Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Genes Hamper Efforts to Boost Physical Endurance: Study
Even with regular exercise, the genetic makeup of about 20 percent of people means they won't see much improvement in their physical endurance, according to a new study.
An international team of scientists examined the DNA of 473 people and had them complete 20 weeks of endurance training. About 15 percent to 20 percent of the participants had much smaller endurance improvements than expected, USA Today reported.
A combination of about 30 genes predict "to a significant extent" a person's aerobic response to endurance training, said the scientists. The study appears in the Journal of Applied Physiology.
The researchers noted that their findings about endurance don't mean that some people shouldn't bother exercising.
Physical activity offers benefits in many other areas, including heart rate, cholesterol levels, blood pressure and insulin metabolism, said study co-author Tuomo Rankinen, a scientist in the human genomics laboratory at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, USA Today reported.
Dissolvable Nicotine Products Concern Health Regulators
U.S. health officials are concerned about flavored, dissolvable tobacco products that are consumed like breath mints and may be especially tempting to children and young adults.
In letters to two tobacco companies, the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Tobacco Products said it is "concerned that children and adolescents may find dissolvable tobacco products particularly appealing, given the brightly colored packaging, candy-like appearance and easily concealable size of many of the products," the Associated Press reported.
The CTP said the products' nicotine content and rapid delivery in the body could lead to tobacco dependence and addiction and prove a threat to children and young adults.
The letters to R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Star Scientific Inc. ask the companies for their research and marketing information on how people under age 26 perceive and use dissolvable tobacco products, the AP reported.
The CTP also wants the companies' research findings about misuse of the products, including possible accidental nicotine poisoning.
Toy Importer Pays $200K to Settle Lead Charges
U.S. consumer authorities say a Massachusetts-based company has agreed to pay $200,000 to settle charges it violated federal law by importing toys with high levels of lead in their paint.
The tens of thousands of toys imported by Schylling Associates Inc. of Rowley, Mass., included spinning top toys and tin pail toys with Thomas and Friends, Curious George, Winnie the Pooh and circus scene graphics, the Associated Press reported.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission said that Schylling knew or should have known by 2002 that most of the toys violated the U.S. lead paint ban, but only reported the toys to the CPSC in 2007. Later that year, it was announced that the company was recalling the toys.
In agreeing to the settlement, the company said it did knowingly violate the law, the AP reported.
First Quake-Injured Haitians Arrive for Treatment in U.S.
Five severely injured Haitian patients were transported by air and ambulance to Atlanta-area hospitals beginning late Tuesday -- the first quake victims to be treated in the United States since the federal government's decision Monday to reimburse hospitals for their care, the New York Times reported.
"These people have nowhere else to go," Kenneth Wheeler, an emergency manager from the Department of Veterans Affairs who helped organize the evacuations, told the Times. According to federal and local health officials, the five patients include an 18-month-old with brain trauma and two adults, one with a fractured pelvis and the other with spinal injury.
According to the Times, dozens more Haitian quake victims are expected to be treated in hospitals in Atlanta and Tampa, Fla. Centers in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia and Lyon, N.J., have also been alerted that they may be asked to take in patients.
All of the patients have injuries that cannot be cared for in Haitian hospitals, many of which have been severely damaged or destroyed.
Few Uninsured U.S. Workers Get Needed Substance Abuse Treatment
About 3 million full-time workers in the United States without health insurance needed substance abuse treatment in the past year, but only 12.6 percent of them received treatment at a specialty facility, says a new federal government survey.
It also found that more than 80 percent of uninsured full-time workers who needed treatment in the past year didn't acknowledge that they required treatment, while 6.6 percent of workers in this group did recognize the need for treatment but didn't receive it.
The need for substance abuse treatment among uninsured full-time workers was particularly high among those aged 18-25 (24.4 percent) and among males (19.2 percent), according to the survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
"This tremendous unmet need for substance use disorder treatment among this workforce has a devastating public health and economic effect on our nation," SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde said in a news release.
"We cannot afford to ignore this problem -- substance abuse disorder treatment has proven to be a cost-effective investment for promoting safe and productive workplaces as well as renewed hope for those affected by this disease," she said.