For Monday, Nov. 13, WGN’s Dina Bair has new medical information, including:

FDA approves first Chikungunya virus vaccine

Emerging as a global health threat, the Chikungunya virus causes fever and joint pain.

It can be debilitating, or even fatal, for newborns.  

There have been more than 440,000 cases this year, including 350 deaths. Five million cases have been reported in the past 15 years.  

Health experts say the threat is getting worse with climate change.  

Chikungunya is most prevalent in Africa, South America and Southeast Asia.  

The FDA’s approval is expected to speed up the vaccine’s global rollout. 

The single-dose shot is approved for those 18 and older who are at high risk of contracting the disease. 

Studies: Experimental cholesterol drugs show promise

Two new experimental drugs to treat high cholesterol are showing promise. 

Instead of just helping people manage it, the drugs target those born with a genetic predisposition to high cholesterol.   

New research, presented this weekend at an annual meeting of the American Heart Association, shows they are safe and effective. 

However, both drugs will need years of additional research before being considered for approval by the FDA.

Still, experts are impressed with the results. 

Sugary sodas lead to impulse impairment, study shows

Soft drinks pack a punch that may impact children in the long term.  

A paper in the journal Substance Use and Misuse says children who drink a lot of caffeinated, sugary soda may see their memory and impulse control suffer. They may be more likely to become addicts later in life. 

Surveys reveal those kids admitted to trying alcohol at twice the rate of children who don’t drink a lot of sugar or caffeine. 

Previous surveys tested teenagers and young adults. This was the first one to test younger kids. 

Gargling with salt water and nasal rinsing may ease COVID-19 symptoms

An age-old home remedy may ease the symptoms of COVID-19 and help keep people out of the hospital. 

New research from the University of Texas School of Health finds gargling with salt water and rinsing nasal passages are more effective than doing neither. 

It supports previous studies that show saline irrigation of the mouth and nose can reduce the viral load and help clear it from the throat and nasal passages. 

Researchers stress that gargling and nasal irrigation should never be used as a substitute for vaccination or treatment with medications such as Paxlovid. 

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