A new report shows the number of cases of Lyme disease more than doubled over the last 15 years. From 1992 to 2006, officials with the Center for Disease Control say more than 240,000 cases of Lyme disease were reported in the US. The group that showed the highest number of cases was kids age 5 to 14. Lyme disease can be a very serious illness spread by ticks. The study shows a real need for parents to check kids for ticks after they come in from the outdoors so that if there is a tick bite, they can treat it early.
Just in time for the flu season, a fast new genetic flu test has won approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This new test amplifies genetic material from the virus so it can be measured. That means it can be identified as either a seasonal influenza strain or perhaps something more serious like the bird flu. The test is from Applied Biosystems and the CDC says the test should be arriving at state health departments soon and is designed to be used by specialized labs (such as those at state health departments) and not in doctors' offices.
Researchers are working on a new chewable mint that could help prevent annoying cavities. They are called BasicMints and contain Cavistat, a fluoride- free cavity fighter. Cavistat acts like saliva by neutralizing harmful plaque acids. In an early study at Stony Brook University in New York, kids who used BasicMints had 62% percent fewer cavities in their molars after a year.