Health Buzz: Lyme Disease and Strange Behavior, and Other Health News

Obama Lifts Stem Cell Ban. Also, where's Drixoral?


Newspaper: Suspect in Church Shooting Had Been Diagnosed With Lyme Disease

A man who has been charged in the killing of the Rev. Fred Winters during a church service in Maryville, Ill., on Sunday had in the past behaved strangely and had been diagnosed with Lyme disease, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Terry Joe Sedlacek, 27, was charged Monday with first-degree murder in the pastor's death and with aggravated battery for allegedly stabbing two churchgoers, according to the paper. Sedlacek's mother was interviewed for an August Post-Dispatch story about how Lyme disease had affected his brain. After beginning to act strangely in high school, according to the August article, Sedlacek was diagnosed with Lyme disease and ehrlichiosis, both of which are transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected tick.

If you're worried about Lyme disease, here are 3 tips for avoiding tick bites. There is also a debate over whether some people, long after being bitten by a tick, continue to be affected by a "chronic" form of Lyme disease.

Obama Lifts Stem Cell Ban but Opens Debate on Embryo Creation

President Obama, surrounded by an exuberant and celebratory crowd peppered with notables of all political persuasions, has lifted former President Bush's ban on federal funding for research on human embryonic stem cells. But Obama's remarks left the door open for embryo research involving more than the frozen embryos left over from in vitro fertilization, which Congress and most of the public seem to support. What's on the table now is whether scientists should be able to use federal dollars to create human embryos for the sole purpose of laboratory research, including harvesting their stem cells, Bernadine Healy reports. Earlier, Healy wrote that embryonic stem cells may be obsolete.

Many think that stem cells hold promise as tools for developing new treatments. Here are 3 ways that stem cells may speed new cures.

Drixoral: Why the Allergy Medicine Isn't Available, and What to Use Instead

If your favorite sinus and allergy medicine goes missing from store shelves, what do you do? Google it, of course, or somehow find a way to vent your frustrations online. The question "Why is Drixoral not available?" is one of the first items to pop up on search engine results when one queries the name of the medication. Drixoral has been used since its regulatory approval in 1963 to treat stuffy or runny noses, coughing, sneezing, and itchy, watery eyes. Schering-Plough Corp., which makes Drixoral, says it fielded numerous calls about the medicine until the company created a Web page to keep consumers updated. Drixoral is unavailable right now but hasn't been permanently pulled from the market. "We are in the process of changing manufacturing locations," says Julie Lux, a Schering-Plough spokesperson. The company, which is to be acquired by Merck, stopped shipping Drixoral to pharmacies in April 2008 and doesn't expect to begin shipping the medication again until 2010 at the earliest.

If you're a Drixoral fan, here's how to find alternatives while the medication is unavailable. Also, learn what to do for a stuffy nose and how a saltwater nasal rinse can help ease congestion.

—January W. Payne

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