Health Highlights: Jan. 27, 201101/27/11
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Nelson Mandela Hospitalized With Lung Infection: Reports
Human rights icon and former South African President Nelson
Mandela was hospitalized Thursday with a lung infection, according
to reports from
CBS News and other media.
According to his office, 92-year-old Mandela went to the
hospital for routine tests and is in "no danger and is in good
spirits." However, one source close to the situation told
CBS that Mandela was on holiday and returned to Johannesburg
Sunday after complaining of chest pains.
A family member told
CBS that Mandela had developed a lung infection and was
having breathing problems. The same (unidentified) family member
said that while any illness is a concern at Mandela's age, the
family is not overly worried.
While the anti-apartheid leader has regular hospital checkups,
the length of this particular stay has created a media frenzy in
South Africa. A statement from South African President Jacob Zuma's
office said that, "President Mandela is comfortable and is well
looked after by a good team of medical specialists."
Court Pledges Quick Action on Health Care Law Appeal
A federal appeals court in Virginia has promised quick
consideration of a lower court ruling against a key part of the new
federal health care law.
The Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond said
Wednesday that it has scheduled May 10 to May 13 to hear arguments
in the Obama administration's appeal of last month's ruling by
Judge Howard E. Hudson of the Federal District Court in Richmond,
The New York Times reported.
Hudson ruled that the section of the health care law that
requires citizens to obtain commercial health insurance exceeds the
boundaries of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. But he
permitted the law to remain in effect pending appeal.
Two other federal judges have upheld the insurance requirement
while a ruling from a fourth judge in Florida is expected soon,
The Times reported.
Many experts believe the issue will likely be settled by the
Salty Foods Affect Blood Vessels: Study
Obvious changes in your arteries occur just 30 minutes after you
eat salty foods, says a new study.
The Australian researchers found that foods with high levels of
salt rapidly impair the ability of blood vessels to widen, even in
people with normal blood pressure,
The long-term effects of this impact on blood vessels is
"What surprised us was that this is similar to responses seen after a meal high in saturated fats, which we know can damage blood-vessels in the long-term," said lead author Kacie M. Dickinson, a researcher at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Adelaide, msnbc.com reported.
The study appears in this month's issue of the
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Drug Addiction, Dependency Common Among Wounded Soldiers:
Many of the 10,000 U.S. soldiers in special wounded-care
companies or battalions are drug addicted or dependent, according
to a report released Tuesday by the Army inspector general.
According to the document, most case managers and nurses
interviewed by investigators said 25 percent to 35 percent of
soldiers in the Warrior Transition Units "are over-medicated, abuse
prescriptions and have access to illegal drugs,"
USA Today reported.
Prescription narcotic pain reliever addiction or dependency is a
The findings were called into question by Army Col Darryl
Williams, commander of Warrior Transition Units. He said the
estimates of drug addictions and dependency are not statistically
valid since they're based on estimates from the nurses and case
USA Today reported.
College Students' Emotional Health Declining: Survey
The pressures of high school and the effects of the recession
have pushed the emotional health of U.S. college freshmen to its
lowest point since an annual survey began looking at the issue 25
"The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2010" survey of more than 200,000 incoming full-time college students found an increase in the percentage of students who said their emotional health was below average. The percentage of students who said their emotional health was above average fell to 52 percent, compared with 64 percent in 1985. The New York Times reported.
The proportion of students who said they were frequently
overwhelmed by all they had to do during their senior year of high
school rose to 29 percent from 27 percent the previous year. There
was a large gender gap in this area, with 18 percent of males and
39 percent of females feeling frequently overwhelmed in their final
year of high school.
The study also indicated that the poor economy is causing stress
for college freshmen. Due to family money problems, more students
are having to get loans to finance their education. Students are
having more trouble finding summer jobs, and are worried about
their college debt and job prospects when they graduate,
The Times reported.
Trans Fats May Boost Depression Risk: Study
People who eat foods with trans fats may be at increased risk
for depression, according to a new study.
Spanish researchers tracked 12,059 people for six years and
found that those who ate the most trans fats were 48 percent more
likely to develop depression than those who did not consume trans
Los Angeles Times reported.
Participants with a high intake of healthier polyunsaturated
fats - found in olive oil, for example -- were less likely to
The researchers noted that many people with heart disease also
have depression and it's possible that trans fats contribute to
both conditions by causing inflammation in the body, the
The study appears in the journal
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