Health Highlights: Oct. 12, 2015
Pro Football Player Being Treated for 'Super-Bug' Infection Researchers Announce First Trial of In-Womb Stem Cell Treatment Pharmacy Drug Take-Back Program Ineffective
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Pro Football Player Being Treated for 'Super-Bug' Infection
Daniel Fells, a tight end for the New York Giants football team, is fighting off a serious infection that could cost him his foot, the National Football League reported Sunday.
The 32-year-old athlete is battling an illness caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). MRSA -- a so-called "super-bug" -- causes infections that are resistant to many antibiotics, making it very difficult to treat.
Fells was admitted to the hospital with 104 degree fever, and has been in the hospital for a week. He has already had five surgeries as part of his treatment, the NFL said. As of Sunday, doctors were working to save his foot, according to published reports.
The infection seemed to develop after Fells received a cortisone shot to treat a toe and ankle injury, the NFL said. The Giants have been working with infectious-disease specialists, and have had their locker room, training rooms and meeting rooms sanitized, the NFL said.
Researchers Announce First Trial of In-Womb Stem Cell Treatment
The world's first clinical trial in which babies receive stem cell treatment while still in the womb will begin in January.
The goal of the fetal stem cell treatment is to reduce symptoms of incurable brittle bone disease, which affects about one in every 25,000 babies. The stem cells will come from aborted fetuses, BBC News reported.
Fifteen babies with brittle bone disease will receive stem cell infusions in the womb and again after birth, while 15 other babies with the disease will only receive stem cells after birth.
The researchers will compare the number of bone fractures that occur in the two groups, BBC News reported.
The study will be led by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.
Pharmacy Drug Take-Back Program Ineffective
A program that permits pharmacies to accept and destroy customers' unwanted prescription drugs has done little to reduce the epidemic of painkiller abuse in the United States.
When the Drug Enforcement Administration announced the voluntary initiative last year, substance abuse experts said it would have a major impact, The New York Times reported.
However, there has been little response to the program. Only about one percent of pharmacies nationwide have created drug disposal programs, and none of them belong to the two largest drug store chains, CVS and Walgreens.
The two companies have concerns about the cost and security risks, government and industry documents suggest, The Times reported.
Another roadblock is that at least eight states do not allow pharmacies to take back controlled substances from customers.