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New Insights Into What Might Drive Parkinson's Disease

A defect in the blood-brain barrier may play a role in Parkinson's disease, a groundbreaking research study suggests.

The blood-brain barrier acts as a filter to keep out toxins while still allowing the passage of nutrients to nourish the brain. This study found that in some people with Parkinson's, the b...

Abortion Remains Medically Safe for U.S. Women

Debate rages over access to abortion, but experts say the collected medical evidence makes one thing clear — it is a fundamentally safe procedure for women.

Abortion is safer than childbirth and it's also safer than a host of other common procedures — colonoscopy, tonsillectomy and plastic surgery, said Dr. Sarah Prager, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Wa...

People on Immune-Suppressing Meds Fare Equally Well With Severe COVID

Hospitalized COVID-19 patients who take medications that suppress the immune system don't have a higher risk of severe COVID-19 than those with normal immune systems, a new study finds.

Early in the pandemic, it was feared that people taking immunosuppressive drugs were at increased risk of severe COVID-19 due to their weakened immune systems. The drugs are used to treat cancer and autoim...

Neurologists' Group Issues New Treatment Guidelines for Early Parkinson's

Guidelines for treating movement problems in people in the early stages of Parkinson's disease have been updated.

The new treatment recommendations from the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) focus on dopaminergic medications, which increase dopamine levels or mimic dopamine effects. Parkinson's is a movement disorder that occurs when nerve cells in the brain fail to produce enough dopam...

Gene Therapy Could Be Big Advance Against Hemophilia

Gene therapy shows promise in reducing, and even halting, potentially life-threatening bleeding events in people with hemophilia, researchers report.

Hemophilia A is the most common inherited bleeding disorder, affecting one in 5,000 males worldwide. It's caused by a missing coagulation factor called FVIII.

The current standard of care involves regular infusions of the FVIII protein...

Gene Therapy May Reverse Hurler Syndrome, a Rare and Severe Illness in Kids

THURSDAY, Nov. 18, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Gene therapy might soon offer a new option for children with a rare genetic disorder that damages tissues throughout the body, researchers are reporting.

In a study of eight children with the condition, called Hurler syndrome, researchers found that the gene therapy was safe over two years. It also showed potential for beating...

Pfizer COVID Pill to Be Made, Sold Cheaply in 95 Poor Countries

Pfizer Inc. announced Tuesday that it has reached an agreement for its promising COVID-19 antiviral pill to be made and sold cheaply in 95 developing nations.

The countries included in the licensing deal are mostly in Africa and Asia, and they account for more than half of the world's population, the company said in a

  • Robert Preidt and Robin Foster
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  • November 16, 2021
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  • Study Suggests a Better Blood Thinner Could Be Near

    For decades, doctors have struggled with the fact that the benefit of any blood-thinning pill came with the added risk of excess bleeding.

    Now, an experimental anti-clotting pill called milvexian has been found to be effective in patients who had knee replacement surgery — without adding any excess risk for bleeding.

    The study focused on these patients because they're known to ...

    Exercise Helps Ease Arm, Shoulder Pain After Breast Cancer Surgery

    Arm and shoulder pain are common for women after breast cancer surgery, and beginning a supervised exercise program soon afterwards can go a long way to easing the discomfort, new research suggests.

    As the team of British investigators explained, restricted shoulder movement and chronic pain or swelling in the armpit area can really impact a patient's recovery and quality of life.

    ...

    50 Years On, Real Progress in War Against Cancer

    Since 1971, when the U.S. government made defeating cancer a goal and put major funding behind it, death rates for many cancers have plummeted, but some are increasing, according to a new American Cancer Society report.

    Death rates for all cancers combined have declined since passage of the National Cancer Act of 1971, according to the report. For example, in 2019, deaths from lung c...

    Vibration Therapy May Help Body, Mind in People With MS

    Multiple sclerosis patients might be able to think more clearly and move more easily if they regularly undergo whole-body vibration training, a new pilot study reports.

