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Medicine 51 articles

Certain pacemakers vulnerable to hacks, FDA says

A hacker hacking someone’s pacemaker sounds like something that could only happen in a science fiction movie, doesn’t it? Unfortunately,  that reality may be a little too close for comfort. Last month the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a voluntary recall of 465,000 pacemakers for the potential to be hacked, according to Fortune. The recall raises concerns of how internet-connected medical devices can ensure patient safety. The devices, which provide pacing for slow or irregular heart rhythms, contain “configurable embedded computer systems that can be vulnerable to cybersecurity intrusions and exploits,” according to the FDA alert. RF-enabled St. Jude ... Read More

Women’s sight loss highlights lack of stem-cell treatment regulation

Three women who had stem cells injected into their eyeballs at a private clinic in Florida have suffered permanent, severe eye damage from the treatments. The women, who each paid $5,000 to have the stem cells injected to counter the effects of macular degeneration, had fat taken from their stomachs, and stem cells obtained from the fat were then injected into their eyes with catastrophic consequences, described this month in The New England Journal of Medicine. Research into the use of stem cells, which can develop into many other types of cells, may hold great promise in treating tissues damaged ... Read More

American Heart Month stresses awareness, prevention

The red worn on the first Friday of February wasn’t to celebrate Valentine’s Day early. It was a reminder that the day associated with romance also coincides with another heart-related recognition: American Heart Month. Each February since President Lyndon Johnson first declared American Heart Month in 1964 has been used to raise awareness about heart disease, the nation’s No. 1 killer. This year’s National Wear Red Day for American Heart Month was held Feb. 3. Every year one in four deaths in the United States is due to heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). ... Read More

Investigation questions why so many babies die after heart surgery at Florida hospital

At least nine infants have died following heart surgery at a Florida Hospital between 2011 and 2013, about 12.5 percent – or three times the national average – according to CNN calculations, and some family members want to know why. “Why won’t they stop?” Nneka Campell asked during the CNN interview that aired June 1. Her baby daughter Amelia died after heart surgery at the hospital. Davide Carbone, CEO of St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach Fla., is standing by the hospital’s program and its heart surgeon, Dr. Michael Black. In a letter to employees he wrote, “The patients ... Read More

New Program Documents Doctors Receiving Payment from Drug Companies

A new aspect of the Affordable Care Act has been released, allowing the public to see records of payment between drug companies and doctors. This program, called Open Payments, is aimed at bringing more transparency to our nation’s health care system. The government’s data shows that drug and device companies made 4.4 million payments totaling $3.5 billion in a five-month period at the end of 2013. This money paid for speeches, research grants, travel, and other things that involved 546,000 health care professionals and 1,360 teaching hospitals. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) collects information from manufacturers of drugs and devices about ... Read More

Medical device and drug manufacturers among those critical of FDA Guidance Policy

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been petitioned to reform its guidance process used by drug and medical device makers in order to make the system faster and create a more responsive process. According to the FDA, guidance documents represent the Agency’s current thinking on a particular subject. Critics are accusing the FDA of becoming “sluggish and secretive” when dealing with the guidance process, but FDA attorneys are claiming that the agency is open to reform. Two years ago, Bradley Merrill Thompson, an attorney at Epstein Becker Green, filed a 400-page citizen petition concerning these issues, hoping for a response ... Read More

Whistleblower claims CDC study covered up possible link between vaccines and autism, sparks controversy

Debate over the connection between childhood vaccinations and the development of autism is heating up again due to a YouTube video released Aug. 22 titled, “CDC Whistleblower Revealed.” This video includes a recorded conversation between Brian Hooker, Ph.D., a biomedical engineer, and Dr. William Thompson, a senior scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Their conversation, which Dr. Thompson was not aware was being recorded, revealed a possible omission by the CDC from a study that could link the occurrence of autism in African American boys to vaccines given before age 2. In 2004, the U.S. Government ... Read More

Studies indicate Lipitor is linked to development of Type 2 diabetes

High cholesterol is a big problem in our country and Lipitor, or its generic counterpart atorvastatin, is one of the leading prescription drugs used to help combat it. However, studies show that it may cause an increased chance of the patient developing diabetes. The study suggests that the risk is greatly increased for those who already have risk factors of Type 2 diabetes, such as: excess weight, high blood sugar, high blood pressure and elevated triglycerides. Head researcher Dr. David D. Waters, of the University of California at San Francisco, told Reuters Health in an email that those four factors appear “very ... Read More

Chemotherapy drugs recalled due to glass particles in vials

Hospira Inc. is recalling certain lots of injectable chemotherapy drugs because the vials may be contaminated with tiny particles that can be inadvertently injected into patients, which could cause serious health problems that require immediate medical intervention. The recalled drugs include Carboplatin, Cytarabine, Paclitaxel, and Methotrexate, which are distributed packaged in vials and used to treat various types of cancer. In addition, Methotrexate is also used to treat psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis. The products were distributed nationwide. The recall affects 19 lots of the drugs and was ordered due to visible particles embedded in the glass located at the neck ... Read More

Defective diagnostic tests recalled

Devices used by medical professionals to diagnose conditions such as heart failure, heart attacks and blood clots in the lungs are being recalled because they may give false positive or false negative readings. The recall was initiated because the false readings have caused some patients to receive inappropriate clinical management. The recall involves specific Alere, Triage tests including the CardioProfiler Panels, Cardiac Panels, Profiler SOB Panels, BNPs, and D-dimers. It is listed as a Class 1 recall, which is the most serious type of recall and involves situations in which there is a reasonable probability that use of the products ... Read More