Cocaine Vaccine's Fleeting Benefits
An experimental vaccine to treat cocaine addiction showed good initial results, but its benefit failed to last beyond a few months, HealthDay reported yesterday. The vaccine works in the body by increasing antibodies that bind to the drug, halting its effects. Researchers tested the vaccine on 94 adults who were in programs for methadone maintenance and also receiving cognitive behavioral therapy. Thirty-eight percent of study participants developed enough antibodies to reduce their cocaine use, but after two months, the vaccine's effect waned, according to HealthDay. The study was published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.
America's Best Nursing Homes: New Top Homes
Of 15,000-plus nursing homes ranked by U.S. News in October's update of "America's Best Nursing Homes," 34 merited Honor Roll status. Those select few got a perfect five stars when measured by the federal government's three yardsticks: health inspections, nurse staffing, and quality measures of individual care. A few homes are pediatric facilities that provide Medicaid-funded long-term care or skilled rehabilitation services. The Honor Roll is updated every three months.
U.S. News also offers tips to help those grappling with where to house a loved one. Recommended steps include determining whether a nursing home is necessary, building a short list of nursing home possibilities, visiting homes that made the cut, and regularly following up to make sure that the choice was a good one.
Why Voice Problems Shouldn't Be Ignored: 5 Tips for Dealing With Hoarseness
Hoarseness is an annoyance that many people tend to ignore, but any persistent abnormal change in the voice—including a breathy, raspy, or strained quality—should be evaluated by a doctor, experts say. The onus may be on you to ask for an evaluation, as a new study finds that primary-care doctors often don't examine their patients for voice problems, U.S. News's January Payne reports.
A little hoarseness can be the sign of a big problem. Voice problems affect about 30 percent of people in their lifetimes, and these issues can limit productivity in the workplace and damage quality of life, Payne writes. In the new study, researchers asked primary-care physicians how often they routinely evaluate patients for problems with their voices. Just a third of the 271 primary-care doctors surveyed said that they do regular evaluations for voice problems, and about 1 in 5 reported never evaluating patients for voice disorders.
Hoarseness can have many different causes, including the perfectly benign cold, allergy, or gastroesophageal reflux. But hoarseness that lasts for more than three weeks can be a sign of serious problems such as laryngeal, thyroid, or lung cancer. Payne lists 5 tips for dealing with hoarseness. Among the recommendations is to steer clear of decongestants. The medications dry out the mucous membranes, and you want to keep them—and your vocal cords—moist, Payne writes.
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