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Sunday
Mar272011

Study: Doctors Closer to Predicting Seizures

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- A study has revealed that doctors may be getting closer to being able to predict seizures in humans.

The Massachusetts General Hospital conducted a study where aspirin-sized sensors were implanted into the brains of patients to record the activities of different areas of the brain during seizures, according to an article by Nature Neuroscience.

The study found that some abnormal activity was detected up to about three minutes before the beginning of a seizure. Findings of the study also show that in some cases it was possible predict the activity in certain parts of the brain before the seizures even began.

Though a lot still remains unknown about how seizures begin, spread and end, experts believe that the findings of this study provides some information that may eventually lead to being able to predict seizures.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Mar272011

Report Reveals Gaps in Hospital Disaster Plans

YOMIURI SHIMBUN/AFP/Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- According to analysis done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. hospitals are not prepared for a mass-casualty event such as an earthquake or chemical spill.

The survey, reported by Medpage, found that almost all hospitals had plans for responding to such occurrences, but that there were gaps and omissions within their plans.

Also, in cases where hospitals did put in place strategic planning, most failed to address the needs of specific groups such as children, according to Dr. Richard W. Niska and Iris M. Shimizu, PhD, in a National Center for Health Statistics report.

According to Niska and Shimizu's report, only 68 percent of hospitals had plans for dealing with all six major types of disasters -- epidemic-pandemic disease outbreaks, bioterror attacks, chemical accidents and attacks, nuclear-radiological events, large explosions and fires, and major natural disasters -- and just 20 percent had developed strategies to combat explosive-incendiary and nuclear-radiological events.

There were also deficiencies when it came to planning patient transfer arrangements with other hospital facilities in mass-casualties situations. Niska and Shimizu found that just 60 percent of hospitals had reached out to burn centers to assist with treatment in the event of explosions or fires.

In the event of overcrowding, the analysis showed that 25 percent of those surveyed had made no plans for expanding their facilities to accommodate for large numbers of deaths. Further, just 60 percent had planned for increasing their morgue capacity.

The report suggests that among the biggest omissions in planning came from cases that involved pediatric patients.

Also, less than half of the hospitals had developed a way to account for displaced families and lacked a strategy on how to reunite children with their family.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Mar262011

FDA Approves Drug to Combat Skin Cancer

Comstock/Thinkstock (WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new drug to treat patients with metastatic melanoma.

On Friday, the FDA approved the drug Yervoy -- touted as the first drug to extend the lives of people with skin cancer -- after clinical studies showed an increase in survival of patients by an average of 10 months, close to four months longer than subjects who used an experimental vaccine.

The new drug, ipilimumab, is from Bristol-Myers, and its main function is to stimulate proteins on the immune cells that affect how the body responds to cancer.

According to the FDA, patients who participated in the study experienced some side effects, including diarrhea, nausea, constipation, rashes and, in some cases, fatal autoimmune reactions.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Mar262011

Candy Dynamics Issues Recall After FDA Detects High Levels of Lead

Pixland/Thinkstock(INDIANAPOLIS) -- High amounts of lead found in a brand of bubble gum has resulted in a voluntary recall being issued by a candy company.

Candy Dynamics announced Friday that it is voluntarily recalling its product, Toxic Waste Short Circuits Bubble Gum.

The company says recent tests conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) showed elevated levels of lead that potentially could cause health problems. As a result, a recall has been issued for units of the product distributed between January 4, 2011 and March 18, 2011. According to the FDA, infants, small children, and pregnant women are the most at risk to be affected.

No illnesses associated with the product have been reported. Candy Dynamics says no other Toxic Waste or Short Circuits products are affected by the recall.

The company's recall extends to all Toxic Waste Short Circuits Bubble Gum throughout the U.S., as well as limited quantities in Canada and Switzerland.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar252011

HIV Positive Man Who Didn't Disclose Status to Partners Sentenced

ABC News Radio(BOISE, Idado) -- A Boise man who knowingly had unprotected sex with more than 20 people without telling them he had HIV was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Friday.

Michael V. Everhart, 31, is eligible for parole after serving two years. Authorities say Everhart had sex with 20 men and one woman after he learning he tested positive for HIV in October 2009.

It wasn't until Everhart was in custody for a probation violation in September 2010 that he confessed to police that he knowlingly had unprotected sex after being told he had the virus that causes AIDS.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio



Friday
Mar252011

Food Dyes May Cause Hyperactivity in Sensitive Children

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Youngsters with ADHD may have a "unique intolerance" to artificial food colorings, according to a government report released this week suggesting there may be some truth in the common wisdom that synthetic food dyes make children more hyper.

The man-made dyes haven't been proven to cause hyperactivity in most children, nor has research found the dyes to contain "any inherent neurotoxic properties," according to a U.S. Food and Drug

Administration staff memo filed after the Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the agency to revoke approvals for eight certified colorings. CSPI, a Washington, D.C.,-based consumer gadfly, filed that request on June 3, 2008, and asked the FDA to issue a consumer warning in the interim.

The eight dyes, which give appealingly bright color to beverages, cakes and pies, cereals, candies and snack foods, are FD&C Blue 1 and 2; FD&C Green 3, Orange B, FD&C Red 3, FD&C Red 40, FD&C Yellow 5 and 6.