    A small group of MS patients who experienced vibration training showed improvements in decision making, information processing, attention and memory, according to find...

    Ultra-Low Dose of Rituximab Safely Eases Rheumatoid Arthritis Over Long Term: Study

    "Ultra-low" doses of the drug rituximab may be enough to keep some patients' rheumatoid arthritis under control for several years, a new, preliminary study suggests.

    Researchers found that among 118 patients, low doses of the drug were comparable to standard ones in controlling flare-ups for up to four years.

    The findings, the researchers said, suggest that some patients can try low...

    More Lung Cancer Patients Are Surviving, Thriving

    Mike Smith is beating the odds.

    Diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer back in 2016, the 56-year-old South Carolina resident says there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic as the "narrative of lung cancer changes from being a horrific, terminal disease to a chronic disease and, ultimately, to a cure."

    Still, he remains clear-eyed about the challenges he faces.

    "I'm at war," he s...

    Almost 1 in 3 U.S. Seniors Now Sees at Least 5 Doctors Per Year

    Nearly one-third of older U.S. adults visit at least five different doctors each year — reflecting the growing role of specialists in Americans' health care, a new study finds.

    Over the past 20 years, Americans on Medicare have been increasingly seeing specialists, researchers found, with almost no change in visits with their primary care doctor.

    On average, beneficiaries saw a 34...

    Cheap Antidepressant Might Help Keep COVID Patients Out of Hospital

    A cheap and widely available antidepressant drug called fluvoxamine may reduce COVID-19 patients' risk of serious illness requiring hospitalization, according to a new study.

    The trial included almost 1,500 unvaccinated outpatients in Brazil. All of the patients tested positive for infection with SARS-CoV-2 and were deemed to be at high risk for a severe case of illness.

    Fluvoxami...

    Shorter Course of Post-Op Radiation May Work Well for Prostate Cancer Patients

    After prostate cancer surgery, men can safely undergo fewer radiation treatments at higher doses, a new clinical trial shows.

    Researchers found that the shorter regimen — given over five weeks, instead of seven — did not raise patients' odds of lasting side effects.

    Safety has been a "major concern" because when patients have fewer radiation treatments, the daily dose needs to b...

    Targeted High-Dose Radiation Helps Fight Advanced Lung Cancer

    High-dose radiation therapy may stall tumor growth in patients with advanced lung cancer who are not fully responding to drug therapies, a preliminary study suggests.

    The study involved patients whose lung cancer was considered "oligoprogressive." That means the cancer had spread to other sites in the body, and the patients were having a mixed response to standard systemic treatments — ...

    Moving Monoclonal Antibody Treatments for COVID From Hospital to Home

    Antibody infusions help keep high-risk COVID-19 patients out of the hospital, but getting the therapy can be a challenge. One U.S. health system has found a creative way to address the problem: home infusions administered by paramedics.

    Researchers found that the tactic was feasible, delivering antibody infusions to 144 COVID-19 patients in their homes over three months earlier this year....

    Ten Years On, Gene Therapy Still Beating Most Cases of 'Bubble Boy' Immune Disease

    Nine of 10 patients with so-called "bubble boy" immune disease who received gene therapy about a decade ago are still disease-free, researchers report.

    The gene therapy was developed at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), to treat the rare and deadly immune system disorder formally known as adenosine deaminase--deficient severe combined immunodeficiency (ADA-SCID).

    It'...

    U.S. Psychologists See Big Spike in Demand for Mental Health Care

    The number of Americans seeking treatment for anxiety and depression has soared during the COVID-19 pandemic, creating what a leading medical association terms a "mental health tsunami."

    That's the key takeaway from a nationwide survey of psychologists by the American Psychological Association (APA).

    "[The findings] highlight what we have been saying since the early days of the pan...

    Gender-Affirming Mastectomies Give Boost to Patients' Mental Health

    Gender-affirming breast removal (mastectomy) can greatly enhance a patients' mental well-being, a new study finds.

