Health Highlights: Dec. 4, 201212/04/12
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Duchess of Cambridge Hospitalized With Severe Morning
The Duchess of Cambridge has been hospitalized with a severe
type of morning sickness and is expected to remain in hospital for
several days and to require a period of rest after she is released
home, according to a statement released Monday by St. James's
The duchess, whose pregnancy was just announced, has hyperemesis
gravidarum, a potentially dangerous form of morning sickness that
involves vomiting so severe that no food or liquid can be kept
This type of morning sickness is believed to affect about one in
50 pregnant women. It tends to occur more often in young women,
those who are pregnant for the first time, nonsmokers, and women
expecting multiple babies. Fewer than one percent of women with
hyperemesis gravidarum require hospitalization.
The cause of the condition isn't known, but doctors suspect it
may be linked to hormonal changes or nutritional problems.
"It's not unusual for pregnant women to get morning sickness, but when it gets to the point where you're dehydrated, losing weight or vomiting so much you begin to build up (toxic) products in your blood, that's a concern," Dr. Kecia Gaither, director of maternal fetal medicine at Brookdale University and Medical Center in New York, told the AP.
Women hospitalized with hyperemesis gravidarum typically receive
nutritional supplements and are given fluids intravenously to treat
dehydration. The condition usually subsides by the second trimester
and the rest of the duchesses' pregnancy "could be entirely
uneventful," Gaither said.
If hyperemesis gravidarum is diagnosed and treated early, there
are no long-term effects for either the mother or child, according
to doctors. Left untreated, the mother could be at risk for
developing neurological problems, such as seizures, or for early
New Alzheimer's Drug Begins Clinical Trial
The first combined mid- and late-stage study of a new type of
drug designed to slow mental and functional decline in Alzheimer's
patients was announced Monday by Merck & Co.
The 78-week trial involves a BACE inhibitor called MK-8931. It's
meant to limit production of beta amyloid protein, the main
component of brain damaging amyloid plaques believed to be the most
likely cause of Alzheimer's, the
The first phase will involve safety testing of the drug in about
200 patients. It will then expand to include as many as 1,700
patients and will test three different doses of the drug, compared
with a dummy pill.
Previous research showed that MK-8931 blocked formation of
nearly all the toxic amyloid plaques.
"No one's ever done that before," Darryle Schoepp, Merck's head of neuroscience research, told the AP. "If (amyloid) plaques are the cause, the medicine will work."
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