Review Category : Health

Study Finds Earlier, More Aggressive Treatment Helps HIV-Positive Patients Live Longer

Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — When it comes to treating HIV, the sooner, the better. That’s the latest from a large-scale National Institutes of Health study released Wednesday.

The study found that even patients in the early stages of HIV diagnosis, with relatively healthy immune systems, reduced their risk of death by more than half when put on antiretroviral drugs. Being put on medication when their immune systems were stronger also reduced patients’ risk of developing full-blown AIDS.

“We now have clear-cut proof that it is of significantly greater health benefit to an HIV-infected person to start antiretroviral therapy sooner rather than later,” said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at NIH.

Findings held true for participants around the globe, with investigators finding similar results in both low- and high-income countries.

Because of the new findings, the NIH is changing their HIV treatment recommendations.

“We now have strong evidence that early treatment is beneficial to the HIV-positive person. These results support treating everyone,” said Dr. Jens Lundgren of the University of Copenhagen, one of the co-chairs of the study.

The study overturns older thinking about HIV treatment, which was that the toxic side effects of antiretroviral drugs should be avoided until a patient’s immune system started to suffer.

Side effects for going on antiretroviral drugs can be severe, including bone death and heart disease — in addition to a lifetime of daily pill schedules. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1.2 million Americans are living with HIV.

Taking antiretroviral drugs has also been proven to reduce risk of transmitting HIV to uninfected sexual partners. Based on these interim results, all of the study participants are being offered antiretroviral treatment if they’re not already on it. The international four-year study will continue until 2016.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Study Finds Earlier, More Agressive Treatment Helps HIV-Positive Patients Live Longer

Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — When it comes to treating HIV, the sooner, the better. That’s the latest from a large-scale National Institutes of Health study, released Wednesday.

The study found that even patients in the early stages of HIV diagnosis, with relatively healthy immune systems, reduced their risk of death by more than half when put on antiretroviral drugs. Being put on medication when their immune systems were stronger also reduced patients’ risk of developing full-blown AIDS.

“We now have clear-cut proof that it is of significantly greater health benefit to an HIV-infected person to start antiretroviral therapy sooner rather than later,” said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at NIH.

Findings held true for participants around the globe, with investigators finding similar results in both low- and high-income countries.

Because of the new findings, the NIH is changing their HIV treatment recommendations.

“We now have strong evidence that early treatment is beneficial to the HIV-positive person. These results support treating everyone,” said Dr. Jens Lundgren of the University of Copenhagen, one of the co-chairs of the study.

The study overturns older thinking about HIV treatment, which was that the toxic side effects of antiretroviral drugs should be avoided until a patient’s immune system started to suffer.

Side effects for going on antiretroviral drugs can be severe, including bone death and heart disease—in addition to a lifetime of daily pill schedules. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1.2 million Americans are living with HIV.

Taking antiretroviral drugs has also been proven to reduce risk of transmitting HIV to uninfected sexual partners. Based on these interim results, all of the study participants are being offered antiretroviral treatment if they’re not already on it. The international four-year study will continue until 2016.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

New and Totally Bizarre Baby Names

Stacey Newman/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — If you’re about to have a baby, please don’t name him Billion. The experts implore you.

Citing data from the Social Security Department’s Extended Name List, popular baby-naming site Nameberry has listed their picks for the 12 worst names.

“Swastik has to be the very worst, but Ruckus is right down there,” said Pamela Redmond Satran, a Nameberry baby-naming expert.

Someone named their child Swastik? Not just one person — to make the list, at least five babies had to be given this name for the first time in 2014. So a minimum of five people thought that was a good idea.

The Dirty Dozen:


Billion

“Cash is an up-and-coming baby name, and Rich has been around for decades,” Nameberry said. “So how about coming out and naming a number? Billion was used for five baby boys for the first time this year, though there were also 11 boys named Million and babies of both sexes named Amillion.”

Common

“If you are choosing a highly unusual name to help your child stand out from the crowd, this one does anything but.”

Dagger

“Where will the trend for Bad Boy names end? Dagger is one of the new violent names added to the lexicon this year,” Nameberry said.

Lay

The site said Lay was a name given to seven baby girls last year.

Londynne

Nameberry said London’s been popular in recent years, and with “such popularity inevitably spawns spelling variations.”

Mickinley

There were also five girls named Kennydi.

Payzley

It’s another target “for spelling adventurists,” Nameberry said.

