Health Highlights: Jan. 13, 2012

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

U.S. Man Receives Synthetic Windpipe

An American man is doing well after receiving a synthetic windpipe (trachea) that was created in a laboratory.

Christopher Lyles, 30, of Baltimore had a type of tracheal cancer that is normally considered inoperable, The New York Times reported.

In November, Swedish surgeons removed the tumor and replaced Lyles' trachea with the new one made from nano-sized plastic fibers and covered in stem cells taken from his bone marrow. Lyles arrived back home Wednesday.

"He went home in very good shape," said Dr. Paolo Macchiarini, director of the Advanced Center for Translational Regenerative Medicine at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, The Times reported.

Lyles is only the second person, and the first American, to undergo this kind of procedure.

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State Governors Urged to Support Concussion Laws

The governors of Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin and 16 other states are being urged by NFL and NCAA leaders to support legislation meant to reduce concussions in young football players.

In letters sent Thursday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NCAA President Mark Emmert urged the governors to follow the example of a Washington state law that requires a player who shows signs of a concussion to be removed from a game or practice, the Associated Press reported.

The law also forbids players from competing again until they're cleared by a licensed health care professional trained in concussion assessment and management.

Currently, 31 states and Washington, D.C. have such laws, the AP reported.

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Study Links Processed Meat With Increased Risk of Pancreatic Cancer

Eating processed meat such as sausages or bacon increases the risk of pancreatic cancer, according to a new study.

Swedish researchers analyzed data from 11 clinical trials and 6,643 pancreatic cancer patients, BBC News reported.

They concluded that the risk of pancreatic cancer increases by 19 percent for every 50 grams of processed meat a person adds to their daily diet. Consuming an extra 100 grams per day would boost the risk by 38 percent.

The study appears in the British Journal of Cancer.

Previous research has linked consumption of red and processed meat with colorectal cancer.

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HHS Challenges Health Insurance Premium Increases in 5 States

Trustmark Life Insurance Company health insurance premium increases in five states are "unreasonable," the U.S. government says.

"It's time for Trustmark to immediately rescind the rates, issue refunds to consumers or publicly explain their refusal to do so," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a news release issued Thursday.

After an independent expert review, the Department of Health and Human Services concluded that the company unreasonable hiked health insurance premium by 13 percent in Alabama, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wyoming.

The "excessive rate hikes" would affect nearly 10,000 people in those states, according to HHS.

Under the new health care law, insurance companies are required to disclose rate increases over 10 percent and justify those increases.

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Posted: January 2012


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