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Health Highlights: Dec. 6, 2011

Former NFL Players Sue League Over Use of Pain Drug Stronger Graduated License Laws Could Save Lives: Report Japanese Baby Formula Recalled Due to Radiation

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

Former NFL Players Sue League Over Use of Pain Drug

A dozen former professional football players have launched a lawsuit accusing the NFL and its teams of repeatedly giving them the painkiller Toradol before and during games, making it more difficult for the players to recognize when they'd suffered a concussion.

The 12 retired players played in the late 1990s and early 2000s and say they now experience short-term memory loss, anxiety, depression, sleeping problems, severe headaches, and dizziness, The New York Times reported.

"The plaintiffs have described the situation as one of being in a pregame locker room with players lining up to receive injections of Toradol in a 'cattle call' with no warnings of any sort being given, no distinguishing between different medical conditions of the players, and regardless of whether the player had an injury of any kind," according to the lawsuit filed in United States District Court in New Jersey.

The NFL challenged the suits' claims.

"The NFL has long made player safety a priority and continues to do so," league spokesman Greg Aiello said in a statement, the Times reported. "Any allegation that the NFL intentionally sought to mislead players has no merit. It stands in contrast to the league's actions to better protect players and advance the science and medical understanding of the management and treatment of concussions."


Stronger Graduated License Laws Could Save Lives: Report

More than 2,000 road deaths could be prevented each year in the United States if every state established comprehensive graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws for teens, a new report says.

All states have some form of GDL but only two states, New York and Delaware, have programs that contain all seven components that make the programs most effective, according to John Ulczycki of the National Safety Council, USA Today reported.

The NSC researched the issue for the Allstate Foundation.

Congress is currently preparing to consider a multiyear highway and transit spending bill and proponents of GDL laws are lobbying lawmakers to include about $25 million a year in incentives for states to strengthen GDL programs, USA Today reported.


Japanese Baby Formula Recalled Due to Radiation

A Japanese company has recalled baby formula after traces of radiation were detected in the products.

Meiji Co. said the recall of canned powdered milk for infants was a precaution, and the amounts of radioactive cesium were well below government safety limits and would not harm babies' health even if they drank the formula every day, the Associated Press reported.

Since the meltdown earlier this year of three reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in northern Japan, radiation has been detected in a number of foods, such as fish, beef and rice. But this is the first report of radiation in baby formula.

Meiji Co. said airborne radioactive cesium contaminated milk as it was being dried at a plant in March, according to Kyodo News, the AP reported.

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