Saturday, June 23, 2018
Health

New oral drug for multiple sclerosis shows promise

multiple sclerosis

New oral drug for MS shows promise

A new oral medication to treat patients in the early stages of multiple sclerosis has shown considerable promise in two clinical trials, researchers announced Wednesday. The medication, being developed by Biogen Idec, is on track to become just the third oral drug available to MS patients, and potentially the safest and most effective, experts said. The second oral drug, called Aubagio, was approved just last week. MS was virtually untreatable only two decades ago, but today nine "disease modifying" drugs are available for early-stage patients; a half-dozen more are in the late stages of development. Most patients in the early stage of the disease, a form called relapsing-remitting MS, take drugs intravenously. The two new studies, published online in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that the drug BG-12 reduced relapse rates in patients with relapsing MS by about 50 percent. The drug also significantly reduced the frequency of new brain lesions, and slowed the progression of disease compared with a placebo.

Premiums

Cost of Medicare Advantage to rise

Monthly premiums for popular Medicare Advantage insurance plans are rising slightly — by $1.47 next year — to an average of $32.59. The privately run plans often can provide the same services as traditional Medicare for a lower out-of-pocket cost, but seniors have to accept some restrictions on choice. About 12 million Medicare recipients are in private plans.

good outcomes

11 hospitals top agency's list

Eleven hospitals in Tampa Bay were named top performers Wednesday by the Joint Commission, their accrediting agency. The ratings recognize high performance on measures linked to positive patient outcomes, ranging from timely delivery of life-saving therapy in heart attack cases to dispensing aspirin at discharge. The following hospitals were recognized for 2011: Brandon Regional, Brooksville & Spring Hill Regional, Morton Plant, Pasco Regional, Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point, Largo Medical, Mease Countryside, Northside, St. Petersburg General, South Bay and St. Joseph's. Go to www.jointcommission.org for more information.

health policy

Experts discuss end-of-life care

End-of-life care for people of all ages is the topic of a public forum Friday. Among the speakers are Janice M. Van Dyck, author of Finding Frances; Dr. James Orlowski, a pediatrician who chairs the ethics committee at Florida Hospital; Dr. Howard Tuch of Tampa General Hospital; and Jay Wolfson, the USF health policy expert who served as guardian ad litem for Terri Schiavo. The conference is 1 to 4 p.m. Friday at Stetson College of Law, 1700 N Tampa Street, Tampa. Tickets are $60 at www.emersonforum.tix.com.

Wire, staff reports

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ScART program empowers people to explore their scars and express their feelings through art

ScART program empowers people to explore their scars and express their feelings through art

ST. PETERSBURGShyly, 8-year-old Annabelle Brassfield climbed atop a stool in front of a blank easel, grabbed a brush she named Scarlet and prepared to paint her scars. After three open heart surgeries for a severe congenital heart defect, she’s left ...
Published: 06/22/18
Enjoy Israeli Couscous, Swiss Chard and Peppers warm or at room temperature

Enjoy Israeli Couscous, Swiss Chard and Peppers warm or at room temperature

By Katie WorkmanIsraeli or Mediterranean couscous are tiny balls of toasted semolina pasta that plump up when cooked into toothsome, slightly less tiny balls of pasta. They make a great base for a side or salad. You can make the couscous according to...
Published: 06/22/18
‘BE AWARE’: Pasco mom posts to Facebook after son’s caterpillar sting leads to ER trip

‘BE AWARE’: Pasco mom posts to Facebook after son’s caterpillar sting leads to ER trip

ZEPHYRHILLS — The Pergolas’ Saturday morning volunteer work started like most, at a farm cleaning the property and trimming trees. Andrea Pergola, 38, stood on the driveway of the property when she heard her 15-year-old son Logan scream. At first, sh...
Published: 06/20/18
Moffitt receives $1 million donation from Richard Gonzmart

Moffitt receives $1 million donation from Richard Gonzmart

TAMPA — Runners gathered for the Gonzmart’s Father’s Day Walk and Jog where they raise money to help aid in Moffitt Cancer Center’s fight against prostate cancer. This year the event raised $110,000, but Moffitt had another surprise in store.Andrea G...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Compulsive video-game playing could be mental health problem

Compulsive video-game playing could be mental health problem

GENEVA — Obsessive video gamers know how to anticipate dangers in virtual worlds. The World Health Organization says they now should be on guard for a danger in the real world: spending too much time playing. In its latest revision to a disease class...
Published: 06/19/18
Funded by Alcohol Industry, Federal Study on Drinking Is Shut Down

Funded by Alcohol Industry, Federal Study on Drinking Is Shut Down

The extensive government trial was intended to settle an age-old question about alcohol and diet: Does a daily cocktail or beer really protect against heart attacks and stroke?To find out, the National Institutes of Health gave scientists $100 millio...
Published: 06/16/18
More than a third of American adults take prescription drugs that may increase risk of depression, study says

More than a third of American adults take prescription drugs that may increase risk of depression, study says

More than a third of American adults are taking prescription drugs, including hormones for contraception, blood pressure medications and medicines for heartburn, that carry a potential risk of depression, according to a study published in the Journal...
Published: 06/12/18
It’s time to use the stingray shuffle to avoid a nasty sting

It’s time to use the stingray shuffle to avoid a nasty sting

Courtney Bilyeu was running toward the murky water alongside a few military officers when it happened.She was an accountant for the U.S. Navy at the time. And on her way to take a swim with some coworkers in a California beach, she saw blood. The wat...
Published: 06/12/18
It’s important to wear sunglasses even on cloudy days, ophthalmologists say

It’s important to wear sunglasses even on cloudy days, ophthalmologists say

The next time you head to the drugstore to buy sunscreen, don’t forget to pick up some sunglasses, too. That’s because both products work to protect your body from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays.Wearing sunglasses for protection should not be re...
Published: 06/09/18
In St. Pete, kidney patients gather for science and solidarity

In St. Pete, kidney patients gather for science and solidarity

ST. PETERSBURG — Kidney disease doesn’t discriminate.The crowd of more than 200 patients who gathered at the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort range in age from teenagers to seniors. They are of different ethnicities and come from all over the...
Published: 06/08/18