Health Highlights: Feb. 26, 2013

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Serious side effects occurred in less than one percent of patients and included liver damage, severe bleeding, blistering and peeling of skin, very high blood pressures requiring emergency treatment, heart attacks and holes in the intestines.

The FDA approves Stivarga in September 2012 to treat colorectal cancer.


Many Feel Unwell After Watching 3-D Movies: Study

More than 55 percent of people who watched a 3-D movie said it made them feel unwell, according to a new study.

These people had at least one physical complaint after watching a 3-D movie. The most common complaints were headache or tired eyes. But nearly 11 percent of the moviegoers said they felt like they might throw up, NBC News reported.

The study was published in the journal PLoS One.

"I was surprised by the relatively high proportion of people who reported symptoms after a 3-D movie," said study author Angelo Solimini, an adjunct professor and research scientist in hygiene and public health at Sapienza University of Rome, NBC News reported.


Asthma Drug Eases Itching from Chronic Hives: Study

The asthma drug Xolair (omalizumab) shows promise in relieving itchiness in patients with chronic hives who aren't helped by traditional antihistamine treatment.

In a phase 3 clinical trial, a monthly injection of Xolair significantly reduced hives and itchiness in these patients, according to a study published online in the The New England Journal of Medicine.

"This is the magic bullet that patients have been waiting for for the last 40 years," said study lead author Dr. Marcus Maurer, a professor of dermatology and allergy at Charit-Universitatsmedizin in Berlin, The New York Times reported.

Maurer has received consulting fees from several drug companies, including Genentech and Novartis, which paid for the study.

The study results are encouraging, according to Dr. Jonathan Bernstein, a professor of medicine and an allergy specialist at the University of Cincinnati, who was not involved in the study.

"The drug is not a cure, but it will advance our ability to manage these patients," he told the Times.


Doctor Performs Bloodless Lung Transplants

Bloodless lung transplants being performed by an American doctor hint at a possible new way of performing surgery in the future.

Dr. Scott Scheinin, of The Methodist Hospital in Houston, said a growing body of research led him to believe that blood transfusions often pose unnecessary risks and should be avoided when possible, even in complicated cases, The New York Times reported.

By choosing patients with low odds of complications, he felt he could operate almost as safely without blood transfusions as with it. Some patients refuse blood transfusions due to religious beliefs or for other reasons.

The first so-called bloodless lung transplant was conducted in 1996 at Johns Hopkins Hospital. So far, 11 so-called bloodless lung transplants have been attempted at Methodist over three years, the Times reported.

Hospital officials were initially reluctant to approve this type of procedure.

"My job is to push risk away, so I wasn't really excited about it. But the numbers were very convincing," Dr. A. Osama Gaber, the hospital's director of transplantation, told The Times.

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