Author: Editor - Health News

HPV Vaccine Safe for Adult Women: Study

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 18, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Vaccines that ward off the cancer-linked human papillomavirus (HPV) are safe for adult women, according to a study of more than 3 million Scandinavians. The researchers, who used Danish and Swedish hospital data to track the incidence of 44 different illnesses over 10 years, found no “serious safety concerns” for women who’d gotten the HPV vaccine to reduce their odds for cervical cancer. The vast majority of cervical cancers are thought to be caused by infection with HPV. Diseases or conditions studied in the new analysis included epilepsy, paralysis, lupus, psoriasis, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid issues and Crohn’s disease, among others. The study did find slightly higher odds for celiac disease among vaccinated women, but this was seen only in Denmark. The authors noted that celiac disease is “markedly underdiagnosed” in the Danish population, so that could account for that finding. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that is triggered by eating gluten, a protein found in wheat and grain products. Because HPV is sexually transmitted, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccination before the start of sexual activity. Ideally, that is between the ages of 9 and 12. But adult women may wish to get the shot, so this study should reassure them about the vaccine’s safety, said the team led by Dr. Anders Hviid, of...

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New Genes Linked to Restless Legs Syndrome

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 18, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Scientists have pinpointed more gene mutations that may cause restless legs syndrome. A new study involving roughly 46,000 people with restless legs syndrome turned up 13 new gene variants that appear to raise the risk for the condition, which affects up to 10 percent of the U.S. and European populations. “We were able to identify a total of 19 risk-associated genetic variants, of which 13 are new. We’re confident that our findings will significantly improve our understanding of the molecular causes of restless legs syndrome,” said study first author Dr. Barbara Schormair. She’s with the Institute of Neurogenomics at the Helmholtz Center in Munich, Germany. People with the condition experience unpleasant sensations in their legs at night, including tingling and the urge to move their legs. For the study, an international team of researchers from the Technical University of Munich and the Helmholtz Center, with help from scientists at Cambridge University in England and the U.S.-based company 23andMe, compared the genetic data of 15,000 restless legs patients with the genetic data of 95,000 people from the general population. The investigators said they confirmed their results with data from 31,000 additional patients and more than 280,000 healthy individuals. Surprisingly, the researchers found that restless legs syndrome mainly involves genes involved in the embryonic development of the nervous system. But the condition typically doesn’t...

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Cooling Mitts, Socks May Ease a Major Chemo Side Effect

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 18, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Many cancer drugs can cause debilitating nerve damage as a side effect. But a small study suggests that simple cold wraps to the hands and feet might prevent it. The side effect, known as peripheral neuropathy, damages nerves in the limbs. This often leads to pain, numbness and tingling, and difficulty with balance and using the hands and fingers. There are treatments for peripheral neuropathy, according to the American Cancer Society. But there are no proven ways to prevent it. In the new study, researchers tested a simple tactic: having patients wear frozen gloves and socks during chemotherapy. With that protection in place, patients were much less likely to develop symptoms of nerve damage, the study found. Medical experts said there are reasons to be excited about the findings. For one, the therapy is “easy and safe,” said study leader Akiko Hanai, an occupational therapist at Kyoto University, in Japan. Still, there are cautions, she said. Besides its small size, the study looked only at patients being treated with the drug paclitaxel (Taxol). It’s not clear, Hanai said, whether cold therapy would have similar benefits for patients on other cancer drugs. And the tactic is not one for people to try on their own. In this study, the frozen socks and gloves were donned during chemo — with therapists standing by to...

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Avoiding Alcohol Helps the Heart Beat Better

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 18, 2017 (HealthDay News) — The longer you refrain from drinking, the lower your risk of a common heart rhythm disorder. That’s the message of a new long-range study examining alcohol use and atrial fibrillation, or Afib. This is when electrical impulses in the upper chambers of the heart are chaotic and cause an irregular heartbeat, which increases the risk of blood clots that can cause stroke or heart attacks. One in four adults older than 40 is at risk for Afib, and nearly 6 million people in the United States could have the condition by 2050. But the researchers from the University of California, San Francisco found that every decade of non-drinking decreased the risk of Afib by 20 percent, regardless of the type of alcohol. The study included heart-risk data generated over 25 years on more than 15,000 American adults. Past drinkers were at increased risk for Afib, the researchers found. Every additional decade in which alcohol was consumed in the past was associated with a 13 percent increased risk of Afib, and every additional drink per day during former drinking was associated with a 4 percent increased risk. “For a disease that affects millions and is one of the most important causes of stroke, identifying modifiable risk factors is especially important,” study senior author Dr. Gregory Marcus said in a UCSF news release. He...

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Skip Opioid Treatment for Migraine in the ER

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 18, 2017 (HealthDay News) — For people seeking treatment for a migraine in the emergency room, a commonly prescribed opioid called hydromorphone (Dilaudid or Exalgo) doesn’t seem to work as well as at least one other medication, a new study finds. “People go to U.S. emergency departments 1.2 million times a year with migraine, and the opioid drug hydromorphone is used in 25 percent of these visits, yet there have been no randomized, high-quality studies on its use for acute migraine,” said study author Dr. Benjamin Friedman. He is with the department of emergency medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. Doctors should consider available alternatives before giving patients the opioid painkiller, the study authors suggested in a news release from the American Academy of Neurology. For the study, researchers investigated if opioid use led to addiction among 127 patients who made repeated trips to two emergency departments in New York for treatment of migraines. Half of the people were treated with hydromorphone. The remaining patients were given prochlorperazine through an IV. This drug works by blocking the release of a brain chemical called dopamine. The researchers looked at how many of the patients had migraine relief for at least 48 hours. The study was halted after the 127 patients were enrolled because the results showed that prochlorperazine worked dramatically better than...

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