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Health Highlights: Dec. 11, 2012

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

Fish Mislabeling a Common Problem: Study

A new study says that more than one-third of fish sold at stores and restaurants in New York City is mislabeled.

Researchers with the conservation group Oceana conducted DNA tests on 150 samples of fresh fish from 81 establishments in the city and found that 39 percent of them were mislabeled, The New York Times reported.

In some cases, cheaper types of fish were labeled as more expensive types of fish. The study also identified public health concerns. For example, 13 types of fish, including tilefish, were identified as red snapper. Mercury levels in tilefish are so high that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says that this type of fish should not be eaten by pregnant or nursing women and young children.

The researchers also found that 94 percent of fish sold as white tuna was not tuna at all. In many cases it was actually a fish known as snake mackerel, or escolar, which contains a toxin that can cause severe diarrhea if a person eats more than a few ounces of the fish, The Times reported.

These new findings are similar to previous studies conducted by Oceana in Los Angeles, Boston and Miami, where 55, 48 and 31 percent of fish samples, respectively, were mislabeled.


Childhood Obesity Rates Decline in Some U.S. Cities: Report

In a reversal of a decades-long trend, childhood obesity rates are declining in several American cities, according to a new study.

For example, New York City had a 5.5 percent decline in the number of obese schoolchildren from 2007 to 2011, and rates fell five percent in Philadelphia and three percent in Los Angeles, The New York Times reported.

There were also decreases in childhood obesity in smaller cities such as Anchorage, Alaska and Kearney, Neb. There was also a drop among white students in Mississippi, according to the report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

It's not clear what is behind the fall in childhood obesity rates in some cities. The researchers suggested it may be an early sign of a national shift that's apparent only in cities that routinely measure the height and weight of schoolchildren, The Times reported.

"It's been nothing but bad news for 30 years, so the fact that we have any good news is a big story," said Dr. Thomas Farley, New York City's health commissioner.


Nelson Mandela Being Treated for Lung Infection

Nelson Mandela is being treated for a lung infection, according to officials.

The 94-year-old, who was South Africa's first black president and the winner of the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, was flown to a military hospital in Pretoria on Saturday from his home village in Eastern Cape province, BBC News reported.

Tests revealed a recurrence of a previous lung infection and Mandela is responding to his treatment and doing well, said presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj.

Mandela last spent time in hospital in February when he was treated for abdominal pain. He was treated for a serious chest infection in January 2011, BBC News reported.


Ex-President George H.W. Bush Still in Hospital

More than two weeks after being admitted to a Houston hospital for treatment of a bronchitis-related cough, former President George H.W. Bush continues to improve and is in stable condition.

Doctors are being cautious with Bush's care and have provided no timeline for when he will be discharged, Methodist Hospital spokesman George Kovacik said Saturday, the Associated Press reported.

Bush, 88, was admitted to the hospital the day after Thanksgiving. The same illness led to a weeklong hospitalization earlier in November.

The former president and his wife Barbara have homes in Houston and Kennebunkport, Maine, the AP reported.


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Posted: December 2012