Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Medicare Paid Millions for Erectile Dysfunction Drugs
Medicare spent $3.1 million in 2007 and 2008 to buy erectile
dysfunction drugs for senior citizens, even though the drugs are
not covered by the health program, say U.S. government
Of that amount, more than $3 million was paid for Viagra. Other
erectile dysfunction drugs included Cialis, according to the report
released Tuesday by George Reeb, acting director inspector general
for audit services at the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Bloomberg News reported.
A software error was to blame for the spending on erectile
dysfunction drugs, said Medicare administrators. They added that
they will try to recover payments to private drug insurers who
administer Medicare's drug plans.
Reeb also said that Medicare paid an undetermined amount for
erectile dysfunction drugs in 2009 and 2010,
Gay, Lesbian Families More Accepted Than Single Moms: Survey
Americans appear to be more accepting of gay and lesbian
families than single mothers, suggests a new survey.
The Pew Research Center poll of 2,691 people found that
one-third of respondents are comfortable with a wide range of
family situations (acceptors), one-third consider non-traditional
family structures a threat to the country's moral fabric
(rejectors), and another third have mixed views (skeptics),
Most acceptors and skeptics believe gay and lesbian families are
at least OK and may even offer something positive to society. But
single mothers don't have the same level of acceptance.
The survey found that 98 percent of acceptors believe there's
nothing wrong with women raising their children alone, but 99
percent of skeptics and 98 percent of rejectors believe this type
of family unit is bad for society,
msnbc.com reported. The poll only asked about single mothers,
not single fathers.
White House Pushes to Slow Challenge to Health Care Law
The U.S. Supreme Court should not allow Virginia to bypass a
federal appeals court in the state's challenge to the new federal
health care law, the Obama administration said in court papers
filed with the justices Monday.
The federal government says there is no reason to take the rare
step of "short-circuiting" review by appellate judges, a process
that has already been accelerated, the
Associated Press reported.
The health care law's requirement that all citizens must buy
health insurance or face a penalty was struck down by a federal
judge in Virginia. The Obama administration says the requirement is
within Congress' powers and asked the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals in Richmond, Va. to reverse that ruling.
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli then petitioned the
Supreme Court in an effort to sidestep the appeals court, the
Plastic Pieces Found in Lean Cuisine Spaghetti With
A recall of more than 10,000 packages of Lean Cuisine spaghetti
with meatballs that may contain bits of hard plastic was announced
Pieces of plastic in the Nestle Prepared Foods products were
found by customers in Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, said
the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the
Los Angeles Times reported.
The products were packaged Oct. 10, 2010 and distributed to
several states east of the Rocky Mountains.
The recalled products have the establishment number "P-7991" and
the case code "0298595519P" and a best before date of November 2011
printed on the side of the package, beneath the ingredient listing,
Surgery May Help Male Cancer Survivors Become Fathers
A special surgical technique can help male survivors of cancer
to become fathers, say U.S. researchers.
Many cancer treatments can leave survivors infertile, meaning
they have to use donor sperm or adopt if they want to be parents.
In this procedure, surgeons conduct biopsies of testicular tissue
to search for pockets of hidden sperm that can be used in standard
in vitro fertilization to fertilize a partner's eggs, the
Associated Press reported.
In this study, surgeons were able to extract small amounts of
sperm from 27 of 73 male childhood cancer survivors, resulting in
the birth of 20 children. The findings were published Monday in the
Journal of Clinical Oncology.
The surgery -- which costs about $10,000 to $12,000, plus the
costs of IVF -- is offered at a number of medical centers across
the U.S., the
Guatemalan Victims of U.S. Syphilis Experiments File Lawsuit
A lawsuit against American health officials has been filed by
Guatemalans who were subjected to U.S. syphilis experiments in the
The experiments to study the effects of penicillin were
conducted by the National Institutes of Health from 1946 to 1948.
About 700 Guatemalan prisoners, mental patients, soldiers and
orphans were deliberately infected with syphilis without their
knowledge or consent, the
Associated Press reported.
Details about the tests were made public in 2009.
Lawyers for the people subjected to the experiments said they
asked the Obama administration to establish an out-of-court claims
process but received no response by last Friday's deadline. The
lawsuit was filed Monday, the
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