Dr. Michael Smith, Chief Medical Editor of WebMD, takes a look back at the stories that made medical headlines during 2012.
1. Health Care Reform:
When you think of a story that stands to impact absolutely everyone, this is undoubtedly it.
2. New Weight Loss Drugs:
Qsymia & Belviq. Even though both drugs do have risks, the FDA ultimately decided the benefit outweighed these risks.
3. Dreaded Diseases: west Nile & hantavirus.
While people have heard of West Nile, it's actually been a few years since we paid much attention to it. 2012 changed that when we saw the worst year ever in terms of deaths and brain damage from the infection. Then hantavirus reared its ugly head and at Yosemite National Park. It's a very deadly virus that's spread by mice and rats and kills nearly 40% of people who get it.
4. Do Men Need a PSA Test?
Starting at age 50, sometimes younger, men knew they needed a PSA blood test to screen for prostate cancer. Well in 2012 one of the premier organizations that sets screening guidelines said the test will do more harm than good.
5. Sitting Disease:
I have to say I was even a bit surprised at this one. There were several studies showing that sitting too much could be a serious health threat. What's surprising is that sitting a lot increased the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and death even if you exercised regularly.