Category: Health

Overcoming Opioids: The quest for less addictive drugs

BY MARILYNN MARCHIONE Tummy tucks really hurt. Doctors carve from hip to hip, slicing off skin, tightening muscles, tugging at innards. Patients often need strong painkillers for days or even weeks, but Mary Hernandez went home on just over-the-counter ibuprofen. The reason may be the yellowish goo smeared on her 18-inch wound as she lay on the operating table. The Houston woman was helping test a novel medicine aimed at avoiding opioids, potent pain relievers fueling an epidemic of overuse and addiction. Vicodin, OxyContin and similar drugs are widely used for bad backs, severe arthritis, damaged nerves and other...

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Housing options help autistic adults find independence

BY JAMIE STENGLE DALLAS (AP) — Masha Gregory was nervous to move out of her parents’ home and into her own place, where the 26-year-old Pennsylvania woman worried about making friends and being away from her parents. But after living in her own apartment at a complex that focuses on adults with autism, she’s made new friends and found she loves her independence. “It was great to move out because I have my own life now,” said Gregory, who lives in a Pittsburgh-area development where half of the 42 units are for those diagnosed with autism. “I want to...

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Weight swings may be risky for overweight heart patients

BY LINDSEY TANNER CHICAGO (AP) — Losing and regaining weight repeatedly may be dangerous for overweight heart patients, a study suggests. Heart attacks, strokes and death were more common in patients whose weight changed the most over four years. For some, weight changes might have reflected yo-yo dieting, which some previous studies have suggested may be unhealthy for people without heart problems. That means a hefty but stable weight might be healthier than losing but repeatedly regaining extra pounds. But big weight fluctuations in heart patients studied could also have been unintentional and a possible sign of serious illness...

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‘Sci-fi’ Cancer Therapy Fights Brain Tumors, Study Finds

BY MARILYNN MARCHIONE WASHINGTON (AP) — It sounds like science fiction, but a cap-like device that makes electric fields to fight cancer improved survival for the first time in more than a decade for people with deadly brain tumors, final results of a large study suggest. Many doctors are skeptical of the therapy, called tumor treating fields, and it’s not a cure. It’s also ultra-expensive – $21,000 a month. But in the study, more than twice as many patients were alive five years after getting it, plus the usual chemotherapy, than those given just the chemo – 13 percent...

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US enrolls volunteers in large test of possible Zika vaccine

BY LAURAN NEERGAARD WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. health officials have begun enrolling volunteers for critical next-stage testing of an experimental vaccine to protect against Zika, the mosquito-borne virus that can cause devastating birth defects in pregnant women. The first volunteer was vaccinated Wednesday at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, as the National Institutes of Health gears up for a two-part study that aims to enroll at least 2,400 people in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and five at-risk countries: Brazil, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica and Peru. Zika has caused an epidemic of birth defects – including babies with abnormally...

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