Health Highlights: Sept. 22, 201109/22/11
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Graphic Smoking Images on Cigarette Packs Challenged by
The U.S. government's power to force tobacco companies to put
new graphic warning images on cigarette packages was questioned
Wednesday by a federal judge.
Tobacco companies have filed a lawsuit to block the Food and
Drug Administration requirement that would take effect in a
In Wednesday's two-hour hearing, U.S. District Judge Richard
Leon grilled a justice department lawyer about whether the new
graphic warning images simply relay facts of the health risks of
smoking or cross the line into advocacy. That would be a crucial
distinction in a case over free speech, the
Associated Press reported.
If Leon decides the new images do amount to advocacy, it would
improve the chances that the tobacco companies' would be able to
stop the new regulation. The judge said he hopes to issue a ruling
by the end of October.
Gay Teen's Suicide Occurs Just Before Anti-Bullying Summit
The recent suicide of a gay Buffalo, N.Y. teen who was the
victim of bullying coincides with a national summit on bullying
Jamey Rodemeyer, 14, killed himself on the weekend after posting
an online farewell. The student at Williamsville North High School
had been the target of cyberbullies for the past year,
ABC News reported.
The second annual Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention Summit
is being held today in Washington, D.C. and is sponsored by the
U.S. Department of Education. Speakers at the conference include
parents of another gay teen who killed himself after suffering
Rodemeyer's suicide also marks a sad start to LGBT History Month
"Jamey's suicide is a tragic reminder of the vulnerability of gay teens," Malcolm Lazin, founder and executive director of the Equality Forum, which focuses on LGBT civil rights and education, told ABC News.
"They are bullied and marginalized," he said. "While some may say that Jamey took his life, it is unrelenting homophobia that murdered him."
Research Casts Doubt on 'Longevity Protein'
A new study challenges the theory that proteins called sirtuins
can prolong life.
Previous research has suggested that elevated levels of sirtuins
could extend life by up to 50 percent, but this new study found no
Agence France-Presse reported.
"We have re-examined the key experiments linking sirtuin with longevity in animals and none seem to stand up to close scrutiny," study leader David Gem, of the Institute of Healthy Aging at University College London, said in news release. "Sirtuins, far from being a key to longevity, appear to have nothing to do with extending life."
The study appears in the journal
Dangerous Polio Strain Spreads to China
A "dangerous strain" of polio has spread from Pakistan to China,
the World Health Organization says.
A WHO spokesman explained that the wild poliovirus type 1 is
more dangerous than type 3 because it spreads more easily and is
more likely to cause paralysis, the
Associated Press reported.
In the past two months, seven cases of the WPV1 strain have been
confirmed in China's Xinjiang province, which borders Pakistan.
The WHO says travelers to Pakistan need to be vaccinated against
polio and that countries need to boost their surveillance for the
WPV1 strain, the
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, there is currently no danger of contracting the strain
of polio in the United States, although travelers to foreign
countries where it is endemic do need to be cautious. The CDC
advises that travelers talk to their doctors about the risks before
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