Health

MONDAY, June 20, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Close to 2 million U.S. children and teens may suffer concussions annually, say researchers who add that the prevalence of head injuries among American youth has been underestimated for years. Using data from hospitals, doctor visits and athletic trainers, the investigators estimated between 1 million and 1.9 million concussions occur annually among kids aged 18 and younger due to sports and recreation injuries. But more than half a million of these head injuries aren’t seen in emergency rooms or by physicians, which is why official tallies are usually too low, they noted. “There is a lot of uncertainty in how many concussions from sports and recreation occur each year because many concussions are not reported,” explained lead researcher Dr. Mersine Bryan, a pediatrician at the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital. “Better surveillance for concussions due to sports and recreational activities is needed, so we can understand …

NEW YORK Only a small fraction of contraceptives donated in Puerto Rico to prevent Zika-related birth defects are expected to get to the women who need them this month, public health officials told Reuters. The donations – tens of thousands of intrauterine devices and birth control pill packs – came from major healthcare companies as the virus spreads rapidly through the island. The delivery delays illustrate the struggles of Puerto Rico’s healthcare system, which is faltering amid the commonwealth’s financial crisis. Hundreds of thousands of residents are expected to be infected in the coming months by the mosquito-borne Zika virus. Infections in pregnant women can cause microcephaly, a rare birth defect that can lead to severe developmental problems. Many local doctors do not have the expertise to insert IUDs, and have not stocked them because of their high cost to patients. The CDC Foundation, the U.S. public health agency’s philanthropic arm that received the donations, …

FRIDAY, June 17, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Among the 54 million Hispanic adults living in the United States, Puerto Ricans fare the worst when it comes to physical and mental ills, a new review finds. Not only were Puerto Ricans more likely to be in worse health than non-Hispanic Americans, but they “were also generally more likely to have poorer health compared with other Hispanic subgroups,” concluded a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The new report is based on 2010-2014 data from a major federal government survey of Americans’ health. A team led by Jacqueline Lucas, of the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), looked at the health of four Hispanic subgroups: Puerto Ricans, and Americans of Cuban, Mexican or Central or South American descent. Overall, Hispanic adults as a group tended to report “fair or poor health” more often than their non-Hispanic American peers, at about 17 percent …

KUFSTEIN, Austria Switzerland’s Novartis pledged to nearly triple its number of biosimilar drugs on the market by 2020, raising its bet that cheaper versions of blockbuster cancer and immune system medicines will snatch billions in rivals’ profits. Novartis’s Sandoz generics unit aims to be selling eight biosimilars, compared with three now, as patents on original drugs expire. Sandoz head Richard Francis said his versions of AbbVie’s $13 billion blockbuster Humira, Amgen’s Enbrel and Neulasta, Johnson Johnson’s Remicade and Roche’s Rituxan would arrive in pharmacies over the next four years, barring stumbles. The five original drugs booked $44 billion in annual sales in 2015, combined. Francis is wagering biotech copies that work like their forerunners despite slight variations – no biologic drug can be exactly duplicated – will be irresistible for insurers, health care systems and governments aiming to contain costs. “We think we can become a real partner for payers and health care systems in …

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay: Russia’s Track and Field Team Banned from Rio Olympics As the result of a major doping scandal, Russia’s track and field team will not be allowed to compete in the summer’s Rio Games, the global governing body for track and field announced Friday. In a unanimous vote, the I.A.A.F said Russia had not done enough to restore confidence in the integrity of its athletes, The New York Times reported. The decision will be discussed by the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday. Olympics officials have historically deferred to the governing bodies of specific sports, so it would be unusual for them to amend the decision to ban Russia’s track and field team from Rio. In a statement released Friday, the Russian ministry of sport said it was “extremely disappointed” with the I.A.A.F ruling and said it now appeals “to …

SUNDAY, June 19, 2016 (HealthDay News) — If your water pipe, e-cigarette, hookah or smokeless tobacco is defective or causing a health problem, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration wants to hear from you. To report problems related to these or any other tobacco products, you can use the agency’s online Safety Reporting Portal (see below). “There is no known safe tobacco product, but FDA can play a role in helping prevent certain unexpected health consequences,” said Dr. Ii-Lun Chen, of the agency’s Center for Tobacco Products. Consumers are encouraged to report problems such as: cigarettes containing mold or foreign objects; a tobacco product that smells or tastes wrong; mislabeling; fires or burns caused by tobacco products, and unexpected health problems. These health issues might include accidental exposure of children to tobacco products; unusual reactions in long-time users, or allergic reactions or poisonings. “FDA wants to prevent certain unexpected health consequences that could occur from …

FRIDAY, June 17, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Living near an airport isn’t just hard on your hearing, it may also be hard on your heart, new research suggests. “The volume of air traffic has skyrocketed since jet-powered planes were introduced in the 1960s,” said study author Marta Rojek, a researcher at Jagiellonian University Medical College in Krakow, Poland. “According to the International Civil Aviation Organization, there were 64 million take-offs and landings in 2013 and this figure is set to double in the next 20 years.” “The steady growth in air traffic and expansion of airports, along with the development of residential areas near airports, has led to more people being exposed to aircraft noise,” Rojek said in a European Society of Cardiology news release. She added there is emerging evidence that exposure to aircraft noise may increase the risk of high blood pressure, especially at night. There’s also some data that suggest hospitalization for …

FRIDAY, June 17, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Struggling with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) may raise the risk of depression among patients with the incurable respiratory illness, two new studies suggest. One report, from scientists at Manchester Metropolitan University in England, found one in four patients with COPD suffered persistent depressive symptoms over the three years of the study. If untreated, depression can have a negative effect on the patients’ overall health and the effectiveness of their treatment, the researchers noted. A second study from the University of Texas analyzed data from a random sample of 5 percent of Medicare beneficiaries diagnosed with COPD between 2001 and 2011. The researchers found that 22 percent of those patients had one or more psychological disorders. The study also showed that the odds of 30-day readmission to the hospital were higher in patients with COPD who had depression, anxiety, psychosis, alcohol abuse and drug abuse, compared with those …

FRIDAY, June 17, 2016 (HealthDay News) — The Zika virus is spreading fast through Puerto Rico, placing hundreds of pregnant women at risk for delivering babies with the devastating birth defect known as microcephaly, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday. Testing of blood donations in Puerto Rico — “our most accurate real-time leading indicator of Zika activity” — shows that more and more people on the U.S. island territory have been infected with the mosquito-borne virus, CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said during a media briefing. “Based on the best information available, Zika infections appear to be increasing rapidly in Puerto Rico,” Frieden said. “The real importance of this information is that in coming months it’s possible that thousands of pregnant women in Puerto Rico could become infected with Zika,” he stressed. “This could lead to dozens or hundreds of infants being born with microcephaly in the coming year.” In microcephaly, …

CHICAGO Zika infections in Puerto Rico appear to be increasing rapidly, top U.S. health officials said on Friday, raising concerns for dozens if not hundreds of cases of microcephaly. Puerto Rican health officials on Friday reported that 1,726 people in the U.S. commonwealth have been infected with Zika, including a total of 191 pregnant women. That is up from a total of 1,501 total infections and 182 infections in pregnant women a week ago. The numbers reflect the total number of confirmed Zika cases since the start of the outbreak late last year, a number that reflects largely symptomatic cases of Zika. In new data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday, health officials have also seen a sharp rise in the frequency in which Zika is detected in blood donations. The numbers are based on the use of a test from Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG in use since …

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