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Category: Neurology | Monthly Briefing

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April 2009 Briefing - Neurology

Last Updated: May 01, 2009.

 

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Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Neurology for April 2009. This roundup includes the latest research news from journal articles, as well as the FDA approvals and regulatory changes that are the most likely to affect clinical practice.

New Web-based Information Source to Support UK Clinicians

THURSDAY, April 30 (HealthDay News) -- The United Kingdom's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has announced the launch of NHS Evidence, a Web-based evidence resource for clinicians, public health professionals of the National Health Service, and others involved in making patient care decisions. The announcement came in the April 30 issue of The Lancet.

NICE home page
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Smoking, Hypertension Judged the Leading US Death Risks

THURSDAY, April 30 (HealthDay News) -- Smoking and high blood pressure are the leading risk factors contributing to death in the United States, according to a study reported April 28 in PLOS Medicine.

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NEJM Commends New Conflict of Interest Proposal

THURSDAY, April 30 (HealthDay News) -- A new proposal to control conflict of interest is notable for its breadth and variety of recommended solutions, according to a Perspective article published online April 29 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Aggressive Atorvastatin Use Cuts Detectable Inflammation

THURSDAY, April 30 (HealthDay News) -- Aggressive use of atorvastatin therapy over a three-month period produces anti-inflammatory results that can be detected using ultrasmall superparamagnetic iron oxide (USPIO)-enhanced MRI, according to a study published online ahead of print April 29 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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FDA Requires OTC Pain Relievers to Display Warnings

WEDNESDAY, April 29 (HealthDay News) -- Popular over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers and fever medications containing acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) will be required to display prominent warnings about the risks of liver damage and internal bleeding, under a new rule announced April 28 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

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Breech Presentation Linked to Autism Spectrum Disorders

WEDNESDAY, April 29 (HealthDay News) -- An association between breech presentation and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in children may point to a shared etiology between the two, according to research published in the May issue of Pediatrics.

Abstract
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Naltrexone Linked to Improved Fibromyalgia Symptoms

WEDNESDAY, April 29 (HealthDay News) -- Low-dose naltrexone (LDN) may be useful in treating fibromyalgia, according to research published online April 22 in Pain Medicine.

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Pharmacist Involvement May Decrease Medication Errors

TUESDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- Adding a pharmacist to health care teams may significantly decrease patients' risk of adverse drug events and medication errors, according to a report published in the April 27 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. A second study indicates that an interdisciplinary medication reconciliation intervention can also reduce unintentional medication discrepancies with potential for harm.

Abstract - Murray
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Abstract - Schnipper
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Steep Copayments Increase Risk of Non-Adherence

TUESDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- In patients who are newly diagnosed with a chronic disease, higher out-of-pocket costs for medications are associated with an increased likelihood of non-treatment, according to a study published in the April 27 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Abstract
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Drug-Like Compounds Break Down Alzheimer's Protein

MONDAY, April 27 (HealthDay News) -- Two small molecules can promote the breakdown of amyloid β-protein, which accumulates in the brain in patients with Alzheimer's disease and is implicated in disease pathogenesis, according to a report published online April 22 in PLoS ONE.

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Teen Binges Linked to White Matter Changes in Brain

FRIDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- In adolescents, binge drinking may be associated with reduced white matter integrity in the frontal, cerebellar, temporal, and parietal regions of the brain, according to research published online April 21 in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

Abstract
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Shoe Insoles Don't Appear to Prevent Back Pain

THURSDAY, April 23 (HealthDay News) -- Shoe insoles do not appear to be effective for preventing back pain, and limited evidence neither supports nor discourages their use for treating low back pain, according to research published April 20 in Spine.

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Prenatal Flu Exposure Linked to Lower Intelligence Scores

THURSDAY, April 23 (HealthDay News) -- Exposure to the Hong Kong flu in utero may be associated with lower intelligence in adulthood, according to research published online ahead of print March 18 in the Annals of Neurology.

Abstract
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Cervical Spine Fusion More Common in Elderly

THURSDAY, April 23 (HealthDay News) -- Between 1992 and 2005, the adjusted rates of cervical spine fusions increased by 206 percent among Medicare beneficiaries, according to a study published in the April 20 issue of Spine.

Abstract
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Heavy NSAID Use Linked to Dementia in Elderly

THURSDAY, April 23 (HealthDay News) -- Contrary to earlier studies suggesting that users of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have a reduced risk of developing dementia, heavy NSAID use in the elderly is associated with a higher risk of developing dementia, according to a study published online April 22 in Neurology.

