- -02-07-08 Association Found Between Cell Phone Use and Sperm Count (MSNBC News)
"Spending hours on a cell phone each day may affect the quality of a man’s sperm, preliminary research suggests." 02-08
- -02-18-08 A Thousand Lives a Month Lost (CBS News)
"How much did Bayer know? And why did it take Bayer and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration nearly two years to take the drug off the market after major studies revealed the danger? Two years - during which it's estimated Trasylol was contributing to the loss of one thousand lives a month." 02-08
- -02-18-08 Choking Game Kills 82 Kids (Time.com)
"At least 82 youths have died from the so-called "choking game," according to the first government count of fatalities from the tragic fad." 02-08
- -02-27-08 Recommendation: All Kids Should Get Flu Shots (Time.com)
"All children — not just those under 5 — should get vaccinated against the flu, a federal advisory panel said Wednesday. The panel voted to expand annual flu shots to virtually all children except infants younger than 6 months and those with serious egg allergies." 02-08
- -03-07-08 Primer on Colon Cancer Screening (US News)
"Any screening is better than none. But the guidelines say the best option is one that can pick up precancerous polyps, not just early signs of cancer. Those preferred tests are colonoscopy every 10 years, sigmoidoscopy every five years, double-contrast barium enema every five years, or virtual colonoscopy every five years." 03-08
- -03-07-08 Three Ways to Lower Risk of Breast Cancer Recurrence (US News)
"New research, though, suggests women may be able to lower their risk of recurrence by taking steps to reduce their estrogen levels. A study of more than 300 breast cancer patients found that those whose cancer came back within seven years had estrogen levels on average that were twice as high as those found in women who remained cancer free; this was true even for those taking tamoxifen." 03-08
- -03-13-08 New Colon Cancer Screening Recommendations (US News)
"It's a scary pair of statistics: Nearly 150,000 Americans are expected to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer this year, and almost 50,000 are likely to die from it. Screening tests can nip precancerous polyps in the bud, saving lives. But for whatever reason—the ick factor, inconvenience, fear of the results—less than half the eligible population gets any kind of screening. Now that two more options have gotten the stamp of approval from a coalition of medical groups including the American Cancer Society, doctors hope to see a jump in screening rates. The latest guidelines, issued earlier this month, endorse a new type of annual stool test that looks for DNA shed from tumors as well as the so-called virtual colonoscopy, which is actually a CT scan of the lower part of the digestive tract. (The new guidelines are for average-risk Americans age 50 and over; if you have a family history of colon cancer, a personal history of polyps, or other risk factors, check with a doctor.)" 03-08
- -03-27-08 Simulated Immune System Reported (Time.com)
"You've heard of artificial limbs and artificial hearts but what about artificial immune systems? Add another notch to the test tube: scientists at VaxDesign, a five-year-old biotechnology company based in Orlando, Florida, have created a simulated human immune system, called the Modular Immune In Vitro Construct (MIMIC for short). The dime-sized immune system can predict how humans will respond to new vaccines. The goal? To streamline vaccine research and hasten the eradication of global killers, such as AIDS." 03-08
- -04-03-08 Lung Cancer Genes Identified (Time.com)
"Smokers are much more likely to develop lung cancer than nonsmokers — that has been a scientific truism for decades. But what about the 80% of smokers who don't develop lung cancer? Are they just the lucky ones? A trio of new studies suggests that the explanation for why they escape the disease may lie partly in their genes." 03-08
- -04-16-08 Chemical in Plastic Bottles May Be Toxic (CBS News)
"The federal National Toxicology Program said Tuesday that experiments on rats found precancerous tumors, urinary tract problems and early puberty when the animals were fed or injected with low doses of the plastics chemical bisphenol A." 04-08
- -04-16-08 The Kanzius Machine: Cure for Cancer? (CBS News)
"Here's the important part: if clinical trials pan out-and there's still a long way to go-the Kanzius machine will zap cancer cells all through your body without the need for drugs or surgery and without side effects. None at all. At least that's the idea." 04-08
- -04-19-08 Study: Old Age Is the Happiest Time (Time.com)
"That's according to eye-opening research that found the happiest Americans are the oldest, and older adults are more socially active than the stereotype of the lonely senior suggests." 04-08
- -04-29-08 Study: Nursing Home Costs Are Up (Time.com)
"Costs for nursing homes, assisted living facilities and some in-home care services have increased for a fifth consecutive year, and could rise further if a shortage of long-term care workers isn't resolved, a new study indicates."
"The study found that the average annual cost for a private room in a nursing home rose to $76,460, or $209 per day, this year, a 17 percent increase over the $65,185 cost in 2004. Nursing home costs this year ranged from $515 per day in Alaska to $125 per day in Louisiana, the study found." 04-08
- -06-12-08 Bright Lights Hold Off Dementia (Time.com)
"When it comes to Alzheimer's disease, no one yet knows the best way to halt the gradual slips in memory and other brain functions that are the hallmarks of the disease. But researchers in the Netherlands have found that a simple nonmedical intervention may be just as effective as drugs to keep elderly patients sharp." 06-08
- -06-17-08 Study: Social Relationships Correlate With Health (MSNBC News)
"For individuals, the take-home message is that they may be able to improve their health by developing closer relationships with others in their community, said Takeo Fujiwara, who led the research and is chief of the behavioral science section at the National Institute of Public Health in Japan."
" 'This is very good news because we can say "community" can contribute to physical health, no matter what kind of gene they have, or how they were raised when they were young,' Fujiwara said."
"McGonigal said one way people can increase their feelings of social support is through community service, such as helping at a church or food bank."
" 'Service puts you in a role where people trust you, and you interact with other people who are serving the community,' she said. 'These direct experiences can over time profoundly change whether you view your world as friendly or hostile.' " 06-08
- -06-18-08 Caffeine and Health (U.S. News)
"Health experts understand all too well why Americans gotta get wired. People of all ages are chronically sleep deprived, from teens who catch the bus before sunrise to working mothers who report they spend less than six hours a night in bed, according to a poll released in March by the National Sleep Foundation. But we may be pushing the limits of self-medication." 06-08
- -06-23-08 New Clue to the Cause of Alzheimer's Disease (Time.com)
"Now, researchers have caused Alzheimer's symptoms in rats by injecting them with one particular form of beta-amyloid. Injections with other forms of beta-amyloid did not cause illness, which may explain why some people have beta-amyloid plaque in their brains but do not show disease symptoms." 06-08
- -06-30-08 Learning From Tim Russert's Death (New York Times)
"Given the great strides that have been made in preventing and treating heart disease, what explains Tim Russert’s sudden death last week at 58 from a heart attack?" 06-08
- -07-10-08 AMA Apologizes for Bias (CNN News)
"The American Medical Association, the nation's largest organization of physicians, apologized Thursday for its history of discriminatory policies toward African-American physicians, including those that effectively restricted membership to whites." 07-08
- -07-10-08 FDA Execs Reap Lavish Bonuses (CBS News)
"It's been a bad year for the Food and Drug Administration's top brass. The agency's been accused by Congress of mishandling health scares linked to pet food, Heparin, Avandia and now, tomatoes, CBS News correspondent Nancy Cordes reports."
"But based on their bonuses, you would think it was a banner year at the FDA." 07-08
- -07-11-08 Skin Cancer Increasing Among Younger Women (MSNBC News)
"Increasing numbers of younger women continue to receive diagnoses of the most dangerous form of skin cancer even as the rate of new cases has leveled off in younger men, federal health officials reported yesterday." 07-08
- -07-16-08 Self-Exams for Breast Cancer May Not Help (MSNBC News)
"According to a review by the Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research, there’s no evidence that self-exams actually reduce breast cancer deaths." 07-08
- -07-25-08 Potential Radon Dangers of Granite (CBS News)
"If you have granite countertops in your home, you might consider testing them for the amounts of radon gas they give off, experts say, due to the potential that those amounts are above levels considered safe. 07-08
- -07-28-08 Early Diagnosis of Autism Emerges (Newsweek)
"A new study finds that autism can be identified at around 14 months, much earlier than previously thought. How early diagnosis can improve outcomes." 07-08
- -07-28-08 Statins May Reduce Risk of Alzheimer's Disease (Newsweek)
"A study appearing Monday in the journal Neurology found that statins dramatically reduced the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer's disease among a group of subjects 60 years and older. 'It suggests that if you took statins before dementia set in, you might be 50% less likely to develop the condition,' says Mary Haan, an epidemiology professor at the University of Michigan and the study's lead author. 'That's a really big effect.' " 07-08
- -07-29-08 Little Known Dangers of Tattoos (U.S. News)
"We know so woefully little about tattoos. The Food and Drug Administration, which goes after cosmetics with a vengeance, does not regulate the tattoo industry. In fact, no one really knows exactly what's in the numerous commercial and homemade inks. But they do contain solvents and metals like lead and mercury and a range of impurities acceptable for computer printers or car paint—but not for human injection."
"Upwards of 50 percent of those who get tattoos later wish they hadn't. Their regrets become medical when they visit a dermatologist to have the tattoos removed, which is both painful and expensive." 07-08
- -07-29-08 Los Angeles OKs Moratorium on Fast-Food Restaurants (MSNBC News)
"The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to place a moratorium on new fast food restaurants in an impoverished swath of the city with a proliferation of such eateries and above average rates of obesity." 07-08
- -07-29-08 Preventing Sudden Death in Young Athletes (USA Today)
"Since 1985, the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation has collected information about more than 600 sudden deaths in young athletes, mostly due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a thickening of the heart muscle that can block blood flow."
"One useful addition to the routine sports physical examination would be a 5-minute echocardiogram, which uses ultrasound to look at the heart, University of Wisconsin researchers write in the July issue of the Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography." 07-08
- -07-29-08 Study: Pre-Alzheimer's Hits Males Hard (MSNBC News)
"A milder type of mental decline that often precedes Alzheimer’s disease is alarmingly more common than has been believed, and in men more than women, doctors reported Monday."
"Dr. Ralph Nixon, a New York University psychiatrist and scientific adviser to the Alzheimer’s Association, was blunt."
" 'We’re facing a crisis,' he said."
" 'There are no treatments now to prevent this mental slide or reverse it once it starts.' 07-08
- -07-30-08 Is There a Laziness Gene? (Time.com)
"Have you ever wondered why you can't get off the couch and exercise — despite paying for an expensive gym membership, despite your New Year's resolutions, even despite the doctor's scolding at your last checkup? Turns out that your inertia may be coded right into your genes." 07-08
- -07-31-08 Stem Cell Milestone Achieved (Time.com)
"Just a year after Japanese scientists first reported that they had generated stem cells by reprogramming adult skin cells — without using embryos — American researchers have managed to use that groundbreaking technique to achieve another scientific milestone. They created the first nerve cells from reprogrammed stem cells — an important demonstration of the potential power of stem cell–based treatments to cure disease." 07-08
- -08-11-08 Healthy Obesity? (Time.com)
"You can look great in a swimsuit and still be a heart attack waiting to happen. And you can also be overweight and otherwise healthy. A new study suggests that a surprising number of overweight people — about half — have normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels, while an equally startling number of trim people suffer from some of the ills associated with obesity." 08-08
- 07-29-08 New Alzheimer's Drug Shows Promise (CBS News)
"For the first time, an experimental drug shows promise for halting the progression of Alzheimer's disease by taking a new approach: breaking up the protein tangles that clog victims' brains."
"The encouraging results from the drug called Rember, reported Tuesday at a medical conference in Chicago, electrified a field battered by recent setbacks. The drug was developed by Singapore-based TauRx Therapeutics." 07-08
- Food Pyramid Revised (ABC News)
"The new food pyramid, unveiled today by the USDA, is being welcomed by nutritionists as an important step forward from existing dietary guidelines."
" 'Overall, I think it's a vast improvement over the previous pyramid,' said Lora Sporny, a professor of nutrition at Columbia University in New York.' "
"As a response to growing rates of obesity, the pyramid breaks new ground by emphasizing physical activity. In particular, the pyramid indicates dietary choices that are appropriate for a person based on their individual level of daily activity."
"Many images of the new pyramid show a person climbing the side of the pyramid, reminding Americans that exercise is as important a component of health as diet."
" 'The emphasis on physical activity is very important,' said Sporny. 'Anybody can make food recommendations, but to take into account one's activity level to arrive at estimated calorie needs is very important.' " 4-05
- Liquid Radiation Has Fewer Side Effects (ABC News)
"A study published in today's New England Journal of Medicine offers encouraging news about a novel way to fight cancer. It finds that injecting a type of liquid radiation, called Bexxar, into patients with lymphoma — a cancer of the immune system — can fight the disease more quickly and with fewer side effects that existing treatments. The approach might eventually be used on a variety of cancers."
"The radioactive drug is delivered intravenously and works like a guided missile. It travels throughout the body, homing in on a specific protein found on the cancer cells." 2-05
- New Flu Shot "Big Leap Forward" (MSNBC News)
"The first experimental bird flu vaccine made from lab-grown cells instead of chicken eggs shows promise in blocking the highly lethal virus, scientists report."
"The advance is good news not just for preparations in case of a pandemic, but also because it offers a way to make shots for seasonal flu much faster. That gives health officials crucial extra time to better match annual shots to the flu strains circulating." 06-08
- What Doctor's Don't Say (Time.com)
"Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., recently released the results of a survey of more than 2,500 obese patients who went to their doctor for a regular checkup over the course of a year. The investigators found that the charts of only 1 in 5 of those people listed them as obese. What isn't on the charts is probably not communicated between doctor and patient either, and that means trouble. Those in the study who got the diagnosis were more than twice as likely to have developed a weight-management plan with their doctor than were the other obese patients." 07-08