Health Highlights: Nov. 7, 201311/07/13
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Trans Fats to be Banned by FDA
Food companies in the United States will be required to
gradually phase out all heart-clogging trans fats because they are
a threat to people's health, the Food and Drug Administration
The ban could prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths a
year, according to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, the
While there's been a significant decline in the amount of trans
fats consumed by Americans in the last decade, Hamburg said they
"remain an area of significant public health concern."
Nutritionists have long warned about the dangers of trans fats
and they have been banned by New York and other local
No timeline for the phase-out of trans fats has been set by the
FDA, which will collect comments for two months before making a
decision. Some foods may have different timelines, depending on how
easy it is to find a substitute for trans fats, the
It's been nine years since the advocacy group Center for Science
in the Public Interest first petitioned the FDA to outlaw trans
fats. The decision to do so is "one of the most important
lifesaving actions the FDA could take," the group's director,
Michael Jacobson, said.
He urged the agency to implement a short timeline to rid foods
of trans fats.
"Six months or a year should be more than enough time, especially considering that companies have had a decade to figure out what to do," Jacobson told the AP.
Football Hall-of-Famer Tony Dorsett Has Signs of Brain
Hall of Fame NFL running back Tony Dorsett says all the hits he
took during his football career have left him with brain
He recently had his brain scanned and evaluated at the
University of California, Los Angeles because he'd been having
symptoms such as memory loss and depression,
ESPNthat he's suffered a decline in his quality of life, For
example, he said he gets lost taking his daughters to their
"It's painful, man, for my daughters to say they're scared of me. It's painful," Dorsett said. "I've thought about crazy stuff, sort of like, 'Why do I need to continue going through this? I'm too smart of a person, I like to think, to take my life, but it's crossed my mind."
The tests revealed that Dorsett had signs of chronic traumatic
encephalopathy (CTE). The degenerative brain condition has been
found in the brains of a number of former football players and some
researchers have linked it with head trauma suffered on the
Two other former NFL players -- Hall of Fame guard Joe
DeLamielleure and former defensive end Leonard Marshall -- also
sought brain tests at UCLA after experiencing symptoms. Both were
found to have signs of CTE.
There is no cure for CTE, but researchers are hopeful that the
three newly discovered cases will help advance efforts to find a
treatment. They explained that finding evidence of CTE in living
people provides them with opportunities to determine which
treatments might be most effective,
Spain Reports First MERS Case
The first case of the MERS respiratory virus in Spain has been
reported by health officials.
The female patient is a Moroccan-born Spanish resident who was
admitted Nov. 1 to a Madrid hospital. The woman had been in Saudi
Arabia in October and was diagnosed there with pneumonia, the
The woman is progressing favorably and poses no public health
threat, Spain's Health Ministry said Thursday.
The MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) virus is related to
the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) virus, which killed
about 800 people in 2003. MERS has killed about 50 people over the
past year. Most of the victims have been in Saudi Arabia, where the
outbreak is centered, the
Depression Is No. 2 Cause of Disability Worldwide: U.N.
After back pain, depression is the next biggest cause of
disability across the world and must be treated as a global public
health priority, say experts from the United Nations' World Health
The group looked at 2010 data and compared depression against
over 200 other diseases and injuries as a cause of disability. The
WHO found that only a small percentage of people who suffer from
the illness have access to proper care,
"Depression is a big problem and we definitely need to pay more attention to it than we are now," lead study author Dr. Alize Ferrari, of the University of Queensland's School of Population Health in Australia, told the BBC.
The report found wide variance in depression incidence
worldwide. Rates were highest in Afghanistan and lowest in
The WHO has recently launched a "global mental health action
plan" aimed at boosting awareness among policymakers, the
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