NPR – Feds say it’s time to cut back on fluoride in drinking water
Federal health officials Monday changed the recommended amount of fluoride in drinking water for the first time since 1962, cutting by almost half the maximum amount of fluoride that should be added to drinking supplies.
The Department of Health and Human Services recommended 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water instead of the long-standing range of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams.
“The change is recommended because now Americans have access to more sources of fluoride, such as toothpaste and mouth rinses, than they did when fluoridation was first introduced in the United States,” Dr. Boris Lushniak, the deputy surgeon general, told reporters during a conference call.
As a result, many Americans are getting too much fluoride, which is causing a big increase in a condition known as fluorosis that causes very faint white marks on people’s teeth.

Reuters – GSK shingles vaccine shows benefits across all age groups
An experimental shingles vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline is effective across all age groups, researchers said on Tuesday, boosting the prospects of a key product in the British drugmaker’s development pipeline.
In contrast to Merck’s established Zostavax, currently the only product on the market, GSK’s vaccine HZ/su showed no diminution in efficacy with age, according to detailed results from a large Phase III trial.
Zostavax is less effective among people who are 70 years or older – a group often at risk from shingles.
Goldman Sachs analysts said in a report on Tuesday that efficacy across age groups could give HZ/su a meaningful edge over Zostavax, and GSK’s product had the potential to achieve peak sales of around 1 billion pounds ($1.5 billion) a year.

Medical News Today – Smiley faces make healthy food ‘more appealing’ to kids
In an effort to combat rising levels of childhood obesity, researchers have turned their attention to attempting to improve the quality of school lunches, but the challenge is making cafeteria options more nutritious while still making the food appealing to children.
In Cincinnati, OH, researchers trialed a two-phase intervention among kindergarten through sixth-grade students at an inner-city school.
In the first phase, smiley faces were used to label healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, fat-free milk and whole grains. Later, researchers introduced a “Power Plate” of four healthy foods that came with a small prize – such as a sticker, mini beach ball or temporary tattoo.

NBC News – New measles vaccine is needle-free
Scientists have formulated a needle-free vaccine against measles and say the little stick-on patch could be the answer to fighting measles — and perhaps other diseases such as polio, too.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls the patch a “game-changer” and is helping the team at Georgia Institute of Technology make it work against a range of germs.
The dream would be to mail the vaccines out to people to give themselves, or send them out with teams of minimally trained technicians to give to people living in hard-to-reach areas, says Mark Prausnitz, a professor of biomolecular engineering at the Georgia Tech, who’s leading the vaccine patch team.

The idea of needle-free vaccines isn’t new, but they’re tough to formulate so that they work just right. Then they must be tested for Food and Drug Administration approval, a lengthy and expensive process.

Los Angeles Times – Benefits of HPV vaccine can be seen in high school girls, study says
Years before the HPV vaccine prevents women from getting cervical cancer, it protects them against genital warts and cervical dysplasia, new research suggests.
A study of more than 26,000 teen girls in Ontario, Canada, finds that those who received all three doses of Gardasil were 44% less likely than their unvaccinated peers to be diagnosed with cervical dysplasia during their high school years. It also appears that the vaccine reduced the risk of genital warts by 43%, researchers reported Monday in the journal Pediatrics.
Gardasil is billed as a vaccine against cervical cancer, a disease that typically strikes women in their 40s or 50s. (The median age at diagnosis is 48, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.) The CDC recommends that girls (and boys) get vaccinated when they are 11 or 12 – before they become sexually active and are exposed to the human papillomavirus.