Archive for April 13th, 2012
Obese and overweight patients who undergo CT scans are exposed to much more radiation than people of normal weight, researchers say.
The challenge for heavier people is that more radiation is needed to scan their bodies, a radiation specialist said.
"One has to customize the dose based on patient size, increase the power of the X-rays and the quantity that are going inside," said Dr. Dushyant Sahani, director of CT imaging services at Massachusetts General Hospital and an associate professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School …
However, Sahani… said the excess body fat of extra-large patients absorbs much of the radiation, meaning that they may face no extra danger.
"Fat is not as sensitive to undergoing any bad changes as the other tissues," said Sahani.
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America said 28 members invested $49.5 billion in research and development last year, about $100 million less than in 2010. Despite the drop, drugs undergoing clinical study or FDA review increased from 2,400 in 2005 to more than 3,200. Also, the FDA approved more than 30 drugs last year, compared with 22 in 2010.
A study by Mikko Tuomi, an astronomer at the University of Hertfordshire, has revealed that the planetary system around the star named HD 10180 may have more planets in its orbits than our own Solar system.
News Note — In 2010 astronomers reported 5 planets were orbiting HD 10180, with a total of 7 exoplanets suspected.
Consciousness is not a simple state that is either on or off. Studies with anesthesia showed patients responding to commands or communicating, but later having no memory of doing so …
As in previous studies, the researchers … found that the brainstem and other primitive parts of the brain, like the thalamus, wake up first. The neocortex, the part where all the complicated thinking goes on, wakes up later.
Risk of heart disease and stroke among individuals whose spouses had cancer was elevated by 13% to 29%, according to a study in Circulation. The findings underscore the importance of preventive efforts designed to curb stress and risk factors in spouses of cancer patients, researchers said.
Purdue Pharma, the company behind Intermezzo, said the new pill could be taken by those who wake up mid-sleep and may have only four hours or so left to doze. This makes it the only Food and Drug Administration approved drug for middle-of-the night insomniacs.
Intermezzo contains zolpidem tartrate, the same active ingredient in the popular prescription sleep aid Ambien, but at a lower dose. It is also taken in a different way. Whereas Ambien is swallowed, Intermezzo is left to dissolve under the tongue, so it works more quickly.
"It fills a niche that is the bane of practitioners everywhere, the patient who can fall asleep without difficulty but wakes up in the middle of the night," said Dr. Joe Lieberman, who is currently working with Purdue to promote Intermezzo.
But some physicians have questioned Intermezzo's usefulness and safety. Since the drug is in the same class as previous sleep aids, it carries with it all the same potential side effects, including behavioral disturbances, sleep walking and possible worsening of depression or suicidal thoughts.
Nearly 60% of physicians ages 40 and younger don’t hold out much hope for American healthcare, according to results of an online survey released by the Physicians’ Foundation.
Among the 500 respondents, nearly a third (31%) said they were "highly pessimistic" about the future of the U.S. healthcare system. Another 26% characterized themselves as "somewhat" pessimistic.