- Drug Abuse Up Among Those in Their 50s
- Embryonic Stem Cell Trial On Hold
- Nestle Starts Shipping New Cookie Dough Products
- U.S. Officials Seek Ways To Boost Swine Flu Vaccine Shipments
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:
Drug Abuse Up Among Those in Their 50s
Between 2002 and 2005, the percentage of Americans ages 50 to 59 using illicit drugs increased from 5.1 percent to 9.4 percent, according to a federal government report released this week.
The increase occurred because some baby boomers -- those born between 1946 and 1964 -- continue to use drugs as they get older, said the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Associated Press reported.
During that same five-year period, rates of illicit drug use among all other age groups remained the same or decreased, SAMHSA said.
The continued use of illicit drugs by aging baby boomers "is likely to put further strains on the nation's health care system," said Eric Broderick, the agency's acting administrator, the AP reported.
Embryonic Stem Cell Trial On Hold
The first human trial using embryonic stem cells has been delayed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Geron Corporation announced Tuesday.
The company wants to study whether injecting nerve cells made from embryonic stem cells into the site of spinal injuries can help restore movement in paralyzed people. But the FDA refused to allow the study to proceed after Geron provided data from dose escalation studies in animals, Bloomberg news reported.
California-based Geron said it "will work closely with the FDA to facilitate their review of the new data and to release the clinical hold."
Thousands of people around the world have been treated with adult stem cells, with mixed results. But no approved trial has tested embryo-derived stem cells in humans, Bloomberg reported.
Nestle Starts Shipping New Cookie Dough Products
New shipments of Nestle raw cookie dough products are being sent to stores in the United States, the first since E. coli fears prompted a major recall nearly two months ago.
The new Toll House cookie dough will feature a blue "New Batch" label and will include the warning, "Do not consume raw cookie dough," the Associated Press reported.
A Food and Drug Administration inspection of Nestle USA's factory in Danville, Va. has been completed. Last month, the FDA said the strain of E. coli found in a sample of cookie dough from the plant didn't match the strain associated with an outbreak that sickened people in 30 states.
While E. coli usually causes symptoms such as bloody diarrhea and dehydration, kidney failure can occur in the most severe cases, the AP reported.
U.S. Officials Seek Ways To Boost Swine Flu Vaccine Shipments
U.S. health officials are trying to find factories that can help speed up efforts to get swine flu vaccine into syringes in order to lessen an expected shortfall of available shots in October.
The Department of Health and Human Services had long said it would have 120 million swine flu doses ready by Oct. 15, but announced Monday that it expects to have just 45 million doses by that date.
"We're trying to bring on more manufacturing" to deal with a packaging step that's created a bottleneck, Dr. Robin Robinson, the HHS official in charge of vaccine procurement, told the Associated Press. "Hopefully, there are ways to bring that number up."
After Oct. 15, about 20 million more doses of swine flu vaccine should be shipped every week, Robinson said. If that happens, there would be 85 million doses ready by the end of October and the entire order of 195 million by December.
Despite the shortfall, there will still be enough to vaccinate people in priority groups such as public health workers, pregnant women, and children under 4 years old, officials said.
"Our priority groups for vaccination have not changed," U.S. Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Bill Hall told ABC News. "We still have enough vaccine to cover the priority groups identified."