Ad hoc efforts help cut U.S. healthcare costs

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - At Utah-based Intermountain Healthcare, comparative research made physicians realize that inducing early childbirth in healthy women created unnecessary and costly risks for newborns. Artificially induced deliveries had become an accepted way to make childbirth fit busy personal schedules. The practice has health risks, but the average doctor saw only one or two cases a year wind up in a neonatal intensive care unit.

Vitamin C from food tied to lower cataract risk

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Older adults who get very little vitamin C in their diets may have an increased risk of developing cataracts, a study in India finds. Cataracts are a clouding of the eye's lens that commonly cause vision problems in older people. Some studies, but not all, have found that people with higher intakes of antioxidants, including vitamin C, may have a lower risk of developing the condition.

Do tea, coffee drinkers have lower "superbug" risk?

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People who regularly drink tea or coffee may be less likely to carry the antibiotic-resistant "superbug" MRSA in their nostrils, a new study suggests. Researchers found that of more than 5,500 Americans in a government study, those who drank hot tea or coffee were about half as likely as non-drinkers to harbor MRSA bacteria in their nostrils.

Flu vaccine production to double by 2015, WHO says

GENEVA (Reuters) - Global production of seasonal flu vaccine is expected to double to 1.7 billion doses by 2015, with 11 new manufacturers coming onstream in developing countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday. If a new influenza pandemic erupts, the world's projected 37 vaccine makers could potentially triple their annual production of trivalent seasonal vaccine to make 5.4 billion doses of pandemic vaccine, the United Nations agency said.

Vitamin A may not prevent asthma: study

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Despite the important role of vitamin A in lung development, researchers have found that giving the nutrient to pregnant women or preschoolers in Nepal doesn't protect kids against asthma. But the findings don't mean vitamin A isn't important, especially in regions where vitamin deficiencies are common, according to the scientists.

Are narrow blood vessels to blame in MS?

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Despite a few well-publicized studies and many hopeful patients waiting for treatment, there is no good evidence that multiple sclerosis, or MS, is caused by a blood vessel condition, a fresh look at the medical literature finds. That means patients with MS shouldn't have surgery to open veins that connect the brain and spinal cord to the heart, researchers say.

Panel backs stricter blood cancer drug label

SILVER SPRING, Maryland (Reuters) - A U.S. advisory panel backed an experimental drug from Seattle Genetics Inc for treating two rare types of blood cancer, but recommended stricter labeling than the company sought. The move could restrain Seattle Genetics' plans to expand use of the medicine, which is currently proposed for two types of blood cancer -- Hodgkin's lymphoma and anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) -- that affect just over 10,000 Americans a year.

Black men survive longer in prison than out: study

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Black men are half as likely to die at any given time if they're in prison than if they aren't, suggests a new study of North Carolina inmates. The black prisoners seemed to be especially protected against alcohol- and drug-related deaths, as well as lethal accidents and certain chronic diseases.

FDA panel backs Seattle Genetics drug for lymphoma

SILVER SPRING, Maryland (Reuters) - An experimental drug from Seattle Genetics Inc garnered unanimous backing from U.S. advisers for a second type of blood cancer. A Food and Drug Administration advisory committee voted 10-0 on Thursday to recommend accelerated approval of the drug, under the proposed trade name Adcetris, for anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL).

Parents underestimate kids' asthma symptoms

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Parents of kids with asthma don't always realize when their children's treatment is inadequate, a new drugmaker-funded survey suggests. While more than seven out of every 10 parents interviewed described their child's asthma as "mild" or "intermittent," the disease was adequately treated in only six in 10 kids.

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