Jim Byard's Health Beat
Health Watch Stories 1 to 6 of 730  
New Drug Saves Boy From Brain Eating Infection
   (Broward, FL)   A 16-year-old is recovering after an experimental drug saved him from a brain-eating amoeba.   Sebastian DeLeon was on vacation with his family in Orlando when he developed a severe headache.  Doctors tested the only known medication for the infection and put DeLeon in a medically-induced coma.  DeLeon is one of four people in the last 50 years to have survived this type of infection.  The amoeba is found in natural freshwater, such as lakes and ponds and enters through the nasal passage to the brain.  The infection kills 97-percent of people once infected.  
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New Head Injury Screening Approved
 (Undated)   New technology that views brain function following a traumatic head injury is getting approval from the Food and Drug Administration.  The Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing, known as ImPACT, can be used by doctors to discover symptoms of head injuries.  The software operates on a computer.  Brain injuries account for over two-million trips to the emergency room in the U.S. each year.  They contribute to some 50-thousand deaths annually.
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Potential Parkinson's Test Could Lead To Early Diagnosis
   (Undated)    A potential eye test could help detect the presence of Parkinson's disease well ahead of visible symptoms.  The technique has been tested on rats and could be done on humans as part of a regular eye exam.  It works by shining light on the back of the eye and looking at potential cell death in the retina.  Experts from University College London say the test could help doctors treat Parkinson's much earlier.  Parkinson's is a progressive neurological condition that impacts one in every 500 people.  
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Special K To Be Used For Depression
   (Rockville, MD)   A street drug named Special K might be getting federal approval for use in treating major depression.  The FDA has put the experimental drug known as ketamine on the fast track to official approval.  Janssen Pharmaceutical said this week that the "breakthrough therapy" would offer psychiatrists a new method for treating patients with suicidal tendencies.  The company said it would be the first new treatment for major depression in about half a century.   
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New Cholesterol Drugs Could Cost $14K Per Person Annually
   (Chicago, IL)  New cholesterol drugs approved by the FDA could add 120 billion dollars a year to U.S. health care costs if everyone eligible used it.  A study published this week in "JAMA" found that it would cost 14-thousand-dollars a year for each person.  The drugs would help reduce cholesterol that leads to heart attacks by as much as 60 percent.  Right now insurance companies are putting limits on who qualifies for the drugs Repatha and Praluent.  Makers of the drugs argue that the analysis severely overestimates how much these medications will ultimately cost.  
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Ear Buds May Be Contributing To Early Hearing Loss
   (Houston, TX)  Doctors say headphones, especially ear buds, may be contributing to hearing loss earlier in life.  Audiology experts say that's because teens are cranking up the volume on their personal devices.  Anything played at 110 decibels or more can cause permanent damage within 90 seconds.  Hearing experts also say if your ears start ringing at a concert, sporting event or nightclub that should be a wakeup call that earplugs are needed.  McLellan says the more times you're exposed to deafening music or noise, the more likely you are to develop permanent hearing loss.   
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