Skip to main contentSkip to main content
Updating results

Health

  • Updated

The top Air Force general in charge of the nation’s air- and ground-launched nuclear missiles has requested an official investigation into the number of airmen who are reporting blood cancer diagnoses after serving at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana. The illnesses became publicly known this week after The Associated Press obtained a military brief that at least nine missileers were reporting diagnoses of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. One of the officers has died. Missileers are the officers who serve in underground bunkers near silo-based Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles and are responsible for turning launch keys if ordered.

  • Updated

The U.S. plans to make it easier for gay and bisexual men to give blood. The Food and Drug Administration proposed easing restrictions on groups that typically face higher risks of HIV. The agency wants to drop the three-month abstinence requirement for donations from men who have sex with men. Donors would instead be screened with a questionnaire that evaluates individual risks for HIV, including sexual behavior. As a result, gay and bisexual men in monogamous relationships could soon be able to donate blood for the first time in decades. The U.S. and other countries began restricting blood donations during the AIDS crisis of the early 1980s.

  • Updated

The federal government will allow Medicaid dollars to treat some people in prisons, jails or juvenile detention centers for the first time ever. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced Thursday that it will allow California inmates to access limited services, including substance use treatment and mental health diagnoses, 90 days before being released. Since Medicaid was established, federal law has prohibited Medicaid money from being used for people who are in custody, with inmates having access to their health care coverage suspended.

  • Updated

Attorney General Merrick Garland and other U.S. officials say the FBI and international partners have at least temporarily disrupted the network of a prolific ransomware gang they infiltrated last year. And as a result they have saved victims, including hospitals and school districts, a potential  $130 million in ransom payments. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco says that: “Simply put, using lawful means we hacked the hackers.” Officials say the gang known as Hive, operates one of the world’s top five ransomware networks. FBI Director Christopher Wray says the FBI quietly gained access to Hive's control panel in July and was able to obtain software keys to decrypt the network of some 1,300 victims globally.

  • Updated

Supporters of abortion rights have filed separate lawsuits challenging abortion pill restrictions in North Carolina and West Virginia. The lawsuits were filed Wednesday. They are the opening salvo in what’s expected to a be a protracted legal battle over access to the medications. The lawsuits argue that state limits on the drugs run afoul of the federal authority of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The agency has approved the abortion pill as a safe and effective method for ending pregnancy. More than half of U.S. abortions are now done with pills rather than surgery.

  • Updated

The government says a record 16.3 million people sought health insurance through the Affordable Care Act this year. That's double the number covered when the marketplaces first launched nearly a decade ago. More than 3 million new members have joined the marketplace, which is also known as “Obamacare." The Biden administration says it worked with nonprofit groups and invested in program specialists who helped sign up people in low-income, immigrant, Black and Latino communities. President Joe Biden and a Democratic-led Congress have also committed millions of dollars over the past two years into unlocking low-cost insurance plans for more people.

  • Updated

U.S. health officials want to make COVID-19 vaccinations more like the annual flu shot. The Food and Drug Administration on Monday proposed a simplified approach so that most adults and children would get a once-a-year shot. Americans would no longer have to keep track of how many shots they’ve received or when. The proposal comes as boosters have become a hard sell. The FDA is asking a panel of outside vaccine experts to weigh in on the new approach at a meeting Thursday. The agency will present data suggesting most Americans have enough protection to move to a once-a-year shots.

  • Updated

President Joe Biden is expected to name the man who ran his administration’s initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic as his next chief of staff. Word of Jeff Zients' hiring comes from two people familiar with the matter who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. Biden’s current top aide, Ron Klain, is preparing to leave the job in the coming weeks. Since his role as the administration’s COVID-19 response coordinator, Zients has returned to the White House in a low-profile position to work on staffing matters for the remainder of Biden’s first term.

  • Updated

Nine military officers who had worked decades ago at a nuclear missile base in Montana have been diagnosed with blood cancer. Slides from a military briefing obtained by The Associated Press also say there are “indications” the disease may be linked to officers' service. One of the nine officers has died. All of the officers were assigned as many as 25 years ago to Malmstrom Air Force Base, home to 150 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile silos. In a statement to the AP, an Air Force spokeswoman says seniors leaders are aware of the concerns and that medical professionals are gathering data to learn more.

  • Updated

Vice President Kamala Harris is rallying supporters against efforts in Washington and in Republican-led states to restrict abortion on what would have been the 50th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. Speaking Sunday in Tallahassee, Florida, Harris invoked fundamental American values such as freedom to make the case for protecting abortion access despite the Supreme Court’s decision to eliminate constitutional protections for it. The White House is trying to show it's determined to restore abortion rights, even though there’s little chance of progress on that front in Washington. Debates over abortion are playing out today in individual statehouses rather than in the halls of Congress or before the Supreme Court.

