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Friday, Apr 18th

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CDC: U.S. hospitals' poor antibiotic use puts patients at risk

AntibioticsMore than half of U.S. hospitalized patients get an antibiotic and health officials say a strong antibiotic stewardship program is needed for all hospitals.

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said antibiotics save lives, but poor prescribing practices are putting patients at unnecessary risk for preventable allergic reactions, super-resistant infections and deadly diarrhea.

Errors in prescribing decisions also contribute to antibiotic resistance, making these drugs less likely to work in the future, he said.

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FDA meningitis vaccine delay killing Americans

meningitis vaccineThe University of California-Santa Barbara began vaccinations for meningitis on Feb. 24. The vaccinations are welcome, but too late for UCSB lacrosse player Aaron Loy, whose feet were amputated after he contracted meningitis in November.

The reason Loy and other UCSB students hadn't already been vaccinated is because the federal Food and Drug Administration has delayed the vaccine's approval. In short, the FDA's policy is that the vaccine can't be deployed when doctors believe it could be most valuable (before an outbreak), but will approve its use when the vaccine is least helpful, after an outbreak has run its course for months.

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Hundreds of foods in U.S. contain 'ADA' plastics chemical: report

ada in foodsNearly 500 foods found on grocery store shelves in the United States, including many foods labeled as "healthy," contain a potentially hazardous industrial plastics chemical, according to a report issued Thursday by a health research and advocacy group.

Azodicarbonamide, also known as ADA, was found as an ingredient in breads, bagels, tortillas, hamburger and hot dog buns, pizza, pastries, and other food products, according to a report by the Environmental Working Group, based in Washington.

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Tough EU smoking regulations approved

EU smoking rulesAnti-smoking legislation is to be introduced across the European Union in an attempt to cut the number of smokers by 2.4 million.

The rules, voted in by the European Parliament, mean picture health warnings will have to dominate the front and back of all packaging. There will also be a ban on flavoured, such as menthol, cigarettes.

Pro-smoking groups have criticised a "nanny state mentality", but cancer charities have backed the measures.  An estimated 700,000 premature deaths are caused by smoking across the EU each year.

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Acetaminophen use in pregnancy may be linked to ADHD

acetamenophenAcetaminophen, the most common drug taken by pregnant women, may be linked to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, according to a large but preliminary new study from Denmark.

The study, published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics, found the disorder was more likely to develop in children whose mothers took the medication while pregnant.

Experts say the study does not prove a cause-and-effect relationship and more study is needed. It is likely to prompt concerns among women who have been told that the medication – found in Tylenol and many other pain and fever remedies – is safe during pregnancy.

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Mysterious polio-like illness affects kids in California

mysterious polio-like illnessA mysterious polio-like syndrome has affected as many as 25 California children, leaving them with paralyzed limbs and little hope of recovery.

"What's we're seeing now is bad. The best-case scenario is complete loss of one limb, the worst is all four limbs, with respiratory insufficiency, as well. It's like the old polio," said Keith Van Haren, a pediatric neurologist at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif.

The first known case appeared in 2012. Sofia Jarvis in Berkeley began to experience wheezing and difficulty breathing. The 2-year-old spent days in the intensive care unit at Children's Hospital Oakland. Doctors thought she had asthma.

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Court rules against Notre Dame over birth control

Notre Dame birth control rulingA federal appeals court on Friday ruled against the University of Notre Dame in a case over parts of the federal health care law that forces it to provide health insurance for students and employees that covers contraceptives.

The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago upheld a federal judge's earlier ruling that denied the Roman Catholic school's request for a preliminary injunction that would prevent it from having to comply with the birth control requirement as the university's lawsuit moves forward.

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