• U.S.

Health Report: Feb. 9, 1998

2 minute read
Janice M. Horowitz

THE GOOD NEWS

LUNG RESCUE Finally, a way to treat a condition in which blood pressure in the lungs soars: use intravenous doses of the drug prostacyclin. The malady can show up in people who have taken the diet pills fen/phen or Redux–that’s one reason they are off the market.

CANCER CARE Researchers now say it’s best to follow a lumpectomy for noninvasive breast cancer with radiation therapy. An eight-year study shows that women who’ve had the X-ray treatments cut their odds of a relapse in half.

INFANT AIDS A genetic mutation present in a small percentage of infants born with HIV may help keep AIDS from progressing.

Sources: New England Journal of Medicine; Clinical Oncology; Journal of the American Medical Association

THE BAD NEWS

MS MESS Contrary to long-held views, doctors now find that multiple sclerosis not only damages the sheaths surrounding nerves but also severs the nerves. Once nerves are cut, function is gone.

EARLIER, NOT BETTER A recent trend toward having amniocentesis performed early–11 to 12 weeks into pregnancy instead of the usual 15 or 16–may raise the risk that the baby will be born with a clubfoot or that mom will miscarry.

SNIFF, SNIFF A nasal spray newly popular among doctors–made of water, baking soda and, well, pickling salt–doesn’t alleviate acute sinusitis any better than a placebo.

Sources: New England Journal of Medicine; Lancet; Archives of Family Medicine

–By Janice M. Horowitz

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