Medical Update - January 27, 2005

Thursday, January 27th 2005, 8:52 am
By: News On 6

Experts say some popular painkillers were over-prescribed. Viagra may help treat a heart condition. Plus contaminated human stem cells.

News on 6 anchor LeAnne Taylor has details in this Medical Update.

According to a new report, human stem cells available for study in the US have been contaminated. Scientists found non-human substances from animal tissue used to grow new cells have compromised the cells.

Stem cells are initially taken from days old human embryos which then die, leading President Bush to limit federal funding to cell lines already in use. Researchers hope stem cells can one day be used to repair damaged organs and cure diseases.

Researchers say Viagra may help treat a fatal heart condition. Animal studies show how the anti-impotence drug can block and in some cases reverse heart enlargement that comes with high blood pressure. Scientists plan similar studies on human subjects.

Researchers investigating Vioxx and Celebrex say the popular painkillers were over-prescribed. The study found millions of patients who took the drugs did not need them or should not have taken them.

The makers of VIOXX pulled the drug from the market after it was linked to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes and CELEBREX is now under scrutiny after date showed a similar risk.