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Health, Page 2

U.S. pedestrian deaths from car crashes surge

By Lisa Rapaport (Reuters Health) – Pedestrian deaths from car crashes surged the most in at least four decades last year and now account for about 15% of fatalities from motor vehicle accidents, a U.S. report suggests. Nationally, pedestrian deaths rose 10% in 2015 from the previous year, researchers estimated based on data supplied by states for January through June. “We are projecting the largest year-to-year increase in pedestrian fatalities since national records have been kept, and therefore we are quite alarmed,” said study co-author Richard Retting of Sam Schwartz Consulting, referring to a fatality reporting system established in 1975.

Drug-coated ring cuts HIV risk by more than half in some women

By Gene Emery (Reuters Health) – An experimental drug-infused ring inserted in the vagina once a month cut the odds of becoming infected with HIV by more than half among women who used the device consistently, in a study in four African countries where the risk of AIDS is high. “Use of the product was enough to demonstrate HIV protection of 27 percent” over placebo, chief author Dr. Jared Baeten, a professor of medicine and global health at the University of Washington in Seattle, told Reuters Health by phone. “And in some groups of women who appeared to use it better, such as women over age 21, the risk of HIV was reduced by more than half.” Such silicone rings, infused with a different drug, are already used for birth control.

Hospitals to pay U.S. $28 million to settle false spinal treatment claims

A group of 32 hospitals will pay a total of $28 million to settle allegations that they submitted false claims to Medicare for a type of spinal fracture treatment, the U.S. Department of Justice said on Friday. The hospitals, located in 15 states, frequently billed Medicare for inpatient stays following a procedure known as kyphoplasty, a treatment for certain spinal fractures caused by osteoporosis, the Justice Department said. Hospitals that agreed to some of the largest penalties in the settlement include Citrus Memorial Health System in Inverness, Florida ($2.6 million), Martin Memorial Medical Center in Stuart, Florida ($2 million), and the Ohio-based Cleveland Clinic ($1.74 million).

Stimulant medications may harm sleep for kids with ADHD

By Kathryn Doyle (Reuters Health) – Taking stimulant medications may decrease quantity and quality of sleep for kids with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to an analysis of existing studies. “Some researchers note that stimulants may improve sleep, because they reduce bedtime-resistant behaviors,” said lead author Katherine M. Kidwell, a psychology doctoral candidate at the University of Nebraska. “However, our study shows that stimulant medications impair sleep in children,” Kidwell told Reuters Health by email.

Sierra Leone: Officials confirm new Ebola death

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — Health officials in Sierra Leone on Sunday confirmed an Ebola death less than a week after the country’s last known patient was discharged from a hospital.

High mental illness rates, little help for youth in detention

By Janice Neumann (Reuters Health) – Many youth caught up in the juvenile justice system are hospitalized for mental illness because they aren’t getting psychiatric help before they’re arrested or while they’re in detention centers, a study in California suggests. From 1997 to 2011, researchers found, 63 percent of detained youth who were hospitalized had a primary diagnosis of mental health disorder, compared to 20 percent of their counterparts in the community. The detained youth were also hospitalized a day or two longer than their peers outside the justice system.

New Embassies Open Door to Cuba’s Health Care Triumphs

As President Obama proclaimed diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba for the first time in 50 years, the World Health Organization (WHO) was simultaneously celebrating Cuba Wednesday as the first country ever to eliminate mother-to-child transmissions of HIV/AIDS and congenital syphilis. Dr. Roberto Morales, minister of public health and the first Cuban minister to come to the United States since 1952, visited Washington, D.C., to discuss the historic success. While the monumental public health achievement was the intended focus of his news conference, Obama’s news was critical to the process.

South Korea confirms second case of MERS virus; third case possible

South Korean health officials have confirmed the country's second case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in a patient who nursed her infected husband before he was diagnosed with the disease after a trip to Bahrain. The woman is in stable condition. A 76-year-old man who shared the hospital room with the first confirmed patient had developed a high fever on Wednesday, a statement from the health ministry said.