Reuters Health News Summary

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Insight: Revived search for a TB vaccine may be about to pay off

CHICAGO (Reuters) - After nearly 100 years, researchers could be on the verge of finding a vaccine that would eradicate tuberculosis infections, a scourge that kills 1.4 million people a year. Global health experts are eagerly awaiting clinical trial results, expected early next week, of the first new vaccine in 90 years designed to prevent tuberculosis infections. While it might not prove effective, it will bring scientists much closer to creating a new generation of TB vaccines.

Rules call for swing to healthier snacks in schools

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Snacks sold in U.S. schools would need to be lower in fat, salt and sugar and include more nutritious items like fruits, vegetables and whole grains, under standards proposed on Friday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The proposal, more than a year overdue, also calls for a limit of 200 calories on items sold during the school day at vending machines or other venues outside the school lunch line.

Obama offers compromise on birth control health coverage

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration on Friday sought to settle a dispute with religious leaders over whether employees at faith-affiliated universities, hospitals and other institutions should have access to health insurance coverage for contraceptives. The new set of proposals would instead guarantee that employees at religious nonprofits would get access to birth control coverage without out-of-pocket costs through separate plans with insurers picking up the tab.

House Republicans ask FDA for meningitis documents

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - House Republicans on Friday set a deadline for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to produce documents related to the deadly meningitis outbreak that swept across the nation in late 2012. Leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee first requested, in October, documents related to FDA's oversight of New England Compounding Center, the now defunct, Boston-area compounding pharmacy that was at the center of the outbreak.

Could going veg lower your risk of heart disease?

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Vegetarians are one-third less likely to be hospitalized or die from heart disease than meat and fish eaters, according to a new UK study. Earlier research has also suggested that non-meat eaters have fewer heart problems, researchers said, but it wasn't clear if other lifestyle differences, including exercise and smoking habits, might also play into that.

J&J metal hip failed because of toxic debris - expert at trial

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Toxicity caused by debris from a metal-on-metal hip implant meant that the device had to be removed from a 66-year-old man who is suing manufacturer Johnson & Johnson <JNJ.N>, according to expert testimony heard at the trial on Friday. "I concluded that his hip failed because of the toxic exposure," said Robert Harrison, an occupational medicine specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, who was not involved in treating plaintiff Loren Kransky but did review the medical records.

U.S. military veteran suicides rise, one dies every 65 minutes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The most extensive study yet by the U.S. government on suicide among military veterans shows more veterans are killing themselves than previously thought, with 22 deaths a day - or one every 65 minutes, on average. The study released on Friday by the Department of Veterans Affairs covered suicides from 1999 to 2010 and compared with a previous, less precise VA estimate that there were roughly 18 veteran deaths a day in the United States.

Uninsured less likely to get heart meds

New York (Reuters Health) - Uninsured Americans were less likely to get the best treatment for heart troubles than those with insurance in a new study that hints the blame may lie with the quality of physicians who typically treat the uninsured. In a group of about 61,000 Americans, researchers found that those without any health insurance were between 6 percent and 12 percent less likely than people with either public or private insurance to be prescribed drugs that are considered standard care for heart disease.

Type 1 diabetes rising in kids - study

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Cases of insulin-requiring type 1 diabetes rose sharply in children under the age of five in Philadelphia over a two-decade span - similar to increases seen across the U.S. and Europe, according to new research. "Why are we seeing this large increase in type 1 diabetes in very young children? Unfortunately, the answer is we don't know," said lead study author Terri Lipman, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.

Study finds no heart benefits from selenium

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Taking extra selenium supplements offers no protection against heart disease - at least among people who already get enough of the mineral in their diets, according to a new analysis of past research. In the review of 12 studies that included close to 20,000 people, there was no difference in the number of strokes and heart attacks, heart disease-related deaths or deaths from any cause among participants randomly assigned to take selenium or nothing.