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June 2006 Briefing - Family Practice

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Family Practice for June 2006. This roundup includes the latest research news from journal articles, as well as the FDA approvals and regulatory changes that are the most likely to affect clinical practice.

Memory Loss May Affect Several Brain Regions

FRIDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), there may be altered functionality in both the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, according to a study in the July issue of Radiology.

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New Tool Tracks Infant Brain Development and Disturbances

FRIDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- A new tool combining diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging -- which shows diffusion of water molecules -- with fiber tracking to construct a 3-D image of the brain's white matter, can track brain development and disturbances in infants, according to a study in the July issue of Radiology.

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FDA Approves Generic Zoloft, Macular Degeneration Drug

FRIDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a generic version of sertraline tablets (Zoloft) as well as a new drug, ranibizumab injection (Lucentis), for treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration.

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Salmonella Infections Traced to Contact with Pet Treats

FRIDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- Nine people in western Canada and Washington State have developed human Salmonella Thompson infections after handling dog treats that were packaged at two facilities in British Columbia and Washington, according to a report in the June 30 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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FDA Warns of Ketek-Associated Liver Problems

FRIDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning to health care professionals and patients to be aware of the potential of rare, but serious risks of liver injury with the antibiotic Ketek (telithromycin).

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Use of Sunless Tanners Associated with Sunburns

FRIDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- Young adults who use sunless tanning products may be more, rather than less, likely to experience sunburns and/or use artificial tanning beds, according to a study in the June issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

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Barrett's Esophagus Incidence Increasing in Australia

FRIDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- In an Australian population undergoing esophagogastroduodenoscopies (EGD), new cases of Barrett's esophagus have significantly increased since 1990, with the biggest increase seen in diagnoses of short-segment Barrett's esophagus (SSBE), according to a study published in the June issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

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Treatment Improves Motor Function in Stroke Patients

THURSDAY, June 29 (HealthDay News) -- In stroke patients, five consecutive sessions of transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) treatment improves motor function without causing adverse cognitive effects of epileptogenic activity, according to a report published online June 30 in Stroke.

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New MRI Technique Identifies Blocked Coronary Arteries

THURSDAY, June 29 (HealthDay News) -- A new non-invasive cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique -- which combines stress first-pass perfusion MRI with delayed contrast enhancement -- is highly accurate in showing blockage of the coronary arteries, according to a study in the July issue of Radiology.

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H. pylori Test-and-Treat Strategy Best for Dyspepsia

THURSDAY, June 29 (HealthDay News) -- Testing for Helicobacter pylori may be the best initial management strategy for patients presenting with dyspepsia, according to a study published in the June issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

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Marker Predicts Renal Cancer Metastasis and Survival

THURSDAY, June 29 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have identified a marker in renal cell carcinomas that can predict tumor metastasis and patient outcome, according to a study published in the July issue of The Lancet Oncology.

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Having Biological Brothers Linked to Male Homosexuality

THURSDAY, June 29 (HealthDay News) -- Having more biological older brothers, regardless of the amount of time spent raised together, is associated with male homosexuality, suggesting a prenatal origin to sexual orientation, according to a report published online June 28 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

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Women's In-Hospital Survival Up for Heart Disease, Stroke

THURSDAY, June 29 (HealthDay News) -- Between 2002 and 2004, women's in-hospital survival rates for heart disease and stroke improved by an average of 9.54 percent, and the best-performing hospitals had a 40 percent lower mortality rate than the poorest-performing hospitals, according to the Third Annual Report on Women's Health Outcomes in U.S. Hospitals study published June 26 by HealthGrades.

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Too Much Iodine Can Increase Autoimmune Thyroiditis

WEDNESDAY, June 28 (HealthDay News) -- Too much iodine consumption has been linked to an increase in hypothyroidism and autoimmune thyroiditis cases in China, according to a study in the June 29 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Reducing Homocysteine Does Not Improve Cognition

WEDNESDAY, June 28 (HealthDay News) -- In healthy older people, B-vitamin therapy to reduce blood levels of homocysteine does not appear to improve cognitive function, according to a study in the June 29 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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New Model Identifies Mutations in Colorectal Cancer

WEDNESDAY, June 28 (HealthDay News) -- A new predictive model developed by multivariate logistic regression accurately identifies patients with colorectal cancer who are carriers of mutations in DNA repair genes, according to a study published in the June 29 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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New FDA Regulations Boost Monitoring of Clinical Trials

WEDNESDAY, June 28 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced a range of policy and regulatory developments aimed at strengthening the agency's protection of patients and the integrity of data from clinical trials.

