Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
New Law Would Fund 'Bubble Boy' Treatment at Home
Treatments for people with a primary immunodeficiency disease,
or "bubble boy disease," may soon become more accessible and
affordable. If signed into law by President Obama, a bill passed by
the House and Senate last week would fund at-home drug therapy for
Patients with primary immunodeficiency diseases can't fight
everyday germs and viruses. To obtain the antibodies needed to stay
alive, they require frequent hospital visits for intravenous
immunoglobulin treatments. But hospitals harbor potentially deadly
germs and are often a long way from home.
Last week, the House and Senate passed the Medicare IVIG Access
Act, which provides for a three-year pilot program with at-home
infusions paid for by Medicare,
ABC Newsreported. Previously, the infusion drugs were
covered, but not the ancillary services, including nursing.
Dr. Michael Blaese, medical director of the Immune Deficiency
Foundation, called that omission a "quirk," and said the treatments
are essential. "If they don't get it, they get infected, and they
die of pneumonia, meningitis, septicemia," he told
ABC News. Or they suffer from lifelong lung damage, he
In the United States, about 250,000 people have primary
immunodeficiency diseases. The bill was reportedly inspired by the
late David Vetter of Texas, the original "boy in the bubble" who
lived in a sterile plastic bubble until his death at age 12.
Ex-President George H.W. Bush in Hospital ICU: Reports
Former President George H.W. Bush, 88, remains in "guarded
condition" in the intensive care unit at a Houston hospital because
of a persistent fever related to a lingering respiratory illness,
according to published reports.
Bush, who was initially hospitalized on Nov. 23 with a cough
linked to bronchitis, was moved to the ICU at Methodist Hospital on
Sunday because of an alarming fever, Jim McGrath, Bush's spokesman
in Houston, told the
"It's an elevated fever, so it's actually gone up in the last day or two," McGrath told the AP. "It's a stubborn fever that won't go away." However, the cough that sent Bush to the hospital last month is improved, he said.
Bush -- the 41st president and the oldest former
commander-in-chief -- was put on a liquid diet, McGrath also said
on Wednesday. The former president's family is with him, and his
physicians are cautiously optimistic about his prognosis, McGrath
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