Health News Roundup: Virtual reality experiences can help ease severe pain; Burundi starts Ebola vaccines for health workersDevdiscourse | Updated: 15-08-2019 10:37 IST | Created: 15-08-2019 10:34 IST
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
The head of the U.S. House of Representative's oversight panel on Wednesday called on three drugmakers to turn over documents as part of an ongoing congressional review over generic drug price increases and accused the companies of "apparent efforts to stonewall" the probe. U.S. House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings, along with U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, the ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee, sent the letters to Mylan NV, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd and privately held Heritage Pharmaceuticals, the lawmakers said in a statement.
Novartis AG said on Wednesday it replaced the two top research and development executives at its Avexis unit after some data was manipulated from early testing of a gene therapy for infants that costs more than $2 million. Avexis' Chief Scientific Officer Brian Kaspar and Senior Vice President of Research and Development Allan Kaspar have not been involved in any operations at Avexis since early May 2019, Novartis said in a statement.
Air pollution, especially ozone, tied to worsening lung damage
The more exposure people have to air pollution, especially ozone, the more lung damage they develop over time, a U.S. study suggests. Researchers already knew that heavy air pollution makes lung disease worse in people who already have lung disease. The new study shows that even among people without lung disease, long-term exposure to air pollution even in relatively 'clean' areas can lead to signs of chronic lung disease, said Dr. Joel Kaufman, a co-author of the study and an environmental health researcher at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Virtual reality experiences can help ease severe pain
Playing virtual reality games or relaxing in a virtual nature setting might help ease chronic pain, particularly when symptoms are severe, a new experiment suggests. The 120 hospitalized patients in the study had rated their pain as at least a 3 out of 10 over the previous 24 hours. Half of the patients were chosen at random to use virtual reality headsets three times a day over the next 48 hours; the other half served as a control group and were told to watch health and wellness programming on the television in their rooms that included guided relaxations, poetry readings and health topic discussions.
Burundi starts Ebola vaccines for health workers: WHO
Burundi has started vaccinating its health workers against Ebola, beginning with those near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday. Burundi has had no reported cases of the deadly hemorrhagic fever, but the viral disease has been spreading in eastern Congo since August 2018 in an epidemic that has now killed at least 1,800 people. Efforts to control the outbreak have been hampered by militia violence and some local resistance to outside help.
Mexico's top court demands regulation on medical marijuana after long delays
Mexico's supreme court ordered the health ministry on Wednesday to issue regulation within six months on medical marijuana use, saying its failure to do so after legalization in 2017 had put rights at risk for patients, including children. The court made the decision as part of its ruling in favor of a child who needed medication derived from cannabis substance THC to treat epilepsy.
Poorer kids may have less shade in their schoolyards
Elementary schools with the greatest proportions of poor children may have the least amount of shade in their schoolyards where kids spend their recess, a new U.S. study finds. Researchers analyzing available shade in St. Louis elementary schools found a steady decrease in the amount of shade, especially from trees, with an increase in the number of children who qualified for subsidized lunches, according to the results in JAMA Dermatology.
Liver disease related to obesity and diabetes rising in U.S.
The only liver disease becoming more widespread in the U.S. is one driven by obesity and diabetes, even as other types of liver disorders linked to drinking or hepatitis are becoming less common, researchers say. For the study, researchers examined nationwide health survey data collected in five cycles between 1988 and 2016. Over this period, the proportion of adults with what's known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) rose from 20% to 28.3%, mirroring increases in rates of obesity and diabetes over the same period.
Body odor? A bacteria-embedded bodysuit may help
Deodorant not enough to stop your body odor? A new futuristic-style bodysuit with live bacteria embedded in it could help combat those unpleasant smells. The pale gray, long-sleeved "Skin II" contains healthy probiotic bacteria, reducing the smell of body odor, said its designer Rosie Broadhead. U.S.
FDA approves TB Alliance's treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved TB Alliance's treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis as part of a three-drug combination regimen called BPaL, the not-for-profit said on Wednesday. The decision comes two months after a panel of advisers to the FDA voted 14-4 in favor of the drug, pretomanid, in combination with linezolid and Johnson & Johnson's bedaquiline for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB).