- Family History Doesn't Impact Prostate Cancer Treatment
- One Way to Thwart Disease: Make Mosquitoes Die Earlier
- New Immunization Recommendations for Children Unveiled
- New Year's Resolution: Restock That Medicine Cabinet
- Drug Makers Agree to Voluntary Ban on Doctor 'Freebies'
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:
Family History Doesn't Impact Prostate Cancer Treatment
The outcomes of prostate cancer patients treated with brachytherapy (seed implants) were not affected by patients' family history, a new study finds.
Researchers from the Departments of Radiation Oncology and Urology at New York City's Mount Sinai School of Medicine tracked 1,738 prostate cancer patients, of which 187 had a family history of the disease. The scientists found that among all risk groups, family history had no significance on outcome among prostate cancer patients treated with brachytherapy.
Study results were reported in the Jan. 1 issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology *Biology* Physics.
Prostate cancer is the second-most common cancer in men, next to skin cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that 186,320 new cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed in the United States in 2008, and some 28,660 men died of the disease.
While family history does increase a man's risk of developing prostate cancer, "there is conflicting data on how family history impacts treatment outcomes," the researchers wrote in a news release.
One Way to Thwart Disease: Make Mosquitoes Die Earlier
Since older mosquitoes are more likely to harbor diseases that can be passed to people, Australian researchers say they may have found a way to stem the process: make the mosquitoes die younger.
Dengue fever and malaria are examples of mosquito-borne diseases that have stricken millions of people worldwide. It takes about two weeks for mosquitoes to acquire and incubate the pathogens that cause these diseases and then spread them to people, the Associated Press reported.
So scientists at the University of Queensland tried introducing mosquitoes to a bacterial parasite that wound up cutting the insects' lifespan by about half, to an average of 21 days from 50 days, the wire service reported.
Writing in the journal Science, lead researcher Scott O'Neill said the discovery could prove to be a safer alternative to the widespread use of insecticides.
If the parasite could spread among enough disease-carrying mosquitoes, the method "may provide an inexpensive approach in dengue control," he wrote.
New Immunization Recommendations for Children Unveiled
Updated immunization recommendations for flu shots for children have been unveiled by three leading U.S. health groups.
The revised 2009 schedule calls for routine annual flu shots forchildren aged 6 months through 18 years. The previous recommendation applied to children from 6 months to 59 months of age. The new recommendation increases the number of eligible children by approximately 30 million.
"Vaccination is the best protection against influenza," Dr. AnneSchuchat, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease, said in a news release issued Wednesday. "This important update to the childhood immunization schedule helps us extend protection from influenza and its complications to all children between the ages of 6 months and 18 years, not just those at highest risk of complications from influenza."
The other health groups announcing the new vaccination schedule were the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Recommendations for inoculation against rotavirus -- a disease that causes diarrhea in young children -- include changes for the maximum ages for vaccination. The first dose should be given by 15 weeks of age. The latest age any dose may be given is 15 months. If the vaccine Rotarixis administered at ages 2 and 4 months, a dose at 6 months is notneeded, the news release said.