Health

Federal Scientists Recommend Easing Restrictions on Marijuana
Health

Federal Scientists Recommend Easing Restrictions on Marijuana

Marijuana is neither as risky nor as prone to abuse as other tightly controlled substances and has potential medical benefits, and therefore should be removed from the nation’s most restrictive category of drugs, federal scientists have concluded.The recommendations are contained in a 250-page scientific review provided to Matthew Zorn, a Texas lawyer who sued Health and Human Services officials for its release and published it online on Friday night. An H.H.S. official confirmed the authenticity of the document.The records shed light for the first time on the thinking of federal health officials who are pondering a momentous change. The agencies involved have not publicly commented on their debates over what amounts to a reconsideration of marijuana at the federal level.Since 1970, mariju...
Researchers Scramble to Keep Dog Aging Project Alive
Health

Researchers Scramble to Keep Dog Aging Project Alive

In late 2019, scientists began searching for 10,000 Americans willing to enroll their pets in an ambitious new study of health and longevity in dogs. The researchers planned to track the dogs over the course of their lives, collecting detailed information about their bodies, lifestyles and home environments. Over time, the scientists hoped to identify the biological and environmental factors that kept some dogs healthy in their golden years — and uncover insights about aging that could help both dogs and humans lead longer, healthier lives.Today, the Dog Aging Project has enrolled 47,000 canines and counting, and the data are starting to stream in. The scientists say that they are just getting started.“We think of the Dog Aging Project as a forever project, so recruitment is ongoing,” said...
F.D.A. Warned of Mental Side Effects from Asthma Drug, Singulair. Few Were Told.
Health

F.D.A. Warned of Mental Side Effects from Asthma Drug, Singulair. Few Were Told.

In early 2020, the Food and Drug Administration responded to decades of escalating concerns about a commonly prescribed drug for asthma and allergies by deploying one of its most potent tools: a stark warning on the drug’s label that it could cause aggression, agitation and even suicidal thoughts.The agency’s label, which was primarily aimed at doctors, was supposed to sound an alert about the 25-year-old medication, Singulair, also known by its generic name, montelukast. But it barely dented use: The drug was still prescribed to 12 million people in the United States in 2022.Children face the greatest risks of the drug’s ill effects, and while usage by minors did decline, it was still taken by 1.6 million of them — including Nicole Sims’s son. Ms. Sims had no idea why, at 6, her son start...
Paxlovid Cuts Covid Death Risk. But Those Who Need It Are Not Taking It.
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Paxlovid Cuts Covid Death Risk. But Those Who Need It Are Not Taking It.

As Covid rises again, killing about 1,500 Americans each week, medical researchers are trying to understand why so few people are taking Paxlovid, a medicine that is stunningly effective in preventing severe illness and death from the disease.A study of a million high-risk people with Covid found that only about 15 percent who were eligible for the drug took it. If instead half of the eligible patients in the United States had gotten Paxlovid during the time period of the research, 48,000 deaths could have been prevented, the authors of the study, conducted by the National Institutes of Health, concluded.It’s not because people don’t know about the drug — most do — but the reluctance seems to come from doctors worried about interactions with other drugs and people wary of a possible reboun...
F.D.A. to Issue First Approval for Mass Drug Imports to States from Canada
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F.D.A. to Issue First Approval for Mass Drug Imports to States from Canada

The Food and Drug Administration has allowed Florida to import millions of dollars worth of medications from Canada at far lower prices than in the United States, overriding fierce decades-long objections from the pharmaceutical industry.The approval, issued in a letter to Florida Friday, is a major policy shift for the United States, and supporters hope it will be a significant step forward in the long and largely unsuccessful effort to rein in drug prices. Individuals in the United States are allowed to buy directly from Canadian pharmacies, but states have long wanted to be able to purchase medicines in bulk for their Medicaid programs, government clinics and prisons from Canadian wholesalers.Florida has estimated that it could save up to $150 million in its first year of the program, i...
Citing Misinformation, Florida Health Official Calls for Halt to Covid Vaccines
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Citing Misinformation, Florida Health Official Calls for Halt to Covid Vaccines