Royaltee

“We’re not sure that new choices such as Royaltee, Royalti, and Royel set quite the right blueblood tone.”

Ruckus

Given to eight babies in 2014.

Sadman

Nameberry called it “as grating as the “uplifting” new names like Excel (seven girls) or Legendary (five boys).”

Swastik

Given to seven boys.

Wimberly

“Wimberley is a particularly entertaining member of the kind of new name introduced by parents looking to improve on an original by giving it a new first initial, or switching a few letters or sounds around.”

ABC News Videos | ABC Entertainment News

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

New and Totally Bizarre Baby Names

Stacey Newman/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — If you’re about to have a baby, please don’t name him Billion. The experts implore you.

Citing data from the Social Security Department’s Extended Name List, popular baby-naming site Nameberry has listed their picks for the 12 worst names.

“Swastik has to be the very worst, but Ruckus is right down there,” said Pamela Redmond Satran, a Nameberry baby-naming expert.

Someone named their child Swastik? Not just one person — to make the list, at least five babies had to be given this name for the first time in 2014. So a minimum of five people thought that was a good idea.

The Dirty Dozen:


Billion

“Cash is an up-and-coming baby name, and Rich has been around for decades,” Nameberry said. “So how about coming out and naming a number? Billion was used for five baby boys for the first time this year, though there were also 11 boys named Million and babies of both sexes named Amillion.”

Common

“If you are choosing a highly unusual name to help your child stand out from the crowd, this one does anything but.”

Dagger

“Where will the trend for Bad Boy names end? Dagger is one of the new violent names added to the lexicon this year,” Nameberry said.

Lay

The site said Lay was a name given to seven baby girls last year.

Londynne

Nameberry said London’s been popular in recent years, and with “such popularity inevitably spawns spelling variations.”

Mickinley

There were also five girls named Kennydi.

Payzley

It’s another target “for spelling adventurists,” Nameberry said.

Royaltee

“We’re not sure that new choices such as Royaltee, Royalti, and Royel set quite the right blueblood tone.”

Ruckus

Given to eight babies in 2014.

Sadman

Nameberry called it “as grating as the “uplifting” new names like Excel (seven girls) or Legendary (five boys).”

Swastik

Given to seven boys.

Wimberly

“Wimberley is a particularly entertaining member of the kind of new name introduced by parents looking to improve on an original by giving it a new first initial, or switching a few letters or sounds around.”

ABC News Videos | ABC Entertainment News

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

What You Need to Know About Anthrax Infections

Photo by Anthrax Vaccine Immunization Program/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Anthrax is again making headlines after Pentagon officials announced Wednesday that the U.S. military had inadvertently sent live spores to laboratories in nine states and South Korea.

At least 22 people at Osan Air Base in South Korea are being monitored and were given precautionary medical measures because they “may have been exposed” to the spores during a training event, according to a statement from the air base.

Here’s a guide to anthrax to explain how someone can get infected and how it can be stopped or treated.

What Causes Anthrax?

Anthrax is caused by a bacteria called Bacillus anthracis that forms naturally in the soil, where it can remain dormant for decades, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Animals such as cows or sheep are normally affected, though in rare cases people can be infected as well if they come into contact with the spores in the dirt or through food. In rare cases, the bacteria has infected a person after being injected. Once the spores enter the body through the respiratory tract, digestive tract or through the skin, the spores can become active and start to multiply.

It’s most commonly found in areas of Central and South America, sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, southern and eastern Europe, and the Caribbean, according to the CDC.

What Are the Symptoms?

Those people who were possibly exposed to spores at laboratories would be at highest risk for inhaling spores, which could result in respiratory distress as the bacteria multiply. This type of anthrax infection is considered the most dangerous form of the disease with just 10 to 15 percent of untreated people surviving, according to the CDC.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, explained the bacteria can cause an “intoxication” by releasing toxins into the body.

“It can cause a severe illness associated with fluid accumulated in the lungs,” said Schaffner. “The anthrax bacteria multiplies and lets loose these toxins.”

Once in the lungs, the bacteria can start to release toxins in the lungs that can lead to fluid build-up and even death. An incubation period can last from one day to two months, as the bacteria continue to grow.

Should the bacteria reach a certain point they can infect tissue or enter the blood stream and cause sepsis. Symptoms include fever chills, shortness of breath and dizziness.

Those exposed to anthrax can develop different symptoms depending on if the spores are inhaled, digested, injected with a needle or affect the skin.

