A breakthrough for HIV prevention drugs. Two new studies out Wednesday suggest that the spread of HIV in heterosexuals could be prevented by taking the Gilead Sciences drug Truvada. One of the studies was stopped early because it was so clear that the drug was working that it was unethical to keep issuing placebos. Called pre-exposure prophylaxis, the drug therapy may be able to help slow the spread of the disease worldwide and is available generically in some countries for as little as 25 cents per pill.
Maryland cardiologists under fire. The month-long criminal trial of Dr. John R. McLean, MD, is under way in Baltimore’s U.S. District Court. McLean was indicted in August; investigators claim the cardiologist performed more than 200 unnecessary heart stent procedures on patients who didn’t need them between 2003 and 2007. A different Maryland cardiologist, Dr. Mark Midei, had his medical license revoked Wednesday under similar accusations that he falsified patient records to justify expensive but unnecessary heart stent procedures.
Swine flu vaccine may not have increased risk for disease. The H1N1 vaccine used to battle the 2009 epidemic may not increased risk for Guillain-Barre syndrome as originally thought. A new study in BMJ analyzed 50 million people in five European countries who received the vaccine.
Researching public opinion on health. New research from Johns Hopkins University used Twitter posts to gather public perceptions of (and misinformation about) health topics. Analyzing people’s posts about health on the social media site “could help officials decide what strategies are effective and what are not,” says Mark Dredze, one of the researchers.