Health Highlights: Sept. 9, 2008

Tuesday, September 9, 2008; 12:00 AM

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

New Cystic Fibrosis Drug Shows Promise

An experimental drug to treat cystic fibrosis (CF) shows promise in early trials, according to British researchers who presented their findings at the BA Festival of Science.

Cystic fibrosis patients who received 150 milligrams twice a day of VX-770 showed a 10 percent improvement in lung function and a nearly 50 percent decrease of the concentration of salt in their sweat,BBC Newsreported. One of the most recognizable symptoms of cystic fibrosis is salty sweat, the news service said.

The tests were conducted on cystic fibrosis patients with a genetic defect known as G551D. Additional clinical trials are needed to determine exactly which patients may benefit from the drug.

"The early results with VX-770 suggest that drug therapies which target defects at the root of the disease have the potential to improve greatly the quality of life of CF patients," said lead researcher Dr. David Sheppard of the University of Bristol,BBC Newsreported.


Computerized Reminders Boost Colon Cancer Screenings

Colorectal cancer screenings increased by about 9 percent when patients received printed reminders from a computerized system developed at the University of Michigan Health System,United Press Internationalreported.

The ClinfoTracker system, created to help track and manage primary care, encourages physicians and patients to follow guidelines for managing chronic diseases or for prevention screenings.

The system was used by 12 primary care practices for nine months,UPIreported. From the start to the end of the study, average colorectal cancer screening rates increased from 41.7 percent to 50.9 percent.

The findings were published in the journalMedical Care.

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