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Health Highlights: June 20, 2012

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

More Young Adults Have Health Insurance: U.S. Officials

The number of young American adults with medical coverage rose by more than three million since the new health care law was implemented, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

About 75 percent of adults ages 19 to 25 now have health insurance, compared with about 64 percent when the Affordable Care Act took effect in 2010, the Associated Press reported.

The law requires insurers to allow young adults to remain on their parents' plans until they turn 26, even if they graduate from school or move away from home.

The AP said the provision is a popular part of the law, which is threatened by a constitutional challenge that could be decided by the Supreme Court as early as next week.


No Proof of WTC Dust/Cancer Link: Experts

A number of experts say there's no actual evidence to support the recent decision to add 50 kinds of cancer to a multibillion dollar financial assistance program for people with health problems believed to be caused by exposure to toxic dust from the collapse of the World Trade Center's twin towers.

The decision to include the large number of cancers -- including breast, skin, lung and thyroid -- could mean that hundreds more people will receive payouts from the health fund, the Associated Press reported.

However, some scientists say there is a lack of proof that exposure to the toxic dust plume caused even one type of cancer.

"To imagine that there is strong evidence about any cancer resulting from 9/11 is naive in the extreme," Donald Berry, a biostatistics professor at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, told the AP.

There are concerns that payments to cancer patients could divert money from people with illnesses -- such as asthma and laryngitis -- that are more definitively connected to the toxic dust.


Kentucky Doctor is AMA President-Elect

Dr. Ardis Hoven, an internal medicine doctor and infectious disease specialist from Kentucky, is the new president-elect of the American Medical Association.

Hoven will become the third woman to lead the nation's largest physicians group when she becomes AMA president in 2013, the Associated Press reported.

Hoven is a former president of the Kentucky Medical Association and has served on the AMA's Board of Trustees.

On Tuesday evening, Denver psychiatrist Jeremy Lazarus ends his year-long term as president-elect and officially becomes AMA president, the AP reported.


Teen Shot in Head with Spear is Recovering: Doctors

A 16-year-old Florida boy who was shot through the head with a spear is lucky to alive and is recovering, doctors say.

Nasser Lopez was injured June 8 when a friend accidentally hit the trigger of a spear gun while loading it. The three-foot long spear entered Lopez's head about an inch over his eye and the point came out the back of his head, the Miami Herald reported.

It took surgeons three hours to remove the spear from the teen's brain. He has no recollection of the accident. Lopez is in serious condition at University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital and is expected to remain hospitalized for several more months.

"It's a miracle the spear missed all the main blood vessels of the brain," neurosurgeon Ross Bullock said at a news conference Monday, the Herald reported.


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Posted: June 2012