Abstract
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Having Health Insurance May Not Improve Mortality Risk

THURSDAY, April 23 (HealthDay News) -- People without health insurance have about the same mortality rate as people with health insurance, according to an observational study published online April 21 in Health Services Research.

Abstract
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Stretches Without Health Insurance More Common

WEDNESDAY, April 22 (HealthDay News) -- Periods of uninsurance have become more common in recent decades, particularly among those with less education, according to research published in the April 23 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Gene Defect Found in Patients with Small-Vessel Disease

WEDNESDAY, April 22 (HealthDay News) -- A gene defect has been identified in patients with a hereditary cerebral small-vessel disease, according to a study in the April 23 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Abstract
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Continuity of Care Declining for Medicare Beneficiaries

TUESDAY, April 21 (HealthDay News) -- Medicare beneficiaries in the hospital in 2006 were much less likely to be seen there by a familiar physician than those in the hospital a decade earlier, according to a study reported in the April 22/29 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Abstract
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Oral Carbohydrates Linked to Boost in Cycling Performance

TUESDAY, April 21 (HealthDay News) -- The improvement in athletic performance that follows the presence of carbohydrates in the mouth may be due to brain responses linked to reward, according to research published April 1 in the Journal of Physiology.

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Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease Disparities Persist

TUESDAY, April 21 (HealthDay News) -- Despite the fact that among patients with cardiovascular disease and diabetes there have been improvements in the control of blood pressure, glucose, and cholesterol levels since 1999, racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic differences persist, according to a study published in the April 21 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Neoplasm Death Rates High for Retinoblastoma Survivors

FRIDAY, April 17 (HealthDay News) -- People who have had retinoblastoma, especially the hereditary form of the disease, have a high risk of dying from subsequent malignant neoplasm, according to a study reported April 7 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Abstract
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Psychological Interventions Can Close Achievement Gap

FRIDAY, April 17 (HealthDay News) -- Structured writing assignments that focus on students' self-affirming value can help to close the racial gap in academic achievement, according to a study published in the April 17 issue of Science.

Abstract
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Secondary Stroke Prevention Lower in Elderly Patients

FRIDAY, April 17 (HealthDay News) -- In stroke survivors, secondary prevention is essential regardless of age, according to a study published online April 16 in BMJ.

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Statins May Prevent Stroke, Another Drug Improves Outcome

FRIDAY, April 17 (HealthDay News) -- Statins may help prevent stroke among high-risk patients, but when stroke occurs, controlling the patient's post-stroke body temperature may help improve the outcome, according to separate studies reported in the May issue of The Lancet Neurology.

Abstract - Amarenco
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Abstract - Hertog
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Elderly May Be Shortchanged in Stroke Care

FRIDAY, April 17 (HealthDay News) -- Current stroke care practices shortchange the elderly, who undergo fewer diagnostic investigations than their younger counterparts, and who also receive less advice on how to modify their lifestyles in order to prevent stroke recurrence, according to a study published in the March issue of the Postgraduate Medical Journal.

Abstract
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Surgery Can Be Appropriate for C2 Fractures in Elderly

THURSDAY, April 16 (HealthDay News) -- Surgical treatment of C2 fractures in the elderly appears reasonably safe and effective, according to research published in the April issue of the Journal of Spinal Disorders & Techniques.

Abstract
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Gastrointestinal Symptoms Common in Fibromyalgia

THURSDAY, April 16 (HealthDay News) -- A large majority of individuals with fibromyalgia also had functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGID), which may be related to psychological distress, according to research published in the April issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Abstract
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Hormone Levels Affect Perception of Jaw Pain

THURSDAY, April 16 (HealthDay News) -- Hormone levels in female rats can affect the perception of pain in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), providing a possible explanation for the higher incidence of TMJ pain in females, according to a study published online April 9 in Endocrinology.

Abstract
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Brain Structure Changes After Prenatal Methamphetamine Use

THURSDAY, April 16 (HealthDay News) -- Prenatal methamphetamine exposure leads to alterations in the structure of brain white matter, according to a study published online April 15 in Neurology.