What Can You Do If You’re Exposed to Anthrax

Those exposed to spores can be put on post-exposure prophylaxis, which can consist of 60 days of antibiotics with three doses of an anthrax vaccine.

In addition to those at risk for exposure, the vaccine is available to those exposed to spores. The vaccine can stimulate antibody production that provides protection after the person stops taking antibiotics and protect a patient from dormant spores that may remain in the body.

Those who may have been exposed at Osan Air Base were given precautionary measures, including examinations, antibiotics and in some instances, vaccinations, according to a statement from the base.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

What You Need to Know About Anthrax Infections

Photo by Anthrax Vaccine Immunization Program/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Anthrax is again making headlines after Pentagon officials announced Wednesday that the U.S. military had inadvertently sent live spores to laboratories in nine states and South Korea.

At least 22 people at Osan Air Base in South Korea are being monitored and were given precautionary medical measures because they “may have been exposed” to the spores during a training event, according to a statement from the air base.

Here’s a guide to anthrax to explain how someone can get infected and how it can be stopped or treated.

What Causes Anthrax?

Anthrax is caused by a bacteria called Bacillus anthracis that forms naturally in the soil, where it can remain dormant for decades, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Animals such as cows or sheep are normally affected, though in rare cases people can be infected as well if they come into contact with the spores in the dirt or through food. In rare cases, the bacteria has infected a person after being injected. Once the spores enter the body through the respiratory tract, digestive tract or through the skin, the spores can become active and start to multiply.

It’s most commonly found in areas of Central and South America, sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, southern and eastern Europe, and the Caribbean, according to the CDC.

What Are the Symptoms?

Those people who were possibly exposed to spores at laboratories would be at highest risk for inhaling spores, which could result in respiratory distress as the bacteria multiply. This type of anthrax infection is considered the most dangerous form of the disease with just 10 to 15 percent of untreated people surviving, according to the CDC.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, explained the bacteria can cause an “intoxication” by releasing toxins into the body.

“It can cause a severe illness associated with fluid accumulated in the lungs,” said Schaffner. “The anthrax bacteria multiplies and lets loose these toxins.”

Once in the lungs, the bacteria can start to release toxins in the lungs that can lead to fluid build-up and even death. An incubation period can last from one day to two months, as the bacteria continue to grow.

Should the bacteria reach a certain point they can infect tissue or enter the blood stream and cause sepsis. Symptoms include fever chills, shortness of breath and dizziness.

Those exposed to anthrax can develop different symptoms depending on if the spores are inhaled, digested, injected with a needle or affect the skin.

What Can You Do If You’re Exposed to Anthrax

Those exposed to spores can be put on post-exposure prophylaxis, which can consist of 60 days of antibiotics with three doses of an anthrax vaccine.

In addition to those at risk for exposure, the vaccine is available to those exposed to spores. The vaccine can stimulate antibody production that provides protection after the person stops taking antibiotics and protect a patient from dormant spores that may remain in the body.

Those who may have been exposed at Osan Air Base were given precautionary measures, including examinations, antibiotics and in some instances, vaccinations, according to a statement from the base.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Teen Softball Player Dies Days After Having Brain Aneurysm

California Thunder via KABC(NEW YORK) — A California softball player has died days after having a brain aneurysm on the field.

Dana Housley was playing in a game Saturday when she reportedly told her coach she felt dizzy and collapsed. Family and teammates had held out hope that the 15-year-old player would survive the traumatic event.

Housley’s family announced Wednesday night the teen had died.

“Tonight our beautiful Dana chose to go with the Lord,” the family said in a statement posted by Housley’s softball team, the California Thunder, based in Covina, California. “We don’t yet understand his plan for her, but she will make a perfect angel.”

Housley’s teammates had created a hashtag #prayfordana to support the teen and draw attention to her case. Housley’s parents thanked her teammates for their support.

“We will feel pain and emptiness at the loss of our baby girl, but we won’t have to feel it alone,” the teen’s parents said in a statement. “We will not forget your love, prayers, and support, nor will we ever forget the wonderful memories of our little girl, Dana Housley #21.”

Her coach, Angelo Michaels, told ABC News station KABC-TV in Los Angeles, that Housley was a “spectacular” player.

“She never had an off day,” Michaels told KABC. “I don’t mean on the softball field I mean she just always had a smile, always gave 110 percent and great teammate.”

