancreas.  The next day they told us it was pancreatic cancer. FULL POST

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Filed under: Cancer • Conditions • Human Factor • Living Well

Breath test could detect colorectal cancer
December 5th, 2012
12:01 PM ET

Breath test could detect colorectal cancer

The death rate for colorectal cancer has been dropping for more than 20 years, thanks in part to improved screening methods, according to the American Cancer Society. Yet it is still the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths for men and women combined in the United States.

Colonoscopy screenings can prevent about two-thirds of colorectal cancers from developing by detecting precancerous polyps, said Dr. Ted Gansler, director of medical content for ACS.  The ACS recommends men and women over the age of 50 should have a colonoscopy once every 10 years or a yearly fecal blood test.

“Unfortunately, only about half of people age 50 and older in the U.S. are up-to-date on their testing for colorectal cancer,” Gansler said.

Dr. Donato Altomare and his colleagues hope to change that.  The researchers have completed a small clinical trial on a breath test that screens for colorectal cancer using volatile organic compounds.  The results of their study were published this week in the British Journal of Surgery.
FULL POST


Pesticides in tap water, produce linked to food allergies
December 4th, 2012
01:59 PM ET

Pesticides in tap water, produce linked to food allergies

Pesticides in produce and drinking water may be playing a role in the increasing prevalence of food allergies, according to a new study.

Researchers looked at 2,211 people and found those in the top 25% for urine concentrations of chemical dichlorophenols - used to chlorinate tap water and keep pests off produce - were also 80% more likely to have a food allergy.

"Adults can develop food allergies even though they're not kids anymore," says allergist and study author Dr. Elina Jerschow. "Adult allergies to foods are on the rise. That certainly includes shellfish and fish allergies, but also peanuts. We don't know what influences this development. But having been exposed to dichlorophenols in our study suggests there could be some link." FULL POST


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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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