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Study investigates bleeding deaths associated with blood thinner Pradaxa

The death of Bob Smith* was a surprise to doctors. The 83-year old man was evaluated for what appeared to be a rather routine fall, and by all accounts he seemed fine. He was fully alert and oriented and could respond to verbal commands. CT scans taken when he arrived at the hospital revealed small, superficial areas of hemorrhage in his brain, but two hours later, another round of scans showed extensive progression of brain hemorrhaging. Efforts to stop the bleeding were fruitless. The elderly man fell into a deep coma and died soon after. What happened to Bob was ... Read More

Children may suffer for months after minor brain traumas

Millions of children get concussions each year, and many don’t even seek medical attention. Most parents may dismiss the problem, but a new study suggests these seemingly minor head traumas may actually affect the way children behave, causing memory and attention problems for up to a year after the trauma. They may even be to blame for children requiring extra help in school. The good news is that the study, which appeared in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, provided pretty convincing evidence that the vast majority of children do well after a mild traumatic brain injury. But the ... Read More

Panel: Testing should continue on experimental pain killers

Clinical trials on an experimental nerve blockers that relieve pain but can destroy joints should go on as planned, say advisers to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Testing on the drugs was halted in 2010 after nearly 500 people taking the medication had to under go joint replacement surgeries. The panel, which voted unanimously to resume testing, said the medication provides a benefit to people with no other treatment options. The drugs, made by Pfizer Inc. and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., are part of a new class of medications known as nerve growth factors. They work by blocking a protein ... Read More

Researchers warn doctors not to use metal-on-metal hip implants

Researchers who conducted studies on metal-on-metal hip implants are asking doctors to stop using the devices because they believe they are much more likely to need repair or replacement, and may leech toxic metals into patients’ bloodstreams. The study, funded by the National Joint Registry of England and Wales, was published online this week in The Lancet. The study involved data of more than 400,000 hip replacement surgeries from the National Joint Registry between 2003 and 2011. More than 31,000 of the surgeries involved metal-on-metal hip implants. The others involved more traditional plastic or ceramic devices. Researchers found that after five ... Read More

Bayer settles a small fraction of Yaz, Yasmin lawsuits

Bayer has agreed to settle about 70 of the approximately 11,300 lawsuits against the drug giant involving its blockbuster birth control pills Yaz and Yasmin, according to the company’s 2011 annual report. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but Bayer reportedly said the conditions were reasonable. The lawsuits were filed on behalf of plaintiffs who allege that using the oral contraceptives, as well as their generic equivalents Ocella and Gianvi, caused them or a loved one serious injury or death. The birth control pills contain the hormone drospirenone which recent studies have found put women at greater risk ... Read More

Transvaginal mesh maker develops test to gauge device’s effectiveness

A questionnaire for patients who have received surgical mesh to repair a pelvic floor disorder known as pelvic organ prolapse (POP) has been shown to be a valid measurement tool for determining improvement in sexual function, according to research published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine. The study hopes to shed positive light on a device being reviewed because of safety concerns by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). POP is a common condition that occurs when the pelvic organs drop, or prolapse, due to childbirth, age or obesity. The condition can cause urinary incontinence, discomfort and pain during sexual ... Read More

Drug-drug interaction with statins may cause serious muscle injury

Just a week after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued new warnings for an increased risk of diabetes and memory loss with cholesterol-lowering statins, the agency is alerting the public about the risk of muscle injury associated with the drugs if used with certain HIV or hepatitis C medications known as protease inhibitors. The labels for both protease inhibitors and statins has been updated to warn that protease inhibitors and statins, when taken together, may raise blood levels of statins and increase the risk for muscle injury (myopathy). The most serious type of myopathy, called rhabdomyolysis, can damage the ... Read More

Judge blocks rule requiring graphic images on cigarette packages

Large, graphic images warning of the dangers of cigarette smoking will not be placed on cigarette packages and advertisements any time soon. A federal judge has formally blocked the new rules issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that required tobacco firms to include the images on their products in hopes of dissuading persons from using them. U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon first sided with tobacco firms in November when he issued a temporary restraining order to block the new rules until a lawsuit filed by the tobacco industry was resolved. The new rules were to have gone ... Read More

Experimental tool aims to identify extent of damage caused with TBI

There is no good way to diagnose the damage caused by a traumatic brain injury (TBI), which makes the condition even harder to treat. But an experimental tool that reveals the inner workings of the brain much like an X-ray shows broken bones, may one day offer doctors the ability to pinpoint injuries and guide rehabilitation. Research is currently underway in civilian and military patients on an MRI-based test that can help reveal these previously invisible wounds. Not knowing the extent of damage creates frustration for both patients and doctors. TBIs happen when a bump, blow, jolt or other head ... Read More

Sudden acceleration cases filed against Toyota in California state courts get trial date

Litigation filed in California state courts over sudden unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles has been slated to begin January 1, 2013, starting with a high-profile case alleging the wrongful death of a California woman whose 2006 Camry crashed after it sped out of control. In that case, plaintiff Peter Uno alleges that his wife Noriko Uno died in April 2008 after her Camry suddenly accelerated to speeds over 100 mph while she was traveling on an Upland, California highway. Mrs. Uno ultimately lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a telephone pole. Jury selection on this first bellwether case ... Read More