Our weekly roundup of the latest news in the world of health.
Americans keep getting heavier, a study released this week said. It predicted that 42% of adults will be obese by 2030. Another study found that probiotic products may help prevent diarrhea linked with taking antibiotics. U.S. officials this week called for lower radiation limits on medical scans for children. A U.S. appeals court reversed its own decision that ordered big changes in mental health care for veterans. The court said it didn't have the power to order the changes. Also, a new survey published this week found that more young adults are getting sunburns.
This Issue: Study: 42% Will Be Obese by 2030 Court Reverses Order to Reform VA Care FDA Pushes Lower-Radiation Tests for Kids Probiotics May Help Prevent Some Diarrhea Sunburns, Indoor Tanning Up for Young Adults
In the News:
Study: 42% Will Be Obese by 2030
A new study says 42% of U.S. adults will be obese by 2030. Just over one-third are obese now. The new study says the rate of increase in obesity is slowing down. But even the smaller increases will add up. Also by 2030, about 11% of Americans will be severely obese, the study predicts. That's at least 100 pounds overweight. People who are severely obese have the greatest increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses. The new research was presented this week at a health conference. The Associated Press wrote about it.
Court Reverses Order to Reform VA Care
A federal appeals court this week reversed its own ruling that demanded major changes in mental health care for veterans. The 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals did not say the overhaul was unnecessary. But it said the courts don't have the power to order it. Only Congress or the President has that power, the panel said. A smaller, 3-judge panel of the same court ordered the changes a year ago. It said the Department of Veterans Affairs had failed to provide timely care for vets who were suicidal or had post-traumatic stress disorder. That failure was unconstitutional, the panel said. But the larger court panel said Congress had narrowly defined the courts' power over veterans' health care. The Associated Press wrote about the ruling.
FDA Pushes Lower-Radiation Tests for Kids
U.S. officials have issued new guidelines to limit children's radiation exposure during medical tests. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published the guidelines this week. It urged makers of computed tomography (CT) and other scanners to adopt them. The FDA also published new advice for parents on its website. A recent study estimated that the average U.S. child will receive more than 7 scans that use radiation by age 18. Children's hospitals use lower doses for children. But the FDA said nobody knows if general hospitals do that. About 90% of CT, X-ray and other scans for kids are done in general hospitals. The Associated Press wrote about the new guidelines.
Probiotics May Help Prevent Some Diarrhea
Products known as probiotics might help to prevent diarrhea after antibiotic treatment. That's the conclusion of a review of research on the topic published this week. Antibiotics kill bacteria that cause infections. But at the same time they kill many normal, "good" bacteria in the digestive system. This can cause diarrhea. This problem occurs in about one-third of people treated with antibiotics. Usually it is mild, but some cases can be dangerous. Probiotics contain live cultures of "good" bacteria. The purpose is to boost these bacteria in the gut. Probiotics are found in yogurts and other products. Researchers reviewed 82 earlier studies. They found that people who took probiotics along with antibiotics were 42% less likely to develop diarrhea. Researchers said consumers need more information to decide whether to use these products. The studies did not say exactly which "good" bacteria were in the products used. More research is needed to provide these details. The Journal of the American Medical Association published the study. USA Today wrote about it.
Sunburns, Indoor Tanning Up for Young Adults
Many young adults are not heeding messages about the dangers of sun exposure, a government survey suggests. Half of U.S. adults under 30 said they had a sunburn in the last year. That's up from 45% in 2005. In the survey, done in 2010, 6% said they had done indoor tanning in the last year. But the rate was much higher, almost one-third, for white women ages 18 to 25. That's up from 27% in 2005. The World Health Organization lists indoor tanning as a cause of skin cancer. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the study this week. The Associated Press wrote about it.
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