Health Highlights: Nov. 1, 201211/01/12
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Medical Research Threatened by Sandy Power Loss
Researchers at the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City
are struggling to save cells, tissues and animals used for medical
NYU lost power when superstorm Sandy struck Monday night and
backup generators later failed, which meant there was no power for
refrigerators, freezers and incubators used in research,
The loss of power also blocked access to NYU's Smilow Research
Center because the electronic key card readers would not work.
"It's so horrible, you don't even want to think about it," cancer biologist Michelle Krogsgaard told ABC News. "All the work we did, all the time and money, we're going to have to start all over."
On Wednesday, she and members of her lab were allowed into the
research center to rescue tissue samples from thawing freezers, and
also hoped to top up depleted tanks of liquid nitrogen that house
irreplaceable cell lines.
Planned Parenthood in Texas Continues to Receive Funding for
Planned Parenthood in Texas will continue to receive money from
a joint state and federal program for the time being, despite Gov.
Rick Perry's pledge to cut its funding by Nov. 1, the
A new Texas law forbids state funds from going to organizations
linked to abortion providers. Planned Parenthood in the state is
funded by the joint state and federal program that provides health
care to low-income women.
The federal government funds 90 percent of the $40 million
yearly cost of the program, but says the Texas law violates federal
rules. Perry says only state money will be used to keep the program
On Wednesday, Perry announced that the state was ready Thursday
to begin a women's health program with state-only funding. But
Health and Human Service Commissioner Kyle Janek said the program
will not begin immediately and may not take effect until Dec. 31
since federal funding will continue until then, the
In addition, there are three unresolved lawsuits over the
NYC's Bellevue Closes, Remaining Patients Evacuated
It could be weeks before Bellevue Hospital in New York City
opens its doors again, an official says.
The city's flagship public hospital and premier trauma center in
Manhattan closed Wednesday after fuel pumps for its backup power
generators failed. The remaining 300 patients were evacuated to
The New York Timesreported.
Conditions at the hospital had deteriorated to a third-world
level, with no hot water, no lab or radiology services, and pails
of water lugged up flights of stairs to use for flushing toilets,
Alan Aviles, the president of the Health and Hospitals Corporation
which runs Bellevue, said at a news conference Wednesday night.
"If we can get this hospital back up within two to three weeks we will be doing really well," he said, The Timesreported. "Nothing has happened like this in Bellevue's 275-year history."
More Drug Trial Data Required Under New Journal Policy
Beginning in January, the
British Medical Journalwill no longer publish the results of
clinical trials unless drug makers and researchers agree to provide
detailed study data on request.
The move is meant to push drug companies to provide access to
the huge amounts of data they collect when researching new drugs.
Currently, very little of that data is made public.
Critics say that when clinical trial results are published in
medical journals, they often include only the most favorable
findings and independent researchers are not allowed to analyze all
Journal editor Dr. Fiona Godlee said she hopes other major
journals will adopt similar policies. "We expect that eventually
this will become the norm," she told
The journal will publicize cases in which access to full
clinical trial data is denied, Godlee said.
Canada, Switzerland Lift Ban on Novartis Flu Vaccines
Bans on two Novartis flu vaccines were lifted Wednesday by
Canadian and Swiss health officials after they determined the
vaccines were safe.
The two countries were among a number of nations that halted the
use of the Fluad and Begripal flu vaccines after white particles
were seen in the products,
Use of the vaccines was also frozen in Austria, Germany, France,
Italy and Spain.
Switzerland's national drug agency Swissmedic said the "security
and efficiency of the vaccine are in no way weakened by these
(particles) present in some syringes." The Public Health Agency of
Canada said it is "advising health care professionals in possession
of these vaccines that they can start using them once again,"
"Novartis is working diligently with other health authorities to address their questions and resume distribution," the Swiss drug maker said Wednesday.
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