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Teens trying potentially dangerous vaping method called ‘dripping’

Tue, 02/07/2017 - 08:33

One-quarter of American teens who have experienced e-cigarettes have also tried a potentially dangerous vaping method called “dripping,” a new substance abuse behavior study revealed.

The potentially dangerous vaping method of dripping involves dropping liquid nicotine directly onto the e-cigarette’s hot coils to produce thicker and more flavorful smoke.

Dripping is drastically different from normal vaping that slowly releases the liquid. Dripping may expose users to higher levels of nicotine as well as to harmful non-nicotine toxins, like acetaldehyde and formaldehyde, which are carcinogens.

Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin, a Yale professor of psychiatry who led the study, said, “When people smoke cigarettes, they say they smoke it for, for lack of a better word, a tingling in the back of the throat … The teen brain has been shown especially sensitive to nicotine.”

Sixty-four per cent of the surveyed high school teens revealed that used dripping to get thicker smoke, 39 per cent said they did so for getting better flavor and 28 per cent said they did that for the stronger throat hit or sensation.

The researchers reported their findings in the most recent edition (Feb. 6th) of the journal Pediatrics.

General: HealthResearch

South Korea confirms foot-&-mouth disease at dairy farm

Mon, 02/06/2017 - 09:10

South Korean authorities have confirmed that a cow bred at a farm in North Chungcheong Province has been tested positive for foot-&-mouth disease (FMD).

According to a statement released by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs, the confirmed case of FMD was detected at a dairy farm in Boeun county, around 170 kilometers southeast of Seoul.

Taking a precautionary step to prevent the disease from spreading further, authorities ordered culling of all the 195 cows that were raised at the farm.

It is not the first time that the agriculture ministry of South Korea has confirmed an outbreak of FMD. Previously, a case was discovered at a hog farm in the south part of the Chungcheong Province in March 2016.

The outbreak comes as South Korea, the fourth largest economy in Asia, has been grappling with a countrywide spread of virulent bird flu virus that was first detected in November 2016, prompting authorities to cull more than 33 million farm birds.

Authorities will soon hold a meeting to discuss further measures to contain the spread of the disease, including an absolute ban on movements by livestock as well as people who spent time at farms in North Chungcheong.

General: HealthRegion: South Korea

Altria trying to figure out if recalled tobacco products were tampered with

Sat, 02/04/2017 - 07:17

Altria Group Inc., one of the world's largest producers and marketers of tobacco, cigarettes and related products, announced on Friday that it was working with government authorities to determine if it's recently recalled smokeless tobacco products were tampered with.

Earlier this week, Altria issued a voluntary recall for some of its smokeless tobacco products after more than half a dozen consumers complained that they found sharp metal objects in some cans.

The recall of smokeless tobacco products involved certain cans made in the company's Franklin Park, Illinois, facility. The company said there might be a deliberate, malicious act by someone familiar with the quality and safety procedures at its manufacturing facility in Illinois.

Confirming the ongoing investigation, Altria said, "We believe this was a deliberate, malicious act by an individual or individuals familiar with the quality and safety procedures at its Franklin Park, IL facility."

The tobacco giant is retrieving recalled products from wholesale, retail as well as individual consumers. Smokeless tobacco products made at a separate facility aren't affected by the recall.

General: HealthCompanies: Altria

President Trump takes Hair Loss Drug Propecia: Physician

Fri, 02/03/2017 - 18:38

President Donald Trump’s physician Dr. Harold N. Bornstein has revealed in a recent New York Times interview about the drugs he takes for hair loss and rosacea. Dr. Bornstein informed that he hasn’t had any contact with Mr. Trump after he became President. During the elections, health issues of President Trump became an election issue but his doctor gave him a certificate of perfect health to lead the country.

Dr. Bornstein informed that Trump takes propecia for hair loss and the medication has helped his condition. Additionally, Dr. Bornstein informed that President Trump also takes medication for rosacea. He also takes regular dosage of aspirin to reduce his risk of health disease.

Propecia is a popular medication for hair loss. It is a low-intensity dosage of finasteride that is prescribed to men with enlarged prostate glands. It is usually sold under the brand name Proscar. The drug blocks the body's production of male hormones.

