In this episode, the story of an epic, four-year battle between a man and a health insurer. Typically, these stories end with the same score: Health Insurer 1, Patient 0.This story is different.It started in 2006, when at the age of 37, Dave Bexfield of Albuquerque learned that he had multiple sclerosis, or M.S. Three years later, the disease ramped up and he was forced to quit his job as managing editor of a car magazine, in part because he could not type. He qualified for a clinical trial, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and conducted by the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He spent three months there getting a stem cell transplant. His total bill was just under $200,000. Yes, though sponsored by the N.I.H., the treatment came with a price tag.
For decades, women with multiple sclerosis have noticed that they tend to do better while they are pregnant. That has led to an experimental drug for the disease that’s based on a hormone associated with pregnancy.The hormone is a form of estrogen called estriol. It’s abundant in a woman’s body only when she is pregnant. Adding estriol to treatment with an existing MS drug cut relapses by 47 percent in a of 158 women presented at the American Academy of Neurology meeting in April.
HealthDay News — When people tell a young girl that she’s fat, that in itself increases her risk of eventually becoming obese, according to a new study.The study included more than 2,300 young girls in California, Cincinnati and Washington, D.C., who had their height and weight checked when they age 10 and again at age 19.At the start of the study, 58 percent of the girls had been told by a parent, sibling, friend, classmate or teacher that they were too fat. Those girls were 1.66 times more likely to be obese at age 19 than other girls, the University of California, Los Angeles UCLA researchers found.
HealthDay News — Researchers report that they think they have figured out why patients who take the multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri face a high risk of developing a rare, and sometimes fatal, brain infection.A common virus that can cause the brain disease progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy PML likes to infect and hide in certain blood cells that are triggered to mobilize by Tysabri, the study authors explained. Even more troubling, the researchers discovered that current tests may be missing some who harbor the virus.
As Cambridge biotech Genzyme awaits an upcoming US regulatory decision on its experimental multiple sclerosis drug, the medicine has won approval for sale in Canada.
Genzyme said Friday that the regulatory agency Health Canada signed off on its Lemtrada therapy as a treatment for adults with relapsing remitting MS who did not respond to drugs already on the market north of the border. More than 2.3 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with MS, a disease of the central nervous system, including about 100,000 in Canada.
MONDAY, Dec. 2, 2013 (HealthDay News) — A newer MRI method can detect low iron levels in the brains of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The method could help doctors and parents make better informed decisions about medication, a new study says.
Psychostimulant drugs used to treat ADHD affect levels of the brain chemical dopamine. Because iron is required to process dopamine, using MRI to assess iron levels in the brain may provide a noninvasive, indirect measure of the chemical, explained study author Vitria Adisetiyo, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Medical University of South Carolina.
If these findings are confirmed in larger studies, this technique might help improve ADHD diagnosis and treatment, according to Adisetiyo.
We have noted a significant correlation between depression and sleep disorders in adults for years. However, in this month’s issue of Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, a study entitled The Relationship between Depressive Symptoms and Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Pediatric Populations: A Meta-Analysis, demonstrated the increased incidence of depression in children from preschool up to age 18 with sleep apnea.It is well-known that childhood depression is a significant problem. Depression affects 1% of preschoolers, 2% of school-age children, and up to 8% of adolescents. If untreated, it poses a significant risk for increased psychosocial problems, as well as substance abuse and suicide. It is also known that about 2% of all children in this age group suffer from sleep-disordered breathing.
HealthDay News — As young children sleep, the connections between the right and left sides of their brains strengthen, according to a small new study.Researchers measured the brain activity of eight children while they slept at ages 2, 3 and 5 years. They found that connections in the brain generally became stronger during sleep as the children aged.
(HealthDay News) — Popular laser toys can cause serious and potentially permanent eye damage, a new report warns.
The high-powered blue laser gadgets, sold over the Internet, are increasingly sought after by male teens and young adults, according to the researchers.
The study authors report on 14 cases of laser-caused eye damage treated at Saudi Arabia’s King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital between 2012 and 2013. The injuries were caused by high-power blue laser gadgets and included four cases of perforations of the retina, the part of the eye responsible for detailed central vision.
HealthDay News — While social media can help vulnerable teenagers seeking support, Internet use can do more harm than good for young people at risk of self-harm or suicide, a new study suggests.Researchers from Oxford University in England found conflicting evidence on whether online activity poses a positive or negative influence for vulnerable teens, but observed a strong link between the use of Internet forums or “chat rooms” and an increased risk of suicide.