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Health Highlights: Jan. 28, 2011

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

Mandela Released From Hospital

Nelson Mandela was discharged from hospital Friday after being treated for an acute respiratory infection, said South Africa's surgeon general.

Doctors are pleased with Mandela's recovery and the 92-year-old anti-apartheid hero and former president of South Africa will continue to receive treatment at home, said Surgeon General V.J. Ramlakan, CNN reported.

"We may recall that he suffered from tuberculosis and has had previous respiratory infections," Ramlakan said. "He is also not as mobile as before. And over the last few years, has had to be assisted with movement."

News of Mandela's hospitalization caused concern worldwide, CNN reported.


First Lady Praises Military's Fitness and Nutrition Programs

The U.S. military's new emphasis on exercise and healthy eating for recruits could be a model for improving fitness and nutrition among young people across the nation, according to Michelle Obama.

The first lady got a personal look at the military's efforts Thursday when she visited the Army's largest training post at Fort Jackson, S.C., the Associated Press reported.

"I am fascinated by what you're doing," Obama told Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, who created new diet and exercise programs that include routines for core body strength and stamina and more dark greens, whole grains and no-fat milk in mess halls.

Obama said that poor fitness is "not just a health issue but a national security issue," the AP reported.


Court Pledges Quick Action on Health Care Law Appeal

A federal appeals court in Virginia has promised quick consideration of a lower court ruling against a key part of the new federal health care law.

The Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond said Wednesday that it has scheduled May 10 to May 13 to hear arguments in the Obama administration's appeal of last month's ruling by Judge Howard E. Hudson of the Federal District Court in Richmond, The New York Times reported.

Hudson ruled that the section of the health care law that requires citizens to obtain commercial health insurance exceeds the boundaries of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. But he permitted the law to remain in effect pending appeal.

Two other federal judges have upheld the insurance requirement while a ruling from a fourth judge in Florida is expected soon, The Times reported.

Many experts believe the issue will likely be settled by the Supreme Court.


Salty Foods Affect Blood Vessels: Study

Obvious changes in your arteries occur just 30 minutes after you eat salty foods, says a new study.

The Australian researchers found that foods with high levels of salt rapidly impair the ability of blood vessels to widen, even in people with normal blood pressure, reported.

The long-term effects of this impact on blood vessels is unknown.

"What surprised us was that this is similar to responses seen after a meal high in saturated fats, which we know can damage blood-vessels in the long-term," said lead author Kacie M. Dickinson, a researcher at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Adelaide, reported.

The study appears in this month's issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.


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Posted: January 2011