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An HIV Med Is Tied to Too-Small Heads in Newborns

FRIDAY, Nov. 22, 2019 — Children born to women who take the HIV drug efavirenz during pregnancy have a higher risk of small head size — a birth defect known as microcephaly — compared to babies exposed to other HIV drugs in the womb, new research shows.

Prenatal exposure to the drug was also linked to developmental delays in children.

But one U.S. expert said the new data shouldn’t alarm most HIV-positive women.

“Efavirenz has not been widely used in the U.S. during pregnancy for many years due to its association with neural tube defects in studies conducted in monkeys,” said Dr. Joseph McGowan, medical director of the Northwell Health HIV Service Line Program in Manhasset, N.Y.

“Antiretroviral usage patterns have shifted away from efavirenz as recommended therapy, so the impact of these findings in the U.S. and developed countries may be limited,” said McGowan, who wasn’t involved in the new study.

“The major take-home from this study for me was that use of antiretrovirals during pregnancy was found to be safe for the exposed, uninfected infant with the one exception of efavirenz,” he added. “This should be reassuring to clinicians and mothers.”

The new research was led by Dr. Rohan Hazra, chief of the maternal and pediatric infectious disease branch at the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Hazra’s team tracked data from more than 3,000 children born to U.S. women who took HIV drugs during pregnancy. The children’s head circumferences were measured from age 6 months through 5 to 7 years of age.

The children’s head growth was assessed using two classification systems: one developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for children under 3 years of age, and Nellhaus charts, which are used for children older than 3 years.

The study couldn’t prove cause and effect. But based on Nellhaus charts, children whose mothers took the HIV drug efavirenz were more than twice as likely to have microcephaly than those whose mothers took other HIV drugs.

Based on the combined Nellhaus-CDC standards, children exposed to efavirenz in the womb were around 2.5 times more likely to have microcephaly than those exposed to other HIV drugs in the womb.

Children with microcephaly based on Nellhaus charts also scored lower on standardized tests of development at ages 1 and 5 years.

Of the 141 children exposed to efavirenz in the womb, 14 (9.9%) had microcephaly, compared to 142 of 2,842 who were not exposed to efavirenz (5%), according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health-funded study published online recently in The Lancet HIV.

“Our findings underlie the importance of having alternatives to combination therapy with efavirenz for pregnant women with HIV,” Hazra said in an NIH news release.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more on microcephaly.

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Posted: November 2019

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As Disease Outbreaks Tied to ‘Anti-Vaxxers’ Rise, States Take Action

TUESDAY, Nov. 19, 2019 — Outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases are on the across rise in the United States, often fueled by “anti-vaxxer” parents reluctant to immunize their kids.

However, states are countering these trends with laws to boost childhood vaccination rates and safeguard children, a new study finds.

“Vaccines are our best public health tool for controlling many childhood diseases,” said lead author Neal Goldstein of Drexel University, in Philadelphia.

“Seeing an uptick in legislation aimed at cutting vaccine exemptions following disease outbreaks suggests that media coverage may raise public awareness and advocacy and response from legislators,” Goldstein said in a university news release.

“While it is unfortunate it took outbreaks of preventable disease to spawn legislative action, it further affirms the widespread support of this life-saving intervention,” he added. Goldstein is an assistant research professor of epidemiology and biostatistics in Drexel’s School of Public Health.

Recent outbreaks of illnesses such as measles or whooping cough in California (2015) and New York (2019) led lawmakers in those states to ban all non-medical vaccine exemptions.

To see if that trend was widespread, Goldstein’s team analyzed 2010 to 2016 state data on outbreaks of 12 childhood vaccine-preventable diseases, including hepatitis A and B, flu, measles and whooping cough.

The investigators also examined 2011 to 2017 data on state bills introduced the year after the start of an outbreak that would tighten or ease vaccination requirements for these diseases.

Each state reported an average of 25 vaccine-preventable diseases per 100,000 people per year, but there was significant year-to-year variation.

Of the 175 state vaccination-related bills proposed during 2011 to 2017, about 53% made it easier to get an exemption from vaccine requirements, while 47% made exemption more difficult.

While there were more anti-vaccine bills than pro-vaccine bills introduced overall, further analysis showed that increases in vaccine-preventable diseases were followed by increases in the number of proposed bills that restricted vaccine exemptions.

There was no association between decreases in vaccine-preventable diseases and proposed bills that made it easier to get vaccine exemptions, according to the study. The results were published Nov. 18 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Legislation to reduce vaccine exemptions is needed in the United States, the study authors said. Measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000, but there were 695 cases in 22 states in April 2019, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on vaccines.

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Posted: November 2019

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High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy Tied to Future Heart Risks

FRIDAY, Nov. 15, 2019 — Pregnancy-related high blood pressure puts women at higher risk of heart disease later on, new research suggests.

In the study, researchers analyzed an average of seven years of follow-up data on more than 220,000 women in the United Kingdom. Those who had gestational high blood pressure or preeclampsia in at least one pregnancy had stiffer arteries, and two to five times the rate of chronic high blood pressure later on, the findings showed.

These women were more likely to develop heart problems, including coronary artery disease, heart failure and valve disease, according to the report published online Nov. 11 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Up to half the risk was driven by chronic high blood pressure, the investigators found. That “implies that treating high blood pressure may be especially important in this population,” said study lead author Dr. Michael Honigberg. He’s a cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Future research could assess new ways of treating high blood pressure (“hypertension”) or simply treating it more aggressively in women who have had it at least once during pregnancy, Honigberg suggested.

