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Monday
Sep272010

Study: Breast Cancer Takes Toll on Male Partners

Image Courtesy - ABC NewsThe stress of having a loved one battle cancer can take a toll on the family. Now there is an indication the risk of psychiatric disorders may be higher in spouses of cancer patients. With more than an estimated 200,000 new U.S. breast cancer cases in 2010 alone, the direct and possible indirect effects of the disease are staggering. A new study, conducted in Denmark, screened over a million men over a period of 13 years and focused on the association between breast cancer in women and rates of severe depression in their male partners. The authors found the risk of being hospitalized for a mood disorder including major depression, bipolar disease and other mood-altering conditions was 39 percent higher in men whose partner was diagnosed with breast cancer, and even higher if the partner died of the disease, compared to men with unaffected partners. Men whose partners died from breast cancer were 3.6 times more likely be hospitalized with a mood disorder.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep272010

DEA Pushes New Medication Disposal Initiative To Combat Teen Addiction

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- The Drug Enforcement Agency is urging Americans to safely dispose of their unused, unwanted and expired medications at approximately 4,000 "take back" drop off points set up nationwide.  This new initiative is an effort to thwart one of America's fastest growing drug problems where kids are seeking to get high not from drugs bought in the street, but rather drugs found in their homes.  Laurie Decrescenzo told ABC News she's had several bottles of prescription drugs in her home for nearly 30 years. "I didn't know what to do with them so I just pushed them to the back of my cabinet," Decrescenzo said.  "This effort symbolizes DEA's commitment to halting the disturbing rise in addiction caused by their misuse and abuse," DEA Acting Administrator Michele Leonhart said. The DEA is taking action on the matter after increasing reports have surfaced involving teenage addiction and physical harm stemming from prescription medications found at home.  The DEA is updating its list of drug drop-off points regularly at its website, www.dea.gov, to provide the public with further information on the initiative.  The DEA is updating its list of drug drop-off points regularly at its website, www.dea.gov to provide the public with further information on the initiative.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Sep242010

FDA Looks Into Diabetes Drug 'Actos' For Risk Of Cancer

Photo Courtesy -- ABC News(NEW YORK) -- According to reports by WebMD, The FDA has launched a safety review of the diabetes drug Actos in light of new data suggesting that the drug may increase risk of bladder cancer.  While not considered a serious enough risk to prevent FDA approval, earlier animal and human studies linked Actos to bladder cancer.  As a condition of approval, the FDA insisted that Actos maker Takeda Pharmaceuticals look for bladder cancer in patients taking the drug.  Now five years in to Takeda's 10-year study, the overall data is reassuring.  WebMD urges patients taking Actos that they do not have an increased risk of bladder cancer.  However, when researchers looked only at patients who had taken Actos the longest, and who had accumulated the highest lifetime dose of the drug, they found risk emerged in patients who had taken Actos for at least 24 months.  The FDA stresses that the finding is not proof that Actos causes bladder cancer. WebMD warned that Patients who are taking Actos are advised not to stop taking their medication unless advised to do so by their health care provider.  Concerned patients should discuss the new information with their doctors.  Actos is widely considered to be safer than Avandia, the only other approved diabetes drug in its class. The FDA is currently considering whether Avandia should remain on the market. An FDA expert advisory panel recently split over the issue.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

 

Friday
Sep242010

Study Finds Not as Many Lives Saved by Mammograms

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(OSLO, Norway) -- As the debate rages among experts about whether women are unnecessarily over-screened for breast cancer, a new study may provide more ammunition to suggest frequent mammograms may not increase the chance of survival as much as once thought.

Published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine, the study suggested that mammograms reduce the chance of death by only 10 percent.  Researchers analyzed medical records from more than 40,000 women ages 50 to 69 with breast cancer in Norway and found that mammogram detection of breast cancer was responsible for only one-third of the women who survived.  Researchers said they used data to follow up with each patient after about two years. However, many experts expressed that is not enough time to track whether or not the mammogram helped the patient.

"It takes about seven to ten years to see the full benefit of mammographic screening," said Dr. Therese Bevers, director of the cancer prevention clinic at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.  Dr. Daniel Kopans, director of the breast imaging division at Massachusetts General Hospital, agreed, saying, "No one presents data on breast cancer with only 2.2 years of follow-up."

Annual mammograms are recommended for women starting at age 50, and are thought to reduce the likelihood of dying from breast cancer by 15 to 23 percent, according to the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep232010

Battered Adoptive Parents Give Away Their Out-Of-Control Child

Photo Courtesy -- ABC News(LONG GROVE, Ill.) -- An Illinois family that sent their troubled seven-year-old adoptive daughter, Ellie, to Washington State to live with another family has decided to take their story public.  Craig and Lori Gertz say they adopted the troubled child at birth, unaware of the newborn's exposure to drugs and alcohol in the womb.  Ellie's behavior was said to be become so violent and problematic that the couple's other two children were also at risk.  At three years old, she was diagnosed with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) -- a condition that affects as many children as autism, yet gets a fraction of the medical attention and resources.  Later, the Gertzes found out that Ellie would need more concentrated care in a residential treatment program that would cost $160,000 per year -- a cost they could not afford.  The Gertz family made the difficult decision to enter into a third-party guardianship and hand over full control of Ellie's education and upbringing for a year, when the families involved will then make a final decision about her care.  Lori Gertz, 47, emphasizes that this is not an adoption-gone-wrong story, and that she would adopt again in a heartbeat.  Of giving her child to another family, Gertz said, "I just never, in my life, could imagine even associating with having to let my baby go.  I will always love my Ellie."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Thursday
Sep232010

