• Asthma Drug May Help Those With Chronic Hives: A drug already used to treat moderate-to-severe allergic asthma appears to offer relief to people with chronic hives who haven't been helped by standard medications, new research suggests. The prescription drug -- omalizumab (Xolair) -- is already available to treat hives, following U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval earlier this year for that use. Journal of Investigative Dermatology 7/21/14
• Lidocaine Injection May Help Treat Fibromyalgia In the new study, injecting lidocaine into peripheral tissues -- such as the muscles in the shoulders or buttocks -- effectively reduced pain sensitivity, the researchers found. European Journal of Pain
• Skipthe Steroids for Shoulder Pain: For relief of shoulder pain, physical therapy and steroid shots provide similar results, a new study finds. Annals of Internal Medicine Aug. 4
COMPLEMENTARY AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
• Chiropractic Manipulation of the Neck and Stroke: Getting your neck adjusted by a chiropractor or osteopathic doctor may be associated with an increased risk of stroke, according to a scientific statement released Thursday by the American Heart Association. The energetic thrusts and rotations sometimes used in neck manipulation may cause a small tear in the artery walls in the neck, a condition called cervical artery dissection, the statement noted. A tear in the artery wall can result in a stroke if a blood clot forms at the site and later breaks free to block a blood vessel in the brain.
FOOD & DRUG ADMINISTRATION ACTION
• Inks in some home tattoo kits are contaminated and could cause skin infections, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says. The agency issued the warning after tests confirmed bacterial contamination in unopened home tattoo kits marketed by White and Blue Lion, Inc.
• Approved New Colorectal Cancer Screening Test The noninvasive Cologuard test can be performed at home and has shown more than 90 percent accuracy in clinical trials, the agency said in a news release. From a stool sample, Cologuard detects hemoglobin. It also identifies certain genetic DNA mutations in cells shed by advanced adenomas. People who receive positive results should have a colonoscopy, the FDA advised. Cologuard's approval does not change current guidelines that recommend colorectal screening using fecal occult blood testing, sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy for all adults aged 50 to 75, the agency added.
• Benefits of e- Cigarettes Outweigh Harms: A major scientific review of available research on the use, content, and safety of e-cigarettes has concluded that -- although long-term health effects of e-cigarette use are unknown -- compared with conventional cigarettes they are likely to be much less harmful to users or bystanders. Addiction 2014
• Many Doctors Recommend E-Cigarettes for Anti –Smoking: "Even in the absence of evidence regarding the health impact of e-cigarettes and other vaping devices, a third of physicians we surveyed are recommending e-cigarettes to their patients to help quit smoking.” Plos One
• Gardensa Center of Calm for Those with Dementia: Looking at 17 past studies, British researchers found evidence that watering plants, or sitting or strolling in a garden can help soothe some dementia patients' anxiety. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association
• Is the PSA Test Worth It? The value of the PSA test to screen men for prostate cancer has long been debated, and a new study of 162,000 men may not resolve the issue.The European study, reported Aug. 6 in The Lancet, finds that widespread use of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests does reduce deaths from the disease by about one-fifth.
Older women intent on keeping breast cancer at bay may want to start and maintain a regular exercise regimen, a new study shows. The researchers found that regular physical activity cuts the odds of breast cancer in postmenopausal women, but that protection disappears if women stop exercising. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention Aug. 11
• Doctors May Miss out on recommending aspirin therapy: Many doctors may not follow U.S. Preventive Services Task Force guidelines that recommend aspirin as prevention therapy, according to the University of Rochester researchers. They analyzed data from nearly 3,500 middle-aged Americans who didn't have heart disease, but qualified for aspirin therapy based on their scores for heart disease risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, smoking and use of cholesterol-lowering drugs. Journal of General Internal Medicine Aug. 5, 2014
• Daily Aspirin May Help Prevent Cancer: Taking aspirin every day appears to reduce the odds of developing and dying from colon, stomach or esophageal cancer, a new study suggests. Based on a review of available studies, researchers determined that the benefits of aspirin therapy for preventing cancer outweigh the risks. Millions of people already take this inexpensive drug to prevent or treat heart disease. Annals of Oncology Aug. 6, 2014
• Cholesterol Drugs’ Benefits Far Outweigh Side Effects: The benefits of long-term use of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs greatly outweigh the risks, according to a review of research published over 20 years. British Medical Journal 7/31/14
• Prevnar-13 Should Be Routine for Seniors: A second vaccine to protect seniors against pneumonia has been recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. The panel decided Wednesday that people 65 and older should get Pfizer's Prevnar-13 vaccine, as well as an older pneumonia vaccine.
• High Dose Trivalent Flu Shot Better for Seniors: A high-dose, trivalent, inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV3-HD) is associated with improved protection for seniors against laboratory-confirmed influenza infection compared with standard-dose trivalent, inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV3-SD), according to a study published in the Aug. 14 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
• Using Dietary Supplements: CAM Basics from the Nat’l Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)
• Probiotics and High Blood Pressure: Regular intake of probiotics, such as those found in certain yogurts or supplements, may help ease the condition. Researchers looked at data from nine studies that examined links between probiotics and blood pressure. The studies involved a total of 543 adults with either normal or elevated blood pressure. Hypertension 7/2/1/14
• Fruits, Veggies May Have Their Limits in Boosting Lifespan: The nutrients in fruits and vegetables are vital to good health and a long life, but only up to a point. Once you've hit five servings of fruits and vegetables each day, additional daily servings don't appear to boost longevity, a new research review suggests. Before you reach that five servings a day recommendation, however, the review suggests that the risk of death from any cause drops 5 percent for each additional daily serving of fruits or vegetables consumed. And, the risk of death from heart disease seems to decrease 4 percent for each additional daily serving of fruits and vegetables, according to Hu's research. BMJ
• Eating baked, broiled fish weekly boosts brain health: Eating baked or broiled fish once a week is good for the brain, regardless of how much omega-3 fatty acid it contains, according to researchers. The findings add to growing evidence that lifestyle factors contribute to brain health later in life. American Journal of Preventive Medicine
• Coffee May Keep Your Ears from Ringing: Researchers found that women who consumed higher amounts of caffeine were less likely to have tinnitus, which is a steady ringing or buzzing in the ear. American Journal of Medicine
• Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Alzhemier’s: Older adults with too little vitamin D in their blood may have twice the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease as seniors with sufficient levels of the "sunshine vitamin," a new study finds. But the findings aren't enough to recommend seniors take vitamin D supplements to prevent mental decline. "Clinical trials are now urgently needed in this area," said study researcher David Llewellyn, a senior research fellow in clinical epidemiology at the University of Exeter Medical School in England. Neurology Aug. 6
• What type of generics do physicians and pharmacists buy? Doctors and pharmacists buy generic pain medicine more often than laypeople do. But they're much less likely than the rest of us to buy generic Alka-Seltzer. Is there something we should know about generic Alka-Seltzer? NPR
• Guidelines Issued for Treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome: The new guidelines, released this week by the American College of Gastroenterology, say there's evidence to support the following treatments for irritable bowel syndrome:
• Fiber (psyllium especially when compared to bran)
• An antibiotic called rifaximin (Rifagut)
Medications known as linaclotide (Linzess) and lubiprostone (Amitiza)
• No Link Between Sleep Apnea and cancer: Canadian researchers have found no apparent connection between sleep apnea and cancer in a new study of more than 10,000 people with this common sleep disorder. Canadian Medical Association Journal Aug. 5
• Worm pill could ease autoimmune disease symptoms: Experts believe a molecule in parasitic worms could help explain why worm infections can effectively treat a range of autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. The study successfully identified peptides from parasitic worms that suppress the body's immune response. Researchers believe this could pave the way for a new drug containing the peptide to provide relief from the symptoms of autoimmune diseases. he FASEB Journal, 2014; DOI: 10.1096/fj.14-251967