“Research over the past decade has shown there are sex-specific risk factors for cardiovascular disease among women,” Honigberg said in a hospital news release. “But there were still some significant gaps in our understanding of those risks, and one gap is whether the elevated risk persists long-term after a hypertensive pregnancy, or whether other women ‘catch up’ as cardiovascular risk increases with age in the population overall.”

Doctors are still figuring out how to predict and prevent high blood pressure problems during pregnancy, he noted. “But what we can do is look ahead and try to mitigate the risk of these women developing cardiovascular disease later in life,” Honigberg said.

That includes heart-healthy lifestyle changes such as exercise, eating a healthy diet, not smoking and controlling weight. Some women may also benefit from medication, he explained.

“You’d be shocked at how few physicians who aren’t obstetrician/gynecologists — including cardiologists — ask their female patients if they’ve had a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy,” Honigberg said. “This research really underscores the importance of clinicians asking about this history, and of women sharing it.”

More information

The U.S. Office on Women’s Health has more about heart disease.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: November 2019

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One Death, 8 Hospitalized in Salmonella Outbreak Tied to Ground Beef

SATURDAY, Nov. 2, 2019 — Ground beef tainted with salmonella has led to 10 known infections across six states, including eight people so ill they had to be hospitalized, and one death.

“Illnesses in this outbreak are more severe than expected for salmonella,” the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement issued Friday.

So far, infections have been reported in Colorado (3 cases), California (2 cases), Kansas (2 cases), Iowa, Oklahoma and Texas, the agency noted.

“Interviews with ill people and laboratory evidence indicate that ground beef is a likely source of this outbreak,” the CDC added, but “a single, common supplier has not been identified.”

For now, the CDC isn’t advising that people stop eating ground beef, but beef should be cooked thoroughly to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

People should always also wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after touching any raw meat, the CDC said. All ground beef should be refrigerated or frozen within 2 hours of purchase.

Salmonella is a serious gastrointestinal illness that typically leads to diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps between 12 to 72 hours after exposure to the bacteria, the CDC said. Children under 5, seniors and people with weakened immune systems are most at risk.

“This investigation is ongoing, and CDC will provide updates when more information becomes available,” the agency said.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on salmonella.

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Posted: November 2019

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Moms’ Weight-Loss Surgery Tied to Lower Risk of Birth Defects

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 16, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Weight-loss surgery before pregnancy may lower obese women’s odds of having a baby with major birth defects, new research suggests.

For the study, the researchers examined data on more than 33,000 births in Sweden between 2007 and 2014.

Of these, nearly 3,000 children were born to mothers who had a type of weight-loss surgery called gastric bypass before getting pregnant. The rest were born to women who weighed about the same as the others did before weight-loss surgery — more than 260 pounds.

Women in the surgery group lost an average 88 pounds and weighed about 181 pounds at their first prenatal checkup. In addition, their use of diabetes medications fell from 9.7% to 1.5%.

The risk of major birth defects was about 30% lower in children whose mothers had weight-loss surgery than in those of the obese mothers, the findings showed.

The risk of major birth defects was 3.4% in children born to women who had gastric bypass surgery — similar to the 3.5% rate among those born to normal-weight women, the researchers reported.

The risk of major birth defects was 4.9% in children born to the women who were still obese, according to the study published Oct. 15 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The findings challenge long-held concerns that weight-loss surgery could increase the odds of major birth defects, according to the researchers.

“This study shows that weight-loss and improved blood sugar control in the mother can actually result in a lower risk of birth defects in the child,” said study author Martin Neovius, a professor of medicine at Karolinska Institute in Solna, Sweden.

“It should help reduce fears that bariatric [weight-loss] surgery increases the risk of birth defects in the event of future pregnancy, assuming that surgery patients take their recommended nutritional supplements,” he said in a university news release.

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SOURCE: Karolinska Institute, news release, Oct. 15, 2019

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Tying the Knot Is Tied to Longer Life Span, New Data Shows

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Oct. 10, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Married folks not only live longer than singles, but the longevity gap between the two groups is growing, U.S. government health statisticians report.

The age-adjusted death rate for the married declined by 7% between 2010 and 2017, according to a new study from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Not only is the rate for married lower, but it’s declining more than any other group,” said lead author Sally Curtin, an NCHS statistician.

Statistically, death rate is the annual number of deaths for every 100,000 people. It’s adjusted so that a 26-year-old and an 80-year-old married or widowed or divorced are on equal footing.

The new study reported that the death rate for never-marrieds declined only 2%, while that for divorced people hasn’t changed at all.

Worst off were the widowed, for whom the death rate rose 6%. They have the highest death rate of all the categories, researchers said.

Married men in 2017 had an age-adjusted death rate of 943 per 100,000, compared to 2,239 for widowers. The death rate was 1,735 per 100,000 for lifelong bachelors and 1,773 for divorced men.

Married women had a death rate of 569 per 100,000, two-and-a-half times lower than the 1,482 rate for widows. The death rate was 1,096 for divorcees and 1,166 for never-married women.

Part of the marriage benefit could be explained by the fact that people in good health are more likely to marry, said Katherine Ornstein, an associate professor of geriatrics and palliative medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

Once you’re in a marriage, there are a host of tangible and intangible benefits that give you a health advantage, experts said.

