Health Highlights: Nov. 14, 201311/14/13
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
New Drug For Rare Blood Cancer Approved by FDA
A new drug to treat a rare and aggressive form of blood cancer
was approved Wednesday by the Food and Drug Administration.
Imbruvica was approved for patients with mantle cell lymphoma
who have already undergone at least one previous drug treatment.
This type of cancer typically begins in the lymph nodes but has
usually spread to the bone marrow and other parts of the body by
the time it's diagnosed, the
The new once-a-day capsule blocks a protein that enables the
cancer to multiply and spread. The FDA's approval is based on a
study of 111 patients. Tumors shrank or disappeared in 66 percent
of the patients who took Imbruvica. However, it's not clear if the
drug actually prolongs patients lives.
The new drug from Pharmacyclics and Janssen Biotech Inc. is the
second to be approved under the FDA's breakthrough designation,
which was approved by Congress last year. The classification is
meant to accelerate development of promising drugs by giving
companies additional meetings and earlier communication with FDA
Car Mechanic Develops Birth-Assist Device
An Argentine car mechanic's device to ease difficult births has
been endorsed by the World Health Organization and other major
donors, and has been licensed for production by an American medical
Jorge Odon, 59, said the idea for the Odon Device came to him
after watching a YouTube video about how to extract a cork trapped
in a wine bottle. He realized that the same approach could be used
to save a baby stuck in the birth canal,
The New York Timesreported.
Odon built the first prototype in his kitchen. He used a glass
jar for a womb, his daughter's doll for the trapped baby, and a
fabric bag and sleeve sewn by his wife as his lifesaving
With the actual device, an attendant slips a plastic bag inside
a lubricated plastic sleeve around the head, inflates it to grip
the head and pulls the bag until the baby emerges,
The device has enormous potential to save babies in poor
countries, and perhaps to reduce cesarean section births in rich
nations, according to doctors.
"This is very exciting," Dr. Mario Merialdi, the WHO's chief coordinator for improving maternal and perinatal health, told The Times. "This critical moment of life is one in which there's been very little advancement for years."
New Brain and Physical Health Program for Ex-NFL Players
Three medical schools and the National Football League Players
Association (NFLPA) have launched a new program focused on the
brain and physical health of former players.
The program, called The Trust, will provide ex-NFL players with
physical and neurological assessments and short- and long-term
treatment plans. It's free for players who spent at least two
seasons in the NFL,
The Cleveland Clinic, Tulane University and the University of
North Carolina are working with the NFLPA on the initiative.
"Athletic injuries and sports-related brain trauma have become part of the public consciousness and are being viewed as legitimate public health problems," Dr. Jay Alberts, director of the Cleveland Clinic Concussion Center, said in a news release, CBS Newsreported.
"Former professional football players, in particular, are at increased risk for neurological disease. The goal of this program is to identify potential problems -- physical, neurological or cognitive -- earlier, which may lead to earlier interventions and treatments," he explained.
Bill to Encourage Schools to Stock Food Allergy Drug Signed by
A new law meant to increase the availability of life-saving
epinephrine in U.S. schools was signed Wednesday by President
Epinephrine can help prevent severe reactions (anaphylaxis) and
death in children with severe food allergies. The law provides a
financial incentive to states to maintain a supply of epinephrine
in their schools and to permit trained school staff to administer
Wall Street Journalreported.
Only four states -- Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada and Virginia --
currently require schools to stock epinephrine, according to the
Food Allergy Research & Education organization. Another 20
states permit schools to stock the medication but don't require
they do so.
"This is something that will save children's lives," Obama said at a ceremony to sign the bill, WSJreported.
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