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F.D.A. Warned of Mental Side Effects from Asthma Drug, Singulair. Few Were Told.
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F.D.A. Warned of Mental Side Effects from Asthma Drug, Singulair. Few Were Told.

In early 2020, the Food and Drug Administration responded to decades of escalating concerns about a commonly prescribed drug for asthma and allergies by deploying one of its most potent tools: a stark warning on the drug’s label that it could cause aggression, agitation and even suicidal thoughts.The agency’s label, which was primarily aimed at doctors, was supposed to sound an alert about the 25-year-old medication, Singulair, also known by its generic name, montelukast. But it barely dented use: The drug was still prescribed to 12 million people in the United States in 2022.Children face the greatest risks of the drug’s ill effects, and while usage by minors did decline, it was still taken by 1.6 million of them — including Nicole Sims’s son. Ms. Sims had no idea why, at 6, her son start...
F.D.A. to Issue First Approval for Mass Drug Imports to States from Canada
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F.D.A. to Issue First Approval for Mass Drug Imports to States from Canada

The Food and Drug Administration has allowed Florida to import millions of dollars worth of medications from Canada at far lower prices than in the United States, overriding fierce decades-long objections from the pharmaceutical industry.The approval, issued in a letter to Florida Friday, is a major policy shift for the United States, and supporters hope it will be a significant step forward in the long and largely unsuccessful effort to rein in drug prices. Individuals in the United States are allowed to buy directly from Canadian pharmacies, but states have long wanted to be able to purchase medicines in bulk for their Medicaid programs, government clinics and prisons from Canadian wholesalers.Florida has estimated that it could save up to $150 million in its first year of the program, i...
The Income Gap Jeopardizing Retirement for Millions
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The Income Gap Jeopardizing Retirement for Millions

Monique Louvigny, an event coordinator in the San Francisco Bay Area, economizes where she can. She drives a 10-year-old Prius, brings a thermos of coffee to work instead of patronizing a place with baristas, and takes advantage of a drive-through food pantry once a month.Laid off at 57, “I kind of reinvented myself,” she said. She rebuilt her career as a freelancer, overseeing receptions and conventions for many companies and institutions, including the local de Young and Legion of Honor art museums.But her income fell to less than $30,000 last year. “It’s erratic,” she said. “In January, I have 12 days of work.” In the summer, she might have only three or four.Ms. Louvigny, 64, feels fortunate on two fronts. For health insurance, she has qualified for Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid prog...
Paxlovid Cuts Covid Death Risk. But Those Who Need It Are Not Taking It.
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Paxlovid Cuts Covid Death Risk. But Those Who Need It Are Not Taking It.

As Covid rises again, killing about 1,500 Americans each week, medical researchers are trying to understand why so few people are taking Paxlovid, a medicine that is stunningly effective in preventing severe illness and death from the disease.A study of a million high-risk people with Covid found that only about 15 percent who were eligible for the drug took it. If instead half of the eligible patients in the United States had gotten Paxlovid during the time period of the research, 48,000 deaths could have been prevented, the authors of the study, conducted by the National Institutes of Health, concluded.It’s not because people don’t know about the drug — most do — but the reluctance seems to come from doctors worried about interactions with other drugs and people wary of a possible reboun...
Should Palliative Psychiatry Be Considered for Anorexia?
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Should Palliative Psychiatry Be Considered for Anorexia?

A few days later, when she was not imminently dying anymore, Naomi announced that she was going home — and the hospital responded by placing her on a 72-hour mental-health hold. Clinicians then obtained what Colorado calls a short-term certification, which required, by judicial order, that Naomi be detained and treated, in her case until she reached what physicians determined to be 80 percent of her “ideal body weight.” In Colorado, as in most states, a patient can be treated against her will if she is mentally ill and found incapable of making informed decisions. That day, Naomi was transferred to a residential program at Denver’s Eating Recovery Center (E.R.C.). “I’m so mad, I’m so mad,” Naomi said in another video message, her voice dull and impassive. “I was completely disrespected. I ...
La variante JN.1 ya domina en EE. UU.
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La variante JN.1 ya domina en EE. UU.

