Health Highlights: April 25, 2011
Supreme Court Won't Fast-Track Health Care Law Challenge Testosterone Therapy Doesn't Fuel Prostate Cancer: Study ADHD Said to Increase Risk of Substance Use Extremely Obese Teens Engage in Risky Behaviors: Study Cucumbers Recalled Due to Salmonella Fears Carob Products Recalled Congresswoman Giffords to Attend Astronaut-Husband's Shuttle Liftoff
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Supreme Court Won't Fast-Track Health Care Law Challenge
A request to fast-track Virginia's challenge to the new federal health care law has been rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court.
In a one-line order released Monday, the court did not provide any reasons for the decision and there was no mention of dissenting votes, The New York Times reported.
A number of federal trial courts across the nation have issued different decisions about the constitutionality of a key part of the new health care law that makes health insurance mandatory for the majority of people. Appeals of those decisions will be heard by appeals courts in the coming months.
Virginia's attorney general wanted the Supreme Court to consider the matter as soon as possible, instead of waiting for the appeals courts to make their decisions. It's now expected that cases involving the health care law won't reach the Supreme Court until the term that begins in October.
Testosterone Therapy Doesn't Fuel Prostate Cancer: Study
Giving testosterone to prostate cancer patients does not encourage tumor growth, a new study finds.
It included 13 men with mildly to moderately aggressive prostate cancer who had low testosterone levels. They received testosterone therapy for an average of two and a half years, The New York Times reported.
None of the men's prostate cancers progressed or spread to other organs, even though they all initially chose watchful waiting rather than treatment.
The study appears in the April issue of The Journal of Urology.
These and other recent findings suggest that the risks of testosterone therapy in prostate cancer patients may have been exaggerated, said lead author Dr. Abraham Morgentaler, an associate clinical professor of surgery at Harvard, The Times reported.
ADHD Said to Increase Risk of Substance Use
Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are at increased risk for substance use when they're teens or young adults, a new study suggests.
Researchers analyzed 27 long-term studies that included a total of 4,100 children with ADHD and 6,800 children without ADHD. Some of the studies followed the children for 10 years or more, USA Today reported.
The review authors found that children with ADHD were up to three times more likely than those without ADHD to use, abuse or become dependent on nicotine and illegal drugs such as marijuana and cocaine when they're teens or young adults. They also found that teens with ADHD were more likely to experiment with nicotine and illegal drugs at an earlier age than those without ADHD.
The reasons for the increased risk aren't clear, but the researchers said drugs may provide temporary relief from ADHD-related stress, anxiety and social dysfunction, USA Today reported.
The study appears online in the journal Clinical Psychology Review.
Extremely Obese Teens Engage in Risky Behaviors: Study
Extremely obese teens are as likely as other teens to engage in risky behaviors such as unsafe sex, smoking and drug and alcohol use, according to U.S. researchers.
They analyzed data from 410 extremely obese teens and 8,669 healthy weight teens who took part in a nationwide survey conducted in 2007. Both groups had similar behaviors, CNN reported.
"Not only are they at health risk (from obesity), but they also are typical teens and they're struggling with the same things that potentially other teens are struggling with," said senior study author Meg Zeller, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.
"We need to be talking about safe sex, drugs and alcohol with every teen and not assuming that this (extremely obese) population is somehow not engaging in those behaviors," Zeller said, CNN reported.
The study appears in the journal Pediatrics.
Cucumbers Recalled Due to Salmonella Fears
Possible salmonella contamination has prompted the recall of cucumbers distributed by L&M Companies Inc. of Raleigh, N.C.
The recalled cucumbers were in 1,590 bulk cartons shipped between March 30 and April 7 to Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming, CNN reported.
The carton's are labeled Nature's Delight and have the Lot # PL-RID-002990 on the side.
In mid-April, U.S. Food and Drug Administration inspectors discovered salmonella on cucumbers in a cooler at Four Seasons Produce of Central Florida, CNN reported.
Carob Products Recalled
Carob products in four states have been recalled because their labels fail to mention that milk is an ingredient.
The "Carob Brown Rice Crunch Squares" and "Carob Mint Miniatures" were packaged and distributed by Simple Foods of Tonawanda, N.Y., and shipped to health food stores in New York, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the Associated Press reported.
The products can cause serious or life-threatening illness in people allergic to milk, said New York health officials.
The products can be returned to the stores where they were bought, the AP reported.
Rep. Giffords to Attend Astronaut-Husband's Shuttle Liftoff
Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, shot in the head by a gunman's bullet Jan. 8, will attend the liftoff Friday of her astronaut-husband's space shuttle mission, according to published reports.
Expected to attend the blastoff of the second-to-last space shuttle mission are the Obama family, many of Giffords' congressional colleagues, and an estimated 40,000 other NASA guests. In addition, hundreds of thousands of spectators are expected to fill surrounding beaches and roadways, the Associated Press reported.
Until recently, it had been unclear whether astronaut Mark Kelly would command the April mission of the space shuttle Endeavour, but Giffords continues to make remarkable progress. Her husband attributes her recovery to previous good health, great care "and maybe a little bit of luck."
"Or maybe people really thinking about her and praying for her," added Kelly, who's aunt is a Catholic nun. Pope Benedict XVI is expected to make the first papal call to space during Endeavour's flight, the AP reported.
Giffords was shot in the head Jan. 8 while she hosted a political event outside a grocery store in Tucson, Ariz. The attacker killed six people and wounded 12 others. She has been recovering at TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston.