- Health Care Reform Bill Moves to Senate Floor for Debate
- U.S. Military Studying PTSD Risk Factors
- University of Nebraska May Restrict Stem Cell Research
- Trial of Embryonic Stem Cell Therapy for Eye Disease Planned
- Vicks Nasal Spray Recalled Due to Bacteria
- Flu Worries Shouldn't Affect Travel Plans: CDC
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:
Health Care Reform Bill Moves to Senate Floor for Debate
Senate Democrats managed to push health care reform legislation past a key hurdle on Saturday night, with a cloture vote that will lead to a debate on the Senate floor later this month, the Associated Press reported.
The Senate bill roughly mirrors a health care reform bill that has already been passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, although some major differences would have to be ironed out before a bill could reach the desk of President Barack Obama.
According to the New York Times, the Senate bill seeks to extend health benefits to roughly 31 million Americans who are now uninsured, at a cost of $848 billion over 10 years.
U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) announced the vote Saturday night.
"On this vote, the yays are 60, the nays are 39, three-fifths of the senators duly chosen and sworn having voted in the affirmative, the motion is agreed to," Dodd told reporters.
Prior to the vote, all 40 Republicans were on record as opposing the bill, and the Democrats did not have a single vote to spare, needing every Democrat and Independent who normally votes with Democrats to vote in favor of the motion. Two key Democrat votes were secured on Saturday.
During a long day of debate, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), had appealed to senators to advance the bill to the floor, saying it is their job to debate such a crucial issue.
President Barack Obama has made health care reform a top priority of his administration.
"Tonight we have the opportunity, the historic opportunity to reform health care once and for all," Sen. Max Baucus (D.-Mont.), a chief architect of the legislation, said, according to the Times. "History is knocking on the door. Let's open it. Let's begin the debate."
U.S. Military Studying PTSD Risk Factors
U.S. military researchers are trying to identify genetic and other factors that may help single out soldiers most at risk for post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
A better understanding of underlying contributing causes might help reduce the incidence of PTSD and improve treatment.
"Right now, we can't determine with certainty who will and who won't develop PTSD," Paula Schnurr, deputy executive director of the Department of Veterans Affairs' National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, told the Associated Press. "Perhaps with better measures, we can get closer."
Members of certain Marine and Army units are undergoing extensive physical and mental assessments -- including stress exams, brain imaging and genetic testing -- before combat deployment. The soldiers are monitored in the war zones and assessed again when they return home.
The purpose of learning more about factors that contribute to PTSD is not to bar certain people from military service, Cmdr. Bryan Schumacher, the 1st Marine Division's top doctor, told the AP. If the research identifies ways to prevent PTSD, those who are vulnerable could be given special training to reduce their risk, he explained.
University of Nebraska May Restrict Stem Cell Research
The University of Nebraska may become the first such state institution in the United States to impose limits on stem cell research that are more restrictive than what state and federal laws allow.
The university's board of regents was to vote Friday on whether to limit stem cell experiments to 21 cell lines approved by the Bush administration in 2001, The New York Times reported. Since 2001, researchers have created hundreds of cell lines that could be eligible for federal financing from the Obama White House.
Board members have faced weeks of intense lobbying from opponents and supporters of embryonic stem cell research.