Morning Rounds: How to protect against whooping cough


(CBS News) CBS News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook and CBS News contributor Dr. Holly Phillips joined "CBS This Morning: Saturday" to discuss the major medical stories of the week.

An outbreak in Texas of pertussis, which is also known as whooping cough, has claimed the lives of two infants and made more 2,000 other babies sick.

While most people think that whooping cough is a thing of the past, LaPook said that babies are still very vulnerable because their tiny airways can easily get clogged with mucus.

"It's terrible, they can't get enough oxygen to live, and the problem is that they are sitting ducks because they don't get their first immunization until age 2 months," LaPook said.

Many doctors say that babies are mainly getting the disease from adults who have not been vaccinated.

"Predominantly, they are getting it from grown-ups, and there is no way that they can have protection on their own. They need us to get the immunization, but it turns out that only 12 percent of adults are properly immunized," said LaPook. "The other group the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) is adamant must get immunized is pregnant women, with each pregnancy, partly because they aren't going to get infected themselves, but also the immunity can travel across the placenta and give the baby a little protection."

Also, a study from the New England Journal of Medicine finds the symptoms of so-called "male menopause" may be triggered by declines not only in testosterone, but in the female hormone estrogen as well.

Phillips said that because both hormones decrease in men as they age males should expect to experience symptoms.

"Low testosterone decreases muscle mass and muscle size and strength as men age, but low estrogen increases body fat, particularly around the abdomen. It sort of leads to that big belly that men tend to get as they get older. Both of the hormones decrease sex drive when they fall."

For Dr. Jon LaPook and Dr. Holly Phillips' full roundup on this week's medical stories, watch the video in the player above.