Belching, hiccuping and related issues are common complaints among patients. Dr. David Johnson of Eastern Virginia Medical School explains the distinction between normal and abnormal belching, and discusses the behavioral component of what's known as supragastric belching -- meaning it isn't serving an important physiological function. Yet, belching and the related condition of air swallowing aren't easily treated. Interventions could include drugs or speech therapy. Hiccups, meanwhile, are associated with a spasm of the intercostal muscles and diaphragm. Hiccups are common, but a persistent issue can signal a serious health problem and should be evaluated by an expert.
The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill giving the Food and Drug Administration more authority to require additional studies of drugs after they are approved for the market. The measure, which must be reconciled with a similar Senate bill, would have drug companies pay an additional $225 million over five years to pay for post-approval monitoring.
The global occurrence of food allergies has doubled during the past 15 years, with 12 million Americans living with allergies to foods such as milk, eggs, wheat, soy, peanuts and tree nuts. But about 30% of people who think they have food allergies are wrong.
Hospitals nationwide are working to prevent medical errors, but many experts say patients can join the efforts by participating in their own care. Some tips include: bring an advocate, prepare a medical history, double-check medications and take notes on any instructions from health professionals.