Health Highlights: April 2, 2014

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Declining U.S. Circumcision Rates Put Males' Health at Risk: Study

Nearly one-fourth of newborn boys in the United States are not being circumcised and half of them could develop health problems later in life as a result, according to a new study.

It found that circumcision rates fell from a high of 83 percent in the 1960s to 77 percent in 2010, NBC reported.

Health problems associated with an intact foreskin include bacterial and viral infections, including urinary tract infections and sexually transmitted diseases, according to study lead author Brian Morris, a professor emeritus of the School of Medical Sciences and Bosch Institute at the University of Sydney in Australia.

Males who haven't been circumcised are also at increased risk for penile and prostate cancer, NBC News reported.

The health benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks by more than 100 to 1, Morris said. The study was published Wednesday in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.


Inhaled Insulin Should be Approved by FDA: Advisory Panel

An inhaled insulin product to treat type 1 and type 2 diabetes should be approved for sale in the United States, a Food and Drug Administration advisory committee said Tuesday.

The panel of outside experts said that the product -- called Afrezza -- is not as effective as injected insulin but would be useful for some patients, The New York Times reported.

"As an inhaled form of insulin, this represents a drug that will serve some patients that are not effectively served by currently available insulin," the committee's acting chairman Dr. Robert Smith, an endocrinologist at Brown University, said after the vote.

The advisory panel's support for Afrezza was somewhat unexpected because an FDA staff review was critical of the product, saying it was marginally effective and possibly risky, The Times reported.

In two previous attempts, the drug failed to win FDA approval and maker MannKind Corporation had to conduct new clinical trials.

The FDA is not required to follow the advice of its advisory panels.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

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