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Health Insurance Coverage Improved in U.S. in 2005

WEDNESDAY, June 28 (HealthDay News) -- The percentage of people in the United States without health insurance declined from 15.4 percent in 1997 to 14.2 percent in 2005, with the greatest gains made in coverage for children, according to a study published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, coverage varied widely in the 20 states included in the analysis, with Massachusetts having the lowest percentage of uninsured residents (6.5 percent) and Texas having the highest (24.6 percent).

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Low-Fat Dairy Products May Help Prevent Hypertension

WEDNESDAY, June 28 (HealthDay News) -- Consuming low-fat dairy products may help prevent hypertension, according to a report published online June 26 in Hypertension.

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Chest X-Rays May Increase Risk of Breast Cancer

WEDNESDAY, June 28 (HealthDay News) -- Women with inherited mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes may be at greater risk of developing breast cancer after exposure to chest X-rays compared with BRCA1/BRCA2 carriers who aren't exposed to X-rays, according to a report published online June 26 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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FDA Approves First Treatment for Parkinson's Dementia

WEDNESDAY, June 28 (HealthDay News) -- Exelon (rivastigmine tartrate) was approved June 27 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as the first treatment for mild to moderate dementia in Parkinson disease. The FDA had previously approved the drug for the treatment of mild to moderate dementia in Alzheimer disease.

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Nighttime Blood Pressure May Predict Heart Failure

WEDNESDAY, June 28 (HealthDay News) -- Elderly men with a nighttime blood pressure that stays the same or increases compared with the daytime pressure have more than twice the risk of developing heart failure, according to a report in the June 28 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Keratitis Found in Contact Lens Wearers in Singapore

TUESDAY, June 27 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have identified an outbreak of fungal keratitis among soft contact lens wearers in Singapore, nearly all of them associated with poor lens hygiene practices and use of ReNu cleaning solution manufactured by Bausch & Lomb, according to a report in the June 28 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Bausch & Lomb issued a global recall of ReNu with MoistureLoc in May.

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Behavioral Therapy Effective in Treating Insomnia

TUESDAY, June 27 (HealthDay News) -- Behavioral therapy can be more effective than sleep medication in treating insomnia, improving sleep efficiency and reducing the time spent awake at night, according to a report in the June 28 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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U.S. Surgeon General Issues Report on Secondhand Smoke

TUESDAY, June 27 (HealthDay News) -- Secondhand smoke exposure increases non-smokers' heart disease and lung cancer risk and causes early death in non-smoking children and adults, according to a new scientific report issued June 27 by U.S. Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona, M.D.

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Boston Scientific Recalls Pacemakers and Defibrillators

TUESDAY, June 27 (HealthDay News) -- Boston Scientific Corporation has recalled a subset of cardiac devices including Insignia and Nexus pacemakers, Contak Renewal TR/TR2 cardiac resynchronization pacemakers and Ventak Prizm 2, Vitality and Vitality 2 implantable cardioverter defibrillators, manufactured by the company's Cardiac Rhythm Management (CRM) Group. The group was formerly Guidant's CRM business, acquired by Boston Scientific in April this year.

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Cellular Phones Cause Changes in Intracortical Excitability

TUESDAY, June 27 (HealthDay News) -- Acute exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) generated by cellular phones can produce changes in brain excitability, although the effects are transient, according to a study published online June 26 in the Annals of Neurology.

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Viagra Helps Cyclists' Exercise Performance at High Altitude

TUESDAY, June 27 (HealthDay News) -- Sildenafil (Viagra) may improve exercise performance in men cycling at conditions similar to those found at high altitudes, but does not affect performance at sea level, according to a report in the June issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology.

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Vitamin K Supplements Can Cut Bone Loss, Fractures

TUESDAY, June 27 (HealthDay News) -- Oral vitamin K supplements may reduce bone loss and prevent osteoporosis-related fractures, according to a review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials published in the June 26 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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NEJM Issues Correction on 2005 Vioxx Study

MONDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- The New England Journal of Medicine has issued a correction to the Adenomatous Polyp Prevention on Vioxx (APPROVe) trial, a 2005 publication that suggested that thrombotic events in rofecoxib-treated patients only diverged from placebo after 18 months of treatment. However, an error in the analysis now indicates that adverse events diverged from the placebo group prior to 18 months, the authors report.

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Foot Orthoses for Plantar Fasciitis Can Help Pain

MONDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- Foot orthoses can improve pain and function from plantar fasciitis in the short term, but the effects don't seem to last over the course of a year, according to a report in the June 26 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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QT Prolongation Linked to Methadone Therapy

MONDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- Intravenous drug users who receive methadone maintenance therapy to curb their habit are at an increased risk for developing long QT syndrome, according to a report in the June 26 Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Coffee May Cut Diabetes Risk in Postmenopausal Women

MONDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- In postmenopausal women, drinking coffee -- especially the decaffeinated brew -- is inversely associated with the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a study in the June 26 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Hot Flashes Are Linked to Insomnia

MONDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- In perimenopausal and postmenopausal women, hot flashes are strongly associated with insomnia, according to a study in the June 26 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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ACE Inhibitor Helps Heart Patients With Kidney Problems

MONDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- The angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor trandolapril may improve survival for some heart patients with kidney problems, according to a report published online June 26 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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First Generic Version of Simvastatin Gets FDA Approval

MONDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first generic version of simvastatin (Zocor), the second most widely prescribed statin in the United States, to treat hypercholesterolemia. The FDA also recently approved generic versions of Proscar, Propecia and Lamictal.