The team put up a message on its Twitter account Thursday mourning Housley.

A brain aneurysm occurs when a spot on a cranial artery weakens and starts to bulge out. If the aneurysm ruptures it can cause stroke, brain damage or death.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

FBI Investigating Medical Device That Spread Cancer in Some Women

Dmitrii Kotin/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The FBI is investigating whether Johnson and Johnson was aware that a surgical device it manufactured could spread cancer in the women on whom it is used.

Johnson and Johnson is one of the leading manufacturers of the power morcellator — a surgical device that breaks down growths in the uterus so that they can be easily removed. However, in as many as one out of every 350 cases, an unknown cancer is hidden within growths, and the device could potentially worsen the condition.

Johnson and Johnson may have been alerted to to the risks as early as 2006. The company didn’t remove the device from the market, however, until July 2014. In November of that year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration implemented its most serious warning on the device.

In that FDA warning, the agency noted that the device could “significantly [worsen] the patient’s long-term survival.”

The agency urged against the use of power morcellators.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Mystery Illness Cited as Dozens of NC Students Stay Home Sick

Fuse/Thinkstock(UNION COUNTY, N.C.) — North Carolina health officials have yet to find an explanation for a mysterious illness suspected of contributing to about one-third of students at an elementary school staying home Friday.

Officials said they believe many of the students who were absent stayed home because of the disease that is under investigation.

At least 160 students and 11 staff members of the Shiloh Elementary School in Union County, North Carolina, were out Friday, sending officials from the human services department in Union County into action, according to a department official.

Richard Matens, executive director of Human Services at Union County, said Wednesday that not everyone absent likely developed the illness, but the large number of illnesses was troubling. He said only one person had visited an emergency room after exhibiting symptoms but no one had been hospitalized. The symptoms included vomiting and diarrhea.

Tahira Stalberte, chief communications officer for the Union County School District, said school officials knew of 30 children and 10 staff members who had symptoms Friday. She said some of the “absent” students were actually picked up by their parents during the day.

Health officials did not have a definitive number of people who had symptoms, but an online survey from the human services department was made available to those who felt ill over the weekend and it was filled out 179 times, Matens said.

Third-grader Matthew Parola was one of those sickened and told ABC News affiliate WSOC-TV in Charlotte he had been “scared because I thought I had a virus or something.”

Matthew was back at school on Tuesday after the holiday weekend.

Matens told ABC News students’ family members have started to also come down with symptoms, suggesting the disease is a virus that can spread from person to person.

“Everything is hinting toward it’s viral in nature … because family members are getting it,” he said.

Matens said the illness has been lasting one to two days on average, but that more people are still getting sick. He said samples had been sent to a lab for examination.

“It’s probably the largest event in a single school that I have seen,” he told WSOC-TV.

The elementary school underwent a deep clean over Memorial Day weekend, in an effort to calm the fears of students and staff returning on Tuesday. Matens said about 45 children were absent Tuesday, adding he did not know whether they were all ill or absent for other reasons. There are 500 to 600 students enrolled at the school, according to Matens.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said if all the children got sick at the same time, there could be a “single source” contaminant such as food, which can be tainted with a communicable virus.

Additionally, he said there’s a chance that the gastrointestinal norovirus could be the cause of the outbreak because of how quickly it spread and the symptoms of the illness.

“Norovirus is spread very, very readily,” said Schaffner, who is not investigating the outbreak. “Some of these kids may have had something that brought them together like a church … that took place outside of the school.”

ABC News Videos | ABC Entertainment News

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

FDA Approves Two New Treatments for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Piotr Marcinski/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved a pair of treatments for irritable bowel syndrome.

Viberzi and Xifaxan, medications manufactured by two different companies, can be used, the FDA says, in adult men and women to treat IBS with diarrhea. The National Institutes of Health says that IBS affects 10 to 15 percent of American adults.

“For some people, IBS can be quite disabling, and no one medication works for all patients suffering from this gastrointestinal disorder,” Julie Beitz, director of the Office of Drug Evaluation in FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research said in a statement. “The approval of two new therapies underscores the FDA’s commitment to providing additional treatment options for IBS patients and their doctors.”

The two new treatments work differently, with Viberzi taken twice daily with food, whereas Xifaxan would be taken three times daily for a 14-day treatment cycle.

Both drugs were deemed safe by the FDA, with minor side effects including constipation, nausea and abdominal pain.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →