Health Highlights: Oct. 24, 201310/24/13
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
New High-Dose Flu Vaccine Better Protects Seniors
A new high-dose flu vaccine for seniors is more effective than
the standard shot, according to a study by vaccine manufacturer
People 65 and older generally have weaker immune systems and
regular flu shots tend to be only 30 to 40 percent effective in
them, according to experts. The study found that the new Fluzone
High-Dose vaccine was 50 percent effective in seniors, the
In other age groups, the effectiveness of the regular flu
vaccine can be 60 percent.
The Sanofi study of 32,000 seniors in the U.S. and Canada during
the last two flu seasons found that the high-dose vaccine was 24
percent more effective than the regular vaccine at preventing
"I wouldn't call it great," flu vaccine researcher Dr. Edward Belongia, of the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation in Wisconsin, told the AP. He was not involved in the study.
But Belongia added that any improvement in protecting seniors
from the flu is welcome.
A Sanofi executive was scheduled to present preliminary study
findings on Thursday at a meeting of the Advisory Committee on
Immunization Practices, which advises federal health officials, the
Many Parents Concerned About Football Brain Injury Risk:
About 1 in 3 American parents say the link between
football-related concussions and long-term brain injury would make
them less likely to allow their son to take the field, a new poll
But 39 percent said that reports of such risk hasn't changed
their level of concern about the game, according to
Seventy percent of respondents believe the benefits of playing
football outweigh the risks, while 24 percent say the risk of
injury is too high, the
HBO Real Sports/Maristsurvey found.
"It's a dilemma. It is a tough decision for a parent to make. But the good news about the study is that it creates real public awareness," Liz Giordano, of the Head Injury Association, told CBS News.
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
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