Personal Health Advances

WSJ has a collection of articles on health, focusing on “10 major medical advances, including milestones in cancer, obesity and heart monitoring, that we’re likely to see in 2004.” The list:

– A Better View of Your Heart
– A Global Battle Against Obesity
– Better Blood-Pressure Checks
– Over-The-Counter Emergency Contraception
– A New Clot Buster
– A Statin Backlash
– New Weapons Against Cancer
– Cancer Prediction
– Insurance-Paid Weight Loss
– An End to Low-Carb Confusion

It also summarises the biggest breakthroughs of 2003:

1. Cancer Drugs: Two new cancer drugs — Iressa for lung cancer and Velcade for multiple myeloma — win speedy FDA approval, marking a new agency push to get promising drugs to patients faster.

2. Keeping Arteries Open: A new drug-coated stent props open arteries and is far less likely to reclog than regular stents, changing the long-term prospects for hundreds of thousands of heart patients.

3. Food Labels: FDA announces it will require food labels to include the amount of unhealthy trans-fatty acids a food contains.

4. Medicare Drug Coverage: Congress passes first federal prescription-drug benefit, to take effect starting in 2006, with an interim drug discount card launching in 2004.

5. Beyond Cholesterol: American Heart Association recommends C-reactive protein testing for some patients — a test that measures inflammation and helps detect heart disease in patients with normal cholesterol.

6. HIV Drug: Fuzeon, the first of a new class of drugs that block the HIV virus from entering human immune cells, wins FDA approval, but its $20,000 annual cost puts it out of reach for many patients.

7. Antitobacco Treaty: The World Health Organization adopts a landmark antitobacco treaty that escalates individual governments’ battles with the cigarette industry to a global level.

8 Mad-Cow Discovery: Federal officials report the discovery of the first U.S. case of mad-cow disease— a development expected to finally spur more testing and stricter feeding guidelines.

9. Ephedra Ban: FDA announces plans to ban ephedra, a controversial weight-loss supplement, marking the first time the agency has prohibited a dietary supplement

10. Alzheimer’s Drug: Namenda, know generically as memantine, the first treatment found effective for late stages of Alzheimer’s disease, is approved by the FDA

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.