Health Highlights: Jan. 24, 2012
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Severe Allergic Reactions After Vaccinations Rare: Study
Sudden, serious allergic reactions are "extremely rare" after childhood vaccinations, according to a new study.
British researchers reviewed 15 suspected cases of children younger than 16 who experienced anaphylaxis after receiving vaccinations to protect against measles, HPV, meningitis, hepatitis or typhoid, CBC News reported.
Only seven of the cases were confirmed as anaphylaxis. Six children required an injection of adrenaline and intravenous fluids and one child did not require treatment. All seven children recovered fully.
Based on their findings, the researchers calculated that the incidence of anaphylaxis is 12 cases for every 100,000 vaccine doses, CBC News reported.
The study was published online Monday in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.
FDA Approves New Manufacturing Plant
A new manufacturing plant in Framingham, Mass. has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to make a treatment for Fabry disease, French drug company Sanofi's Genzyme unit announced Tuesday.
The new plant, approved last week by European regulators, will help relieve a shortage of the treatment Fabrazyme. Genzyme said all U.S. patients should return to full dosing in March and "unconstrained supply" worldwide will be restored throughout the year, the Associated Press reported.
The new plant was built after Genzyme experienced production problems at another plant in Allston, Mass. That plant is running again but will focus on production of another product.
Fabry disease is a genetic disorder that causes accumulation of a certain type of fat in the body's cells, the AP reported.
Rep. Giffords to Resign From Congress
Representaive Gabrielle Giffords announced Sunday that she will resign from Congress to focus on her recovery from injuries suffered in an assassination attempt last year.
The Democrat from Arizona wanted to return to Congress and was expected to have an easy re-election if she ran this year, but she decided in recent days that she could not continue her recovery and still serve as a member of Congress, The New York Times reported.
Giffords will resign after attending President Barack Obama's State of the Union address to Congress Tuesday. A special election will be held to determine who will fill the remainder of her term, which ends in November.
Giffords was shot in the head on Jan. 8, 2011, as she held a constituent meeting outside a grocery store in her hometown of Tucson. Six people died in the shooting.
In a video released online Sunday, Giffords told her constituents: "I don't remember much from that horrible day, but I will never forget the trust you placed in me to be your voice. Thank you for your prayers and for giving me time to recover. I have more work to do on my recovery, so to do what is best for Arizona, I will step down this week."
However, she also hinted at a possible future political comeback. "I will return, and we will work together for Arizona and this great country," Giffords said.
In a statement released Sunday, President Obama said: "Gabby Giffords embodies the very best of what public service should be. She's universally admired for qualities that transcend party or ideology -- a dedication to fairness, a willingness to listen to different ideas, and a tireless commitment to the work of perfecting our union."
FDA OK for Marijuana-Based Cancer Pain Drug Sought
A British company hopes to gain U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for a marijuana-based mouth spray to treat cancer pain.
The product -- called Sativex -- contains two components of marijuana, delta9-THC and cannabidiol. The product has been approved in Canada, New Zealand and a number of European countries to relieve muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis, the Associated Press reported.
Sativex is currently in advanced clinical trials and maker GW Pharma hopes to get FDA approval for use of the medicine in cancer patients by the end of 2013.
Along with developing new applications for Sativex, GW Phamra is working on other drugs with different cannabis formulations, the AP reported.