medicine

Cambridge Biotech Company Asks Feds For OK On New Ebola Drug

Aug 7, 2014

A Cambridge-based biotech company is seeking approval from federal regulators to use its experimental medication on patients brought to the United States for treatment after being infected in West Africa’s deadly Ebola outbreak.

Sarepta Therapeutics says if given approval, the firm will, within a few months, have enough of the injectible drug — AVI-75370 — for up to 125 patients.

The drug aims to stop the virus from replicating, allowing the body to fight it off.

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U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal announced on Wednesday a $600,000 federal grant to improve testing for Lyme disease.

The Connecticut Democrat made the announcement in Danbury alongside researchers from Western Connecticut Biomedical Research Institute and the Seattle-based RareCyte, Inc. 

If you show up at a hospital emergency department with a high fever and you just happen to have been traveling in Africa, don't be surprised if you get a lot of attention.

Hospitals are on the lookout for people with symptoms such as a high fever, vomiting and diarrhea who had been traveling in parts of West Africa affected by Ebola, following instructions from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On Monday, New York's Mount Sinai Hospital announced that it was evaluating a patient who had recently been in West Africa.

He didn't need a stretcher — not even an arm around his shoulder.

Kent Brantly, of Fort Worth, Texas, is the first person to be treated for Ebola on American soil. The 33-year-old family doctor surprised everyone Saturday when he walked out of an ambulance and into an Atlanta hospital.

Last week we learned that two Americans working in Liberia for a medical charity, Samaritan's Purse, were among those who had contracted Ebola. When their symptoms took a turn for the worse, the organization announced that the two were going to get experimental treatments. One was going to get a blood transfusion from a 14-year-old boy who recovered from the disease, the organization said; the other was to get an "experimental serum." What's that?

United States Army Corps Of Engineers

Doctor Ulysses Wu, the chief of infectious diseases at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, said there are lot of things out there that can kill us. "Diptheria," he said, "tetanus, pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, haemophilous influenzae, pneumococus, meningicocus..." 

Wu said immunizations against those diseases are one of the greatest advances in medical science known to mankind. 

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is on the hot seat.

It all started in mid-June, when the CDC announced that dozens of its scientists might have accidentally been exposed to anthrax.

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Later this summer, medical marijuana will become legally available to patients in Connecticut.  

We've all done it. The bottle of Pepto-Bismol says to take two tablespoons, so you grab the nearest spoon from the silverware drawer and drink down two of those. It's probably pretty close, right?

Maybe not. With all the different sizes and shapes of spoons out there — soup spoons, dessert spoons, grapefruit spoons and coffee spoons, to name just a few — who knows if the spoon you chose is actually close to a tablespoon.

And when it comes to children, that lack of precision can be dangerous.

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Approved patients will soon be able to obtain medical marijuana…legally. The marijuana producers who were approved by the state earlier this year will start to get their product out to dispensaries later this summer.

We talk with Commissioner William Rubenstein from the Department of Consumer Protection about the state’s medical marijuana program. 

The Jackson Laboratory

Connecticut Congressman John Larson sponsored a health care forum on Monday at the legislative office building in Hartford. 

"Improving Our Health Care System Through Science and Innovation" was a chance for a panel of prominent health care leaders to tout how innovations in their area of expertise are saving lives and pulling down the cost of health care.

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We focus this hour on one of the nation's most respected clinicians and researchers working with teens and adults who have ADHD. Dr. Thomas E. Brown is Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine, and Associate Director of the Yale Clinic for Attention and Related Disorders. (There is sometimes a link between ADHD and autism.)

Dr. Brown's new book, Smart but Stuck, looks at how managing emotions plays a key role in the lives of those with ADHD, including those who have high I.Q. scores.

Low-Dose Aspirin May Reduce Risk of Some Cancers

Jun 26, 2014
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What if an aspirin a day could keep cancer away? A growing body of scientific research suggests that aspirin can prevent some cancers of the digestive system, and maybe even breast and prostate, too.

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About 200 pharmacists and physicians gathered on Wednesday in Southington for the first Medical Cannabis Symposium in Connecticut.

