Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Baby Spit-Up Isn't GERD: Expert
An expert says drug company marketing is one of the reasons why
an increasing number of babies are being treated for
gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) when they spit up and cry,
which are common, normal behaviors.
Blame is also shared by parents and doctors who increasingly
want to use prescription drugs to solve children's problems,
according to Dr. Eric Hassall, a pediatrician at the Sutter Pacific
Medical Foundation in San Francisco who specializes in digestive
The huge number of TV commercials about drugs to treat GERD has
made virtually everyone aware of the condition, Hassall noted in a
commentary published Thursday in the
Journal of Pediatrics.
Between 40 and 70 percent of babies spit up daily but what they
spit up usually isn't acid. It's fine for parents concerned about a
baby's vomiting and crying to take the baby to the pediatrician,
but they shouldn't assume GERD is the problem, Hassall said,
Millions of U.S. Women Plagued by Chronic Pain
About 12.1 million women age 18 and older in the United States
reported experiencing chronic pain in 2008 due to underlying
medical conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, endometriosis,
fibromyalgia and vulvodynia, but only 8.7 million of them said they
received treatment, a federal government report says.
One or more of these chronic pain conditions was reported by
11.2 percent of white women, 8.3 percent of black women and 8.2
percent of Hispanic women. Treatment was received by 8.4 percent of
white women, 5.4 percent of black women and 5.5 percent of Hispanic
The total cost of treating women with these chronic pain
conditions in 2008 was $12.9 billion, according to the latest
News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and
Of that $12.9 billion, nearly half ($5.7 billion) was for
treatment in doctors offices and other ambulatory settings and $2.4
billion was spent on prescription medicines.
Nearly 15 percent of the medical expenses for women ages 18 to
64 were paid out of pocket, 68 percent was paid by private
insurance, 10 percent by Medicaid, 3 percent by Medicare, and 4
percent by other sources.
Sports Equipment Anti-Concussion Claims Challenged at Senate
Some sports equipment makers are misleading consumers by
claiming their products can reduce the risk of concussion,
lawmakers and medical experts said at a Senate hearing
"Now that athletes, coaches and parents have a better understanding of concussions, some sports equipment makers appear to be a taking advantage," Sen. Tom Udall, a New Mexico Democrat, said at the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing, the Associated Press reported. "There are a number of so-called,
quote, anti-concussion and concussion-reducing devices on the
market. ... We need to make sure advertisers play by the
No piece of equipment can significantly prevent concussions,
said Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher, an assistant professor of neurology at
the University of Michigan and director of Michigan Neurosport, a
clinic that diagnoses and treats sports concussions.
"The potential harm that I see being caused by products that claim to prevent concussion when they do not is far more than simply the financial harm of paying more for something that isn't likely to work as claimed, he testified, the AP reported. "It is the harm that comes from having a false
sense of security, from not understanding how the injury occurs and
what can actually be done to prevent it."
Banned Drug Found in Weight Loss Supplements: FDA
A prescription weight-loss drug pulled from the market for
safety reasons has been found in 20 brands of dietary supplements
marketed as natural weight loss aids, the U.S. Food and Drug
The supplements were found to contain sibutramine (brand name
Meridia), which was removed from the U.S. market last year after
being linked to heart attacks and stroke,
The products found to contain the drug include: A-Slim 100%
Natural Slimming Capsules, P57 Hoodia, PhentaBurn Slimming
Capsules, and Dream Body Slimming Capsules. A full list of the
supplements with sibutramine can be found on the FDA website.
Consumers with the supplements should stop using them and
discard any unused pills, the FDA said.
Bagged Salad Products Recalled
Concerns about possible salmonella contamination have triggered
the recall of 3,265 cases of various bagged salad blends produced
by Taylor Farms Inc. of California.
The recall was announced after a random test by agriculture
officials in Washington state detected salmonella in a package of
spinach. No illnesses have been reported, the
Associated Press said.
The bagged salad products were marketed under the brand names
Fresh Selections, HEB, Marketside and Taylor Farms, and have "best
by" dates ranging from Oct. 18 to 21.
For more information, consumers can call 1-877-323-7374.
Studies Reveal Huge Impact of Melanoma
There were more than 45,000 cases of melanoma reported each year
in 45 states and the District of Columbia during 2004-06, a U.S.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report says.
Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer and causes
8,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.
The CDC report appears in a special supplement published online
and in the November print issue of the
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
Many of the 15 articles in the supplement used data from CDC's
National Program of Cancer Registries and the U.S. National Cancer
Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program.
One study found that deaths caused by melanoma cause $3.5
billion in lost productivity each year, an average of $441,903 per
male patient and $401,046 per female patient.
Another study found that melanoma rates were higher among white,
Hispanic and Asian Pacific females aged 50 and younger, compared to
their male counterparts. It also found that Hispanics, Asians and
American Indian/Alaska Natives were diagnosed with melanoma at
younger ages than whites or blacks.
A study that focused on sunburn, sun protection and indoor
tanning found that 34 percent of adults surveyed in 2005 said they
had suffered a sunburn in the past year, and 69 percent of
adolescents surveyed in 2006 said they had a sunburn the previous
"Melanoma is a devastating disease that takes an economic toll on individuals, their families, and society in terms of premature death and lost productivity," Dr. Marcus Plescia, director of CDCs Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, said in a CDC news release.
"New policies and prevention strategies are needed to address the leading preventable causes of melanoma, enabling people to be healthier, live longer, and continue to be productive," he added.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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