Health Highlights: Sept. 20, 201009/20/10
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of
Many Teens Discount Dangers of Texting While Driving: Survey
Many American teens consider texting while driving to be less
dangerous than drinking and driving, even though research shows the
two can be equally serious, says a survey released Monday.
The poll of 697 teens ages 14 to 17 found that only 36 percent
strongly agreed that they could be killed if they regularly text
and drive, compared with 55 percent who believed the same thing
about drinking and driving.
The survey also found that 63 percent of the teens strongly
agreed they could get into an accident if they text and drive,
compared with 78 percent who believed the same thing about drinking
Teens who said they never text and drive were more likely than
those who admitted to texting while driving to strongly agree they
could get into an accident if they text and drive -- 73 percent vs.
"Some teens still think the consequences of reaching for a cell phone are less severe than reaching for a beer bottle," Laurette Stiles, vice president of strategic resources at State Farm, said in a news release. "We have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to helping teens understand that texting while driving can be every bit as dangerous as drinking while driving. It's an awareness gap that must be addressed."
The survey was conducted by Harris Interactive for State Farm,
an insurance company.
FDA Reviewing Cancer Risk With Diabetes Drug Actos
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Friday that it has
begun a safety review of the type 2 diabetes drug Actos
(pioglitazone), after receiving preliminary results from a
long-term study designed to gauge the risk of bladder cancer
associated with use of the drug.
Early results of the study showed no overall association between
Actos and the risk of bladder cancer. But, there was an increased
risk of bladder cancer in patients with the longest exposure to
Actos and in those with the highest cumulative dose of the drug,
the FDA said.
The preliminary results are based on five years of data from an
ongoing, 10-year observational study by the drug's manufacturer,
Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America Inc., the FDA said.
The FDA stressed that it has not concluded that Actos increases
the risk of bladder cancer.
Patients should talk to their health-care provider if they have
concerns about Actos, but should not stop taking the drug unless
told to do so by their health-care professional, the agency
Actos is a drug used to control blood sugar in patients with
type 2 diabetes, and is part of a class of drugs called peroxisome
proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) agonists. The only other
drug in this class is Avandia (rosiglitazone). The FDA said it has
no clinical information associating Avandia with bladder
In July, an FDA advisory panel voted that Avandia should stay on
the market, but with tightened controls, because of concerns that
the drug may raise the risk of heart attack but not the risk of
California Facing Record Number of Whooping Cough Cases
The whooping cough epidemic in California that's killed nine
infants has reached at least 4,017 reported cases and appears
likely to break the 1955 record of 4,949 cases in the state.
The highly contagious bacterial infection tends to peak during
summer months, but new cases could continue to occur over the next
few weeks, Dr. Gil Chavez, an epidemiologist for the California
Department of Health, told the
Nationwide, there have been 11,466 reported cases of whooping
cough (pertussis) as of Sept. 12, according to U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention data. That's 519 more cases than at
the same time last year.
Other states with high numbers of whooping cough infections
include Texas (1,783 reported cases) and Ohio (1,019 reported
cases), said the
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