Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Ultrasound Scan for Liver Tumors Cuts Kids' Exposure to
Using an new ultrasound technique to look for dangerous tumors
in children's livers could reduce their exposure to radiation,
according to U.K. researchers.
A CT scan can tell the difference between benign growths and
malignant tumors in a child's liver, but the test results in
"We are trying to stop children having unnecessary radiation as the long-term effects show a substantial increase in cancer," Professor Paul Sidhu, a consultant radiologist at King's College Hospital in London, told BBC News.
He and his colleagues are testing a new method of ultrasound
that has been used for a decade in adults but not in children. A
harmless chemical that's injected into the body forms temporary
microscopic bubbles in the bloodstream and acts as a contrast agent
for the ultrasound.
"It makes the arteries light up and then the veins and the whole liver. It looks like a field of gold," Sidhu said. If the liver tumor is benign, it lights up like the rest of the liver, but a cancerous tumor will rapidly get rid of the contrast agent, BBC Newsreported.
The researchers tested the new method on 44 children with
chronic liver problems and found that it provided accurate
diagnoses. However, further studies involving thousands of patients
are needed to confirm the study findings, which were published in
European Journal of Ultrasound.
FDA Approves Bird Flu Vaccine
On Friday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a
vaccine to prevent H5N1 influenza, known as avian or bird flu. The
vaccine will not be commercially available but will be added to the
nation's anti-flu stockpile. It's specifically meant for use in
people aged 18 and older at increased risk for H5N1 virus
Bird flu is typically spread among poultry infected by certain
influenza A viruses. Outside the United States, however, there have
been cases when people in close contact with infected poultry have
died or become severely ill. About 60 percent of infected people
die, according to the World Health Organization. Because wild birds
continue to be infected, the potential for a human pandemic exists,
according to an FDA news release.
"This vaccine could be used in the event that the H5N1 avian influenza virus develops the capability to spread efficiently from human to human, resulting in the rapid spread of disease across the globe," Dr. Karen Midthun, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in the news release.
The new vaccine is called Influenza A (H5N1) Virus Monovalent
Vaccine, Adjuvanted. It contains an oil-in-water emulsion -- the
adjuvant. Adjuvants enhance or direct the immune response of the
person receiving the vaccination. The vaccine is made by ID
Biomedical Corporation of Quebec (a division of GlaxoSmithKline
Biologicals). It will be included in the Strategic National
Stockpile to be distributed by U.S. public health officials if
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