Monitoring Patients from a Distance
Intel Corp. has launched a personal health system that combines a device used by patients at home with an online interface that permits healthcare professionals to remotely monitor and manage patients' medical conditions. Called the Intel Health Care Management Suite, the device was cleared by the Food and Drug Administration in July. It provides ongoing access to information about patients' vital signs and offers educational information, patient reminders, surveys, and video-conferencing capability. Intel plans to study how the device may impact health outcomes for chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Texas Tanning Salon Accused of Making False Claims
Greg Abbott, the Texas attorney general, sued a Houston-based tanning salon this week, claiming that the salon has made false claims that its services reduce the risk of cancer by upping levels of vitamin D in the body. Darque Tan's tanning beds are approved for cosmetic purposes only, the lawsuit charges, but advertising and an online video made by Darque Tan claim that the beds result in higher vitamin D levels. Abbott's lawsuit says that those claims may violate some health codes, the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, and the Deceptive Practices Act, the Houston Chronicle reports. The newspaper was unable to reach Darque Tan's owner for comment.
Three Ways to Beat a Norovirus Outbreak
Norovirus, often called the stomach flu, is back, closing down a college in Michigan and sickening kids and parents nationwide. The best way to beat the stomach flu, which circulates the most in fall and winter, is to practice classic infection control techniques—quarantine and hygiene. That means three things for families, Nancy Shute reports: Keep kids at home if they're sick, wash hands frequently, and clean kitchen and bathroom surfaces thoroughly.
In August, HealthDay reported that stomach illnesses from eating leafy greens are on the rise. In an earlier U.S. News cover story, Shute offered advice on how to avoid getting sick from contaminated food.
Interpreting JUPITER: Statins for Everyone?
JUPITER, a heart attack and stroke prevention study led by Paul Ridker of Harvard, made a splash at the American Heart Association meetings in New Orleans on Sunday, leaving many experts convinced that it will change overnight how doctors practice preventive medicine. For men over 50 and women over 60, the results suggested, a blood test for C-reactive protein or CRP that signals low-grade inflammation in the body could dramatically reduce the risk of first time heart attacks, strokes, and other artery problems in apparently healthy people if an abnormal CRP level triggers continuous intensive statin therapy. In this study, the statin of choice was Crestor.
In her new blog, Heart to Heart, U.S. News's Bernadine Healy questions the superheated reaction to the study. She says she is inclined to line up with those who say, "slow down." Before doctors translate what are undoubtedly important scientific findings into an enthusiasm for placing 6 million people on a strong drug forever, JUPITER needs to provide further analysis of what on closer look is a highly varied group of patients carrying a wide range of health risks.
—January W. Payne