Propecia was approved by the U.S. FDA in year 1997 for male pattern baldness. The low-cost dosage of finasteride is only allowed for men. The FDA hasn’t permitted propecia for women or children.

Regarding the interview with New York Times, a senior White House official has informed that Dr. Bornstein wasn’t having President Trump’s permission to talk about his health.

During elections, Dr. Bornstein gave the certificate of good health to President Trump. He said, "If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency."

Regarding the possible side effects of Propecia, pharmaceutical company Merck says, “Patients taking the drug should promptly notify their doctor if they experience changes in their breasts, rash, itching, hives, swelling of the face or hands, or difficulty breathing or swallowing.”

As per reports, “The FDA-approved pill has been called into question, with emerging research and a slew of lawsuits suggesting that finasteride may be more dangerous than previously believed. Users report that its side effects — inability to orgasm, painful erections, chronic depression, insomnia, brain fog, and suicidal thoughts — can last long after patients stop taking the pill.”

Region: United StatesGeneral: FeaturedHealthPeople: Donald Trump

Doctors, nurses urge Cleveland Clinic system to cut ties to Trump

Fri, 02/03/2017 - 08:52

Hundreds of medical professionals and students have urged the Cleveland Clinic hospital system to cut its ties to President Donald Trump in light of his controversial executive order that has banned people from some Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

A large number of physicians, nurses and students signed an open letter yesterday pleading with the hospital system to publicly condemn the executive order that banned immigration from seven countries. They urged the system to use its influence to protect medical professionals from forced banishment.

They also urged the system to cancel a fundraiser scheduled for later this month at President Trump’s Palm Beach, Fla.-based Mar-a-Lago resort.

The open letter reads, “Through this action you are supporting a president who has, in his first ten days in office, reinstated the global gag rule, weakened the Affordable Care Act, fast-tracked construction of both the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines through legally protected native lands, and banned legal U.S. residents from majority-Muslim countries.”

Cleveland Clinic spokesperson Eileen Sheil said the hospital system is incredibly proud of its highly diverse workforce as well as patient population. But, Sheil indicated that the planned fundraiser could not be cancelled because the sole purpose of the event is to raise funds for important research.

General: HealthResearchCompanies: Cleveland

Healthy Indiana Plan seeks extension until Jan. 31, 2021

Thu, 02/02/2017 - 08:59

As U.S. President Donald Trump and Republican Congressmen are pushing ahead with their plan to repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Vice President Mike Pence’s home state of Indiana on Tuesday sought to extend a regulatory waiver and funding for the healthcare program for the next many years.

Indiana requested the Trump administration to allow it to extend its package of incentives & penalties intended to encourage low-income Medicaid families to adopt healthful behaviors until Jan. 31, 2021.

Under the state program, beneficiaries have to pay premiums for getting health savings accounts. They can lose their benefits in case they miss payments.

V.P. Pence is now in support of the idea to repeal ACA, which is also known as Obamacare, but the Healthy Indiana Plan that he had launched in 2015 as the state’s governor has provided Medicaid coverage to more than 350,000 residents.

In its request, Indiana said continuing the Medicaid expansion would cost it an estimated $1.5 billion but it would bring it $8.6 billion in federal funding from 2018 to 2020.

Gov. Eric Holcomb, a Republican, said, “Indiana has built a program that is delivering real results in a responsible, efficient, and effective way. I look forward to maintaining the flexibility to grow this remarkably successful tool and to preserve our ability to respond to the unique needs of Hoosiers.”

Indiana’s request demonstrates how even Republican-controlled states that expanded their Medicaid health programs under the ACA have become dependant on additional federal dollars to pay for those expansions.

General: HealthPeople: Mike Pence

Researchers find link between air pollution and Alzheimer’s disease

Wed, 02/01/2017 - 09:40

Exposure to diesel soot and other sorts of fine-particle pollutants in the air may significantly increase the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study.

Led by Dr. Jiu-Chiuan Chen of USC, a team of researchers found that elderly women living in parts of the U.S. where fine-particle air pollution surpassed federal health standards were roughly twice as likely to suffer dementia and the Alzheimer’s disease.

