6 Most Important Health Stories of 2008

health newsI'm a health news junkie (read: geek). I read it online, check the TV news channels and read the interesting CafeMom queries in Health Questions and so many great groups, like Natural Health and Healing.

So I couldn't wait to see CNN's picks for the 6 most important health stories of 2008 that came out over the long weekend. See which issues are most important to you.

  1. Stem cell advances. Despite the controversy over stem cells, they are saving lives around the world. A Colombian woman received a trachea transplant using her own stem cells so her body wouldn't reject the organ, and a similar successful surgery occurred in Spain. In Minnesota, rat stem cells were used to transplant a rat heart, and more stem cell research is being done to one day help people who need organ transplants.
  2. Autism. Debate over the causes of autism continued to rage after a court decided to compensate a family whose daughter developed the disorder after receiving childhood vaccinations. Also, the United Nations declared the first official World Autism Awareness Day on April 2 this year. Check the CafeMom group Autism/Asperger's/PDD Awareness for in-depth discussions on this topic.
  3. Contaminated food. First, there were bad peppers, and then milk got thousands of people sick. Concerns about food safety are at an all-time high worldwide. Problems with milk, melamine and candies were big problems for Chinese manufacturers and the consumers who fell ill. In the U.S., we dealt with salmonella in tomatoes and also in jalapeno and Serrano peppers imported from Mexico. Cafe Kim write about contaminated candy last October.
  4. Health care reform. In a period of economic uncertainty, record rates of unemployment and the turbulent economy have left many American families without health insurance, propelling the issue of health care reform into the historic presidential race. President-elect Obama says he will give more people access to health insurance.
  5. Face transplant. As I wrote about recently, a severely disfigured American woman became the fourth person in the world to receive a face transplant. Facial transplants pose ethical questions because the complicated and risky procedure aims to improve the quality of life rather than save a life. It also carries the risk that the recipient's body will reject the transplant, although the Cleveland Clinic doctors who performed the most recent surgery say they haven't seen any signs of that.
  6. New CPR. In Arizona, paramedics began using a new CPR method. They skip the breathing step and instead, alternate two minutes of chest compressions with a single shock from a defibrillator. Physicians in Arizona reported that the new regimen has tripled the long-term survival rate, which went from 4.7 percent to 17.6 percent. Cafe Suzanne wrote about baby CPR earlier this month.

Which story strikes a chord with you?

Read More >