7.14.16:  Heavy people may die up to 3 years early



Scientists say they’ve conducted the largest-ever such analysis, and they’ve found that overweight people can lose a year of life on average. Richard Peto of Oxford University, one of the study authors, says moderately overweight people can lose 3 years of life.

Researchers sifted through data for nearly 4 million non-smoking adults in 32 countries published from 1970 to last year. They compared the risk of death to people’s body mass index, or BMI.

The study also found that being obese is far more dangerous for men than for women.


6.23.16:  Flu Vaccine-Nasal Spray



NEW YORK (AP) — Government researchers say the nasal spray version of the annual flu vaccine didn’t protect kids this past flu season.

Health officials reported Wednesday that the spray performed dismally for the third straight year, while the traditional flu shot — the one that stings — worked reasonably well this winter.

The vaccine’s manufacturer, AstraZeneca, presented its own study that found the FluMist vaccine was somewhat effective, but still not did not work as well as flu shots.

FluMist was once regarded as the best vaccine for protecting children against flu.

The new research was presented at a medical meeting in Atlanta.

An expert panel is expected to consider a proposal to rescind its recommendation for the spray.


6-1-16 First Baby Born on Mainland USA With Zika

HACKENSACK, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey doctor says a baby born to a mother with the Zika (ZEE’-kuh) virus appears to be affected by the disease.

Officials at Hackensack University Medical Center say the 31-year-old woman from Honduras delivered the baby girl through a cesarean section Tuesday.

Dr. Abdulla Al-Khan, the hospital’s director of maternal-fetal medicine and surgery, says the mother came to the U.S. to seek treatment after Zika symptoms were discovered. He says the virus was later confirmed.

Al-Khan says an ultrasound last week revealed birth defects, including microcephaly (my-kroh-SEF’-uh-lee), in which the baby’s head is smaller than expected because the brain hasn’t developed properly.

The doctor says the baby looks “completely Zika-affected,” but confirmation of the virus in the infant is pending testing.

A baby in Hawaii was born with microcephaly related to Zika earlier this year.


5.24.16:  Kicking the habit: Adult smoking rate in US is falling fast



NEW YORK (AP) — The nation seems to be kicking its smoking habit faster than ever before.

The rate of smoking among adults in the U.S. fell to 15 percent last year thanks to the biggest one-year decline in more than 20 years, according to a new government report.

The rate fell 2 percentage points from 2014, when about 17 percent of adults in a large national survey said they had recently smoked.


5.23.15:  Michigan bill requires equal health coverage of cancer drugs



LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Cancer patients and survivors are lobbying lawmakers to make Michigan the latest state to require equal insurance coverage of chemotherapy regardless of whether the drugs are given by needle or taken orally.

The bill addresses the tendency for chemo pills to cost patients much more out of pocket than IV chemo.

Supporters say Michigan must adapt not only because the expensive pills are becoming more prevalent but because they are more convenient — saving long trips to health care facilities for IV drips and affording patients more time at work and with family. The insurance industry and business groups opposing the legislation say it would increase health premiums on everyone else.

The legislation, which won approval 36-1 this month from the Senate, will be considered in the House next.


5.2.16:  Monkey bars alert: Playground concussions are on the rise



CHICAGO (AP) — Playground concussions are on the rise, and monkey bars and swings are most often involved.

That’s according to a new study from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers there examined national data from 2001 through 2013 on playground injuries to kids aged 14 and younger who received emergency-room treatment. Of almost 215,000 kids on average treated yearly, almost 10 percent had traumatic brain injuries including concussions.

Most injuries were mild, but all concussions are potentially serious and the researchers say the trend shows kids’ concussions don’t only happen in sports.

The study was published online Monday in Pediatrics.