Health Highlights: Feb. 4, 201402/04/14
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
New Anti-Smoking Ad Campaign Targets Youth
Ruined teeth and damaged skin are among the images being used in
a new U.S. government anti-smoking ad campaign targeting young
As part of the $115 million effort, the Food and Drug
Administration will begin running ads Feb. 11 in more than 200
markets nationwide for at least one year. Along with placing print
ads in magazines such as Teen Vogue and on television stations such
as MTV, the campaign will also use social media, the
"The Real Cost" campaign is a "compelling, provocative and somewhat graphic way" of getting the attention of more than 10 million Americans ages 12 to 17 who are at risk of, or already, smoking cigarettes, according to Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products.
"Our kids are the replacement customers for the addicted adult smokers who die or quit each day," he told the AP. "And that's why we think it's so important to reach out to them -- not to lecture them, not to throw statistics at them -- but to reach them in a way that will get them to rethink their relationship with tobacco use."
One of the TV ads depicts a cigarette-shooting ray gun that
wrecks teeth. In another ad, two teens want to buy cigarettes in a
corner store and the cashier tells them it will cost them more than
they have. The teens then rip off a piece of their skin and pull
out a tooth to pay for the cigarettes.
"While most teens understand the serious health risks associated with tobacco use, they often don't believe the long-term consequences will ever apply to them," said FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, the APreported.
"We'll highlight some of the real costs and health consequences associated with tobacco use by focusing on some of the things that really matter to teens -- their outward appearance and having control and independence over their lives," she explained.
The FDA wants to reduce the number of young cigarette smokers by
at least 300,000 within three years, the
Brain Changes Found in Hockey Players With Concussions
Researchers have found structural changes in the brains of
hockey players who've suffered concussions.
MRI brain scans were conducted on 45 male and female Canadian
university hockey players before, during and after the 2011-12
season. Eleven of the players suffered a concussion during the
The New York Timesreported.
The brains of players who suffered a concussion during the study
period or who had a history of concussions showed significant
differences in white matter microstructure than the brains of those
who never had a concussion, according to the findings in the
Journal of Neurosurgery.
"We've seen evidence of chronic injuries later in life from head trauma, and now we've seen this in current players," Dr. Paul Echlin, an Ontario sports concussion specialist, told The Times.
He and his colleagues also found that the incidence of
concussion among the players in the study was three to five times
higher than previous estimates in the medical literature.
"How many more studies do we need before we realize significant changes are needed in the way we play the game?" Echlin told The Times.
"We want our children to keep playing hockey and other sports for the fun, health benefits and heightened self-esteem they derive from it. But we have to look seriously at the structure of the games our children play. We have to protect our children's brains," he added.
Blood Sugar Monitoring System Approved for Children, Teens:
Children and teens can now use a continuous blood sugar
monitoring system that's already being used by adults, the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration said Monday.
The agency approved the use of the Dexcom G4 Platinum Continuous
Monitoring System by diabetes patients ages 2 to 17. The device
provides continual information about glucose (blood sugar) levels
in the fluid around cells. It's used in conjunction with a blood
The G4 Platinum System is the first continuous blood sugar
monitoring system approved for use in patients ages 2 to 17, the
FDA said. The approval was based on a study that included 176
children and teens who wore the sensor for seven days.
The study revealed that in some ways, the device did not work as
well in youngsters as in adults. However, the device was effective
in determining patterns in blood sugar levels in children and
teens, and for alerting them when concentrations were reaching
potentially dangerously high or low levels, according to the
"This device can provide valuable glucose trend information to children with diabetes and their families, but it is important that those using this device understand the expected performance of this device compared to blood glucose meters, especially for detecting low glucose, in pediatric patients," Alberto Gutierrez, director of the Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and Radiological Devices in the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in an agency news release.
Pill Camera to Check Colon Approved by FDA
A pill camera that's swallowed to enable doctors to check the
large intestine for early signs of colon cancer has been approved
by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The PillCam Colon, which was approved for use in patients who've
had an incomplete colonoscopy, contains a battery-powered camera
that takes photos of the intestinal tract over eight hours, the
The photos are transmitted to a recording device worn by the
patient and later examined by the doctor.
The device was developed by Given Imaging Ltd. of Israel. It
estimates that about 750,000 U.S. patients a year can't complete a
colonoscopy due to reasons such as anatomy problems, colon diseases
or previous surgery, the
Eighty other countries had already approved Pillcam Colon.
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