Parents won’t be able to opt out of getting kids vaccinated for religious, philosophical reasons in Maine

Maine has become the fourth state in the nation to prohibit people from opting out of immunization for religious or philosophical reasons. Governor Janet Mills (D) signed a bill into law on Friday removing all non-medical exemptions to vaccination from the books. “As governor, it is my responsibility to protect the health and safety of all Maine people, and it has become clear that our current laws do not adequately protect against the risks posed to Mainers,” Mills said in a statement shared with CNN. Mills cited an outbreak of…

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Gov. Northam signs law to remove autism health coverage age cap

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Governor Ralph Northam held a ceremonial bill signing at the Capitol Square Bell Tower on Tuesday for legislation that will improve access for families whose children have been diagnosed with autism. Currently, the law in Virginia only requires health insurance coverage for those with autism between the ages of two and ten. The bills passed by the Virginia General Assembly this year, SB 1693 and HB 2577, remove the age cap. “Lifting it all together is long overdue for people in Virginia,” said Kate Fletcher, a…

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Study: Doctors and dentists continue to prescribe opioids to teens and young adults at high rates

The rates of opioid prescriptions remain high for adolescents and young adults in the US, with certain outpatient and emergency conditions frequently prompting the use of these medications, according to a new study. Researchers analyzed visits to emergency rooms and outpatient clinics for adolescents and young adults ages 13 to 22 between 2005 and 2015 using data from two national surveys conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Over the 11-year study period, there were more than 78,000 visits…

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Study: World’s rivers are contaminated with antibiotics

The world’s rivers are widely contaminated with antibiotics, according to a new global study, the first of its kind. Researchers from the University of York in the UK analyzed samples from rivers in 72 countries and found antibiotics were present in 65% of them. Dangerous levels of contamination were most frequently found in Asia and Africa, the team said, with sites in Bangladesh, Kenya, Ghana, Pakistan and Nigeria exceeding safe levels by the greatest degree. The worst case was found at a site in Bangladesh, where concentrations of the drug…

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Burnout is an official medical diagnosis, World Health Organization says

It’s a feeling of extreme work stress that’s long been embedded in the cultural lexicon, and now it might be codified in your medical records as well. Burnout is now a legitimate medical diagnosis, according to the International Classification of Diseases, or the ICD-11, the World Health Organization’s handbook that guides medical providers in diagnosing diseases. Burnout now appears in the ICD-11’s section on problems related to employment or unemployment. According to the handbook, doctors can diagnose someone with burnout if they meet the following symptoms: 1. feelings of energy depletion…

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What is The Murph challenge and why is everyone doing it on Memorial Day

SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy, from Patchogue, N.Y. Murphy was killed by enemy forces during a reconnaissance mission, Operation Red Wing, June 28, 2005, while leading a four-man team tasked with finding a key Taliban leader in the mountainous terrain near Asadabad, Afghanistan.  It’s Memorial Day, it’s incredibly hot out, and instead of lounging by the pool, a bunch of your friends are talking about doing Murph. Murph is a popular workout created by CrossFit in memory of Navy Lt. Michael Murphy who died in Afghanistan on June 28, 2005.…

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Gene therapy gets FDA approval – and a $2 million price tag

The US Food and Drug Administration approved a treatment Friday for a genetic disease called spinal muscular atrophy that causes infants’ muscles to waste away, potentially killing them before age 2. And then came the price tag: $2.125 million for a one-time treatment. The gene therapy, called Zolgensma, will be marketed by AveXis, whose parent company is Novartis. “Today’s approval marks another milestone in the transformational power of gene and cell therapies to treat a wide range of diseases,” Dr. Ned Sharpless, the FDA’s acting commissioner, said in a statement Friday. “The potential for…

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Hospital comforts children with motorized car they can drive into surgery

HUNTSVILLE Ala. — A hospital can be a scary place for anyone, which is why a team of Alabama specialists are doing everything they can to make the experience not only bearable, but even fun. The child life specialists’ sole job is to help Huntsville Hospital’s youngest patients beyond their medical needs. The hospital waiting room is more like a game room, with interactive activities projected onto the floor for kids to play with while they wait in the emergency room. “So this is kind of one of those things that…

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Virginia doctor shares ‘best bet’ in preventing mosquito-borne viruses

RICHMOND, Va. — With the recent amount of heavy rain, and now much warmer temperatures, the threat of mosquitoes is now upon Central Virginia. The threat of mosquito-borne viruses is also a concern for physicians who handle infectious diseases. Dr. Sarika Tripathi, an infectious disease expert with Johnston Willis Hospital, says she starts to see cases of mosquito-borne illnesses in May. “Mostly with mosquito-borne illnesses here in Virginia, we have viral infections such as West Nile infection, Eastern Equine Encephalitis and Lacrosse Virus,” Tripathi says. Last year, Virginia reported 48…

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