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The Checkup: November 14, 2010 - November 20, 2010

Painkiller Darvon pulled because of risk to heart

The prescription painkiller Darvon was pulled off the market Friday at the request of federal regulators.

By Rob Stein  | November 19, 2010; 12:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
Categories:  FDA, Food Safety and Recalls, Recalls, drug safety  
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Is that right? Facebook triggers asthma attacks?

If this all sounds a bit Shakespearean to you, note that there's a take-home message: Because stress is well known to exacerbate asthma, especially among people who are depressed, and as Facebook can be a source of social and emotional stress for so many, doctors treating people with asthma should be aware of Facebook's (and other social networks') potential role in triggering asthma attacks.

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  | November 19, 2010; 12:07 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Asthma, Mental Health, Social Media, Teens  
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Used too long, pacifiers may harm speech

t's already known that pacifier use (or thumb-sucking) beyond age 2 can alter the shape of a child's mouth, leading to dental problems such as misaligned teeth, overbite and malformed dental arches. But now it appears overuse of a pacifier can interfere with development of "tongue tip movement" needed for the production of certain speech sounds.

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  | November 18, 2010; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Dental Health, Family Health, General Health, Infant health, Kids' health, Parenting  
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Medicare panel endorses prostate cancer vaccine

A panel of experts Wednesday endorsed an expensive new vaccine recently approved to treat men with advanced prostate cancer. In a series of votes, the 14-member Medicare Evidence Development and Coverage Advisory Committee said that there did appear to be sufficient evidence that Provenge, which was approved in April, could...

By Rob Stein  | November 17, 2010; 5:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Cancer, Medical Technology, medical costs, medicare, prostate cancer  
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Gwyneth dances great on 'Glee,' despite osteopenia

Paltrow's dance performances were particularly impressive to me in light of her recent diagnosis of osteopenia, a thinning of the bones that can lead to osteoporosis.

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  | November 17, 2010; 10:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Chronic Conditions, Dietary supplements, Nutrition and Fitness, osteoporosis  
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Medicare panel eyes cancer vaccine

A panel of outside experts is meeting Wednesday to advise federal health officials about an expensive new vaccine recently approved to treat men with advanced prostate cancer. The 14-member Medicare Evidence Development & Coverage Advisory Committee is meeting at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to review the scientific...

By Rob Stein  | November 17, 2010; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Cancer, Medical Technology, medicare, prostate cancer  
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Schumer: FDA, FTC to act on caffeinated booze

Federal officials are taking steps against those caffeinated alcoholic beverages that have become increasingly popular and have raised alarm among public health authorities, law enforcement and state officials, according to a Senator. The Food and Drug Administration will rule that caffeine is an unsafe substance to add to alcoholic beverages,...

By Rob Stein  | November 16, 2010; 1:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
Categories:  FDA, Food Safety and Recalls  
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FDA accused of contempt of court regarding morning-after pill

A reproductive rights group charged the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday with being in contempt of court for failing to respond to a judge's order to reconsider restrictions on the controversial morning-after pill Plan B. The Center for Reproductive Rights in New York filed a motion in U.S. District...

By Rob Stein  | November 16, 2010; 11:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Cancer patients too often die in hospitals, study says

The proportion of cancer patients who die in the hospital and get hospice care varies widely from region to region and hospital to hospital across the country, according to a new report. Researchers at the Dartmouth Atlas Project in Lebanon, N.H., analyzed the records of 235,821 Medicare patients ages 65...

By Rob Stein  | November 16, 2010; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Cancer, Hospitals, death and dying, end-of-life care, palliative and hospice care  
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When your chubby freshman comes home, mum's the word

If you have a freshman in college this fall, chances are you're eagerly awaiting Thanksgiving, when your kid comes home for the holiday, maybe for the first time since leaving for school. Perhaps she (or he!) may bring home something other than dirty laundry: namely, a few extra pounds.

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  | November 16, 2010; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Family Health, Nutrition and Fitness, Obesity, Parenting, Teens  
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Pressure builds on FDA to take action on caffeinated alcohol

Pressure is building on the federal government to do something about those caffeinated alcoholic drinks that have become increasingly popular, especially among college students. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Connecticut Attorney General and Senator-elect Richard Blumenthal (D), on Monday urged the Food and Drug Administration to act on a request made more than year ago to take action on the drinks.

By Rob Stein  | November 15, 2010; 4:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Alcohol and Drugs, FDA  
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FDA: Defibrillators malfunctioning too often

Note: An earlier version of this posting incorrectly stated that Jeffrey Shuren worked at the CDC. Defibrillators, those devices that are supposed to shock heart failure patients back to life, are malfunctioning far too often, costing people their lives, according to a report released Monday by the Food and Drug...

By Rob Stein  | November 15, 2010; 1:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  FDA, First aid and CPR, emergency medicine, heart failure  
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Proposed lab for study of animal diseases raises safety concerns

The National Research Council, which is part of the National Academy of Sciences, found "several major shortcomings" in a risk assessment conducted by the Department of Homeland Security, which is planning to open the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kan.

By Rob Stein  | November 15, 2010; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Infectious Disease  
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Acne, Accutane and suicide risk

Based on the findings, the authors suggest that acne itself may have led to depression and suicide risk before treatment; both the depression and desire to commit suicide may have abated when the treatment proved successful. However, they surmise, those patients for whom treatment wasn't as successful -- or whose social lives didn't improve as expected after their acne was eradicated -- may have felt even more depressed and suicidal.

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  | November 15, 2010; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Acne, Chronic Conditions, Contraception, Psychology, Reproductive Health, Teens, drug safety  
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