Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Giffords Flies to Florida for Husband's Shuttle Launch
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords traveled by plane from Houston to
Florida Wednesday to watch her husband's space shuttle launch
The trip represents another important milestone in Giffords'
long recovery from the bullet wound to the head she suffered in an
assassination attempt nearly four months ago, the
Associated Press reported.
Gifford's husband Mark Kelly is commander of the space shuttle
Endeavour, which is scheduled to lift off from Cape Canaveral at
3:47 p.m. Friday. President Barack Obama will also attend the
Kelly said his wife's attendance at the launch is "something
she's been looking forward to for a long time," the
AP reported. "She's been working really hard to make sure
that her doctors would permit her to come. She's more than
medically ready to be here, and she's excited about making this
One-Fourth of U.S. Children Live in Single-Parent Families:
The United States has a higher percentage of children being
raised by a single parent than other developed nations, according
to a report released Wednesday by the Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development.
The OECD looked at 27 industrialized countries and found that
25.8 percent of children in the U.S. are being raised by a single
parent, compared to an average of 14.9 percent in the other
Associated Press reported.
After the U.S., the next highest rates were in Ireland (24.3
percent) and New Zealand (23.7 percent). The lowest percentages
were in Greece, Spain, Italy and Luxembourg.
The study also found that single parents in the U.S. are more
likely to have jobs than those in other countries (35.8 percent vs.
an average of 21.3 percent), but also have higher rates of poverty,
Chronic Illnesses Are World's Leading Cause of Death: WHO
Chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer
are the leading causes of death worldwide, accounting for more than
36 million deaths in 2008, says a World Health Organization
It said that 80 percent of the deaths occurred in low and middle
income countries and that chronic illnesses pose a greater threat
than infectious diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis and malaria,
BBC News reported.
Policies that promote healthier diets and restrict or ban
smoking could prevent many of these deaths, according to the
"The rise of noncommunicable diseases presents an enormous challenge," said WHO Director General Margaret Chan, BBC News reported. "For some countries, it is no exaggeration
to describe the situation as an impending disaster; a disaster for
health, for society, and most of all for national economies."