Health

8:06am

Thu April 11, 2013
Shots - Health News

Why Obama's Budget Could Make Health Waves

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 1:16 pm

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (center), flanked by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner (left) and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, speaks during a budget briefing in Washington on Wednesday.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

OK, the conventional wisdom about the budget President Obama sent to Congress yesterday is that's irrelevant.

It's two months late, after all, and the House and Senate have already approved their own spending blueprints for fiscal 2014.

But here's why it matters when it comes to health.

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5:19pm

Wed April 10, 2013
Shots - Health News

A New Way To Make The Most Powerful Malaria Drug

Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 5:39 pm

An extract of sweet wormwood has been used in China for thousands of years to treat malaria, but being able to make mass quantities of the extract has been elusive, until now.
Sarah Cuttle Getty Images

Researchers in California described Wednesday their new method for mass-producing the key ingredient for the herbal drug artemisinin, the most powerful antimalarial on the market. Already, the French drugmaker Sanofi is ramping up production at a plant in Italy to manufacture the ingredient and the drug.

Global health advocates say they expect this new method of producing artemisinin will at last provide a stable supply of the drug and cut the overall cost of malaria treatment.

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5:17pm

Wed April 10, 2013
Shots - Health News

How Much Does It Hurt? Let's Scan Your Brain

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 1:16 pm

A technique for imaging the brain allowed researchers to distinguish between physical and emotional pain.
Courtesy of Tom Wager

Scientists reported Wednesday that they had developed a way to measure how much pain people are experiencing by scanning their brains.

The researchers hope the technique will help doctors treat pain better, but the work is also raising concerns about whether the technique might interfere with doctors simply listening to their patients.

Now, when someone is in pain, a doctor has no way to judge its severity except to ask questions, a method that often is inadequate.

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1:15pm

Wed April 10, 2013
Shots - Health News

Feds Fault Preemie Researchers For Ethical Lapses

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 7:04 am

How much oxygen should severely premature infants receive? A study that sought to answer the question has been criticized for not fully informing parents about the risks to their children.
iStockphoto.com

Federal officials say a large study of premature infants was ethically flawed because doctors didn't inform the babies' parents about increased risks of blindness, brain damage and death.

The study involved more than 1,300 severely premature infants at nearly two dozen medical institutions between 2004 and 2009. The infants were randomly assigned to receive two different levels of oxygen to see which was better at preventing blindness without increasing the risk of neurologic damage or death.

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10:24am

Wed April 10, 2013
Shots - Health News

Patent Medicines Get A Belated Chemical Checkup

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 7:04 am

Dr. Sawen's Magic Nervine Pills contained calcium, iron, copper and potassium. Despite advertising claiming they were free of lead and mercury, both elements were found in the pills.
Courtesy of Mark Benvenuto

The patent medicines sold in days gone by may, contrary to the name, not have had real government patents. But that didn't stop their makers from claiming the concoctions could cure ailments ranging from indigestion to jaundice and fever.

Now, researchers have put some of these old elixirs and pills in the Henry Ford Museum's large collection of patent medicines to a modern test. They found a mix of potentially harmful metals like lead and mercury along with benign ingredients, including calcium and iron.

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