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Health Highlights: Sept. 29, 2010

U.S. Takes Second Look at Medical Scanner Approvals Doctors-in-Training Get Shorter Work Day Appeals Court Temporarily Overturns Stem Cell Ban Former President Carter Still Hospitalized

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

U.S. Takes Second Look at Medical Scanner Approvals

U.S. investigators are taking a second look at complaints that U.S. Food and Drug Administration managers pressured their scientists into approving possibly harmful high-tech medical scanners.

The criminal investigation into the allegations was closed last February, but a Department of Health and Human Services investigator said the agency is now looking at claims of mismanagement and violations of regulations, which are separate from criminal law, the Associated Press reported.

Nine FDA medical device reviewers charged in 2008 that agency administrators overruled their opinions without supporting research. When they made their concerns public, management attempted to intimidate them, they alleged, the AP said.

The whistleblowers had concerns about excessive radiation related to the use of MRIs, CT scanners and other medical devices that use radiation to identify or treat diseases, the AP reported.


Doctors-in-Training Get Shorter Work Day

U.S. doctors-in-training will no longer work around the clock under new rules providing shorter work shifts and tighter supervision.

The new rules are meant to safeguard patient safety and provide a humanistic environment for student doctors, according to the Chicago-based Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, the Associated Press reported.

The council approved the new standards, which affect more than 110,000 doctors-in-training at U.S. hospitals, on Tuesday.

Maximum hours will be cut for first-year residents only -- to 16 hours from 24 hours. New doctors can still work up to 80 hours a week, but they will be encouraged to nap.

The rules, which take effect next July, also require medical residents to inform patients that more experienced doctors are supervising their work.


Appeals Court Temporarily Overturns Stem Cell Ban

A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday temporarily overturned a lower-court judge's ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

The three-judge panel in Washington, D.C., said the Obama administration rules met the legal standard for a stay of the injunction, Dow Jones reported. The one-page order noted that stem-cell funding by the U.S. National Institutes of Health is a top priority of the Obama administration.

"We're heartened that the court will allow NIH and their grantees to continue moving forward while the appeal is resolved," said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, Dow Jones reported.

Under President George W. Bush, embryonic stem cell research was allowed only on a small number of cell lines. But in a controversial move, President Barack Obama broadened those provisions last year.

Stem cells that originate in embryos can develop into any type of tissue, so they are widely valued in research and for their potential to treat a host of diseases and conditions, such as Parkinson's disease and spinal-cord injuries.


Former President Carter Still Hospitalized

Former President Jimmy Carter will spend a second night in a Cleveland hospital after doctors recommended additional observation following an overnight stay for an upset stomach, the Associated Press reported.

Carter was taken by ambulance to a Cleveland hospital Tuesday after becoming "air sick" while flying to Cleveland as part of a tour to promote his new book, according to published reports.

"While on a flight to Cleveland, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter developed an upset stomach, and, upon arrival, was taken to Metro Health Hospital for observation," according to a statement released by the Carter Center in Atlanta. "He is resting comfortably and is expected to resume his book tour this week."

A volunteer worker at the Carter Center told ABC News that the 85-year-old ex-president was not suffering from life-threatening injuries and had just fallen "air sick" on the flight to Cleveland, where he was scheduled to appear at a signing for his new book, "White House Diary."

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