The FDA distributed the research summary in advance of a two-day hearing in which its Food Advisory Committee, meeting in Silver Spring, Md., will consider any links between food coloring and hyperactivity in children. The committee will advise the FDA if there is a need to take action to protect consumer safety.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar252011

New Study Sheds Light on Elder Abuse Trends

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- A new study suggests victims of elder abuse are usually women, people with neurological disorders, or drug addicts, HealthDay reports.

Researchers looked at figures from two Chicago trauma units, and found that almost 30 percent of abused seniors had alcohol in their system. The study compared abuse victims with a control group of patients older than 60.

The study also urged medical staff at hospitals to be more vigilant about elder abuse cases, since most instances are only discovered after the victim has been hospitalized.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar252011

Deadly Antibiotic-Resistant Superbug Spreads in Southern California

ABC News(LOS ANGELES) -- An antibiotic-resistant superbug once thought to be rare is spreading through health-care facilities in Southern California, health officials say.

Roughly 350 cases of Carbapenem-Resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae, or CRKP, were been reported in Los Angeles County between June and December of 2010, according to a study from the L.A. County Department of Public Health to be presented April 3 in Dallas at the annual meeting of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.

"These patients tend to be elderly, they are commonly on ventilators and they often stay at the facility for an extended period of time," Dr. Dawn Terashita, medical epidemiologist and lead author of the study, said in a statement.

CRKP joins other superbugs such as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, in a league of bacteria that outwits typical antibiotics.

"We develop new drugs to defeat the infections and germs change to get around those drugs and this is one of those cases," Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News chief health and medical editor, said Friday.  Besser is a former acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"It's like an arms race and in many ways the germs are winning," he said.

CRKP is not new to California, or the rest of the country for that matter.  The Centers for Disease Control has been tracking it across 35 states since 2009.  It is young, however, compared to MRSA, according to Dr. Arjun Srinivasan, associate director of the CDC's health care-associated, infection-prevention programs.

"But in terms of mortality and morbidity, it's very, very serious," Srinivasan said.  "These infections are more difficult to treat than MRSA."

CRKP is an enterobacterium like salmonella and E. coli.

It is unclear how many cases of the 350 reported by Terashita and colleagues were fatal.  It is also unclear whether the infections stemmed from improper care at long term-care facilities or the frailty of the patients they serve.  But Terashita said infected patients tended to have health problems that often resulting in antibiotic use, which might have made them more susceptible.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar252011

Study: Chemical in Household Products Linked to Early Menopause

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(CHARLESTON, W. Va.) -- Chemicals found in everyday products such as non-stick pans, clothing, furniture, carpets and paints have been associated with the early onset of menopause, according to a new study from the West Virginia University School of Medicine.

The study published by the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that women with high levels of perfluorocarbons (PFCs) in the body had lower concentrations of estrogen compared with women with low levels of PFCs.

PFCs are chemicals that are used in many household items, including furniture, cosmetics and food packaging.

"There is no doubt that there is an association between exposure to PFCs and onset of menopause, but the causality is unclear," Sarah Knox, lead author of the study, said in a news release from the university on Wednesday.

Even though the report may not be conclusive, it's still raising eyebrows. Some doctors say they're not surprised that chemicals are altering hormone levels, but they say they need more proof.

"Studies that we've done looking at these chemicals on the U.S. population show that almost everyone has these chemicals in their blood," Dana Boyd Barr, a research professor at the Rollins School of Health at Emory University in Georgia, told ABC News.

Chemical companies maintain their product is safe, but the study raises questions about whether early menopause is a new reason to worry about PFCs in general.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar252011

Breakthrough: Japanese Researchers Grow Sperm in Lab

BananaStock/Thinkstock(YOKOHAMA, Japan) -- Researchers in Japan have grown functioning mouse sperm in a laboratory dish, a breakthrough that has been decades in the making and holds out new hope for millions of infertile men.

The research, reported Wednesday in the journal Nature, could help scientists understand several steps of spermatogenesis, or sperm formation, at the cellular level and ultimately lead to new treatments for male infertility.

Researcher Takehiko Ogawa of Yokohama City University not only grew healthy mouse sperm in the laboratory, but also used them to produce fertile offspring, according to the study.  The sperm were produced in a test tube from the cells taken from newborn mouse testicles, and then injected into eggs to produce to twelve healthy babies, four male and eight female, which were all fertile and able to have their own babies in adulthood.

"It's really exciting," said Mary Ann Handel, a reproductive genetics research scientist at Maine's Jackson Laboratory.  "I really do think that he's really achieved a goal that a lot of people have tried over the years."

"It is a significant breakthrough," said Martin Dym, a professor of biochemistry and molecular and cellular biology at Georgetown University.  Dym was part of a team that tried, and failed, to accomplish in vitro growth of functional sperm ten years ago.  "We did make sperm, but could not succeed in getting the sperm to make pups.  [The Japanese team] has better sperm."

The potential practical applications in humans would include treating infertility, which affects an estimated 8 to 12 percent of the male population.

"So far it's been done in mice," said Dym.  "You have to show that it can work in humans."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio