A summary of important health news from the past week.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta: The epidemic of gun violence is treatable
The recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida serves as another painful reminder that gun violence is a major issue in this country. Under the perspective that gun violence is an infectious disease, gun deaths can be preventable when the appropriate public health efforts are put into effect. Treating the symptoms of gun violence is important and can alleviate tremendous suffering in the future.
Kidney stones on the rise in the U.S., study suggests
A new study published Mayo Clinic Proceedings indicated that kidney stones have increased in Minnesota over approximately three decades. In particular, kidney stones increased by fourfold in women and by twofold in men. Women aged 18 to 39 experienced the highest increase in kidney stones.
Flu Season Shows First Signs of Slowing
The last surveillance report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that flu cases seem to be leveling off, signaling the flu season is heading towards its end. Both the number of states reporting widespread flu activity and the number of doctors visits attributed to the flu have decreased slightly. However, the season is not over and officials are still recommending the flu shot.
FDA approves first blood test for concussion
For the first time, the US Food and Drug Administration has approved a blood test that can detect concussions in adults. The Brain Trauma Indicator test measures biomarkers that are released into the brain and pass through the blood-brain barrier when there is a head injury. This test can be taken up to 12 hours after injury and the results can be reviewed within 3-4 hours. This blood test could reduce the cost of concussion screening - as CT scans are the current method of concussion diagnosis can cost from $800 to $1,5000 - and would cost only about $150. Researchers are currently working on creating a blood test for concussion detection in children.
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