    Gender-affirming mastectomy is the most common type of gender-confirming surgery, but there's "not a lot of information out there about how exactly these types of surgeries help people," said study co-author Dr. Megan Lane. She is a plastic surgery resident at Michigan Medic...

    Still Too Few Women in Stroke Treatment Clinical Trials

    Men still outnumber women in stroke therapy clinical trials, which means women may end up receiving less effective treatment, researchers say.

    For the new study, investigators analyzed 281 stroke trials that included at least 100 patients each and were conducted between 1990 and 2020.

    Of the nearly 590,000 total participants, 37.4% were women. However, the average rate of stroke amo...

    'Feel Good' Hormone Won't Help Ease Kids' Autism, Study Finds

    Despite hints of promise from early research, a new clinical trial finds no evidence that kids with autism benefit from nasal sprays containing the "love" hormone oxytocin.

    Researchers called the findings disappointing.

    But they said the study also offers important information: Some parents of children with autism are already using oxytocin nasal sprays in the hopes of supporting th...

    Many Addicts Turned to Telemedicine During Pandemic, But Does It Beat In-Person Care?

    The coronavirus pandemic forced a significant shift to telemedicine treatment for addiction, but it's not clear whether that approach is better than in-person care, a new study finds.

    Before the pandemic, addiction treatment services in the United States had many restrictions on telemedicine use, so only about 27% of addiction facilities offered telehealth services, while telehealth was u...

    Clot-Busting Drugs Safe in Stroke Patients When Brain Aneurysm Hasn't Ruptured

    Clot-busting drugs may be safe for certain stroke patients with brain aneurysms that haven't ruptured, researchers say.

    An aneurysm is a bulge in the wall of a blood vessel. In the new study, patients had suffered an ischemic stroke, which is caused by blocked blood flow in the brain.

    Even though clot-busting drugs are the main treatment for ischemic stroke, they're often not given...

    1 in 7 Cancer Patients Worldwide Missed a Surgery Due to Pandemic

    In yet another illustration of how the pandemic wreaked havoc on medical care, a new report shows that 15% of adult cancer patients worldwide didn't get potentially lifesaving surgery due to COVID-19 lockdowns.

    "Our research reveals the collateral impact of lockdowns on patients awaiting cancer surgery during the pandemic. Whilst lockdowns are critical to saving lives and reducing the spr...

    'Personalized' Brain Zaps May Ease Tough-to-Treat Depression

    Imagine battling debilitating depression for years, trying everything but finding little or no relief.

    That's what Sarah, 36, lived with most of her adult life.

    "I had exhausted all possible treatment options," recalled Sarah, who did not want her last name used. "It [depression] had controlled my entire life. I barely moved. I barely did anything. I felt tortured every day."

    ...

    Merck to Ask FDA for Emergency Approval of Its New Antiviral Pill for COVID

    Pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. said Friday that it will seek federal approval for emergency use of its new antiviral pill molnupiravir, after a clinical trial showed the drug halved the risk of hospitalization or death when given to high-risk people shortly after infection with COVID-19.

    The new medication is just one of several antiviral pills now being tested in studies, and experts s...

    Tough Choices: Chemo That Can Save Kids With Cancer Can Also Damage Hearing

    The cancer drug cisplatin can save children's lives, but often with the side effect of hearing loss. Now a new study shows that young children are especially vulnerable, and the hearing damage may begin early in the course of treatment.

    The researchers said the findings highlight the need to screen kids' hearing during each round of cisplatin treatment, to catch problems early.

    Saline Spray Could Slow COVID's Spread in the Lungs: Study

    A saltwater solution may help stop the SARS-CoV-2 virus in its tracks, Brazilian researchers report.

    However, although saline may keep the virus from replicating, it does not offer full protection against infection or a cure for COVID-19.

    "It's not a single solution, and it would have to be used in the first few days after infection," said researcher Cristiane Guzzo, a professor of...