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FDA Approves Prezista, A New Protease Inhibitor for HIV

MONDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved darunavir (Prezista), a new protease inhibitor for use in treating HIV-infected adults who have not responded to other antiretroviral drugs. The drug is approved for co-administration with a low dose of ritonavir (as well as other anti-HIV agents), which increases the concentration of Prezista in the patient's system by slowing its absorption.

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Job Loss Later in Life Doubles Myocardial Infarction Risk

MONDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who lose their jobs after the age of 50 are at double the risk of myocardial infarction and stroke compared to their employed counterparts, according to a study published online June 23 in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

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Painful Bladder Syndrome Definition May Be Insufficient

FRIDAY, June 23 (HealthDay News) -- Many patients with recent-onset interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome do not meet the International Continence Society (ICS) definition, according to a study published in the June issue of Urology.

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MRSA Skin Infections in Three States Linked to Tattoos

FRIDAY, June 23 (HealthDay News) -- Forty-four people in the United States who received tattoos from 13 unlicensed practitioners in three states have contracted community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) skin infections, according to a report in the June 23 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Concussion Has Long-Term Effect on Gait Stability

FRIDAY, June 23 (HealthDay News) -- Concussion can affect gait stability for at least a month after the injury occurs, according to a report in the June issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise published by the American College of Sports Medicine.

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Apparent Drop in U.K. Road Injuries Due to Poor Reporting

FRIDAY, June 23 (HealthDay News) -- Although police statistics indicate that the rates of serious injury from traffic accidents in England have dropped, this is likely due to incomplete reporting, according to a report published online June 23 in BMJ.

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Drivers Keep Going Even When They Know They're Tired

FRIDAY, June 23 (HealthDay News) -- Sleepy drivers continue to drive even when they are aware that they are tired, according to a study published online June 23 in BMJ.

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Family History Linked to Heart Risk in Rheumatoid Arthritis

FRIDAY, June 23 (HealthDay News) -- Rheumatoid arthritis patients have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease than the general population, but the risk is even higher if they have a family history of heart disease, according to a report in the June issue of the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

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Girl on Mobile Phone Severely Injured by Lightning Strike

FRIDAY, June 23 (HealthDay News) -- A 15-year-old girl was struck by lightning while talking on a mobile phone, sustaining injuries so severe that a year later she was wheelchair-bound with a complex range of health problems, according to a letter published in the June 24 issue of BMJ.

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Four-by-Four Drivers More Often Flout U.K. Safety Laws

FRIDAY, June 23 (HealthDay News) -- U.K. drivers of four-wheel-drive vehicles are four times more likely to flout laws forbidding the use of hand-held mobile phones while driving compared to their counterparts who drive normal cars, and they are also more likely to neglect to use their seat belts, according to a study published online June 23 in BMJ.

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Acupuncture May Relieve Fibromyalgia Fatigue, Anxiety

THURSDAY, June 22 (HealthDay News) -- Acupuncture may relieve fatigue and anxiety in fibromyalgia patients more so than a placebo acupuncture-like procedure, according to a report in the June issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

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FDA Approves Enbrel Autoinjector

THURSDAY, June 22 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the Enbrel (etanercept) SureClick autoinjector as the first and only autoinjector for psoriatic and rheumatic diseases, according to Amgen, the manufacturer.

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Ultramarathon Can Cause Exertional Rhabdomyolysis

THURSDAY, June 22 (HealthDay News) -- Prolonged, moderate intensity exercise experienced by ultramarathon runners may cause a significant rise in indicators of muscle and liver damage and cause serum enzyme activity changes similar to those which occur in an acute myocardial infarction, according to a report in the June issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. However, this rise in creatine kinase and other factors is not accompanied by severe symptoms that require hospitalization, they note.

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Intravascular Ultrasound Identifies Plaque Components

THURSDAY, June 22 (HealthDay News) -- Intravascular ultrasound radiofrequency (IVUS RF) backscatter analysis, a color-coded mapping method, accurately identifies atherosclerotic plaque components that may be likely to rupture, according to a study in the June 20 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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ACE Gene Variants Linked to Muscle Response to Training

THURSDAY, June 22 (HealthDay News) -- Polymorphisms in the angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE) gene predict muscle growth and strength response to resistance training but mostly in untrained muscles, according to a report in the June issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

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Polyunsaturated Fat May Cut Risk of Enlarged Prostate

THURSDAY, June 22 (HealthDay News) -- Polyunsaturated fatty acid consumption may reduce the risk of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), while starch consumption may increase the risk, according to the results of a case-control study published in the June issue of Urology.