Women with high genetic predisposition for the Alzheimer’s disease faced an even higher risk, a 263 per cent higher risk for the devastating disease, than others.

The researchers also warned against the Trump administration’s potential actions against existing environmental regulations, which may soon come under heavy fire.

Speaking on the topic, Chen warned, “If people in the current administration are trying to reduce the cost of treating diseases, including dementia, then they should know that relaxing the Clean Air Act regulations will do the opposite.”

If findings of the new study hold up in the general population, air pollution could be responsible for nearly 21 per cent of overall dementia cases.

The researchers reported their findings in the latest (Jan. 31st) edition of the journal Translational Psychiatry.

General: HealthResearch

BMA asks medical staff not to use term ‘expectant mother’

Tue, 01/31/2017 - 08:46

The British Medical Association (BMA), a prominent group representing medical professionals in Great Britain, has instructed its staff not to use the term “expectant mother” as it may offend transgender and intersex patients.

The BMA asked medical professionals to instead use the term “pregnant people” for transgender and intersex people. The guidelines, published in a fourteen-page booklet titled “A Guide To Effective Communication: Inclusive Language In The Workplace,” is part of the association’s effort to battle stigma and discrimination that often keep transgender and non-binary individuals from receiving health care.

The internal document reads, “Gender inequality is reflected in traditional ideas … large majority of people that have been pregnant or have given birth identified as women. We can include intersex men and transmen who may get pregnant by saying 'pregnant people' instead of 'expectant mothers'.”

Under the new guidelines, medical staff members in the network have also been instructed to call anyone who is biologically male or female as “assigned male or female.”

The workplace guidelines are expected to influence doctors and other medical staff to adopt a more inclusive attitude toward patients as well as one other. Experts have welcomed the move, saying the changing terminology is a positive thing for everyone.

General: HealthCompanies: BMA

France bans unlimited soda refills to fight obesity

Mon, 01/30/2017 - 08:25

Pushing ahead with their fight against obesity, French authorities have officially banned unlimited refills of sugary drinks across the nation.

Starting Jan. 27th, any restaurant that will offer unlimited soda refills to customers will be prosecuted by government authorities. The new measure against obesity comes nearly five years after the nation slapped a tax on sweetened beverages.

France’s decision is in line with the recommendations of the WHO, which has strongly recommended nations to impose a tax on sugary beverages to fight increasing obesity rates and support its health policy.

The Fiscal Policies for Diet & Prevention of Non-communicable Diseases states, “A meta-review … showed that the evidence was strongest and most consistent for the effectiveness of SSB taxes in the range of 20-50 percent in reducing consumption, and of fruit and vegetable subsidies in the range of 10-30 percent in increasing consumption.”

In 2004, French authorities put a ban on vending machines in school canteens. Earlier in 2011, they restricted the servings of french fries to once per week in schools.

France’s obesity rate was 15.3 per cent in 2014, below the EU average of 15.9 per cent. Among the European nations, Malta has the highest obesity rate at 26 per cent, while Romania has the oldest obesity rate at 9.4 per cent.

General: HealthRegion: France

Trump administration moves make climate scientists anxious

Sun, 01/29/2017 - 05:35

The Trump administration’s moves in the recent past have triggered concerns among climate scientists, who worry that the new federal government could suppress climate change research and conceal facts.

Dr. Georges Benjamin was scheduled to speak at the opening session of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s climate & health conference, which was planned to discuss the health effects of climate change. But, just ahead of the Trump administration’s inauguration, he was informed that the conference had been cancelled.

Like many other federal agencies, employees in the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) were recently asked to keep silent and not to share anything with the public without prior approval.

Sharon Drumm, chief of staff at the agency, “Starting immediately and until further notice, ARS will not release any public-facing documents. This includes, but is not limited to, news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds and social media content.”

Republican President Trump is a vocal skeptic of the notion that industrial activity is warming our planet, a position held by 97 per cent of the world’s climate scientists. He has repeatedly called the notion a ‘hoax’ created by China to undermine the Unites States’ economy.

