Health Highlights: April 25, 2011

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

Suicide Rates Higher in Some of the Happiest States: Study

Some of the happiest states also have the highest suicide rates, a new study finds.

For example, while Utah was rated the top state for residents' sense of well-being, it had the ninth highest suicide rate. On the other hand, New York state ranked 45th in well-being but was 50th in suicides, the Associated Press reported.

It may be that people who are surrounded by unhappy people may not feel so bad for themselves, or that living in a happy place may be particularly hard for unhappy people, suggested the study authors, who compared U.S. Census Bureau data on suicide rates with a federal survey of well-being.

The top 10 states for well-being were Utah, Louisiana, Colorado, Minnesota, Wyoming, Hawaii, Arizona, Delaware, Florida and Nevada. But several of those states were also in the top 15 for suicide rates: Nevada (3rd), Wyoming (5th), Colorado (6th), Utah (9th), Arizona (11th), and Florida (15th), the AP reported.

The 10 states with the lowest well-being were Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, New York, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Rhode Island. Only two of those states were in the top 20 for suicide, West Virginia (8th) and Kentucky (16th).

The study has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organziation, the news service reported.

The findings echo previous research where a city regarded as a good place to live also has a high suicide rate, Sonja Lyubomirsky, a psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside, told the AP in an e-mail interview. She was not involved in the new study.

"If you're unhappy there, you conclude, 'something must be really wrong with me,' or 'nothing will make me happy,' so you're more likely to get depressed and take your life," she said.

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ADHD Said to Increase Risk of Substance Use

Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are at increased risk for substance use when they're teens or young adults, a new study suggests.

Researchers analyzed 27 long-term studies that included a total of 4,100 children with ADHD and 6,800 children without ADHD. Some of the studies followed the children for 10 years or more, USA Today reported.

The review authors found that children with ADHD were up to three times more likely than those without ADHD to use, abuse or become dependent on nicotine and illegal drugs such as marijuana and cocaine when they're teens or young adults. They also found that teens with ADHD were more likely to experiment with nicotine and illegal drugs at an earlier age than those without ADHD.

The reasons for the increased risk aren't clear, but the researchers said drugs may provide temporary relief from ADHD-related stress, anxiety and social dysfunction, USA Today reported.

The study appears online in the journal Clinical Psychology Review.

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Extremely Obese Teens Engage in Risky Behaviors: Study

Extremely obese teens are as likely as other teens to engage in risky behaviors such as unsafe sex, smoking and drug and alcohol use, according to U.S. researchers.

They analyzed data from 410 extremely obese teens and 8,669 healthy weight teens who took part in a nationwide survey conducted in 2007. Both groups had similar behaviors, CNN reported.

"Not only are they at health risk (from obesity), but they also are typical teens and they're struggling with the same things that potentially other teens are struggling with," said senior study author Meg Zeller, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

"We need to be talking about safe sex, drugs and alcohol with every teen and not assuming that this (extremely obese) population is somehow not engaging in those behaviors," Zeller said, CNN reported.

The study appears in the journal Pediatrics.

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Cucumbers Recalled Due to Salmonella Fears

Possible salmonella contamination has prompted the recall of cucumbers distributed by L&M Companies Inc. of Raleigh, N.C.

The recalled cucumbers were in 1,590 bulk cartons shipped between March 30 and April 7 to Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming, CNN reported.

The carton's are labeled Nature's Delight and have the Lot # PL-RID-002990 on the side.

In mid-April, U.S. Food and Drug Administration inspectors discovered salmonella on cucumbers in a cooler at Four Seasons Produce of Central Florida, CNN reported.

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Carob Products Recalled

Carob products in four states have been recalled because their labels fail to mention that milk is an ingredient.

The "Carob Brown Rice Crunch Squares" and "Carob Mint Miniatures" were packaged and distributed by Simple Foods of Tonawanda, N.Y., and shipped to health food stores in New York, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the Associated Press reported.

The products can cause serious or life-threatening illness in people allergic to milk, said New York health officials.

The products can be returned to the stores where they were bought, the AP reported.

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Rep. Giffords to Attend Astronaut-Husband's Shuttle Liftoff

Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, shot in the head by a gunman's bullet Jan. 8, will attend the liftoff Friday of her astronaut-husband's space shuttle mission, according to published reports.

Expected to attend the blastoff of the second-to-last space shuttle mission are the Obama family, many of Giffords' congressional colleagues, and an estimated 40,000 other NASA guests. In addition, hundreds of thousands of spectators are expected to fill surrounding beaches and roadways, the Associated Press reported.

Until recently, it had been unclear whether astronaut Mark Kelly would command the April mission of the space shuttle Endeavour, but Giffords continues to make remarkable progress. Her husband attributes her recovery to previous good health, great care "and maybe a little bit of luck."

"Or maybe people really thinking about her and praying for her," added Kelly, who's aunt is a Catholic nun. Pope Benedict XVI is expected to make the first papal call to space during Endeavour's flight, the AP reported.

Giffords was shot in the head Jan. 8 while she hosted a political event outside a grocery store in Tucson, Ariz. The attacker killed six people and wounded 12 others. She has been recovering at TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston.

Posted: April 2011


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