Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Two Health Care Workers Made Ill by SARS-Like Virus
An emerging, SARS-like virus that has sickened 40 people in the
Middle East and Europe since September has now caused illness in
two health care workers who were caring for infected patients,
health officials report.
Two health care staffers caring for a patient in Saudi Arabia
have been sickened with the coronavirus, the first such recorded
case of transmission from patient to health care worker, the
Associated Pressreported. Person-to-person transmission has
been suspected before, the news agency said.
Coronaviruses include SARS, the infection that caused a
widespread global outbreak in 2003. The new coronavirus appears to
have a high fatality rate, with 20 deaths recorded among the 40
Women in Their 40s Still Getting Mammograms Despite New
Many women in their 40s are not following updated guidelines on
mammograms that recommend waiting until after the age of 50 to
start getting routine breast cancer screenings, new research
"Patients -- and likely their providers -- appear hesitant to change their behavior, even in light of evidence that routine screening in younger women carries substantial risk of false positives and unnecessary further imaging and biopsies," study author Dr. Lauren Block, a clinical fellow in the division of general internal medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, said in a statement, the UPIreported Wednesday.
"Women have been bombarded with the message 'mammograms save lives,' so they want them no matter what," Block added.
In 2009, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force looked at
studies that suggested giving routine mammograms to women under 50
often ended in overdiagnosis and overtreatment, and decided to
change course with its guidelines. Now, the task force recommends
that women between the ages of 50 and 74 should get a mammogram
every two years, while those aged 40 to 49 without a family history
of breast cancer should weigh the option of getting a mammogram
with their doctor.
However, after analyzing mammogram use data on more than 480,000
women that was culled from state health department records, Block
and her colleagues found there was almost no change in the number
of women in their 40s who got mammograms before and after the
guidelines were changed, going from 53 percent before 2009 to 52
percent in 2010. Among women over 50, that percentage dropped from
65 percent to 62 percent in the same period.
The study was published online May 15 in the
Journal of General Internal Medicine.
Mental Health Official Softens Stance on New Psychiatric
Debate over the validity of the latest version of what is
considered the diagnostic "bible" of psychiatry eased Tuesday after
a top government health official who had criticized the manual
softened his position in a public statement.
Set to be released Saturday, the fifth edition of the Diagnostic
and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is published by
the American Psychiatric Association (APA). This latest edition has
raised some concerns because of changes in the diagnoses of some
disorders, most notably in the area of autism spectrum
But the issue that Thomas Insel, director of the U.S. National
Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), recently took with the manual
was more fundamental.
Insel wrote in a blog post that the manual is "at best, a
dictionary, creating a set of labels and defining each," and that
its "weakness is its lack of validity."
In his post, Insel added that his agency would instead steer its
research toward a new set of diagnostic parameters known as
Research Domain Criteria (RDoC), because "DSM diagnoses are based
on a consensus about clusters of clinical symptoms, not any
objective laboratory measure."
However, in a joint release issued Monday, Insel and APA
president-elect Jeffrey Lieberman noted that the DSM-5 "represents
the best information currently available for clinical diagnosis of
The new statement further clarified that while the manual is
used by practitioners, it "is no longer sufficient for
researchers," and so RDoC will be the new focus for NIMH.
"Looking forward, laying the groundwork for a future diagnostic system that more directly reflects modern brain science will require openness to rethinking traditional categories," the statement explained. "This is the focus of the NIMH's Research Domain Criteria [RDoC] project. RDoC is an attempt to create a new kind of taxonomy for mental disorders by bringing the power of modern research approaches in genetics, neuroscience and behavioral science to the problem of mental illness."
The latest statement also pointed out that the DSM and RDoC
"represent complementary, not competing, frameworks. . . . As
research findings begin to emerge from the RDoC effort, these
findings may be incorporated into future DSM revisions and clinical
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