Health Highlights: Dec. 26, 2012

Nelson Mandela Released from Hospital Care Fewer Poor Kids Are Obese, CDC says Garbled Texting Reveals Woman's Stroke

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

Nelson Mandela Released from Hospital Care

Anti-apartheid hero and former South Africa President Nelson Mandela was discharged from the hospital Wednesday, according to CBS News/Associated Press.

According to the AP, the 94-year-old Mandela, who had been hospitalized with respiratory trouble since Dec. 8, will receive more medical care at his Johannesburg home.

Mandela was diagnosed with a lung infection and also underwent gallstone surgery during his hospital stay, the news agency said. He had contracted tuberculosis during his 27-year prison stay in the apartheid era, CBS/AP noted.


Fewer Poor Kids Are Obese, CDC Says

A new study finds fewer 2-to-4-year-olds from poor families are obese, The New York Times reports.

This modest decline may mean the obesity epidemic has peaked for these kids, researchers say.

Investigators from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collected data on 27 million children from the federal Women, Infants and Children program. The program provides food subsidies to low-income families.

According to the CDC report, published in the Dec. 25 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, obesity among these children was down slightly -- from 15.2 percent in 2003 to 14.9 percent in 2010.

Extreme obesity dropped from about 2.2 percent in 2003 to 2.07 percent in 2010.

A 3-year-old boy who stands about 3 feet 2 inches is considered obese if he weighs 37 pounds or more and extremely obese if he weighs 44 pounds or more, the Timesnoted.

"The declines we're presenting here are pretty modest, but it is a change in direction," Heidi Blanck, one of the study's authors and the acting director of the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity at the CDC told the Times "We were going up before. And this data shows we're going down. For us, that's pretty exciting."

Blanck believes the decline in obesity might be due to more breastfeeding, which is associated with healthier weight gain, she told the paper.

Another factor might be a drop in food advertising to children reported Friday by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the Times said.

According to that report, dollars devoted to marketing foods to children dropped almost 20 percent from 2006 to 2009, with the biggest decline occuring in TV ads. In 2009, $1.79 billion was spent on advertising foods to kids, the report says.

Moreover, Blanck hopes several national programs, such as Let's Move! Child Care, initiated by Michelle Obama's office, would help extend the early declines in obesity, the Times said.


Garbled Texting Reveals Woman's Stroke

A text from an 11-weeks-pregnant woman to her husband so alarmed him, he insisted she go immediately to an emergency room, doctors report.

The message read: "every where thinging days nighing," her text read. "Some is where!" The woman's husband knew she kept her autocorrect off, so something else was up, ABC News reported.

At the emergency room, doctors diagnosed the 25-year-old with a stroke. The story does have a happy ending, however. After a hospital stay and treatment with blood thinners her symptoms resolved and her pregnancy continued normally, ABC notes.

The event was reported online Dec. 25 in the Archives of Neurology by doctors from Harvard School of Medicine. The doctors refer to the woman's condition as "dystextia," a termed coined in an earlier case.

The condition appears to be a new type of aphasia, which is trouble processing written or spoken information. "As the accessibility of electronic communication continues to advance, the growing digital record will likely become an increasingly important means of identifying neurologic disease, particularly in patient populations that rely more heavily on written rather than spoken communication," the doctors wrote.

Although jumbled text messages are common Dr. Larry Goldstein, a neurologist and director of the stroke center at Duke University, told ABC that, "It would have been very easy to dismiss because of the normal problems with texting, but this was a whole conversation that wasn't making sense. I might be concerned about a patient based on a text like this if they were telling me they hadn't intended to send a disjointed jumble but they weren't able to correct themselves."

Goldstein also said aphasic symptoms are often discounted, however, they can be signs of a serious medical condition.

In this case, the woman had signs earlier in the day including inability to fill out a form and speaking, ABC reported.


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