Married people are more likely to have health insurance, Ornstein said, and therefore, have better access to health care.

Being married also means you have someone looking out for you and reinforcing healthy behaviors, said Michael Rendall, director of the Maryland Population Research Center at the University of Maryland.

Continued

“Having somebody there who’s your spouse will tend to promote positive health behaviors — going to the doctor, eating better, getting screened,” he said.

This is particularly true of men, who previous studies have shown derive more health benefits from marriage than women.

“Men tend to have fewer skills than women in terms of looking after themselves,” Rendall said.

Finally, the companionship of marriage staves off health problems associated with loneliness and isolation, Ornstein said.

“Social support and the social engagement that comes with being married is a huge benefit for mental health and physical health,” she said.

All these benefits also explain why widowed people tend to do so badly after the death of their spouse, Ornstein said.

Widows and widowers have to deal with heartache, loneliness and financial stress, she said. They no longer have a partner looking after them, so they are more likely to neglect their health.

The study found some gender differences in trends.

While the death rate for married men and women declined by the same 7%, women’s overall death rate was much lower.

But the death rates among men in all other marital categories remained essentially the same between 2010 and 2017, researchers found.

On the other hand, the death rate for widowed women rose 5%, while the rate for never-married women declined by 3% and remained stable for divorced women.

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SOURCES: Sally Curtin, M.A., statistician, U.S. National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Hyattsville, Md.; Katherine Ornstein, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate professor, geriatrics and palliative medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City; Michael Rendall, Ph.D., director, Maryland Population Research Center, and sociologist, University of Maryland, College Park; NCHS’sHealth E-Stats, Oct. 10, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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High-Fiber Diet Tied to Lower Heart Risk in Diabetes Patients

FRIDAY, Oct. 4, 2019 — A fiber-rich diet appears to help people with high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes in multiple ways, lowering their blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, a new study suggests.

High blood pressure (hypertension) and diabetes raise the risk for heart disease, and diet may help keep it at bay, researchers say.

“This study helps us determine three important things for this patient population,” said lead author Dr. Rohit Kapoor, medical director of Care Well Heart and Super Specialty Hospital in Amritsar, India.

“Firstly, a high-fiber diet is important in cases of diabetes and hypertension to prevent future cardiovascular disease,” Kapoor said in a news release from the American College of Cardiology.

“Secondly, medical nutrition therapy and regular counseling sessions also hold great importance in treating and prevention of diabetes and hypertension,” he added.

Thirdly, this type of diet in combination with medical treatment can improve lipid levels, pulse wave velocity [a measure of arterial stiffness], waist-to-hip ratio and high blood pressure, Kapoor said.

For the study, Kapoor’s team tracked fiber consumption among 200 participants over six months. Patients sent photos of their meals on WhatsApp and engaged in phone calls three times a week during which they were asked to recall their diet.

The study found that those participants eating a high-fiber diet showed significant improvement in several risk factors, including a 9% reduction in cholesterol, 23% reduction in triglycerides, 15% reduction in systolic (top number) blood pressure and a 28% reduction in blood sugar.

Foods high in fiber include fruits and vegetables, beans, whole grains and nuts.

The study results were scheduled to be presented Thursday at an American College of Cardiology meeting, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Data and conclusions presented at meetings are usually considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

More information

For more on type 2 diabetes, head to the American Diabetes Association.

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Posted: October 2019

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Scientists ID Genes Tied to Left-Handedness

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Sept. 5, 2019 (HealthDay News) — For the first time, scientists have found four spots on your DNA that might determine whether you wield your pen with your left hand.

Of the four gene regions, three are associated with proteins involved in brain development and structure, according to a genetic analysis of about 400,000 people in the United Kingdom, including more than 38,000 left-handers.

The study also found that “in left-handed participants, the language areas of the left and right sides of the brain communicate with each other in a more coordinated way,” said Dr. Akira Wiberg, a University of Oxford medical research fellow who did the analysis.

“This raises the intriguing possibility for future research that left-handers might have an advantage when it comes to performing verbal tasks, but it must be remembered that these differences were only seen as averages over very large numbers of people, and not all left-handers will be similar,” he said in a news release from UK Research and Innovation, which funded the study.

The findings were published Sept. 4 in the journal Brain.

Scientists already knew that genes play a role in determining handedness. Studies of twins suggest that genes account for 25% of the variation in handedness, but the genes had not been pinpointed.

“Around 90% of people are right-handed, and this has been the case for at least 10,000 years. Many researchers have studied the biological basis of handedness, but using large datasets from UK Biobank has allowed us to shed considerably more light on the processes leading to left-handedness,” Wiberg said.

The study also found links between the genetic regions involved in left-handedness and a very slightly reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease, and a very slightly higher risk of schizophrenia.

Studying these genetic links could help improve understanding of how these serious conditions develop, according to the researchers.

“Here we have demonstrated that left-handedness is a consequence of the developmental biology of the brain, in part driven by the complex interplay of many genes. It is part of the rich tapestry of what makes us human,” study co-senior author Dominic Furniss said in the news release. He’s a professor in the Department of Orthopedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Science at Oxford.

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SOURCE: UK Research and Innovation, news release, Sept. 4, 2019

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Once Again Soda Tied to Higher Risk of Early Death

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Sept. 3, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Whether you call it soda, pop or a soft drink, a new study’s findings suggest it would be better for your health to drink water instead.

