What’s the latest in Healthcare, March 20

March 20, 2009 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE

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doctorsEvery two weeks, I will be bringing you a news round up of what’s the latest in health care and the pharmaceutical industry. And it starts today.

What’s New?

Incoming chief to tackle woes of US food and drug agency
Margaret Hamburg, MD, has been nominated by President Obama to be the next US FDA head. She used to be the youngest health commissioner for New York City. “She would bring to the commissioner’s job a background of public-health experience that runs from working at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to advising the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and from bioterrorism planning to pandemic-flu preparation and tuberculosis control”, according to Nature News. The nomination still has to be approved by the Senate.

What’s Cool?

FDA Assessing Feasibility of Using Nanotechnology Test to Detect Anthrax Following a Bioterrorist Attack
A new nanotechnology-based test that can quickly and accurately detect anthrax toxin even to the very smallest amount is not so far away. The US FDA has announced it has just completed a “proof-of-concept” study on the test. The results of the study have been published in the March issue of Clinical and Vaccine Immunology.

Watch out!

FDA warns about risk of wearing medicated patches during MRIs
Adhesive patches are widely used nowadays to deliver medication transdermally. They range from smoking cessation drugs (nicotine patches) to vaccines. These patches, however, may contain metals that can interfere with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and some of these products do not contain warnings on their labels. Patients should report any patch use before a scheduled MRI.

What’s being discussed?

The Medical Device Safety Act of 2009
A landmark US Supreme Court decision that granted immunity to medical device companies against litigation by patients sparked a heated debate over patient safety. An editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine (Issue March 18, 2009) reviews the events that led to the introduction of The Medical Safety Act of 2009 to the US Congress. The Act aims to amend certain clauses in the Medical Device Amendment Act on which the court decision was based, thus reverse the medical device companies’ immunity.

What’s developing?

Big interest in heavy drugs
By simply switching atoms, pharma companies can come up with better and heavier drugs. Simply put, that is what “deuterated drugs” are all about. The trick is to replace a normal hydrogen atom with a heavier isotope – deuterium. A normal hydrogen atom has 1 proton and 1 electron. Deuterium has an extra neutron. It is heavier and can make stronger chemical bonds. These “heavier” deuterium versions of certain drugs are still being tested.

Photo credit: stock.chng

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.

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