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Consistent Beta-Blocker Use Best in Decompensated HF

THURSDAY, June 22 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who are on beta-blockers before and during hospitalization for decompensated heart failure may experience better outcomes than those who have the drugs discontinued during their hospitalization, according to a study in the June 20 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Cheap Pedometers Tend to Inaccurately Record Steps

THURSDAY, June 22 (HealthDay News) -- Pedometers have become widely available, but many cheaper models are not useful for health purposes because they do not accurately monitor the steps taken, according to a study published online June 21 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

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Deaths in College Athletes Can Occur Despite Rapid Aid

THURSDAY, June 22 (HealthDay News) -- An analysis of nine college athletes who experienced sudden cardiac arrest suggests about half had structural heart defects and most died despite rapid cardiopulmonary resuscitation and use of a defibrillator, according to a study in the July issue of Heart Rhythm.

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Researchers Identify Autoantibody in Scleroderma

WEDNESDAY, June 21 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with scleroderma produce autoantibodies that stimulate the platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR), which in turn activates the expression of collagen genes, according to a study published in the June 22 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The study provides new insight into the pathogenesis of the disease, the authors report.

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Cyclophosphamide Has Modest Lung Effect in Scleroderma

WEDNESDAY, June 21 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment with cyclophosphamide can produce significant but modest clinical gains in lung function for scleroderma patients, according to a study published in the June 22 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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AMA Issues Report on Patient Communication

WEDNESDAY, June 21 (HealthDay News) -- The American Medical Association (AMA) has published a new consensus report emphasizing the need for good communication between doctors and patients from diverse populations and outlining steps that can be followed to improve communication quality.

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Filter with Carotid Stenting May Benefit High-Risk Patients

WEDNESDAY, June 21 (HealthDay News) -- A distal embolic protection system that utilizes a filter may be an alternative way to perform carotid artery stenting in patients who are too high-risk for endarterectomy, according to a study published in the June 20 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Cherry Juice May Reduce Exercise-Induced Muscle Pain

WEDNESDAY, June 21 (HealthDay News) -- Drinking cherry juice may reduce the severity of exercise-induced pain, according to an industry-funded study published online June 21 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

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FDA Warns About Reusable Ultrasound Biopsy Equipment

WEDNESDAY, June 21 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning to health care professionals to properly clean and sterilize reusable ultrasound biopsy transducer assemblies to avoid patient infections due to contaminated equipment.

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FDA and Novartis Issue Recall of Triaminic Vapor Patch

WEDNESDAY, June 21 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Novartis Consumer Health of Parsippany, N.J., have issued a voluntary recall of the Triaminic Vapor Patch, a cough suppressant that is applied to the throat or chest but which has been accidentally ingested by some children. In one case in Canada, a child had a seizure after removing the patch and chewing it.

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Verbal Abuse May Have Greater Impact Than Physical Abuse

TUESDAY, June 20 (HealthDay News) -- Young adults who were verbally abused in childhood report more dissociation, depression and other symptoms of maltreatment than those who were physically abused, and have symptoms on par with those who witnessed domestic violence or were sexually abused by a non-family member, according to a report in the June issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

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Statin Use May Lower Risk of Nuclear Cataracts

TUESDAY, June 20 (HealthDay News) -- The use of statins as lipid-lowering agents may also prevent age-related nuclear cataracts due to the drugs' putative antioxidant properties, according to a report in the June 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Company-Sponsored Trials Affect Physician Choice of Meds

TUESDAY, June 20 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians participating in a company-sponsored clinical trial are not likely to stray from recommended treatment guidelines but they do tend to prescribe more of the company's drugs, according to a report in the June 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Natural History of Adult Asthma Follows Predictable Pattern

TUESDAY, June 20 (HealthDay News) -- The evolution of asthma severity in adults is somewhat predictable, according to a study published in the June issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

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Brief CPAP Does Not Ease Hypertension in Sleep Apnea

MONDAY, June 19 (HealthDay News) -- Short-term continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) does not significantly alleviate high blood pressure in patients with arterial hypertension and obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, according to a report in the June issue of Chest.

