Health Highlights: Aug.18, 201108/18/11
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Drug Extends Lives of Obese Mice
A specially-designed drug substantially extended the lives of
obese mice, a new study says.
By reducing the amount of fat in the liver and increasing
sensitivity to insulin, the drug SRT-1720 protected the mice from
obesity-related diseases and enabled them to live 44 percent longer
than obese mice that didn't receive the drug,
The New York Times reported.
The study was published Thursday in the journal
The results "demonstrate for the first time the feasibility of
designing novel molecules that are safe and effective in promoting
longevity and preventing multiple age-related diseases in mammals,"
wrote Rafael de Cabo, a gerontologist at the U.S. National
Institute on Aging, and colleagues.
Clinical trials are currently being conducted on drugs closely
related to SRT-1720,
The Times reported.
Pesticides Linked to Increased Diabetes Risk
Pesticide exposure may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes,
according to a new study.
Finnish researchers tested blood samples from 2,000 adults and
found that the highest exposure to the pesticide oxychlordane was
associated with a two-fold increased risk for type 2 diabetes,
CBS News reported.
The study was published in the Aug. 4 issue of the journal
Oxychlordane was banned in the United States in 1988 but can
still be found in soil. This is true of a number of "persistent"
pesticides that remain in the soil and make their way into animals
CBS News reported.
Three Deaths From 'Brain-Eating' Amoeba
So far this summer, two children and a young man in the United
States have died from a brain-eating amoeba that's found in water
and enters the body through the nose.
The amoeba is called
Naegleria fowleri and is present in warm lakes and rivers
during the summer, mostly in the South, the
Associated Press reported.
Two of the deaths occurred this month. A 16-year-old Florida
girl became ill and died after swimming and a 9-year-old Virginia
boy died a week after being dunked on the first day of a fishing
The third death occurred in June. The victim was a young
Louisiana man in his 20s who became infected after using tap water
in a neti pot, a small container used to rinse out the nose and
sinuses with salt water, the
The amoeba was found in the water system of the man's home and
was confined to the house. It was not found in city water samples,
health officials said.
Since the amoeba was first identified in the early 1960s, there
have been about 120 cases in the United States and nearly all of
the patients died, according to the Centers for Disease Control and
An average of three deaths are reported each year in the U.S.
and there were four deaths in 2010. There is no indication that
cases are increasing, according to Jonathon Yoder, the CDC's
waterborne diseases surveillance coordinator.
New Insurance Form Offers Clear Policy Details: Federal
The new proposed standard summary form for health insurance will
clearly spell out the details of each policy, U.S. officials
"Now, every consumer will have clear, easy-to-read, and concise information that tells them what they need to know," said Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Erin Shields, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The proposed form, which is scheduled to be made public
Wednesday and is part of the health reform law, will provide facts
ranging from deductibles to the likely cost of having a baby.
Currently, there are wide variations in state laws about what
insurers must disclose to consumers, the
The proposed new form is expected to be quite similar to a draft
version developed by a National Association of Insurance
Commissioners' committee. Following a public comment period, the
form is expected to be finalized by Health and Human Services.
Plant Tied to Salmonella Outbreak Resumes Making Ground
Ground turkey production has resumed at an Arkansas plant linked
to a salmonella outbreak.
Limited production began after additional anti-bacterial safety
measures at the Springdale plant were approved by the U.S.
Department of Agriculture, said Cargill Inc. spokesman Mike Martin,
Associated Press reported.
As of Aug. 11, the salmonella outbreak had sickened 107 people
in 31 states, according to federal officials.
The first illness was reported five months before federal
officials asked on Aug. 3 that Minnesota-based Cargill recall about
36 million pounds of ground turkey, the
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