Been busy this week? In the Weekly Dose, MyHealthNewsDaily rounds up this week's most important health news.
Health care law sees trouble in court On Monday (Dec. 13), a federal judge ruled that one of the main ingredients of the new health care law that Americans would be required to purchase health insurance is unconstitutional. Hudson wrote in his decision that this requirement violates Congress' power to regulate commerce. For now, the ruling is more symbolic rather than game-changing. A number of states are currently involved in lawsuits challenging the bill. Two other federal judges previously ruled to uphold the law.
Kids living in apartments inhale more smoke Children living in apartments may be at increased risk for exposure to secondhand smoke compared with those living in houses. A study published online this week in the journal Pediatrics examined levels of cotinine a breakdown product of nicotine in the blood of children ages 6 to 11. Those living in apartments had higher cotinine levels than those living in houses. Smoke that creeps through ventilation systems or migrates through the walls of multi-unit housing may be the cause, the researchers said.
Man "cured" of HIV? A bone marrow transplant may have cured a man living in Germany of HIV , researchers said this week. In 2007, the man received a bone marrow transplant to treat his leukemia. The bone marrow was from a donor who had a rare mutation that essentially prevents HIV from getting inside immune cells known as T CD4 cells. In a follow-up study published this week, researchers said the donor's bone marrow cells had rebuilt the patient's supply of CD4 cells to match that of a healthy person. The patient showed no signs of HIV. Scientists not involved in the study called the work "exciting," but stopped short of calling it a cure just yet.
Soda tax may lead to little weight loss A soda tax would have a slim impact on the waistlines of Americans, a study published this week in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine said. A tax that raised the price of soda by 20 percent would cause virtually no weight loss in adults in the uppermost and lowermost quartiles in terms of income in the course of a year. Middle-income individuals would lose about 1.5 pounds per year. However, a soda tax could have a bigger impact if the money generated was used to promote public health, the researchers said.
FDA says breast cancer drug should not be prescribed The drug Avastin should not be used to treat breast cancer , the Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday. The FDA's recommendation is based on four studies showing the drug's benefits do not outweigh its risks. The agency said no evidence shows that the drug increases survival or slows the disease's progression. Avastin (known generically as bevacizumab) has also been linked with side effects including high blood pressure, bleeding and hemorrhage. The drug remains approved for the treatment of other cancers, and is not being withdrawn from the market. Doctors can see prescribe it as they see fit, though insurance companies may decide to drop their coverage of the drug's costs for breast cancer patients.
Follow MyHealthNewsDaily staff writer Rachael Rettner on Twitter @Rachael_MHND.