NEW SAFETY WARNING FOR OPIOIDS. Our March cover story explored the growing opioid epidemic, and this week the Food and Drug Administration will require all fast-acting opioids to require the strongest FDA warning about the risk for abuse, addiction, overdose and death, according to an NPR report. The "black box" warning is yet another attempt to fight the opioid epidemic and will target the more than 200 fast-acting opioids such as oxycodone, hydrocodone and morphine. The label will further warn pregnant mothers who abuse the drug of possible neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome in newborns. At this point, lawmakers should do all they can to put a dent in the opioid epidemic.
FINALLY, A BAN ON POWDERED GLOVES? The Food and Drug Administration was busy this week, first with a safety warning for opioids, and now a proposed ban on powdered medical gloves, according to an article in the Washington Post. The gloves pose risks for airway and wound inflammation and postsurgical adhesions, states the report. “The ban is about protecting patients and health care professionals from a danger they might not even be aware of,” said Jeffrey Shuren, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. Though the advocacy group, Public Citizen says this is long overdue after petitioning for a ban in 1998, contending no new scientific information exists now that wasn’t available previously.
THE SOUTH STRUGGLES AGAINST HEART DISEASE. During the early 1970s, the Midwest and Northeast struggled with the highest rates of heart disease mortality, but now counties in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Oklahoma are hardest hit, according to a STATnews.com article. But, it’s not all bad news. Heart disease mortality has been reduced nationwide and, “if the rate of smoking goes down just a little in the South, or the rate of exercise goes up, it can reduce the death rate dramatically,” said Michael Miedema, M.D., Minneapolis Heart Institute, in the same article. Southern comfort food probably doesn’t help the numbers, but nobody can resist all the time.
A BRA THAT DETECTS CANCER? A futuristic bra developed by scientists from Colombia’s largest public university contains tiny infrared sensors that record breast temperature and alert the wearer of any irregularities, according to a Tech Times report. Abnormal cells generate more blood supply, resulting in changes in the breasts’ thermodynamics, which are then detected by infrared sensors. The product isn’t meant to replace doctor visits, but is considered a step toward early detection of the 21.7 million new breast cancer cases expected to be diagnosed worldwide by 2030.
IT FEELS LIKE A SAUNA IN HERE. Hollywood is notorious for its great judgment in health trends, and the infrared saunas that claim to treat cancer, cure paralysis and provide stress relief are obviously a no-brainer. However, there is no proof that the saunas, which range from $250 to $2,000, treat cancer or detoxify the body, according to a STATnews.com report. That doesn’t stop celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston or Lady Gaga from jumping in and enjoying an undoubtedly relaxing experience, which could lower blood pressure or ease muscle pain, thereby improving overall health. But, those who sold and used these saunas were forced to pull cancer-curing claims and the like after the Food and Drug Administration looked into the matter.