Health Highlights: Jan. 10, 201301/10/13
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
NFL Star Player Junior Seau Had Head Injury-Related Brain
Former NFL star linebacker Junior Seau had a debilitating brain
disease likely caused by the many hits to the head he suffered
while playing football, according to scientists who analyzed his
brain tissue after he committed suicide last year.
Seau was 43 when he shot himself in the chest in May 2012 at his
home in Oceanside, Calif. His family donated his brain to
neuroscientists at the National Institutes for Health who are
studying brain injuries in football players,
The examination of Seau's brain showed that he had chronic
traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative disease typically
caused by multiple blows to the head.
"What was found in Junior Seau's brain was cellular changes consistent with CTE," Dr. Russell Lonser, chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery at Ohio State University, told ABC News.
Lonser, who led the study of Seau's brain while he was at the
NIH, said that patients with CTE experience symptoms "such as
impulsivity, forgetfulness, depression, (and) sometimes suicidal
CTE can only be diagnosed after death.
Seau's ex-wife, Gina Seau, told
ABC Newsthat Junior Seau had difficulty sleeping and became
withdrawn and "detached emotionally" from his children.
In recent years, more than 30 former National Football League
players have been found to have CTE. Last year, more than 4,000
retired players joined a class-action lawsuit against the NFL over
its alleged failure to protect players from brain injuries. The
league has said that it never intentionally hid the dangers of
concussion from players and is now doing everything it can to
Sisters' Breast Cancer Lawsuit Settled by Drug Company Eli
A lawsuit by four sisters who claimed their breast cancer was
caused by a drug taken by their mother when she was pregnant has
been settled by Eli Lilly and Co.
The Melnick sisters are among a total of 51 women who filed
lawsuits against more than a dozen companies that made or marketed
a synthetic estrogen called diethylstilbestrol (DES), the
DES was prescribed to millions of pregnant women over three
decades to prevent problems such as miscarriages and premature
births. It was taken off the market in the early 1970s after being
linked to rare vaginal cancer in women whose mothers had taken the
Studies later showed that DES did not prevent miscarriages.
The settlement in the Melnick sisters' case, which was the first
of the lawsuits to go to trial, was announced Wednesday on the
second day of testimony, the
The Melnick sisters all developed breast cancer in their 40s.
Their lawyer told the jury that the sister's mother did not take
DES while pregnant with a fifth daugther and that she has not
developed breast cancer.
The four Melnick sisters have also suffered miscarriages,
fertility problems and other reproductive troubles long believed to
be caused by exposure to DES while in the womb, the
The settlement in this case could lead to settlements in other
cases, according to Andrew Meyer, a Boston lawyer who's handled
numerous medical malpractice cases.
"When one settles a case, they recognize they can lose it," he told the AP. "The reason they can lose it is because there's enough evidence for the plaintiffs to be able to win it."
There have been thousands of lawsuits alleging a connection
between DES and vaginal cancer, cervical cancer and fertility
problems. Many of those lawsuits were settled, the
Chicken Jerky Dog Treats Recalled
Several popular brands of chicken jerky dog treats are being
recalled because they may be contaminated with unapproved
Waggin' Train and Canyon Creek Ranch brand dog treats have been
recalled by Nestle Purina PetCare Co., and Chicken Jerky and
Chicken Grillers home-style dog treats have been recalled by Milo's
Kitchen, which is owned by Del Monte Corp.
The voluntary recalls were announced after New York state
agriculture officials said they detected trace amounts of residual
poultry antibiotics in several lots of each of the brands of the
jerky treat products.
Four of the antibiotics detected in the treats are not approved
for use in poultry in the U.S., and one is approved for use in
poultry in the U.S., but is limited to nearly undetectable levels
in the finished product, an official told
The antibiotics are approved in China, where most of the treats
are made, and in other countries, according to statements released
by the companies.
The detection of the antibiotics in the chicken jerky dog treats
does "not raise health concerns" and the issue is "highly unlikely"
to be related to reports of pet illnesses and deaths linked to
jerky treats dating back to 2007, the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration said in a statement released Wednesday.
Device Sucks Food From Stomach, Helps People Lose Weight
A new device that sucks food out of the stomach can help obese
people lose weight, according to the inventors of the
People wait 20 minutes after eating, then use the AspireAssist
to empty 30 percent of their stomach contents into the toilet
through a tube attached to a port implanted on the outside of the
Removing the food prevents absorption of calories, which leads
to weight loss, according to the inventors. A one-year trial of 24
obese people found that they lost an average of 49 percent of their
excess weight (about 45 pounds) when using the device.
AspireAssist has been available in some parts of Europe since
2011. It's currently undergoing trials in the United States but has
not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration,
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