Hasta donde saben los expertos, la JN.1 no parece causar enfermedad grave en la mayoría de las personas, aunque hasta un caso leve puede hacerte sentir “bastante mal durante tres o cuatro días”, señaló Schaffner. Los síntomas de una infección por JN.1 son similares a los que causaban las variantes anteriores de covid, pues incluyen tos, fiebre, dolor de cuerpo y fatiga.Para protegerte contra la infección y enfermedad grave, los expertos siguen recomendando el uso de mascarillas, mejorar la ventilación en interiores siempre que sea posible, quedarse en casa si se está enfermo y pomerse la vacuna más reciente contra la covid.Las investigaciones preliminares muestran que las vacunas actualizadas contra la COVID-19 lanzadas en septiembre producen anticuerpos efectivos contra la JN.1, que tiene...
Ohio Governor Blocks Bill Banning Transition Care for Minors
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Ohio Governor Blocks Bill Banning Transition Care for Minors

BackgroundLawmakers passed the measure earlier in December. Those in favor of the bill argued that parents are pressured by doctors to sign off on transition care treatments for their children. The bill’s sponsor, Representative Gary Click, said parents are “being manipulated by the physicians.’’In addition to banning transition care for minors, the bill says medical professionals who provide the care could lose their licenses and be sued. It also prohibits transgender girls and women from playing on high school and college sports teams that correspond with their gender identity.On Friday, Mr. DeWine said that if the bill were to become law, “Ohio would be saying that the state, that the government, knows better what is medically best for a child than the two people who love that child the...
Covid Variant JN.1 Now Accounts for Nearly Half of U.S. Cases
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Covid Variant JN.1 Now Accounts for Nearly Half of U.S. Cases

As the holiday season winds down and Covid-19 cases start to pick up, a variant called JN.1 has now become the most common strain of the virus spreading across the United States.JN.1, which emerged from the variant BA.2.86 and was first detected in the United States in September, accounted for 44 percent of Covid cases nationwide by mid-December, up from about 7 percent in late November, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To some extent, this jump is to be expected. “Variants take some time to get going,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “Then they speed up, they spread widely, and just when they’re doing that, after several months, a new variant crops up.”JN.1’s momentum this month sug...
Serious Medical Errors Rose After Private Equity Firms Bought Hospitals
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Serious Medical Errors Rose After Private Equity Firms Bought Hospitals

The rate of serious medical complications increased in hospitals after they were purchased by private equity investment firms, according to a major study of the effects of such acquisitions on patient care in recent years.The study, published in JAMA on Tuesday, found that, in the three years after a private equity fund bought a hospital, adverse events including surgical infections and bed sores rose by 25 percent among Medicare patients when compared with similar hospitals that were not bought by such investors. The researchers reported a nearly 38 percent increase in central line infections, a dangerous kind of infection that medical authorities say should never happen, and a 27 percent increase in falls by patients while staying in the hospital.“We were not surprised there was a signal...
Monica Bertagnolli, NIH’s New Leader, Wants to Broaden Participation in Medical Research
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Monica Bertagnolli, NIH’s New Leader, Wants to Broaden Participation in Medical Research

When Dr. Monica M. Bertagnolli moved into the director’s suite at the National Institutes of Health, she brought with her a single piece of art, a lithograph created by the granddaughter of a cancer patient she once treated. It depicts an abstract geometric female figure and the organs she lost to cancer. Its title: “We Are Not What You Have Taken: A Response to Cancer.”The image speaks to Dr. Bertagnolli, a cancer surgeon who previously led the National Cancer Institute and is a breast-cancer survivor herself.After being nominated by President Biden in the spring and winning Senate confirmation last month, she became the 17th director of the N.I.H., which has a budget of more than $47 billion and occupies a sprawling campus in Bethesda, Md. She is only the second woman to lead the biomedi...