Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Millions of U.S. Hospitalizations Preventable: Report
Nearly four million of the 40 million hospitalizations in the
United States in 2008 were potentially avoidable, says a federal
government report released Wednesday.
Appropriate outpatient care could have prevented these
hospitalizations of patients with conditions such as diabetes,
dehydration, and certain heart conditions and infections, according
to the latest
News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and
The analysis of data in the 2008 Nationwide Inpatient Sample
also found that preventable admissions were nearly twice as common
in rural hospitals (16 percent) as in urban hospitals (9
Among the other findings about potentially preventable hospital
- Rates were nearly one-third higher among people from
lower-income communities (12 percent) than among those from
higher-income communities (8 percent).
- Rates were lowest in the West (8 percent) and highest in the
South (11 percent).
- Patients 65 and older accounted for 60 percent of such
Happy Meals Banned in San Francisco
Most McDonald's Happy Meals will be banned in San Francisco
after the city's board of supervisors passed a measure that forbids
restaurants from offering a free toy with meals that contain high
levels of calories, fat and sugar.
The measure, scheduled to take effect in December 2011, is the
first of its kind to be approved by a major U.S. city, the
Los Angeles Times reported.
Restaurants will only be allowed to include a toy with a meal if
the food and drink combined contain less than 600 calories, and if
less than 35 percent of the calories come from fat.
In addition, all meals for children that come with toys will
have to include fruits and vegetables, the
The ban is an important move to fight childhood obesity and
related illnesses such as diabetes and heart problems, said
Supervisor Eric Mar, who sponsored the measure.
McDonald's spokeswoman Danya Proud told the
Times the company is "extremely disappointed" with the
Unique Gene Mutations Might Shield Rocker Ozzy Osbourne
The fact that heavy metal rocker Ozzy Osbourne is still alive
after a lifetime of serious partying may be due the fact he is a
Genome sequencing of the 61-year-old former lead singer of Black
Sabbath revealed several gene variants that "we've never seen
before," said geneticist Nathaniel Pearson,
ABC News reported.
Some of those variants could affect how Osbourne's body absorbs
methamphetamines and other recreational drugs.
The results of the sequencing, conducted by Massachusetts-based
genomics company Knome, Inc., were discussed last Friday at the
TEDMED conference in San Francisco.
"I've always said that at the end of the world there will be roaches, Ozzy and Keith Richards," Ozzy's wife Sharon Osbourne said at the conference, ABC News reported. "He's going to outlive us all. That
fascinated me -- how his body can endure so much."
Retinal Chip for Blind Shows Promise: Study
A experimental chip that's implanted behind the retina shows
promise in enabling blind people to identify objects, German
Initial tests of the sub-retinal chip found that it helped the
majority of the 11 people who received it. One man with an
inherited form of blindness was able to identify letters and a
BBC News reported.
The chip works by converting light that enters the eye into
electrical impulses and sending them to the optic nerve. The chip
is linked to an external power source.
The research, which appears in the journal
Proceedings of the Royal Society B, was greeted with cautious optimism.
"It's really fascinating work, but it doesn't restore vision. It rather gives people signals which help them to interpret," David Head, of the British Retinitis Pigmentosa Society, told BBC News.
U.S. scientists have developed a chip that sits on top of the
retina, but requires patients to use a camera attached to a pair of