    Drug Might Stop Heart Trouble Linked to Sickle Cell Anemia

    Treating sickle cell anemia with the drug hydroxyurea may also reverse related heart abnormalities, a new study suggests.

    Heart issues are common among people with sickle cell disease. Among them are enlargement of the heart and an impaired ability to relax heart muscles, a condition called diastolic dysfunction that can lead to heart disease and heart failure and death. Long-term treatme...

    Biden Administration Buys More Monoclonal Antibody Treatments to Ward Off Shortage

    As severe cases of COVID-19 rise and demand surges for monoclonal antibody treatments, the U.S. government is ordering more from two key suppliers.

    Monoclonal antibodies, which are lab-engineered immune system proteins, can help trigger a healthy immune response against COVID-19 infection.

    The Biden administration has also taken over distributing the therapeutics, to help avoid shor...

    Prescriptions Rise for Veterinary Drug for COVID Patients, Even Though It Won't Help

    Despite studies showing that it doesn't work against COVID-19, prescriptions for the anti-parasite drug ivermectin have climbed sharply in recent weeks as COVID-19 cases surge nationwide, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

    Prescriptions for what was originally a drug for animals soared to more than 88,000 a week in mid-August from a pre-pandemic average of 3,600 per...

    Monoclonal Antibody Combo Keeps High-Risk COVID Patients Out of Hospital

    Treatment with two monoclonal antibodies lowers the odds of hospitalization for high-risk COVID-19 patients with mild to moderate illness, according to a new study.

    "Our conclusion overall at this point is that monoclonal antibodies are an important option in treatment to reduce the impact of COVID-19 in high-risk patients," said senior author Dr. Raymund Razonable, an infectious diseases...

    FDA Approves First Nerve-Stimulation Device to Aid Stroke Recovery

    A first-of-a-kind nerve stimulation treatment for people who have problems moving their arms after a stroke has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

    "People who have lost mobility in their hands and arms due to ischemic stroke are often limited in their treatment options for regaining motor function," explained Dr. Christopher Loftus. He is acting director of the FDA's ...

    Could Electrode 'Pulses' Cut Back, Leg Pain Without Drugs?

    A new approach to spinal cord stimulation may drastically reduce chronic back pain, a small pilot study suggests.

    The study, of 20 patients with stubborn low back pain, tested the effects of implanting electrodes near the spinal cord to stimulate it with "ultra-low" frequency electrical pulses.

    After two weeks, 90% of the patients were reporting at least an 80% reduction in their pa...

    Age Can Impair a Man's Odds for Fatherhood: Study

    It's no surprise to hear that women's fertility wanes as their biological clock ticks away.

    But do men have a biological clock, too?

    New research shows it's not exactly the same, but their likelihood of fathering a child does appear to decline, even with assisted reproductive technology, once they're past age 50.

    Research completed among potential fathers both above and...

    Acupuncture May Help Ease Prostate-Linked Pain in Men: Study

    Men with chronic pain from prostate inflammation may get lasting relief from acupuncture, a new clinical trial finds.

    At issue is a condition known as chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome, in which the prostate gland becomes inflamed and nerves supplying the area are irritated. That can cause pain in the perineum, penis, scrotum and low belly, as well as urinary problems and s...

    Survivors' Plasma Won't Help Fight COVID in Patients With Early Symptoms

    Early treatment with COVID-19 survivors' blood plasma doesn't prevent disease progression in people who have mild COVID-19 symptoms but are at risk for more severe illness, a new clinical trial finds.

    "As physicians, we wanted this to make a big difference in reducing severe illness and it did not," said principal investigator Dr. Clifton Callaway, professor of emergency medicine at the U...

    Texas Governor Has Breakthrough COVID Infection

    Texas Governor Greg Abbott has tested positive for COVID-19 but has not experienced any symptoms, his office announced Tuesday.

    Abbott, who is fully vaccinated, is being treated with Regeneron's monoclonal antibodies in an effort to shorten the duration of the infection, his communications director Mark Miner said in a statement Tuesday afternoon, CBS News reported.

