Health Highlights: Dec. 15, 201012/15/10
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
No Toys With Fast Food Meals: Lawsuit
A lawsuit launched Wednesday seeks to stop McDonald's from using
toys to market fast food to young children.
The legal action by a California mother and The Center for
Science in the Public Interest, which was filed in California
Superior Court in San Francisco, claims that this type of marketing
exploits a child's vulnerability and therefore violates a number of
consumer protection laws, the
Associated Press reported.
Such marketing methods are increasingly coming under fire.
Recently, San Francisco became the first city to forbid
fast-food restaurants from including toys with children's meals
that fail to meet certain nutritional standards. Santa Clara County
passed a similar law, the
Diabetes Affects 1 in 16 U.S. Women Who Give Birth in Hospital:
About 6.4 percent of the 4.2 million women who gave birth in
U.S. hospitals in 2008 had pre-existing diabetes or developed
diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes), says a new
federal government report. Both types of diabetes pose risks for
mother and infant.
The 35,500 women with pre-existing diabetes and the 232,300 with
gestational diabetes were more likely to have a cesarean section
(64 percent and 46 percent, respectively), than those who did not
have diabetes (32 percent), according to the latest
News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and
The analysis of data from the 2008 Nationwide Inpatient Samples
- Hospital costs for deliveries were $3,800 each for women
without diabetes, $4,500 for those with gestational diabetes (18
percent higher), and $6,000 for those with pre-existing diabetes
(55 percent higher).
- The total cost for women with diabetes hospitalized for either
childbirth or pregnancy-related problems was more than $1.4
billion, or 8.5 percent of all maternal hospitalization costs.
- Among women who had a baby during a hospital stay, 43 percent
of stays for women with pre-existing diabetes and 36 percent of
stays for women with gestational diabetes were billed to Medicaid,
compared with 49 percent and 57 percent, respectively, to private
Ban Donor Blood From People With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: FDA
People diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome should not be
allowed to donate blood until it can be determined if the disorder
is caused by an infectious agent, a U.S. Food and Drug
Administration expert panel said Tuesday.
Some studies have suggested that a virus called XMRV may be
linked to the condition,
Bloomberg news reported. There is no cure or medicines
approved to treat chronic fatigue syndrome, which makes patients
exhausted and can cause muscle and joint pain, according to the
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The American Red Cross announced Dec. 3 that it will not accept
blood donations from people diagnosed with the condition.
The CDC says that more than 1 million Americans have chronic
Dannon Settles Charges About Product Health Claims
The Dannon Company has agreed to pay $21 million to settle
charges that it made improper health claims about its yogurt and
dairy drinks, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission announced
In an advertising campaign, Dannon claimed that a single serving
of its Activia yogurt could benefit people with irregularity and
that its DanActive dairy drink could reduce the risk of colds and
The New York Times reported.
The FTC, which worked with 39 state attorneys general in the
investigation, said Dannon lacked scientific evidence to back those
claims. The $21 million settlement will be paid to the states
involved in the case.
Dannon will no longer be able to make such health claims unless
they are approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the FTC
The Times reported.
Lack of Sleep Affects Looks: Study
A new study suggest that you really do need your beauty
"A good night's sleep does not only improve your physiological health, it will also make you look healthier and more attractive, which in turn improves the chance of better treatments in a wide range of social situations," said lead author John Axelsson, an associate professor in the clinical neuroscience department at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, msnbc.com reported.
The researchers had 65 people assess photos taken of 23
participants after a good night's sleep and after they stayed up
for 31 hours straight. The people in the photos were perceived as 4
percent less attractive, 6 percent less healthy, and 19 percent
more tired after they were sleep deprived.
The study appears online in the
British Medical Journal.
"We propose that sleep is a cheap and effective beauty treatment, both acutely and in the long-term," said Axelsson, msnbc.com reported. "Sleep should be seen as the body's
natural beauty treatment and a clear alternative or complement to
other beauty treatments."
Fighter Pilots' Brains Different
The unique structure of fighter pilots' brains may contribute to
their ability to perform well under intense pressure, according to
a new study.
U.K. researchers compared brain scans of 11 Royal Air Force
pilots and healthy volunteers who were not pilots. They found
differences in the white matter and connections of the right
hemisphere that could explain the pilots' heightened cognitive
BBC News reported.
It's not clear whether the fighter pilots' are born this way or
develop these brain differences as a result of their training, said
the University College London team.
The study appears in the
Journal of Neuroscience.
The researchers want to examine the brain structures of other
professionals, such as sports stars, to see if they also have
BBC News reported.
FDA Reexamines Safety of Amalgam Dental Fillings
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is rehearing evidence
about the safety of amalgam dental fillings, less than 18 months
after the agency declared the so-called silver fillings safe.
The amalgam -- which contains about 50 percent liquid mercury in
a mix of powdered copper, tin and silver -- is safe, effective and
one of the most inexpensive dental products on the market,
according to dentists' groups,
But four consumer advocacy organizations challenged the FDA's
March 2009 ruling about amalgam, which has been used in the United
States and elsewhere for more than 150 years. The critics point to
new studies that suggest amalgam fillings may be associated with
neurological conditions and even Alzheimer's disease in some
An FDA panel of experts met Tuesday and Wednesday to consider
evidence from several scientific studies. They also heard from
people who say they've been harmed by the fillings,
Some countries have banned amalgam fillings and others have
restricted its use.
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