Alcoholism not uncommon among surgeons
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - About 15 percent of surgeons have alcohol abuse or dependency problems, a rate that is somewhat higher than the rest of the population, according to a new survey. The researchers also found that surgeons who showed signs of alcoholism were 45 percent more likely to admit that they had a major medical error in the past three months.
U.S. advisers back experimental obesity pill
SILVER SPRING, Maryland (Reuters) - Experimental obesity drug Qnexa won the backing of U.S. health advisors on Wednesday, raising hopes for approval of the first prescription weight-loss pill in 13 years. Vivus Inc's Qnexa was one of three promising obesity drugs rejected by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the past two years over safety concerns.
Gay spouse given health benefits in U.S. court case
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Wednesday ruled the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional and said a federal government worker should be allowed to enroll her same-sex spouse in her health insurance coverage, the latest rebuke of a law reviled by gay rights activists. The ruling came from U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White in San Francisco who was appointed by Republican President George W. Bush.
Virginia Gov. shifts on abortion bill; revised measure
PORTSMOUTH, Virginia (Reuters) - Virginia's Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell on Wednesday abruptly shifted his stance on a hotly-contested bill requiring women seeking abortions to have an ultrasound, asking lawmakers to revise the legislation just before a scheduled vote. Virginia's House of Delegates by a vote of 65-32 approved the revised bill, which calls for women to undergo an abdominal ultrasound but not necessarily a more invasive internal one as required under the original measure. Whether the Senate will now follow suit remains in doubt.
Is broadcasting heart procedures at meetings safe?
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Broadcasting heart procedures live to doctors at medical meetings may not present a risk to the patient on the table, a new study suggests. It's already common practice for major medical meetings to feature "live case demonstrations" -- where doctors can watch a real-time transmission of a procedure being done at a large medical center anywhere in the world.
Colon cancer study backs blood stool screening test
(Reuters Health) - Although colon cancer screening is recommended by many organizations, less clear is which method is best to detect tumors and precancerous lesions. A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that a relatively inexpensive and non-invasive test may be just as effective as a colonoscopy.
More troops on smokeless tobacco after deployment
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - U.S. troops sent to Iraq or Afghanistan are more likely to start a smokeless tobacco habit than their comrades who stay home -- especially if they see combat, a new study finds. The findings, reported in the journal Addiction, follow other studies that have tied deployment and combat to health risks, including higher rates of smoking and drinking.
Supreme Court sends back California Medicaid cuts case
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Supreme Court sent back to a lower court a case on whether Medicaid recipients and medical providers can sue California for cutting reimbursement rates in the healthcare program for low-income Americans. The high court said on Wednesday that after it heard oral arguments in the case on October 3, federal government officials approved the state's statutes as consistent with federal law.
Hepatitis C killing more Americans than HIV: studies
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Hepatitis C has surpassed HIV as a killer of U.S. adults, and screening all "baby boomers" could be one way to stem the problem, according to two new government studies. Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by a virus of the same name that is usually passed through contact with infected blood. An estimated 75 to 85 percent of infections become chronic, which can eventually cause serious diseases like cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) and liver cancer.
Obama's Alzheimer's plan focuses on treatment, care
CHICAGO (Reuters) - The Obama administration's plan to fight Alzheimer's disease aims to harness the nation's expertise to find real treatments by 2025 and improve the care and treatment of the 5.1 million Americans already afflicted with the brain-wasting disease. The draft plan, issued by the Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday, makes treatment a top priority, but it also focuses on the burden the disease places on families and caregivers.