The large European study found that people who have more than two sodas a day — with or without sugar — had a higher risk of dying over about 16 years than people who sipped the fizzy beverages less than once a month.

“We found that higher soft drink intake was associated with a greater risk of death from any cause regardless of whether sugar-sweetened or artificially sweetened drinks were consumed,” said study senior author Neil Murphy. He’s a scientist with the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France.

“Our results for sugar-sweetened soft drinks provide further support to limit consumption and to replace them with healthier beverages, preferably water,” Murphy said.

How might sodas raise your risk of dying?

Sugar-sweetened beverages may lead to weight gain and obesity. They also may affect the way the hormone insulin is used in the body, which can lead to inflammation, Murphy noted. All of these things can lead to health conditions that may shorten life.

He said more research is needed to understand how artificially sweetened soda might increase the risk of early death.

While it found an association, the current study does not prove a cause-and-effect relationship between soda and a higher risk of early death. It’s possible that soda drinkers have other habits that could add to their odds, such as smoking or a less healthy diet.

This study isn’t the first to find a connection between soda and bad health outcomes. Two recent studies — one from BMJ and the other in Circulation — linked drinking soda to cancer and deaths from heart disease.

The current research included more than 451,000 people from 10 European countries. Their average age was 51. Researchers followed the participants’ health for an average of 16 years.

In addition to a higher risk of dying from all causes for those who drank more than two sodas a day, more sodas were also linked to some specific causes of death.

  • People who had more than one soda daily — sugar-sweetened or artificially sweetened — compared to fewer than one a month had a higher risk of dying from colon cancer and Parkinson’s disease.
  • People who had more than one sugar-sweetened soda a day compared to fewer than one a month had a higher risk of dying from digestive diseases.
  • People who had more than artificially sweetened soda a day compared to less than one a month had a higher risk of dying from circulatory diseases like heart disease.

Continued

Murphy said researchers tried to account for factors such as body mass index (an estimate of body fat based on height and weight) and smoking, and still found an association between drinking more soda and a higher risk of dying.

Representatives of the beverage and sweetener industries urged people not to overreact to the findings.

Low-calorie and no-calorie sweeteners are “an important tool for weight management and those managing diabetes,” said Robert Rankin, president of the Calorie Control Council.

The council’s medical adviser, Dr. Keri Peterson, added: “The safety of low- and no-calorie sweeteners has been reaffirmed time and time again by leading regulatory and governmental agencies around the world.”

William Dermody Jr., a spokesman for the American Beverage Association, offered a similar view. “Soft drinks are safe to consume as part of a balanced diet and the authors of this study acknowledge their research does not indicate otherwise.”

But Dr. Maria Anton, an endocrinologist at Northwell Health’s Long Island Jewish Forest Hills Hospital, said excess consumption of soft drinks and other high-sugar and artificially sweetened beverages has become the norm for many people.

“These can contribute to weight gain and poor blood sugar control, worsening existing conditions like diabetes,” she pointed out.

Anton added that the findings suggest sugar is probably not the only unhealthy ingredient in soft drinks. “Patients in this study who regularly consumed sugar-free, artificially sweetened drinks were also at an increased risk of death,” she pointed out.

Registered dietitian Samantha Heller, from NYU Langone Health in New York City, said many factors may contribute to the link between soda consumption and risk of death. The bottom line, she said, is that people don’t need to drink soda.

“The consumption of beverages that taste sweet is fueled by marketing and advertising. There really is no need to consume them,” Heller said, suggesting suggested water, seltzer or tea instead.

The study was published Sept. 3 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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SOURCES: Neil Murphy, Ph.D., scientist, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France; William Dermody Jr., vice president, media and public affairs, American Beverage Association; Samantha Heller, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.N., senior clinical nutritionist, NYU Langone Health, New York City; Maria Anton, M.D., endocrinologist, Northwell Health’s Long Island Jewish Forest Hills Hospital, New York City; Robert Rankin, president, Calorie Control Council; Keri Peterson, M.D., medical adviser, Calorie Control Council;JAMA Internal Medicine, Sept. 3, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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First Death Tied to Lung Injury From Vaping Reported in Illinois

FRIDAY, Aug. 23, 2019 — An Illinois resident who was hospitalized after suffering severe respiratory illness related to vaping has died, state health officials reported Friday.

In addition, the number of reported cases of people who have used e-cigarettes or vaped and have been hospitalized with respiratory symptoms has doubled in Illinois this past week, state health officials said in a release. Details were not available on the person who died.

“Yesterday we received a report of a death of an adult who had been hospitalized with severe unexplained respiratory illness after reported vaping or e-cigarette use,” Dr. Jennifer Layden, chief medical officer for the Illinois Department of Public Health, said during a media briefing Friday afternoon with federal health officials.

“Illinois is working with the CDC, FDA, our local health departments and other state health departments to investigate products and devices that individuals have reportedly used,” Layden said.

A total of 22 people in Illinois, ranging in age from 17 to 38, have experienced respiratory illness after using e-cigarettes or vaping. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is working with local health departments to investigate another 12 suspected cases, the agency said.

“The severity of illness people are experiencing is alarming and we must get the word out that using e-cigarettes and vaping can be dangerous,” Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the IDPH said in a statement Friday. “We requested a team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help us investigate these cases and they arrived in Illinois on Tuesday.”

