Health Highlights: Oct. 23, 201310/23/13
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Ob/Gyns Change Pregnancy Length Definitions
New definitions of preterm and full term pregnancies have been
released by the American College of Obstetricians and
Until now, a baby was considered preterm if born before 37 weeks
of pregnancy and full term if born anytime from 37 to 42 weeks, the
The new definitions are: early term, between 37 weeks and 38
weeks 6 days; full term, between 39 weeks and 40 weeks 6 days; late
term, the 41st week; post term, after 42 weeks. On average, a
pregnancy lasts 40 weeks.
The updated classifications were published Tuesday in the
Obstetrics & Gynecology.
The new definition of a full term pregnancy is meant to reflect
the fact that even at the end of the last trimester, a bit more
time in the womb can benefit a baby's development and health.
"Weeks matter," Dr. Jeffrey Ecker of Massachusetts General Hospital, chair of the ACOG committee that came up with the more specific labels, told the AP. Since babies' outcomes can differ, "let's not call it all the same," he said.
In recent years, experts have emphasized that that elective
deliveries -- inductions and cesarean sections scheduled without a
medical reason -- shouldn't be performed before the 39th week of
pregnancy. Studies show that infants born at 37 weeks have a higher
risk of complications, such as difficulty breathing, than those
born just two weeks later.
The new definitions were welcomed by the March of Dimes, which
said they will eliminate "confusion about how long an
uncomplicated, healthy pregnancy should last," the
Sterile Products From Michigan Compounding Pharmacy Recalled
Certain sterile human and veterinary products are being recalled
by a compounding pharmacy in Michigan after unidentified
particulate matter was found in one of the products, the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration says.
The recalled products were produced by Specialty Medicine
Compounding Pharmacy and distributed to hospitals and patients in
Michigan between July 1 and Oct. 19, 2013. None of the recalled
products were distributed outside of the state.
The FDA said that any sterile product from the company should
not be used or given to patients or animals. Hospitals, health care
providers, veterinarians and patients who have received any sterile
products produced by Specialty Medicine should immediately stop
using the products, quarantine them, and return them to the
For more information, contact Specialty Medicine Compounding
Pharmacy at 248-446-2643.
Experimental Hepatitis C Drug More Effective Than Current
An experimental hepatitis C drug appears to be slightly more
effective than current treatments, but can cause rash and sunburn
in some patients, according to a U.S. Food and Drug Administration
It was posted online ahead of a public meeting Thursday where an
FDA panel of outside experts will decide whether to recommend
approval of the Johnson & Johnson drug simeprevir, the
The drug cured 80 percent of hepatitis C patients who had not
previously been treated for the disease, according to the FDA
review. Drugs currently used to treat the blood-borne virus cure 65
to 75 percent of patients after a year of treatment.
More than 3 million people in the United States have hepatitis
C, which is linked to 15,000 deaths a year, the
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