Health Highlights: April 2, 201304/02/13
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Shanghai Activates Emergency Response Plan After Bird Flu
Officials in Shanghai, China have activated an emergency
response plan after two men died from the lesser-known H7N9 strain
of bird flu.
The city government did not immediately provide details about
the plan, but measures typically include more stringent monitoring
of suspect cases, the
The H7N9 bird flu virus, which previously was not known to
infect humans, also seriously sickened a women in another Chinese
city. And there are unverified reports about a fourth case of H7N9
in the city of Nanjing.
Xinhuanews agency reported that Beijing health officials
increased the capital city's state of readiness, ordering hospitals
to monitor for cases of bird flu and pneumonia without clear
Balloon Treatment for MS Ineffective: Study
A controversial treatment for multiple sclerosis did not help
patients and may actually have worsened brain lesions associated
with the disease, according to the findings of a small clinical
University at Buffalo researchers tested the "liberation
therapy," which involves the use of balloons to widen veins in the
head and neck. The therapy is based on the unproven theory that
narrowed veins cause multiple sclerosis by preventing blood from
draining out of the brain properly,
The New York Timesreported.
In the study, 10 patients underwent the balloon procedure while
10 other patients had a "sham" procedure in which doctors did not
actually use balloons. The patients were monitored for six
The two groups of patients had no significant differences in
symptoms or in quality of life. In a few cases, brain lesions
associated with multiple sclerosis actually seemed to worsen after
The findings were presented last month at a meeting of the
American Academy of Neurology. The clinical trial was small
and the results need to be confirmed by further research, said
study leader Dr. Adnan Siddiqui.
In recent years, about 30,000 patients worldwide have been
treated at clinics offering the balloon treatment,
Novartis Loses Cancer Drug Patent Fight in India
Swiss drug maker Novartis AG's attempt to patent an updated
version of its cancer drug Glivec was rejected Monday by India's
Health activists said the decision ensures that poor patients
worldwide will continue to have access to cheap versions of
lifesaving medicines, the
Glivec, which is known as Gleevec outside of India and Europe,
is mainly used to treat leukemia.
Indian generic drug maker Cipla makes a version of Glivec that
sells for less than a tenth of the original drug's selling price,
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