Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Valley Fever Cases Rising in U.S.
The number of cases of a potentially deadly fungal lung
infection called Valley Fever is on the rise in arid regions of the
The infection can be caught by inhaling fungus spores in
airborne dust. Experts say a hotter, dryer climate has increased
the dust carrying the spores of a fungus called
CBS News/Associated Pressreported.
There was a sharp increase in the incidence of Valley Fever in
California's agricultural heartland in 2010 and 2011. And last
week, a federal official ordered the transfer of more than 3,000
highly vulnerable inmates from two San Joaquin Valley prisons where
several dozen have died of Valley Fever in recent years.
"Research has shown that when soil is dry and it is windy, more
spores are likely to become airborne in endemic areas," Dr. Gil
Chavez, deputy director of the Center for Infectious Diseases at
the California Department of Public Health, told
N.J. Gov. Christie Had Weight-Loss Surgery
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie secretly underwent weight-loss
surgery in February.
The governor told the
New York Postthat he had the lap-band procedure at the
urging of his family and friends. Lap-band surgery involves placing
a silicone tube around the top of the stomach in order to restrict
the amount of food that can be eaten at one time,
"I've struggled with this issue for 20 years," Christie told the
Post. "For me this is about turning 50 and looking at my
children and wanting to be there for them."
Christie did not reveal how much weight he has lost since the
surgery, but the
Postquoted sources who said he has lost 40 pounds,
Mental Disorder Manual Lacks Scientific Validity: Expert
The new edition of the so-called bible of mental disorders
suffers from a scientific "lack of validity," according to the U.S.
government's leading psychiatric expert.
The revised version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of
Mental Disorders (DSM) is due to published in a few weeks. It's the
first update of the DSM since 1994 and will be known as DSM-5,
The New York Timesreported.
However, the manual does not reflect the complexity of many
mental disorders and its method of categorizing mental illnesses
should not guide research, said Dr. Thomas Insel, director of the
National Institute of Mental Health.
"As long as the research community takes the DSM to be a bible,
we'll never make progress," Dr. Insel told
The Times. "People think that everything has to match DSM
criteria, but you know what? Biology never read that book," he
FDA Warns About Breast Cancer Drug Name Confusion
The generic names of two breast cancer drugs can cause confusion
and lead to dosing errors, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
One drug's brand name is Kadcyla and its generic name is
ado-trastuzumab emtansine. The other drug's brand name is Herceptin
and its generic name is trastuzumab. Some electronic health record
systems pharmacy prescription processing and ordering systems
incorrectly use the name trastuzumab emtansine when referring to
"The dosing and treatment schedules for Kadcyla and Herceptin
... are quite different, so confusion between these products could
lead to dosing errors and potential harm to patients," the FDA
Since Kadcyla was approved on Feb. 22, 2013, there have not been
any reported medication errors related to the confusion between
Kadcyla and Herceptin. However, errors did occur during clinical
trials for Kadcyla before its approval.
Health care professionals should use both the brand name for
Kadcyla and its full generic name when writing medication orders or
using computerized order entry systems, the FDA said.