Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
U.S.- wide salt reduction could prevent deaths : study
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The United States could prevent up to half a million deaths over the next decade if Americans cut their salt intake to within national guidelines, according to a new study. That finding - which comes the week New York City announced success toward its goals of cutting salt levels by one-quarter by 2014 - is based on computer simulations using data from various studies on the effects of extra sodium on blood pressure and heart risks.
FDA approves first retinal implant for rare eye disease 2013-02-14T221248Z_4_BRE91D1AL_RTROPTC_0_US-SECONDSIGHT-FDA-EYE IMPLANT.XML () -
''High-glycemic'' foods tied to diabetes risk
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People who eat a lot of low-fiber and processed foods that quickly spike blood sugars may, not surprisingly, have a significantly higher risk of the most common form of diabetes, according to a new study. "By raising blood sugar and demanding that the pancreas keep pumping more insulin, meal after meal, day after day, a high-glycemic diet can put people at risk over the edge," said Dr. David Ludwig, who studies obesity at Boston Children's Hospital but was not involved in the work.
Obama Medicare rebate plan could hurt drug companies 2013-02-13T233015Z_1_BRE91C1OE_RTROPTC_0_US-USA-HEALTHCARE-MEDI CARE.XML () -
Male circumcision tied to less sexual pleasure
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Men circumcised either as children or adults report less intense sexual pleasure and orgasm than their uncircumcised counterparts, according to a new study from Belgium. "We're not saying less sexual activity or satisfaction, but sensitivity," said the study's senior researcher Dr. Piet Hoebeke, from Ghent University Hospital.
Study links smoking bans to fewer pre-term births
LONDON (Reuters) - Banning smoking in enclosed public places can lead to lower rates of preterm birth, according to Belgian researchers who say the findings point to health benefits of smoke-free laws even in very early life. It is well known that smoking during pregnancy can stunt the growth of unborn babies and shorten gestation, and that second-hand smoke exposure can also effect births, but little was known about the impact of smoking bans on preterm birth rates.
U.S. appeals court finds Astra's Seroquel XR patent infringed 2013-02-15T013118Z_1_BRE91E02E_RTROPTC_0_US-ASTRAZENECA-SEROQUE L.XML () -
More thorough dialysis may reduce deaths
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A more thorough dialysis technique may help prevent deaths due to heart conditions and infections in people with advanced kidney disease, according to a new study. Known as hemodiafiltration, that method is better able to clean the kidneys of larger toxins than standard dialysis, which mainly removes small molecules. When not removed from the kidneys, larger toxins could play a role in inflammation and cholesterol buildup, researchers said.
Perch exposed to human anti-anxiety drugs become isolated, aggressive - study
BOSTON (Reuters) - Wild perch living in water tainted with a commonly prescribed human anti-anxiety drug aggressively feed, shun other fish and become careless, according to the results of a study presented at a meeting of scientists on Thursday. "We knew there was a pharmaceutical that was present in the environment that had behavioral-changing capabilities in humans, but what could this do to fish?" said chemist Jerker Fick of Umea University in Sweden.
More U.S. women using the 'morning-after' pill -report
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More U.S. women are taking the "morning-after" pill, but generally just once, according to the government's first report on how the emergency contraception drug has been used since regulators eased access to it in 2006. About 11 percent of sexually active women, or 5.8 million, used the pill between 2006 and 2010, compared to about 4 percent in 2002, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in its report released on Thursday.