Entries in health (55)


Novartis to Pay $422.5M to Resolve Criminal, Civil Charges

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Drug company Novartis has agreed to pay $422.5 million to resolve criminal and civil charges that it illegally marketed the epilepsy drug Trileptal, as well as other drugs. The company will plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge and pay $185 million in criminal penalties.

A release from the Justice Department notes the DOJ and the Department of Health and Human Services “focused efforts to reduce and prevent Medicare and Medicaid fraud through enhanced cooperation. One of the most powerful tools in that effort is the False Claims Act, which the Justice Department has used to recover approximately $3.445 billion since January 2009 in cases involving fraud against federal health care programs. The Justice Department’s total recoveries in False Claims Act cases since January 2009 have topped $4.595 billion.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Nutritionist Loses Weight on Twinkie and Steak Diet

Photo Courtesy - Interstate Bakeries Corporation/PRN(MANHATTAN, Kan.) -- It's either a kid's dream or a dietician's nightmare: nutritionist Mark Haub ate Twinkies, Nutter Butters, steak, milk, and a multivitamin for a month and lost 15 pounds. Haub, an associate professor of nutrition at Kansas State University, wasn't indulging in this snack cake binge for kicks; rather, he wanted to open a debate for his students: as long as basic nutritional needs are met, is it what you eat, or just how much that counts?

"I knew I could lose weight doing this, but I had no idea what was going to happen to cholesterol. That's why I made it only four weeks because I had no idea how it would affect my health," he says.

Haub began to feel healthier, had more energy and stopped snoring. Not only did he lose enough weight to drive down his overall cholesterol and BMI, but his good HDL cholesterol crept up two points and his blood glucose -- despite all that cream filling -- dropped 17 percent. The cholesterol changes were a surprise, he says, and he's pleased with the weight loss, but Haub is careful to point out this was an experiment, not an attempt at to create an "optimal diet". He wouldn't advise anyone to try it themselves because the long-term effects of this kind of eating are still unknown.

Diet experts warn the initial changes in Haub's cholesterol and weight could be decieving. Losing 15 pounds will always make you feel healthier, they note, but over time, a diet rich in processed, sugary food is no way to improve health.

"He's not the first person to lose weight on an unhealthy diet. You could eat all chocolate cake and lose weight as long as you didn't eat too much of it. Staying on this diet forever and he'd have some unpleaseant consequences," says Carla Wolper, a researcher at the St. Luke's Hospital Obesity Center.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Crisp Fruits, Veggies Can Help Tame Bad Breath

Photo Courtesy - Getty ImagesThe medical term for it is halitosis, but you don't need to be a doctor to sniff out bad breath. The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day to get rid of the food debris and plaque that often lead to bad breath. But what else can you do? Simple steps, like eating crisp fruits and vegetables, can help stop bad breath. Apples, celery, cucumbers and carrots are natural cleansers, according to One myth is that eating is the cause of bad breath. Eating stimulates saliva, which keeps your breath fresher. The exception would be foods such as onions and garlic, which smell to begin with and will stay on your breath until you brush. Once you cleanse your mouth of them by brushing and flossing, their bad smells are gone.

More Tips to Prevent Bad Breath:

  1. Drink plenty of water.
  2. Maintain good oral hygiene. This includes flossing. Toothbrushes cannot remove bacteria that gets trapped under your gums. Also, be sure to get your teeth cleaned by a dentist twice a year.
  3. Treat existing oral diseases.
  4. Clean your tongue while brushing your teeth.
  5. Use natural antibiotics.
  6. Switch from coffee to tea.
  7. Chew sugarless gum. 

Could LASIK Lead to 'Permanent Vision Problems'?

A former Food and Drug Administration official who helped get the vision correction surgery LASIK approved in the 1990s, but later spoke out against the procedure, is taking his concerns directly to the FDA. Morris Waxler, who is now an independent regulatory consultant, filed a citizens petition Wednesday urging the agency to take steps to stop what he calls "the epidemic of permanent vision problems" caused by LASIK. In the petition, Waxler included data he said is evidence that "LASIK causes persistent vision problems with an overall success rate of less than 50 percent." Waxler said his change of heart came after he retired from the FDA in 2000 and started getting complaints from people who suffered serious side effects from the procedure. Some doctors, however, say while they agree with the estimate that thousands of people have had problems after LASIK surgery, they stress that the vast majority of people are happy after the procedure. "Ninety-nine percent of people who have had LASIK have excellent results," said Dr. Robert Cykiert, clinical associate professor of ophthalmology at NYU Langone Medical Center.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio. Image Courtesy: Getty Images.


Global Cost of Alzheimer's Care Expected to Rise

The global cost of Alzheimer's disease and dementia care is projected to soar in the upcoming years, according to a report released Tuesday by Alzheimer's Disease International, a non-profit international federation of Alzheimer's organizations. Such costs currently account for one percent of the global gross domestic product, or $604 billion and some estimates say the care-related costs will double by 2030.  The report also states that countries including France, Australia and England have adopted national Alzheimer’s disease plans, while the United States has yet to do so.  An estimated 35.6 million people suffer from dementia worldwide.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio. Image courtesy: ABC News

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