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Many Doctors Get Payments From Drug Companies, Study Shows

<img src="http://media.healthday.com/Images/icimages/40312.jpg?resize=180:135" alt="News Picture: Many Doctors Get Payments From Drug Companies, Study Shows"/><div> <p>&#13; <h3>Latest MedicineNet News</h3>&#13; </p> </div> <p>TUESDAY, March 21, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Many American doctors receive payments from drug companies, but few patients know about those financial ties, a new study finds.</p><p>Researchers surveyed 3,500 adult patients and then checked on their doctors in Open Payments, a government website that reports drug and medical device company payments to physicians.</p><p>The study found that within the previous year, 65 percent of patients visited doctors who got payments or gifts from drug or medical device companies, but only 5 percent of the patients were aware of those doctor-industry links.</p><p>Patients who visited certain types of specialists were even more likely to have seen a doctor who had been paid. For example, the rates were 85 percent among patients who saw an orthopedic surgeon and 77 percent among patients who saw an obstetrician or gynecologist.</p><p>The study was published recently in the <i>Journal of General Internal Medicine</i>.</p><p>"These findings tell us that if you thought that your doctor was not receiving any money from industry, you're most likely mistaken," said study author Genevieve Pham-Kanter, an assistant professor in Drexel University's Dornsife School of Public Health in Philadelphia.</p><p>"Patients should be aware of the incentives that their physicians face that may lead them to not always act in their patients' best interest. And the more informed patients are about their providers and options for care, the better decisions they can make," she said in a news release from Drexel.</p><p>Study co-author Michelle Mello said, "Drug companies have long known that even small gifts to physicians can be influential, and research validates the notion that they tend to induce feelings of reciprocity." Mello is a professor of law and health research and policy at Stanford University in Stanford, Calif. </p><p>The Open Payments data showed that the average amount received in drug and medical device company payments and gifts by doctors was $193. But when the researchers focused only on the doctors visited by patients in the survey, the median payment amount over the last year was $510, more than 2.5 times the national average.</p><p>"We may be lulled into thinking this isn't a big deal because the average payment amount across all doctors is low," Pham-Kanter said. "But that obscures the fact that most people are seeing doctors who receive the largest payments."</p><p>-- Robert Preidt</p><p><img src="http://images.medicinenet.com/images/healthday/healthday.png" alt="MedicalNews"/><br/>Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.</p><p>SOURCE: Drexel University, news release, March 6, 2017</p> <br/>

Family History of Colon Cancer Calls for Earlier Screening

<img src="http://media.healthday.com/Images/icimages/18260.jpg?resize=180:135" alt="News Picture: Family History of Colon Cancer Calls for Earlier Screening"/><div> <p>&#13; <h3>Latest Cancer News</h3>&#13; </p> </div> <p>TUESDAY, March 21, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- If you've got a family history of colon or rectal cancers, you probably need to start screening for these conditions before you turn 50, a <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/cancer/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">cancer</code> expert says.</p><p>People with a close relative who has had colon or <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/colon_cancer/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">rectal cancer</code> have a greater risk of being diagnosed with these cancers too, said Dr. Walter Koltun, chief of colon and rectal surgery at the Penn State Health Hershey Medical Center in a hospital news release.</p><p>"A significant portion of the population does have those risk factors," Koltun said. "And their risk goes up significantly depending on who has been affected."</p><p>If more than one close relative has had colon or rectal cancer, your risk of getting such a cancer is 12 times greater, he added.</p><p>People who are diagnosed with colon or rectal cancers at a young age are more likely to have a genetic trait that could increase their risk for the disease. Doctors are still working to identify the exact genetic factors that trigger the diseases, Koltun noted.</p><p>Other factors that can up your risk of colon or rectal cancers include:</p><p>Colon and rectal cancers are usually considered diseases that affect older people. A recent study conducted by the American Cancer Society reveals a surprising increase in rates of these forms of cancer among young and middle-aged adults, Koltun pointed out.</p><p>"You should talk to your doctor sooner rather than later," Koltun recommended.</p><p>Genetic and environmental factors can play a role in the development of cancer. But Koltun cautioned that assessing family history for colon and rectal cancers and undergoing routine screening for these diseases based on known risk factors and current guidelines is important.</p><p>-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas</p><p><img src="http://images.medicinenet.com/images/healthday/healthday.png" alt="MedicalNews"/><br/>Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.</p><p>SOURCE: Penn State Health Hershey Medical Center, news release, March 2, 2017</p> <br/>

Gunshot Wounds Cost U.S. Hospitals Nearly $7 Billion Over 9 Years

<img src="http://media.healthday.com/Images/icimages/CLJ005MH.jpg?resize=180:135" alt="News Picture: Gunshot Wounds Cost U.S. Hospitals Nearly $7 Billion Over 9 Years"/><div> <p>&#13; <h3>Latest MedicineNet News</h3>&#13; </p> </div> <p>TUESDAY, March 21, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Hospital care for gunshot wounds cost the United States about $6.6 billion over a nine-year period, and total costs are likely much higher, researchers report.</p><p>"There is a high cost for these injuries, especially because they are preventable," study author Sarabeth Spitzer, a medical student at Stanford University School of Medicine, said in a university news release.</p><p>Information for the study came from more than 267,000 patients hospitalized for gunshot wounds from 2006 through 2014. The investigators found that the cost of those admissions averaged $735 million per year.</p><p>The study included gunshot injuries that were self-inflicted, accidental or due to an assault.</p><p>The researchers said the nearly $7 billion total over the nine-year study period is only a fraction of the total hospital costs for treating gunshot wounds. That's because the study focused on initial hospitalizations and didn't include patients who were treated and released, were treated and died, or patients who were readmitted to the hospital.</p><p>Despite the fact that it's a major issue in the United States, there's little research on gun violence from a public health perspective. Part of the reason is a measure Congress passed in 1996 that restricts federal funding for firearms research, Spitzer said.</p><p>"Firearm injuries are tied to one of the most controversial political issues in the country, so it is important for all sides to have access to fact-based research," she said. "Cost information can be especially helpful when making health policy decisions."</p><p>The study also found that about 40 percent of the total health cost of gunshot wounds comes out of government coffers.</p><p>"It's a very high financial burden," Spitzer said.</p><p>The findings were published online March 21 in the <i>American Journal of Public Health</i>.</p><p>-- Robert Preidt</p><p><img src="http://images.medicinenet.com/images/healthday/healthday.png" alt="MedicalNews"/><br/>Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.</p><p>SOURCE: Stanford University, news release, March 21, 2017</p> <br/>

&#039;Heads Up&#039; Football Program Tackles Concussion Danger in Kids

<img src="http://media.healthday.com/Images/icimages/10102.jpg?resize=180:135" alt="News Picture: 'Heads Up' Football Program Tackles Concussion Danger in Kids"/><b>By Richard Monks</b><br/><i>HealthDay Reporter</i><div> <p>&#13; <h3>Latest Neurology News</h3>&#13; </p> </div> <p>WEDNESDAY, March 22, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- A <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/brain_concussion/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">concussion</code> prevention program that teaches young football players safer ways to block and tackle was tied to about a one-third lower risk of <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/head_injury/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">head injury</code>, according to a new study.</p><p>And, in those players who <i>did</i> sustain a <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/concussion_symptoms_and_signs/symptoms.htm" rel="sym" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">concussion</code>, recovery was 27 percent faster for those involved in the program, the researchers found.</p><p>"It is difficult to say which aspect of the program did this," said one of the study's authors, Dr. John Tokish. He's a professor of orthopaedics at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in Greenville.</p><p>Tokish, a former football player and youth coach who's also the father of two football players himself, said the findings are encouraging.</p><p>"I think the results are promising," he said. "However, they spur more questions that we are anxious to go after. It is certainly possible that further research would demonstrate different results. But hopefully all of it will serve to improve the program and ultimately result in lower <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/concussions_brain_injuries_pictures_slideshow/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">concussions</code> in our young athletes." </p><p>Dubbed the "Heads Up" program, players are taught to lead with their shoulders when tackling an opponent rather than hitting the ball carrier head first. In addition, the program teaches concussion awareness and proper fit for a helmet.</p><p>The program began with three pilot programs in 2012. Heads Up is now used by more than 7,000 youth and high school football programs across the United States, according to USA Football.</p><p>The current study looked at more than 2,500 high school football players from 24 schools in the Greenville, S.C. area over the course of the 2015 season. At least one coach from 14 of the schools had previously taken the Heads Up training program while 10 of the high schools utilized what the researchers called "standard training." </p><p>The researchers randomly monitored the football teams three times during the season to ensure coaches were teaching tackling correctly. Athletic trainers at each of the 24 schools monitored and recorded injury information for all practices and games. To ensure uniformity of care, each school used the same health care provider network to treat players who suffered a concussion.</p><p>Over the course of the season, there were 117 concussions among the players. Players on the teams using the Heads Up program sustained about one-third fewer concussions, the study found.</p><p>Players in the Heads Up group were able to return to play in 11 days while those in the non-Heads Up group were out of action for 15 days, the findings showed.</p><p>A doctor who was familiar with research but wasn't involved with the study said he wasn't sure that the new program is the panacea some are suggesting it is.</p><p>Dr. Wellington Hsu, a professor of orthopaedic surgery at Northwestern University, said, "Unless we can see better numbers and more data, this is not really that significant."</p><p>Plus, football players aren't the only ones suffering from concussions. Hsu recently looked at concussion data for high school athletes over the past decade. He found that girls who played soccer were most susceptible to these brain traumas.</p><p>"Concussions are becoming a very big problem in younger athletes and they may be having a more significant effect on these athletes' brains," he said. "All of these studies are good at raising awareness." </p><p>The study was presented at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine in San Diego. Findings presented at meetings should be viewed as preliminary until they've been published in a peer-reviewed journal.</p><p><img src="http://images.medicinenet.com/images/healthday/healthday.png" alt="MedicalNews"/><br/>Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.</p><p>SOURCES: John Tokish, M.D., professor of orthopaedics, University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Greenville, S.C.; Wellington Hsu, M.D., professor of orthopaedic surgery, Northwestern University, Chicago; March 18, 2017, presentation, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, San Diego</p> <br/>

Tattoo Artists Risk Serious Pain in the Neck

<img src="http://media.healthday.com/Images/icimages/tattoo62.jpg?resize=180:135" alt="News Picture: Tattoo Artists Risk Serious Pain in the Neck"/><div> <p>&#13; <h3>Latest Chronic Pain News</h3>&#13; </p> </div> <p>TUESDAY, March 21, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- That "ink" on your shoulder may have hurt the <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/tattoo_pictures_slideshow/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">tattoo</code> artist more than it hurt you.</p><p>A small study -- touted as the first to measure the causes of aches and pains in tattoo artists -- points to widespread back and neck problems among them. </p><p>"There's no such thing as an official 'tattoo chair,' so artists adapt dental chairs or <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/massage_therapy/article.htm" rel="sub" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">massage</code> tables to make a client comfortable, and then they hunch over the client to create the tattoo," said study co-author Carolyn Sommerich. </p><p>The result: The artists perch forward, often crane their necks and place considerable strain on the trapezius muscles of the upper back. These muscles are a common problem area when it comes to back and <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/neck_pain/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">neck pain</code>. </p><p>Sommerich, director of the Engineering Laboratory for Human Factors/Ergonomics/Safety at Ohio State University, and her colleagues published their findings in a recent issue of the journal <i>Applied Ergonomics</i>.</p><p>The study tracked 10 Ohio tattoo artists at work -- a tiny slice of an estimated $2.3 billion industry in the United States alone.</p><p>The artists were outfitted with electrodes that recorded their exertion, which investigators said sometimes exceeded recommended workplace limits by as much as 25 percent.</p><p>The finding confirmed similar observations made by co-author Dana Keester, who had in 2014 studied the injury profiles of 34 tattoo artists at an Ohio tattoo festival.</p><p>That study found <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/low_back_pain/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">back pain</code> was the most common issue, experienced by 94 percent of tattoo artists. That was followed by <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/headache/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">headaches</code> (88 percent), <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/neck_pain/symptoms.htm" rel="sym" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">neck pain</code> (85 percent) and <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/eye_pain/symptoms.htm" rel="sym" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">eye pain</code> (74 percent).</p><p>To prevent injury, the researchers suggest tattoo artists try out different chairs and seek ones that offer the best back and arm support.</p><p> In addition, the study authors recommend changing body positions on a regular basis, taking frequent breaks, and using a mounted magnifying glass to help minimize the need for prolonged leaning.</p><p>"If the client can stand or maybe lean on something while the artist sits comfortably, that may be a good option," Sommerich suggested. "Switch it up once in a while."</p><p><b> More information</b></p><p>There's more on <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/back_pain_pictures_myths_and_facts_slideshow/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">back pain</code> at the U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.</p><p>-- Alan Mozes</p><p><img src="http://images.medicinenet.com/images/healthday/healthday.png" alt="MedicalNews"/><br/>Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.</p><p>SOURCE: Ohio State University, news release, Feb. 16, 2017</p> <br/>

Helping Cancer Caregivers Help Themselves

<img src="http://media.healthday.com/Images/icimages/33311.jpg?resize=180:135" alt="News Picture: Helping Cancer Caregivers Help Themselves"/><div> <p>&#13; <h3>Latest Cancer News</h3>&#13; </p> </div> <p>WEDNESDAY, March 22, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- When people are diagnosed with <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/cancer/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">cancer</code>, it's easy to overlook the toll the disease also takes on their caregivers, say social workers who specialize in <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/cancer_101_pictures_slideshow/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">cancer care</code>. </p><p><code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/cancer_101_pictures_slideshow/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">Cancer</code> can dramatically alter relationships, forcing parents to depend on their children, or independent people to rely on loved ones. Meanwhile, those who support <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/cancer_quiz/quiz.htm" rel="quiz" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">cancer</code> patients -- such as spouses, partners, siblings, children or friends -- tend to put their own needs on the back burner. </p><p>Caregivers who keep their mind and body healthy, however, are able to provide better care for their loved ones, advise Lauren Kriegel and Autumn Banta, <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/cancer_101_pictures_slideshow/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">oncology</code> social workers at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.</p><p>Finding the time and energy to take care of yourself may seem difficult while caring for someone with cancer, Kriegel and Banta pointed out in a Rutgers news release.</p><p>However, there are ways caregivers can also take care of themselves without having to spend a lot of time or money. The social workers make the following suggestions:</p><ul><li><b>Don't feel guilty. </b> It's normal to feel badly about doing something for yourself if your loved one is coping with cancer. It's important to identify and share these feelings in a safe place, but don't let them prevent you from addressing your own needs. You can't help someone else if your levels of energy and patience are low. </li> <li><b>Make a happy list. </b> Write down some of the things that help you feel joy, such as playing a good song, going for a walk or taking a bubble bath. Be sure to carve out a bit of time to do these things. </li><li><b>Relax. </b> Find ways to stay relaxed and calm. It's important to maintain healthy <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/sleep/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">sleep</code> habits. Staying relaxed may also require some <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/lungs_design_and_purpose/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">breathing</code> exercises, guided imagery or meditation. There are apps you can download to help guide you through this process. </li><li><b>Don't be hard on yourself. </b> It's important to show compassion towards others but it's equally important to give yourself a break. Caregivers often feel <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/stress/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">stress</code>. Be sure to recognize this and take small steps to help you ease this strain. </li><li><b>Ask for help. </b> Reach out to an oncology social worker. This is a professional who can devise a personalized plan to help you cope with your role as a <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/caregiving/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">caregiver</code>. </li></ul><p>-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas</p><p><img src="http://images.medicinenet.com/images/healthday/healthday.png" alt="MedicalNews"/><br/>Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.</p><p>SOURCE: Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, news release, March 2, 2017</p> <br/>

