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Health Highlights: May 1, 2012

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

U.N. May not Meet 2015 HIV/AIDS Treatment Goal: Report

The United Nations' goal to stop and reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015 may not be achieved due to funding shortfalls, says a U.N. report released Monday.

It said about $15 billon was available for HIV/AIDS projects in 2010, but an estimated $22 billion to $24 billion will be required by 2015 to meet the U.N.'s targets, the Associated Press reported.

"It will be impossible to achieve global targets without sufficient financial resources," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in the report, which called for funding from public, private and charitable sources.

Ban said the international community needs "to now stand up to meet the commitments it has made," the AP reported.

More than 7 million people with HIV/AIDS in low- and middle-income nations were receiving antiretroviral treatment in 2011. The U.N.'s goal is to double that to 15 million people in 2015.

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Sleep Affects Genes' Influence on Weight: Study

Getting more sleep helps people counter the influence that genes have on weight, a new study says.

"The less sleep you get, the more your genes contribute to how much you weigh. The more sleep you get, the less your genes determine how much you weigh," said lead author Nathaniel Watson, a neurologist and co-director of the University of Washington Medicine Sleep Center in Seattle, USA Today reported.

He and his colleagues studied 604 pairs of identical twins and 484 pairs of fraternal twins and found that those who slept longer at night had lower body mass index than those who slept less. Genetic factors accounted for about 32 percent of weight variations among those who averaged more than nine hours of sleep per night, 60 percent for those who slept seven to nine hours, and 70 percent for those who slept less than seven hours.

The study appears online in the journal Sleep.

The findings offer another good reason to be sure you get enough sleep every night, sleep expert Jodi Mindell, a psychology professor at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia, told USA Today.

"If you're trying to lose weight, getting enough sleep gives you a fighting chance," Mindell said.

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Texas Law Targeting Planned Parenthood Unconstitutional: Judge

Texas cannot stop Planned Parenthood from receiving state funds through the Women's Health Program, a federal judge ruled Monday.

There is sufficient evidence that a state law banning Planned Parenthood from the program is unconstitutional, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel said. He imposed an injunction against enforcement of the law until he can hear full arguments, the Associated Press reported.

Under the law passed last year by the Republican-controlled Legislature, state agencies cannot provide funds to organizations affiliated with abortion providers. A legal challenge was launched by Eight Planned Parenthood clinics that do not provide abortions.

In his ruling, Yeakel agreed with Planned Parenthood's argument that if it was banned from the Women's Health Program, many women would have no access to clinics for basic health services and check-ups, the AP reported.

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Posted: May 2012


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