General: HealthPeople: Donald Trump

FDA urges parents not to use belladonna-containing teething tablets

Sat, 01/28/2017 - 05:45

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday advised parents not use Hyland’s homeopathic teething tablets that contain a toxic substance called belladonna.

Belladonna, which commonly known as deadly nightshade, is a potentially dangerous toxic substance that can affect the health of infants.

Los Angeles-based Standard Homeopathic Co., the producer of Hyland’s, has already discontinued the belladonna-containing products.

Discontinuing the products on Oct. 7, the company said, “We discontinued it because we are committed to our moms and our dads who choose to trust us to put medicines in their young infants' mouths, and we didn't want to put them in a place between the FDA warning and us saying the product was safe.”

Homeopathic teething tablets containing belladonna, which provide temporary relief to infants growing their first teeth, have been around in the United States since the early 1900s.

The FDA originally warned against the tablets in 2010 after a study showed that they contained belladonna in inconsistent amounts. Since then, the federal agency has received hundreds of reports of adverse events, such as seizures and some infant deaths, linked to teething products.

General: HealthCompanies: FDA

Medieval skeleton offers clues to history of leprosy

Fri, 01/27/2017 - 08:15

An analysis of a skeleton unearthed from a burial site in the U.K. has revealed clues to the history of infectious disease of leprosy, researchers reported.

The skeleton was unearthed during an excavation of the medieval site of Winchester, England-based St. Mary Magdalen hospital cemetery and chapel. Radiocarbon dating of the skeleton revealed that it was buried sometime during the late 11th or early 12th Century.

Scientific detective work suggested that the remained belonged to a male religious pilgrim who might have caught leprosy during his travels. The analysis also allowed researchers to genotype the disease.

The study also revealed that leprosy-causing bacteria have slightly changed over hundreds of years, probably explaining the decline in the devastating disease after it peaked in medieval Europe and humans gradually developed resistance to it.

However, the 2F strain lineage that was genotyped by the researchers is still linked with some cases in regions like south-central and western Asia. Though the disease continues to occur, it was removed as a public health issue in 2000, which means that it affects less than one case per 10,000 individuals.

Leprosy, which primarily affects the patient’s skin, eyes and nerves, is now totally curable with multidrug therapy, which the World Health Organization (WHO) has been distributing for free since 1995.

Companies: WHOGeneral: HealthRegion: United Kingdom

Cervical cancer even deadlier to U.S. women than doctors previously thought

Thu, 01/26/2017 - 08:19

The disease of cervical cancer is even deadlier to American women than health experts previously thought, with African-American women being at particularly higher risk, according to a new study.

According to the study, most women get cervical cancer from HPV (human papillomavirus) infection, which is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States. As per an estimate by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), more than 11,000 women in the nation are diagnosed with cervical cancer annually.

Laura Kilpatrick, a cervical cancer survivor, said she was 29 years old and was flying back to her home in Greensboro from her honeymoon when she first realized something went wrong.

Sharing her unpleasant experience, Kilpatrick said, "I was soaked in blood, and a week later, a doctor diagnosed me with cervical caner . I don't think that you can put into words that feeling of what that news is like."

However, there are some ways to avoid the potentially deadly disease, and the Gardasil vaccine is one of them. Doctors recommend boys and girls receive their first three Gardasil shots at age of 11 or 12 years. But, one can receive vaccinate up to age of 26 years.

The alarming findings of the new study were published earlier this week, as January is being observed as the Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.

General: HealthResearch

FDA grants priority review for Genentech’s Actemra to treat GCA

Wed, 01/25/2017 - 08:50

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has reportedly accepted Genentech’s supplemental biologics license application and has granted priority review for Actemra for the treatment of patients with giant cell arteritis (GCA).
GCA is a chronic and potentially life-threatening autoimmune condition, for which there has been no new treatment in more than five decades.

Dr. Sandra Horning, chief medical officer and head of the global product development division at Genentech, said that the positive outcome demonstrated the company’s commitment to helping needy patients.

Announcing the FDA’s decision, Horning said, “This positive outcome in [giant cell arteritis] GCA, a condition for which there have been no new treatments in more than 50 years, demonstrates Genentech’s commitment to helping patients with unmet needs.

The positive outcome is based on the results of the phase 3 GiACTA research of 251 patients that showed Actemra combined with glucocorticoid led to sustained remission of GCA as compared with a steroid taper regimen alone.

Horning stressed that they would continue to work closely with the federal agency to bring the investigational medicine to individuals with GCA at the earliest possible.

General: HealthCompanies: FDA

Burnt toast, roasted potatoes can cause cancer: FSA

Tue, 01/24/2017 - 06:06

The U.K. Food Standards Agency (FSA) has launched a campaign to warn people about increased risk of cancer linked to eating burnt toast, over-roasted potatoes or other starchy foods cooked at high temperatures.

The campaign, launched on Monday, is based on longstanding evidence from various animal studies conducted in the past. Though it is yet to be proved in human studies, many health experts have warned that overcooked starchy foods, such as over-roasted potatoes, can increase risk of cancer due to high levels of a compound called acrylamide.

The acrylamide compound makes foods like bread and potatoes turn golden in color when the foods is baked, fried toasted or roasted. Formed from simple sugars like glucose, acrylamide reacts with an amino acid called asparagine, when starchy foods are cooked at temperatures higher than 120 degrees Celsius. It may be noted here that amino acid asparagine is found naturally in such starchy foods.

If you cook a starchy cooked for too long at high temperatures, these foods simply turn from golden to brown and finally black in color. In the process, they produce higher-than-accepted levels of acrylamide, which increases the risk of cancer.

Steve Wearne, the director of policy at the FSA, said in a statement, “Our research indicates that the majority of people are not aware that acrylamide exists, or that they might be able to reduce their personal intake.”

The Food Standards Agency’s newly launched “Go for Gold” campaign urges people to cook their foods only until gold, and not to let food to turn darker in color. The main aim of the campaign is to raise awareness among the public.

Companies: FSAGeneral: HealthRegion: United Kingdom

Trump injects further uncertainty into unsettled insurance landscape

Mon, 01/23/2017 - 09:06

U. S. President Donald Trump's executive order pertaining to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which he signed just hours after being sworn into office, injected further uncertainty into the nation's already fragile health insurance market.

Through his first executive order, Trump instructed federal agencies to grant relief to ACA-affected constituencies. It was a clear signal that Trump's administration wants to move swiftly to unwind the maximum possible elements of ACA on its own even before the Republican-led Congress acts to repeal the 2010 health insurance law.

Robert Laszewski, the president of a consulting firm called Health Policy & Strategy Associates, called Trump's executive order a "bomb" on the nation's already frail insurance market.

Speaking on the topic, Laszewski said, "Instead of sending a signal that there's going to be an orderly transition, they've sent a signal that it's going to be a disorderly transition. How does the Trump administration think this is not going to make the situation worse?"

Over the past many years, ACA has changed how 20 million people in the nation get health coverage and what type of benefits health insurers must offer to their customers. But, Trumps has been a vocal opponent of the law. During his election campaign last year, he repeatedly vowed to repeal the law if he would be elected to power.

Experts say Trump's executive order, coupled with his recent comments about moving quickly to repeal and replace the ACA, will pressurize Republican lawmakers to act faster than they might have originally planned.

General: HealthPeople: Donald Trump

Fla. bill aims to make it easier for doctors to order marijuana treatment for patients

Sun, 01/22/2017 - 05:29

A Florida senator recently released the state legislature’s first attempt to conduct a constitutional amendment that legalized sale and use of medical marijuana.
Sen. Rob Bradley’s proposal (SB 406) calls for an increasing number of marijuana licenses to make it easier for physicians to order the marijuana treatment for patients in need.

The measure surfaced days after state health officials published proposed regulations to implement the constitutional amendment that enjoyed more than 71 per cent endorsement from state voters in November last year.

Under Bradley’s proposal, Florida could get another twenty marijuana operators or dispensing organizations once the number of registered patients hits 500,000. Currently, the state has only 7 licensed marijuana dispensing organizations.

Ben Pollara, who managed the campaign of the political committee that supported Amendment 2 in November, welcomed the proposal, calling it a “good start” towards implementing the approved constitutional amendment.

