Briefing

Published Apr 3, 2014 at 12:01AM

FDA approves new therapy for hemophilia

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first hemophilia B treatment designed to decrease frequency of injections to prevent the excessive bleeding the clotting disorder causes.

The medicine, Alprolix, is for preventing or shortening bleeding episodes in adults and children with hemophilia B, the second-most common type. It affects about 3,300 Americans, mostly males.

Manufacturer Biogen Idec Inc. of Cambridge, Mass., calls it the first major advance for hemophilia B in almost two decades.

The disorder, usually inherited, is due to a genetic defect that causes deficiency of clotting proteins called Factor IX. Severity varies, but patients bleed longer than normal after cuts or surgery, and can have significant, painful internal bleeding. That can damage eyes and joints over time. After severe injuries, patients can bleed to death.

1 in 68 children has autism, CDC says

Autism is much more common than previously thought, according to a new U.S. government report that estimates that one in 68 children have some form of the disorder.

Boosting the rate has become a two-year ritual since the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention set up a surveillance system more than a decade ago. The last estimate, in 2012, was one in 88, up from one in 110 two years before that.

As in the past, researchers could not say what was driving the increase. While the role of environmental factors remains an open question, rising awareness of the disorder, greater detection and improved access to services have all been shown to be significant factors in the explosive growth in diagnosis over the last two decades.

— From wire reports