Public Health News Roundup: December 19
FDA Approves Drug to Treat Inhalational Anthrax
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a monoclonal antibody to treat inhalational anthrax, a form of the infectious disease caused by breathing in the spores of the bacterium Bacillus anthraces. “In addition to antibiotics, raxibacumab will be a useful treatment to have available should an anthrax bioterrorism event occur,” said Edward Cox, MD, MPH, director of the Office of Antimicrobial Products in FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Although antibiotics are approved to prevent and treat anthrax infection, raxibacumab is the first approved agent that acts by neutralizing the toxins produced by B. anthracis.” The safety of raxibacumab was evaluated in 326 healthy human volunteers. Common side effects included rash, extremity pain, itching and drowsiness. Read more on bacteria.
Men More Likely than Women to Die in Car Crashes
A new study in the online journal Injury Prevention finds that male pedestrians hit by cars are more than twice as likely to die as women hit by vehicles. The researchers studied U.S. travel and traffic data for 2008 and 2009 for people over the age of 5. According to researchers, more study is needed to determine why men die at higher rates than women in pedestrian crashes. Reasons may include drunken male walkers and men walking along highways and other roads that carry cars at high speeds. Read more on injury prevention.
Concerns about Hair May Keep African-American Women from Exercising
New research finds that about a third of African-American women say concern over hair care is the reason they don’t exercise or exercise less than they should, according to Amy J. McMichael, MD, the lead author of the study published online today in the Archives of Dermatology, a JAMA network publication. For the study, 103 African-American women ranging in age from 21 to 60 filled out a 40-question survey that asked about physical activity; hair care and maintenance; and hair and scalp concerns. While all of the respondents thought it was important to exercise, 40 percent reported avoiding exercise at times due to hair-related issues. Half said they had modified their hairstyle to accommodate exercise. The researchers say that many African American women with coarser hair use either heat straighteners or chemical products to straighten their hair, which is a time-consuming process that doesn’t allow them to simply wash their hair after exercise. According to the lead researcher, a professor of dermatology at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, over-washing fragile hair can make it break off easily. Read more on physical activity.