- Earlier AIDS Drug Treatment Saves Lives: Study
- High Melamine Levels Found in Chinese Eggs
- Drugs Show Promise Against 'Superbug'
- Mechanical Heart Pump Recalled After Deaths
- Rotavirus Vaccine Cuts Infant Diarrhea
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:
Earlier AIDS Drug Treatment Saves Lives:Study
Drug treatments for AIDS patients should start sooner than current guidelines suggest, according to a study that included more than 8,000 American and Canadian patients.
Dr. Mari Kitahata, of the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues found that patients whose treatment was delayed until their immune system was badly damaged (T-cell count below 350) were nearly twice as likely to die within a few years than those whose treatment started earlier, the Associated Press reported.
The findings were presented Sunday at an infectious diseases conference in Washington, D.C.
The widely accepted approach has been to spare patients the side effects of AIDS drugs as long as possible. But AIDS specialists predict this study will lead to a change in practice, and several hundred thousand HIV-infected Americans who aren't taking AIDS drugs will be advised to start, the AP reported.
"The data are rather compelling that the risk of death appears to be higher if you wait than if you treat," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which helped fund the study.
High Melamine Levels Found in Chinese Eggs
Eggs imported from northeastern Chinese city of Dalian were found to have high levels of the toxic industrial chemical melamine, Hong Kong food safety officials reported Saturday. The levels were almost double the legal limit for food sold in Hong Kong.
Melamine-contaminted milk products have sickened more than 50,000 children in China and caused at least four deaths. The discovery about the eggs raises new concerns that a much larger variety of China-produced food products than previously believed may be contaminated with the chemical, which is used to make plastics and fertilizer, The New York Times reported.
In addition to being used to fake high protein content in dairy supplies, melamine may have been intentionally added to animal feed in China, said an article Sunday in the South China Morning Post. The newspaper said tainted feed for chickens, and possibly for fish and hogs, could result in poisonous meat and seafood, the Times reported.
Also over the weekend, there was news that melamine contamination may have affected more children than previously reported. A survey of homes in Beijing found that nearly a quarter (74,000) of the 300,000 families with children younger than 3 years old had a child who consumed melamine-tainted milk, health officials said Sunday.
The survey was conducted between late September and late October.Officials didn't say how many of the children included in the survey had fallen ill, the Times reported.
Drugs Show Promise Against 'Superbug'
Two experimental antibiotics show promise in fighting methicillin- resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a potentially deadly superbug that's common in hospitals and other health-care facilities.
U.S. drug maker Paratek said a phase II clinical trial of 234 patients found that its new class of antibiotic called PTK 0896 was 98 percent efficient in countering MRSA. Swiss drug maker Arpida said its Iclaprim drug cured MRSA infection in 92.3 percent of patients. The findings were presented Sunday at the annual Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents held in Washington, D.C., Agence France Presse reported.
But some experts remain pessimistic about efforts to combat MRSA, which causes more than 60 percent of all hospital infections in the United States. In 2005, MRSA infected 94,000 people in the United States and killed 19,000, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dr. Michael Scheld, of the University of Virginia School of Medicine, told AFP that "there is almost nothing in the pipeline now ... We as clinicians have nothing that we can obtain to treat these multidrug-resistant organisms for probably five to 10 years."