  • Updated

The White House says a lesion removed by surgeons last week from first lady Jill Biden’s left eyelid was a non-cancerous growth. Dr. Kevin O’Connor, physician to President Joe Biden, said in a memo released Wednesday by the White House that a biopsy showed that the legion was seborrheic keratosis, a “very common, totally harmless, non-cancerous growth.” Surgeons last week also removed a cancerous lesion above Jill Biden’s right eye and one on her chest. Those lesions were both confirmed to be basal cell carcinoma, a common but curable form of cancer.

  • Updated

The federal government says it will begin a targeted crackdown on nursing homes’ abuse of antipsychotic drugs and misdiagnoses of schizophrenia in patients. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is launching investigations this month into select nursing homes. The agency says evidence has mounted over decades that some facilities wrongly diagnose residents with schizophrenia or administer antipsychotic drugs to sedate them, despite dangerous side effects. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said Wednesday no nursing home resident should be “improperly diagnosed with schizophrenia or given an inappropriate antipsychotic.” An association representing nonprofit nursing homes says they've worked on other ways to treat patients.

  • Updated

First lady Jill Biden's advocacy for curing cancer didn't start with her son's death in 2015 from brain cancer. It began decades earlier, and long before she came into the national spotlight, when four of her friends were diagnosed with breast cancer in 1993. Her advocacy in the cancer fight could now be further energized by her brush with a common form of skin cancer. Lesions removed from above the first lady's right eye and left chest last week were confirmed to be basal cell carcinoma — a highly treatable form of skin cancer. A third lesion from her left eyelid was being examined.

  • Updated

The White House says surgeons have removed a cancerous lesion above first lady Jill Biden’s right eye and one on her chest, and that a third lesion on her left eyelid is being examined. Presidential physician Dr. Kevin O’Connor says examinations confirmed that the lesions over Biden's right eye and on her chest were basal cell carcinoma. That's the most curable form of skin cancer. It's a slow-growing cancer and usually confined to the skin's surface. It seldom causes serious complications or becomes life-threatening. O’Connor says the first lady "is in good spirits and is feeling well" but experiencing some facial swelling and bruising. She returned to the White House Wednesday evening.

  • Updated

The Pentagon has formally dropped its COVID-19 vaccination mandate, but a new memo signed by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also gives commanders some discretion in how or whether to deploy troops who are not vaccinated. Austin’s memo has been widely anticipated ever since new legislation signed into law on Dec. 23 gave him 30 days to rescind the mandate. The Defense Department had already stopped all related personnel actions, such as discharging troops who refused the shot. Austin says the Pentagon will continue to promote and encourage COVID-19 vaccination for all service members.

  • Updated

A new Alzheimer’s drug is hitting the market with experts voicing a lot of caution. It's the first with clear-cut evidence that it can slow down the mind-robbing disease by several months. But the drug isn’t a cure, is only intended for early-stage patients, requires IV doses every two weeks, and comes with some safety concerns. The Food and Drug Administration approved the drug Friday but patients are likely to wait months to get it. Insurers have to decide whether to pay for the drug, which will cost about $26,500 a year.

  • Updated

U.S. health officials have approved a new Alzheimer’s drug that modestly slows the brain-robbing disease. The Food and Drug Administration granted the approval Friday for patients in the early stages of Alzheimer's. It's the first drug that’s been convincingly shown to slow the decline in memory and thinking that define the disease. But the $26,500-a-year medication comes with downsides, including potentially serious side effects and frequent drug infusions. Alzheimer's patients will have to decide whether those issues are worth the drug's benefit, which likely amounts to slowing the disease by several months. Insurers are expected to only cover the drug for people with early-stage Alzheimer's and other hallmarks of the disease.

  • Updated

Misinformation about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines has flared up once again, this time following the on-field collapse of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin during a game Monday. Even before Hamlin was carried off the field, social media posts claimed without evidence that his medical emergency was caused by a COVID-19 inoculation. Prominent anti-vaccine groups and right-leaning figures like Tucker Carlson claimed Hamlin's cardiac arrest is connected to a number of athletes who have died after receiving the shot. Physicians interviewed by the AP, however, said it's wrong to blame vaccines for Hamlin's injury and that there's been no increase in cardiac arrests among vaccinated athletes.

  • Updated

U.S. health officials have finalized a rule change that broadens availability of abortion pills to many more pharmacies, including large chains and mail-order companies. The update Tuesday by the Food and Drug Administration formally removes a long-standing requirement that the medicine be picked up in person. The Biden administration partially implemented the change last year. Tuesday's FDA action formally updates the drug's labeling to allow prescribing via any pharmacy that undergoes a certification process. Women can then receive the pills either in person or through the mail. Still, the FDA rule change’s impact has been blunted by numerous state laws limiting access to the pills.

  • Updated

The Food and Drug Administration's contentious approval of a questionable Alzheimer's drug is taking another hit. Congressional investigators say the process FDA used to approve the drug Aduhelm was “rife with irregularities.” The FDA overruled its own scientific advisers in approving the drug, despite lack of proof that it met its promise of slowing patients' decline. A high price tag and that lack of proof led Medicare to limit use of the drug. Thursday's report says FDA and maker Biogen worked unusually closely together and urges steps to restore trust in the approval process.  In response, the FDA and Biogen issued statements defending the approval process.