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Health Headlines - October 29

Posted Oct 23 2008 2:25pm
AstraZeneca's Crestor May Harm Kidneys

Twenty-nine patients who took AstraZeneca Plc's (AZN.L) (AZN.N) anti-cholesterol drug Crestor have developed kidney damage, a U.S. consumer group said on Friday as it called again for a ban on the medicine.

Novartis Breast Cancer Drug OK'd for Wider U.S. Use

Novartis AG won U.S. approval to promote the drug Femara for women who have finished standard therapy for early-stage breast cancer and run out of options, the company said on Friday.

Demand, Canada Supply Concern Cut U.S. Flu Shot Trips

A cruise operator ferrying U.S. residents to Canada for flu shots said on Friday it has cut back on its popular service due to overwhelming demand and concerns about diminishing supplies north of the border.

Ducks Pose Further Bird Flu Risk for Humans

Ducks also spread bird flu, increasing the risk to humans from a virus that has killed 32 people in Thailand and Vietnam this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

Cell Transplants Restore Lost Skin Color

Transplantation of pigment-producing cells called melanocytes appears to be a safe and effective treatment for vitiligo, in which patches of skin lose their coloration, appearing whitish, according to two reports in the Archives of Dermatology.

Laser and Ultrasound Help Wounds Heal, in Rats

Laser therapy and ultrasound promote wound healing, Turkish researchers have shown in animal experiments.

Focused Ultrasound Treats Gynecologic Problem

Vulvar dystrophy is a common gynecologic disorder usually involving white lesions on tissues of the vulva that are often accompanied by intense itching. Currently, various treatments can help but may not be long-lasting.

African-American Men Do Well After Prostatectomy

After undergoing prostate removal because of localized cancer, African-American men have better recovery of sexual and urinary function than do non-Hispanic white men, researchers report.

Bristol Hepatitis B Drug Beats Glaxo's in Study

An experimental Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. pill for the liver disease hepatitis B proved better than a commonly-used anti-viral medicine made by GlaxoSmithKline in late-stage clinical studies, researchers said.

FDA Wants More Safety Data on Merck Drug

The Food and Drug Administration told Merck & Co. that it requires further safety and efficacy data before it will approve its successor drug to now defunct pain reliever Vioxx, the pharmaceutical maker announced Friday.

Illinois Has to Have Flu Vaccine Cleared

U.S. regulators told Illinois officials Friday they will examine a flu vaccine manufactured in France before clearing it for use by state residents.

FDA Warns of Egg Protein in Lollipops

With Halloween approaching, federal health officials on Friday warned that lollipops labeled "Jelly Candy Pops Sour Zip Kids" could contain enough egg protein to cause serious injury to people severely allergic to eggs.

D.C. Sues Parents Over Immunizations Flap

Dozens of parents were charged with misdemeanor truancy in the nation's capital on Friday after their children missed school because they lacked required immunizations. The charges carry possible jail time and fines.

EU Proposes Aid to Poor Nations With Drugs

The European Union's head office proposed new regulations Friday to allow the export of cheap copies of patented drugs to poor nations fighting AIDS and other killer diseases.

Traffic Accidents Hurt Productivity

Drivers and passengers involved in motor vehicle crashes in the United States between 1993 and 2001 lost a total of 60.8 million days of work, resulting in lost productivity costs of more than $7.5 billion.

Discovery Shines Ray of Hope on Eye Diseases

Human retinal stem cells can regenerate when implanted into the eyes of chicks and mice, says a University of Toronto study.

One Shot Eases Pain After Surgery

A single-dose epidural injection called DepoDur is safe and effective in treating postoperative pain, according to two clinical trials.

Keeping Organ, Tissue Transplants Safe

Routine screening for viral RNA in blood samples from tissue and organ donors could help reduce the risk of transmission of viral diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C, says a study in this week's issue of The Lancet.
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