- Green Tea Chemical Thwarts HIV Transmission: Study
- New MRSA Strain Can Be Lethal in Flu Patients: Report
- Recession Affecting Access to Health Care: Survey
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:
Green Tea Chemical Thwarts HIV Transmission: Study
A chemical in green tea that inhibits HIV transmission should be used in vaginal creams to help protect women, say German scientists. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.
The researchers found that a green tea polyphenol called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) is able to neutralize a protein in sperm that serves as a vector for HIV transmission during sex, Agence France Presse reported.
The study was published online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The University of Heidelberg team said using EGCG in vaginal creams could offer a low-cost method of reducing sexual transmission of HIV in poor and developing nations, AFP reported.
New MRSA Strain Can Be Lethal to Flu Patients: Report
Scientists are warning about a new strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) that can cause a deadly form of pneumonia in people with the flu. Death rates may be higher than 50 percent.
The new form of the antibiotic resistant superbug is called community-acquired MRSA (CA-MRSA) because, unlike most forms of MRSA, this one poses a significant risk to people outside of hospitals, BBC News reported.
Although exact figures aren't available, CA-MRSA is becoming more widespread, said researchers at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta who analyzed cases of CA-MRSA.
"Community-acquired MRSA infections are no longer restricted to certain risk groups or to the geographic areas where outbreaks first occurred," they wrote in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases. "They now occur widely both in the community as well as health care facilities and have been reported on every continent."
They warned that the current swine flu outbreak could increase the risk posed by CA-MRSA, which appears to strike people who are already ill with flu, BBC News reported.
Recession Affecting Access to Health Care: Survey
Many Americans are worried about their ability to pay for health care and are suffering health problems because they're doing without needed preventive care, according to a survey that looks at the impact the recession is having on access to health care.
The American Academy of Family Physicians' poll of members found that almost 90 percent reported their "patients have expressed concerns recently over their ability to pay for their health care needs." The survey also found that 58 percent of respondents said they'd seen an increase in appointment cancellations, and 54 percent said they were seeing fewer total patients since January 2008.
Among the other findings:
- 60 percent of family doctors reported they'd "seen more health problems caused by their patients forgoing needed preventive care."
- 73 percent said they'd seen an increase in uninsured patients visiting their offices.
- 64 percent reported a decrease in the number of employer-sponsored/privately insured patients.
- 87 percent said they'd seen a significant increase in patients with major stress symptoms since the beginning of the recession.
- 66 percent said they were taking actions to help their patients manage health care needs during the recession, including discounting fees, increasing charity care, providing free screenings, and moving patients to generic prescriptions.
"The survey found that patients are cancelling or deferring important preventive screenings such as pap smears, mammograms and colonoscopies," Dr. Ted Epperly, AAFP president, said in a news release. "They also are failing to return for recommended follow-up visits or refill medications that are vital to managing their chronic conditions. Rather than forgoing needed medication altogether, some patients opt to cut their prescriptions, without their physician's knowledge, to make them last longer."