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Medical and health news in the St. Petersburg Times

October 7, 2003
Fitness from the top down
Tampa police Chief Steve Hogue, on the job about two weeks, wants every member of the force - including the bosses - to take a physical agility test. The directive, he says, is about equity more than any concern that management is too soft. He does believe fitness is a requirement for any police officer. The Times asked the 55-year-old Hogue about his own fitness and health habits.

Healthline
YOUNG BASEBALL players need to be aware that overhand throwing, particularly at the frequency performed by pitchers, can injure an arm for life, according to Fitness Matters, the magazine of the American Council on Exercise.

Leftover drugs: Rx for trouble
Disposing of old medicines is a growing problem. Flushing them may taint the environment. Is there a safer way?

October 6, 2003
Prescription smoke and mirrors
Processing millions of prescriptions might not sound like exciting work, but according to government lawyers, it involves "slut pans," "cherry picking" and WHIZMOs.

Immersed in his dream
Multiple sclerosis made Timothy Slane want to quit on himself. Friends and family kept him afloat.

October 4, 2003
Crist stays away from Schiavo case
TAMPA - Attorney General Charlie Crist on Friday said he won't get involved in the case of Terri Schiavo, a brain-damaged woman scheduled to have her feeding tube removed this month.

McBride to leave hospital today
The former gubernatorial candidate, who collapsed Tuesday, underwent an angioplasty Thursday.

Mystery illness identified
Officials don't know what caused 10 students in Tampa to get sick, but it's unlikely the ailment was caused by something in the environment.

Disability heals but voucher remains
A loophole in the McKay Scholarship plan lets the money keep flowing even after injuries or illness are gone.

October 3, 2003
Bond aid
Denice Berg helps new mothers experience a closer bond with their newborns with education in proper breast-feeding techniques.

New school will relieve crowding
The new elementary school will handle about 950 students, but would open in August with about 320, reducing enrollment at Bevis Elementary.

Chamber honors medical workers
A nurse who saved a neighbor's life and a physical therapist who works with burn victims are among award recipients.

September 29, 2003
5K walk to fund cancer research
Breast cancer victims, survivors and others will take part in the Oct. 18 event to raise awareness about the disease.

Feeding tube case inflames emotions
As the date gets closer for disconnecting Terri Schiavo, testy messages are reaching those associated with the case.

September 28, 2003
Morning-after pills win support
NEW YORK - New York is poised to become the fourth state to require hospitals to offer emergency contraception to rape victims, but a campaign to extend the policy nationwide faces tough opposition.

September 27, 2003
Translation trauma is explored
From language barriers to spirituality, social service providers gained fresh perspective on handling a crisis.

September 26, 2003
Hospitals smarten up surgeries
As local hospitals bring in more "ultra high-tech" surgical equipment, experts debate whether the result is better health care or unnecessary expense.

Nursing home rules announced
WASHINGTON - Nursing homes, facing a shortage of nurses, can hire aides with less training to help residents with their meals, new rules say.

September 25, 2003
Alzheimer's drug wins FDA panel's support
BETHESDA, Md. - A Food and Drug Administration panel on Wednesday recommended approval of an Alzheimer's treatment that would be the first drug available in the United States for patients with more severe forms of the disease.

Early diagnosis works in animals
WASHINGTON - Alzheimer's disease, which can be confirmed only after death, could be diagnosed in its early stages if a new test works as well in humans as animals. Researchers hope early diagnoses could lead to treatments that would delay the fatal disease.

September 23, 2003
Death rate for prostate cancer falls
COPENHAGEN, Denmark - Earlier detection and wide use of hormone treatment have driven death rates from prostate cancer dramatically lower over the last 10 years in North America and Western Europe, new research shows.
Health line
MEN'S HEALTH is the focus of a town hall meeting scheduled this weekend in Tampa.

September 20, 2003
Hospital bears brunt of suit settlement
Seven Rivers Community has agreed to pay $6-million in the case of boy who suffered brain damage during birth.
Senators push bill allowing FDA to regulate cigarettes
WASHINGTON - The Food and Drug Administration would have the power to eliminate nicotine from cigarettes and would be required to give smokers detailed information about brands under a bill being circulated by two powerful Republican senators.

September 19, 2003
Lawmakers hear debate on abortion notification
Thursday's hearing in Tampa addressed whether parents should be notified when a minor seeks an abortion.
Potency of kids' vaccines in doubt
The Hernando County Health Department has discovered that some vaccinations were stored below the recommended temperature.
Colon testing gets a bit easier
Community Hospital hopes the 20-minute screening will attract patients who are put off by the more invasive traditional method.
Pinellas wins health grant
Pinellas County will receive a $940,000 federal grant to fight diabetes, asthma and obesity, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday.
West Nile cases up, deaths not
ATLANTA - The United States is headed for another record number of West Nile cases this year, with the total shooting up by more than a third in the past week alone, the government said Thursday.