Autism Greatly Boosts Kids&#039; Injury Risk, Especially for Drowning

<img src="http://media.healthday.com/Images/icimages/swim_lake.jpg?resize=180:135" alt="News Picture: Autism Greatly Boosts Kids' Injury Risk, Especially for Drowning"/><b>By Dennis Thompson</b><br/><i>HealthDay Reporter</i><div> <p>&#13; <h3>Latest Neurology News</h3>&#13; </p> </div> <p>TUESDAY, March 21, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Children with <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/autism_and_communication/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">autism</code> are at extremely high risk of <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/drowning/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">drowning</code> compared to other kids, a new study reveals.</p><p>Analysis of death records found that kids with an <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/autism_and_communication/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">autism spectrum disorder</code> are 160 times more likely to die from drowning compared with the general pediatric population, the researchers reported.</p><p>Children diagnosed with <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/autism_pictures_slideshow/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">autism</code> -- usually between 2 and 3 years of age -- need <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/swimming/article.htm" rel="sub" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">swimming</code> lessons as soon as possible, even before they start other therapies that will improve the long-term quality of their lives, said senior author Dr. Guohua Li.</p><p>"Pediatricians and parents should immediately help enroll the child in swimming classes, before any behavioral therapy, speech therapy or occupational therapy," said Li. He is a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health in New York City.</p><p>"Swimming ability for kids with <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/autism_spectrum_disorder_quiz/quiz.htm" rel="quiz" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">autism</code> is an imperative survival skill," he added.</p><p>Li and his team made their discovery while reviewing over 32 million death certificates in the U.S. National Vital Statistics System. The investigators identified nearly 1,370 people diagnosed with autism who died between 1999 and 2014.</p><p>Overall, someone with autism is three times more likely to suffer an unintentional injury-related death, the study found. </p><p>People diagnosed with autism also die at an average age of 36, compared with age 72 for the general population, Li and his colleagues noted. </p><p>More than one-quarter of deaths among people with autism occur due to injury, most often by suffocation, asphyxiation or drowning, the findings showed.</p><p>Kids bear the brunt of this risk. Together, those three types of injury accounted for nearly 80 percent of total injury deaths in children with autism, Li said.</p><p>Children with autism are apt to wander near bodies of water, especially when they are feeling anxious, Li pointed out.</p><p>"They tend to have an affinity to water bodies -- like pools or ponds or rivers," he said. "They need to touch or feel the water to get that kind of calming effect, so they wade into the water and they drown."</p><p>Autism is a serious neurodevelopmental disorder that affects one in 68 U.S. children, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms vary, but autism generally causes difficulties with communication and relationships. </p><p>The researchers also found that the annual number of deaths for individuals diagnosed with autism has risen nearly seven times from 1999 to 2014. </p><p>However, Li attributes that to increased detection and diagnosis of autism rather than anything related to autism itself.</p><p>"The diagnosis rate has increased in the past two decades, and you would expect a similar increase in mortality among individuals with autism," Li said.</p><p>Suffocation and asphyxiation are more common among adults with autism, Li said, adding that further research is needed to figure out why this occurs.</p> <p>Michael Rosanoff, director of public health research at Autism Speaks, agreed that the steep increase in deaths for people with autism is "most likely due to the increase in the number of autism diagnoses during that same time period."</p><p>The finding that people with autism have an average age at death that is half that of people in the general population also supports previous research, which has shown they're two to 10 times more likely to die prematurely, Rosanoff said.</p><p>"Autism alone is not a cause of death," Rosanoff said. "Rather, it is the common co-occurring medical and psychiatric conditions that play a role in increasing risk. These include <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/schizophrenia/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">schizophrenia</code>, attention-deficit/<code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/hyperactivity/symptoms.htm" rel="sym" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">hyperactivity</code> disorder, <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/seizure/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">epilepsy</code> and <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/depression/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">depression</code>."</p><p>Finally, Rosanoff noted that nearly half of kids with autism tend to wander, and drowning is the leading cause of death among people with autism who have wandered.</p><p>"Research like this is helping us better understand the specific causes -- in this case common injury-related causes -- of death that may be avoidable and preventable with appropriate interventions," he said. "For example, teaching water safety to children with autism is important."</p><p>The study findings were published online March 21 in the <i>American Journal of Public Health</i>.</p><p><img src="http://images.medicinenet.com/images/healthday/healthday.png" alt="MedicalNews"/><br/>Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.</p><p>SOURCES: Guohua Li, M.D., DrPH, professor, epidemiology, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, New York City; Michael Rosanoff, MPH, director, public health research, Autism Speaks; March 21, 2017, <i>American Journal of Public Health</i>, online</p> <br/>

A Warming Planet Might Mean More Diabetes

<img src="http://media.healthday.com/Images/icimages/heatwave730.jpg?resize=180:135" alt="News Picture: A Warming Planet Might Mean More Diabetes"/><b>By Serena Gordon</b><br/><i>HealthDay Reporter</i><div> <p>&#13; <h3>Latest Diabetes News</h3>&#13; </p> </div> <p>TUESDAY, March 21, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- The effects of climate change are far-reaching, but new research suggests a surprising linkage to a warming Earth -- more cases of <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/type_2_diabetes/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">type 2 diabetes</code>.</p><p>For every 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) rise in environmental temperature, the researchers calculated that there would be an increase of more than 100,000 new cases of <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/type_2_diabetes_pictures_slideshow/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">type 2 diabetes</code> in the United States alone.</p><p>Why?</p><p>The study authors explained that during cold spells -- at least a few cold days in a row -- so-called brown fat is activated. Brown fat is different from white fat. When activated, it leads to an improvement in the body's sensitivity to <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/insulin/article.htm" rel="pharm" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">insulin</code>, a hormone that helps usher <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/sugar_addiction_pictures_slideshow/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">sugar</code> from foods into cells for energy.</p><p>"The function of brown fat tissue is to burn fat to generate heat, which is important to prevent a drop in body temperature during cold exposure," explained lead researcher Lisanne Blauw. She's a Ph.D. student at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands. </p><p>"Therefore, we hypothesize that brown fat plays a role in the mechanism underlying the association between outdoor temperature and <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/diabetes_mellitus/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">diabetes</code>: in warmer climates, brown fat is less activated, which may causally lead to <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/insulin_resistance/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">insulin resistance</code> and <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/type_2_diabetes_pictures_slideshow/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">diabetes</code>," she said.</p><p>Before you start packing for colder climes, it's important to note that this study cannot prove a direct cause-and-effect relationship between warmer temperatures and the development of <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/type_2_diabetes/quiz.htm" rel="quiz" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">type 2 diabetes</code>.</p><p>Still, Blauw said, "On the basis of our 'brown fat hypothesis,' we believe that at least part of the association can be causally explained by brown fat activity."</p><p>The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is rising rapidly across the world. In 2015, about 415 million people worldwide had the disease, the researchers said. By 2040, that number is expected to be as high as 642 million. </p><p>In people with pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes, the body doesn't use insulin properly. These people are said to be insulin-resistant. In those with pre-diabetes, the body can still keep up with demand by producing more and more insulin. But, eventually, the body can't keep pace and it doesn't make enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels from rising. This is when type 2 diabetes develops. </p><p>A recent study reported that people with type 2 diabetes exposed to moderate cold for 10 days showed improved insulin resistance, which means they're using insulin more efficiently. This may have occurred due to an increase in brown fat activity. Other past research showed that brown fat is most active in the winter, when temperatures are coldest, the study authors noted. </p><p> For the new study, investigators used information from adults in 50 U.S. states, along with Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The data covered from 1996 to 2009.</p><p>People told researchers if a doctor had ever diagnosed them with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Approximately 91 percent of diabetes in high income countries is type 2. </p><p>The study team also looked at data from the World Health Organization on fasting blood sugar levels and <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/obesity_weight_loss/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">obesity</code> rates for 190 countries. </p><p>"In this study, we showed that an increase in outdoor temperature is related to an increase in new diabetes cases in the U.S.," Blauw said.</p><p>Although the researchers didn't have information on diabetes diagnoses globally, they did see signs that people were more insulin-resistant in warmer areas. </p><p>"People need to realize that global warming may have serious implications for our health, as we showed in this study that more persons get diabetes in years that the mean outdoor temperature is higher," Blauw said.</p><p>But not everyone is ready to sound the alarm bell just yet.</p><p> Dr. Joel Zonszein, director of the Clinical Diabetes Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, said, "This is an interesting article, and a challenging concept." </p><p>But, Zonszein explained, "diabetes is a very complex disease and it's unlikely to come down to one factor, such as brown [fat]."</p><p>In addition, the database the researchers relied on used self-reported cases of diabetes, which can overestimate or underestimate diabetes rates, he pointed out.</p><p>The role of brown fat in people isn't yet clear, Zonszein said. Humans don't seem to have a lot of it, though it's very common in rodents. </p><p>The study was published online March 20 in <i>BMJ Open Diabetes Research &amp; Care</i>.</p><p><img src="http://images.medicinenet.com/images/healthday/healthday.png" alt="MedicalNews"/><br/>Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.</p><p>SOURCES: Lisanne Blauw, B.Sc., Ph.D. student, Leiden University Medical Center, the Netherlands; Joel Zonszein, M.D., director, Clinical Diabetes Center, Montefiore Medical Center, New York City; March 20, 2017, <i>BMJ Open Diabetes Research &amp; Care</i>, online</p> <br/>

New Hepatitis C Drugs Might Eliminate the Disease

<img src="http://media.healthday.com/Images/icimages/rosacea427.jpg?resize=180:135" alt="News Picture: New Hepatitis C Drugs Might Eliminate the Disease"/><b>By Karen Pallarito</b><br/><i>HealthDay Reporter</i><div> <p>&#13; <h3>Latest Infectious Disease News</h3>&#13; </p> </div> <p>MONDAY, March 20, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Newer treatments for <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/hepatitis_c/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">hepatitis C</code> appear to eliminate the virus in the vast majority of those taking oral antiviral medications, raising the hope that this disease might someday be eradicated in the United States. </p><p>The oral medications "work really well in most patients that have <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/hepatitis_c_pictures_slideshow/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">hepatitis C</code>," said Dr. Oluwaseun Falade-Nwulia, the study's lead author. She's an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.</p><p>Most people have a 95 percent chance of being cured, meaning the <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/hepatitis_c_quiz/quiz.htm" rel="quiz" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">hepatitis C</code> virus is no longer detectable in a person's bloodstream, the finding showed.</p><p>"The other big message is that these therapies are very safe. The risk of side effects are very low," she said.</p><p>Plus, many patients can be treated in just 12 weeks, according to the study published online March 20 in the <i>Annals of Internal Medicine</i>.</p><p>"It's revolutionary," Falade-Nwulia said.</p><p>But scientists at the U.S. National Institutes of Health caution that the new treatments fall short of a "cure."</p><p>"<code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/viral_hepatitis/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">Hepatitis</code> C is down but not out," Drs. Jay Hoofnagle and Averell Sherker concluded in an editorial accompanying the study. They are program directors with the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.</p><p>Response rates to the new antivirals are high, but they're not 100 percent, meaning tens of thousands of patients remain infected, the editorialists wrote.</p><p>"It is important for the general public to realize that therapies for <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/hepatitis_pictures_slideshow/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">hepatitis</code> C have matured and are not going to get significantly better," Hoofnagle and Sherker said in a statement prepared for <i>HealthDay</i>.</p><p>The hope is that more rigorous antiviral cocktails being tested in <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/clinical_trials/article.htm" rel="proc" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">clinical trials</code> will help patients who fail to respond to treatment or experience relapse, they noted. However, there's also no guarantee that patients who are successfully treated for hepatitis C won't develop long-term complications.</p><p>Hepatitis C currently affects up to 5 million people in the United States, according to the study authors.</p><p>Chronic hepatitis C infection attacks the <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/liver_anatomy_and_function/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">liver</code>, and can lead to liver failure. But the disease often remains silent in the body for many years until the damage is done.</p><p>That's why the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends screening for hepatitis C in people at high risk for infection. The task force also recommends a one-time screening in "baby boomers" -- adults born from 1945 to 1965. The USPSTF is a government-appointed group whose decisions often influence health care.</p><p>Past treatments for hepatitis C included weekly <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/interferon/article.htm" rel="pharm" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">interferon</code> injections for up to a year. Those treatments produced severe side effects and often failed to clear the virus, the editorial noted.</p><p>But new oral treatments have become available during the past few years.</p><p>Falade-Nwulia and colleagues examined data from 42 published clinical trials of adults with chronic hepatitis C infection involving interferon-free treatment regimens of two of more medicines.</p><p>Six of the treatment regimens led to remission of the virus in 95 percent of patients with the most common strain, according to the study. People with different <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/sprained_ankle/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">strains</code> of the virus experienced similar results.</p><p>However, the medicines did not work as well for some people, including patients with chronic <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/kidney_disease_quiz/quiz.htm" rel="quiz" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">kidney disease</code>. Their remission rates were as low as 90 percent. These patients also seemed to have more difficulty tolerating some of the <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/drugs_what_you_should_know_about_your_drugs/article.htm" rel="pharm" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">drugs</code>, the study authors noted.</p><p>Rates of serious adverse events or people stopping the drug due to side effects were low -- less than 10 percent, according to the report.</p><p>What remains a significant barrier to treatment with these drugs is cost. The price tag for this therapy is $55,000 to more than $150,000, Hoofnagle and Sherker said.</p><p>The new research didn't examine the cost-versus-benefit of the new medicines. But Falade-Nwulia said stakeholders must find a way to make treatment available to all patients.</p><p>"The only way you can eliminate a disease is if you treat everybody who's affected," she said.</p><p>Tom Nealon, chairman and CEO of the American Liver Foundation, was encouraged by the new report.</p><p>"We can certainly come close to eliminating hepatitis C in the United States," Nealon said.</p><p><img src="http://images.medicinenet.com/images/healthday/healthday.png" alt="MedicalNews"/><br/>Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.</p><p>SOURCES: Oluwaseun Falade-Nwulia, M.B.B.S., assistant professor of medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore; Tom Nealon, chairman and CEO, American Liver Foundation, New York City; Statement from Jay Hoofnagle, M.D., and Averell Sherker, M.D., program directors, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.; March 20, 2017, <i>Annals of Internal Medicine</i>, online</p> <br/>

Guidelines May Miss Need for Statins in Many U.S. Blacks

<img src="http://media.healthday.com/Images/icimages/minority_bloodpressure1162.jpg?resize=180:135" alt="News Picture: Guidelines May Miss Need for Statins in Many U.S. Blacks"/><div> <p>&#13; <h3>Latest Heart News</h3>&#13; </p> </div> <p>SATURDAY, March 18, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. medical organizations have conflicting guidelines on the use of <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/cholesterol_management/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">cholesterol</code>-lowering statin <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/drugs_what_you_should_know_about_your_drugs/article.htm" rel="pharm" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">drugs</code> in blacks, a new study finds.</p><p>Researchers say that about one in four black Americans who are recommended to take a statin under guidelines from the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association would no longer qualify for such therapy under new guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).</p><p>The USPSTF is an influential government-appointed group whose decisions often influence health care, including insurance coverage.</p><p>The new study was led by Dr. Venkatesh Murthy of the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor. His team noted that while many studies have used artery scans to assess the need for <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/statins/article.htm" rel="pharm" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">statins</code> by white patients, no such studies have focused on black patients.</p><p>However, compared with whites, black Americans are at higher risk of developing <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/heart_disease_coronary_artery_disease/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">heart disease</code> linked to plaque buildup in the arteries ("<code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/heart_attack_pathology_photo_essay/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">hardening of the arteries</code>").</p><p>So, would the new USPSTF guidelines on statin use be accurate for black patients? To find out, Murthy's team compared statin "eligibility" for more than 2,800 black patients, aged 40 to 75.</p><p>The study authors reported that about one-quarter of black people who would be recommended to take a statin under the ACC/AHA guidelines wouldn't be eligible under the new USPSTF advisory.</p><p>This suggests that the government panel's guidelines may be less accurate at spotting black patients who need the therapy, the researchers said.</p><p>Murthy's group believes that, overall, just 38 percent of high-risk black Americans would get a statin under the USPSTF guidelines, meaning that "significant numbers" of people would miss out on the cholesterol-lowering treatment.</p><p>What to do? According to the researchers, using scans to measure each patient's artery calcification levels might help spot patients in need. This type of test has the potential to personalize a patient's individual need for statin treatment, the authors explained.</p><p>Two cardiologists agreed.</p><p>"This study brings us back to the critical need to appreciate the uniqueness of different populations -- whether based on gender, race, or ethnicity -- and to evaluate results of trials or impact of guideline recommendations with regard to these differences," said Dr. Stacey Rosen. She's vice president of women's health at Northwell Health's Katz Institute for Women's Health in New Hyde Park, N.Y.</p><p>"We have certainly learned in other clinical areas -- <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/heart_disease_pictures_slideshow_visual_guide/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">cardiovascular disease</code> in women, [<code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/high_blood_pressure_hypertension/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">high blood pressure</code>] in African Americans, or <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/diabetes_mellitus/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">diabetes</code> in Latinos -- that 'one-size-does-not-fit-all,'" Rosen said.</p><p>Dr. Satjit Bhusri is a heart specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. He agreed with the researchers that "the use of calcium scoring by <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/cat_scan/article.htm" rel="proc" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">CT scan</code> is best for early detection of <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/heart_disease_pictures_slideshow_visual_guide/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">heart disease</code>; it is specific for each patient, and its benefits for early prevention are immense." But he believes such testing should be available to all patients, regardless of race.</p><p>The study was published online March 18 in the journal <i>JAMA Cardiology</i> and will be presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology, in Washington, D.C.</p><p>-- E.J. Mundell</p><p><img src="http://images.medicinenet.com/images/healthday/healthday.png" alt="MedicalNews"/><br/>Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.</p><p>SOURCES: Stacey Rosen, M.D., vice president, women's health, Northwell Health's Katz Institute for Women's Health, New Hyde Park, N.Y.; Satjit Bhusri, M.D., cardiologist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; <i>JAMA Cardiology</i>, news release, March 18, 2017</p> <br/>

Do Energy Drinks Plus Booze Equal More Injuries?