On Friday, CDC officials updated its tally of such cases to 193, spread across 22 states. These cases have emerged in a relatively short timeframe — from June 28 through Aug. 20, agency officials said during a media briefing.

No age group is immune: E-cigarette users ranging from teenagers to middle-aged adults are falling ill with respiratory symptoms that include coughing, shortness of breath and fatigue.

Some patients have had so much trouble breathing that they wound up on a ventilator in their hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU), said Dr. Albert Rizzo, chief medical officer for the American Lung Association.

“We do have to be careful [to say] that this has not been linked to any specific device, or any specific chemical that might exist in a device,” Rizzo said. “The commonality is it’s mainly young people who’ve supposedly been vaping who ended up having respiratory symptoms.”

The respiratory symptoms appear to be caused by inflammation that causes the lungs to fill with fluid, said Dr. Karen Wilson, vice chair of clinical and translational research for the Jack and Lucy Clark Department of Pediatrics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York City.

Testing shows that the inflammation is not caused by an infection, leading doctors to seek another explanation for lung irritation, Wilson and Rizzo said.

Wilson first became aware of these cases a month ago, when the teenage son of a family friend wound up in the ICU with lung injuries possibly linked to vaping.

The 17-year-old is improving, and his prognosis is good, Wilson said.

“In general, I think kids are recovering from this, but it’s hard to say if there’s going to be any long-term risk of lung injury or asthma or other illness,” Wilson said.

E-cigarette vapor contains many ingredients that could cause lung irritation, such as ultrafine particles, oil, and heavy metals like nickel, tin and lead, Rizzo said.

Flavored vapor also can contain diacetyl, a chemical linked to a condition called “popcorn lung,” Rizzo noted. The condition is so named because more than a decade ago workers in a microwave popcorn factory developed lung ailments after breathing in butter-flavored diacetyl.

In popcorn lung, the tiny air sacs in the lungs become scarred, resulting in the thickening and narrowing of the airways, the American Lung Association explained.

There’s also the possibility that heavy levels of nicotine are affecting the lungs, Rizzo added.

“One of the more common e-cigarettes contains as much nicotine in a pod as in a whole pack of cigarettes,” Rizzo said. “It’s very hard to smoke a pack of cigarettes in 15 minutes. You can ingest a whole pod by vaping in 15 minutes.”

The CDC has also noted that recent marijuana use could be a factor.

“In many cases, patients have acknowledged recent use of tetrahydrocannabinol [THC]-containing products while speaking to health care personnel or in follow-up interviews by health department staff,” the agency said. THC is the chemical in pot that gives users a high.

Wilson believes that parents should make sure their teenagers aren’t vaping, and also refrain from vaping in the presence of kids, to prevent secondhand exposure.

“Particularly for adolescents and young adults, they should not have access to these products and they should not use them,” Wilson said. “This is more evidence they’re not a safe product for teenagers and young adults.”

More information

The American Lung Association has more about e-cigarettes and popcorn lung.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: August 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

First Death Tied to Lung Injury From Vaping Reported in Illinois

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Aug. 23, 2019 (HealthDay News) — An Illinois resident who was hospitalized after suffering severe respiratory illness related to vaping has died, state health officials reported Friday.

In addition, the number of reported cases of people who have used e-cigarettes or vaped and have been hospitalized with respiratory symptoms has doubled in Illinois this past week, state health officials said in a release. Details were not available on the person who died.

“Yesterday we received a report of a death of an adult who had been hospitalized with severe unexplained respiratory illness after reported vaping or e-cigarette use,” Dr. Jennifer Layden, chief medical officer for the Illinois Department of Public Health, said during a media briefing Friday afternoon with federal health officials.

“Illinois is working with the CDC, FDA, our local health departments and other state health departments to investigate products and devices that individuals have reportedly used,” Layden said.

A total of 22 people in Illinois, ranging in age from 17 to 38, have experienced respiratory illness after using e-cigarettes or vaping. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is working with local health departments to investigate another 12 suspected cases, the agency said.

“The severity of illness people are experiencing is alarming and we must get the word out that using e-cigarettes and vaping can be dangerous,” Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the IDPH said in a statement Friday. “We requested a team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help us investigate these cases and they arrived in Illinois on Tuesday.”

On Friday, CDC officials updated its tally of such cases to 193, spread across 22 states. These cases have emerged in a relatively short timeframe — from June 28 through Aug. 20, agency officials said during a media briefing.

No age group is immune: E-cigarette users ranging from teenagers to middle-aged adults are falling ill with respiratory symptoms that include coughing, shortness of breath and fatigue.

Some patients have had so much trouble breathing that they wound up on a ventilator in their hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU), said Dr. Albert Rizzo, chief medical officer for the American Lung Association.

Continued

“We do have to be careful [to say] that this has not been linked to any specific device, or any specific chemical that might exist in a device,” Rizzo said. “The commonality is it’s mainly young people who’ve supposedly been vaping who ended up having respiratory symptoms.”

The respiratory symptoms appear to be caused by inflammation that causes the lungs to fill with fluid, said Dr. Karen Wilson, vice chair of clinical and translational research for the Jack and Lucy Clark Department of Pediatrics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York City.

Testing shows that the inflammation is not caused by an infection, leading doctors to seek another explanation for lung irritation, Wilson and Rizzo said.

Wilson first became aware of these cases a month ago, when the teenage son of a family friend wound up in the ICU with lung injuries possibly linked to vaping.

