- Fetal Screening Tests Have Major Limitations: Study
- Millions of HIV/AIDS Patients Don't Have Access to Drugs
- Laparoscopic Prostate Surgery Not Always Best Choice: Report
- Baltimore Adopts First-Ever Limit on Single Cigar Sales
- Indian 'Laugh-In' Has its Serious, Scientific Side
- FDA Panel Recommends Drug for Rare Blood Disorder
- Facial Features Affect Perception of Mood
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:
Fetal Screenings Have Major Limitations: Study
Current fetal screening tests detect only about half of potential chromosomal abnormalities, and women need to be given more information about test limitations and risks such as miscarriage, say Italian researchers.
They analyzed the findings of more than 100,000 prenatal diagnoses that involved invasive tests such as amniocentesis (in which a needle is used to take a sample of fluid from the womb) and found the tests identified only half of chromosomal abnormalities, BBC News reported.
The study was presented at a European Society of Human Genetics conference in Barcelona, Spain.
Researcher Dr. Francesca Grati, of the TOMA Laboratory in Busto Arsizio, said it's "fundamental" that doctors inform patients about the limitations of current fetal screening methods and potential risks so that patients can make an informed choice. For example, about one in 100 women who have amniocentesis will suffer a miscarriage.
Millions of HIV/AIDS Patients Don't Have Access to Drugs
Only 31 percent of people with HIV/AIDs in low- and middle-income countries had access to antiretroviral drugs in 2007, which means that millions aren't receiving the potentially lifesaving treatment, says a new report from the World Health Organization, UNAIDS and UNICEF.
In 2007, about 950,000 more people received antiretroviral therapy (ART) than in 2006, but the agencies said they're two years behind their target. They aimed to have three million people on ART by the end of 2005, but, by the end of 2007, they were just short of that goal. That means that about 6.7 million people aren't receiving ART, BBC News reported.
There was significant progress made in certain areas. For example, the number of HIV-infected pregnant women who received ART increased from 350,000 in 2006 to 500,000 in 2007. The treatment prevents the women from passing HIV to their children.
There also were significant improvements in the availability of HIV testing and counseling services, and male circumcision (which reduces the risk of HIV transmission during sex) is now more effectively promoted in regions of sub-Saharan Africa heavily affected by HIV/AIDs, BBC News reported.
At the end of 2007, about 33.2 million people worldwide were living with HIV, including 2.5 million who were newly infected that year, said the WHO document.
Laparoscopic Prostate Surgery Not Always Best Choice: Report
Minimally invasive surgery on prostate cancer patients has mixed results, a new study suggests.
The New York Times reports that a study examining the results of laparoscopic prostate cancer surgery on a sample of 2,702 patients who had undergone the procedure to remove a malignant prostate gland found that there was a 27 percent lower risk of complications immediately after surgery and a shorter hospital stay by an average of almost three days.
But the Times adds, the study also found that laparoscopy patients had a 40 percent greater chance of scarring, which could require additional surgery. And more than 25 percent of the patients also needed hormonal drug treatment within six months, more than double those who had conventional surgery.
The study was published in the May 10 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology,
Baltimore Adopts First-Ever Limit on Single Cigar Sales
Move over, cigarettes. Make room for limitations on cigar sales -- at least in Baltimore.
According to the Baltimore Sun, the city council has adopted a proposal that would make Baltimore the first city in the United States to limit sales of small, individual cigars known as "blunts" or "loosies" in neighborhood stores.