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Boy with rare disease gets new skin with gene therapy

Wed., Nov. 8, 2017, 12:48 p.m.

In this photo taken on Oct. 18, 2017, doctors lift up a sheet of skin in a lab at St Josef-Hospital in Bochum, Germany. (Mirko Wache / Associated Press)
Doctors treating a critically ill boy with a devastating skin disease used experimental gene therapy to create an entirely new skin for most of his body in a desperate attempt to save his life.

Drugstore pain pills as effective as opioids in ER patients

Tue., Nov. 7, 2017, 9:05 p.m.

A study released Tuesdayfound that over-the-counter pills, like ibuprofen, worked as well as opioids at reducing severe pain for emergency room patients with broken bones and sprains. (Patrick Sison / Associated Press)
Emergency rooms are where many patients are first introduced to powerful opioid painkillers, but what if doctors offered over-the-counter pills instead? A new study tested that approach on patients with broken bones and sprains and found pain relievers sold as Tylenol and Motrin worked as well as opioids at reducing severe pain.

Drugs for alcoholism go largely unused

Tue., Nov. 7, 2017

Women sample and drink wine at a festival in Raleigh, N.C. (THE WASHINGTON POST / Bonnie Jo Mount/Washington Post)
Numerous treatment options exist for people who drink to an unhealthy degree, including 12-step programs and inpatient rehabilitation centers. Many patients and health-care providers are less likely to be aware that medications can also help treat alcohol use disorder.

Awareness grows around sensory processing issues

Mon., Nov. 6, 2017, 5 p.m.

Jenna Roberts, 4, is pushed on the therapy swing by Barb Wellman, occupational therapist at Kootenai Health Rehabilitation Services in Coeur d’Alene on Nov. 1. Jenna is receiving therapy due to complications stemming from severe autism. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
Awareness is growing about sensory processing issues among children. More schools offer subdued lighting and varied seating to allow movement, from exercise balls to specialty cushions, for all students. And Kootenai Health is adding a new treatment room to help pediatric patients who have sensory processing issues.

Free ‘Obamacare’ for older, poorer in nearly all counties

Thu., Nov. 2, 2017, 10:26 a.m.

In this Oct. 18, 2017 photo, the Healthcare.gov website is seen on a computer screen in Washington. A new study finds that older people with low incomes nearly everywhere will have access to a free Obamacare policy next year. The analysis Monday by consulting firm Avalere Health found that in 98 percent of counties served by HealthCare.gov, a 50-year-old making about $18,000 a year would be able to get a basic bronze plan for zero monthly premium in 2018. (Alex Brandon / Associated Press)
Older people with low incomes nearly everywhere would have access to free “Obamacare” health coverage next year, according to a study Thursday that found the Trump administration’s efforts to undercut the Affordable Care Act have broad unintended consequences.

Baby gene therapy study offers hope for fatal muscle disease

UPDATED: Wed., Nov. 1, 2017, 2:18 p.m.

This image provided by Nationwide Children's Hospital shows Dr. Jerry Mendell of the Center for Gene Therapy at Nationwide Childrens Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Mendell led a small study of gene therapy in babies born with a usually fatal neuromuscular disease and reported Nov. 1, 2017, that the experiment extended the tots’ survival, and some could roll over or sit up. (Barb Consiglio / Associated Press)
A first attempt at gene therapy for a disease that leaves babies unable to move, swallow and, eventually, breathe has extended the tots’ lives, and some began to roll over, sit and stand on their own, researchers reported Wednesday.

Expert panel recommends more effective shingles vaccine

Mon., Oct. 30, 2017, 7:44 a.m.

This image provided by GlaxoSmithKline in October 2017 shows the company's Shingrix vaccine. On Oct. 25, a federal panel of experts recommended that as many as 20 million Americans who were vaccinated against shingles get revaccinated with a new shot. The panel said doctors should first opt for Shingrix, licensed a week earlier, which uses a new ingredient to boost immunity. (AP)
In a rare move, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices also recommended, by an 8-to-7 vote, that the new Shingrix vaccine be preferred over the existing Zostavax vaccine because it provides far greater protection and is expected to prevent significant disease, especially among the elderly.

House Call: Keep kids and adults safe with pill precautions

Mon., Oct. 23, 2017, noon

Let’s review the basics. Keep all medications not only out of the reach of children, but out of sight too. Always keep medicines, even OTC ones, in the original bottle or container. And make sure to take medications as prescribed.

Ultra-personal therapy: Gene tumor boards guide cancer care

UPDATED: Wed., Oct. 18, 2017, 12:12 p.m.

Cancer patient Alison Cairnes poses for a portrait at the University of California San Diego in San Diego, Calif., on Aug. 15, 2017. (Gregory Bull / Associated Press)
Cancer patients increasingly are having their care guided by gene tumor boards, a new version of the hospital panels that traditionally decided whether surgery, radiation or chemotherapy would be best. These experts study the patient’s cancer genes and match treatments to mutations that seem to drive the disease.

Documentary about anxiety taps a world-class athlete

Mon., Oct. 16, 2017, 5 p.m.

Michael Phelps makes a surprise visit to Charlie, one of the children featured in the new documentary “Angst.” (Ali Mohsenian)
Michael Phelps appears in “Angst” to share his story of being bullied and depressed, leading to severe anxiety. The swimmer, winner of 28 Olympic medals, would look in the mirror and not like what he saw.

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