Abstract
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Valsartan Not Linked to Fewer Atrial Fibrillation Recurrences

WEDNESDAY, April 15 (HealthDay News) -- The use of valsartan was not associated with a decrease in recurrences of atrial fibrillation in patients with underlying cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or left atrial enlargement, according to research published in the April 16 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Abstract
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Genetic Link Seen in Ischemic, Atherothrombotic Strokes

WEDNESDAY, April 15 (HealthDay News) -- A locus on chromosome 12p13 may be linked to an increased risk of stroke, according to research published online April 15 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Valproate in Pregnancy Linked to Lower IQ in Children

WEDNESDAY, April 15 (HealthDay News) -- The use of valproate in pregnant women with epilepsy is associated with a higher risk of impaired cognitive function in their children at the age of 3, according to research published in the April 16 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Abstract
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Editorial

Mechanism of Compound Neurotoxicity Identified

WEDNESDAY, April 15 (HealthDay News) -- Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) may act through ryanodine receptors, which are calcium ion channels, to mediate their neurotoxic effects, according to several new studies.

Abstract-Kim
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Stroke Screening Rate Rose in Children With Sickle Cell

WEDNESDAY, April 15 (HealthDay News) -- Following the 1998 Stroke Prevention Trial in Sickle Cell Anemia, the rate of transcranial Doppler ultrasonography (TCD) screening rose steeply in a large health care plan, according to research published in the April 14 issue of Neurology.

Abstract
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Hypoglycemic Events Increase Dementia Risk with Diabetes

TUESDAY, April 14 (HealthDay News) -- Incidents of hypoglycemia in older patients with type 2 diabetes increase the risk of their eventually developing dementia, according to a study in the April 15 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Abstract
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Researchers Describe Epidemiology of Heart Failure

TUESDAY, April 14 (HealthDay News) -- Among older Americans, heart failure is a common condition that disproportionately affects blacks. But many cases could be prevented if risk factors were modified, according to a study published in the April 13 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Abstract
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Treatment, Imaging Decisions Vary in Facet Dislocations

TUESDAY, April 14 (HealthDay News) -- Spine surgeons may show a great deal of variability in how they respond to cervical facet dislocations, according to research published in the April Journal of Spinal Disorders & Techniques.

Abstract
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Antithrombotic Drugs May Cause Microbleeds in Brain

TUESDAY, April 14 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who take antithrombotic drugs such as aspirin and carbasalate calcium may be at increased risk of cerebral microbleeds, according to a report published online April 13 in the Archives of Neurology.

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Review Looks at Injuries in Spinal Disorders

MONDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- A review of outcomes following spinal injuries in individuals with ankylosing spondylitis and diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH) suggests appropriate management strategies in these cases, according to research published in the April issue of the Journal of Spinal Disorders & Techniques.

Abstract
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Stem Cells Offer Potential Multiple Sclerosis Treatment

MONDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- Oligodendrocytes generated from human embryonic stem cells that produce myelin offer novel possibilities for basic and clinical research into treatments for multiple sclerosis, but the process is more protracted than in mouse cells, according to a study published online April 10 in Development.

Abstract
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Magnesium Improves Function After Spinal Cord Injury

MONDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- Magnesium treatment shortly after spinal cord injury in rats improves motor function and spares white matter, according to study findings published in the April issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine.

Abstract
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Financial Rewards for Healthy Behavior Can Be Effective

FRIDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- Although paying people to engage in healthy behaviors or successfully tackle unhealthy ones can be effective, it may carry unintended consequences, according to an editorial published online April 9 in BMJ.

Editorial

Spinal Motor Nerves Can Regenerate After Injury

FRIDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- Adult corticospinal motor neurons, which are critical for motor function in higher species but are particularly resistant to regeneration after injury, can be induced to regenerate if growth-inducing neurotrophin receptors are overproduced, according to the results of a study published online April 9 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Abstract
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Chronic Drinking Increases Risk of Essential Tremor

THURSDAY, April 9 (HealthDay News) -- High levels of daily consumption of alcohol increases the risk of subsequently developing involuntary -- or essential -- tremor, according to a study published online April 9 in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.

Abstract
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Dynamic Plates Seen As Preferable to Rigid Plates

WEDNESDAY, April 8 (HealthDay News) -- In patients undergoing cervical spine surgery for degenerative conditions, dynamic plate systems may be preferable to rigid plate systems because they are associated with a lower risk for implant failure-related revision surgery, according to a study published in the April 1 issue of Spine.

Abstract
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Repetitive Training Offers Benefits After Cortex Damage

TUESDAY, April 7 (HealthDay News) -- Repetitive training appears effective for improving visual motion processing in the blind field of adults with primary visual cortex (V1) damage, according to research published in the April 1 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

Abstract
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Obesity Linked to Higher Risk of Restless Legs Syndrome

TUESDAY, April 7 (HealthDay News) -- Obesity may put individuals at higher risk of developing restless legs syndrome, according to research published in the April 7 issue of Neurology.

