Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Experimental Hepatitis C Drug More Effective Than Current
An experimental hepatitis C drug appears to be slightly more
effective than current treatments, but can cause rash and sunburn
in some patients, according to a U.S. Food and Drug Administration
It was posted online ahead of a public meeting Thursday where an
FDA panel of outside experts will decide whether to recommend
approval of the Johnson & Johnson drug simeprevir, the
The drug cured 80 percent of hepatitis C patients who had not
previously been treated for the disease, according to the FDA
review. Drugs currently used to treat the blood-borne virus cure 65
to 75 percent of patients after a year of treatment.
More than 3 million people in the United States have hepatitis
C, which is linked to 15,000 deaths a year, the
Online Breast Milk Exchange Announces Policy Changes
An online breast milk exchange says it will change its policies
after a study found that three-quarters of samples bought through
the website contained high amounts of bacteria that could sicken
An administrator with the Nevada-based organization that
operates the website -- called Only the Breast -- released a
statement on the weekend saying that the group plans to halt
informal "mother to mother" milk sharing, the
The group will create a new breast milk bank program for sick
babies that will feature better donor screening and "professional
"Donors will be fully screened, tested and instructed on safe handling methods," and will be offered fair compensation, according to the statement, the APreported.
Researchers analyzed 101 samples of breast milk purchased
through the website and found that a few contained salmonella,
while others had evidence of fecal contamination. The study was
published online Monday in the journal
Research Backlog at NIH Due to Shutdown
It will take some time before research programs return to normal
at the U.S. National Institutes of Health after the end of the
federal government shutdown, officials say.
During the shutdown, 73 percent of NIH's 18,646 employees were
placed on enforced leave, according to
About 6,000 researchers in NIH labs who were working on hundreds
of experiments suffered a "profound loss of momentum," with their
research, the NIH said in a statement to
Sciencemagazine. The majority of projects were put on hold,
and it may take "many months" to restart them.
It will also take time for the office in charge of handing out
research grants to return to normal.
"The shutdown came at one of our busiest periods and it is going to take some time to bring the extramural program back to full strength," Dr. Sally Rockey, NIH's Deputy Director for Extramural Research, said in an agency blog, CBS Newsreported.
All October grant applications from researchers have been pushed
back to November, and peer review meetings that were planned to
take place during the shutdown or this week or next will be
California Fighting Yellow Fever Mosquito
California officials have issued a warning about a mosquito
species that can carry dengue and yellow fever.
The yellow fever mosquito, or
Aedes aegypti, was first detected in June in Madera, and
subsequently found in Clovis, Fowler, San Mateo County and Fresno,
Los Angeles Timesreported.
Officials are spraying insecticide around infected homes in an
effort to stop the spread of the yellow fever mosquito, which bites
during the day.
"We were shocked," Leonard Irby, district manager of Madera's abatement program, told the Times. "We never expected this mosquito in California."
"This affects all of California," Irby added. "It requires everyone's help: Turn over plant saucers, wash out dog bowls, remember this mosquito can lay eggs even in the cracks of cement if water is left there for a couple of days."
The appearance of this mosquito "could change the way we live in
California, if we don't stop it," Tim Phillips of the Fresno
Mosquito and Vector Control District, told the
Times. "Imagine not feeling safe to sit out in your backyard
in the afternoons."
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