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Study seeks link between swine flu shot, narcolepsy

WASHINGTON (AP) — One vaccine used in Europe during the 2009 swine flu pandemic was linked to rare cases of a baffling side effect — the sleep disorder narcolepsy. Now new research offers a clue to what happened. The vaccine Pandemrix never was used in the United States, and was pulled off the market abroad, […]

Pneumonia shots: Not just for kids

By Mark Glickstein, MD You may have seen the recent TV ads for Prevnar 13, a vaccine shot to reduce the risk of getting pneumonia. Prevnar 13 has been used in children for years. But now it is recommended for adults also. Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. It usually causes fevers, chills, and a bad […]

Study confirms early treatment is best for HIV

WASHINGTON (AP) — A major international study says HIV patients shouldn’t delay in seeking treatment: Starting medication soon after diagnosis helps keep people healthy longer. People who started anti-AIDS drugs while their immune system was strong were far less likely to develop AIDS or other serious illnesses than if they waited until blood tests showed […]

Doctor group seeks to clear confusion in cancer screening

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mammograms at 40 or 50? Every year or every other year? What’s the best colon check? Screening for cancer has gotten more complicated in recent years with evolving guidelines that sometimes conflict. Now a doctors’ group aims to ease some confusion — and encourage more discussion of testing’s pros and cons — […]

Smartphones can detect blood parasites

WASHINGTON (AP) — Prick a finger and have the blood checked for parasites — by smartphone? Scientists are turning those ubiquitous phones into microscopes and other medical tools that could help fight diseases in remote parts of the world. In the newest work, UC Berkeley researchers used a smartphone-run video microscope to target a challenge in […]

J&J seeks bioethics advice on compassionate use of drugs

WASHINGTON (AP) — Dying patients sometimes seek emergency access to experimental medicines, desperate for a last-chance treatment even if there’s little proof it could help. Now drug giant Johnson & Johnson is taking an unusual step, turning to independent bioethicists for advice on when to say yes or no. J&J’s Janssen Pharmaceutical Cos. is beginning […]

Dangers from prescription pills

By Richard Fleming, M.D. Opioids can be very helpful for cancer patients or to help patients get through a short period of intense pain, like from an injury. But they are rarely helpful for chronic pain. They do not work well for this condition, and they can cause serious harm. What are some of the […]

Study questions accuracy of tumor gene mapping

More cancer patients are getting the genes in their tumors mapped to help guide their treatment. New research suggests that isn’t always accurate enough, and a second test could help ferret out the culprit genes. Cancer involves two sets of genetic code — your own and your tumor’s. A study published Wednesday found that mapping […]

Exercising critically ill patients may help speed recovery

WASHINGTON (AP) — The intensive care unit is a last frontier for physical therapy: It’s hard to exercise patients hooked to ventilators. Some hospitals do manage to help critically ill patients stand or walk even if they’re tethered to life support. Now research that put sick mice on tiny treadmills shows why even a little […]

Antibiotics in children: to use or not to use, that is the question

By Jeff Ribordy, M.D. We live in an age when bacteria are better at resisting antibiotics. Both doctors and patients need to take this into account. This is a big concern when thinking about using antibiotics in children. One of the most common antibiotics used in kids is azithromycin, better-known by its brand name, Zithromax. It […]

Take a hike for your heart

Wednesday, April 1, is National Walking Day and the American Heart Association is encouraging Americans and Sacramento residents to lace up for their heart and get moving. On National Walking Day, a day where hundreds of thousands across the nation take steps to improve their health, Americans are encouraged to spend at least 30 minutes […]

Study: Fast-food limits didn’t cut obesity rate in South L.A.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A much-hailed law that restricted the opening of new stand-alone fast-food restaurants in one of the poorest sections of Los Angeles did not curb obesity or improve diets, a new study found. City lawmakers passed the zoning ordinance in 2008 that limited the opening or expansion of fast-food outlets in a […]

Extra oxygen may spur tumor-fighting cells

A provocative study in mice suggests something as simple as breathing in extra oxygen might give immune cells a boost in attacking cancer. The immune system often can spot and destroy abnormal cells before they grow into cancer. But when tumors manage to take root, they put up defenses to block new immune attacks. Wednesday’s […]

Breastfeeding: Is breast best?

By Michael Vovakes, MD Breastfeeding your baby is a personal matter. But it also is an issue which often draws strong opinions from friends and family. Any new mother probably knows this to be true. Many medical experts strongly recommend breastfeeding. But you and your baby are unique so the final decision is up to […]

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