Health Highlights: Sept. 4, 201409/04/14
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
U.S. Will Have Larger Health Care Spending Increases in Coming
After a few years of slower growth, the pace of health care
spending in the United States will speed up again in coming years,
according to a federal government report.
Health care spending rose less than 4 percent a year for five
straight years, through 2013. The report from the Office of the
Actuary says that spending will rise an average of 6 percent a year
from 2015 to 2023, the
Factors contributing to the higher increases in health care
spending include an improving economy, an aging population, and
more people with health insurance.
The report said that spending on health care will account for
19.3 percent of the U.S. economy in 2023, compared with 17.2
percent in 2012, according to the
"The period in which health care has accounted for a stable share of economic output is expected to end in 2014, primarily because of the (health care law's) coverage expansions," the government report said.
It noted that about 9 million uninsured people signed up for
coverage this year, and another 8 million will be added next year.
A larger number of insured people leads to greater demand for, and
more spending on, health care services, the
While there will be larger yearly increases in health care
spending, it will not reach the inflation rates of 7 percent or
more a year seen in the 1980s and 1990s, according to the authors
of the report published online in the journal
Between 2016 and 2023, Medicare and Medicaid will see average
annual spending increases of 7.3 percent and 6.8 percent,
respectively. The federal, state, and local government share of
health care spending will increase from 44 percent in 2012 to 48
percent in 2023, while the share covered by businesses will fall
from 21 percent to 19 percent, the
Little Evidence of Testosterone Drugs' Benefits or Risks:
There is little evidence that testosterone drugs are either
beneficial or pose serious health risks to men, the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration says in a review posted online Wednesday.
Millions of American men take the drugs, which come in various
forms, including pills, patches and gels. Companies claim their
products help counter low testosterone, which they link to fatigue,
low libido and weight gain, the
However, the FDA review says the "the need to replace
testosterone in these older men remains debatable."
There is a natural decline in testosterone levels after age 40,
but it's not clear that this decrease actually results in
aging-related issues such as loss of muscle and lower energy
The FDA review was released in advance of a public meeting to
discuss the benefits and risks of treatments to boost men's
testosterone levels. The meeting, scheduled for Sept. 17, was
announced after two federal government-funded studies found
connections between testosterone treatment and heart problems in
Testosterone injections were first approved in the 1950s for men
with abnormally low testosterone levels caused by injury or
illness. However, recent marketing campaigns tout the benefits of
testosterone therapy for otherwise healthy men with
lower-than-normal testosterone levels, the
The use of testosterone drugs in these men is "controversial"
and "there are no reliable data on the benefit in such a
population," according to the FDA review.
That's why it asked an panel of outside experts to decide
whether the prescribing information on testosterone drugs should be
changed to focus on a smaller group of patients.
The committee will also assess two recent studies that found
higher rates of heart problems in men taking testosterone drugs.
One study found that older men taking the drugs had a 30 percent
higher risk of stroke, heart attack and death, while the other
study concluded that testosterone therapy doubled the risk of heart
attack in men 65 and older with an existing heart condition, the
However, the FDA review noted that two other studies linked
testosterone with longevity.
The expert panel will be asked whether drug companies should be
required to do long-term follow-up studies to assess whether
testosterone drugs increase heart risks, the
Perdue Halts Antibiotic Use in Hatcheries
One of the largest poultry producers in the United States
announced Wednesday that it was stopping the routine use of
antibiotics in it hatcheries.
It's the latest step taken by Perdue over more than a decade to
deal with concerns about antibiotic use. The widespread use of
antibiotics in poultry and other animals raised for human
consumption has been linked to increased antibiotic resistance in
"The hatchery was the last step we recently accomplished," company chairman Jim Perdue told The New York Times.
"We've gotten calls from different groups watching our products and asking questions about our use of antibiotics, and we thought, 'Why don't we just talk about it openly instead of just talking to one group?'"
By 2007, Perdue had stopped using human antibiotics in feed to
promote growth in its poultry. However, the company will continue
to give human antibiotics to poultry flocks as needed to control
disease outbreaks, a Perdue official said.
Each year in the U.S., at least two million people develop
antibiotic-resistant infections and at least 23,000 die from the,
according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The
agency called the use of antibiotics in livestock "unnecessary" and
The Food and Drug Administration is working on draft regulations
to reduce the use of antibiotics in animals raised for human
Perdue's announcement "is a big step from the public health and
consumer perspectives," Gail Hansen, senior officer for the Pew
Charitable Trust's campaign on human health and industrial farming,
"I would like to think it makes the other poultry companies look at what Perdue is doing and say 'Is this something we can follow?'" Hansen added.
Copyright © 2014
. All rights reserved.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.