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What's Ahead for Health in 2008

Experts predict medical trends in the new year.

Plastic Surgery: Less Is More continued...

Overall, "men and women will be opting for less in terms of the result and going with injectables because there is no downtime and no recovery time," he says.

"The other thing that we will see is growth in products to use at home," he says. "Eventually there may be an effective cream or treatment that would match the injectables and fillers."

Still, plastic surgeons won't be going out of business anytime soon. "There are still lots of things that the knife can do that needles and creams can't," he says. For example, plastic surgeons will use 2008 as time to work on refining the proper sequencing for body-contouring following weight loss surgery. When people experience such dramatic weight loss, they are often left with loose, hanging skin and opt to undergo multiple body-contouring surgeries such as tummy tucks, arm lifts, and/or breast lifts to tighten and tone. Plastic surgeons are now trying to determine the best order to perform such surgeries.

And one more thing, he adds. Just because pop star Britney Spears reportedly underwent lipodissolve, don't expect this fat-dissolving technology to become all the rage in 2008.

"We just don't have large studies looking at how effective it is and how safe it is," Nahai says. "We should wait until we have studies that prove its safety and then it will rapidly become very popular." There may be some short-term results on lipodissolve published in 2008.

Rheumatology: New Drug Alert

Leslie J. Crofford, MD, the Gloria W. Singletary Professor of Rheumatology and the chief of rheumatology at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, has her eye on the prize in 2008. "I hope we will see another new biologic approved to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in 2008," she tells WebMD. Specifically, she is referring to tocilizumab (Actemra). This drug blocks an inflammatory chemical known as interleukin-6 (Il-6), and is in final stages of clinical trials.

Crofford says she is "really excited" about this drug for people who may not respond to similar drugs. Biologic drugs block substances that cause or worsen joint inflammation in RA. They copy the effects of chemicals made by the immune system, which block inflammatory substances such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF).

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