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AHA Revises Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations

MONDAY, June 19 (HealthDay News) -- Eating oily fish at least twice a week is among the guidelines that the American Heart Association (AHA) has underscored for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a scientific statement published online June 19 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Type 2 Diabetes Incidence Doubles in the Middle-Aged

MONDAY, June 19 (HealthDay News) -- New cases of type 2 diabetes in middle-aged Americans have doubled in the past 30 years, with most of the increase attributable to a rise in those with a high body mass index, according to a study in the June 19 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Unnecessary Lab Tests Reduced Using Simple Measures

MONDAY, June 19 (HealthDay News) -- The number of unnecessary laboratory tests requested by primary care physicians can be reduced using two simple strategies, saving time, money and follow-up tests that are not warranted, according to a study published in the June 17 issue of The Lancet.

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Macrophages in Fat Linked to Liver Damage in Obesity

MONDAY, June 19 (HealthDay News) -- The accumulation of macrophages in the omental white adipose tissue of morbidly obese patients is associated with severe hepatic inflammatory damage, according to a report in the June issue of Diabetes.

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Accidental Peanut Ingestion Rate Low in Allergic Children

MONDAY, June 16 (HealthDay News) -- The incidence of accidental ingestion of peanuts by children with peanut allergy in Quebec, Canada, appears to be lower than previously reported, according to a report published online May 28 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

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Food-Allergic Teens Often Take Dangerous Risks

MONDAY, June 19 (HealthDay News) -- Many teens and young adults with food allergies indulge in behavior that places them at high risk of life-threatening anaphylactic reactions, according to a study published in the June issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

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Vegetable-Rich Diet Blocks Atherosclerosis in Mice

MONDAY, June 19 (HealthDay News) -- A diet rich in green and yellow vegetables reduces atherosclerosis by 38 percent in mice prone to developing the disease, according to a study in the July issue of the Journal of Nutrition.

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CDC Reports Mild Flu Season, But Virus Still Circulating

FRIDAY, June 16 (HealthDay News) -- Although the United States had a mild influenza season in 2005-2006, the flu virus remains active, and the so-called avian flu (H5N1) virus is still spreading across other parts of the world, according to a report in the June 16 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Travelers to Malarial Regions Should Take Preventive Steps

FRIDAY, June 16 (HealthDay News) -- Patients traveling to countries in which malaria is endemic should take anti-malarial drugs and precautions against mosquito bites, even if they are traveling to their country of origin for a visit, according to a report in the June 16 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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New Guidelines Issued for Valvular Heart Disease

FRIDAY, June 16 (HealthDay News) -- Major advances in non-invasive testing and surgery for patients with valvular heart disease are addressed in updated guidelines jointly released June 16 by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association.

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Dramatic Rise Predicted for Hip Fractures

FRIDAY, June 16 (HealthDay News) -- The estimated number of hip fractures worldwide may increase from 1.7 million in 1990 to 6.3 million in 2050 if incidence rates remain stable, and may rise to 8.2 million if incidence rates increase by 1 percent per year, according to a report published in the June 17 issue of The Lancet.

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Mortality Predictors Change Over Time in Oldest Patients

FRIDAY, June 16 (HealthDay News) -- In the old-old, the most significant predictors of mortality -- age, sex, disability and self-rated health -- change over time and their predictive effect diminishes, according to a study published in the June issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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Unpasteurized Milk May Protect Against Childhood Allergies

FRIDAY, June 16 (HealthDay News) -- A study of farmers' children in rural England suggests that the reason they historically have fewer allergies is because they drink unpasteurized milk, according to a report in the June issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

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Asthmatic Kids More Sensitive to Small Particulate Matter

FRIDAY, June 16 (HealthDay News) -- Asthmatic children show increased sensitivity to particulate air pollutants compared with healthy children as measured by the percentage of eosinophils in their nasal fluid, according to a report in the June issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

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Statin Dose Cuts Cardiac Events 25 Percent in Diabetics

THURSDAY, June 15 (HealthDay News) -- High doses of the lipid-lowering drug atorvastatin cut major cardiovascular events in diabetics with stable coronary heart disease by one-quarter, according to a report in the June issue of Diabetes Care.

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Spinal 'Pain Amplifier' May Enhance Pain Sensitivity

THURSDAY, June 15 (HealthDay News) -- A "pain amplifier" in the spinal cord turned on by low-level, irregular pain inputs may be the origin of inflammation and hyperalgesia, according to a study in rats in the June 16 issue of Science.

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Fentanyl Patch Offers Relief from Osteoarthritis Pain

THURSDAY, June 15 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with moderate to severe knee or hip osteoarthritis, transdermal fentanyl (TDF) may reduce pain and improve function compared with placebo, according to a study published in the June issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism.

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Intestinal Surgery Can Lead to Vitamin A-Linked Vision Loss

THURSDAY, June 15 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who have undergone intestinal surgery can experience vision problems due to vitamin A deficiency many years later, particularly if they have liver disease or other comorbidities, according to a series of case reports published online June 14 in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

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FDA Targets Unclear Medical Abbreviations

THURSDAY, June 15 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) has launched a national health professional education campaign to eliminate a common but preventable cause of medication errors: unclear and potentially confusing abbreviations written by health care professionals and others.

