2006 Could Be Called the Year of the Vaccine


vaccine2006 was a very big year when it came to health news. New drug approvals, new vaccines, health scares that never quite made it and health scares that keep coming back for more. They were all part of the big year in health news in 2006.

2006 could easily be named the year of the vaccine. Several new shots hit the market: the first shingles vaccine, a whooping cough, or pertussis vaccine, for adults and a new, safer rotavirus vaccine to prevent the common diarrheal illness in children.

The biggest news, perhaps, surrounded the cervical cancer vaccine. It's approved for pre-teen girls to prevent HPV--human papilloma virus--the sexually transmitted virus that triggers cervical cancer.

2006 was a year of amazing drug approvals. Lucentis stops macular degeneration, the most common cause of age-related blindness. Exubra is the first inhaled insulin. And Plan B, the emergency contraceptive, became available over the counter, after much political jockeying.

Paying for those drugs was a big focus, as the controversial Medicare part D first became available this year in an effort to cut prescription costs to the elderly and disabled.

The biggest cancer killer---lung cancer--may have met its match in the form of lung cat scan screening.  Experts believe annual screening among anyone who has smoked makes this killer now curable.

In 2006, there was a surging focus on the dangers of anorexia and bulemia, as finally size zero Hollywood was no longer invisible.

But while thin might have been in, at least as a news story, trans fats made the headlines also. The allegedly super-dangerous fats were labeled public health enemy number one, especially in New York City, which banned trans fat use in restaurants. And for the entire country, trans fats became clearly labeled on the label.  And now food manufacturers are removing trans fats from their products.

The battle against junk foods was won, at least on the school grounds, when soft drink giants Pepsi and Coke vowed to pull sugar sodas from schools by 2008. And chip giant Frito-Lay announced it would reduce the amount of saturated fat in its leading potato chip brands.

And speaking of food, what's up with our food supply? Outbreaks of E.Coli and other diarrheal illnesses hit popular food chains, raising the question, when are we going to once and for all irradiate our supply--a process shown to be safe and effective.

In the "it's not life-changing but makes a big splash" category, research found cell phones are not dangerous to use in a hospital. They don't really affect equipment significantly. However, they can still be quite annoying.

And the big bust, or at least bore, was bird flu. It's on the verge of being placed into the swine flu category of health concerns that never could. And for that, we have a great reason to be thankful.

source - WISH TV