Florida’s surgeon general on Wednesday called for a halt to the use of Covid vaccines, citing widely debunked concerns that contaminants in the vaccine can permanently integrate into human DNA.“These vaccines are not appropriate for use in human beings,” Dr. Joseph Ladapo, the state’s surgeon general and highest-ranking health official, said in a statement released by the Florida Department of Health.Federal health officials and other experts have repeatedly sought to counter Dr. Ladapo’s erroneous comments about the vaccines, noting that careful review of the scientific evidence has found no basis for his declarations.The Food and Drug Administration said on Wednesday that it had not identified any “safety concerns related to the sequence of, or amount of, residual DNA.”The Covid vaccines...
Dry January: How to Set Yourself Up for Success
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Dry January: How to Set Yourself Up for Success

Dry January sounds like a simple proposition: No alcohol. For 31 days. And some enthusiasts jump in without much planning — perhaps even hungover after a rowdy New Year’s Eve.There is no data suggesting that those folks won’t be able to abstain from drinking, said Dr. David Wolinsky, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences with Johns Hopkins Medicine, who specializes in addiction. But starting the month with a few strategies in your back pocket — and with a clear sense of your goals — may help you get the most out of the challenge.“Most of the benefits of Dry January are probably going to be related to the intention with which you go into Dry January,” Dr. Wolinsky said. The challenge isn’t a stand-in for treatment for people with alcohol use disorder, he stressed, bu...
La variante JN.1 ya domina en EE. UU.
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La variante JN.1 ya domina en EE. UU.

Hasta donde saben los expertos, la JN.1 no parece causar enfermedad grave en la mayoría de las personas, aunque hasta un caso leve puede hacerte sentir “bastante mal durante tres o cuatro días”, señaló Schaffner. Los síntomas de una infección por JN.1 son similares a los que causaban las variantes anteriores de covid, pues incluyen tos, fiebre, dolor de cuerpo y fatiga.Para protegerte contra la infección y enfermedad grave, los expertos siguen recomendando el uso de mascarillas, mejorar la ventilación en interiores siempre que sea posible, quedarse en casa si se está enfermo y pomerse la vacuna más reciente contra la covid.Las investigaciones preliminares muestran que las vacunas actualizadas contra la COVID-19 lanzadas en septiembre producen anticuerpos efectivos contra la JN.1, que tiene...
Ohio Governor Blocks Bill Banning Transition Care for Minors
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Ohio Governor Blocks Bill Banning Transition Care for Minors

BackgroundLawmakers passed the measure earlier in December. Those in favor of the bill argued that parents are pressured by doctors to sign off on transition care treatments for their children. The bill’s sponsor, Representative Gary Click, said parents are “being manipulated by the physicians.’’In addition to banning transition care for minors, the bill says medical professionals who provide the care could lose their licenses and be sued. It also prohibits transgender girls and women from playing on high school and college sports teams that correspond with their gender identity.On Friday, Mr. DeWine said that if the bill were to become law, “Ohio would be saying that the state, that the government, knows better what is medically best for a child than the two people who love that child the...
Covid Variant JN.1 Now Accounts for Nearly Half of U.S. Cases
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Covid Variant JN.1 Now Accounts for Nearly Half of U.S. Cases

As the holiday season winds down and Covid-19 cases start to pick up, a variant called JN.1 has now become the most common strain of the virus spreading across the United States.JN.1, which emerged from the variant BA.2.86 and was first detected in the United States in September, accounted for 44 percent of Covid cases nationwide by mid-December, up from about 7 percent in late November, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To some extent, this jump is to be expected. “Variants take some time to get going,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “Then they speed up, they spread widely, and just when they’re doing that, after several months, a new variant crops up.”JN.1’s momentum this month sug...