Health Highlights: Oct. 7, 2013

W. Virginia Has Highest Rate of Fatal Drug Overdoses: Report Two Americans, German Win Nobel Prize in Medicine New Coalition Focuses on Concussion in Young Athletes Motrin Infants' Drops Recall Still in Effect

HealthDay News

HealthDay News

Updated on October 07, 2013

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

W. Virginia Has Highest Rate of Fatal Drug Overdoses: Report

West Virginia has the highest rate of fatal drug overdoses in the United States, followed by New Mexico and Kentucky, according to a new report.

In 2010, the rate in West Virginia was 28.9 overdose deaths per 100,000 people, which is more than six times higher than the 1999 rate of 4.1 per 100,000 people. Most of the deaths in 2010 were the result of prescription drug abuse, the Associated Press reported.

The overdose death rate was 23.8 per 100,000 in New Mexico and 23.6 per 100,000 in Kentucky, according to the report released Monday by the Trust for America's Health.

It also said that prescription drug overdose deaths in the U.S. now outnumber those from heroin and cocaine combined, and that in 29 states, more people die from drug overdoses than from motor vehicle crashes, according to the AP.

Only 1 in 10 Americans with a drug problem receives treatment, the report noted.

"The rapid rise of abuse requires nothing short of a full-scale response -- starting with prevention and education all the way through to expanding and modernizing treatment," Jeffrey Levi, the trust's executive director, said in a statement, the AP reported.

"There are many promising signs that we can turn this around, but it requires urgent action," Levi added.

He said abuse of prescription painkillers alone is costing the country about $53.4 billion in criminal justice and medical expenses, as well as lost productivity, the AP reported.


Two Americans, German Win Nobel Prize in Medicine

Two Americans and a German won the 2013 Nobel Prize in medicine for their discoveries on how important substances such as enzymes and hormones are transported within cells.

The Americans are James Rothman, 62, of Yale University, and Randy Schekman, 64 of the University of California, Berkeley. The German is Thomas Suedhof, who joined Stanford University in 2008, the Associated Press reported.

The three researchers' work improved understanding of how "cargo is delivered in the right place at the right time," inside cells, according to the Nobel committee.

"Imagine hundreds of thousands of people who are traveling around hundreds of miles of streets; how are they going to find the right way? Where will the bus stop and open its doors so that people can get out?" said Nobel committee secretary Goran Hansson, the AP reported.

"There are similar problems in the cell, to find the right way between the different organelles and out to the surface of the cell."

This prize winners' research could lead to new ways to treat more common types of epilepsy, diabetes and other metabolism deficiencies, Hansson said.


New Coalition Focuses on Concussion in Young Athletes

A new coalition has been created to determine the best ways to diagnose and treat concussion in young athletes in the United States.

The National Sports Concussion Coalition will team up with concussion experts and sports medicine experts to do things such as share findings from research, jointly fund studies and coordinate outreach programs to educate young athletes and parents about concussion, the Associated Press reported.

The underlying purpose of the coalition is to enhance participation in sports by providing a safer playing environment, according to organizers.

"As is often the case, you're stronger collectively than individually," US Lacrosse Chief Executive Steve Stenersen told the AP. "There is understandable concern about this injury nationally. We want to make sure that concern is appropriately addressed but doesn't dissuade kids from playing sports."

Other coalition members include the National Council of Youth Sports, Pop Warner Little Scholars, Sports Concussion Institute, US Youth Soccer, USA Hockey, American College of Sports Medicine, Amateur Softball Association/USA Softball, USA Basketball, USA Football and the Datalys Center for Sports Injury Research and Prevention.

Coalition partners are the NCAA, NFL, NFL Players Association and National Football Foundation, the AP reported.


Motrin Infants' Drops Recall Still in Effect

A recall remains in effect for about 200,000 bottles of concentrated Motrin Infants' Drops Original Berry Flavor that may contain tiny plastic particles.

The recall was announced about a month ago by McNeil Consumer Healthcare, of Fort Washington, Pa., which told retailers to remove certain lots of half-ounce bottles of the product. The recalled lot numbers are DCB3T01, DDB4R01 and DDB4S01, CNN reported.

"The potential for adverse medical events related to the reason for this recall is not likely," the company said in a news release.

McNeil said the source of the plastic particles was traced to shipment of ibuprofen from a supplier, CNN reported.

For more information or to request a refund, consumers can call the company at 1-877-414-7709.

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