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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

News Flash

Estrogen-Only Pills Increase Blood Clot Risk
A new government study links estrogen-only pills with an increased risk of blood clots in healthy women past menopause, but the risk was not as much as supplements that also contain progestin. "Unfortunately, the list just keeps growing. Almost everything we look at is a negative effect, except for relief of symptoms in women who have severe symptoms," said Dr. J. David Curb, the lead author of the estrogen-only study.
Abortion Pill Did Not Kill Woman: FDA
Food and Drug Administration officials say they have ruled out the abortion pill RU-486 in one of two deaths in women who have taken the drug. The second remains under investigation. Four other women have died of a rare but deadly infection after undergoing pill-triggered abortions. All four of those women tested positive for Clostridium sordellii, a common but rarely fatal bacterium. The FDA has warned doctors to watch for infection by the bacterium, though the drug mifepristone has not been proven to be the cause of death in any of those cases.
Contact Lens Solution Eyed in Fungus Outbreak
The makers of a contact lens solution has voluntarily stopped shipment of the product after federal health officials linked it to a fungal eye infection that can cause temporary blindness. The CDC is investigating 109 reports of Fusarium keratitis infection across 17 states since 2005. Officials said it was too early to determine if the solution was the cause of the infection, while both the FDA and the CDC continue to investigate a growing number of reports of eye infection caused by fungus.
Breakthrough in Lupus Research
A breakthrough procedure offers new hope to those suffering from lupus. Dr. Richard Burt of Northwestern Memorial Hospital is pioneering new research that uses a patient's own stem cells to treat extremely severe cases of lupus and other autoimmune diseases. "We bring the patient in, and we give them chemo to destroy their immune system," Dr. Burt said. "And then right after the chemotherapy, we infuse the stems cells to make a brand-new immune system."
Scientist Develop Laser that 'Melts Fat'
For the first time, a laser is being developed by scientists using selected wavelengths to heat up fat in the body without harming the overlying skin, which is then broken down and excreted by the body. Experts believe it could be used to treat heart disease, cellulite, and acne. "We can envision a fat-seeking laser, and we're heading down that path now," said Professor Rox Anderson, a dermatologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital.



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