Health Highlights: Jan. 26, 201201/26/12
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
High Heels Affect Biomechanics: Study
Wearing high heels affects a woman's biomechanics, a new study
Australian researchers compared women who wore high heels for at
least 40 hours a week and a control group women who rarely, if
ever, wore high heels. The women who wore high heels walked
differently than those who wore flats, even when the heel wearers
The New York Times reported.
As a result of the heel wearers' perpetual flexed, toes-pointed
position while walking with or without heels, the fibers in their
calf muscles had shortened and they put much greater mechanical
strain on their calf muscles, said the study published last week in
The Journal of Applied Physiology.
Among women in the control group, walking primarily involved
stretching and stressing their tendons,
The Times reported.
By stretching and straining their already shortened calf
muscles, the heel wearers walk less efficiently when wearing heels
or not, requiring them to use more energy and probably leading to
muscle fatigue, the researchers said.
Fake News Sites for Acai Berry Pills Shut Down by FTC
Six online marketers accused of using fake news websites to
convince consumers to buy acai berry weight-loss products have
reached settlements with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
The FTC accused the marketers of creating websites that falsely
appeared to be part of legitimate news organizations. For example,
the sites presenting a reporters' "first-hand experience" with acai
berry supplements and featured investigative-sounding headlines,
CBS News reported.
The FTC went to court in April to seek temporary restraining
orders against the six marketers, all of which have since taken
down their sites promoting the acai berry pills.
Under the agreements with the FTC, the marketers will pay about
$500,000 to the commission. They are barred from making deceptive
claims and must make clear that their messages are advertisements
and not objective journalism,
CBS News reported.
Groups Urge Obama to Keep Health Plan Summaries Rule
Consumer and health groups are rallying to save a popular
provision of the U.S. health care overhaul.
At issue is the requirement that health plans provide simple,
standard summaries of coverage and costs to help consumers choose
the benefits that best suit them, the
Associated Press reported.
Consumer advocates fear the White House may bow to industry
complaints that the regulation is too costly, intrusive and
burdensome. The provision, due to take effect this year, is
currently undergoing final review by the White House.
This week, the American Diabetes Association, the American
Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, AARP, and Consumers
Union wrote President Barack Obama urging him not to weaken the
Hospital Stays for
C. difficile Level Off After Huge Increase
U.S. hospital stays involving
Clostridium difficile infections increased 300 percent
between 1993 and 2008 but leveled off between 2008 and 2009, a
federal government study says.
There number of hospital stays involving
C. difficile rose from 86,000 in 1993 to 349,000 in 2008, and
then fell slightly to 337,000 in 2009, according to the latest
News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and
C. difficile is a type of bacteria that can cause severe
diarrhea, colitis and even death.
Among all hospitalized patients with
C. difficile in 2009:
- Patients age 85 and older were at highest risk, with hospital
stays of 1,089 per 100,000 people. That rate was more than double
the next highest rate, for those ages 65-84, at 465 stays per
- More than 9 percent of hospital stays involving
C. difficile ended in death, compared with less than 2
percent for all other hospital stays.
- The average hospital stay for patients with
C. difficile was 13 days, compared with less than 5 days for
Founder of French Breast Implant Company Arrested
The founder of a breast implant company that used substandard
silicone in the implants was arrested Thursday by French
A judge ordered the arrest of Jean-Claude Mas in connection with
a manslaughter investigation by prosecutors in the city of
Marseille. He could be held in custody for up to 48 hours,
Agence France-Presse reported.
Police also arrested Claude Couty, another former executive of
the PIP breast implant company. It was shut down and its products
banned in 2010 after it was discovered that the company had used
industrial-grade silicone in its implants, which have abnormally
high rupture rates.
French health officials have advised 30,000 women in the country
with PIP implants to have them removed. Between 400,000 and 500,000
women worldwide are believed to have received PIP implants,
No Obvious Medical Explanation for Mysterious Skin Disease:
There is no obvious medical explanation for a mysterious skin
disease whose sufferers report a crawling sensation under or on
their skin and fibers emerging from the skin, says a U.S. Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention study.
The study was launched because of intense public interest in
Morgellons, as the controversial condition is called by some,
beginning in 2002. Researchers analyzed data from 3.2 million
people in California and identified 115 patients with symptoms of
USA Today reported.
While 70 percent of sufferers reported fibers or other materials
emerging from their skin, the researchers found no evidence of
The findings, published this week in the journal
PLoS One, reveal that the condition is rare and that it is neither contagious or environmentally based, Mark Eberhard, director of CDC's Division of Parasitic Diseases, told USA Today.
Experts Call for More Research on Risks of Nanomaterials
Not enough is known about the potential health and environmental
risks of nanomaterials and further study is required, says a report
released Wednesday by an expert panel of the U.S. National Academy
Nanomaterials are tiny substances that have been introduced into
the marketplace over the last decade in products such as paint,
clothing and cosmetics. The nanotechnology market is expected to
grow rapidly in the next decade,
The New York Times reported.
The panel said that "critical gaps" in understanding about
nanomaterials have been identified but "have not been addressed
with needed research."
They recommended a four-part research effort to find ways to
learn more about the potential health and environmental effects of
The Times reported.
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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.