The 17-year-old is improving, and his prognosis is good, Wilson said.

“In general, I think kids are recovering from this, but it’s hard to say if there’s going to be any long-term risk of lung injury or asthma or other illness,” Wilson said.

E-cigarette vapor contains many ingredients that could cause lung irritation, such as ultrafine particles, oil, and heavy metals like nickel, tin and lead, Rizzo said.

Flavored vapor also can contain diacetyl, a chemical linked to a condition called “popcorn lung,” Rizzo noted. The condition is so named because more than a decade ago workers in a microwave popcorn factory developed lung ailments after breathing in butter-flavored diacetyl.

In popcorn lung, the tiny air sacs in the lungs become scarred, resulting in the thickening and narrowing of the airways, the American Lung Association explained.

There’s also the possibility that heavy levels of nicotine are affecting the lungs, Rizzo added.

“One of the more common e-cigarettes contains as much nicotine in a pod as in a whole pack of cigarettes,” Rizzo said. “It’s very hard to smoke a pack of cigarettes in 15 minutes. You can ingest a whole pod by vaping in 15 minutes.”

Continued

The CDC has also noted that recent marijuana use could be a factor.

“In many cases, patients have acknowledged recent use of tetrahydrocannabinol [THC]-containing products while speaking to health care personnel or in follow-up interviews by health department staff,” the agency said. THC is the chemical in pot that gives users a high.

Wilson believes that parents should make sure their teenagers aren’t vaping, and also refrain from vaping in the presence of kids, to prevent secondhand exposure.

“Particularly for adolescents and young adults, they should not have access to these products and they should not use them,” Wilson said. “This is more evidence they’re not a safe product for teenagers and young adults.”

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Aug. 23, 2019, media briefing, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;  Aug. 23, 2019, statement, Illinois Department of Public Health; Albert Rizzo, M.D., chief medical officer,  American Lung Association; Karen Wilson, M.D., MPH, vice chair, clinical and translational research, Jack and Lucy Clark Department of Pediatrics, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City;CBS News, CNN

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

‘); } else { // If we match both our test Topic Ids and Buisness Ref we want to place the ad in the middle of page 1 if($ .inArray(window.s_topic, moveAdTopicIds) > -1 && $ .inArray(window.s_business_reference, moveAdBuisRef) > -1){ // The logic below reads count all nodes in page 1. Exclude the footer,ol,ul and table elements. Use the varible // moveAdAfter to know which node to place the Ad container after. window.placeAd = function(pn) { var nodeTags = [‘p’, ‘h3′,’aside’, ‘ul’], nodes, target; nodes = $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(‘ + pn + ‘)’).find(nodeTags.join()).not(‘p:empty’).not(‘footer *’).not(‘ol *, ul *, table *’); //target = nodes.eq(Math.floor(nodes.length / 2)); target = nodes.eq(moveAdAfter); $ (”).insertAfter(target); } // Currently passing in 1 to move the Ad in to page 1 window.placeAd(1); } else { // This is the default location on the bottom of page 1 $ (‘.article-page:nth-child(1)’).append(”); } } })(); $ (function(){ // Create a new conatiner where we will make our lazy load Ad call if the reach the footer section of the article $ (‘.main-container-3’).prepend(”); });

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Cases of Lung Injury Tied to Vaping Keep Rising

THURSDAY, Aug. 22, 2019 — Chance Ammirata was a vaper for almost two years. But three weeks ago, the 18-year-old began to have trouble breathing.

“I would say my chest felt like it was collapsing and tightening up, and I couldn’t breathe,” he told CBS News. After going to the emergency room, doctors told him his right lung had a hole in it and they would have to put a chest tube in immediately. Two days later, a surgeon repaired the hole.

Ammirata believes his vaping was the culprit behind his collapsed lung, and he has since started a social media campaign called #LungLove to convince other teens to throw away their e-cigarettes.

“I decided that spreading my story could help others not have to go through the same thing as me,” he explained on his Instagram account.

Ammirata is not the only American to have landed in the hospital with vaping-related lung troubles recently.

Late Wednesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its tally of such cases to 153, spread across 16 states. These cases have emerged in a relatively short timeframe — from June 28 through Aug. 20, the agency said in a statement.

Cases have so far been recorded in California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin, the CDC said.

No age group is immune: E-cigarette users ranging from teenagers to middle-aged adults are falling ill with respiratory symptoms that include coughing, shortness of breath and fatigue.

Some patients have had so much trouble breathing that they wound up on a ventilator in their hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU), said Dr. Albert Rizzo, chief medical officer for the American Lung Association.

Public health officials in Wisconsin, Illinois, California, New York, Indiana and New Jersey are tracking the most cases, CNN reported.

“We do have to be careful [to say] that this has not been linked to any specific device, or any specific chemical that might exist in a device,” the ALA’s Rizzo said. “The commonality is it’s mainly young people who’ve supposedly been vaping who ended up having respiratory symptoms.”

The respiratory symptoms appear to be caused by inflammation that causes the lungs to fill with fluid, said Dr. Karen Wilson, vice chair of clinical and translational research for the Jack and Lucy Clark Department of Pediatrics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York City.

Testing shows that the inflammation is not caused by an infection, leading doctors to seek another explanation for lung irritation, Wilson and Rizzo said.

Wilson first became aware of these cases a month ago, when the teenage son of a family friend wound up in the ICU with lung injuries possibly linked to vaping.