<img src="http://media.healthday.com/Images/icimages/48331.jpg?resize=180:135" alt="News Picture: Do Energy Drinks &amp;plus; Booze = More Injuries?"/><b>By Randy Dotinga</b><br/><i>HealthDay Reporter</i><div> <p>&#13; <h3>Latest Mental Health News</h3>&#13; </p> </div> <p>TUESDAY, March 21, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Mixing <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/caffeine/article.htm" rel="sub" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">caffeine</code>-loaded energy <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/drinks_and_beverages_quiz/quiz.htm" rel="quiz" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">drinks</code> and booze could be a recipe for trouble. That's the word from a new study that says the popular party duo ups the odds someone will get hurt.</p><p>Researchers in Canada analyzed results of 13 prior studies. Most reported a higher rate of injuries when alcohol was paired with an energy drink like Red Bull or Monster Energy compared to drinking alcohol alone, they said.</p><p>"Current research generally supports a relationship between consuming alcohol mixed with energy drinks and an increased risk of injury," said study lead author Audra Roemer, a graduate student with the University of Victoria in British Columbia. </p><p>Besides falls, car accidents and such, the researchers looked at <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/suicide/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">suicidal</code> behavior and violence. Based on the study results, Roemer said injury risk -- intentional or accidental -- could be several times higher for the combination drinker. </p><p>"The stimulant effects of the <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/caffeine_quiz/quiz.htm" rel="quiz" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">caffeine</code> in energy drinks can work to mask the sedative effects of alcohol, although energy drinks don't lessen the impairing effects of alcohol on the body and brain," Roemer said. </p><p>"This could result in people underestimating their level of intoxication," she added.</p><p>Blending alcohol and highly <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/caffeine/article.htm" rel="sub" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">caffeinated</code> drinks became popular about 10 years ago, said Cecile Marczinski, who studies alcohol use. She is a professor of psychology at Northern Kentucky University. </p><p>"It's a young person's drink," said Marczinski, who wasn't involved in the study. It's often available in bars and <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/eating_out_and_entertaining/article.htm" rel="sub" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">restaurants</code> as a mix of, say, vodka and Red Bull or Monster Energy, she added. </p><p>"They're considered party drinks. You typically don't have someone sitting at home mixing energy drinks with alcohol," she said.</p><p>Prepackaged caffeinated alcohol drinks are essentially banned in the United States and Canada. But you can buy the components separately "and mix them yourselves in a glass," Marczinski said.</p><p>The results aren't always pretty. Emergency departmentvisits involving energy drinks nearly doubled between2007 and 2011, with roughly 15 percent of these visits relatedto combination alcohol-energy drink use, the study authors said in background notes.</p><p>Roemer said an estimated 25 percent of college students in Canada consume the combination drinks. Devotees say they like the taste and appreciate the boost they get from the high levels of caffeine in the energy drinks, she said. </p><p>They also like being able to stay awake longer to party more, Roemer said. Some feel like they can drink more without feeling drunk, she added. </p><p>However, Marczinski said her team has found that while people may feel more alert when they combine alcohol and caffeine, their perception doesn't match up with reality. </p><p>The makers of Red Bull say an 8-ounce can contains about 80 milligrams of caffeine, which is similar to that in a cup of coffee.</p><p>All but five of the 13 studies reviewed by Roemer and her co-author, University of Victoria professor Tim Stockwell, were from the United States. All examined links between caffeinated alcoholic drinks and injuries, unsafe driving/motor vehicle accidents or <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/suicide/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">suicidal thoughts</code>. </p><p>The studies used a variety of methods to examine the issue and looked at various groups of people, such as U.S. and Canadian college students, U.S. high school seniors and manual workers in Taiwan.</p><p>Ten of the studies linked a higher rate of injuries to drinking the alcohol/energy drink duo versus drinking alcohol alone. But, it's not clear how often these injuries occur. And, the studies don't actually prove that the combination <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/drinks_and_beverages_quiz/quiz.htm" rel="quiz" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">beverages</code> are responsible for the mishaps. Other factors could cause the extra risk. </p><p>Among the three studies that detected no link between the two, an Australian paper found that those who stuck to alcohol alone were more likely to be injured than those who added energy drinks to their booze.</p><p>There were also hints among the studies that the combo drinkers are more likely to take risks and seek sensation, one possible explanation for an increased risk of injury. </p><p>To avoid the potential dangers, Marczinski suggests that people not drink alcohol and energy drinks at the same time. </p><p>The study appears in the March issue of the <i>Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs</i>.</p><p><img src="http://images.medicinenet.com/images/healthday/healthday.png" alt="MedicalNews"/><br/>Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.</p><p>SOURCES: Audra Roemer, M.Sc., graduate student, Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia, University of Victoria, Canada; Cecile Marczinski, Ph.D., professor, Department of Psychological Science, Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights; March 2017, <i>Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs</i></p> <br/>

Recalls: Edamame, Canned Dog Food - MedicineNet Daily News

<p>Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:</p><p><span><b>Edamame Recalled Due to Listeria Threat</b></span></p><p>Possible <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/listeria/article.htm&quot; rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">listeria</code> contamination has triggered the recall of Edamame (soybeans) by Advanced Fresh Concepts Franchise Corp. of California.</p><div> <p>&#13; <h3>Latest Diet &amp; Weight Management News</h3>&#13; </p> </div> <p>The recalled 8-ounce packages of "Edamame Soybeans in Pods" are dated between 01/03/2017 and 03/17/2017 and labeled UPC 0-23012-00261-9. They were sold at sushi counters in grocery stores, cafeterias and corporate dining centers across much of the United States.</p><p>Listeria bacteria can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or older adults, <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/pregnancy/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">pregnant</code> women, and others with weakened immune systems. To date, no illnesses associated with the recalled products have been reported, according to Advanced Fresh Concepts.</p><p>Consumers with the recalled Edamame should return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. For more information, call the company at 1-866-467-8744.</p><p>-----</p><p><span><b>Blue Wilderness Dog Food Recalled</b></span></p><p>Cans of Blue Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Red Meat Dinner Wet Food for Adult Dogs are being recalled because they may elevated levels of naturally-occurring beef thyroid hormones, according to the Blue Buffalo Company of Connecticut.</p><p>Dogs who eat high levels of beef thyroid hormones may develop symptoms such as increased thirst and urination, weight loss, increased heart rate and restlessness, and could eventually lead to vomiting, diarrhea and rapid or difficult breathing.</p><p>Contact your veterinarian immediately if your dog develops such symptoms, the company said.</p><p>The recalled 12.5-ounce cans carry the UPC Code 840243101153 and have a Best Buy date of June 7, 2019, which is located on the bottom of the can.</p><p>Consumers should throw away the recalled dog food or return it to the place of purchase for full refund. For more information, call Blue Buffalo at 866-201-9072.</p><p><img src="http://images.medicinenet.com/images/healthday/healthday.png" alt="MedicalNews"/><br/>Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.</p> <br/>

U.S. Sees Big Drop in Number of Babies Born With HIV

<img src="http://media.healthday.com/Images/icimages/SS36024.jpg?resize=180:135" alt="News Picture: U.S. Sees Big Drop in Number of Babies Born With HIV"/><div> <p>&#13; <h3>Latest HIV News</h3>&#13; </p> </div> <p>MONDAY, March 20, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- The number of infants born with <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/human_immunodeficiency_virus_hiv/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">HIV</code> in the United States has dropped dramatically over the past two decades, a new study shows.</p><p>According to new data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 69 cases of <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/hiv_aids_myths_and_facts_pictures_slideshow/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">HIV</code>-infected infants in 2013, compared with 216 cases in 2002.</p><p>Factors tied to mother-to-child transmission of <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/hiv-aids_quiz/quiz.htm" rel="quiz" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">HIV</code> include late HIV diagnosis of mothers and a lack of antiretroviral and preventive treatment, say a team led by the CDC's Dr. Steven Nesheim.</p><p>"Missed opportunities for prevention were common among infected infants and their mothers in recent years," they wrote.</p><p>One HIV expert who reviewed the paper noted other disparities, as well.</p><p>"More than 80 percent of new cases of mother-to-child transmission of HIV are from mothers who are black/African American and Hispanic/Latino," said Dr. David Rosenthal. He directs the Center for Young Adult, Adolescent and Pediatric HIV, in Great Neck, N.Y.</p><p>He also noted that five Southern states -- Florida, Texas, Georgia, Louisiana and Maryland -- accounted for 38 percent of the new cases of HIV in the United States.</p><p>Still, great progress has been made, Rosenthal said.</p><p>"We have made great strides in decreasing HIV in mother-to-child transmission in the USA," he said. "In New York State alone in the 1990s we had more than 500 new cases of mother-to-child transmission a year, but now in 2015-2016 we had an 18-month period with zero new mother-to-child transmissions."</p><p>He said three factors early diagnosis of HIV in <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/pregnancy_planning_preparing_for_pregnancy/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">pregnancy</code>, use of HIV-fighting medications by the mother, and treatment of the infant with anti-HIV meds for 6 weeks after birth are key to stopping mother-to-child spread of the virus.</p><p>"Together, these methods are incredibly effective in decreasing mother-to-child transmission," Rosenthal said. "I take care of many patients who were born with HIV, are taking their medications and are thriving. These children have grown up over the past 2 to 3 decades, and in turn are having their own children now, all of whom are not infected with HIV because of the tools we have."</p><p>But he added that, "in order to make this happen, we have to help ensure mother receive good medical care early in their pregnancy, and we need to ensure that mothers of all races and ethnicities receive the same outstanding medical care we offer."</p><p>The new study was published March 20 in the journal <i>JAMA Pediatrics</i>.</p><p>-- Robert Preidt</p><p><img src="http://images.medicinenet.com/images/healthday/healthday.png" alt="MedicalNews"/><br/>Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.</p><p>SOURCES: David Rosenthal, D.O., Ph.D., medical director, Center for Young Adult, Adolescent and Pediatric HIV, Great Neck, N.Y.; <i>JAMA Pediatrics</i>, news release, March 20, 2017</p> <br/>

Vitamin E, Selenium Supplements Won&#039;t Curb Men&#039;s Dementia Risk

<img src="http://media.healthday.com/Images/icimages/alzheimers4132.jpg?resize=180:135" alt="News Picture: Vitamin E, Selenium Supplements Won't Curb Men's Dementia Risk"/><b>By Alan Mozes</b><br/><i>HealthDay Reporter</i><div> <p>&#13; <h3>Latest Neurology News</h3>&#13; </p> </div> <p>MONDAY, March 20, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- A daily dose of <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/vitamin_e-oral/article.htm" rel="pharm" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">vitamin E</code> or selenium <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/vitamins_minerals_and_nutritional_supplements/article.htm" rel="sub" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">supplements</code> won't keep <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/dementia/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">dementia</code> at bay in older men, new research reveals.</p><p>"After an average of five years of supplementation, and up to 11 years of follow-up, we did not observe fewer new cases of <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/dementia_pictures_slideshow/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">dementia</code> among men who took any of the <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/vitamins_and_supplements_quiz/quiz.htm" rel="quiz" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">supplements</code> compared to neither supplement," said study co-author Frederick Schmitt. He's a professor with the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging and the department of neurology at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.</p><p>"Based on these results, we do not recommend vitamin E or selenium supplements to prevent dementia at these doses," he added.</p><p>Approximately 5 million American seniors are now living with <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/alzheimers_disease_causes_stages_and_symptoms/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">Alzheimer's</code>, the study authors noted.</p><p>Selenium is an essential antioxidant, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). It's involved in promoting hormone metabolism, as well as protecting against infection and oxidative damage. Vitamin E is thought to boost immunity and protect against cell damage. Both are naturally found in many foods, the NIH said.</p><p>Unlike prescription medications, supplements aren't regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for safety or effectiveness.</p><p>Researchers initially became interested in vitamin E and selenium because of their antioxidant properties. Antioxidants can help prevent damage to some cells. The study team hoped that this would be true for the brain cells involved in dementia.</p><p>Schmitt said his team was "not aware of specific supplement makers that market vitamin E or selenium for brain health."</p><p>Between 2002 and 2008, the study enrolled slightly more than 7,500 males across the United States (including Puerto Rico) and Canada. All were aged 60 or older. None had a history of neurological problems, dementia, serious <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/head_injury/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">head injury</code> or <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/drug_abuse/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">substance abuse</code>.</p><p>Participants were divided into four groups: a vitamin E group; a selenium group; a combination group; and a placebo group (the "control" group).</p><p>The supplement doses were 400 international units (IUs) of vitamin E and 200 micrograms of selenium per day.</p><p>The men took the supplements or the placebo for an average of about five years, the study authors said.</p><p>Study participants underwent annual in-person memory screenings and, sometimes, secondary <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/mental_health_psychology/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">mental health</code> screenings. Starting in 2008, and continuing through 2014, a smaller sub-group of roughly 4,300 participants continued memory screenings by phone.</p> <p>In the end, 325 men developed dementia at some point during the study. Of these, 71 had been in the vitamin E group, 78 in the selenium group, 91 in the combination group, and 85 in the control group that took no supplements.</p><p>Schmitt said since the study didn't include women, he couldn't speculate whether the findings would apply across gender.</p><p>But, "for consumers specifically concerned about brain health and cognition, they should be aware that no scientifically rigorous studies have identified any supplement as an effective treatment or prevention for dementia," Schmitt said.</p><p>For people who want to do something, he said, "regular physical activity, such as <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/walking/article.htm" rel="sub" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">walking</code>, and a heart-healthy <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/diet_plans_and_programs/article.htm" rel="sub" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">diet</code> have much more evidence supporting their effectiveness for reducing dementia risk."</p><p>Dr. Steven DeKosky, co-author of an accompanying editorial and deputy director of the McKnight Brain Institute at the University of Florida in Gainesville, had words of advice when it comes to taking supplements for any reason: "buyer beware."</p><p>"My rule for people taking supplements is that they should check with their physicians," he said. DeKosky added that people should "not stop their prescribed medications because they were going to take something else." </p> <p>Supplements can sometimes interact with prescription <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/drugs_what_you_should_know_about_your_drugs/article.htm" rel="pharm" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">drugs</code>, and "there is no proof that they work," he noted.</p><p>DeKosky also downplayed the anti-dementia potential of supplements.</p><p>"It is not a simple disease," he said, "and a simple 'silver bullet' is not to be expected."</p><p>The study was published online March 20 in <i>JAMA Neurology</i>.</p><p><img src="http://images.medicinenet.com/images/healthday/healthday.png" alt="MedicalNews"/><br/>Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.</p><p>SOURCES: Frederick A. Schmitt, Ph.D., professor, Sanders-Brown Center on Aging and department of neurology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Ky.; Steven T. DeKosky, M.D., deputy director, McKnight Brain Institute, department of neurology, and associate director, Florida Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, University of Florida, Gainesville; March 20, 2017, <i>JAMA Neurology</i>, online</p> <br/>

Steroid Shots Offer No Long-Term Relief for Low-Back Pain

<img src="http://media.healthday.com/Images/icimages/SS36004.jpg?resize=180:135" alt="News Picture: Steroid Shots Offer No Long-Term Relief for Low-Back Pain"/><b>By Steven Reinberg</b><br/><i>HealthDay Reporter</i><div> <p>&#13; <h3>Latest Chronic Pain News</h3>&#13; </p> </div> <p>MONDAY, March 20, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Chronic <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/low_back_pain/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">lower back pain</code> affects millions of Americans. Many try steroid injections to ease their discomfort, but researchers now say this remedy provides only short-term relief. </p><p>In their study, investigators from France focused on 135 patients with <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/low_back_pain/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">back pain</code> seemingly caused by inflammation between the discs and bones (vertebrae) in the lower spine.</p><p> The researchers found that a single steroid injection eased <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/pain_management/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">pain</code> for one month. After that, however, effectiveness waned. Virtually no difference was seen one year after treatment between patients who did or didn't get the injection.</p><p>"Our results do not support the wide use of an injection of glucocorticoid in alleviating symptoms in the long term in this condition," said lead researcher Dr. Christelle Nguyen. </p><p>The findings are consistent with earlier studies, said Nguyen, an assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Paris Descartes University. </p><p>Nguyen said she and her colleagues had hoped that targeting local disc inflammation with an anti-inflammatory steroid would help alleviate long-term <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/pain_quiz/quiz.htm" rel="quiz" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">pain</code>. </p><p>To test their theory, they selected patients with chronic <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/back_pain/symptoms.htm" rel="sym" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">lower back pain</code> and signs of disc inflammation on an <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/mri_scan/article.htm" rel="proc" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">MRI</code>. On average, participants had suffered from <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/back_pain_pictures_myths_and_facts_slideshow/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">back pain</code> for six years. Half were assigned to a single steroid shot; the other half got no injection.</p><p>Patients rated their pain severity before the injection and again one, three, six and 12 months after the treatment. </p><p>One month after treatment, 55 percent of those who got the steroid injection experienced less lower <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/back_pain_quiz/quiz.htm" rel="quiz" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">back pain</code>, compared with 33 percent of those who weren't treated. </p><p>"However, the groups did not differ for the assessed outcomes 12 months after the injection," Nguyen said. </p><p>For example, patients who did or didn't received a steroid injection ended up in similar circumstances, with the same incidence of disc inflammation, lower quality of life, more <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/anxiety/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">anxiety</code> and <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/depression/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">depression</code> and continued use of non-narcotic pain pills, she said. </p><p>Overall, most patients found the steroid injections tolerable, and would agree to have a second one if necessary, Nguyen said. "We had no specific safety concerns and found no cases of infection, destruction or calcification of the disc 12 months after the injection," she added. </p><p>The results were published March 20 in the <i>Annals of Internal Medicine</i>.</p><p>Dr. Byron Schneider, of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, noted there are many different causes of back pain.</p><p>In this study, the patients suffered from chronic back pain, he pointed out. "Patients with chronic lower back [pain] probably have more than one cause of their pain, which may be why the good results they found at one month weren't there a year later," said Schneider, an assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation.</p><p>The study results don't mean steroid injections should be avoided altogether, he noted.</p><p>Patients with a sudden episode of back pain -- so-called acute pain -- probably don't need a steroid injection, he said. </p><p>"But if they're not getting better after a month or two the way we would expect them to, at that point it would be reasonable to discuss the pluses and minuses of a steroid injection," said Schneider, co-author of an accompanying journal editorial. </p><p>Chronic (long-term) back pain is a different situation, he said. Treating chronic back pain means treating the pain itself, but also using cognitive <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/phobias_picture_slideshow/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">behavior therapy</code> and "pain psychology" to help patients cope with pain, he said. </p><p>"For <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/chronic_pain/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">chronic pain</code>, physicians need to address the musculoskeletal reasons that cause the hurt, but also other reasons that patients may be experiencing pain," Schneider said. </p><p>According to the editorial, psychological distress, <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/phobias_picture_slideshow/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">fear of pain</code> and even low educational levels can affect pain levels.</p><p><img src="http://images.medicinenet.com/images/healthday/healthday.png" alt="MedicalNews"/><br/>Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.</p><p>SOURCES: Christelle Nguyen, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, physical medicine and rehabilitation, Paris Descartes University, France; Byron Schneider M.D., assistant professor, physical medicine and rehabilitation, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tenn.; March 20, 2017, <i>Annals of Internal Medicine</i></p> <br/>

ATMs, Coffee Shops Ideal Spots for Heart Defibrillators

<img src="http://media.healthday.com/Images/icimages/aed.jpg?resize=180:135" alt="News Picture: ATMs, Coffee Shops Ideal Spots for Heart Defibrillators"/><b>By Amy Norton</b><br/><i>HealthDay Reporter</i><div> <p>&#13; <h3>Latest Heart News</h3>&#13; </p> </div> <p>MONDAY, March 20, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- ATMs and coffee shops may be among the best spots to place lifesaving defibrillators, a new study suggests.</p><p>Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are devices that can be used by a layperson to restart the heart of someone in <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/sudden_cardiac_death/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">cardiac arrest</code>. But to do that, they have to be readily accessible.</p><p>The new study tried to locate where AEDs could potentially save the most lives.</p><p>Focusing on Toronto, the Canadian researchers found that many of the city's cardiac arrest emergencies happened near coffee shop chains, such as Tim Hortons and Starbucks, and ATMs connected to large banks.</p><p>In fact, those businesses accounted for eight of the top 10 hot spots.</p><p>While the study looked only at Toronto, lead researcher Timothy Chan thinks the findings would likely extend to other cities.</p><p>Both ATMs and chain coffee shops are ubiquitous, said Chan, who directs the University of Toronto's Centre for Healthcare Engineering.</p><p>They also have some other advantages, he noted: The coffee shops typically have long business hours, while ATMs are often accessible 24 hours a day -- which means their AEDs would likely be reachable when needed.</p><p>Plus, locals usually know where is the nearest ATM or Starbucks.</p><p>"If people generally knew that ATMs and coffee chains have AEDs," Chan said, "they might be able to respond more quickly when someone has a cardiac arrest."</p><p>Cardiac arrest is when the heart suddenly stops beating altogether. A common cause is ventricular <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/heart_disease_pictures_slideshow_visual_guide/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">fibrillation</code>, where the heart's main pumping chamber begins to quiver chaotically. It differs from a <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/heart_attack/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">heart attack</code>, which is when blood flow to a part of the heart muscle is blocked because of a clogged vessel.</p><p>Dr. Benjamin Abella is director of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Resuscitation Science, and a spokesperson for the American Heart Association.</p><p>As it stands, Abella said, AEDs are often available in places where large crowds gather -- like transportation hubs and sports stadiums. Some private businesses also buy them, to be able to respond to an on-site cardiac arrest.</p><p>But, Abella said, there is still a need for "creative" ways to make AEDs more accessible to the public.</p><p>"These are truly lifesaving devices," he said. "But to do that, they have to be readily available and clearly marked."</p><p>Abella said the new findings "show that you can figure out how to rationally place AEDs for the most public health benefit."</p><p>Chan's team started by identifying all cardiac arrest cases that happened in public areas in Toronto between 2007 and 2015. There were over 2,600 in all.</p><p>Next, the researchers identified all businesses with 20 or more locations in the city. They then calculated the number of cardiac arrests that happened within 100 meters (about 328 feet) of each location, during business hours.</p><p>The popular coffee chain Tim Hortons came out on top, the researchers found. It would have "covered" 286 cardiac arrests during the study period. Two other coffee chains -- Starbucks and Second Cup -- along with five large-bank ATMs -- made up most of the remaining top 10.</p><p>The study was published March 21 in the journal <i>Circulation</i>.</p><p>How do the findings translate into real-world action?</p><p>One way is through "public-private" partnerships, Chan said. Working with large national businesses, in particular, has certain advantages, his team noted: They may have the resources to launch a nationwide program that not only makes AEDs available, but helps raise awareness of the devices.</p><p>That's another critical point, according to Chan.</p><p>"The reality is, many people don't even know what cardiac arrest is, or what AEDs are," he said.</p><p>Abella agreed. "Public awareness surrounding CPR and AEDs has been an uphill battle," he said.</p><p>Without immediate action, cardiac arrest is fatal within minutes. Bystanders can use CPR chest compressions to help keep the victim's blood flowing until emergency help arrives -- but CPR can't "restart" the heart.</p><p>If the cardiac arrest is caused by ventricular fibrillation, an AED will automatically detect that and deliver a "<code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/shock/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">shock</code>" to restore a normal heart rhythm.</p><p>"AEDs are specifically designed to be used by untrained laypeople," Abella said. "They won't 'go off' unless they should."</p><p>According to the heart association, more than 350,000 Americans suffer cardiac arrest outside of a hospital each year. In 2016, only 12 percent of those people survived.</p><p>But, Abella said, that's an improvement over historic rates: In recent years, cardiac arrest survival has been inching up.</p><p>"We're finally beginning to see some progress," Abella said. Better deployment of AEDs, he added, could help keep that trend going.</p><p><img src="http://images.medicinenet.com/images/healthday/healthday.png" alt="MedicalNews"/><br/>Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.</p><p>SOURCES: Timothy Chan, Ph.D., Centre for Healthcare Engineering, University of Toronto; Benjamin Abella, M.D., director, Center for Resuscitation Science, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and spokesperson, American Heart Association; March 21, 2017, <i>Circulation</i></p> <br/>

New Cholesterol Drugs May Beat Statins, But Price Tag Is High

<img src="http://media.healthday.com/Images/icimages/MIC072ML.jpg?resize=180:135" alt="News Picture: New Cholesterol Drugs May Beat Statins, But Price Tag Is High"/><b>By Dennis Thompson</b><br/><i>HealthDay Reporter</i><div> <p>&#13; <h3>Latest Cholesterol News</h3>&#13; </p> </div> <p>FRIDAY, March 17, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Two different injectable <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/drugs_what_you_should_know_about_your_drugs/article.htm" rel="pharm" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">drugs</code> can lower <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/cholesterol_levels_pictures_slideshow/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">cholesterol levels</code> even further than <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/statins/article.htm" rel="pharm" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">statins</code> do, potentially warding off future <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/heart_attack/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">heart attacks</code> or <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/stroke_symptoms_and_treatment/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">strokes</code>, new research suggests.</p><p>However, some heart experts question whether the pricey medications, one of which costs roughly $14,000 a year to take, perform well enough to make them worth the extra money.</p><p>In fact, some cardiologists said the drugs should be reserved only for patients with the highest heart risks.</p><p>The drugs, evolocumab (Repatha) and inclisiran, both work by targeting PCSK9, an enzyme that regulates the <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/liver_anatomy_and_function/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">liver</code>'s ability to remove "bad" <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/cholesterol_levels_pictures_slideshow/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">LDL cholesterol</code> from the bloodstream. By blocking the enzyme, the medications spur the body to screen out more <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/cholesterol_management/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">cholesterol</code>.</p><p>Clinical trial results showed that evolocumab was linked to a 15 percent reduction in the risk of major heart events in patients who are already taking statins due to <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/heart_disease_coronary_artery_disease/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">heart disease</code>. These events include sudden heart death, <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/heart_attack/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">heart attack</code>, <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/stroke_symptoms_and_treatment/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">stroke</code>, hospitalization for <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/angina_symptoms/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">angina</code>, or surgery to reopen a blocked artery.</p><p>Evolocumab was also associated with a 20 percent reduced risk of heart attack, <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/stroke_pictures_slideshow/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">stroke</code> or sudden heart death, said lead researcher Dr. Marc Sabatine, chair of cardiovascular medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital, in Boston.</p><p>"In patients with heart and blood vessel disease who are already on a statin, we know now that adding evolocumab reduces the risk of future heart attack or <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/stroke_quiz/quiz.htm" rel="quiz" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">stroke</code>, and it does it safely," Sabatine said.</p><p>Unfortunately, evolocumab did not reduce a person's overall risk of death, or their risk of dying from <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/heart_disease_pictures_slideshow_visual_guide/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">heart disease</code>, noted Dr. Gregg Stone, director of cardiovascular research and education at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center.</p><p>"The disappointing thing to me was there was absolutely no difference in mortality," Stone said.</p><p>Sabatine said that evolocumab, which costs about $14,000 a year, has been on the market for about two years now. It works by using artificial antibodies to block the receptors for PCSK9 in the liver.</p><p>By comparison, inclisiran is a next-generation PCSK9 inhibitor that works by reducing the ability of the liver to produce the enzyme, explained lead researcher Dr. Kausik Ray, a cardiologist at Imperial College London, in the United Kingdom.</p><p>Inclisiran can reduce cholesterol by an additional 30 percent to 50 percent on top of statins, Ray's team found.</p><p>In addition, inclisiran appears to maintain its effectiveness longer, meaning that patients wouldn't have to come to the doctor as often for cholesterol-blocking shots, said Dr. James Underberg, an internist with NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.</p><p>The inclisiran dosage that produced the best results would require a person to get an initial shot followed by a booster three months later, Ray said. They then could wait up to six months before needing another shot.</p><p>By comparison, Underberg said, people must receive an injection of evolocumab either monthly or every other week.</p><p>"It's three or four injections a year versus what we're currently doing now, which is 24 or 12 injections a year," Underberg said. "It's a little more convenient for patients, potentially."</p><p>The safety data showed no serious ill effects from either drug, which may have even fewer side effects than statins, researchers reported.</p><p>But heart experts aren't convinced the benefits of these drugs justify the cost, at least in most patients.</p><p>Leading cardiologist Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones, told the <i>Associated Press</i> that the results are modest and "not quite what we hoped or expected." He is chief of preventive medicine at Northwestern University and an American Heart Association spokesman. </p><p>"We should still probably reserve these for the highest-risk patients where statins are not doing a good enough job, at least at the price they are currently offered," said Lloyd-Jones.</p><p>Underberg and Stone noted that evolocumab decreases the absolute risk of a heart attack or <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/11_signs_and_symptoms_of_stroke/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">stroke</code> by about 1.3 percent at two years, and 2 percent at three years.</p><p>That means about 74 high-risk patients would have to be treated for two years to prevent one heart attack or stroke or death from <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/heart_disease_quiz/quiz.htm" rel="quiz" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">heart disease</code>, and that at three years 50 would have to be treated.</p><p>At that rate, after five years, just 17 high-risk patients would have to be treated, the authors said.</p><p>"In general, the drugs will probably be reserved for patients at high risk who will have a bigger treatment effect," Stone said.</p><p>The two <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/clinical_trials/article.htm" rel="proc" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">clinical trials</code> were funded by the drugs' respective makers -- Amgen for evolocumab and the Medicines Company/Alnylam Pharmaceuticals for inclisiran.</p><p>Both trials were reported March 17 in the <i>New England Journal of Medicine</i>, to coincide with planned presentations at the American College of Cardiology annual meeting, in Washington, D.C.</p><p><img src="http://images.medicinenet.com/images/healthday/healthday.png" alt="MedicalNews"/><br/>Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.</p><p>SOURCES: Marc Sabatine, M.D., chair, cardiovascular medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and professor, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Gregg Stone, M.D., director, cardiovascular research and education, NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, New York City; Kausik Ray, M.D., cardiologist and chair, public health, Imperial College London, U.K.; James Underberg, M.D., internist, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City; <i>Associated Press</i>; March 17, 2017, <i>New England Journal of Medicine</i>; March 17, 2017, presentations, American College of Cardiology annual meeting, Washington, D.C.</p> <br/>

Drinking, Drug Abuse Doubles Veterans&#039; Suicide Risk: Study

<img src="http://media.healthday.com/Images/icimages/female_soldier316.jpg?resize=180:135" alt="News Picture: Drinking, Drug Abuse Doubles Veterans' Suicide Risk: Study"/><p>FRIDAY, March 17, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. veterans with <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/drug_abuse/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">substance abuse</code> problems have a higher risk of <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/suicide/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">suicide</code> than veterans who don't, new research suggests.</p><div> <p>&#13; <h3>Latest Mental Health News</h3>&#13; </p> </div> <p>The study looked at more than 4 million veterans, and found that drug or alcohol problems affected 8 percent of males and 3 percent of females. These veterans had a more than twofold increased risk of <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/suicide/symptoms.htm" rel="sym" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">suicide</code> compared with those without a substance use disorder.</p><p>The suicide rate was especially high among female veterans with drug or alcohol problems. These women had a more than five times greater rate of suicide than female veterans who did not have substance abuse problems.</p><p>"We hope these findings will help clinicians and health systems care for people with substance use disorders, with <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/mental_health_psychology/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">mental health</code> conditions, and with both -- and focus suicide prevention efforts accordingly," said lead study author Kipling Bohnert.</p><p>Bohnert is an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical School, and also a researcher with the VA Center for Clinical Management Research.</p><p>Each day, 20 U.S. veterans die by suicide, the researchers said, a rate much higher than in the general population.</p><p>"Substance use disorders may be important markers for suicide risk," Bohnert said in a university news release. </p><p>The study found that suicide risk among veterans differed by type of substance abuse. The highest risks were among those who abuse prescription sedative medicines, such as tranquilizers. </p><p>Female veterans were more at risk if they abused opioid painkillers, while males had an increased suicide risk if they abused <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/stimulants_for_adhd/article.htm" rel="pharm" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">amphetamines</code>, the findings showed.</p><p>The study, published online March 16 in the journal <i>Addiction</i>, highlights the need to direct more veterans' suicide prevention efforts to those with drug or alcohol problems. </p><p>That's especially true if veterans are also dealing with <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/depression/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">depression</code>, <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/schizophrenia/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">schizophrenia</code>, <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/bipolar_disorder/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">bipolar disorder</code>, <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/generalized_anxiety_disorder_pictures_slideshow/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">post-traumatic stress disorder</code> or <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/anxiety/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">anxiety</code>, according to the researchers.</p><p>Two-thirds of the suicides in the study involved firearms, so gun safety needs to be a major part of efforts to reduce suicides among veterans. In addition, Bohnert and colleagues found that one-quarter of suicides by veterans with substance use disorders were by intentional poisoning, so strategies to prevent that form of suicide are also needed.</p><p>-- Robert Preidt</p><p><img src="http://images.medicinenet.com/images/healthday/healthday.png" alt="MedicalNews"/><br/>Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.</p><p>SOURCE: University of Michigan, news release, March 16, 2017</p> <br/>

Remote Amazon Tribe May Have Healthiest Hearts on Earth

<img src="http://media.healthday.com/Images/cutline/tsimane_sm.jpg&quot; alt="News Picture: Remote Amazon Tribe May Have Healthiest Hearts on Earth"/><b>By Dennis Thompson</b><br/><i>HealthDay Reporter</i><div> <p>&#13; <h3>Latest Heart News</h3>&#13; </p> </div> <p>FRIDAY, March 17, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- A primitive Amazonian tribe appears to have the best heart health in the world, living a simple existence that inadvertently provides them extraordinary protection against <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/heart_disease_coronary_artery_disease/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">heart disease</code>, researchers report.</p><p>The Tsimane people of Bolivia lead an active life of subsistence farming and foraging for food in the Amazon rainforest, said study author Dr. Gregory Thomas. He is medical director of the Memorial Care Heart &amp; Vascular Institute at Long Beach Memorial, in California.</p><p>Thanks to their unique lifestyle, most Tsimane have arteries unclogged by the <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/cholesterol_management/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">cholesterol</code> plaques that drastically increase the risk of <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/heart_attack/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">heart attack</code> and <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/stroke_symptoms_and_treatment/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">stroke</code> in modern Americans, Thomas said.</p><p><code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/cat_scan/article.htm" rel="proc" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">CT scans</code> revealed that hardened arteries are five times less common among the Tsimane than in U.S. adults, Thomas said.</p><p>"We found that based on their lifestyle, 85 percent of this population can live their whole life without any heart artery atherosclerosis [hardening]," Thomas said. "They basically have the physiology of a 20-year-old."</p><p>The Tsimane also have lower heart rates, <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/image-collection/blood_pressure_picture/picture.htm" rel="img" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">blood pressure</code>, cholesterol and blood sugar levels compared to the rest of the world, Thomas added.</p><p>Thomas and his colleagues have been studying mummies for ancient evidence of <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/heart_disease_pictures_slideshow_visual_guide/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">heart disease</code>, and have found hardened blood vessels in mummies as old as 3,500 years.</p><p>The heart researchers learned of the Tsimane through anthropologists who have been studying the tribe, in a research effort led by Hillard Kaplan, a professor at the University of New Mexico.</p><p>"Kaplan and his team felt they had rarely seen any <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/heart_disease_quiz/quiz.htm" rel="quiz" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">heart disease</code> in this Amazonian tribe," Thomas said. "They'd only heard of one heart attack that had happened."</p><p>Skeptical but intrigued, Thomas said his team arranged for just over 700 Tsimane to travel by river and jeep from the Amazon rainforest to Trinidad, a city in Bolivia and the nearest city with a CT scanner. It took tribe members one to two days to reach the nearest market town by river, and then another six hours driving to reach Trinidad.</p><p>CT scans that look for calcium deposits in arterial plaques confirmed what Kaplan's team had suspected -- the Tsimane have the youngest-looking arteries of any population recorded to date.</p><p>The scans showed that almost nine in 10 of the Tsimane (85 percent) had no risk of heart disease because they had no arterial plaques. About 13 percent of those scanned had low risk, and only 3 percent had moderate or high risk.</p> <p>By comparison, only 14 percent of U.S. residents have a <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/cat_scan/article.htm" rel="proc" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">CT scan</code> that suggests no risk of heart disease, while 50 percent have a moderate or high risk, according to a recent study funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.</p><p>There appears to be a 24-year lag between when a Tsimane develops any risk of heart disease compared to when an American does, the researchers reported. There's also a 28-year lag between the Tsimane and Americans when heart disease risk becomes moderate or high.</p><p>All this good health can be tracked back to the way the Tsimane live, Thomas said. They are subsistence farmers; during the day, the men hunt and fish while the women work the farms and tend to children.</p><p>Because of this, the men are physically active 6 to 7 hours of their day, and tend to average 17,000 steps a day, Thomas said. The women are physically active 4 to 6 hours a day, and average about 16,000 steps.</p><p>The Tsimane also consume a very fresh, extremely low-fat diet, eating only what they can grow or catch, Thomas said. Nearly three-fourths of what they eat are non-processed carbohydrates, such as rice, plantains, corn, nuts and fruits, and their protein comes from lean wild game and fish.</p><p>The tribe's members rarely smoke, Thomas added. "They mainly use cigarettes to burn these huge flies out of their skin, down there in the rainforest," he said.</p><p>"We were really surprised you could prevent heart disease by this amount of <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/exercise/article.htm" rel="sub" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">exercise</code> and this kind of <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/diet_and_nutrition_quiz/quiz.htm" rel="quiz" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">diet</code>," Thomas said.</p><p>These results suggest that urbanization could be considered a risk factor for <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/heart_attack_pathology_photo_essay/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">hardening of the arteries</code>, as modern people leave behind lives of struggle for a more cushy existence, he said.</p><p>Dr. Kim Williams, immediate past president of the American College of Cardiology, agreed, noting that modern medicine has focused less on prevention than on surgeries, procedures and <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/drugs_what_you_should_know_about_your_drugs/article.htm" rel="pharm" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">drugs</code> that save and extend the lives of heart attack or <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/stroke_pictures_slideshow/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">stroke</code> victims.</p><p>"You can decrease the heart attack death rate, but you're not really decreasing the number of people who have <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/heart_attack/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">heart attacks</code>," said Williams, chief of cardiology at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. "We've been mopping up the floor rather than turning off the faucet."</p><p>The findings from the Tsimane also cast some doubt on inflammation as a cause of hardened arteries, which has been a popular theory, Thomas added.</p><p>Thanks to parasites like hookworm, roundworm and <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/giardia_lamblia/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">giardia</code>, the Tsimane spend most of their lives in a state of infection-induced inflammation, he said. Nevertheless, this inflammation does not appear to have had any effect on their arterial health.</p><p>People who want to follow the example of the Tsimane would do well to consider U.S. guidelines for physical <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/exercise_and_fitness_quiz/quiz.htm" rel="quiz" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">exercise</code> a starting point rather than a goal, said Dr. Douglas Jacoby, medical director of the Penn Medicine Center for Preventive Cardiology and <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/cholesterol_levels_pictures_slideshow/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">Lipid</code> Management in Philadelphia.</p><p>"The guidelines aren't designed to maximally reduce your risk," Jacoby said. "They are really designed to set up a minimum standard of behavior that we are positive will help reduce <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/heart_attack_in_women/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">heart attacks</code> and <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/stroke_symptoms_and_treatment/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">strokes</code>."</p><p>At the same time, Jacoby believes the new study downplays another potential explanation for the remarkable health of the Tsimane -- genetics.</p><p>"The authors conclude that genetics only play a minor part in the causation of coronary disease. I don't think that's a well-founded statement," Jacoby said. "There are real genetic risk factors that have an impact on whether a person will have a heart attack or <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/stroke_quiz/quiz.htm" rel="quiz" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">stroke</code>, and <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/healthy_living/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">living healthy</code> will not fully overcome that risk."</p><p>The study was published online March 17 in <i>The Lancet</i>, to coincide with a presentation on the findings at the American College of Cardiology meeting, in Washington D.C.</p><p><img src="http://images.medicinenet.com/images/healthday/healthday.png" alt="MedicalNews"/><br/>Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.</p><p>SOURCES: Gregory Thomas, M.D., MPH, medical director, MemorialCare Heart &amp; Vascular Institute, Long Beach Memorial, Long Beach, Calif.; Kim Williams, M.D., immediate past president, American College of Cardiology, and chief, cardiology, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago; Douglas Jacoby, M.D., medical director, Penn Medicine Center for Preventive Cardiology and Lipid Management, Philadelphia; March 17, 2017, <i>The Lancet</i>, online; March 17, 2017, presentation, American College of Cardiology annual meeting, Washington, D.C.</p> <br/>

U.N. Agency Announces Tighter Controls on Chemicals Used to Make Fentanyl

<div> <p>&#13; <h3>Latest MedicineNet News</h3>&#13; </p> </div> <p>Controls on the production, sale and export of some chemicals used in the illegal production of fentanyl have been announced by the U.N.'s Commission on Narcotic Drugs.</p><p>Fentanyl is a prescription opioid painkiller. It is often mixed with <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/teen_drug_abuse_pictures_slideshow/article.htm&quot; rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">heroin</code> or made to look like other painkillers, resulting in the deaths of thousands of people a year in the United States, the <i>Associated Press</i> reported.</p><p>In 2015, there were more than 33,000 deaths in the U.S. from overdoses involving opioids obtained either illegally or through prescriptions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pop star Prince died of a fentanyl overdose last year.</p><p>The U.N. agency's new rules will have a "clear benefit for the United States," a federal government statement said, the <i>AP</i> reported.</p><p><img src="http://images.medicinenet.com/images/healthday/healthday.png" alt="MedicalNews"/><br/>Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.</p> <br/>

Welcome Spring and Still Survive Your Allergies

<img src="http://media.healthday.com/Images/icimages/cold4162.jpg?resize=180:135" alt="News Picture: Welcome Spring and Still Survive Your Allergies"/><div> <p>&#13; <h3>Latest Allergies News</h3>&#13; </p> </div> <p>SUNDAY, March 19, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- If you have seasonal <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/allergy/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">allergies</code>, the arrival of spring on Monday is probably less about warmth and flowers and more about <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/itch/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">itchy</code> eyes and congestion.</p><p>But there are ways to ease <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/allergy/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">allergy</code> misery and keep <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/asthma_symptoms_and_signs/symptoms.htm" rel="sym" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">asthma symptoms</code> in check, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI).</p><p>"People think they're doing everything they can to battle spring <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/10_common_allergy_triggers_slideshow/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">allergies</code>," said AAAAI President Dr. Stephen Tilles, a Washington-based allergist.</p><p>"But many still find themselves under siege from <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/hay_fever/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">pollen</code> and other allergens that appear once the weather starts to warm up. What they don't realize is that by following a few simple rules they can make life a lot more pleasant, and their <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/allergies_quiz/quiz.htm" rel="quiz" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">allergies</code> more bearable," he said in a news release from the group</p><p>Here, he offers some tips:</p><ul><li><b>Do some spring cleaning. </b> Dust and cobwebs can accumulate over the winter. <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/mold_exposure/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">Mold</code> can also build up in bathrooms and the basement, particularly in spring when humidity rises. Furry pets may also start shedding in spring, leaving more dander and hair around the house. Cleaning the house, vacuuming and washing upholstery can help remove allergens from the air and help ensure your nasal passages stay clear. </li><li><b>Consider asthma. </b> Many people with seasonal allergies also have <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/asthma_pictures_slideshow/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">asthma</code>, making springtime doubly difficult. If you have a nagging <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/chronic_cough/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">cough</code> or trouble <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/lungs_design_and_purpose/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">breathing</code>, talk to an allergist. These specialists can diagnose <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/asthma_quiz/quiz.htm" rel="quiz" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">asthma</code> and help you manage your symptoms. </li><li><b>Clean the air. </b> You'll breathe easier if your air is clean. The best way to do that is with a <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/10_common_allergy_triggers_slideshow/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">HEPA</code> room air cleaner rated with a Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR). If you have central air, change your air filters every three months and use filters with a MERV rating of 11 or 12. Steer clear of ionic air filters, which make dust and pollen particles stick to whatever they touch. These air filters don't provide much benefit to those with allergies, the asthma and <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/allergies_quiz/quiz.htm" rel="quiz" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">allergy</code> group cautions. They also produce ozone, which is a health risk. </li><li><b>Keep windows closed.</b> In spring it's tempting to open the windows and let in some fresh air, but this allows pollen to blow inside your home and settle in your rugs and furniture. This can cause <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/allergy/symptoms.htm" rel="sym" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">allergy symptoms</code> to flare up. Keep your windows closed and use air conditioning with a new air filter. </li><li><b>Consult an expert. </b> Don't rely solely on the Internet for expert medical advice. An allergist is a specially trained doctor who can help you identify the cause of your symptoms and determine the best treatment. </li></ul><p>-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas</p><p><img src="http://images.medicinenet.com/images/healthday/healthday.png" alt="MedicalNews"/><br/>Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.</p><p>SOURCE: American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, news release, Feb. 23, 2017</p> <br/>

Guidelines May Miss Need for Statins in Many U.S. Blacks

<img src="http://media.healthday.com/Images/icimages/minority_bloodpressure1162.jpg?resize=180:135" alt="News Picture: Guidelines May Miss Need for Statins in Many U.S. Blacks"/><div> <p>&#13; <h3>Latest Heart News</h3>&#13; </p> </div> <p>SATURDAY, March 18, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. medical organizations have conflicting guidelines on the use of <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/cholesterol_management/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">cholesterol</code>-lowering statin <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/drugs_what_you_should_know_about_your_drugs/article.htm" rel="pharm" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">drugs</code> in blacks, a new study finds.</p><p>Researchers say that about one in four black Americans who are recommended to take a statin under guidelines from the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association would no longer qualify for such therapy under new guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).</p><p>The USPSTF is an influential government-appointed group whose decisions often influence health care, including insurance coverage.</p><p>The new study was led by Dr. Venkatesh Murthy of the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor. His team noted that while many studies have used artery scans to assess the need for <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/statins/article.htm" rel="pharm" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">statins</code> by white patients, no such studies have focused on black patients.</p><p>However, compared with whites, black Americans are at higher risk of developing <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/heart_disease_coronary_artery_disease/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">heart disease</code> linked to plaque buildup in the arteries ("<code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/heart_attack_pathology_photo_essay/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">hardening of the arteries</code>").</p><p>So, would the new USPSTF guidelines on statin use be accurate for black patients? To find out, Murthy's team compared statin "eligibility" for more than 2,800 black patients, aged 40 to 75.</p><p>The study authors reported that about one-quarter of black people who would be recommended to take a statin under the ACC/AHA guidelines wouldn't be eligible under the new USPSTF advisory.</p><p>This suggests that the government panel's guidelines may be less accurate at spotting black patients who need the therapy, the researchers said.</p><p>Murthy's group believes that, overall, just 38 percent of high-risk black Americans would get a statin under the USPSTF guidelines, meaning that "significant numbers" of people would miss out on the cholesterol-lowering treatment.</p><p>What to do? According to the researchers, using scans to measure each patient's artery calcification levels might help spot patients in need. This type of test has the potential to personalize a patient's individual need for statin treatment, the authors explained.</p><p>Two cardiologists agreed.</p><p>"This study brings us back to the critical need to appreciate the uniqueness of different populations -- whether based on gender, race, or ethnicity -- and to evaluate results of trials or impact of guideline recommendations with regard to these differences," said Dr. Stacey Rosen. She's vice president of women's health at Northwell Health's Katz Institute for Women's Health in New Hyde Park, N.Y.</p><p>"We have certainly learned in other clinical areas -- <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/heart_disease_pictures_slideshow_visual_guide/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">cardiovascular disease</code> in women, [<code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/high_blood_pressure_hypertension/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">high blood pressure</code>] in African Americans, or <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/diabetes_mellitus/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">diabetes</code> in Latinos -- that 'one-size-does-not-fit-all,'" Rosen said.</p><p>Dr. Satjit Bhusri is a heart specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. He agreed with the researchers that "the use of calcium scoring by <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/cat_scan/article.htm" rel="proc" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">CT scan</code> is best for early detection of <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/heart_disease_pictures_slideshow_visual_guide/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">heart disease</code>; it is specific for each patient, and its benefits for early prevention are immense." But he believes such testing should be available to all patients, regardless of race.</p><p>The study was published online March 18 in the journal <i>JAMA Cardiology</i> and will be presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology, in Washington, D.C.</p><p>-- E.J. Mundell</p><p><img src="http://images.medicinenet.com/images/healthday/healthday.png" alt="MedicalNews"/><br/>Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.</p><p>SOURCES: Stacey Rosen, M.D., vice president, women's health, Northwell Health's Katz Institute for Women's Health, New Hyde Park, N.Y.; Satjit Bhusri, M.D., cardiologist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; <i>JAMA Cardiology</i>, news release, March 18, 2017</p> <br/>

Fewer U.S. Kids Overdosing on Opioids - MedicineNet Daily News

<img src="http://media.healthday.com/Images/icimages/overdose718.jpg?resize=180:135" alt="News Picture: Fewer U.S. Kids Overdosing on Opioids"/><b>By Amy Norton</b><br/><i>HealthDay Reporter</i><div> <p>&#13; <h3>Latest Healthy Kids News</h3>&#13; </p> </div> <p>MONDAY, March 20, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- The number of U.S. kids who overdose on prescription painkillers each year may be declining -- but the incidents remain a major public health problem, new research says.</p><p>Since 2009, U.S. <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/poison_control_centers/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">poison control</code> centers have seen fewer calls about children and teenagers who've ingested prescription opioids, researchers found.</p><p>Often, those incidents involved young children who'd gotten hold of an adult's medication. In other cases, it was a teenager who intentionally abused the drug, or used it to self-harm.</p><p>The fact that the incidents may be waning is "good news," researchers said.</p><p>But, they stress, the issue is not going away.</p><p>"We really have a major problem in this country [with opioid abuse]," said Dr. Marcel Casavant, one of the researchers on the study. "And it's trickling down to our kids."</p><p>And in certain ways, the study found, things have gotten worse: Among teenagers, for example, the rate of suspected <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/suicide/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">suicide</code> by opioid overdose is rising.</p><p>"That's an alarming finding," said Casavant, who is chief toxicologist at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.</p><p>It suggests, he said, that a growing number of <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/teenagers/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">teens</code> may be <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/suicide/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">suicidal</code> -- and have easy access to fatal opioid doses.</p><p>The findings, published March 20 in <i>Pediatrics</i>, offer the latest glimpse into the U.S. prescription opioid epidemic.</p><p>The <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/drugs_what_you_should_know_about_your_drugs/article.htm" rel="pharm" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">drugs</code> include <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/oxycodone/article.htm" rel="pharm" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">oxycodone</code> (<code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/oxycodone/article.htm" rel="pharm" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">OxyContin</code>) and oxycodone plus <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/acetaminophen/article.htm" rel="pharm" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">acetaminophen</code> (<code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/oxycodone_and_acetaminophen/article.htm" rel="pharm" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">Percocet</code>). Starting in the 1990s, U.S. doctors started prescribing the medications much more often over concerns that patients with severe <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/pain_management/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">pain</code> weren't being adequately helped, the study authors said.</p><p>Nationwide, sales of prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p><p>But there was an unintended side effect: a sharp rise in painkiller abuse and "diversion" -- meaning the drugs increasingly got into the hands of people with no legitimate medical need.</p><p>In 2014, more than 2 million Americans abused a prescription opioid, according to CDC figures. More than 15,000 people died of an opioid overdose in 2015 -- in what the agency calls an epidemic.</p><p>The new study focused on calls to U.S. poison control centers by people seeking help for children or teenagers who'd ingested a prescription opioid.</p><p>Between 2000 and 2015, it found, there were roughly 12,000 such calls each year, on average. That amounts to about 32 calls per day.</p><p>The most common scenario involved a child younger than 5 who'd gotten hold of an adult's opioids -- legitimately prescribed or not.</p><p>But 30 percent of the time, it was a teenager who'd taken the drug to get high or for self-harm, Casavant said. Overall, 175 kids died -- 55 percent of whom were teenagers. Half of the deaths were deemed intentional, the study said.</p><p>Through much of the study period, the problem grew steadily worse: From 2000 to 2009, the rate of incidents per 100,000 U.S. children climbed 80 percent.</p><p>After that, the trend began to reverse, with the rate dipping by about 30 percent through 2015.</p><p>This study can't show why, Casavant said.</p><p>But, he said, growing awareness of the nation's opioid problem is a likely factor.</p><p>Medical groups have come out with new prescribing guidelines, aimed at curbing inappropriate opioid use. And laws have been passed to thwart problems such as "doctor-shopping" -- where people go from doctor to doctor, trying to get a new opioid prescription.</p><p>But the study also found some patterns that aren't going in the right direction. From 2000 to 2015, the rate of suspected <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/suicide/symptoms.htm" rel="sym" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">suicide</code>-by-opioid rose nearly 53 percent.</p><p>There was also an increase in calls related to one drug, called buprenorphine.</p><p>Buprenorphine is actually used to treat opioid <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/drug_abuse/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">addiction</code>. Brand names for buprenorphine combined with naloxone include <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/buprenorphine-naloxone-sublingual/article.htm" rel="pharm" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">Suboxone</code> and <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/buprenorphine-naloxone-sublingual/article.htm" rel="pharm" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">Zubsolv</code>. Nearly all calls related to buprenorphine involved young children who'd accidentally ingested it.</p><p>Dr. David Rosen is a professor of anesthesia and pediatrics at West Virginia University in Morgantown. He cowrote an editorial accompanying the study.</p><p>Rosen made another point: Rural areas of the United States have been hardest hit by the opioid epidemic, and national studies don't reveal what's going on at more local levels.</p><p>One reason rural areas are so affected, Rosen said, is that people lack access to alternative ways to manage <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/pain_quiz/quiz.htm" rel="quiz" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">pain</code>.</p><p><code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/acupuncture/article.htm" rel="proc" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">Acupuncture</code> might be an option in a city, for people with the money to pay for it, Rosen said. That's not the case in rural areas.</p><p>A second study in the same issue of the journal found that when U.S. teenagers abused prescription opioids, it was often after they'd been given a legitimate prescription.</p><p>More prudent prescribing, to both adults and teens, is one way to address the national opioid problem, both Casavant and Rosen said.</p><p>"Make sure you try every option before going to an opioid," Rosen said. And then, the prescription should be for a small quantity of pills, at the lowest dose possible.</p><p>"Parents should keep the medication not just out of reach, but locked up," Casavant said. And any leftover pills should be promptly discarded, he added.</p><p>Rosen agreed. "Never keep extra medication around so you can 'self-prescribe' the next time you have <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/low_back_pain/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">back pain</code>," he said. "If it's lying around the house, it's available to everyone."</p><p><img src="http://images.medicinenet.com/images/healthday/healthday.png" alt="MedicalNews"/><br/>Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.</p><p>SOURCES: Marcel Casavant, M.D., chief toxicologist, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio; David Rosen, M.D., professor, anesthesia and pediatrics, West Virginia University, Morgantown; April 2017, <i>Pediatrics</i></p> <br/>

Are Blood Thinners Overused in Patients With Irregular Heartbeat?

<img src="http://media.healthday.com/Images/icimages/MIC029ML.jpg?resize=180:135" alt="News Picture: Are Blood Thinners Overused in Patients With Irregular Heartbeat?"/><b>By Steven Reinberg</b><br/><i>HealthDay Reporter</i><div> <p>&#13; <h3>Latest Heart News</h3>&#13; </p> </div> <p>FRIDAY, March 17, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Many people living with the heart rhythm disorder known as <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/atrial_fibrillation/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">atrial fibrillation</code> may be taking unneeded blood thinners, a new study suggests.</p><p>These blood thinners, which include <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/acetylsalicylic_acid/article.htm" rel="pharm" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">aspirin</code>, <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/clopidogrel/article.htm" rel="pharm" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">Plavix</code> and <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/warfarin/article.htm" rel="pharm" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">warfarin</code>, are believed to reduce the risk of <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/stroke_symptoms_and_treatment/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">stroke</code> that can come with <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/atrial_fibrillation_pictures_slideshow/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">atrial fibrillation</code>. But for many <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/atrial_fibrillation_a-fib_quiz/quiz.htm" rel="quiz" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">atrial fibrillation</code> patients with a low <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/stroke_pictures_slideshow/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">stroke</code> risk, the medications might actually increase both bleeding and <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/stroke_quiz/quiz.htm" rel="quiz" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">stroke</code> risk, researchers reported.</p><p>The way most doctors decide whether a patient needs a blood thinner is by using a simple score called CHADS2, which assigns points to patients based on age and other medical risks. A score of 2 is usually needed to recommend a blood thinner, the researchers explained.</p><p>But, "people are realizing that the CHADS2 scores are putting too many people above the threshold -- it's pretty easy to get a 2," explained study author Benjamin Horne, an adjunct assistant professor of biomedical informatics at Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Utah.</p><p>For some patients with low CHADS2 scores, the risk of bleeding outweighs the risk of <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/11_signs_and_symptoms_of_stroke/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">stroke</code>, he added.</p><p>"It's better than flipping a coin, but there are many other scores out there that are more predictive," Horne said. "The problem with those scores is that it is difficult and time-consuming to use."</p><p>The CHADS2 score breaks down this way: C stands for <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/congestive_heart_failure_chf_overview/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">congestive heart failure</code>, H for <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/high_blood_pressure_hypertension/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">high blood pressure</code>, A for age 75 or older, and D for <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/diabetes_mellitus/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">diabetes</code>. S stands for stroke, and the 2 gives an extra point for a previous stroke.</p><p>For the study, Horne and his colleagues collected data on nearly 57,000 patients with atrial <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/heart_disease_pictures_slideshow_visual_guide/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">fibrillation</code> and a CHADS2 score of 0-2. Patients were divided into groups receiving aspirin, Plavix or warfarin or no blood thinner.</p><p>At three and five years, the rates of stroke, <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/transient_ischemic_attack_tia_mini-stroke/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">mini-stroke</code> and major bleeding were higher with any blood thinner, compared with no treatment, the researchers found. The rates of these outcomes were lower among patients taking warfarin than among those taking aspirin or Plavix, the study authors added.</p><p>The findings were to be presented Friday at the American College of Cardiology's annual meeting, in Washington, D.C. Research presented at meetings is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.</p><p>Horne said that Intermountain has developed a risk score using a blood test that can help doctors make a more precise decision about a patient's risk for stroke. When used along with the CHADS2 score, it might prevent low-risk patients from being put on a blood thinner, he said.</p><p>But one heart rhythm expert was less certain.</p><p>"We have to take this study with caution," said Dr. Apoor Patel, director of complex ablations in the department of electrophysiology at Northwell Health's Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y.</p><p>It's controversial whether patients with low CHADS2 scores should take blood thinners, Patel said. "It's something we struggle with every day in clinical practice," he said.</p><p>Stroke risk varies among patients, even those with a CHAD score of just 1, he said.</p><p>"I wouldn't use this one study alone to change practice. When you have a patient with a low CHADS2 score, you have to make a decision about the pros and cons of anticoagulation [blood thinners], and you have to take into account risk factors that aren't in the score," Patel said. </p><p>Conditions not in the score that can make people more prone to stroke include kidney dysfunction, <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/obesity_weight_loss/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">obesity</code>, <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/smoking_and_quitting_smoking/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">smoking</code> and alcohol use, and many others, Patel said.</p><p>"When you are faced with a patient with a low CHADS2 score, you have to make a decision patient by patient," he said. "You have to take into account not just a patient's score, but a patient's preferences, as well as risk factors not in the score."</p><p><img src="http://images.medicinenet.com/images/healthday/healthday.png" alt="MedicalNews"/><br/>Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.</p><p>SOURCES: Benjamin Horne, Ph.D., adjunct assistant professor, biomedical informatics, Intermountain Medical Center, Murray, Utah; Apoor Patel, M.D., director, complex ablations, department of electrophysiology, Northwell Health Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital, Manhasset, N.Y.; March 17, 2017, presentation, American College of Cardiology annual meeting, Washington, D.C.</p> <br/>

For &#039;Preemies,&#039; Human Touch May Be a Brain Booster

<img src="http://media.healthday.com/Images/icimages/18231.jpg?resize=180:135" alt="News Picture: For 'Preemies,' Human Touch May Be a Brain Booster"/><b>By Maureen Salamon</b><br/><i>HealthDay Reporter</i><div> <p>&#13; <h3>Latest Healthy Kids News</h3>&#13; </p> </div> <p>THURSDAY, March 16, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Underscoring the link between brain development and touch, new research suggests premature <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/babies_quiz/quiz.htm" rel="quiz" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">babies</code> face a disadvantage compared to their full-term peers in their brain's sensitivity to gentle touch.</p> <p>Analyzing 125 preterm and full-term infants, scientists also found that preemies experienced lowered brain response to gentle touch in the aftermath of painful medical procedures.</p> <p>"We all know in our daily lives how important touch is, but for babies ... it's also a scaffold to building their brains," said study author Dr. Nathalie Maitre. She's director of the NICU follow-up clinic at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.</p><p>"<code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/pain_management/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">Pain</code> and touch don't go through the same nerves," Maitre added. "We didn't expect how the painful procedures and experience of <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/pain_quiz/quiz.htm" rel="quiz" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">pain</code> would have an effect on how babies would process gentle touch."</p><p>About 15 million babies around the world each year are born prematurely, before 37 weeks of <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/pregnancy_planning_preparing_for_pregnancy/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">pregnancy</code>, according to the World Health Organization. In the United States, about one in 10 babies is born preterm, adding up to more than 500,000 annually.</p><p>Many premature infants spend extended periods in the hospital <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/stages_of_pregnancy_pictures_slideshow/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">neonatal</code> intensive care unit, or NICU. In this setting, parents can't always be on hand to hold or stroke their infants, and babies face multiple medical procedures -- some painful.</p><p>This study's participants included preterm infants born between 24 and 36 weeks of pregnancy, and full-term infants born between 38 and 42 weeks of pregnancy.</p><p>Maitre and her colleagues recorded all positive experiences of touch, such as cuddling or breast-feeding. They also placed a soft net on the babies' heads that measured brain response to a puff of air that was meant to mimic a light touch. </p> <p>The brains of preemies were more likely than their full-term peers to record reduced brain response to gentle touch. But, their response was stronger when NICU babies spent more time in gentle contact with parents or clinicians, the researchers found.</p> <p>Additionally, the more preterm a baby was, the more likely their brain response to light touch would be weakened at the time of hospital discharge, the findings showed.</p><p>"One of the really sad things we noticed is ... that most babies in our study didn't have a ton of that supportive touch, and some had none," said Maitre.</p><p>"They have to depend on <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/breastfeeding/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">nursing</code> care and the gentle touch of nurses entirely before they go home. There are so many challenges to parents spending time in the NICU and doing skin-to-<code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/beauty_quiz/quiz.htm" rel="quiz" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">skin care</code>, breast-feeding and supportive touch," Maitre explained.</p><p>"Obviously," she added, "there's no substitute for breast-feeding and skin-to-skin care by parents. But send a grandma or another <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/caregiving/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">caregiver</code> if you can't be there, because every bit of that supportive touch is going to matter."</p><p>Dr. Deborah Campbell is director of the neonatology division at Children's Hospital of Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. She praised the new study, saying it adds to a growing body of research indicating painful experiences in the early <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/babies_quiz/quiz.htm" rel="quiz" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">newborn</code> period have both short-term and lasting brain effects.</p><p>"This is actually an emerging body of information that's helping us to understand the impact of various experiences preterm infants have, in terms of brain connections ... that happen as infants develop, and some experiences that can alter those connections," said Campbell, who wasn't involved in the study.</p> <p>Maitre said she hopes her research will support "a really rigorous look at what interventions we currently use to mitigate pain" in NICU babies. Opioid painkillers and <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/sugar_addiction_pictures_slideshow/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">sugar</code> water are typically used currently, she said.</p> <p>"Secondly, let's design some interventions that don't necessarily involve 24-hour parent presence," Maitre added, "but build a bond between parent and infant, and provide supportive touch."</p><p>The study was published online March 16 in the journal <i>Current Biology</i>.</p><p><img src="http://images.medicinenet.com/images/healthday/healthday.png" alt="MedicalNews"/><br/>Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.</p><p>SOURCES: Nathalie Maitre, M.D., Ph.D., director, NICU follow-up clinic, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio; Deborah Campbell, M.D., professor, clinical pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and director, division of neonatology, Children's Hospital, Montefiore Medical Center, New York City; March 16, 2017, <i>Current Biology</i>, online</p> <br/>

Millions of Americans Bombarded by Loud Noises

<img src="http://media.healthday.com/Images/icimages/29099.jpg?resize=180:135" alt="News Picture: Millions of Americans Bombarded by Loud Noises"/><div> <p>&#13; <h3>Latest Hearing News</h3>&#13; </p> </div> <p>THURSDAY, March 16, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Almost 58 million Americans are exposed to loud noises at work and home, but too few try to protect their <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/deafness/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">hearing</code>, a new study finds.</p><p>"This noise exposure epidemic had not really been quantified at the household level in the U.S.," said study senior author Dr. Neil Bhattacharyya, an associate chief of otolaryngology at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.</p><p>"This degree of noise exposure has the potential to cause long-term hearing consequences with our <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/senior_health/article.htm" rel="sub" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">aging</code> population. Health care providers should actively identify and encourage the use of hearing protection in patients at risk," he said in a hospital news release.</p><p>Bhattacharyya and his colleagues analyzed data from 240 million people nationwide surveyed in 2014. They found that nearly 22 percent were exposed to very loud noises at work for a least four hours a day, several days a week, but 38 percent of those people never used hearing protection.</p><p>The study also found that 21 percent of respondents were exposed to very loud noises in both leisure and recreational situations, but 62 percent of those people never used hearing protection.</p><p>One recreational activity where this was particularly evident was during hunting or target practice.</p><p>Only 58 percent of the almost 35 million people who shot guns in the last year used hearing protection. And 20 percent of those who shot more than 10,000 rounds of ammunition in the last year never used any protection. </p><p>Seventy-seven percent of gun-related noise exposure occurred during recreational shooting, the researchers discovered.</p><p>The findings were published March 16 in journal <i>The Laryngoscope</i>.</p><p>Employers and health care providers need to do more to identify dangerous noise exposures at home and work. And gun-related noise exposure among nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population requires further attention, the researchers concluded.</p><p>-- Robert Preidt</p><p><img src="http://images.medicinenet.com/images/healthday/healthday.png" alt="MedicalNews"/><br/>Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.</p><p>SOURCE: Brigham and Women's Hospital, news release, March 16, 2017</p> <br/>

Opioid Dependence Can Start in Just a Few Days

<img src="http://media.healthday.com/Images/icimages/18142.jpg?resize=180:135" alt="News Picture: Opioid Dependence Can Start in Just a Few Days"/><b>By Steven Reinberg</b><br/><i>HealthDay Reporter</i><div> <p>&#13; <h3>Latest Mental Health News</h3>&#13; </p> </div> <p>THURSDAY, March 16, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Doctors who limit the supply of opioids they prescribe to three days or less may help patients avoid the dangers of dependence and <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/drug_abuse/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">addiction</code>, a new study suggests.</p><p>Among patients without <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/cancer/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">cancer</code>, a single day's supply of a narcotic painkiller can result in 6 percent of patients being on an opioid a year later, the researchers said.</p><p>The odds of long-term opioid use increased most sharply in the first days of therapy, particularly after five days of taking the <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/drugs_what_you_should_know_about_your_drugs/article.htm" rel="pharm" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">drugs</code>. The rate of long-term opioid use increased to about 13 percent for patients who first took the drugs for eight days or more, according to the report.</p><p>"Awareness among prescribers, pharmacists and persons managing pharmacy benefits that authorization of a second opioid prescription doubles the risk for opioid use one year later might deter overprescribing of opioids," said senior researcher Martin Bradley. He is from the division of pharmaceutical evaluation and policy at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. </p><p>"The chances of long-term opioid use, use that lasts one year or more, start increasing with each additional day supplied, starting after the third day, and increase substantially after someone is prescribed five or more days, and especially after someone is prescribed one month of opioid therapy," Bradley said.</p><p>The odds of chronic opioid use also increase when a second prescription is given or refilled, he noted.</p><p>People starting on a long-acting opioid or <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/tramadol/article.htm" rel="pharm" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">tramadol</code> (<code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/tramadol/article.htm" rel="pharm" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">Ultram</code>) were more likely to stay on opioids than those given <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/hydrocodone-oral_liquid/article.htm" rel="pharm" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">hydrocodone</code> (<code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/hydrocodoneacetaminophen/article.htm" rel="pharm" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">Vicodin</code>) or <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/oxycodone/article.htm" rel="pharm" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">oxycodone</code> (<code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/oxycodone/article.htm" rel="pharm" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">Oxycontin</code>), Bradley said. </p><p>The highest probability of continued opioid use at one and three years was seen among patients who started on a long-acting opioid, followed by patients who started on tramadol, he said.</p><p>Tramadol is a narcotic-like painkiller that has been touted as not being addictive. Patients can, however, become dependent on tramadol.</p><p>Patients need to discuss the use of narcotic painkillers when they are prescribed, Bradley said.</p><p>"Discussions with patients about the long-term use of opioids to manage <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/pain_management/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">pain</code> should occur early in the opioid-prescribing process," he said.</p><p>One addiction expert agreed.</p><p>"Prescribers should be cautious about what they prescribe, and they should educate patients that if they are going to prescribe opioids, there is a likelihood that patients will have an opioid dependence," said Dr. Scott Krakower. He is assistant unit chief of psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital, in Glen Oaks, N.Y.</p><p>Given the dangers of opioids, doctors should first think about using non-narcotic <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/pain_quiz/quiz.htm" rel="quiz" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">pain</code> medications, he suggested.</p><p>Krakower thinks that since the crackdown on opioids, doctors are becoming more cautious when prescribing them. But doctors also need to be cautious about prescribing tramadol, he said.</p><p>"No one planned to get hooked on tramadol, but it has some dependent properties," Krakower noted.</p><p>He believes that patients who need a narcotic should be given one. "The problem is that so many patients were prescribed opioids, and the odds of becoming dependent are very high," Krakower said. </p><p>Once someone becomes addicted to opioids, it can take years to kick that dependence, he said. </p><p>"If your doctor is going to prescribe an opioid, be educated about what it can potentially do," Krakower said.</p><p>For the study, researchers looked at a sample of patients drawn from data from health insurers and managed care plans. Specifically, they looked at opioid use among patients not being treated for <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/cancer_101_pictures_slideshow/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">cancer</code>.</p><p>The report was published March 17 in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's <i>Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report</i>.</p><p>Drug overdose deaths have quadrupled since 1999. More than six out of 10 overdose deaths involve opioid drugs, according to the CDC. Ninety-one people die every day in America from prescription opioids or <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/teen_drug_abuse_pictures_slideshow/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">heroin</code>, the agency says.</p><p>Prescriptions for opioids have nearly quadrupled since 1999 even though there's been no overall change in Americans' reported pain levels, according to the CDC.</p> <p><img src="http://images.medicinenet.com/images/healthday/healthday.png" alt="MedicalNews"/><br/>Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.</p><p>SOURCES: Martin Bradley, PharmD, Ph.D., division of pharmaceutical evaluation and policy, College of Pharmacy, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock; Scott Krakower, D.O., assistant unit chief, psychiatry, Zucker Hillside Hospital, Glen Oaks, N.Y.; March 17, 2017, <i>Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report</i></p> <br/>

Smokers Prone to Problems After Joint Replacement: Study

<img src="http://media.healthday.com/Images/icimages/senior_smoking316.jpg?resize=180:135" alt="News Picture: Smokers Prone to Problems After Joint Replacement: Study"/><div> <p>&#13; <h3>Latest Senior Health News</h3>&#13; </p> </div> <p>THURSDAY, March 16, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Quitting <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/smoking_and_quitting_smoking/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">smoking</code> before knee or <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/total_hip_replacement/article.htm" rel="proc" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">hip replacement</code> surgery may cut the risk of complications after surgery, a new study suggests.</p><p>Instead of just telling people to <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/smoking_and_quitting_smoking/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">quit smoking</code>, these findings suggest that doctors should guide people into pre-surgery <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/smoking_effects_pictures_slideshow/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">smoking</code>-cessation programs for <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/smoking_and_quitting_smoking/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">smokers</code>, the researchers said.</p><p>"We've known that smokers do worse than non-smokers after joint replacements, and now this research shows there's good early evidence that quitting <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/smoking_quiz/quiz.htm" rel="quiz" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">smoking</code> before surgery may improve their outcomes," said study author Dr. Amy Wasterlain. She's a fourth-year orthopaedic surgery resident at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.</p><p>"Not every risk factor can be reduced before a joint replacement, but smoking status is one that should be a top priority for orthopedic surgeons and their patients," she added in an NYU news release.</p><p>The study included more than 500 smokers who had total knee or hip replacement surgery. The smoking-cessation program was designed by NYU Langone. It included four counseling sessions by telephone. The program also provided <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/nicotine/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">nicotine</code> replacement therapy as needed.</p><p>Just over 100 smokers were referred to the program, the researchers said.</p><p>Fewer than 50 completed the cessation program before surgery. But those who did complete a program reduced their smoking by more than 10.5 cigarettes a day.</p><p>People who started a smoking-cessation program, but didn't finish, smoked about 5 fewer cigarettes a day. Smokers who didn't try to <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/quit_smoking_tips_pictures_slideshow/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">quit smoking</code> through a cessation program lit up about 2 fewer cigarettes a day before surgery.</p><p>People who completed the <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/smoking_quiz/quiz.htm" rel="quiz" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">quit smoking</code> program had better surgical outcomes. They were also slightly less likely to require follow-up surgery than other smokers.</p><p>In addition, people who stopped smoking had lower rates of problems after surgery. These problems included hospital readmission, surgical site infections, <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/blood_clots/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">blood clots</code>, <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/pneumonia_facts/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">pneumonia</code>, <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/stroke_symptoms_and_treatment/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">stroke</code> and <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/urinary_tract_infection/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">urinary tract infection</code>.</p><p>The rate of complications was about one-quarter lower for <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/total_knee_replacement/article.htm" rel="proc" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">knee replacement</code> patients who completed the smoking-cessation program compared with those who didn't, the study showed.</p><p>Smokers who have total joint replacement surgery are 50 percent more likely to have complications during surgery than nonsmokers, past research has shown. Those complications cost an average of $5,000 more in hospital costs, the researchers said.</p><p>People who used tobacco within one month of surgery were more than twice as likely to develop a deep surgical infection than those who didn't, a past study found.</p><p>"By delaying surgery in high-risk patients until they enroll in a program to quit smoking, we are not only improving how the patient will do after surgery, but eliminating some of the burden on the health care system caused by poor outcomes and increases in costly reoperations," said study senior author Dr. Richard Iorio. He's a professor of orthopedic surgery at NYU Langone.</p><p>The study is scheduled for presentation at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, which runs from March 14-18 in San Diego. Findings presented at meetings are typically viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.</p><p>-- Robert Preidt</p><p><img src="http://images.medicinenet.com/images/healthday/healthday.png" alt="MedicalNews"/><br/>Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.</p><p>SOURCE: NYU Langone Medical Center, news release, March 16, 2017</p> <br/>

For Seniors, Treatment for One Eye Disease May Cause Another

<img src="http://media.healthday.com/Images/icimages/40261.jpg?resize=180:135" alt="News Picture: For Seniors, Treatment for One Eye Disease May Cause Another"/><b>By Dennis Thompson</b><br/><i>HealthDay Reporter</i><div> <p>&#13; <h3>Latest Eyesight News</h3>&#13; </p> </div> <p>THURSDAY, March 16, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/drugs_what_you_should_know_about_your_drugs/article.htm" rel="pharm" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">Drugs</code> that preserve vision in people with the eye disease called <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/macular_degeneration/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">age-related macular degeneration</code> might increase the risk of another eye condition -- <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/glaucoma/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">glaucoma</code>, a new study suggests.</p><p>People who received at least seven eye injections of the drug bevacizumab (<code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/bevacizumab-injection/article.htm" rel="pharm" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">Avastin</code>) each year to treat <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/macular_degeneration/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">macular degeneration</code> have a higher risk of eventually needing surgery to treat <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/image-collection/glaucoma_picture/picture.htm" rel="img" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">glaucoma</code>, the Canadian study found.</p><p>But, the researchers aren't suggesting that people forgo these treatments for macular degeneration. These drugs help stave off a previously untreatable cause of <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/blindness/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">blindness</code> in the elderly, and should continue to be used, the researchers said. And, if glaucoma does develop, treatments are available.</p><p>"Even though there may be a risk here, this doesn't mean you should not be getting injections for macular degeneration," said study lead author Dr. Brennan Eadie. He's an ophthalmology resident at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.</p><p>"This is something we should monitor for, with the understanding there is a real risk of needing glaucoma surgery if the pressure remains elevated," Eadie said.</p><p>The study was published March 16 in the journal <i>JAMA Ophthalmology</i>.</p><p>Bevacizumab helps treat macular degeneration by blocking a substance that promotes the development of new blood vessels called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).</p><p>Bevacizumab and other anti-VEGF drugs have revolutionized the treatment of "wet" macular degeneration, said Dr. Michael Kass. He's a professor of ophthalmology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.</p><p>About one in five people with macular degeneration suffers from the wet form of the disease. In wet macular degeneration, new and abnormal blood vessels grow in the eye and cause rapid <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/vision_loss/symptoms.htm" rel="sym" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">loss of vision</code>, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.</p><p>"Sometimes you can grow blood vessels where you don't want them," said Kass, who wrote an accompanying editorial for the new study. "In the example of macular degeneration, you don't want extra blood vessels growing underneath the retina and then leaking fluid or blood."</p><p>While the anti-VEGF drugs have revolutionized the treatment of macular degeneration, isolated cases of increased fluid pressure in the eyes of patients receiving these injections have been reported, Eadie and Kass said.</p><p>"The retina doctors here in Vancouver were noticing that patients' pressures were elevated with time, over several months of giving these injections to certain people," Eadie said.</p><p>Glaucoma occurs when fluid pressure increases so much inside the eyeball that it damages the <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/eye_diseases_pictures_slideshow/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">optic nerve</code>. Eye drops or laser surgery can be used to reduce this pressure, but in extreme cases doctors may have to perform surgery that allows the eye to drain excess fluid, Kass said.</p><p>To examine whether anti-VEGF drug injections increase risk of glaucoma, the researchers reviewed the cases of more than 800 people in British Columbia who received bevacizumab injections to treat <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/image-collection/age-related_macular_degeneration_picture/picture.htm" rel="img" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">age-related macular degeneration</code> between 2009 and 2013.</p><p>The research team identified 74 people who wound up needing glaucoma surgery, and compared them against 740 "controls" who received the eye injections but didn't require glaucoma surgery.</p><p>The researchers found that seven or more injections a year were associated with 2.5 times increased risk of glaucoma surgery, compared with people who received three or fewer treatments per year.</p><p>It isn't unusual for macular degeneration patients to receive at least seven injections per year, Kass said.</p><p>But Kass added that the injections did not appear to increase a person's overall risk of developing glaucoma by a large amount.</p><p>"[The researchers] looked for a long period of time in a whole part of western Canada and came up with 74 cases," Kass said. "This is not exactly a common occurrence."</p><p>The anti-VEGF drugs allow doctors to slow or halt the progression of what had been an incurable vision-destroying disease, and the new study "still doesn't change the benefit ratio," he said.</p><p>"These drugs are still a huge benefit to patients with the wet form of macular degeneration," Kass said.</p><p>The study wasn't designed to prove a cause-and-effect relationship. It only found an association between the macular degeneration treatment and the development of glaucoma.</p><p>Also, it's not clear why the injections might cause pressure to build inside the eye, Kass said.</p><p>Repeated injections might cause <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/trauma_and_first_aid_quiz/quiz.htm" rel="quiz" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">trauma</code> and inflammation that spurs pressure buildup, or the drug might interfere with the natural channels that allow fluid to seep out of the eyeball, he said.</p><p>"We think there may be something happening at the drainage system of the eye," Eadie said. "I think that's where most of the studies will be focused on in coming years, to figure out what's going on."</p><p>In the meantime, patients receiving these injections should be regularly monitored for increased eye pressure, especially if they already had glaucoma prior to treatment, Eadie and Kass said.</p><p><img src="http://images.medicinenet.com/images/healthday/healthday.png" alt="MedicalNews"/><br/>Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.</p><p>SOURCES: Brennan Eadie, M.D., Ph.D., ophthalmology resident, University of British Columbia, Vancouver; Michael Kass, M.D., professor, ophthalmology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis; March 16, 2017, <i>JAMA Ophthalmology</i></p> <br/>

Centuries of Climate May Have Shaped Your Nose

<img src="http://media.healthday.com/Images/icimages/SEN012MH.jpg?resize=180:135" alt="News Picture: Centuries of Climate May Have Shaped Your Nose"/><div> <p>&#13; <h3>Latest MedicineNet News</h3>&#13; </p> </div> <p>THURSDAY, March 16, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Love your nose or hate it, you can perhaps blame ancestral climates for how it looks today, new research suggests.</p><p>"We focused on nose traits that differ across populations and looked at geographical variation with respect to temperature and humidity," explained study author Mark Shriver, a professor of anthropology at Penn State University.</p><p>While many people assume they have their parents to thank for their pug, hooked or button nose, research by Shriver's team suggests that people's noses were shaped by local climates as their ancestors adapted over time to either warmth and humidity or cold and dry air.</p><p>For the study, Shriver's group analyzed nostrils and nose shapes using high-tech 3-D facial imaging.</p><p>Specifically, the researchers measured nostril width, distance between the nostrils, nose height, nose ridge length and how far the nose sticks out.</p><p>One notion about nose shape is that differences occurred randomly, due to what's known as "genetic drift," according to the researchers.</p><p>But measurements of nostril width and of the base of the nose showed differences across populations that couldn't be explained by this theory.</p><p>So, natural selection -- certain noses being more "fit" for certain environments -- must have played a role in the evolution of people's nose shape, the researchers said.</p><p>They noted that one reason humans have noses at all is to "condition" the air they breathe in before it reaches the <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/image-collection/lungs_picture/picture.htm" rel="img" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">lungs</code>. Shriver's team found that the width of the nostrils is strongly tied to temperature and absolute humidity.</p><p>"Wider noses are more common in warm-humid climates, while narrower noses are more common in cold-dry climates," the researchers reported.</p><p>"It all goes back to Thomson's Rule," Shriver said in a university news release, referring to British 19th-century anatomist Arthur Thomson.</p><p>"In the late 1800s he said that long and thin noses occurred in dry, cold areas, while short and wide noses occurred in hot, humid areas. Many people have tested the question with measurements of the skull, but no one had done measurements on live people," Shriver said.</p><p>Narrower nostrils alter the airflow to enable the mucus-covered nasal passages to moisten and warm air more efficiently -- a trait that is more important in cold, dry regions, the researchers said. </p><p>People with this trait likely thrived better in these climates and had more children than those with wider nostrils, leading to a decline in wide noses among those living far from the equator.</p><p>Sexual selection or the preference for smaller or larger noses could also influence differences in nose size across populations, the researchers pointed out. Ideals of <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/beauty_and_body_image/article.htm" rel="sub" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">beauty</code> may be tied to how well-adapted a particular type of nose is to the local climate. </p><p>So, people living in warmer, humid clients may be drawn to certain nose shapes, while the opposite may be true for people in colder, drier climes.</p><p>The study was published March 17 in <i>PLOS Genetics</i>.</p><p>-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas</p><p><img src="http://images.medicinenet.com/images/healthday/healthday.png" alt="MedicalNews"/><br/>Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.</p><p>SOURCE: Penn State University, news release, March 16, 2017</p> <br/>

&#039;Optimal&#039; Facelifts Do Make You Look Younger, Study Finds

<img src="http://media.healthday.com/Images/icimages/WHI073MH.jpg?resize=180:135" alt="News Picture: 'Optimal' Facelifts Do Make You Look Younger, Study Finds"/><b>By Randy Dotinga</b><br/><i>HealthDay Reporter</i><div> <p>&#13; <h3>Latest Skin News</h3>&#13; </p> </div> <p>THURSDAY, March 16, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- The time, money and <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/pain_management/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">pain</code> spent on a <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/face_lift/article.htm" rel="proc" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">facelift</code> may be worth it, a small, new study suggests.</p><p>Hundreds of people who looked at photos of 13 women before and after "optimal" facelifts agreed that the women appeared younger, better-looking, healthier and more successful.</p><p>These weren't necessarily routine facelifts, since <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/plastic/article.htm" rel="sub" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">plastic</code> surgeons deemed them to be samples of top-notch work, and their cost is unknown.</p><p>Still, "we showed for the first time that there is a measurable improvement in the appearance of patients undergoing facelift surgery as appreciated by the layperson," said study co-author Dr. Lisa Ishii. She is an associate professor and chief quality officer with Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore.</p><p>The question her team posed was how effective are facelifts at making women look better when judged by the public at large?</p><p>To find the answer, the researchers asked five Baltimore-area facial plastic surgeons to provide "after" photos of 16 women who'd undergone facelifts with "optimal" results. The photos were taken at least six months after surgery.</p><p>A team then chose 13 of those women, with an average age of 58, to serve as subjects in the study; the races of the women weren't reported. </p><p>The researchers then showed "before" and "after" photos of the women to 483 online survey participants. Almost 80 percent of the survey participants were women, 75 percent were white, and the average age of the group was 29. It was a very highly educated group: About one-third had master's or doctoral degrees, while another 60 percent had four-year college degrees.</p><p>From "before" photos, the participants as a whole estimated the average age of the facelift patients as 60. After, that estimated age dropped to 56.</p><p>The participants also ranked the patients higher based on "after" photos on 1-100 scales of attractiveness, perceived success and perceived overall health. Between "before" and "after" photos, the average rating grew from 49 to 57 for attractiveness; 58 to 63 for perceived success; and 55 to 64 for perceived overall health.</p><p>The study didn't look at sex appeal.</p><p>"We were interested in measuring the parameters that patients express to us they would like to see improved. Patients do not typically say they want to look sexier after a facelift," Ishii explained. "They do say that they want to appear younger, more attractive and more successful."</p><p> Ishii noted that the researchers chose optimal facelifts instead of a more representative sample of randomly chosen facelift patients because it's common to use this kind of approach when experiments are performed for the first time.</p><p>Dr. David Castle is a professor of psychiatry at St. Vincent's Hospital and the University of Melbourne, in Australia, who has studied <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/plastic_surgery_cosmetic_surgery/article.htm" rel="proc" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">plastic surgery</code>. He said the study has weaknesses.</p><p>The study focuses on optimal images, which "would arguably not generalize to the majority of people undergoing this procedure," he said. Also, the photos don't show "what we see when we look at someone" since they aren't moving images. "Finally," he noted, "the number of images is very small."</p><p> Castle added that the study doesn't measure whether facelift patients "feel happier, more confident and more fulfilled. They haven't captured this at all. It doesn't get to the core issue -- whether people actually feel enduringly better about themselves."</p><p>But Dr. Samuel Lam, a facial plastic surgeon in Dallas, praised the study.</p><p>"Too often we have a negative bias about facelifts because we see over-skeletonized and over-pulled results that make individuals older, unnatural or both," Lam said. "However, good work that is natural and seamless is something that is worthy of study to show to the public the powerful positive value in this procedure when it is done well."</p><p>How can facelift patients choose the best plastic surgeon?</p><p>Dr. Michael Reilly, an associate professor of facial plastic and reconstructive surgery at Georgetown University Medical Center, in Washington, D.C., recommends looking at qualifications (a surgeon should be board-certified in either general or facial plastic and reconstructive surgery); expertise (the surgeon should regularly perform the procedure and have pre- and post-op photos of previous patients with similar facial anatomy); and trustworthiness.</p><p>"Healing after facelift surgery can take time, and patients need to feel entirely confident that they will be taken care of during and after surgery," Reilly said.</p><p>The study was published online March 16 in the journal <i>JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery</i>.</p><p><img src="http://images.medicinenet.com/images/healthday/healthday.png" alt="MedicalNews"/><br/>Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.</p><p>SOURCES: Lisa Ishii, M.D., MHS, associate professor and chief quality officer, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore; Michael Reilly, M.D., associate professor, facial plastic &amp; reconstructive surgery, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, D.C.; Samuel Lam, M.D., FACS, facial plastic surgeon, Dallas; David Castle, MBChB, MSc, professor, psychiatry, St. Vincent's Hospital and University of Melbourne, Australia; March 16, 2017, <i>JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery</i>, online</p> <br/>

Could a Blood Test Spot Autism in Childhood?

<img src="http://media.healthday.com/Images/icimages/autism06173.jpg?resize=180:135" alt="News Picture: Could a Blood Test Spot Autism in Childhood?"/><b>By Alan Mozes</b><br/><i>HealthDay Reporter</i><div> <p>&#13; <h3>Latest Neurology News</h3>&#13; </p> </div> <p>THURSDAY, March 16, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers say an experimental blood test has shown promise as a novel way to diagnose <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/autism_and_communication/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">autism</code> in children.</p> <p>The test appears to be nearly 98 percent accurate in kids between the ages of 3 and 10, the researchers claimed.</p><p>"The test was able to predict <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/autism_pictures_slideshow/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">autism</code>, regardless of where on the spectrum an individual was," said study co-author Juergen Hahn, referring to varying degrees of <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/autism_spectrum_disorder_quiz/quiz.htm" rel="quiz" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">autism</code> severity.</p><p>"Additionally, the test indicates with very good accuracy the severity of certain autism-related conditions," added Hahn, who is head of the department of biomedical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, N.Y.</p><p>The study was small, involving just 83 children with autism and 76 children without the disorder. More follow-up research is planned, the researchers said.</p><p>And a senior official with a leading autism advocacy group said he had some concerns about the new study.</p><p>In the United States, it's estimated that 1 in 68 children has an <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/autism_and_communication/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">autism spectrum disorder</code>. This is the term for a range of conditions that may involve problems with social skills, speech and nonverbal communication, and repetitive behaviors, according to Autism Speaks. Boys seem at higher risk than girls.</p><p>The current standard approach to diagnosing autism typically entails a consensus drawn from a group of medical professionals, including pediatricians, psychologists, occupational therapists, and speech and language experts.</p><p>But the new blood test takes a different approach, focusing instead on identifying the presence of key metabolism markers.</p><p>To test the idea, the study authors collected blood samples from all 159 children. The analysis turned out to be nearly flawless in diagnosing autism cases, the researchers said. It was also more than 96 percent accurate in identifying those children who did not have autism, the researchers added.</p><p>The findings were published March 16 in the journal <i>PLOS Computational Biology</i>.</p><p>Hahn said it remains unclear if the test's preliminary success would extend to children younger than 3.</p><p>"Ideally, one would like to test this on children 18 to 24 months of age," he said. "But this has not yet been done, and as such we do not know where the limits are."</p><p>Hahn added that it's also unknown whether the test might forecast the onset of autism among children who have not yet developed any clinical signs of the disorder.</p><p>Other researchers have made headway on both fronts.</p><p>A study published last month in <i>Nature</i> by researchers at the University of North Carolina reported that brain scans had shown early promise at predicting whether an infant under the age of 1 might develop autism in his or her second year of life.</p><p>Mathew Pletcher, vice president and head of genomic discovery at Autism Speaks, expressed reservations about the way the current blood test study was designed.</p><p>"There has been considerable work done in this area, and a number of studies have produced preliminary data suggesting the presence of a single or a combination of molecular changes that could differentiate individuals with autism from those without autism," Pletcher said.</p><p>But while the blood test study "follows very much in the footsteps of this previous work," he took issue with some of the methodology used.</p><p>Pletcher also cautioned that "it would be surprising if there was a single molecular diagnostic test that would work for all the various subtypes of autism."</p><p>Regardless, Pletcher said it would be worth repeating the analysis in a more rigorous manner, and with a larger number of participants.</p><p><img src="http://images.medicinenet.com/images/healthday/healthday.png" alt="MedicalNews"/><br/>Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.</p><p>SOURCES: Juergen Hahn, Ph.D., professor and department head, department of biomedical engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N.Y.; Mathew Pletcher, Ph.D., vice president and head, genomic discovery, Autism Speaks; March 16, 2017, <i>PLOS Computational Biology</i></p> <br/>

UK Scientists Get License to Create Babies With DNA From 3 People

<div> <p>&#13; <h3>Latest Pregnancy News</h3>&#13; </p> </div> <p>Scientists at Newcastle University in Britain have received a license to create <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/babies_quiz/quiz.htm&quot; rel="quiz" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">babies</code> using DNA from three people.</p><p>The university said the license, the first such approval to be granted, was issued by the country's <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/ovulation_and_fertility_pictures_slideshow/article.htm" rel="slide" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">fertility</code> regulator on Thursday, the <i>Associated Press</i> reported.</p><p>British officials approved "cautious use" of this approach last December. It's meant to prevent women from passing fatal genetic diseases to their children by fixing problems in mitochondria, energy-producing structures outside the nucleus of cells.</p><p>Last year, American doctors said they had created the world's first baby using this method. But they had to do so in Mexico because the approach has not been approved in the United States, the <i>AP</i> reported.</p><p><img src="http://images.medicinenet.com/images/healthday/healthday.png" alt="MedicalNews"/><br/>Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.</p> <br/>

U.S. Suicide Rates Rising Faster Outside Cities

<img src="http://media.healthday.com/Images/icimages/59041.jpg?resize=180:135" alt="News Picture: U.S. Suicide Rates Rising Faster Outside Cities"/><div> <p>&#13; <h3>Latest Mental Health News</h3>&#13; </p> </div> <p>THURSDAY, March 16, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Although the U.S. <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/suicide/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">suicide</code> rate has been rising gradually since 2000, suicides in less urban areas are outpacing those in more urban areas, according to a new federal report.</p><p>"Geographic disparities in <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/suicide/symptoms.htm" rel="sym" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">suicide</code> rates might be associated with suicide risk factors known to be highly prevalent in less urban areas, such as limited access to <code data-tlink="http://www.medicinenet.com/mental_health_psychology/article.htm" rel="dt" onclick="wmdTrack('embd-lnk');">mental health</code> care, made worse by shortages in behavioral health care providers in these areas, and greater social isolation," the researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wrote. </p><p>It's also possible that economic pressures may have played a role, the study authors noted. The biggest increase in the suicide gap occurred beginning in 2007-2008, when the U.S. economy was experiencing a severe recession.</p> <p>Another possibility the researchers pointed to is the country's opioid epidemic. In the early years of the current study, opioid misuse was more common in less urban areas.</p><p>About 600,000 U.S. residents died by suicide from 1999 to 2015, the CDC researchers said. The highest annual suicide rate occurred in 2015.</p> <p>Suicide by hanging went up notably during the study period. The report said the rate of non-firearm suicide, particularly from suffocation -- which includes hanging -- went up more than the increase in gun-related suicides. </p><p>Men were four times more likely than women to kill themselves, the findings showed. By age, the highest suicide rates were among 35- to 64-year-olds, and people 75 and older.</p><p>Whites and American Indian/Alaska Natives had the highest rates of suicide. They also had the sharpest increases during the study period. For whites, the rate jumped from about 15 to 18 per 100,000 people. For American Indian/Alaska Natives, the suicide rate went from almost 16 up to 20 per 100,000 people. </p><p>Suicide rates for blacks and Hispanics were much lower. These rates increased only modestly from 1999 to 2015, the report said.</p><p> For the study, the researchers looked through annual county-level data on deaths and population. They broke the information down into six classification levels, including large, medium and small metropolitan areas, towns and cities that weren't considered a part of a metropolitan area, and rural regions.</p><p>The study authors, led by Scott Kegler, underscored that suicide is preventable. They recommended strengthening economic support during financial downturns, along with teaching coping and problem-solving skills.</p><p>In addition, the authors noted, there's a need to reduce shortages of health care providers in rural areas.</p><p>Efforts to "promote social connectedness" might also be a tool to combat social isolation, the researchers said.</p><p>"There is a growing need for comprehensive suicide prevention employing a broad public health approach," the researchers emphasized.</p> <p>The new report can help identify geographic areas that have the highest risk. This can help better focus prevention efforts, the study authors suggested.</p><p>The study was published in the March 17 issue of the CDC's <i>Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report</i>.</p><p>-- Margaret Farley Steele</p><p><img src="http://images.medicinenet.com/images/healthday/healthday.png" alt="MedicalNews"/><br/>Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.</p><p>SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, <i>Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report</i>, March 17, 2017</p> <br/>