Our weekly roundup of the latest news in the world of health.
The U.S. Supreme Court said this week that it will consider a challenge to the health care reform law adopted in 2010. Among other things, the law requires people to buy health insurance. A lower court said that this violates the Constitution. Congress prepared this week to vote on a bill that would cancel some changes to school lunch nutrition rules. The Agriculture Department proposed the changes in the spring. A study released this week found that stroke risk varies for people of different blood types. Another study found that 1 out of 5 U.S. adults takes a drug related to mental health or behavior.
This Issue: Supreme Court to Weigh Health Reform Law Congress to Block School Lunch Changes Blood Type May Affect Stroke Risk 1 in 5 Americans Takes a Behavioral Drug
In the News:
Supreme Court to Weigh Health Reform Law
The U.S. Supreme Court said this week that it will hear a case challenging President Obama's health care reform law. Appeals courts have disagreed on whether the law violates the U.S. Constitution. The main issue is a requirement that Americans buy health insurance or pay a fine. The court said it would hear the case in the spring. A decision is expected in June, more than four months before the presidential election. The specific case that the court will hear is from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. This court struck down the health insurance mandate. The New York Times News Service wrote about the Supreme Court announcement.
Congress to Block School Lunch Changes
Congress thinks pizza and french fries should count as vegetables in school lunches. And it's using a spending bill to undo new lunch standards. The Agriculture Department (USDA) proposed the new standards earlier this year. A conference committee of the House and Senate reached agreement this week on a compromise version of the bill. The bill allows tomato paste on pizza -- as little as two tablespoons -- to count as a vegetable. USDA wants to allow tomato paste to count only if there's at least half a cup in a serving. The bill also blocks a rule that would allow starchy starchy vegetables, such as potatoes and peas, to be served only twice a week. USDA wanted to require more whole grains and less salt in lunches. The bill says the department has to define whole grains first, and do more study before restricting sodium. A vote on the final bill was expected soon, the Associated Press said.
Blood Type May Affect Stroke Risk
Blood type might have an impact on a person's risk of stroke, a study released this week found. People with O blood, the most common type, had the lowest risk. People with AB blood, the least common type, had the highest risk. They were 26% more likely to have a stroke than people with O blood. The study was based on medical records for 90,000 men and women. All were involved in health studies that have kept track of people for more than 20 years. Stroke risk also was higher in people with B blood, but only among women. They were 15% more likely to have a stroke than women with O blood. Blood type is determined by proteins on the surface of red blood cells. These proteins affect immune system responses. Researchers said some blood types might make red cells more likely to clump together and cause clots. Type O, on the other hand, has been linked to an increased risk of bleeding. Most strokes are caused by blood clots. The research was presented at a conference. The Associated Press wrote about it.
1 in 5 Americans Takes a Behavioral Drug
About 1 out of 5 U.S. adults took at least one drug that affects behavior or mood in 2010, a new study estimates. Medco Health Solutions Inc., a pharmacy benefits company, released the study this week. It was based on Medco's records. The study looked at drugs for mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and schizophrenia. It also included drugs for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The data covered the years 2001 through 2010. Prescriptions for all of these conditions combined rose 22%. Antipsychotic and ADHD prescriptions for adults under 45 more than tripled. Use of anti-anxiety drugs rose 30%. Meanwhile, mental health and ADHD prescriptions for children fell. The Associated Press wrote about the study.
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