Health Highlights: July 1, 201107/01/11
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Maker Seeks to Prevent Drug's Use in Lethal Injections
A Danish drug company says it will restrict distribution of its
Nembutal drug to prevent it from being used in lethal injections to
execute prisoners in some U.S. states.
Nembutal is the trade name for Lundbeck's pentobarbital sodium
injection. It's used to treat severe epilepsy but is also used by a
number of states in a three-drug mixture used to execute death row
Agence France-Presse reported.
Lundbeck said Friday that Nembutal will now "be supplied
exclusively through a specialty pharmacy drop ship program that
will deny distribution of the product to prisons in U.S. states
currently active in carrying out the death penalty by lethal
Distributors were notified of the plan in late June,
Paycheck Can be Dangerous: Study
Payday can be life threatening, according to a new study.
A U.S. researcher looked at four major demographic groups --
military personnel, people receiving tax rebate checks, seniors on
Social Security, and recipients of Alaska's Permanent Fund
dividends -- and found a spike in death rates in the week after
they received their checks,
The largest increases occurred in deaths caused by substance
abuse, external causes (accidents of various kinds), and heart
"After getting paid, people are just more active -- they go out to dinner, head to the store, drive more, go to bars, etc.," said University of Notre Dame economist William Evans, msnbc.com reported. "Some of this behavior is inherently
risky, like drinking too much or driving drunk. Some of the
activity will naturally increase risk -- if you drive more, the
risk of being in a car accident has increased."
"Some of the links are not so obvious," he added. "For example, more activity may spur on a heart attack. And some of it is increased risk taking, as with substance abuse."
The study appears in the
Journal of Public Economics.
Babies' Brains Respond to Others' Emotions at Early Age
A new study finds that babies can respond to emotions in other
people's voices by the time they're three months old, earlier than
Researchers used functional MRI to monitor brain activity in 21
babies as they heard emotional sounds, such as laughing and crying,
and other sounds, such as water or toys,
BBC News reported.
The scans showed activity in the babies' temporal cortex when
they heard the emotional human voices, the same part of the brain
that's activated in adults.
This finding about when human brains develop the ability to
process voices and emotions "fundamentally advances our
understanding of infant development," said Professor Declan Murphy
of King's College London,
BBC News reported.
This knowledge could be used to identify differences between the
way that autistic and non-autistic brains develop, according to
Canada to Fund Trials of Controversial MS Treatment
The Canadian government announced Wednesday that it will fund
clinical trials for a controversial multiple sclerosis treatment
that clears blocked neck veins.
A scientific working group established by the government last
year recommended proceeding with the trials after a review of seven
ongoing studies of the link between "chronic cerebrospinal venous
insufficiency" and its connection to MS,
Agence France-Presse reported.
The government will issue of call for applications to conduct
the trials after the clinical trial terms are established by the
Canadian Institute of Health Research.
The so-called "liberation treatment" is not offered in Canada
and many Canadians with MS have gone to other countries for the
treatment. Some said they had major improvements in their mobility
after the procedure, while others reported little benefit,
Number of U.S. Kids Living With Grandparents Rises
The number of children in the United States who live with at
least one grandparent rose 64 percent between 1991 to 2009, from
4.7 million to 7.8 million, according to a Census report released
When examined by race and ethnicity, the number of children
living with at least one grandparent increased from 5 percent to 9
percent for whites, from 15 percent to 17 percent for blacks, and
from 12 percent to 14 percent for Hispanics,
USA Today reported.
Three-quarters (76 percent) of all children living with a
grandparent also had at least one parent in the household.
"There's absolutely no question it's been on the rise because of the recession," Gary Drevitch of New York, editor-in-chief of the website Grandparents.com, told
"What's been interesting is that in the past, you imagine grandparents moving in with their adult children and grandchildren because they could no longer maintain their own home. The trend during the recession has been multigenerational households created because adult children have moved in with the grandparents. It's adult children struggling in the economy," he said.
Seeds From Egypt Suspected Cause of Europe's E. Coli
Fenugreek seeds imported from Egypt may have been the cause of
the E. coli outbreak in Europe that's sickened more than 4,000
people and killed at least 47, according to officials.
While the fenugreek seeds imported from Egypt either in 2009 or
2010 are being fingered as a possible cause, further investigation
is needed to confirm that suspicion, said the European Center for
Disease Prevention and Control and the European Food Safety
Associated Press reported.
Fenugreek seeds are used to prepare pickles and curry powders as
well as Ethiopian, Indian and Yemeni foods.
Germany was hardest hit by the E. coli outbreak, with 46 deaths
reported there so far. One person had died in Sweden, the
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