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Lyme disease patients fight for their lives while academics fight each other.

For patients, there is often nothing more soul-crushing than being inexplicably sick with doctor after doctor having no answers, or getting the wrong diagnosis and being led down the wrong path with the wrong drugs. But for patients with Lyme disease, either or both is common, because its every aspect has been so bitterly contested

Immune Discovery ‘May Treat All Cancer’

A newly-discovered part of our immune system could be harnessed to treat all cancers, say scientists. The Cardiff University team discovered a method of killing prostate, breast, lung and other cancers in lab tests. The findings, published in Nature Immunology, have not been tested in patients, but the researchers say they have "enormous potential". Experts

Wuhan pneumonia outbreak: What we know and don’t know

The US will start screening at three airports for passengers with the mysterious, new virus originating in Wuhan, China that’s caused two deaths and dozens of people to fall sick with pneumonia. On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection announced the new measure, which will

New Generics Wait Too Long To Get on Formularies, Says Trade Group

If generic drugs are supposed to be a smart cost-saving alternative for patients and health plans, why aren’t they made available more quickly on Medicare Part D formularies? That’s the key question raised in a September report by the Association for Accessible Medicines, a trade group for manufacturers of generics. It found an average lag

Sepsis deaths around world ‘twice as high as previously thought’

Deaths from sepsis around the world are twice as high as previously thought, with babies and small children in poorer countries at greatest risk, a major study has revealed. There were almost 50m sepsis cases worldwide and 11m deaths in 2017, according to US researchers writing in the Lancet medical journal. Sepsis, an overcharged response by

Processed foods are a much bigger health problem than we thought

The case against processed food just keeps getting stronger. But, amazingly, we still don’t understand exactly why it’s so bad for us. In two papers published in the BMJ in May 2019, the more ultraprocessed — or industrially manufactured — foods a person ate, the more likely they were to get sick and even die. In one study,

The number of US alcohol deaths per year has doubled since 1999

Alcohol causes more deaths than all drug overdoses combined. America is in the middle of an alcohol epidemic. That’s one takeaway from a new study published this month in Alcoholism, which found the number of alcohol-related deaths more than doubled between 1999 and 2017 from nearly 36,000 to nearly 73,000, and the rate of alcohol-related deaths rose by

California to Establish Its Own Generic Prescription Drug Label

On Thursday, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the state could make its own prescription drug in an effort to the power out of the hands of greedy drugmakers. He wants California to work with pharmaceuticals that make generic drugs on its behalf so that the state’s residents could afford the drugs. Newsom explained that

A Health Breakthrough that Depends on People, Not Drugs

A surprisingly effective way to help improve Americans’ health can be found in a place you’d least expect—the Woodhill Homes public housing complex in Cleveland. That’s where I meet Marilyn Burns in the lobby of a community center the day after she hosted an arts festival for neighborhood children. She recounts the highlights: African drummers,

What are the main types of robots used in healthcare?

The healthcare industry uses four types to improve the current standard of care, while also helping humans to do things that they may not have been able to do in the past, or do things quicker and with fewer errors. Listed below are the leading medical robots, as identified by GlobalData. Types of robots used

Artificial intelligence and health care: The revolution has not yet come

Health products powered by artificial intelligence, or AI, are streaming into our lives, from virtual doctor apps to wearable sensors and drugstore chatbots. IBM boasted that its AI could “outthink cancer.” Others say computer systems that read X-rays will make radiologists obsolete. “There’s nothing that I’ve seen in my 30-plus years studying medicine that could be as impactful and transformative” as AI, said Dr. Eric Topol,

How to Permanently End Diseases

The world officially became a slightly safer place in October, when the World Health Organization declared that polio’s type 3 strain had been eradicated. This strain — joining type 2, which was eradicated in 2015 — no longer exists anywhere in the world, outside of highly secure laboratories. (Type 1 is the only strain still at large.)

‘Are you kidding me?’: Check out the price tags on ‘combination drugs’

It's a price tag that would give anyone sticker shock: $14,213.99 for a 90-day supply of generic acid reflux medication. But when Suzanne Luttig picks up the prescription for the drug, Zegerid, she pays only $24. The catch? Luttig, a full-time professional photographer in Omaha, works an extra 25 hours a week at a bank primarily

Malaria, is the end in sight?

Malaria is an illness that sickened 228 million people worldwide in 2018—405,000 of whom died. By far the greatest number affected live in Africa’s poorest countries. Africa was home to 92 percent of the malaria cases and it was where 93 percent of the malaria-related deaths took place, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

2020-02-03T09:13:36-06:00Tags: |

The good, the bad and the ugly in global health in 2019

Looking back over more than 30 years working in public health globally and in the United States, I can't recall a year with as pronounced a divergence: big advances and big setbacks. Heart health improved in parts of the world, but in the US, the decline in cardiovascular deaths stalled, contributing to a shocking decline

Social media hosted a lot of fake health news this year

A cabal of doctors are hiding the cure for cancer, berries are more effective than vaccines, and eating instant noodles can kill you: These are some of the claims from the internet’s most viral fake health news in 2019. Health misinformation was a big deal this year. Facing pressure from lawmakers, doctors and health advocates,

Malnutrition Hits The Obese As Well As The Underfed

Hunger once seemed like a simple problem. Around the globe, often in low-income countries, many people didn't get enough calories. But increasingly, hunger exists side-by-side with obesity. Within the same community, some people are overweight while others don't have enough to eat. And the tricky part: You can't "fix" hunger by just feeding people empty

Half of America will be obese within 10 years, study says

If America does not collectively adopt healthier eating habits, over half of the nation will be obese within 10 years. Even worse, one in four Americans will be "severely obese" with a body mass index over 35, which means they will be more than 100 pounds overweight. That alarming prediction, published Wednesday in NEJM, was the

Disadvantaged communities gain the most from drug innovation

A Maryland-based biotech firm may have just cured HIV. That company recently submitted an FDA application for AGT103-T, an HIV therapy that could eliminate the virus in a single dose. If the agency approves the drug, clinical trials could begin as soon as January. The news is a good reminder of how drug innovation can

The challenges of fighting rare diseases

Sydney Rutz is one of a kind. Literally. When Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation scientists sequenced the genes of this Yukon teenager, they discovered that she had a mutation that had never before been discovered. Unfortunately, this unique genetic alteration has already caused all sorts of issues for Sydney in her short life. She’s had cataracts