Public Health

Morning Rounds: Kissing Off Flu, Health Care Talking, FDA Weighs Drug Risks

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Good morning.

Egypt, the country that slaughtered its entire pig population in April to ward off swine flu, now has a handful of confirmed H1N1 flu cases.

Gulf News reports that a Cairo doctor is on a campaign to stop the region's traditional kiss-kiss-kiss greetings in favor of dry versions, like handshakes.

Wait, aren't handshakes a problem, too?

Health Care: Talk To Me

We've been hearing that health care is heating up on Capitol Hill. Really, it is. But we'd like to see some actual bills, please, not just speeches.

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) led a Kennedy-less health care discussion of Sen. Ted Kennedy's (D-MA) health reform bill yesterday in Washington. The Boston Globe details that it would address people with disabilities and set up a national long-term care insurance program.

Health overhaul legislation is on a tight timeframe, in Capitol Hill terms.

The Wall Street Journal:

As soon as this week, a Senate committee is expected to release the first piece of legislation, with a second bill to follow later this month. The House is expected to unveil its health bill by the middle of the month. Both chambers are aiming to pass legislation by August and deliver a single bill to Mr. Obama by October.

FDA Weights Side Effects of Antipsychotics

And finally, NPR's Joe Shapiro previews FDA's two-day review this week of some powerful and pricey antipsychotic medications and whether they should be prescribed for kids.

The drugs, Seroquel, Zyprexa and Geodon, are already approved for use in adults. But their significant side effects, such as sedation and heavy weight gain that can lead to diabetes and heart disease, make them particularly worrisome for kids, Shapiro reports.

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