Health Highlights: Feb. 23, 201202/23/12
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Teen Drivers' Marijuana Use Causes Concern
Teens who drive while high on marijuana appear to be a growing
Pot smoking is up among teens and use of the drug among high
school students is higher than it has been in three decades, finds
new survey data compiled by Students Against Destructive Decisions
(SADD) and the insurance industry, the
Washington Post reported.
Survey results also show that 19 percent of teens said they'd
driven a vehicle while stoned, and more than one-third said
marijuana causes no distractions to their driving, according to the
information released Wednesday.
"What keeps me up at night is that this data reflects a dangerous trend toward the acceptance of marijuana and other substances compared to our study of teens conducted just two years ago," Stephen Wallace, senior adviser for policy, research and education at SADD, told the Post.
Last week, the Governors Highway Safety Association said that
teen highway deaths increased in the first half of 2011, reversing
an eight-year downward trend.
Male Y Chromosome Won't Vanish: Study
Men's Y chromosome may not wither away to nothing after all,
according to a new study.
The male Y and female X chromosomes once had about 800 genes in
common but the Y now carries just 19 of its ancestral genes, along
with its male-determining gene, and is just a fraction of its
The New York Times reported.
This has led some scientists to wonder if the Y chromosome will
eventually vanish and make human males a thing of the past.
But a new study suggests that the Y chromosome's gene-shedding
is finished and it will shrink no more,
The Times reported.
The study was published Wednesday in the journal
State Can't Force Pharmacies to Sell Emergency Contraceptives:
Washington state cannot force pharmacies to sell Plan B or other
emergency contraceptives, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State regulations require pharmacies to stock and dispense drugs
for which there is a demand. The regulations were implemented in
2007 after reports that some women in the state were denied access
to Plan B, the
Associated Press reported.
A pharmacy and two pharmacists filed a lawsuit that said the
rules infringed on their religious freedom. U.S. District Judge
Ronald Leighton agreed with them.
The judge ruled that the intent of the state regulations was not
to promote timely access to medicine, but to override religious
objections by pharmacists who believe that emergency contraceptives
have an effect that's similar to abortion, the
U.S. Releases Draft Strategy to Fight Alzheimer's Disease
Finding effective ways to treat Alzheimer's disease by 2025 is
the main goal of the Obama administration's draft of a national
strategy to fight the disease.
That could be a huge challenge. Current treatments only
temporarily ease symptoms of Alzheimer's and efforts to develop
better medications have been slow, the
Associated Press reported.
The draft also recommends improved training and support for
caregivers of loved ones with Alzheimer's, campaigns to raise
awareness about the early warning signs of the disease, increased
education for doctors and other health care providers, and improved
early detection of Alzheimer's.
The draft was released Wednesday and is open for public comment
through March. The final strategy will be released this year, the
More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's or similar
dementias and that number is expected to reach as many as 16
million by 2050.
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