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Health Highlights: Oct. 18, 2010

Judge Will Deliver Health-Care Law Ruling by Year-End Bone Marrow Transplant Pioneer Dies Engine Noise Affects Taste of Airline Food: Study Frozen Vegetables Recalled Due to Glass Fragments Obesity Costs Are Double Previous Estimates: Study

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

Judge Will Deliver Health-Care Law Ruling by Year-End

A federal judge in Virginia said Monday that he will rule on whether the U.S. health-care overhaul is unconstitutional by the end of the year.

But U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson added that his decision will be a "brief stop" in the case on its way to the Supreme Court, Bloomberg news reported.

A number of states have launched legal action against the requirement that all Americans have health insurance.

In previous rulings, a federal judge in Michigan found the law falls within the framework of the Constitution, while a federal judge in Florida ruled that it's not even a "close call" that Congress may have overstepped its bounds, Bloomberg reported.


Bone Marrow Transplant Pioneer Dies

The French oncologist who performed the world's first bone marrow transplant in 1959 died Friday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy's office said Monday.

Georges Mathe, 88, was the first doctor to use bone marrow transplantation to treat leukemia, the Associated Press reported.

"His contribution to the progress of oncology remains major," Sarkozy's office said in a statement. "In 1959, he performed the first bone marrow transplants on six Yugoslav physicians who had been accidentally irradiated at a nuclear power plant. Four of them survived."

The statement did not provide any additional details about Mathe's death, the AP reported.


Engine Noise Affects Taste of Airline Food: Study

If you want your airline meal to taste better, try wearing noise-reducing headphones, researchers suggest.

A research team at the University of Manchester in Great Britain and the consumer product manufacturer Unilever concluded that loud background noise from airplane engines affects your enjoyment of food, ABC News reported.

The researchers had 48 blindfolded volunteers sample a variety of foods while wearing either headphones that cancelled out noise or produced various levels of white noise. The higher the noise level, the less the volunteers tasted salty or sweet flavors and the greater their sensitivity to the crunchiness of their food.

"If you can any way reduce the noise, you will make the whole experience better," researcher Andy Woods told ABC News.

The study appears in the journal Food Quality and Preference.


Frozen Vegetables Recalled for Glass Fragments

About 24,000 pounds of packages of frozen vegetables sold in Kroger stores in the southeastern United States and Walmart stores throughout the U.S. have been recalled because they may contain glass fragments, says the company that distributed the products.

Tennessee-based Pictsweet said the recall includes:

  • Great Value-12 ounce Steamable Mixed Vegetables with a "best by" date of July 15, 2012.
  • Great Value-12 ounce Steamable Sweet Peas with "best by" dates of July 20, 2012, and July 21, 2012.
  • Kroger 12-ounce Peas and Carrots with production codes 1960BD and 1960BE.
  • Kroger 12-ounce Green Peas with production codes 1440BU, 1440BV, 1440BW, and 1600BD.

The company said the products can be returned for a full refund, the Associated Press reported.

For more information, consumers can phone Pictsweet at 1-800-367-7412, ext. 417.


Obesity Costs Are Double Previous Estimates: Study

The medical costs of obesity in the United States may be twice as high as previously estimated, according to a new study.

Researchers at Cornell University and Lehigh University estimated that nearly 17 percent ($168 billion) of U.S. medical costs can be blamed on obesity, the Associated Press reported.

The study, released by the nonprofit, nonpartisan National Bureau of Economic Research, also concluded that obesity adds about $2,800 to a person's annual medical bill.

A study that was released last year and has been cited by federal officials estimated that obesity-related medical costs accounted for about 9 percent ($147 billion) of total medical costs and added about $1,400 to a person's annual medical bills, the AP reported.

The new study is likely closer to the truth, said Kenneth Thorpe, a healthy policy researcher at Emory University.

"I think these are the most recent and perhaps statistically sound estimates that have come out to date," he told the AP.

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