Abstract
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Bleeding Linked to Cardiovascular Events After PCI

MONDAY, April 6 (HealthDay News) -- Bleeding complications associated with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) may raise the risk of adverse outcomes in patients, according to research published in the April 1 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

Abstract
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Caffeine Reduces Leg Pain During Heavy Exercise

MONDAY, April 6 (HealthDay News) -- A moderate dose of caffeine moderately reduces leg muscle pain during high-intensity exercise even in men who habitually drink high levels of caffeine, researchers report in the April issue of the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.

Abstract
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Bracing Routinely Applied After Spinal Procedures

MONDAY, April 6 (HealthDay News) -- In patients who undergo spinal surgery for degenerative conditions, most surgeons use post-operative bracing, but there is no consensus concerning the most appropriate type, duration and indications for immobilization, according to the results of a study published in the April issue of the Spine Journal.

Abstract
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Exercise Improves Academic Performance in Children

MONDAY, April 6 (HealthDay News) -- Short periods of moderate exercise such as walking improve attention and academic performance in pre-adolescent children, researchers report in the March 31 issue of Neuroscience.

Abstract
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Modification of Huntington's Protein Reverses Degeneration

FRIDAY, April 3 (HealthDay News) -- Chemical modification of the mutant protein that accumulates in neurons in patients with Huntington's disease leads to clearance of the protein and reversal of neurodegeneration, researchers report in the April 3 issue of Cell.

Abstract
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Catheter-Based Therapies May Benefit Stroke Patients

FRIDAY, April 3 (HealthDay News) -- In some patients who aren't candidates for intravenous thrombolysis, catheter-based therapy (CBT) provides an optional treatment for acute ischemic stroke, according to research published in the April 1 issue of Catheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions.

Abstract
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Benefits Seen From Early Epilepsy Surgery

FRIDAY, April 3 (HealthDay News) -- Surgery to treat epilepsy in young children appears generally safe and effective, according to research published online ahead of print Jan. 21 in Epilepsia.

Abstract
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Exercise Program Appears Helpful in Migraine Patients

THURSDAY, April 2 (HealthDay News) -- Though migraine patients frequently cite exercise as a migraine trigger, a cycling-based exercise program improved the exercise capacity of migraineurs without a reported increase in migraines, according to research published in the April issue of Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain.

Abstract
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Electronic Prescribing Online-Learning Tools Launched

THURSDAY, April 2 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. physicians will be able to better evaluate electronic prescribing systems thanks to a new online learning center on ePrescribing launched April 1 by the American Medical Association.

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Less Invasive Back Surgery Offers Advantages

WEDNESDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- A less-invasive posterior lumbar interbody fusion appears to provide improved outcomes compared to the standard version of the surgery, according to research published in the March 15 issue of Spine.

Abstract
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Rebleeding Risk Low for Treated Intracranial Aneurysm

WEDNESDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- Though the risk of recurrent bleeding in patients with a ruptured intracranial aneurysm is higher in those treated with endovascular coiling compared to surgical clipping, the risk of later death was lower in the coiled group, according to research published online March 28 in The Lancet Neurology.

Abstract
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Editorial

Changes Needed in New-Drug Evaluation Process

WEDNESDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- The evaluation process for new drugs is overdue for an overhaul, which could provide benefits for the public and the pharmaceutical industry, according to a point-counterpoint commentary published online March 31 in BMJ.

Abstract - Garattini
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Abstract - Tremblay
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Adult Spinal Stem Cells Reverse Paralysis in Rats

WEDNESDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- Spinal stem cells taken from adult rats with an injured spinal cord are effective at differentiating into oligodendrocytes and motor neurons and can reverse paralysis when transplanted into rats with a spinal cord injury, according to a study published in the March issue of Stem Cells.

Abstract
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Oxycodone Effective for Herpes Zoster Pain Relief

WEDNESDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with herpes zoster, controlled-release oxycodone effectively relieves pain and is generally well-tolerated, according to a study published in the April issue of Pain.

Abstract
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New Health Program Leads to Questions in the UK

WEDNESDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- A new British program to improve patient choices and competition in the health care marketplace may lead to excess capacity in some areas and instability in others, according to a commentary published online March 31 in BMJ.

Abstract
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Imaging Study Shines Light on Phantom Limbs

WEDNESDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- The case of a patient who perceived a supernumerary phantom limb (SPL) that she could see, feel, and move following a stroke offers insight into brain structures involved in such phenomena, according to research published online March 20 in the Annals of Neurology.

Abstract
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