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Health Highlights: June 21, 2011

Health Highlights: June 21, 2011

06/21/11

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Hospitalizations Linked to Blood Poisonings Rising: CDC

Hospitalizations for sepsis (blood poisoning) in the United States more than doubled between 2000 and 2008, a new study finds.

Two-thirds of the cases involved people 65 and older and the rate of sepsis increased with age. The hospitalization rate for sepsis among people 85 and older was 30 times higher than for those younger than 65, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers said, msnbc.com reported.

Among the other findings in the report released Tuesday:

  • Patients with sepsis spent 75 percent longer in hospital than other patients.
  • Sepsis patients were more than eight times as likely to die as other patients.
  • The overall death rate for sepsis patients was 17 percent, but rose to 20 percent among sepsis patients 65 and over.

Sepsis patients who survive can be left with debilitating problems such as mental impairment, physical disabilities and organ damage, the researchers said, msnbc.com reported.

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Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor Discusses Her Diabetes

Having diabetes doesn't prevent you from doing anything you want, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor said Tuesday when she met with a group of children who have diabetes.

"It's a disease you have to deal with, but you can," she told the 150 children, the Associated Press reported.

Sotomayer, 56, learned she had diabetes when she was seven years old and coping with it has become second nature. She injects herself with insulin four to six times a day.

It's no secret that Sotomayor has diabetes, but this is the first time she's spoken so openly about managing the chronic condition, the AP reported. Her meeting with the children was part of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's Children's Congress.

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Deaths From Cancer, Heart Disease Rising: U.N.

Deaths from noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart and lung disease are increasing and cause nearly two-thirds of all deaths in the world, a United Nations report says.

In 2008, the 36 million deaths from noncommunicable diseases accounted for 63 percent of the 57 million deaths worldwide. The U.N. said nearly 80 percent of deaths from noncommunicable diseases were in the developing world, and 9 million of the worldwide deaths from noncommunicable diseases involved people younger than 60, the Associated Press reported.

By 2030, noncommunicable diseases will claim the lives of 52 million people, according to the U.N.

The document said risk factors such as unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity, tobacco use, obesity and harmful alcohol use are contributing to the rise in deaths from noncommunicable diseases, the AP reported.

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FDA Performs Poorly on Imported Food Recalls: Audit

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration often fails to follow its own rules in recalling contaminated imported foods, according to federal government investigators who audited 17 of the recalls.

The cases reviewed by investigators included listeria-infected frozen mussel meat from New Zealand, salmonella-contaminated cantaloupes from Honduras, and frozen fish from Korea that contained botulism-causing bacteria, The New York Times reported.

In one case, a recall was launched more than three months after the FDA became aware of a contaminated food product. In another case, the delay was nearly a month, according to Daniel R. Levinson, inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services.

In 13 of the 17 audited cases, suppliers failed to give accurate or complete information to their customers so that the products could be withdrawn completely, The Times reported.

An FDA official said the new food safety law gives the agency more power to control food safety.

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Concussion Increases Young Athletes' Risk of Death: Study

Young athletes who suffer a concussion are at increased risk of death if they begin playing before they're fully recovered and suffer a head blow, a new study warns.

Researchers analyzed the National Registry of Sudden Death in Young Athletes in order to assess the risk of death from blunt trauma among athletes 21 and younger in the United States, the Associated Press reported.

Between 1980 and 2009, there were 261 trauma injury-related deaths among young athletes. Most of them (148) involved football players, including 17 high school players who died of head or neck injuries a few days to four weeks after they had suffered a concussion.

Those 17 deaths are a worrisome number and a key finding that comes when there is growing awareness about concussions, including the threat of "second-impact syndrome," study author Dr. Barry Maron told the AP.

The study was published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

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Copyright © 2011 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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