What We're Reading: Polio-Like Cases Falling; Health Alerts in Apple Watch; Dentists and Opioids

The number of cases of a mysterious polio-like illness called acute flaccid myelitis are falling; Apple’s latest watch, the Series 4, has new features designed to detect falls and heart problems, and is aimed at attracting an older demographic; dentists who prescribe opioids to teenagers and young adults after removing their wisdom teeth may be putting their patients at risk of addiction.

CDC Says Polio-Like Illness Appears to Be Declining

Apple Targets Older Demographic With Latest Watch That Issues Cardiac, Fall Alerts

Study Highlights Role of Dental Opioid Prescriptions in Risk Of Abuse in Young Patients

The number of cases of a mysterious polio-like illness called acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) are falling, The Hill reported. The CDC said the number of people under investigation for AFM peaked earlier this year, and will continue to decline for the remainder of 2018. So far this year, 134 cases of AFM have been confirmed in 33 states out of 299 cases reported to the CDC. Over 90% of confirmed cases of AFM have been in children.Apple’s latest watch, the Series 4, has new features designed to detect falls and heart problems, and is aimed at attracting an older demographic, Kaiser Health News reported. The watch, an entry into preventive health, includes an echocardiogram app to detect atrial fibrillation and a fall-monitoring app that uses sensors in the watchband. The sensors, which alert emergency services if a fall is detected, are automatically enabled for people 65 and older after they input their age. The features are praised by some, while other doctors have expressed concern that scores of panicked Apple Watch users would flood emergency rooms with every notification.Dentists who prescribe opioids to teenagers and young adults after removing their wisdom teeth may be putting their patients at risk of addiction, The Washington Post reported. A study in JAMA Internal Medicine found that of almost 15,000 adolescents and young adults who received initial opioid prescriptions in 2015 from dentists, 6.9% received at least 1 more prescription 3 months to 1 year later, a warning sign for persistent opioid use. Moreover, 5.8% were diagnosed with opioid abuse within a year of the first prescription. The statistics were worse for girls and women. More than 10% of female 16- to 25-year-olds who received a dental opioid prescription in 2015 were diagnosed with opioid abuse within the year.