Connecticut is only the state in the country with legalized medical marijuana laws that requires an on-site pharmacist to dispense the drug.

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Historically, people with epilepsy were thought to be possessed by demons. Research has come a long way since then, but epilepsy remains mysterious. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in 26 people will be diagnosed with epilepsy in their lives. Annually, it costs more than $15 billion in medical costs and reduced work production.

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A new investigative report calls into question thousands of diagnostic tests for Lyme disease.

Lyme is a problematic disease. It can be tough to treat, and even tougher to diagnose. The Food and Drug Administration recommends a test that works fairly well. It identifies about 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease a year, mostly in the northeast. 

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Meriden’s Protein Sciences has been awarded a multi-million dollar extension to its contract with the federal government to provide flu vaccines.

It’s being called the house call of the future: ambulance crews who rush when you call 9-1-1, but instead of taking you to the emergency room, they treat you at home.

Community paramedicine, as it’s called, is a growing trend across the country. It’s aim is to bring down hospital costs, but there are concerns about who’s going to end up paying for the service.

C-HIT

A simple blood test is transforming the world of prenatal screening, offering women a risk-free way to learn about fetal abnormalities early in pregnancy.

Governor Dannel Malloy, along with Early Childhood Commissioner, Dr. Myra Jones-Taylor, and local officials, have announced the allocation of about 1,000 additional School Readiness opportunities for low-income children in 46 municipalities throughout the state.

Lawmakers Battle Over Bridge Repair and Transportation Funding

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This is National Men's Health Week, an awareness campaign to encourage men to take simple steps to improve their health.

On Friday, Los Angeles Angels pitcher Sean Burnett became the latest player this season to undergo "Tommy John" surgery. In this weekend's MLB draft, at least four players selected had already had the infamous elbow surgery as amateurs.

The operation is named after the first player to undergo the procedure to fix an injured elbow ligament, in 1974. Pitchers are particularly vulnerable to this injury.

The procedure involves taking a tendon from somewhere else in the body — or from a cadaver — and grafting it into place. Pitchers get it most often.

John Bartelstone / Jeffrey Berman Architect

Doctor's offices and hospitals may not always be stunning examples of architecture, but both architects and doctors are thinking of how designs can put patients at ease and help them heal.

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We focus this hour on one of the nation's most respected clinicians and researchers working with teens and adults who have ADHD. Dr. Thomas E. Brown is Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine, and Associate Director of the Yale Clinic for Attention and Related Disorders. (There is sometimes a link between ADHD and autism.)

Dr. Brown's new book, Smart but Stuck, looks at how managing emotions plays a key role in the lives of those with ADHD, including those who have high I.Q. scores.

The number of women getting double mastectomies after a breast cancer diagnosis has been rising in the past 10 years, even though most of them don't face a higher risk of getting cancer in the other breast.

That has cancer doctors troubled, because for those women having the other breast removed doesn't reduce their risk of getting breast cancer again or increase their odds of survival. And they don't know why women are making this choice.

A White House official says the CIA will no longer use vaccine programs as cover for spy operations, answering health experts' complaints that it had hurt international efforts to fight disease.

The CIA famously used a vaccination program as a ploy to gain information about the possible whereabouts of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. That effort didn't succeed, and the doctor involved was sentenced to a prison term. But the revelation had immediate effects — particularly in the fight against polio.

Suicide remains a leading cause of death in the United States, especially among teenagers and young adults. Anything that could reduce the toll would be good.

But asking everyone who goes to the doctor if he is considering suicide isn't the answer, according to a federal panel that evaluated the effectiveness of existing screening tools for suicide. They found there wasn't enough evidence to know whether screening the general public helps or hurts.

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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder isn’t just for fidgety little boys anymore. The number of young adult women taking medications for ADHD jumped by 85 percent between 2008 and 2012, according to a recent report by St. Louis-based Express Scripts, a pharmaceutical benefits company.

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The rising cost of medical care is the top concern of businesses surveyed in a new report by insurance company Travelers.

Pfizer

Pfizer's bid for rival pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca looks likely to fail, after the UK business turned down its latest offer.

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