Health Highlights: Jan. 5, 2010

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

Women With Partners Gain More Weight: Study

Women who live with a partner put on more weight than those who don't live with a mate, says a new study.

For 10 years, researchers followed more than 6,000 Australian women who were ages 18-23 at the start of the study. After adjusting for a number of variables, the researchers found that the 10-year weight gain for an average 140-pound woman was 20 pounds for a woman with a baby and partner, 15 pounds for a woman with a partner but no baby, and 11 pounds for a childless woman with no partner, The New York Times reported.

The findings appear in the January issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

A more active social life may help explain why women with partners gain more weight than those without partners, said Maureen A. Murtaugh, an expert in women's weight gain and associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Utah.

"Think of going to a restaurant," Murtaugh told the Times. "They serve a 6-foot man the same amount as they serve me, even though I'm 5 feet, 5 inches and 60 pounds lighter."


Octuplets Doctor Accused of Negligence

The doctor of the American woman who gave birth to octuplets in January 2009 has been accused of negligence by the California medical board.

In a complaint filed in December, the board accused Beverly Hills obstetrician/gynecologist Dr. Michael Kamrava of gross negligence and repeated negligent acts in the treatment of a patient identified only by the initials N.S., CNN reported.

In interviews, octuplets mother Nadya Suleman has identified Kamrava as her doctor. Her octuplets and six other children were all conceived through in-vitro fertilization.

In the complaint, the California medical board says that during in-vitro treatment of his patient, Kamrava transferred a number of embryos that was "far in excess of [American Society for Reproductive Medicine] recommendations and beyond the reasonable judgment of any treating physician," CNN reported.

In addition, Kamrava should have referred his patient to a mental health expert after she continued to return for additional in-vitro treatments shortly after each of her pregnancies, the board said.

No date for a hearing has been set, CNN reported.


Leukemia Vaccine Shows Promise

British scientists say they've developed a vaccine that stops leukemia from returning after chemotherapy treatment or a bone marrow transplant.

The vaccine -- created by genetically manipulating cells from the patient's blood -- activates the body's immune system to fight against a recurrence of cancer cells, said the London Telegraph, according to CBS News.

The new treatment prevented relapse in half of mice treated for leukemia. The study results will appear in the Journal of Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy.

The vaccine is now available for patients in a clinical trial at King's College London. The researchers said they hope the vaccine treatment will prove successful against other forms of cancer, CBS News reported.


Gene May Be Linked to OCD: Researchers

A gene that causes compulsive behavior in dogs may improve understanding of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) in humans, say U.S. researchers.

A team at the Broad Institute in Cambridge analyzed the DNA of 92 Doberman pinschers with compulsive behavior and found that a common link among the dogs was a gene called Cadherin 2, a gene recently linked to autism in humans, said a story in the The Boston Globe, according to United Press International.

The effect of the Cadherin 2 gene will be studied in more than 300 people with OCD and about 400 of their relatives, said Dr. Dennis Murphy, a researcher at the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

"Identifying a specific gene that could be a candidate gene for a complex disorder like OCD is a gift to have,'' Murphy said. "This might be a quick route in to a meaningful gene that just could be involved in the human disorder, as well,'' UPI reported.

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