Life-Jacket Laws Spur Use, Could Prevent Drownings

By Ronnie Cohen

NEW YORK Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:55am EST

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Dr. Linda Quan lost count of the number of children she watched slowly die from drowning. But she will never forget the pain on the faces of her patients’ parents when she broke the news to them.

That pain spurred the Seattle emergency room pediatrician to advocate for a Washington state law that now requires children 12 years and younger to wear life vests aboard small recreational boats.

E-cig industry on tenterhooks ahead of U.S. regulation

By Toni Clarke

WASHINGTON Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:32am EST

Various e-cigarette products for sale are seen at the Henley Vaporium in New York City December 18, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Various e-cigarette products for sale are seen at the Henley Vaporium in New York City December 18, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Lobbyists for electronic cigarette companies have been beating a path to the White House, hoping to prevent the administration from imposing strict, and possibly costly, rules on the burgeoning $2 billion industry.

In November and December, more than 35 organizations including e-cigarette companies, cigar and tobacco makers, trade associations, physician groups, lawyers, lobbyists and public health advocates trooped through the doors of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget.

Raptor says Huntington's disease drug slows loss of muscle control

Thu Feb 20, 2014 7:46am EST

(Reuters) – Raptor Pharmaceutical Corp said its experimental brain disorder drug slowed the loss of muscle control in patients with Huntington’s disease after 18 months of treatment.

Raptor’s shares were up 9 percent at $16.24 in premarket trading on Thursday.

The drug slowed the progression of muscle spasms, eye and hand movements and loss of balance compared to a placebo.

The trial enrolled 96 patients with Huntington’s disease, a genetic disorder caused by the degeneration of nerve cells in parts of the brain, resulting in the loss of executive function and uncontrollable movements.

First biomarker could help boys at risk of major depression

By Kate Kelland

LONDON Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:06pm EST

LONDON (Reuters) – British brain scientists have identified the first biomarker, or biological signpost, for clinical depression and say it could help find boys in particular who are at risk of developing the debilitating mental illness.

In a study in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science (PNAS) journal, the team found that teenage boys who have a combination of depressive symptoms and raised levels of the stress hormone cortisol are up to 14 times more likely to develop major depression than those who show neither trait.

Kids who use snus before age 16 more likely to become smokers

By Shereen Jegtvig

NEW YORK Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:35pm EST

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Norwegians who started using snus before age 16 were more likely to become cigarette smokers than those who started using snus later in life, according to a new study.

Snus is moist smokeless tobacco developed in Sweden. It’s contained in a small pouch, and unlike regular chewing tobacco, it doesn’t make the user spit.

Research suggests snus has lower levels of chemicals called nitrosamines than cigarettes and may be less harmful.

FDA warns about Medisca's L-citrulline supplement

WASHINGTON Sat Feb 15, 2014 5:51pm EST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Saturday certain lots of the supplement L-citrulline, used to treat genetic disorders found mostly in children, sold by compounding firm Medisca Inc were found to contain none of the drug, and warned doctors and patients not to use it.

The FDA said the company is voluntarily recalling eight lots of the supplement. The agency said it has received “several adverse event reports associated with Medisca’s L-citrulline product.”

Digital media could work as tool to improve health

By Ronnie Cohen

NEW YORK Fri Feb 14, 2014 4:28pm EST

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – After a desperate mother in South Wales, UK, posted a video of her baby having a seizure on Facebook, one of her friends provided the diagnosis that had eluded the boy’s doctor.

The discovery that Evan Owens suffers from reflex anoxic seizures, a rare but treatable disease, provided a happy ending and is just one example of the public health benefits of digital media, says a new perspective in the Journal of Public Health.

Matchmakers can get a happiness boost, too

By Kathryn Doyle

NEW YORK Fri Feb 14, 2014 12:54pm EST

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Fixing up your single friends this Valentine’s Day might pay off for them, and it could make you happier too, according to a new group of studies.

“We are all matchmakers in some sense, and even if we don’t self-define as one, we know at least one chronic matchmaker who can’t resist but introduce people to each other,” said Lalin Anik, from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business in Durham, North Carolina.

No such thing as porn 'addiction,' researchers say

Journalists and psychologists are quick to describe someone as being a porn “addict,” yet there’s no strong scientific research that shows such addictions actually exists. Slapping such labels onto the habit of frequently viewing images of a sexual nature only describes it as a form of pathology. These labels ignore the positive benefits it holds. So says David Ley, PhD, a clinical psychologist in practice in Albuquerque, NM, and Executive Director of New Mexico Solutions, a large behavioral health program.

Dr. Ley is the author of a review article about the so-called “pornography addiction model,” which is published in Springer’s journal Current Sexual Health Reports.

Meditation might reduce workplace stress

By Kathleen Raven

NEW YORK Thu Feb 13, 2014 4:04pm EST

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Regular doses of meditation might prevent work-related stress and burnout, a small U.S. study suggests.

Teachers and support staff working at a school for children with behavior problems felt less stressed after practicing 20 minutes of Transcendental Meditation (TM) twice a day for four months.

But participants “reported feeling less stressed and more energetic within a few days,” said the study’s senior author Sanford Nidich, of Maharishi University’s Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention in Fairfield, Iowa.