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Saturday, March 25, 2006

News Flash

Panel Rejects Black Box Warning for ADHD Drugs
A Food and Drug Administration pediatric advisory panel recommended easier-to-understand language on the labels of attention deficit medications instead of the stronger "black box" warning of potential cardiovascular and psychiatric risks that another committee had recommended last month. The advisory panel did recommend adding more information to the labels for the benefit of doctors, patients, and parents. "I wouldn't use the word 'tougher'," said panel chair Dr. Robert Nelson. Instead, he said the warning should be "clearer."
Too Much Fluoride in Water?
A committee studying the effects of fluoride in drinking water at the request of the Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that water concentration levels at or near current EPA standard caused adverse health effects, such as potential damage to teeth and bones. The panel did not address the health effects of the much smaller amounts of fluoride added to drinking water to prevent tooth decay, but focused on water supplies that had naturally occurring fluoride levels equal to the EPA's current maximum.
Bird Flu's Limits in Infecting Humans Explained
In a report published by the journal Nature and a similar study in the journal Science, scientists say they have discovered why the current H5N1 form of the bird flu virus cannot easily spread from person to person. Researchers from both studies found that the virus concentrates itself too deep in the respiratory tract to be transmitted by coughing or sneezing. However, experts warn that this could change through genetic mutation of the current viral strain.
Switching Meds To Fight Depression: Study
A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that about 50% of people with depression were able to control the condition with anti-depressants, but some had to use another drug or a drug combination to successfully relieve symptoms. "If the first drug doesn't work, don't give up," says John Rush, a psychiatrist at the University of Texas and the study's principal investigator.
Drug Treats Severe Alzheimer's
Swedish researchers say that the drug donepezil can improve language, memory, and understanding in patients with a severe form of Alzheimer's disease. The medication is already used to treat mild-to-moderate forms of the disease. The controversial drug was used in another recent trial in which 11 patients with vascular dementia died while taking it.



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