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Health Highlights: March 1, 2010

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

Obama In Excellent Health: Doctor

U.S. President Barack Obama's first routine medical checkup since he took office revealed that he "is in excellent health," his doctor said Sunday.

However, the president's cholesterol count has risen to borderline high levels since his last publicly released medical records. His blood pressure and pulse rate remain normal, The New York Times reported.

Along with playing basketball and golf, Obama, 48, exercises at least six mornings a week.

But the president is still having trouble kicking his 30-year smoking habit and needs to make some changes to his diet, according to Dr. Jeffrey Kuhlman, the Navy captain who led the team that conducted the president's checkup, The Times reported.

Kuhlman also noted that Obama has chronic tendinitis in his left knee area, sometimes take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug for the tendinitis, and requires a modified exercise routine, including a lower leg muscle strengthening program.


Violent Video Games Linked To Aggressive Behavior: Study

Playing violent video games may increase aggressive thoughts and behavior and decrease users' ability to identify with other people's feelings and emotions, say U.S. researchers who analyzed data from 130 studies that included more than 130,000 video game players in Europe, Japan and the United States.

The findings were consistent "regardless of research design, gender, age or culture," said lead author Craig Anderson, director of the Center for the Study of Violence at Iowa State University in Ames, USA Today reported.

"Any game that involves killing or harming another character in order to advance is likely to be teaching inappropriate lessons to whoever is playing it," Anderson said.

While violent video games aren't the only risk factor for the development of aggression and violence, it is "the only causal risk factor that is relatively easy for parents to do something about," he noted.

The study appears in the journal Psychological Bulletin.


Cruise Ship Cleaned After Norovirus Outbreak

Cleaning crews are disinfecting a cruise ship that docked Friday after a 11-day voyage during which 413 of the more than 2,600 passengers and crew suffered intestinal ailments caused by norovirus.

On their return to Charleston, S.C., passengers praised the crew for their handling of the outbreak on the Celebrity Mercury, the Associated Press reported.

To help cope with the outbreak, an extra doctor and two nurses boarded the cruise ship in St. Kitts and the Leeward Islands and stayed on the ship until it returned to Charleston.

After it's cleaned, the Celebrity Mercury will leave late Friday for another cruise, the AP reported.

Last winter, two outbreaks of norovirus occurred on the Celebrity Mercury, according to the Web site of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Posted: March 2010