ASCLS eNewsBytes
June. 29, 2010

U.S. scores dead last again in health care study
Reuters via Medscape Medical News
Americans spend twice as much as residents of other developed countries on health care, but get lower quality, less efficiency and have the least equitable system, according to a new report. The United States ranked last when compared to six other countries — Britain, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand, the Commonwealth Fund report found. "As an American it just bothers me that with all of our know-how, all of our wealth, that we are not assuring that people who need health care can get it," Commonwealth Fund president Karen Davis told reporters in a telephone briefing.More

Stem cells offer hope in cerebral palsy battle
Triangle Business Journal
A Duke University physician believes the key to curing, or at least lessening the severity of, cerebral palsy lies within cord blood stem cells, and she has begun a clinical trial to find out if that is true. Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg, director of Duke’s Pediatric Bone Marrow and Transplant program and director of the Carolinas Cord Blood Bank, has begun a U.S. Food and Drug Administration-authorized random clinical trial to see if cord blood stem cells have the ability to cure or lessen spastic cerebral palsy in children aged 1 to 6. It is among a handful of FDA-authorized clinical trials regarding stem cells in the U.S.More

European Atherosclerosis Society recommends screening for Lp(a)
Heartwire via Medscape Medical News
Patients at high to moderate risk of cardiovascular disease should be screened for elevated levels of lipoprotein(a) (Lp[a]) and take niacin to bring their Lp(a) level under 50 mg/dL, according to a consensus statement from the European Atherosclerosis Society (EAS) [1]. The EAS consensus panel's new scientific consensus statement on Lp(a) is not yet published, but the key points of the statement were announced during the final session of the EAS 2010 Congress by Dr Børge Nordestgaard (University of Copenhagen, Denmark), who led some of the key studies supporting the statement.More

Vaccination role unclear in whooping cough outbreak
Whooping cough, declared an epidemic in California last week, may look like just a cold or a persistent cough in adults. But in infants, it can be fatal, making adult vaccination essential, doctors say. Peaks in cases of the highly contagious disease cycle every two to five years. California saw its last peak in 2005, with 3,182 cases, according to state health officials. "We're right about at the five-year peak, but we're on track to surpass our 50-year high," said Mike Sicilia of the California Department of Health. More

ACIP votes to change recommendations for meningococcal, flu vaccines
Medscape Medical News
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has voted to eliminate precautionary language regarding the risk for Guillain-Barré syndrome after meningococcal vaccination. In addition, countering current recommendations, ACIP also recommended that children aged 6 months to 9 years who have not been immunized with the 2009 H1N1 monovalent vaccine receive two rather than one dose of seasonal influenza vaccine.More

Dengue re-emerges in U.S., spurring race for vaccine
Greenwire via The New York Times
For the first time in more than 65 years, dengue has returned the continental United States, according to an advisory the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued in late May. While a few cases were reported earlier, they were primarily in Americans who had caught the virus abroad or at the Texas-Mexico border. The upsurge is not unexpected. Experts say more than half the world's population will be at risk by 2085 because of greater urbanization, global travel and climate change.More

Statins may lower rates of prostate cancer recurrence
HealthDay News via Bloomberg BusinessWeek
A new study suggests that men who take the cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins are a third less likely to suffer from recurrences of prostate cancer. But don't demand that your doctor prescribe a statin — drugs such as Crestor, Lipitor and Zocor — for you just yet.More

Hepatitis B a silent epidemic among Hmong
The Fresno Bee
One of six Hmong in Fresno County could be infected with hepatitis, according to a new health survey that has shocked community leaders and added urgency to the fight against the liver disease. But it won't be easy: Most don't realize they're infected.More