Health Highlights: Feb. 9, 2012

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

Americans Need to Reduce Salt Intake: CDC

Americans eat too much salt and it's a serious public health issue, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Consuming too much salt leads to high blood pressure, which is a major factor in cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death and disability in the U.S., the CDC says in the latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Average daily sodium intake for the majority of U.S. adults is more than double the recommended dietary limit. Most of the sodium intake is from processed and prepared foods, which makes it difficult for people to control their sodium intake.

Reducing sodium levels across the food supply would help lower Americans' sodium intake, and such interventions would require food industry participation, the CDC says.


Expanded Use of Xgeva Rejected by FDA Panel

The bone drug Xgeva should not be approved to prevent the spread of prostate cancer into the bones, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel said Wednesday.

In a 12-1 vote, the panel decided that the drug did not demonstrate "a favorable risk/benefit" in prostate cancer patients with a high risk of having their cancer spread to the bones, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Amgen Inc.'s Xgeva is currently approved to delay fractures and other bone injuries in patients whose cancer has already spread to the bones.

While not required to do so, the FDA usually follows the recommendations of its advisory committees, WSJ reported.


Measles Patient Visited Super Bowl Village

People at Indianapolis' Super Bowl Village may have been exposed to a person with measles, but there are no current concerns about a widespread outbreak, Indiana health officials say.

A person confirmed to have measles visited the outdoor Super Bowl Village on Friday afternoon. More than 200,000 people visited the village that day, the Associated Press reported.

The person with measles did not go into the NFL Experience interactive fan exhibit at the Indiana Convention Center, health officials said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been notified about the situation, but it could be a week before there are any new cases of measles related to the Super Bowl Village exposure, according to the Indiana State Department of Health, the AP reported.


U.S. Teen Pregnancy Rate at 40-Year Low

The teen pregnancy rate in the United States reached a 40-year low in 2008 after falling 42 percent from its peak in 1990, according to a Guttmacher Institute study released Wednesday.

The pregnancy rate was 68 per 1,000 girls ages 15-19 in 2008, compared with 117 per 1,000 in 1990. The birthrate among teens fell from 61.8 to 40.2 births per 1,000 teens between 1991 and 2008, a 35 percent drop, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The abortion rate among teen girls decreased 59 percent from a peak of 43.5 per 1,000 in 1988 to 17.8 per 1,000 in 2008, the study said.

It also found that teen pregnancies fell among teens in all racial and ethnic groups since 1990, with decreases of 50 percent for whites, 48 percent for blacks, and 37 percent for Hispanics, the Journal Constitution reported.


Ulcer, Acid Reflux Drugs May Raise Risk of Diarrhea: FDA

A widely-used class of stomach acid-suppressing drugs used to treat conditions such as stomach ulcers and acid reflux disease may be associated with an increased risk of clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAD), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday.

These types of drugs are called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and include brand name drugs such as Nexium and Prilosec, as well as generic drugs. A diagnosis of CDAD should be considered for patients taking PPIs who develop diarrhea that does not improve, the FDA said.

Clostridium difficile is a type of bacteria that can cause watery stool, abdominal pain and fever. Patients with the condition can develop more serious intestinal problems.

The FDA said it is working the drug makers to include information about the increased risk of CDAD on the labels of PPIs. The agency is also reviewing the risk of CDAD in people who take histamine H2 receptor blockers, another class of drugs used to treat conditions such as ulcers and acid reflux disease.


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According to the USDA, there is no difference between a “portion” and a “serving.” See Answer

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