Chemo Complications Greater Than Previously Thought

CHEMO COMPLICATIONS GREATER THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT Sixteen percent of women who underwent chemotherapy for breast cancer experience complications serious enough to require emergency care or hospitalization, according to new research from the U.S. government. Complications from treatment include anemia, dehydration and low production of white blood cells, researchers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality write in this week's Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The study also found that the odds of experiencing a serious complication increased by 20 percent for each additional month of therapy.

MORE THAN 1 IN 4 KIDS BORN BY C-SECTION More than a fourth of all children -- that's more than 1 million babies -- are now born by Caesarean section in the United States, according to a new report by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. In 1997, approximately one in five babies were born by C-section, but that number has increased to more than one in four. Costs have increased as well. The national bill for childbirth was $34 billion in 2003, with $15 billion of that coming from hospital stays involving C-sections.

(DON'T) KEEP ON TRUCKIN' A study of more than 400 truck drivers finds that those who routinely sleep fewer than five hours a night were likely to perform poorly on tests of sleepiness, attention span, reaction time and steering ability. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania found that divers with sleep apnea, a medical condition associated with poor sleep, also did not do well on the tests. The authors believe that the Motor Carrier Safety Administration should identify and test drivers with severe sleep apnea to ensure they don't pose a risk, as well as introduce programs to promote more sleep for all drivers. This research was published this week in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

STAT is a brief look at the latest medical research and is compiled by Joanna Schaffhausen, who holds a doctorate in behavioral neuroscience. She works in the ABC News Medical Unit, evaluating medical studies, abstracts and news releases.

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