September 18, 2003
Sniffles don't need drugs, so don't ask
The CDC is teaching parents that antibiotics don't fight viruses, which cause most colds.
Antibiotics don't aid heart in new study
CHICAGO - Antibiotics failed to ward off heart trouble in the biggest study to test the theory that low-level infections play a major role in triggering heart attacks.

September 17, 2003
Eons-old virus causes colds, consternation
CHICAGO - Metapneumovirus, discovered just two years ago, is turning out to be an exceedingly common cause of human misery, responsible for garden-variety colds in grownups and more severe coughing, wheezing and congestion in children.
U.S. infant death rate drops to new low in 2001
ATLANTA - The U.S. infant death rate dropped to a record low in 2001, in part because of a decline in SIDS deaths, but it is higher than that of other industrialized countries, the government said Tuesday.

September 16, 2003
Dose of fear gets people all in a lather
CHICAGO - There's nothing like fear of catching a dangerous infectious illness, it seems, to make people do the right thing after using the bathroom.
Fire in the belly
More people are popping pills to control that burning sensation, which really isn't just their imagination. Doctors suspect diet and lifestyle are increasing heartburn-related problems.
Healthline
THE ANNUAL NIGHT SCHOOL at Tampa General Hospital returns this month, offering the public weekly classes on medical issues taught by experts.
Heartburn triggers
- Holiday feasts
|Probing the mind for a cure
A neuroscientist discusses Alzheimer's and where the research is going next.

September 15, 2003
Home pipes may spread Legionnaires disease
CHICAGO - Outbreaks of Legionnaires disease are often blamed on germs spewing from air-conditioning systems in big buildings, but new research shows home hot water pipes can be a source.

September 13, 2003
Two hospitals sue, say state favored donor
The suit claims lawmakers helped a GOP donor sidestep costly regulation and expand the hospital he directs.
FDA approves first of new class of antibiotic
WASHINGTON - A new type of antibiotic has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of complicated skin infections that affect millions of patients each year.

September 12, 2003
No date set for Schiavo tube to be removed
CLEARWATER - A judge won't set a date on removing brain-damaged Terri Schiavo's feeding tube until perhaps the middle of next week.
Surgeons separate twin baby girls
LOS ANGELES - Two baby girls, born joined from the abdomen to the hip, were successfully separated Thursday, doctors said.

September 11, 2003
Study: No extra cost for long, healthy life
More "golden years" do not cost the health care system more: Whether people are healthy at age 70 and live independently for many more years or are sickly and die sooner, their medical costs are about the same, federal researchers say.
FDA campaign takes on hormone therapy
WASHINGTON - Women who choose hormone therapy to treat symptoms of menopause should use the lowest dose for the shortest amount of time.

September 8, 2003
Patients in pain feel the light
The therapy uses photo energy to help relieve soreness and improve circulation for some people.
FDA campaign takes on hormone therapy
WASHINGTON - Women who choose hormone therapy to treat symptoms of menopause should use the lowest dose for the shortest amount of time.

September 10, 2003
Budget ax falls on drug treatment programs
The $7-million in cuts will make it harder than ever to get court-ordered treatment, local officials say.

September 6, 2003
FDA okays birth control pill that reduces periods
WASHINGTON - The government approved on Friday the first birth control pill specially designed to reduce the frequency of women's periods - from once a month to four times a year.
Woman's suit contends drug test discriminates
She says a kidney ailment kept her from producing an adequate sample and prevented her from regaining her former job.

September 5, 2003
Former hospital site considered for school
Officials tour the site and evaluate it as a possible new home for the Renaissance Center.
It's a family practice, run by a medical family
Dr. Clemente Nunag's practice, which always has included his wife, a nurse, will grow with his two sons completing medical training.
UF joining effort to develop new smallpox vaccine
Researchers at the University of Florida will try to develop a new vaccine for smallpox as part of a national network of research centers fighting bioterrorism and emerging diseases.
Clinics report quiet day after Hill's execution
GAINESVILLE - Police reported no credible threats against abortion providers in Florida on Thursday, a day after the state executed a former minister who killed an abortion clinic's doctor and a bodyguard.

September 4, 2003
Hunger hormone shows promise
An extra dose of a hormone produced by the digestive system can apparently curb the appetite of obese people, a study has shown.

September 3, 2003
Cancer deaths level off after years of decline
WASHINGTON - Cancer deaths might be leveling off after several years of decline, and many states are lagging in proven methods to fight the most common tumors, says the nation's annual report on cancer.

September 2, 2003
Pulse
Healthline
WEST NILE VIRUS appears to have Colorado in its sights this summer, while sparing Florida.

September 1, 2003
Searching for common ground
As Florida prepares to execute an abortion doctor's murderer this week, friendships form across the clinic's fence.
Birth snarls legal debate
The state wants to continue arguing that a guardian should have been appointed for a disabled rape victim's fetus.
Heart surgery option has man back on the beat
The surgery, an alternative to a transplant, isolates dead tissue and reshapes the heart into a more efficient pump.

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