Health Highlights: Sept. 2, 201109/02/11
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Puberty Timing and Progression Affect Behavior and Mood:
The timing and progression of puberty affect youngsters'
behavior and mood, say researchers who tracked 364 white boys and
373 white girls for six years through puberty.
In girls, both an early start and a faster progression of
puberty were associated with symptoms of depression, anxiety,
social withdrawal and vague physical complaints. Faster progression
was also linked to behavioral problems such as lying and cheating,
Los Angeles Times reported.
Faster progression of puberty in boys was associated with more
behavioral problems, which were most evident in boys who also
started puberty earlier than their peers.
"The thought is that when the major changes of puberty are compressed into a shorter amount of time, adolescents don't have enough time to acclimate, so they're not emotionally or socially ready for all the changes that happen," lead author Kristine Marceau, of Penn State, said in a news release, the Times reported. "This is the explanation that originally was
attributed solely to early timing, but we suggest that the same
thing also is happening if the rate of puberty is compressed."
The study appears in the September issue of the journal
Obama Administration Cancels Tougher Air-Quality Rules
The Obama administration has canceled immediate implementation
of new Environmental Protection Agency air-quality laws meant to
reduce emissions of smog-causing ground-level ozone.
Instead, the administration will stick with a more lenient 2008
Bush administration standard until a scheduled reconsideration of
acceptable pollution limits in 2013,
The New York Times reported.
Environmental groups were shocked by Friday's White House
A statement released by League of Conservation Voters President
Gene Karpinski said: "The Obama administration is caving to big
polluters at the expense of protecting the air we breathe. This is
a huge win for corporate polluters and huge loss for public
Early this summer, leaders of major business groups met with
William Daley, White House chief of staff, and warned him that
implementing the new rule would be very costly to industry and
would harm Obama's chances for re-election,
The Times reported.
FDA, Drug Makers Reach Drug Review Fee Deal
Under a proposed new deal, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
will provide quicker, more predictable reviews of new prescription
drugs in exchange for continuing to receive hundreds of millions of
dollars in fees from drug companies.
The draft agreement, released Thursday after months of
closed-door meetings between FDA and drug makers, would extend a
two decade-old program in which fees paid by the drug industry
supplement the FDA's budget, the
Associated Press reported.
Under the deal, the FDA would provide more frequent updates to
drug makers on the status of certain drug reviews.
The agreement must be approved and drafted into law by Congress
before Oct. 1, 2012, the
Children Receiving Fewer Antibiotics: CDC
U.S. pediatricians are prescribing fewer antibiotics to
children, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
Since the early 1990s, there's been a 10 percent drop in
antibiotic prescription rates for children 14 and younger,
according to a CDC study released Thursday, the
Associated Press reported.
Larger declines were seen in the use of antibiotics to treat
colds and sore throats, but there was little change in the use of
antibiotics for ear infections, the CDC found.
Even though they're ineffective against viral illnesses,
antibiotics are often used in such cases. This type of misuse can
result in bacterial resistance to antibiotics, the
Gel Fuel for Firepots Recalled
About two million bottles and jugs of gel fuel for patio
firepots are being recalled by nine companies, the U.S. Consumer
Product Safety Commission says.
The recalled gel fuel has been linked to several dozen incidents
where people suffered burns after pouring more gel fuel into a
firepot because they couldn't tell whether the flame was out, the
Associated Press reported.
The companies that agreed to the recall are: Bird Brain Inc. of
Ypsilanti, Mich.; Bond Manufacturing of Antioch, Calif.; Fuel
Barons Inc. of Lake Tahoe, Nev.; Lamplight Farms Inc. of Menomonee
Falls, Wis.; Luminosities Inc. of St. Paul, Minn.; Pacific Decor
Ltd. of Woodinville, Wash.; Real Flame of Racine, Wis.; Smart Solar
USA of Oldsmar, Fla.; and Sunjel Company of Milwaukee.
The CPSC said another company, Marshall Group of Elkhart, Ind.,
withdrew from the recall announcement at the last moment.
Consumers should stop using the recalled gel fuel and contact
the manufacturer or distributor for a refund, said the CPSC. It
launched an investigation into firepots a few months ago and issued
a flash fire hazard on pourable gel fuels in June, the
FDA Updates Kidney Failure Warning on Bone-Building Drug
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday issued an
updated warning that doctors should screen patients for kidney
problems before prescribing Reclast, a bone-building drug that has
been linked to an increased risk of kidney failure in certain
In a statement posted on its website, the agency said kidney
failure "was a rare but serious condition associated with the use
of Reclast in patients with a history of or risk factors for
The agency said it has added instructions to the medication's
labeling that tell doctors to test patient's kidney function with a
blood test and to monitor patients who already take Reclast
(zoledronic acid). Patients who have acute kidney impairment should
not be prescribed Reclast, the FDA noted.
A warning about possible kidney failure was first added to the
drug's labeling back in 2009, after the FDA received five reports
of kidney failure, some of which were fatal, following Reclast
infusion. Since then, the agency has received 11 reports of fatal
kidney failure and nine reports of non-fatal kidney injury in
similar patient settings.
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