Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Doc-Prescribed Heroin May Work Better Than Methadone as
Medically prescribed heroin is more cost-effective than
methadone for treating heroin addicts, according to findings from
North America's first clinical trial of prescribed heroin.
Compared to patients who received methadone, those who received
the medically prescribed heroin in the form of diacetylmorphine
stayed in treatment longer and spent less time in relapse, which
was associated with less criminal activity and lower healthcare
costs, reported the
National Post in Canada.
Patients who received the medically prescribed heroin also lived
longer than those who received methadone.
The study predicted an average lifetime societal cost of $1.09
million for addicts who received medically prescribed heroin and
$1.14 million for those who received methadone, the
Post reported. The costs include treatment expenses and costs
to the justice system.
The findings were published in the
Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Treatment Halts World's Tallest Man's Growth
Treatment to stop the world's tallest man from growing has been
successful, according to University of Virginia doctors.
The Daily Progress newspaper said 8-foot-3 Sultan Kosen of
Turkey had a tumor in his pituitary gland that was causing excess
growth hormone and gigantism,
USA Today reported.
It was feared that continued growth would put the 29-year-old at
even greater risk for joint and organ problems. Doctors began
radiation treatment on the tumor in 2010 and it was confirmed three
months ago that Kosen had stopped growing.
The treatment involved the use of gamma knife radiosurgery,
which delivers a focused beam of radiation to the tumor. But
The Daily Progress said before the procedure could be
performed, special medical equipment to fit Kosen's enormous skull
had to be flown in from Sweden,
USA Today reported.
Many States Plan Tighter Indoor Tanning Rules for Teens
Nearly two dozen states are considering new laws to prohibit or
further restrict teens' use of indoor tanning devices in order to
protect them from skin cancer.
Eighteen states are thinking about banning the use of indoor
tanning devices by people younger than age 18, according to the
National Conference of State Legislatures, and 5 others are
weighing increased regulation.
"It's a major push this year," Ron Moy, of the American Academy of Dermatology, told USA Today. He noted that indoor tanning is undeniably associated with skin cancer.
Currently, California is the only state that bans indoor tanning
for all minors. Most states require teens to get parental consent
before using tanning beds and 10 states have age restrictions, with
minimum ages for use ranging from 13 to 16.5 years.
The American Academy of Dermatology says indoor tanning devices
are used by about 30 million people (including 2.3 million teens)
USA Today reported.
White House Outlines Plan for Health Insurance Exchanges
As part of the new health reform law, the U.S. government on
Monday released its blueprint for state insurance exchanges meant
to allow Americans to purchase health insurance in a more organized
and competitive market.
The new marketplaces, intended to provide one-stop insurance
shopping, are mandated to be up and running in every state by Jan.
1, 2014, as part of the Affordable Care Act, the
Associated Press reported.
Individuals and small businesses are the intended customers.
They will be able to apply for coverage online, and trained
"navigators" will be available to educate them about the new
The exchanges are expected serve some 30 million Americans, of
whom half are currently uninsured, the news service said.
"More competition will drive down costs and exchanges will give individuals and small businesses the same purchasing power big businesses have today," U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in statement, the AP reported.
Meeting the new regulation entails a huge cooperative effort for
state and federal officials, who will need to verify personal and
financial details, get customers enrolled in the correct health
plan, and calculate possible government aid for millions of people,
Jan. 1, 2013, is the deadline for states to obtain conditional
federal approval for their exchanges.