Health Highlights: Sept. 6, 2011

Puberty Timing and Progression Affect Behavior and Mood: Study Obama Administration Cancels Tougher Air-Quality Rules FDA, Drug Makers Reach Drug Review Fee Deal

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

Puberty Timing and Progression Affect Behavior and Mood: Study

The timing and progression of puberty affect youngsters' behavior and mood, say researchers who tracked 364 white boys and 373 white girls for six years through puberty.

In girls, both an early start and a faster progression of puberty were associated with symptoms of depression, anxiety, social withdrawal and vague physical complaints. Faster progression was also linked to behavioral problems such as lying and cheating, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Faster progression of puberty in boys was associated with more behavioral problems, which were most evident in boys who also started puberty earlier than their peers.

"The thought is that when the major changes of puberty are compressed into a shorter amount of time, adolescents don't have enough time to acclimate, so they're not emotionally or socially ready for all the changes that happen," lead author Kristine Marceau, of Penn State, said in a news release, the Times reported. "This is the explanation that originally was attributed solely to early timing, but we suggest that the same thing also is happening if the rate of puberty is compressed."

The study appears in the September issue of the journal Developmental Psychology.


Obama Administration Cancels Tougher Air-Quality Rules

The Obama administration has canceled immediate implementation of new Environmental Protection Agency air-quality laws meant to reduce emissions of smog-causing ground-level ozone.

Instead, the administration will stick with a more lenient 2008 Bush administration standard until a scheduled reconsideration of acceptable pollution limits in 2013, The New York Times reported.

Environmental groups were shocked by Friday's White House announcement.

A statement released by League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski said: "The Obama administration is caving to big polluters at the expense of protecting the air we breathe. This is a huge win for corporate polluters and huge loss for public health."

Early this summer, leaders of major business groups met with William Daley, White House chief of staff, and warned him that implementing the new rule would be very costly to industry and would harm Obama's chances for re-election, The Times reported.


FDA, Drug Makers Reach Drug Review Fee Deal

Under a proposed new deal, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will provide quicker, more predictable reviews of new prescription drugs in exchange for continuing to receive hundreds of millions of dollars in fees from drug companies.

The draft agreement, released Thursday after months of closed-door meetings between FDA and drug makers, would extend a two decade-old program in which fees paid by the drug industry supplement the FDA's budget, the Associated Press reported.

Under the deal, the FDA would provide more frequent updates to drug makers on the status of certain drug reviews.

The agreement must be approved and drafted into law by Congress before Oct. 1, 2012, the AP reported.

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