(This story has been posted on The Wall Street Journal Online's Health Blog at http://blogs.wsj.com/health.)
By Katherine Hobson
Treating Traumatic Brain Injuries: A 184-patient study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests amantadine, a drug now used to treat Parkinson's disease, may also help accelerate the recovery of patients with severe traumatic brain injury, the WSJ reports. Patients were given the drug or a placebo one to four months after incurring a TBI and after four weeks, 18.6% of the amantadine group remained completely unconscious, vs. 31.6% in the placebo group, the paper says. Recovery plateaued after patients were taken off the drug.
Reassessing Danger of Avian Flu Research: The leader of a research team that genetically altered the avian flu virus to make it transmissible in mammals says he doesn't think the virus would be particularly dangerous if it moved outside the lab, the New York Times reports.The U.S. government is going to ask that an advisory panel to reassess the research; earlier, the panel urged the studies not be published in their entirety, saying the details of how the virus mutated could be used by terrorists.
Ruling on Drug Distribution: A federal judge says drug-distribution companies have an obligation to be proactive about unusually large shipments of drugs that may suggest diversion to the black market, the WSJ reports. The judge's ruling permits "drug agents to halt shipments of the addictive painkiller oxycodone and other controlled medications from a Cardinal Health Inc. distribution facility in Florida," the paper says. Cardinal disagrees with the decision and plans to appeal, the WSJ says.
Where's the Sugar From?: New government figures suggest that children are getting about 16% of their daily calories from added sugars in prepared and processed foods and drinks, USA Today reports. Soft drinks are the single largest source of added sugars, according to research from the National Center for Health Statistics, but kids get more calories overall from the sugars in foods than drinks, USA Today says.
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