Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Parenthood Linked With Lower Blood Pressure: Study
Parents have lower blood pressure than adults without children, says a U.S. study.
It included 198 participants, ages 20 to 68, who wore portable monitors that took blood pressure readings three times an hour, 24 hours a day, USA Today reported.
"Women were driving the effect. Women with children had the lowest blood pressure, and women without had the highest," said study co-author Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a psychologist at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
The study, which appears in the journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine, found no differences between parents with children under age 2, parents with teens and parents with children over 18 years old.
That finding suggests that blood pressure readings indicate "something about the people who choose to be parents, rather than the day-to-day experience of being a parent," Thomas Kamarck, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh, told USA Today. He wasn't involved in the study.
HappyTot, HappyBaby Meals Recalled
A packaging defect that could cause bacterial contamination has prompted a recall of certain HappyTot and HappyBaby pouch meals.
Nurture Inc. has received one report of swollen and leaking pouches, which could indicate contamination. No illnesses have been reported, according to the Associated Press.
The recall includes HappyTot Stage 4 and HappyBaby Stage 1 and Stage 2 pouch meals with date codes expiring between October 2010 and January 2011. The recalled meals, which were sold across the United States, should not be consumed, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.
For more information, consumers can call 212-374-2779, the AP reported.
Drug Patent Settlements Increasing: FTC
Patent settlements between brand name and generic drug makers that cost U.S. consumers $3.5 billion a year are on the rise, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
The number of "pay-to-delay" settlements increased to 19 in 2009, from 16 in 2008 and 14 in 2007, said the agency, the Associated Press reported. In these settlements, a brand name drug maker pays a generic competitor to keep its cheaper version of a drug off the market.
The FTC wants a ban on such settlements included in the health care reform bill being negotiated by Congress, the AP reported.
Traffic Pollution Harms Lungs, Heart: Study
Traffic pollution has a major impact on lung and heart health, says a report to be released Wednesday by the nonprofit Health Effects Institute in Boston.
Researchers analyzed 700 international studies and found "evidence of a causal relationship" (but not proof of one) between vehicle pollution and impaired lung function and accelerated hardening of the arteries, The New York Times reported.
The authors of the review also said there was "strong evidence" that exposure to traffic pollution helped trigger heart rate variations and other heart problems that result in deaths.
The researchers said the most serious health effects occur in people who live within 300 to 500 meters of major roads and highways, which is the case for 30 percent to 45 percent of the population of North America, the Times reported.