Health Highlights: June 1, 2010

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

U.S. East Coast Faces Mosquito Woes

A wet spring followed by warm temperatures could mean a summer of mosquito misery for East Coast residents of the United States, according to experts.

The spring conditions provided perfect breeding conditions for the bloodsuckers.

"As of right now, it's really ramping up in a big way in the Northeast, as it is down here in the Southeast where I am in Florida," Joe Conlon, technical adviser with the American Mosquito Control Association, told

"The whole mosquito cycle has been pushed ahead," David Henley, superintendent of the East Middlesex Mosquito Control Project in Massachusetts, told the Boston Globe. "And they're actively biting people because we've had so many warm nights."


Debt Stress Common Among Americans: Poll

About 46% of Americans are suffering debt-related stress, while about 53% have little or no such stress, according to a new survey.

Half of those who said they were experiencing debt-related stress said they had a "great deal" or "quite a bit" of stress, the Associated Press-GfK poll of 1,002 adults found.

Women, married couples, people ages 30 to 44, and those in households with an annual income of less than $20,000 had the most stress from debt. Men, retired people, those 60 and older, and those in households with an annual income of more than $100,000 had the least stress from debt, the survey found.

Democrats reported higher debt stress levels than Republicans, according to the new poll. Last year, Democrats felt better about their finances than Republicans, the AP reported.


For Some, Heroin Treatment Beats Methadone to Ease Addiction

For some addicts, heroin works better than methadone for kicking the habit, a new report finds.

British scientists studied 127 heroin addicts who had been unable to quit their addiction and gave them either injectable heroin or methadone under medical supervision, the Associated Press reported.

After six months, the methadone users were much more likely to be using heroin illegally than the group given heroin, according to a study published May 28 in The Lancet.

Britain currently offers heroin to addicts at a few clinics, and some say the results of this trial may provide the evidence needed to expand the strategy.

Heroin could be an alternative when methadone, a heroin substitute, fails, the researchers say. "This is a treatment of last resort," said the study's lead author, John Strang of the National Addiction Center and the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London.

In an accompanying commentary, Thomas Kerr of St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver, Canada, said it was "unethical" to withhold treatments like heroin injection to people who need them, the AP said.

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