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Health Updates 13 May 2011

  • Weight-loss surgery for seniors still iffy: “Surgeons should continue to exercise caution in considering bariatric surgery for patients older than 65, a researcher said” at a Chicago medical conference.  “Although age over 65 was not a significant predictor of 30-day mortality after open bariatric surgery, there was a trend in that direction compared with patients ages 50 tot 64” according to Robert B. Dorman, MD, and colleagues from the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis.  “Being over 65 was significantly associated with a prolonged length of stay in the hospital after an open procedure”. (Nancy Walsh, MedPage Today)
  • Human Lung Stem Cell Discovered: “Scientists believe they’ve discovered stem cells in the lung that can make a wide variety of the organ’s tissues, a finding that might open new doors for treating emphysema and other diseases.  When these human cells were injected into mice, they showed their versatility by rebuilding airways, air sacs and blood vessels within two weeks.  One expert called that ‘amazing’.”  However, “experts not involved in the study stressed that the work must be confirmed by further research and that it’s too soon to make any promises about therapies.  But they said it could be a significant advance in a difficult field of research”. (Huffington Post)
  • Early HIV therapy sharply curbs transmission: “People infected with the virus that causes AIDS are far less likely to infect their sexual partners if they are put on treatment immediately instead of waiting until their immune systems begin to deteriorate, according to preliminary results from a large clinical trial released Thursday….The data was so convincing that the trial, scheduled to last until 2015, is effectively being ended early.  ‘These results are phenomenal’ said Thomas J. Coates, director of the global health program at the UCLA, and the founder of the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies in San Francisco.  ‘It was a tough study to do, and I’m thrilled it came out this way’.” (NY Times)
  • Bedbugs discovered carrying MRSA (an antibiotic-resistant bacteria commonly found in hospitals): “The researchers don’t know if the patients had already been exposed to the bacteria and transferred it to the bedbugs, or if the bedbugs brought the bacteria with them before hitching a ride to the hospital on the patient”. (MSNBC)
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