Commenting on the proposal, Pollara said, “It’s a good start toward implementing both the letter and the spirit of the constitutional amendment. I appreciate the fact that Sen. Bradley's bill actually respects that we're implementing a constitutional amendment here.”

Many states, including Michigan Maine, Florida and California, have legalized medical marijuana. In California, where medical marijuana revolution started in 1996, more than 720,000 individuals out of 39 million have been issued medical marijuana cards.

General: HealthRegion: Florida

California reports first child death from flu

Sat, 01/21/2017 - 08:00

California public health officials on Friday reported the first death of a child in this year’s flu season, and warned that it could be a much more relentless flu season than that of last year’s.

Dr. Karen Smith, the chief of the California Public Health Department (CPHD), said in a statement that this year’s flu season has already claimed a total of 14 lives of people under the age of 65. The figure is notably larger than three deaths recorded by the same time in 2015.

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles’ Dr. Michael Neely warned that the number of flu-related illnesses and deaths could continue to soar for the next few weeks.

Referring to the child’s death, CPHD said, “This is a tragic reminder that the flu is a serious illness for people of all ages and kills thousands of Americans each year … If it keeps going up at this rate and stays up then we will see a lot more cases this year.”

The rate of hospitalization for flu-related illnesses in the state is at its highest level in more than a decade, excluding 2009’s H1N1 epidemic that caused awfully widespread illnesses. The Golden State has thus far seen 83 flu-related outbreaks, nearly twice as many as in a typical year.

Flu is a common viral infection but it can be deadly in high-risk groups, such as children and the elderly. Common symptoms include fever, chills, cough, runny nose, muscle aches, headache and fatigue.

General: HealthRegion: California

Many beauty companies use harmful ingredients & then support cancer research: Paltrow

Fri, 01/20/2017 - 08:59

A number of American manufacturers of beauty products use harmful ingredients and then set up charities to support research in the field of breast, cervical and ovarian cancers, actress Gwyneth Paltrow alleged in her new wellness book.

In her “Goop Clean Beauty,” Paltrow claims to have offered the ultimate guide to gain and maintain beauty. It is totally different from ridiculous beauty procedures (vaginal steaming etc) that the actress suggested in the past.

Appearing genuinely passionate about transforming the massive cosmetics industry for the better, Paltrow claimed that she and her Goop team introduced the new book to help people to look and feel beautiful.

In the foreword, Paltrow said, “We find it ironic that many of the U.S.'s biggest beauty companies use ingredients that are known to be harmful and then set up foundations and charities to support breast, cervical and ovarian cancer research.”

Goop’s editors suggest that the best way to jump-start the journey to optimal health s to detox, and it is possible by significantly easing the load by consuming the right food. Any food items that can cause inflammation should be removed form diet.

The new wellness book teaches a tough lesson. It stresses that it is almost impossible to escape toxins, but one can learn to spot it and get rid of it using the right approach.

General: HealthPeople: Gwyneth Paltrow

Zoo Miami’s matriarch gorilla Josephine dies

Thu, 01/19/2017 - 08:12

Zoo Miami's matriarch gorilla named Josephine was euthanized Wednesday morning as she was suffering for several untreatable health issues, zoo authorities have confirmed.

Announcing the nearly 50-year-old great ape's death, zoo authorities write on social media that they decided to euthanize Josephine as her several health issues had slowly incapacitated her and couldn't be treated with positive results because of her advanced age.

In a fresh post on Twitter, the zoo wrote, "With very heavy hearts we announce the loss of our matriarch gorilla, Josephine."

Josephine, who was grandmother to the internet-sensation Harambe, took birth in the wild in March 1967 and had been brought to Zoo Miami in March 1983.

At the zoo, she gave birth to her first offspring, a male gorilla named Moja, in the year of 1984. Moja was the first gorilla to born at the zoo.

Moja was later moved to Texas-based Gladys Porter Zoo, where he fathered a number of gorillas. Of his sons, Harambe, gained worldwide attention in 2016 when a zookeeper at the Cincinnati Zoo shot him to protect a child that had fallen in his enclosure.

General: HealthRegion: Miami

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