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Surprise! Viagra helps children with pulmonary hypertension

Surprise! Viagra helps children with pulmonary hypertension


By Dr. Sanjay Gupta
CNN Your Health

(CNN) -- This week we reported a story about giving Viagra to children with severe pulmonary hypertension. Most of my colleagues were astonished that this wildly popular impotence drug would be given to children, even newborns. I thought this was an interesting story because it illustrates some of the serendipitous discoveries in medicine. First of all, when Viagra was first introduced, it was pitched as a heart drug, specifically to control angina or chest pain.

The drug would do this by actually dilating the blood vessels in the heart. Patients started telling doctors that in addition to relief from chest pain, it seemed to be treating impotence. As word got out, more and more patients started taking it for that reason. In much the same way, doctors may find that this particular medication also takes care of potentially life-threatening pulmonary hypertension. It seems to dilate the blood vessels leading to the lungs just like it did in the heart. And that would be a very good thing for the 28,000 children who suffer from this disease.

Hospital infections on the rise

Hospital infections killed more than 90,000 people in the year 2000, and about three-quarters of those deaths could have been prevented.

A new report says often the culprits are germ-laden instruments, unwashed hands and dirty facilities --- and hospital cutbacks and careless medical staff compound the situation.

Hospital infections are the fourth-leading cause of death, after heart disease, cancer and strokes.

The report also has more bad news from hospitals: Antibiotic-resistant infections that were found "only" in the hospital are now finding their way to people who haven't been near hospitals... via human-to-human contact.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 70 percent of the bacteria that cause hospital-acquired infections are resistant to at least one antibiotic.

Click here to read more findings from this study.

Airplanes and the common cold

Another study out this week finds re-circulated air on airplanes does not increase your risk for catching a cold.

A new study compared people flying on older planes, which use fresh air, with those flying in newer planes, which re-circulate up to 50 percent of the cabin air to improve fuel efficiency.

There's been some thought that the re-circulated air might contribute to illness this report says, that's just not so.

Click here to read more about the relationship between cabin air circulation and passenger health.

African-Americans are getting help to kick the habit

Help is on the way for African-American smokers: A new study, focusing on blacks, shows that Bupropion SR is effective to help them kick the habit.

Few clinical trials for smoking cessation have been done using African-Americans despite the fact that they have smoking rates as high as 45 percent, compared with the general population's rate of 25 percent, and they suffer from more smoking-related problems.

The failure to quit is not from lack of motivation: Other studies have shown blacks are more likely to attempt to quit smoking but have a lower success rate than whites.

Medication could help tilt the odds in their favor.

Click here to read more about medication aimed at helping African-Americans kick the habit.

No java jolt

And, the more coffee you drink, the smaller the boost you probably get from it, according to a recent study.

Researchers tested regular caffeine drinkers and non-drinkers on exercise bikes and found that caffeine improved endurance in both groups, but non-caffeine drinkers improved more.

Why? Just like with other addictive substances, a person can build up a tolerance to caffeine, and thus have to drink more to get the same effect.

Click here to read more about this study.



 
 
 
 







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