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Health Highlights: April 28, 2009

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

Senate Expected to Approve Sibelius as HHS Secretary

Leading the United States' response to the swine flu outbreak will be the immediate challenge facing Kathleen Sebelius if, as expected, the Senate on Tuesday approves her as Health and Human Services Secretary.

Because there's no HHS secretary in place, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has had to help lead the nation's efforts against swine flu, the Associated Press reported.

Sebelius, the two-term Democratic governor of Kansas, is expected to get the 60 votes she needs in the Senate to confirm her as HHS secretary.

However, she would take up her post somewhat short-handed, because the Senate hasn't approved the White House nominees for deputy HHS secretary or Food and Drug Administration commissioner, the AP reported.

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Jay Leno Returns to Show

Jay Leno returned to the "Tonight" show on Monday, after missing two shows last week because he was in hospital with an undisclosed illness.

During his Monday show, the comedian made jokes about swine flu and the 103-degree fever that sent him to hospital, the Associated Press reported.

Leno said it was a cold morning, and he wasn't wearing a jacket when he drove one of his vintage cars to the "Tonight" studio last Thursday. He got the chills, and an NBC nurse who took his temperature said he needed to take an ambulance to a hospital. Instead, Leno walked to nearby Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center.

Doctors found no evidence of serious ailment, Leno' spokesman said last week, the AP reported.

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Group Wants New Term for Shaken Baby Syndrome

Instead of "shaken baby syndrome," doctors should use the term "abusive head trauma," says a new American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement.

The group said the new diagnostic term is a more comprehensive diagnosis for brain, skull and spinal injuries caused by severe shaking and other forms of abuse, the Associated Press reported.

The new term should be used in medical records, and it may provide more clarity in legal cases, the academy said in the new policy statement, which is being published in the May issue of the journal Pediatrics.

Physicians should watch for signs of head trauma in infants that could be caused by abusive shaking and need to teach parents safe ways to calm upset babies and how to avoid shaking, the policy recommends, the AP reported.

Posted: April 2009


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