Health Highlights: July 28, 201107/28/11
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Tylenol's Maker Reducing Daily Dose to Help Prevent ODs
To lower the risk of accidental overdose from acetaminophen,
Johnson & Johnson is reducing the maximum daily dose of Extra
Strength Tylenol, its popular painkiller, by 1,000 milligrams.
Consumers will be advised to take no more than 6 pills a day
(3,000 milligrams total) instead of the 8 pills a day (4,000
milligrams) specified on current packaging.
The dosing interval also will be extended -- to every 6 hours,
from every 4-6 hours, McNeil Consumer Healthcare, the J&J
division that makes Tylenol, said in a news release issued
Thursday. Product packaging will bear the new dosing guidelines
beginning this fall.
The changes stem from a 2009 Food and Drug Administration
decision calling for tighter regulation of acetaminophen, the
painkiller in Tylenol, which can cause liver damage and fatal
overdose when used in excess. Next year, McNeil also intends to
reduce the maximum daily dose for Regular Strength Tylenol and
other products containing the pain reliever.
"Acetaminophen is safe when used as directed," the McNeil statement said. Taking multiple products or not following the dosing instructions can result in accidental overdose, the company added.
Acetaminophen is found in hundreds of over-the-counter headache,
fever and cold medications as well as prescription drugs, including
Percocet and Vicodin.
Childhood Asthma Drug Costs Doubled Over 10 Years
The percentage of American children treated for asthma increased
slightly over 10 years, while yearly drug costs to treat the
disease more than doubled, according to a federal government report
Between 1997-98 and 2007-08, the average annual percentage of
children treated for asthma rose from 4.7 percent to 6.1 percent.
The average annual prescription drug expenses increased from $349
to $838 per child, according to the latest
News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and
Overall average yearly health care expenses for a child with
asthma rose 37 percent, from $1,827 to $2,503.
The analysis of data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey
also showed that children ages 5 to 11 were more likely to be
treated for asthma than children ages 12 to 17.
New Brain Scan Technique Reveals Back Pain Severity
A new brain imaging technique may help doctors determine and
monitor the severity of patients' low back pain, researchers
They found that the method, called arterial spin labeling and
performed during MRI scans, enabled them to observe changes in
blood flow in specific areas of the brain as chronic back pain
patients held uncomfortable positions,
ABC News reported.
The study was conducted by scientists at Brigham and Women's
Hospital in Boston and appears online and in the August print issue
of the journal
"Normally, when you do studies with older techniques, you're not able to track the changes in people's chronic pain over time," study co-leader Dr. Ajay D. Wasan, an assistant professor of anesthesiology and psychiatry, told ABC News. "This provides a way to look at the physiology of the brain when someone has more or less chronic pain."
Judge Dismisses Suit Barring Embryonic Stem Cell Research
The Obama administration will be able to continue funding
embryonic stem cell research after a lawsuit challenging it was
The lawsuit alleged that a federal law that prohibits taxpayer
financing of embryonic stem cell research that harms an embryo was
being violated by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. But the
Obama administration argued that federal policy allows research
using embryos that were harvested long ago through private funding,
Associated Press reported.
U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth ruled last year that the
lawsuit was likely to succeed and ordered a stop to
federally-funded embryonic research while the case continued. But
the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. ruled that
the lawsuit was likely to fail and overturned the injunction.
As a result, Lamberth released an opinion Wednesday in favor of
the Obama administration, the
Scientists hope that embryonic stem cells will one day provide
cures for a number of ailments, including spinal cord injuries and
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