Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
FDA Approves New Drug for Type 2 Diabetes
Bydureon (exenatide extended release), Amylin Pharmaceuticals'
long-acting version of the diabetes drug Byetta, has been approved
by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The once-weekly injection will include a label warning that the
drug caused certain thyroid tumors in rats, the
Dow Jones news service reported. It's not known whether the
drug causes such tumors in people, the label warning says. But the
drug shouldn't be used by people with a family history of medullary
thyroid carcinoma (a form of cancer), the warning continues.
Twice in 2010, the FDA declined approval of Bydureon, requesting
additional studies and clinical information,
Dow Jones reported.
Bydureon is a "glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor," a
class of medications that helps the body produce more insulin,
which helps regulate blood sugar.
Erin Brockovich Takes on High School Girls' Mystery Illness
The environmental activist Erin Brockovich says she's
investigating the case of more than a dozen teen girls at an
upstate New York high school with tics and involuntary verbal
They mystery illness among the girls at Le Roy high school began
several months ago. Extensive testing of the school grounds failed
to detect any signs of infectious disease or toxins,
Dr. Laszlo Mechtler, a neurologist who has seen and is treating
10 of the girls, had diagnosed them with a rare condition called
mass psychogenic illness, more commonly known as mass hysteria.
He noted that while the girls' symptoms may be psychological in
origin, that doesn't mean they aren't real,
H1N1 'Swine' Flu Cases Increase in Mexico
There's agreement about an increased number of H1N1 swine flu
and other flu cases in Mexico this season, but while newspapers are
warning of a worrisome rise in cases, federal and state officials
say the number of cases is within the normal range and there is no
cause for alarm.
However, confusing figures about flu cases are listed on the
Mexican health ministry's website and it hasn't specified the rise
in cases, the
Associated Press reported.
There are also conflicting reports about screening measures
being implemented in schools to check for the H1N1 virus, which is
now considered a seasonal flu. The federal education ministry said
Wednesday that screening measures were being implemented in all
elementary schools, but later said screenings are being conducted
only at schools where children exhibit symptoms.
Mexico is seeing more cases of H1N1 flu this season, while the
United States is seeing more cases of a strain called H3N2,
according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This year's seasonal flu vaccine contains antibodies for both
"We are not aware of any unusual changes in the virus in Mexico that would be concerning," CDC spokesman Tom Skinner said in an email to the AP.
Spinal Cord Injury Treatment Tested on Dogs
Researchers are using dogs to test an experimental drug to treat
spinal cord injuries. If it's effective, it could lead to human
The U.S. Department of Defense-funded study will test the drug
GM6001 in dachshunds and other long-bodied dogs with spinal cord
injuries to see if it will help them walk again,
ABC News reported.
The drug blocks an enzyme that promotes damage after a spinal
"After you have a spinal cord injury, the deficits you see are not just a consequence of the initial injury, but rather events that occur after the injury," study co-investigator Linda Noble-Haeusslein told ABC News. "These events are a little more delayed in onset, so we have the possibility of preventing them."
In a previous study, she found that GM6001 helped mice recover
from spinal cord injuries.
High Heels Affect Biomechanics: Study
Wearing high heels affects a woman's biomechanics, a new study
Australian researchers compared women who wore high heels for at
least 40 hours a week and a control group women who rarely, if
ever, wore high heels. The women who wore high heels walked
differently than those who wore flats, even when the heel wearers
The New York Times reported.
As a result of the heel wearers' perpetual flexed, toes-pointed
position while walking with or without heels, the fibers in their
calf muscles had shortened and they put much greater mechanical
strain on their calf muscles, said the study published last week in
The Journal of Applied Physiology.
Among women in the control group, walking primarily involved
stretching and stressing their tendons,
The Times reported.
By stretching and straining their already shortened calf
muscles, the heel wearers walk less efficiently when wearing heels
or not, requiring them to use more energy and probably leading to
muscle fatigue, the researchers said.
Fake News Sites for Acai Berry Pills Shut Down by FTC
Six online marketers accused of using fake news websites to
convince consumers to buy acai berry weight-loss products have
reached settlements with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
The FTC accused the marketers of creating websites that falsely
appeared to be part of legitimate news organizations. For example,
the sites presenting a reporters' "first-hand experience" with acai
berry supplements and featured investigative-sounding headlines,
CBS News reported.
The FTC went to court in April to seek temporary restraining
orders against the six marketers, all of which have since taken
down their sites promoting the acai berry pills.
Under the agreements with the FTC, the marketers will pay about
$500,000 to the commission. They are barred from making deceptive
claims and must make clear that their messages are advertisements
and not objective journalism,
CBS News reported.
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