February 22, 2013 In early 2012, experiments that made H5N1 bird flu more contagious caused an uproar. People feared that mutant viruses could escape the lab and kill people. To prevent a repeat, the government has unveiled a policy describing how scientists should study dangerous pathogens and toxins.
February 21, 2013 Emergency contraceptives like Plan B and ella are effective at preventing pregnancy after unprotected sex. Claims that the pills are tantamount to abortion, however, aren't supported by science, say researchers. The only way the drugs work is by stopping a woman's body from ovulating.
February 21, 2013 A broad array of medical groups has agreed on an expanded list of things doctors shouldn't do. The idea is to curb unnecessary, wasteful and often harmful care, the sponsors say.
February 20, 2013 Florida's expansion of Medicaid will provide health insurance coverage to more than a million people. Florida will also become the seventh state headed by a Republican to agree to take the federal offer to provide Medicaid to all state residents with incomes up to about $15,000 a year.
February 20, 2013 3-D printing can be used to make food, guns and maybe human ears. Researchers say that using collagen to print out ear cartilage solves a lot of the problems in making new ears for people with birth defects or injuries.
February 20, 2013 KHNEssential benefit requirements apply mainly to individual and small group plans. The federal requirements also affect benefits provided to people newly eligible for Medicaid coverage. Now, for instance, we know that insurers won't be allowed to can't charge consumers a copay for a screening colonoscopy, even if a polyp is removed.
February 20, 2013 Pharmaceuticals were involved in more than half of the 38,329 overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2010. Opioid painkillers, such as hydrocodone, were the most common prescription drugs involved. But drugs for mental health conditions were also implicated often.
February 15, 2013 The notion that being a little overweight could help people in old age is being challenged. Some of the studies in support of the so-called obesity paradox excluded people who lived in institutions, like nursing homes, or were too sick to participate, a critic says.
February 14, 2013 Kittens regained sight in a blind eye after being plunged into darkness for 10 days. Researchers say that prolonged darkness may reset the brain to an earlier stage of development, allowing the kittens to recover their vision.
February 14, 2013 Crowd funding has proved popular for bands raising money to produce a new album and for producers of documentary films. Now scientists are getting into the act, and some are raising money from the very people they're studying.
February 13, 2013 Contaminated and counterfeit drugs can be more profitable than illegal ones, and they're spreading. This problem is killing people around the world, including in the U.S., and hampering efforts to control diseases like tuberculosis, malaria and AIDS.
February 13, 2013 Until now, a new SARS-like virus showed little signs of being contagious. Only 10 cases have been reported, and all appeared to originate in the Middle East. Health officials now say a British resident likely caught the virus from a family member in the U.K., indicating that the virus can spread between people.
February 13, 2013 Firstborn children are more likely to have higher blood pressure and be more resistant to insulin, researchers in New Zealand say. But despite those worrisome signs, there's no hard evidence linking birth order to diabetes or heart disease risk in adulthood.
February 12, 2013 Diclofenac — sold under the brand names Voltaren, Cambia, Cataflam and Zipsor — raises the risk of a heart attack by about 40 percent. But that hasn't prevented the drug from becoming the world's most popular painkiller in its class. Now researchers are calling on the World Health Organization to remove it from a list of so-called "essential medicines."