Health Updates 20 September 2011

  • Flu vaccine in young children can have a big impact:  “Recommending that all US preschoolers get a flu shot cut visits to the emergency department for flu-like illness by more than a third, US and Canadian researchers said on Monday in a study that showed the direct impact of vaccination policy changes on flu transmission.”  (Reuters)
  • New tick-borne disease is discovered: “A new tick-borne disease that may be stealthily infecting some Americans has been discovered by Yale researchers working with Russian scientists.  The disease is caused by a spirochete bacterium called Borrelia miyamotoi, which is distantly related to Borrelia burgdorferi, the spirochete that causes Lyme disease….there is no diagnostic test for it in this country, so it is not yet known whether it has actually made any Americans sick.  The same short course of antibiotics that normally cures Lyme also seems to cure it.”  (Donald G. McNeil, Jr., NY Times)
  • No one remains unscathed by President Obama’s health care cuts: Health care savings in President Barack Obama’s deficit-reduction plan would squeeze future Medicare recipients, cut payments to drug companies and hospitals, and shift costs to states…All told, Obama’s plan would cut Medicare by $248 billion over 10 years and squeeze another $72 billion from Medicaid.  Some of Medicaid savings involve shifting costs to the states by rejiggering the federal payment formula and limiting a strategy currently used by states to draw more federal dollars.” (Associated Press)
  • More accidental drug poisonings of children: “The growing use of prescription drugs by adults, from pain relievers to sleep aids and heart medications, has led to an increase in accidental drug poisonings of children, new research shows.  Despite childproof caps and safety warnings, the number of accidental drug poisonings among young children surged 22 percent from 2001 to 2008….The reason, say researchers, is that prescription drug use by both adults and children is on the rise, and there are simply more bottles of pills in the home that can potentially be accessed by curious children….The biggest culprits were opioid drugs for pain relief, like oxycodone and codeine; sedatives, like muscle relaxers and sleep aids; and prescription heart drugs.”  Some 43 percent of children admitted to the hospital after accidentally ingesting a prescription drug ended up in intensive care. (Tara Parker-Pope, NY Times)

One response to “Health Updates 20 September 2011

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