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Smokers with Wrinkles Have Higher Risk of COPD

THURSDAY, June 15 (HealthDay News) -- Smokers and ex-smokers with facial wrinkling are at higher risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a study published online on June 14 in Thorax.

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Serum Protein Associated with Insulin Resistance

WEDNESDAY, June 14 (HealthDay News) -- Increased serum levels of retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP4), which is secreted by adipocytes, is associated with insulin resistance in patients with type 2 diabetes or who are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a study in the June 15 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Blacks at Greater Risk of Dementia Than Other Patients

WEDNESDAY, June 14 (HealthDay News) -- Elderly black patients in the United States have a higher risk of dementia than white patients even after adjustment for education and other potential confounders, and the racial disparity is especially pronounced after adjustment for baseline cognitive screening scores, according to a study in the June issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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In-Home Intervention Reduces Mortality in Older Adults

WEDNESDAY, June 14 (HealthDay News) -- In older adults with functional difficulties, mortality may be reduced by in-home occupational and physical therapy sessions, according to a study published in the June issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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Study Groups Disagree on Use of Automatic CPR Device

TUESDAY, June 13 (HealthDay News) -- Two studies comparing the use of an automatic cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) device and manual CPR for out-of-hospital cardiac arrests have conflicting results, with one suggesting potentially worse outcome with the automatic device and the other showing a benefit, according to reports in the June 14 Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Fish Oil Doesn't Protect Cardiac Patients from Arrhythmias

TUESDAY, June 13 (HealthDay News) -- Fish oil supplements do not protect patients with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator from developing abnormal heart rhythms, according to results from the European Study on Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Ventricular Arrhythmia (SOFA) reported in the June 14 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Fluoxetine Does Not Help Anorexics Recover

TUESDAY, June 13 (HealthDay News) -- Fluoxetine does not help anorexia nervosa patients recover and maintain a healthy weight, according to a report in the June 14 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Car Crashes, Homicide, Suicide Top Causes of Youth Deaths

TUESDAY, June 13 (HealthDay News) -- Risky behavior among U.S. high school students has dropped since 1991, but many teenagers smoke, drive after drinking and have sex without condoms, according to a report in the June 9 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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FDA Approves Wellbutrin XL for Seasonal Affective Disorder

TUESDAY, June 13 (HealthDay News) -- Wellbutrin XL has become the first drug to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The drug, approved on June 12, can be used for the prevention of major depressive episodes in SAD patients.

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Psychogenic, Epileptic Seizures Distinguished in Three Studies

MONDAY, June 12 (HealthDay News) -- Three studies in the June 13 issue of Neurology may help identify the nearly 30 percent of patients diagnosed with epilepsy who actually have psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES).

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Coffee Intake May Protect Against Liver Cirrhosis

MONDAY, June 12 (HealthDay News) -- Coffee drinking is associated with a lower risk of liver cirrhosis, particularly cirrhosis due to alcohol consumption, as well as a reduced risk of having elevated aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase levels, according to a report in the June 12 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Genomic Defects Found in Sperm as Men Age

MONDAY, June 12 (HealthDay News) -- As males age, the quality of their sperm declines as do their chances of achieving a pregnancy, according to a study published online June 9 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition. Aging in males is associated with a greater risk of having offspring with certain genetic conditions, but not others, such as Down syndrome. In addition, genetic defects cannot be inferred from conventional measures of semen quality.

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Short Antibiotic Course Effectively Treats Pneumonia

FRIDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- Three days of intravenous antibiotic treatment are as effective as seven to 10 days of intravenous and oral antibiotic treatment for patients with community-acquired pneumonia who respond to the intravenous treatment, according to a study published in the June 10 issue of BMJ.

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Reminders Prompt Physicians to Prescribe Best BP Drugs

FRIDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians who receive pharmacist visits and subsequent computer reminders are more likely to prescribe less expensive and guideline-recommended antihypertensive drugs compared with those who only receive prescribing guidelines, according to a study published in the June issue of PLoS Medicine.

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Warfarin Best at Stroke Prevention in Atrial Fibrillation

FRIDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with atrial fibrillation, anticoagulants such as warfarin continue to be the gold-standard treatment for preventing stroke, according to a study published in the June 10 issue of The Lancet, which was halted early due to the superiority of the oral anticoagulant.

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New Tool Improves Ethnic Group Heart Risk Assessment

FRIDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- A new risk score helps more accurately predict the risk of cardiovascular disease and 10-year coronary heart disease risk for seven black and minority ethnic groups, according to a U.K. study published online June 8 in Heart.

