Flu vaccine not working well; only 23 percent effective
NEW YORK -- This year's flu vaccine is doing a pretty crummy job. It's only 23 percent effective, which is one of the worst performances in the last decade, according to a government study released Thursday. The poor showing is primarily because the vaccine doesn't include the bug that is making most people sick, health officials say. In the last decade, flu vaccines at their best were 50 to 60 percent effective...
Tiny sodas: Fewer calories, less guilt means more money for sodamakers
NEW YORK -- Americans want to cut back on soda, and they're willing to pay more to do it. With people drinking less soda amid health concerns, Coke and Pepsi are pushing smaller cans and bottles that contain fewer calories and, they say, induce less guilt. That all comes at a price: Those cute little cans can cost more than twice as much per ounce...
Hospice care can take care of 'spiritual and emotional' needs of patients, family members
Hospice is a charged word. It conjures images of sickness, separation and not much hope, so people tend to avoid confronting it. But its negative connotation is largely misappropriated. However painful the idea may be, hospice care, when confronted realistically, can greatly increase a patient's quality of life, making the unfortunate ordeal more bearable...
Risks to mothers trying for test-tube babies rare, study says
CHICAGO -- Complications are uncommon for women undergoing test-tube fertility procedures: A new 12-year U.S. study shows the most frequent involve drugs used to stimulate ovaries, but it suggests problems are rarely fatal. Overstimulated ovaries occurred in 154 out of every 10,000 pregnancy attempts; rates of other complications were fewer than 10 per 10,000 attempts. ...
Medicare pays doctors to coordinate seniors' chronic care
WASHINGTON -- Adjusting medications before someone gets sick enough to visit the doctor. Updating outside specialists so one doctor's prescription doesn't interfere with another's. Starting this month, Medicare will pay primary care doctors a monthly fee to better coordinate care for the most vulnerable seniors -- those with multiple chronic illnesses -- even if they don't have a face-to-face exam...
Local studio gives lift with aerial yoga
With the arrival of a new year, a common resolution is to eat healthier and once again begin regular workouts. This year The Source-Yoga 'n More is offering a few fun new ways to exercise, in the form of aerial yoga. Aerial yoga involves using "silks" or nylon bands to suspend a person off the ground in a deep, relaxing stretch. Participants can "invert" themselves by flipping upside down while suspended, or simply practice their stretches while keeping a foot firmly planted on the ground...
New diet guidelines might pull back from meat over environmental concerns
WASHINGTON -- Where's the beef? A panel that advises the Agriculture Department appears set to recommend that you be told not only what foods are better for your own health, but also for the environment. That means that when the latest version of the government's dietary guidelines comes out, it may push even harder than it has in recent years for people to choose more fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and other plant-based foods -- at the expense of meat...
Local podiatrist becomes first in U.S. to use portable scanning device
During the fall, when podiatrist Dr. Hugh Protzel was in the market for a new ultrasound unit, he began researching options and one portable unit caught his eye. Made by General Electric, the device, called Vscan, is pocket-size and fits easily in the palm of a hand...
Survey: E-cigs surpass regular cigs in teen use
WASHINGTON -- Electronic cigarettes have surpassed traditional smoking in popularity among teens, the government's annual drug-use survey finds. Even as tobacco smoking by teens dropped to new lows, use of e-cigarettes reached levels that surprised researchers. The findings marked the survey's first attempt to measure the use of e-cigarettes by people that young...
Local residents say it's important to keep New Year's resolutions attainable
It's that time of year again. Just over a week is left in 2014 to figure out what your New Year's resolution will be, and most, like Cape Girardeau resident Dean Atkins', concern health. "I'm going to quit smoking," he said. "This year, for good." He said he's tried a couple of times before, but this time, he's been practicing...
Experts: It was a busy, black-eye year for disease control
NEW YORK -- Health officials are celebrating some important victories in 2014, and Time magazine even named Ebola fighters the persons of the year. Nevertheless, this was a black-eye year for public health. Some vital vaccines did not work well. Federal laboratories were careless with dangerous pathogens. And international health officials failed to stop a West Africa outbreak from exploding into the worst Ebola epidemic ever...
Autism awareness advocate looks back on successes
This story has been edited to correct the age of Ethan's diagnosis, the location where the Collier family moved to in Maine and for how long they stayed.
James "Mike" Sciortino is a grandpa mad for autism. At least that's how he wants his headline to read.
Foodborne-illness risk during the holidays can be cut down with simple precautions
When friends and family gather for holiday celebrations, food is usually at the center of it all, and where there is food, there's the potential for food poisoning. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that each year one in six people gets sick from a foodborne illness, and children and the elderly are more susceptible to the pathogens that cause it...
42.9 million Americans have unpaid medical bills
WASHINGTON -- Nearly 20 percent of U.S. consumers with credit records -- 42.9 million people -- have unpaid medical debts, according to a new report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The findings suggest many Americans are being trapped by debt because they are confused by the notices they get from hospitals and insurance companies about the cost of treatment. ...
Organic produce or GMOs?: Local experts weigh in on national conversation about which is better for you
Over the past several years, the organic food craze has definitely grown. But some people feel that genetically modified foods -- or GMOs as they are commonly known -- are just as good, if not better. What are the pros and cons of each and which are truly better for you?...
Flu vaccine may be less effective this winter
NEW YORK -- The flu vaccine may not be very effective this winter, according to U.S. health officials who worry this may lead to more serious illnesses and deaths. Flu season has begun to ramp up, and officials say the vaccine does not protect well against the dominant strain seen most commonly so far this year. That strain tends to cause more deaths and hospitalizations, especially in the elderly...
Right-to-die supporters, opponents look to dignity of patients
A month ago, 29-year-old terminal cancer patient Brittany Maynard ended her life in Oregon and in doing so revived the debate over physician-assisted suicide. Though only five states offer a legal path to ending one's life, Maynard's situation made headlines nationwide, opening a division between supporters and opponents...
Restaurants, grocery stores that serve prepared food will have to display calories
WASHINGTON -- Diners will soon know how many calories are in that bacon cheeseburger at a chain restaurant, the pasta salad in the supermarket salad bar and even that buttery tub of popcorn at the movie theater. The Food and Drug Administration announced long-delayed calorie labeling rules last week, requiring establishments that sell prepared foods and have 20 or more locations to post the calorie content of food and beverages "clearly and conspicuously" on their menus, menu boards and displays. ...
Fight the flu: What you need to know about staying healthy through flu season
When it comes to the flu, older adults have a disadvantage compared to younger folks: More than half of individuals hospitalized with the flu are elderly, and up to 90 percent of flu-related deaths are people older than 65, says Kim Keser, a family nurse practitioner at Cape Primary Care...
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