Latest News

Sleep aids may hinder detection of nighttime GERD

People who suffer from insomnia may want to talk with their doctors about the possibility of having acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) before starting sleep therapy. Research shows that the symptoms of nighttime GERD, such as heartburn and acid regurgitation, may hinder sleep. If the symptoms are not recognized and patients are prescribed a sleep aide, there is a possibility their GERD can worsen, causing complications of the esophagatis, including Barrett’s esophagus and cancer. GERD “disrupts sleep, causes insomnia, and is associated with daytime impairment,” says Dr. Susan M. Harding with the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and ... Read More

TVA to spend $43 million to improve county where coal ash spill occurred

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has agreed to spend $43 million on projects to improve Roane County, Tenn., the area that was devastated both physically and from a public relations standpoint when the TVA’s Kingston plant’s coal ash pond breached, sending a 1.1 billion gallon wave of toxic material on to 300 acres of a local community. The spill, one of the largest environmental disasters in our country’s history, knocked houses from their foundations, damaged property, and contaminated nearby waterways, hindering water recreation activities in the area and diminishing nearby property values. While the TVA is engaged in what will ... Read More

Yaz ingredient not properly tested, FDA warns Bayer

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has admonished German drug manufacturer Bayer for failing to test a vital ingredient used in Yaz and other birth control drugs according to American standards. The “deviations,” as the FDA called them, were cited in a letter dated September 9th and sent to Dr. Franz-Josef Renneke, the Site Manager of Bayer’s plant in Bergkamen, Germany. The FDA published the letter on its website this week. The FDA found that Bayer tested the quality of some drug ingredients, including drospirenone, a main ingredient in Yaz, using a method the U.S. does not accept. The method ... Read More

Research helps identify injured children at low risk of TBI

Your 18-month toddler chases after a ball and hits her head on the edge of a table, knocking her to the ground. A softball hits your 12-year old athlete in the head, leaving a noticeable welt. Both of these seem like minor, albeit painful injuries, but you’ve seen reports on television and online that some seemingly innocuous bumps and minor concussions can lead to a deadly traumatic brain injury. What should you do? Time, money, and x-ray radiation considered, it would be both unhealthy and nearly impossible to rush one’s children to the hospital for a CT scan every time ... Read More

ATV collision claims the life of North Carolina racing enthusiast

One of the most frustrating aspects of blogging about all-terrain vehicle rollovers and collisions is knowing that there are lots of good people out there right now enjoying their lives and planning their futures who won’t be here tomorrow – everyday people like 27-year-old Anthony Ritter of North Carolina, who died last week in an ATV accident. Friends of Ritter told the Gaston Gazette that he was always smiling, that he would never part with his ragged Old Navy cap, that he had an appetite for double cheeseburgers and was seldom seen without a Pepsi. He was someone we all ... Read More

Texting and driving: getting the message out in different ways

Last month, we wrote about the texting-while-driving video produced by the Police Department of Gwent, Wales, a 4-minute graphic glimpse at what happens when a driver, distracted by a text message, unconsciously steers into oncoming traffic. The filmmakers posted the video to YouTube in condensed form (the entire film is 30 minutes long) simply to show a colleague, never expecting it would go viral. Within weeks, it was viewed more than 4 million times on YouTube and other web sites. The video’s instant popularity astounded everyone, but some critics wonder whether its message carried through the noise and carnage of ... Read More

FDA favors Chantix over e-cigarettes. Why?

Chantix made an appearance in last week’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) when one contributor wrote that the Food and Drug Administration has acknowledged receiving nearly 100 reports of suicide and nearly 200 reports of attempted suicide likely linked to the use of Chantix. Additionally, the FDA also said it is compliling reports of Chantix patients being involved in traffic accidents. The JAMA article prompted doctor and authority on smoking, Michael Siegel, to question why the FDA allows Chantix to remain on the market, especially in light of the agency’s threats to remove all electronic ... Read More

ACG applauds Obama’s support of colorectal screenings

In his health care speech last week to a joint session of Congress, President Barack Obama argued that “there is no reason we shouldn’t be catching diseases like breast cancer and colon cancer before they get worse. That makes sense.” It makes sense, too, to the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG), which has long supported the lifesaving potential of screening by colonoscopy specifically because it can detect and remove pre-cancerous polyps and thereby prevent the development of colorectal cancer. The New England Journal of Medicine says that a colonoscopy colorectal cancer screening is one of the few preventive services shown ... Read More

County asks TVA for millions to clean up tattered image after coal ash spill

Roane County, Tenn., was once a destination spot for retirees and locals seeking a bit of quiet and some water recreation along the Emory River. That changed nine months ago, when a coal impoundment pond at the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) coal-burning plant in Kingston, Tenn., broke, sending a 1.1 billion gallon wave of toxic material on to the neighboring community. The pile of sludge pushed homes from their foundations, destroyed property and contaminated the Emory and other nearby waterways. The TVA is engaged in a near-$1 billion cleanup, but city and county officials say much more will be needed ... Read More

Surgical drills, blades, shavers self-activate spurring Class 1 recall

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a Class 1 recall on a type of surgical drills, blades and bone and cutting devices because the tools can unintentionally self-activate and move in unintended directions. A Class 1 recall is the most serious type of recall and involves situations in which there is a reasonable probability that the use of the products will cause serious injury or death. The recall, spurred by reports of a switch problem,  involves two ConMed Linvatec surgical service products. Self-activation in some circumstances cause injury, although ConMed has not received reports of injuries to patients. ... Read More