Business briefs: CDC, Facebook, Shire

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The latest heart disease news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is that adopting healthy habits, such as not smoking, eating more healthfully, and getting regular exercise or physical activity could trim the annual death toll for heart attacks and strokes by around 200,000 a year. The agency is not just talking about the Medicare set, and says that 60% of these deaths are among patients who are 65 and under. As noted by the Wall Street Journal, the CDC points to another trend in heart health, which is that around 64% of the over-65 set with high cholesterol were being treated for the condition, compared to 48% of adults between the ages of 40 and 64 during the date period, which spanned 2005 through 2008. At the same time, smoking rates were lower among the older set, at 9.5% compared to the 21.8%-24% rate among the relative youths. The CDC says lack of health insurance may mean younger adults aren't being screened and that the agency plans on studying the impact that healthcare reform and mandatory insurance may have on these trends.

A study by the David Geffen School of Medicine indicated that social networking can have an impact on personal health, reported NPR. The study used two types of Facebook pages for men who were in same-sex relationships: one dedicated to general health topics and one which focused on HIV. Both sites offered free HIV home tests every four weeks. Researchers found that 44% of the members of the HIV site requested kits, compared to 20% of the general health Facebook page members, and that 14% of the HIV Facebook page members sent in their kits for results, compared to 4% of the members who were part of the general health page.

Shire's ADHD drug Vyvanse, known as Elvanse abroad, got the thumbs-down from Germany's pricing council, reports FiercePharma. The budget-minded agency said the drug was no better than what's already on the formulary of approved treatments, and also criticized Shire's study for being too short.

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