Health Newsbrief
August 15, 2001
Vol. 2, No. 28
ISSN 1530-3616
______________________________________________________


Bruce Maxwell, Editor - bmax@silverhammerpub.com
Silver Hammer Publishing - http://silverhammerpub.com

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The News
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BAYER CHOLESTEROL DRUG LINKED TO 52 DEATHS
The fallout continues from Bayer AG's recall of its
cholesterol-lowering drug cerivastatin, which has been linked to
52 deaths. Bayer introduced the drug under the trade name Baycol
in January 1998. Reuters reported August 8 that analysts believe
the recall will not hurt sales of five other drugs - Mevacor,
Pravachol, Zocor, Lescol, and Lipitor - that, like Baycol, are
classified as statins. However, the next day Reuters reported
that the European Medicines Evaluation Agency has opened a safety
review of the five statin drugs still on the market. Also on
August 9, the Associated Press reported that Bayer AG, the German
manufacturer of Baycol, planned to cut 1,800 jobs after its
second-quarter operating profits fell 45 percent. Finally, on
August 14 the Washington Post examined the safety of statins and
listed safety tips for people taking the drugs.
Sources: Washington Post - Aug. 9, 2001
http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A50968-2001Aug8.html
Reuters - Aug. 8, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010808/sc/
health_bayer_statins_dc_1.html

Reuters - Aug. 9, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010809/sc/
health_europe_cholesteroldrugs_dc_1.html

Associated Press - Aug. 9, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20010809/bs/earns_bayer_4.html
Washington Post - Aug. 14, 2001
http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/health/print/
A7002-2001Aug13.html



CONSUMER GROUPS SUE CLARITIN MAKER
Bayer AG isn't the only pharmaceutical giant that had a bad week.
The first Associated Press story reports that a coalition of
consumer groups and individuals has filed suit against
Schering-Plough, contending that the company made false claims in
advertising for its allergy drug Claritin. The second AP story
reports that on the same day the suit was announced, a separate
consumer group claimed that defective asthma inhalers made by
Schering-Plough might be tied to the deaths of seventeen people.
A few days later Schering-Plough announced that it was hiring 500
new quality control and production workers in response to
repeated manufacturing problems cited by the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration.
Sources: Associated Press - Aug. 9, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20010809/bs/
claritin_lawsuit_4.html

Associated Press - Aug. 9, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20010809/bs/
schering_complaint_4.html

Reuters - Aug. 13, 2001
http://biz.yahoo.com/rf/010813/n13216132.html


DIET AND EXERCISE ARE FOUND TO CUT DIABETES
BY MORE THAN HALF
Moderate efforts to exercise, lose weight, and eat less fat can
profoundly reduce the risk of getting diabetes, according to a
study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. The
incidence of diabetes is rapidly rising in the United States,
fueled at least partly by the increase in the number of
overweight Americans.
Source: New York Times - Aug. 8, 2001
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/08/09/health/anatomy/09DIAB.html
NIH Clinical Alert:
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/databases/alerts/diabetes01.html


FEDERAL STUDY FINDS PROS, CONS OF ASSISTED LIVING
A federal survey has found that a majority of people who live in
assisted living facilities are satisfied with the care they
receive. However, the study also found that most staff members at
the facilities have no idea which conditions are a normal part of
aging and which need to be treated. The federal survey comes on
the heels of a report in Time Magazine claiming that allegations
of poor care and neglect plague the assisted living industry (see
Health Newsbrief May 8, 2001 -
http://silverhammerpub.com/hn/hn8_8_2001.html).
Source: Reuters Health - Aug. 10, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010810/hl/assisted_1.html
Federal report: http://aspe.hhs.gov/daltcp/reports/hshp.htm


TWO NEW DRUGS TO COMPETE WITH VIAGRA
A marketing war is likely to break out next year when two new
drugs to treat impotence are expected to join Viagra on the
market. Some tests show that the new drugs may work better than
Viagra and have fewer side effects.
Source: Washington Post - Aug. 12, 2001
http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A64642-2001Aug11.html


TREATMENT REVERSES
ALZHEIMER-LIKE DAMAGE IN MICE
Three studies released this week offer hope in treating people
with Alzheimer's disease. In the first study, reported by
Reuters, researchers at Stanford University managed to reverse
brain damage in mice that had been engineered to mimic the cell
deterioration associated with Alzheimer's in humans. In the two
other studies, reported by HealthScoutNews, researchers in Sweden
and the United States separately found that the drug Aricept
slows mental decline in people with mild to moderate cases of
Alzheimer's.
Sources: Reuters Health - Aug. 13, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010813/hl/mice_1.html
HealthScoutNews - Aug. 14, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/hsn/20010813/hl/
drug_keeps_alzheimer_s_patients_sharper_longer_1.html



AFTER PROSTATE SURGERY, LIFE IS...DIFFERENT
This first-person account of recovering from prostate cancer
surgery primarily focuses on sexual issues. The first sidebar
examines the controversy over whether men should be routinely
tested for prostate cancer, while the second looks at two new
books for men with prostate cancer.
Source: Washington Post - Aug. 14, 2001
http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/health/A5969-2001Aug13.html
Sidebar (testing):
http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A5831-2001Aug13.html
Sidebar (books):
http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A5799-2001Aug13.html


TICK-BORNE DISEASES
The basics of tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease and Rocky
Mountain spotted fever are described in this article for doctors.
The accompanying patient handout summarizes the material in
simpler language.
Source: American Family Physician - Aug. 1, 2001
http://www.aafp.org/afp/20010801/461.html
Patient handout: http://www.aafp.org/afp/20010801/468ph.html


CALIFORNIA LAW REQUIRES CANCER COVERAGE
California Gov. Gray Davis has signed a bill that requires
insurance companies to pay for treatments that cancer patients
receive in clinical trials. The bill is expected to boost the
number of people who participate in the tests of experimental
treatments.
Source: Associated Press - Aug. 9, 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20010809/hl/
cancer_coverage_1.html


Need a Writer or Researcher?
______________________________________________________

The editor of this newsletter is a full-time freelance writer
and researcher who's available for a variety of assignments -
articles, brochures, books, Web consultations, or a nice e-mail
newsletter like this one - about health or other topics. He has
20 years of professional writing experience, and has written
several books about searching the Internet. If you'd like to
learn more, visit http://bmaxwell.home.mindspring.com, send an
e-mail to bmaxwell@mindspring.com, or call 703-532-6327.
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