Similac Recall: Bugs in Baby Formula Worry Parents

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Abbott Laboratories is voluntarily recalling up to 5 million containers of its popular powdered Similac infant formula after finding evidence that beetles had possibly contaminated it.  The company said the recall affects all rectangular plastic tubs of powdered Similac and some 8-ounce, 12.4-ounce and 12.9-ounce cans manufactured in one area of a plant in Sturgis, Michigan, and distributed in the U.S., Guam, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.  Abbott, which initiated the recall after detecting "the remote possibility of the presence of a small common beetle," believes the recalled lots "pose no serious health concern," spokeswoman Raquel Powers said in an interview Thursday.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration determined that "while the formula poses no immediate health risk, there is a possibility that infants who consume formula containing the beetles or their larvae could experience symptoms of gastrointestinal discomfort" and refuse to eat.  Parents should consult a doctor if symptoms persist more than a few days, the agency said.

Cans bearing lot numbers with the following combinations -- T3, RE, 9V, NT -- were unaffected, as were all liquid Similac products, Powers said.  Any containers included in the recall should be returned to the company at no cost to consumers.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep232010

Diabetes Drug Will Be Restricted Due to Heart Risk Concerns

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday it will significantly restrict the use of the diabetes drug rosiglitizone, popularly known as Avandia, after subsequent reviews of the drug suggest a higher risk of heart attack.  The FDA will require stringent monitoring requirements for the drug's manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline, under the agency's Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies.  Under the new restrictions, patients currently taking Avandia will be able to continue doing so, but will have to sign a consent form stating they understand the potential risks involved.  "Patients will only be allowed to use [Avandia] if they acknowledge and document the risk of this drug," said Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, FDA principal deputy commissioner.  Doctors may only consider prescribing Avandia to patients if they have exhausted all other medications, including the drug's market competitor, Actos.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep232010

Less Invasive Heart Valve Op Shows Promise

Image Courtesy: ABC News.(WASHINGTON) -- For years, surgeons have replaced or repaired failing valves that regulate blood flow into and out of patients' heart chambers. About 30 percent of those with a condition called aortic stenosis are too old or too sick for surgery, however, so they struggle along, often disabled by chest pain as they fight for breath. But that may be changing.

MedPage Today reports that instead of surgery, doctors can successfully implant a new valve into the heart by placing it into an artery in the groin and carefully threading up into the heart.

Patients who received new valves this way, in a technique called transcatheter aortic valve implantation, or TAVI, had a 20 percent lower mortality rate at one year than similar patients who received only medical therapy or who had medical therapy, plus a balloon that forced open the valve. Moreover, researchers found the interventional procedure using a device called the Sapien heart-valve system reduced the combined endpoint of death from any cause or rehospitalization by almost 30 percent compared with standard treatment.

The one negative note was the rate of stroke or major bleeding at 30 days -- 12 strokes and 30 major bleeds in the TAVI arm versus three strokes and two major bleeding events in the control group, but by one year the difference in the stroke rate was just 5 percent.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio.

Thursday
Sep232010

Health Insurance Providers Scrap Child-Only Policies

Image Courtesy: ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The move by some health insurance companies to eliminate child-only policies has many questioning whether providers will try to circumvent provisions of the new health care reform law in the future. Politically, it has unearthed old tensions between the Obama administration and health insurers, as new provisions began to take effect on Thursday.

Concerns about the new law have prompted major insurance providers, like WellPoint, Cigna, CoventryOne, and some Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies to stop offering child-only policies, as the Washington Post first reported.

The health care law prohibits health insurers from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions, but coverage for children under 19 will now be offered in family plans instead of as a separate policy.  The move itself won't have an impact on a large percentage of the population.  A recent survey by America's Health Insurance Plans found that six percent of individual policies are child-only plans.

Insurance companies say they were forced to drop child-only plans because of higher costs and to keep themselves competitive.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep222010

Women's Health, A Major Concern At Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting

The Clinton Global Initiative, a non-partisan organization established by former president Bill Clinton and the William J. Clinton foundation, held its annual meeting in New York on Tuesday.  This year's gathering, conducted under extremely tight security, drew 1,300 participants from 90 countries, Clinton noted in his opening remarks. Those gathered included 67 heads of state, 600 captains of corporations and 500 leaders of non-governmental organizations.  In its six years of existence, CGI, has come to be viewed as the World Series of networking.  Speakers including Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton and Richard C. Holbrooke, the State Department's special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, agreed that attention and action must be put to global women's issues such as sexual violence and health concerns.  Those in attendance were expected to make a commitment to action in making men and boys part of the solution for these issues, as well.  The need for male participation in global women's issues became apparent when Indian women told Mallika Dutt, executive director of the human rights organization Breakthrough that "unless men get involved, we're not going to get anywhere."

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







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