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Health Highlights: April 11, 2011

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

Older Parents Happier: Study

People over the age of 40 who have children are happier than those over 40 without children, while those under 30 with children are less happy than those under 30 who are child-free, according to a new study.

American and German researchers analyzed self-reported levels of happiness among more than 200,000 people in 86 countries who took part in the World Values Surveys, The New York Times reported.

The study, published in the March issue of the journal Population and Development Review, doesn't reveal why parenting seems to be more enjoyable for people over 40.

The researchers also found that having more children makes older parents even happier, but makes younger parents unhappier, The Times reported.

For people under 30, those with two children are unhappier than those with one child, who are unhappier than those with no children. For parents over 50, each child brings more happiness. For parents ages 40 to 50, the number of children has no effect.


No New Heart Warnings for ADHD Drugs: FDA

No changes in safety instructions or in the use of medicines to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are being recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration after receiving preliminary findings from an analysis of a huge amount of data, National Public Radio reported.

Currently, labeling for the drugs warns that misuse "may cause sudden death and serious cardiovascular adverse events."

The analysis, funded by the FDA and the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, included data from more than 500,000 people taking ADHD medicines and one million people who weren't taking the stimulant drugs, NPR reported.

There have been concerns about the safety of ADHD medicines since the release of a 2009 federal study that suggested a link between the drugs and sudden cardiac death in otherwise healthy young people. The study was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

At the time, the FDA pointed out a number of limitations with the study and said parents should not stop their children's use of the drugs. But the agency also promised further investigation into the issue, NPR reported.

The preliminary findings were originally due in late 2009 but the analysis took far longer than expected.

"At this time, FDA is not recommending any changes to the drug labels and/or the use of these medications," the agency said in a statement. "FDA will update the public after the results of the final analyses are evaluated."


Knoxville, Tenn. Worst for Spring Allergies: Survey

Knoxville, Tenn. is the worst city for spring allergies in the United States, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America 2011 ranking of the worst 100 cities in the nation.

The system grades cities based on three factors: tree pollen prevalence; the number of allergy medications used by residents; and the number of allergy specialists in the area, ABC News reported.

The other cities among the 10 worst for spring allergies are: Louisville; Charlotte, N.C.; Jackson, Miss.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Birmingham, Ala.; Dayton, Ohio, Richmond, Va.; McAllen, Texas; and Madison, Wisc.

"Allergic symptoms in the spring are caused by a significant increase in the tree and grass pollen. Other environmental conditions, such as pollution, can then exacerbate the person's symptoms," Dr. William Burks, professor and chief of pediatric allergy and immunology at Duke University Medical Center, told ABC News.

"The climate in these cities is good for a long and heavy pollen season," he added.


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Posted: April 2011