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Harvard Reviews of Health News


Harvard News ReviewsA team of Harvard physicians reviews health news headlines 24/7/365, and creates commentary and provides advice on how a consumer should react to the news. For urgent breaking health news, articles are written within 6-18 hours of the news story’s first appearance. If desired, they can be delivered immediately upon completion. Over 200 new articles are written annually.

U.S. Cancer Deaths Still Dropping Slowly

U.S. cancer deaths continue to decline, a new report says. The overall cancer death rate dropped an average of 1.5% a year between 2002 and 2011. New cancer cases fell more slowly, an average of 0.5% per year, the report says. The declines in cancer deaths each year were 1.8% for men, 1.4% for women and 2% for children. The report was written by experts from the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries, the American Cancer Society, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. National Cancer Institute. The authors said the declines reflect earlier detection, prevention and improved treatments. Lung cancer rates are falling because fewer people smoke. Declines in breast and colon cancer deaths also are related to screening and prevention efforts. Prostate cancer deaths also are down, but experts are not sure why.

CDC Steps Up Efforts vs. Resistant Bacteria

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will increase its efforts to reduce excess use of antibiotics and the spread of bacteria that resist these drugs. The White House announced the effort March 27. The goal is to reduce infections with some of the most dangerous drug-resistant bacteria by 50% to 60% by 2020. The Medicare and Medicaid programs already have told hospitals to reduce excess use of antibiotics. They must develop these programs within 3 years or lose funding. The CDC will provide funds to help more states collect data on antibiotic-resistant infections. It also will encourage hospitals and health systems to send data on patterns of antibiotic use. The CDC now is supporting hospital pilot programs to improve prevention of infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. A program in Chicago cut one type of infection in half.

Living Past 90 Closely Linked to Genes

The longer you live past 90, the greater the odds that your genes are a big reason, researchers say in a new study. The study looked at thousands of groups of siblings in New England. In all of the groups, at least one person reached age 90. For people who lived to be 90, the odds that a sibling also reached 90 were about 70% higher than for an average person born around the same time. People who lived to age 95 were 3½ times as likely as the average person to have a sibling who reached that age. And those who made it to 100 had 9 times the normal chance of having a sibling who also reached 100. The genetic connection was even stronger for those who reached 105. Their odds of having a sibling who reached that age were 35 times normal. The Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences published the study. HealthDay News wrote about it March 26.

Harvard Reviews of Health News

U.S. cancer deaths continue to decline, a new report says. The overall cancer death rate dropped an average of 1.5% a year between 2002 and 2011. New cancer cases fell more slowly, an average of 0.5% per year, the report says. The declines in cancer deaths ea...

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