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Ghrelin and Leptin Levels Linked to Waist Size and BMI

FRIDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- Leptin levels are directly associated with body mass index (BMI) and waist size, while levels of ghrelin are inversely associated with BMI and waist size, according to a study published in the June issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

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Long-Acting ß-Agonists Raise Risk of Fatal Asthma Attacks

FRIDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- The use of long-acting ß-agonists increases the risk of severe, life-threatening and fatal exacerbations of asthma, according to a review published online June 6 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Eye-Injury Hospitalizations Prevalent Among Children

THURSDAY, June 8 (HealthDay News) -- Young adults aged 18 to 20 account for the highest proportion (23.7 percent) of eye-injury hospitalizations in patients under age 20 and males account for 69.7 percent of hospitalizations, according to a study published in the June issue of Pediatrics.

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FDA Approves Gardasil Cervical Cancer Vaccine

THURSDAY, June 8 (HealthDay News) -- For the first time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a vaccine to reduce cervical cancer by preventing infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) types 6, 11, 16 and 18. Gardasil is manufactured by Merck & Co. and is approved for use in females aged 9 to 26.

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Overweight Lactating Women Can Cut Fat and Sugar Intake

THURSDAY, June 8 (HealthDay News) -- Overweight women who are breast-feeding can limit their fat and sugar consumption if they are careful to maintain their intake of calcium and vitamin D, according to a report in the June issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

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Patients in Randomized Trials Do Not Show Worse Outcome

THURSDAY, June 8 (HealthDay News) -- A systematic review of randomized controlled trials shows that random assignment without regard for individualized treatment is not harmful to study participants, according to a report in the June issue of PLoS Medicine.

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Low Birth Weight Infants at Risk for Hyperactivity

THURSDAY, June 8 (HealthDay News) -- Children who are born prematurely or with a low birth weight are more likely to develop hyperkinetic disorder and have concentration problems than other children, according to a study published online June 5 in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

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Median Nerve Not Always Key in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

THURSDAY, June 8 (HealthDay News) -- About 40 percent of patients with suspected carpal tunnel syndrome do not present with involvement of the median nerve, suggesting the importance of more awareness of all patterns of presentation, according to a study in the June issue of Pain.

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Breathing Techniques Can Cut Over-Use of Inhaler

THURSDAY, June 8 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with asthma who use breathing techniques or upper-body exercises can reduce their use of reliever inhalers by up to 80 percent, according to a study published online June 5 in Thorax.

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Long-Term Compliance Good After Myocardial Infarction

WEDNESDAY, June 7 (HealthDay News) -- When patients are started on beta-blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and statins soon after an acute myocardial infarction, they are likely to continue taking the medications for many years. But the dosages they receive may be suboptimal, according to a study published in the May issue of the European Heart Journal.

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Obese Adults Eat More Fat, Less Fiber Than Peers

WEDNESDAY, June 7 (HealthDay News) -- Calorie for calorie, overweight or obese patients consume fewer complex carbohydrates and less fiber than their lean counterparts, according to a report in the June issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Overall, patients with a lower body mass index (BMI) consumed 43 percent more complex carbohydrates and 33 percent more fiber per each 1,000 calories consumed than high-BMI patients.

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Having Sex at Term Pregnancy Does Not Hasten Delivery

WEDNESDAY, June 7 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who have sexual intercourse at term pregnancy do not hasten the onset of labor, according to a report in the June issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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Online Course Launched to Focus on Gender, Health Issues

WEDNESDAY, June 7 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Office of Women's Health and the National Institutes of Health Office of Research on Women's Health have launched a new online course that is aimed at clinicians and highlights how illness and health outcomes differ between males and females.

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Treating Pneumonia in Nursing Homes Reduces Costs

TUESDAY, June 6 (HealthDay News) -- Treating pneumonia and other lower respiratory tract infections using a clinical pathway in the nursing home can be effective, while reducing hospitalizations and saving costs, according to a study in the June 7 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Early Schizophrenia Detection Reduces Suicide Risk

TUESDAY, June 6 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with schizophrenia, early-detection programs that bring first-episode patients into treatment may reduce the later risk of suicidal behavior, according to a study published in the May issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

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Obesity More Prevalent Among Hispanic Preschoolers

TUESDAY, June 6 (HealthDay News) -- Hispanic preschool children are more likely to be obese than their counterparts from other racial groups, and the disparity cannot be explained by socioeconomic factors such as maternal education or family income, according to a study in the June issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

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Nap Schedule May Reduce Fatigue in Medical Residents

TUESDAY, June 6 (HealthDay News) -- A protected nap schedule for medical residents covering overnight shifts only modestly increases sleep time but reduces reports of fatigue and sleepiness, according to a study in the June 6 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Diagnosis of Autism at Age 2 Usually Confirmed at Age 9

