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Health Highlights: May 8, 2012

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

Teen Drivers Much More Likely to Die When Carrying Teen Passengers: Study

Teen drivers are much more likely to die in a crash when they have teen passengers in the car, while that risk falls dramatically when they have an adult passenger, a new study says.

The analysis of U.S. government data on teen crashes from 2007 to 2010 revealed that a 16- or 17-year-old driver's risk of death per mile driven increases 44 percent when there is one passenger younger than 21 and no older passengers, the Associated Press reported.

The risk doubles when carrying two passengers younger than 21 and quadruples when carrying three or more passengers younger than 21, according to the study by the Automobile Association of America's Foundation for Traffic Safety.

On the other hand, a teen driver's risk of dying in a crash is 62 percent lower when they have a passenger aged 35 or older, the AP reported.


Abbott Fined $1.5 Billion Over Marketing of Seizure Drug

U.S. officials announced Monday that Abbott Laboratories has pleaded guilty and agreed to pay $1.5 billion over allegations that it marketed the anti-seizure drug Depakote for unapproved uses.

A strategy of systematically marketing the drug for purposes that were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration was carried out by top officials at Abbott, U.S. Attorney Timothy Heaphy said at a Justice Department news conference, the Associated Press reported.

Depakote is approved for treating bipolar disorder, but Abbott admitted to marketing the drugs for unapproved uses, including treatment of schizophrenia, autism and agitated dementia. The company engaged in this strategy from 1998 to at least 2006, according to Heaphy.

In a separate announcement, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said a $100 million settlement had been reached with Abbott over consumer claims in 45 states and the District of Columbia. The claims involved Abbott's marketing of Depakote for unapproved uses.


14 People in U.S. Sickened by Tainted Dog Food

At least 14 people across nine states have been sickened by dog food tainted by Salmonella, officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Monday.

"Multiple brands of dry pet food produced by Diamond Pet Foods at a single manufacturing facility in South Carolina have been linked to some of the human Salmonella infections," the CDC said in a news release.

No deaths have been reported, the agency said, but five people have been hospitalized in connection with the recalled dog.

By state, the number of cases is as follows -- Alabama (1), Connecticut (1), Michigan (1), Missouri (3), North Carolina (3), New Jersey (1), Ohio (2), Pennsylvania (1), and Virginia (1).

"Consumers should check their homes for recalled dog food products and discard them promptly," the CDC said. "People who think they might have become ill after contact with dry pet food or with an animal that has eaten dry pet food should consult their health care providers."


Studies Say Parents Happier Than Non-Parents

Parents today are happier than non-parents, suggest two new studies.

Based on earlier research, the widely-held belief for the past few decades is that parents were less happy, more depressed and had less satisfying marriages than adults without children, USA Today reported.

But the two studies presented at the Population Association of America's annual meeting challenge that idea. One study looked at British and German parents and the other study looked at American parents.

The European study did find that people who become parents at a younger age have reduced levels of happiness, while those who become parents at a later age have a higher happiness level after the birth of a child, USA Today reported.


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Posted: May 2012