    "The go...

    Dexamethasone Can Help the Sickest COVID Patients Survive. So Why Are Too Few Getting It?

    There's strong evidence that the steroid drug dexamethasone can significantly lower hospitalized patients' risk of dying from COVID-19, but many who might benefit from it the most aren't getting it.

    "Dexamethasone is a steroid that is used for the treatment of arthritis, inflammation and allergic reactions," explained Hemalkumar Mehta, who studied its use in treating COVID-19 patients. He...

    RSV Respiratory Illnesses Rising for Babies, Experts Warn

    While the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the United States has been dominating the news, an old viral enemy has been making a quieter comeback.

    In late spring, U.S. pediatric hospitals began reporting an unexpected rise in serious infections caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

    Unlike COVID-19, RSV is a long-established foe that normally emerges in late fall, peaks in the ...

    Keep Asthma Under Control to Avoid Worse COVID Outcomes: Study

    Uncontrolled asthma increases the risk of severe COVID-19, researchers warn.

    "This study focused on how COVID-19 outcomes might change for asthma patients depending on their level of asthma control," said study author Anny Xiang, a senior research scientist at Kaiser Permanente Southern California.

    "We also saw that even in patients with active asthma, if they were using asthma medi...

    New Drug Might Be Non-Surgical Option for Common Skin Cancers

    An experimental gel has shown early promise in treating the most common form of skin cancer -- hinting at a potential alternative to surgery in the future.

    Researchers tested the gel in 30 patients with basal cell carcinoma (BCC), a skin cancer diagnosed in more than 3 million Americans each year. The tumors rarely spread and are highly curable, usually through surgical removal.

    Eve...

    Type 2 Diabetes in Teens Can Bring Dangerous Complications in 20s

    Children diagnosed with type 2 diabetes face a high likelihood of developing complications before age 30, a new study suggests.

    Researchers found that among 500 children and teenagers with type 2 diabetes, 60% developed at least one complication over the next 15 years -- including nerve damage, eye disease and kidney disease.

    Type 2 diabetes, which is often associated with older age...

    It's Tick Season: Protect Yourself From Lyme Disease

    When you're heading outdoors this summer, keep an eye out for ticks during and after your outing, health experts say.

    These common parasites can transmit Lyme disease, a potentially serious illness.

    Lyme disease is transmitted to people through the bite of an infected black-legged tick, also called a deer tick, explained Dr. Crystal Tank and Dr. Ashany Sundaram of Mountainside Medic...

    Drug Shows Promise in Easing Dementia-Linked Psychosis

    A drug that eases hallucinations in people with Parkinson's disease may be able to do the same for those with dementia, a new clinical trial finds.

    The medication, called Nuplazid (pimavanserin), is already approved in the United States for treating hallucinations and delusions related to Parkinson's.

    The new study, published July 22 in the New England Journal of Medicine, ...

    PTSD Common After Sexual Assault, But Eases for Most

    Most sexual assault survivors have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) immediately after the attack, but it tends to lessen over the following months, a new study finds.

    "One of the main takeaways is that the majority of recovery from post-traumatic stress happens in the first three months," said study lead author Emily Dworkin, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral scienc...

    One-Dose Blood Thinner Could Slash Blood Clot Risk After Knee Replacement

    Anyone who's ever undergone knee replacement understands the real and troubling risk of post-op blood clots. Many patients are told take a daily blood thinner pill long after their procedure.

    But a new study finds that a one-time injection of an experimental blood thinner called abelacimab may greatly reduce the odds for these clots in recovering knee replacement patients.

    The rese...

    Long Distance to Care Can Mean Worse Outcomes for Young Cancer Patients

    Teens and young adults with cancer who live in rural areas or far from the hospital where they were diagnosed are more likely to have advanced cancer and more likely to die, new research shows.

    "A number of studies have indicated that place of residence can influence cancer survival; however, few studies have specifically focused on geographic factors and outcomes in adolescents and young...