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Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Ozone levels linked to cardiac arrest
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Cardiac arrests are more likely when levels of air pollution - especially soot-like particles and ozone - have been high in recent days or even hours, according to a large study from Texas. Evidence already links airborne particles with heart disease and lung problems but the new findings are the first to show that high ozone may immediately raise the risk that a person's heart will stop beating.
FDA approves new silicone breast implant from Allergan 2013-02-20T231540Z_2_BRE91J1E3_RTROPTC_0_US-BREAST-IMPLANT-APPR OVAL.XML () -
Analysis: Health-conscious Americans hurt aluminum can market
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. aluminum can sales are set to slow in 2013 for a third straight year as more consumers ditch sodas for healthier options such as water and iced teas, traditionally bottled in plastic or glass. The loss of market share in the fizzy drinks capital of the world, also due to loud anti-obesity campaigns such as those promoted by Walt Disney <DIS.N> and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has forced producers of sheet aluminum for cans, as well as can fabricators, to seek new, more profitable markets abroad.
U.S. issues final word on essential benefits under "Obamacare"
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration on Wednesday issued its long-awaited final rule on what states and insurers must do to provide the essential health benefits required in the individual and small-group market beginning in 2014 under the healthcare reform law. A cornerstone of President Barack Obama's plan to enhance the breadth of healthcare coverage in the United States, the mandate allows the 50 U.S. states a role in identifying benefit requirements and grants insurers a phased-in accreditation process for plans sold on federal healthcare exchanges.
Florida governor backs limited Medicaid expansion
TALLAHASSEE, Florida (Reuters) - Florida Governor Rick Scott backed a limited expansion of healthcare coverage for the poor on Wednesday, joining six other Republican governors who have agreed to the measure under President Barack Obama's landmark reform law. Scott, a wealthy former healthcare executive and vocal critic of the law known as Obamacare, had balked previously at expanding Medicaid.
U.S. deserves top mad-cow rating, health officials say
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is expected to get the top safety rating for mad cow disease in spring, under a recommendation from international livestock health experts that was greeted on Wednesday as a sure-fire boost to U.S. beef exports. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the recommended upgrade, to "negligible" from "controlled" risk, was proof that U.S. beef meets the highest safety standards in the world. A trade group, the U.S. Cattlemen's Association, said the move was "a big step forward towards enhancing our export opportunities."
Antioxidants may not ward off strokes, dementia
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Older adults who eat diets high in antioxidants may not have a lower risk of dementia or stroke, a new study suggests. Researchers found that people who ate or drank lots of coffee, tea, oranges and red wine were just as likely to develop neurological problems over the next 14 years as those who skimped on antioxidant-rich foods.
No long-term cost savings with weight loss surgery
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Weight loss surgery does not lower health costs over the long run for people who are obese, according to a new study. Some researchers had suggested that the initial costs of surgery may pay off down the road, when people who've dropped the extra weight need fewer medications and less care in general.
Stress and anxiety linked to sperm quality
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A man's ability to produce sperm may depend on his ability to handle stress, according to a new study from Italy. Researchers found that men with higher levels of both short- and long-term stress and anxiety ejaculated less semen and had lower sperm concentration and counts. Men with the highest anxiety levels were also more likely to have sperm that were deformed or less mobile.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield antitrust lawsuits pile up
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A litigation onslaught facing the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its 38 member health plans over alleged antitrust violations has snowballed ahead of a legal status conference scheduled for Thursday. Three more lawsuits were filed last week alleging a conspiracy among the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member plans to divide the U.S. healthcare market into geographical areas that allowed plans to avoid competing with each other. At least 27 lawsuits have now been filed.