Health Buzz: Skin Cancer Drug Shows Promise and Other Health News

7 things to know before logging on for counseling; kids under 10 will need two swine flu shots.

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Early Testing Shows Skin Cancer Drug's Promise

Early clinical trial results suggest that a drug designed to block the action of a cancer-causing gene mutation may be highly effective in treating metastatic melanoma, BBC News reports. Researchers tested the drug, known as PLX4032, on 31 patients whose melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, had spread throughout their body. Seventy percent of patients responded to the treatment, according to lead researcher Paul Chapman of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Larger studies will be needed to further explore the drug's potential. Chapman presented the findings at a Berlin conference organized by European Cancer Organization, according to BBC News.

Samuel Broder, an oncologist who is U.S. News's cancer expert, offers advice on preventing skin cancer. Here are 8 ways to spot skin cancer before it kills.

7 Things to Know Before Logging on for Counseling

Therapy from afar. While the very notion of it makes some queasy, a growing number of people are seeking—and providing—mental-health help through nontraditional means, such as by telephone, videoconferencing, E-mail, or online chat, U.S. News's Lindsay Lyon reports.

E-therapy petered out somewhat after the dot-com bubble burst, when several online "clinics" went bankrupt, but there's been a resurgence as technology has advanced, says John Grohol, a psychologist, online health expert, and founder of Psychcentral.com. Online counseling holds tremendous promise, advocates say, because it bulldozes the barriers that bar people from face-to-face treatment, such as disability, distance, or hectic schedules. Read more.

Here are 6 ways electronic medical records could make your life safer and easier. Also, find out if it's time for you to switch to an online personal health record.

Still Confused About Swine Flu Shots? Kids Under 10 Will Need Two

Still confused about what's going to happen with swine flu shots next month? You're not alone, writes U.S. News contributor Nancy Shute. The federal government and individual states still haven't told Americans how or exactly when they're going to distribute the vaccine.

This week's press release from the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases made it easy to think that all children will need just one swine flu immunization, but that's not true, Shute reports. The younger a child is, the less well his or her immune system responded to the swine flu vaccine in clinical trials. So children under age 10 will need two doses of swine flu vaccine, one month apart, according to the NIAID. You'd have a hard time figuring that out from the press release, Shute writes.

And the federal recommendation that children be vaccinated for both seasonal flu and H1N1 swine flu this fall has alarmed people who think that vaccines are implicated in causing autism, though there is no scientific evidence to support that. Read more.

Earlier, Shute wrote things parents should know about swine flu shots. In recent weeks, U.S. News has offered ways to avoid getting swine flu that include tips for college students and for parents.

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