Health Highlights: April 30, 2009

Baby Boomers With Disabilities a Growing Concern: Report Teen Smokers Have Low Quit Rates: Study CDC Sued Over Handling of TB Case Libimax Sexual Supplements Recalled Taking Aspirin May Reduce Adults' Cancer Risk: Study

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:

Baby Boomers With Disabilities a Growing Concern: Report

Over the next 20 years, aging Baby Boomers are expected to cause large increases in the number of U.S. adults with disabilities, says a new study that calls for expansion of programs to prevent and manage obesity, physical inactivity, tobacco use and other causes of disability.

In 2005, 21.8 percent of U.S. adults (47.5 million) reported a disability, an increase of 3.4 percent since 1999, the study said. Arthritis and rheumatism, back or spine problems, and heart trouble were the top three most common causes of disability.

Women have a higher rate of disability than men (24.4 percent vs. 19.1 percent). The study also found that disability rates increase with age, doubling with each successive age group (18-44, 11 percent; 45-64, 23.9 percent; 65 and older, 51.8 percent).

Currently, about as many Baby Boomers (45-64) are affected by disability as older adults. This suggests that the demands placed on the health care and public health systems by Baby Boomers will increase as they age into higher risk groups, the researchers said.

The study appears in the latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Teen Smokers Have Low Quit Rates: Study

Only about 1 in 10 U.S. high-school students who smoke are successful when they try to quit, according to a study published Thursday.

It found that 60.9 percent of high-school students who ever smoked cigarettes daily tried to kick the habit, but only 12.2 percent were successful. Sex or race-ethnicity wasn't associated with success, but more Grade 9 student smokers were successful (22.9 percent) than those in Grade 10 (10.7 percent), Grade 11 (8.8 percent) and Grade 12 (10 percent).

The study appears in the latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The researchers said their findings highlight the need to fully implement and sustain comprehensive tobacco prevention and control programs that have been proven to reduce smoking among youth, including tobacco use prevention programs in schools.


CDC Sued Over Handling of TB Case

Claiming U.S. health officials invaded his privacy, the Atlanta lawyer at the center of an international tuberculosis scare in 2007 is suing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Associated Press reported.

Andrew Speaker says CDC officials gave him clearance to travel overseas, even though they knew he was infected with TB, and told him he could begin treatment when he returned home. But when he arrived at his destination, doctors told Speaker he had a severe form of TB and urged him to go home.

In the lawsuit filed in federal court in Atlanta on Tuesday, Speaker says CDC officials approved his travel plans and then put the blame on him when he had to return to the United States. The lawsuit charges that the CDC damaged Speaker's reputation and made him the target of death threats, the AP reported.

The lawsuit accuses the CDC of "unlawfully and unnecessarily" revealing Speaker's private medical history and other sensitive information, and claims the stress of the situation caused the break-up of Speaker and his new wife. Speaker is seeking unspecified damages and court fees.

The CDC declined to comment on the lawsuit, the AP reported.


Libimax Sexual Supplements Recalled

The male sexual supplement Libimax is being recalled due to safety concerns about one of its ingredients, says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The product contains tadalafil, which can interact with nitrates found in prescription drugs taken by people with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or heart disease. The FDA said the interaction between tadalafil and nitrates can lower blood pressure to dangerous levels, United Press International reported.

The Libimax label doesn't state that it contains tadalafil and doesn't warn that certain people should not use the product. Consumers who've bought Libimax should stop using it and contact their doctor if they've experienced any problems they believe may be related to the product, the FDA said.

The recalled supplement is sold as a single capsule individual pack or in 10-capsule and 20-capsule plastic bottles in retail stores in California, Georgia, Illinois, Ohio, and Texas, UPI reported.

For more information, consumers can contact the Nature & Health Co., of Brea, Calif., at 714-257-1800.


Taking Aspirin May Reduce Adults' Cancer Risk: Study

People who take aspirin in their 40s may reduce their risk of cancer later in life, suggest Cancer Research UK experts who reviewed scientific studies.

Pre-cancerous lesions tend to start developing when people are in their mid-40s, said lead researcher Professor Jack Cuzick, BBC News reported. Aspirin blocks the effects of proteins that can trigger inflammation and which are found at high levels in several types of cancer. So, taking aspirin in your mid-40s may prevent that damage from progressing to full-blown cancer.

But the researchers, whose study was published in The Lancet Oncology, emphasized that much more research needs to be done before any recommendations about the regular use of aspirin for cancer prevention can be made.

"Future research and more clinical trials are needed to better identify those people who are at high risk of developing cancers and at low risk of side effects, who will benefit most from aspirin treatment," Cuzick said, BBC News reported.

Dr. Lesley Walker, Cancer Research UK's director of cancer information, agreed. "It's too soon to recommend that people take aspirin to try and stop cancer developing because of the side effects. "It's important that any decision to take aspirin regularly is only made in consultation with a (doctor)."

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