The 17-year-old is improving, and his prognosis is good, Wilson said.

“In general, I think kids are recovering from this, but it’s hard to say if there’s going to be any long-term risk of lung injury or asthma or other illness,” Wilson said.

The CDC recently put out a statement urging doctors to report all possible cases of vaping-associated lung illness to state or local health officials.

E-cigarette vapor contains many ingredients that could cause lung irritation, such as ultrafine particles, oil, and heavy metals like nickel, tin and lead, Rizzo said.

Flavored vapor also can contain diacetyl, a chemical linked to a condition called “popcorn lung,” Rizzo noted. The condition is so named because more than a decade ago workers in a microwave popcorn factory developed lung ailments after breathing in butter-flavored diacetyl.

In popcorn lung, the tiny air sacs in the lungs become scarred, resulting in the thickening and narrowing of the airways, the American Lung Association explained.

There’s also the possibility that heavy levels of nicotine are affecting the lungs, Rizzo added.

“One of the more common e-cigarettes contains as much nicotine in a pod as in a whole pack of cigarettes,” Rizzo said. “It’s very hard to smoke a pack of cigarettes in 15 minutes. You can ingest a whole pod by vaping in 15 minutes.”

In its Wednesday statement, the CDC also noted that recent marijuana use could be a factor.

“In many cases, patients have acknowledged recent use of tetrahydrocannabinol [THC]-containing products while speaking to health care personnel or in follow-up interviews by health department staff,” the agency said. THC is the chemical in pot that gives users a high.

Wilson believes that parents should make sure their teenagers aren’t vaping, and also refrain from vaping in the presence of kids, to prevent secondhand exposure.

“Particularly for adolescents and young adults, they should not have access to these products and they should not use them,” Wilson said. “This is more evidence they’re not a safe product for teenagers and young adults.”

More information

The American Lung Association has more about e-cigarettes and popcorn lung.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: August 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Breast Implants Tied to Rare Cancer Risk Recalled

WEDNESDAY, July 24, 2019 — Allergan’s textured breast implants will be recalled due to their link to a rare cancer, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Wednesday.

Following a request from the FDA, the company will proceed with a worldwide recall of its Biocell textured breast implant products, the agency said.

The recall stems from concerns about a tumor known as breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL).

“The recall of these textured implants is a big deal in protecting women from the potential risks of developing, and dying from, this rare type of aggressive lymphoma,” explained one expert, Dr. Joshua Brody.

He directs the Lymphoma Immunotherapy Program at The Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai, in New York City.

“By preventing further use of these implants, the FDA is helping women to protect themselves from the medically serious and emotionally exhausting effects of these risks,” Brody said.

Though very rare, cases of BIA-ALCL appear to be on the rise. The FDA noted that 573 cases of BIA-ALCL, including 33 related deaths, have been reported worldwide — that’s up from the 116 cases and 24 deaths reported earlier this year.

Of the 573 cases, 481 are attributed to Allergan textured implants, the agency said. Of the 33 deaths, 12 of the 13 patients for which the maker of the implant is known had an Allergan textured breast implant at the time of their cancer diagnosis.

“Based on the currently available information, including the newly submitted data, our analysis demonstrates that the risk of BIA-ALCL with Allergan Biocell textured implants is approximately six times the risk of BIA-ALCL with textured implants from other manufacturers marketing in the U.S.,” the agency said in a news release.

“Although the overall incidence of BIA-ALCL appears to be relatively low, once the evidence indicated that a specific manufacturer’s product appeared to be directly linked to significant patient harm, including death, the FDA took action to alert the firm to new evidence indicating a recall is warranted to protect women’s health,” FDA Principal Deputy Commissioner Dr. Amy Abernethy said in the news release.

The textured implants being recalled include: Natrelle Saline-filled breast implants, Natrelle Silicone-filled breast implants, Natrelle Inspira Silicone-filled breast implants, and Natrelle 410 Highly Cohesive Anatomically Shaped Silicone-filled breast implants.

According to Brody, “some types of implants induce inflammation, which can both increase the chance of developing cancer, and also help to ‘hide’ developing cancers from the immune system.”

He also explained that the inflammation triggered by textured implants may help foster “[gene] mutations and the expression of immune-suppressive proteins, which prevent anti-tumor immune cells from clearing the cancer.”

Also included in the new recall are so-called “tissue expanders,” used by patients before breast augmentation or reconstruction. Those products include the Natrelle 133 Plus Tissue Expander and the Natrelle 133 Tissue Expander with Suture Tabs, the FDA said.

In addition, the FDA issued a safety communication Wednesday for patients with breast implants, patients considering breast implants and their health care providers. The communication outlines the known risks and what steps patients should consider when watching for the cancer, including swelling and pain in their breasts.

“The FDA has been diligently monitoring this issue since we first identified the possible association between breast implants and ALCL in 2011 and, at that time, communicated to patients and providers that there is a risk for women with breast implants, more frequently occurring in women with textured implants, for developing this disease,” Abernethy said.

“Based on new data, our team concluded that action is necessary at this time to protect the public health,” Abernethy added.

“We will continue to monitor the incidence of BIA-ALCL across other textured and smooth breast implants and tissue expanders, as well as other devices intended for use in the breast,” Abernethy added. “If action is needed in the future, we will not hesitate to do what is necessary to protect patients.”

More information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more on breast implants.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: July 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Sugary Sodas, Juices Tied to Higher Cancer Risk

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, July 10, 2019 (HealthDay News) — It’s long been known that sugary drinks help people pack on unwanted pounds. But new research suggests that sweetened sodas, sports drinks and even 100% fruit juice might raise your risk for some cancers.

The study couldn’t prove cause and effect, but it found that drinking as little as 3 to 4 ounces of sugary drinks each day was tied to an 18% rise in overall risk for cancer.

Among women, a similar consumption level was tied to a 22% rise in breast cancer risk, the French research team found.

A spokesperson for the American Cancer Society (ACS) said the findings should give consumers pause, because obesity is a known risk factor for cancer.

“A lot of the research on sugar-sweetened drinks and cancer has been tied to obesity,” noted Colleen Doyle, managing director of nutrition and physical activity at the ACS. “Across the board, it’s a good idea to reduce any sugar-sweetened beverage,” she advised.

The new study was led by Mathilde Touvier, research director of nutritional epidemiology at the University of Paris. Her team collected data on more than 100,000 French men and women, average age 42, who took part in a national study.

The participants answered questions about how much of 3,300 different foods and beverages they consumed each day, and were followed for up to nine years (from 2009 to 2018).

The study uncovered links between the consumption of sugary drinks and the risk of cancer in general, and for breast cancer specifically. The investigators found no association between sugary drinks and prostate or colon cancers, but the authors stressed that too few people in the study developed these cancers to make this finding definitive.

The research uncovered no links between diet sodas and other artificially sweetened beverages and cancer, although more study is needed to confirm that, the authors noted.

The connection between sugary drinks and cancer remained the same even after the team adjusted for age, sex, educational level, family history of cancer, smoking and physical activity, the researchers said.

Continued

So, why the connection? According to Touvier’s team, high-calorie drinks may raise cancer risk because sugar helps build body fat, in addition to raising blood sugar levels and inflammation — all of which are risk factors for cancer.

It’s also possible that chemicals found in these drinks might play a part in increasing cancer risk, the researchers theorized.

A group representing the beverage industry said sugary drinks can still be a part of the average diet, however.

In a statement, the American Beverage Association said: “It’s important for people to know that all beverages — either with sugar or without — are safe to consume as part of a balanced diet. America’s leading beverage companies are working together to support consumers’ efforts to reduce the sugar they consume from our beverages by providing more choices with less sugar or zero sugar, smaller package sizes and clear calorie information right up front.”

Samantha Heller is a senior clinical nutritionist at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. She said she wasn’t surprised by the findings.

“Do we really need more evidence that consuming sugar-sweetened beverages regularly is not healthy?” Heller said. She noted that, for decades, these drinks have been linked with diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

On the other hand, “most of us should be drinking more water than we do,” Heller said. “Being poorly hydrated can affect us in surprising ways. It can impair our driving skills, cognitive abilities, mood, energy levels, kidneys, gastrointestinal function, appearance and more.”

Study author Touvier agreed.

“The only beverage that is recommended is water,” she said. And Touvier supports public efforts to get people away from the soda-and-juices habit.

Her team’s findings support “existing nutritional recommendations to limit sugary drinks consumption, including 100% fruit juices, as well as policy actions such as taxation and marketing restrictions targeting sugary drinks,” Touvier said.

And water doesn’t have to be boring, Heller added.

“Play around with infusing water with mint, basil, cucumber, or strawberry and lemon slices. Fill a pitcher with water and pop in your favorite herbal teas like berry, vanilla or peppermint, and chill in the refrigerator,” she suggested.

The new report was published online July 10 in the BMJ.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Mathilde Touvier, Ph.D., research director, nutritional epidemiology, University of Paris, France; Colleen Doyle, M.S., R.D., managing director, nutrition and physical activity, American Cancer Society; Samantha Heller, M.S., R.D., senior clinical nutritionist, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City; July 10, 2019,BMJ, online

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Head Injuries Tied to Motorized Scooters Are Rising: Study

SUNDAY, June 16, 2019 — Head injuries from riding electric scooters without a helmet are on the rise, a new study reports.

Between 2008 and 2017, nearly 32,000 injuries were estimated nationwide, according to a review of records in the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance system. Accidents tripled from about 2,300 in 2008 to nearly 7,000 in 2017.

Most of those injured were adult men, but a third of the injuries happened to kids between 6 and 12 years of age, researchers said.

The most common injuries were closed head injuries, such as concussions, and bleeding or bruising of the brain, the researchers found. Facial cuts and abrasions were also common.

In accident records that made note of helmet use, 66% of those injured weren’t wearing one. Use of helmets increased with age from 19% among toddlers to 67% among senior riders. Helmet laws vary from state to state.

Researchers emphasized that electric scooters aren’t toys and can reach speeds of up to 30 mph.

“The United States should standardize electric scooter laws and license requirements should be considered to decrease the risky behaviors associated with motorized scooter use,” said study lead author Dr. Amishav Bresler. He’s a resident in the department of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark.

“In 2000, Italy implemented a law mandating helmet use for all types of recreational scooter drivers — legislation that reduced head trauma in scooter riders from about 27 out of 10,000 people before the law passed to about 9 out of 10,000 people afterward,” Bresler said in a Rutgers news release.

The report was published online recently in the American Journal of Otolaryngology.

More information

The consumer safety group Safer America provides electric scooter safety tips.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: June 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews