Today’s Headlines: Falls Are Leading Cause of Death Among Older Americans, States Team Up To Fight Drug Company That Sabotaged Heroin Treatment, and Bad News for Those Who Swear By Fitness Trackers

A report published by the CDC on Thursday shows that falls are the top cause of death among Americans over 65. These fatal falls might be on the rise because older Americans are unlikely to report preceding, nonfatal falls that result in serious injury. “’Elderly patients tend to not report falls to their families, or even doctors. A fall is a very frightening thing that you keep quiet about. They think if they mention it that it’ll start the ball rolling – the move to a nursing home, or the need for aides to help out in the house – and that they’ll lose their independence,’ said Dr. Gisele Wolf-Klein, the director of geriatric education at Northwell Health in Great Neck, New York.” Doctors emphasize that these falls are preventable. They urge those over 65 to visit their health care providers, who’ll be able to screen for low blood pressure and dizziness. Doctors also suggest that older Americans get enough vitamin D, which contributes to healthier bones, muscles, and nerves. (CBS)

35 U.S. states and the District of Columbia are suing Indivior, a British pharmaceutical company, which allegedly tried to keep generic, more affordable reproductions of Suboxone unavailable. Suboxone has been heralded as an effective medication for those addicted to heroin. Kamala Harris, California’s Attorney General, strongly criticized such harmful practices: “When prescription drug companies unlawfully manipulate the marketplace to maximize profits, they put lives at risk and drive up the cost of health care for everyone,” she said. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has warned that the U.S. is in the midst of an opioid epidemic. In 2014, according to the HHS website, “more than 15,000 people died from heroin.” The U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy has called on doctors and health care providers to join the fight against addiction. (FOX)

A new study published in JAMA suggests that those who depend on fitness trackers do not have a greater chance of achieving their diet and exercise goals. Research subjects were divided into two groups—both were instructed to diet and exercise more, but only one group was given fitness trackers. Over the course of two years, those who used fitness trackers were no better off; in fact, they lost, on average, less weight than the other group. Dr. John Jakicic, who led the study, speculated that having clear information about increased exercise might cause an individual to indulge in unhealthy snacks: “You might think to yourself, ‘I’m being so active I can eat a cupcake now,’” he said. Manufactures note that such technology has since advanced. In future studies, researchers hope to find out if certain people—people who are goal-driven, for example—are more likely to benefit from fitness devices. (BBC)