TUESDAY, June 6 (HealthDay News) -- Children diagnosed with autism by the age of 2 years are likely to have that diagnosis confirmed at age 9, according to a study published in the June issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

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Restraint Systems Cut Risk of Child Death in Car Crashes

TUESDAY, June 6 (HealthDay News) -- Compared with seat belts, child restraint systems can reduce the risk of children dying in a car accident by as much as 28 percent, according to a study in the June issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

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COPD Patients Benefit From Inhaled Corticosteroids

MONDAY, June 5 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) experience fewer exacerbations when treated with inhaled corticosteroids compared with placebo, according to a meta-analysis reported in the May/June issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

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Lower Malpractice Costs in States with Damage Caps

MONDAY, June 5 (HealthDay News) -- In states that have enacted tort reform to cap total or non-economic medical malpractice payments, costs and premiums tend to be lower, according to a report in the May/June issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

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Patients Assess Family History for High Cholesterol Risk

MONDAY, June 5 (HealthDay News) -- After diagnosis, patients perceive their own risk from a genetic disease like hypercholesterolemia by considering their family history of the disease rather than information about generalized risk, according to a report in the May/June issue of the Annals of Family Medicine. Physicians should use this information to tailor medical treatment for these patients.

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Meta-Analysis Finds COX-2 Inhibitors, NSAID Risk Similar

FRIDAY, June 2 (HealthDay News) -- Selective COX-2 inhibitors and high doses of some traditional nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) carry similar risks of cardiovascular events such as myocardial infarction, according to a meta-analysis published in the June 3 issue of BMJ.

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Age, Education, Affect When U.S. Men Become Fathers

FRIDAY, June 2 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. men agree with women when reporting whether their children were wanted, mistimed or unwanted at the time of conception, but how and when they become fathers is heavily influenced by age, education, income and ethnicity, according to a new comprehensive report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Study Compares Four Popular Weight-Loss Programs

FRIDAY, June 2 (HealthDay News) -- A comparison of four commercial diets including the Atkins diet and Weight Watchers suggests that all four are about equally effective when combined with group support to lose weight and maintain the loss, according to a study published in the June 3 issue of BMJ.

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Effect of Early Antibiotic for Meningococcal Disease Unclear

FRIDAY, June 2 (HealthDay News) -- Two studies analyzing mortality risk in children with meningococcal disease given parenteral antibiotics by a primary care physician prior to hospital admission have shown inconsistent results, with one suggesting harm and the other suggesting benefit, according to the June 3 issue of BMJ. Because children with more severe symptoms are more likely to receive an antibiotic, this confounding factor makes it difficult to determine if the practice is helpful or harmful, the authors report.

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Child's Immunization Varies with Mother's Age, Education

FRIDAY, June 2 (HealthDay News) -- The mothers of infants with incomplete immunizations tend to belong to ethnic minority groups, be economically disadvantaged and have a large family, whereas mothers who choose not to immunize infants are more likely to be aged 40 or above, to be educated to university level or be of black Caribbean ethnicity, according to a British study published in the June 3 issue of BMJ.

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Human Gut Teems with Over 1,000 Bacterial Species

THURSDAY, June 1 (HealthDay News) -- The human colon contains up to 100 trillion organisms representing over 1,000 species of bacteria, and they provide a host of genes necessary for the metabolism of vitamins, sugars and fiber, according to an analysis of the colon's microbiome published in a report in the June 2 issue of Science.

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SSRIs Linked to Short-Term Suicide Risk in Elderly

THURSDAY, June 1 (HealthDay News) -- Elderly patients who begin taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may have an increased risk for suicide during the first months of therapy, according to a report in the May issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

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Boys Without Siblings Watch More TV Than Others Their Age

THURSDAY, June 1 (HealthDay News) -- Boys who have no siblings and girls in single-parent families watch more television than boys with siblings or girls living with two parents, researchers report in the May issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

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Urban Air Pollution Linked to Stroke Admissions

THURSDAY, June 1 (HealthDay News) -- Environmental ozone and carbon monoxide levels are associated with emergency department admissions for cerebrovascular disease, according to a study conducted in Taipei, Taiwan, and published in the May issue of the European Heart Journal.

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Reduced Activity Over Time Hikes Women's Obesity Risk

THURSDAY, June 1 (HealthDay News) -- Women who become less physically active from youth to adulthood are at greater risk of becoming overweight or obese, in contrast to men, according to a study in the May issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

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Behavioral Weight-Loss Program Effective

THURSDAY, June 1 (HealthDay News) -- A behavioral weight-loss program that addresses physical activity self-efficacy, behavioral strategies and barriers to weight management can be effective in overweight sedentary women, according to a study in the May issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

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