Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Ex-Surgeon General Koop Dead at 96
Dr. C. Everett Koop, the influential U.S. Surgeon General who
was a vigorous opponent of smoking but was best known for his
unvarnished talk about AIDS during the early days of the epidemic,
died Monday at his home in Hanover, N.H.
He was 96, officials at Dartmouth University's Geisel School of
Medicine in New Hampshire said.
Koop was a pediatric surgeon with a conservative bent who
sported an Amish-like beard. He was surgeon general from 1981 to
1989, serving during the Reagan administration and the early months
of the administration of George H.W. Bush,
"Dr. Koop will be remembered for his colossal contributions to the health and well-being of patients and communities in the U.S. and around the world," Chip Souba, dean of the Geisel School of Medicine, and Joseph O'Donnell, senior scholar at the C. Everett Koop Institute, said in a statement. "As one of our country's greatest surgeons general, he effectively promoted health and the prevention of disease, thereby improving millions of lives in our nation and across the globe."
Koop's tenure was marked by a headline-grabbing 1986 report on
AIDS. The blunt 36-page report discussed the ways that AIDS spread
(through sex, needles and blood), the ways it didn't spread
(through casual contact in homes, schools and workplaces) and how
people could protect themselves,
The report was highly controversial among conservatives because
it called for condom use for the sexually active and sex education
for schoolchildren as early as third grade. An eight-page version
of the report was mailed to every U.S. home in 1988. It arrived in
a sealed packet with the warning that "some of the issues involved
in this brochure may not be things you are used to discussing
Koop insisted that sexual abstinence and monogamy were the best
ways to fight the spread of AIDS. But he also said health experts
were obligated to inform the public on proven scientific methods to
ward off the disease, the newspaper said.
An evangelical Christian, he dismayed his conservative
supporters with his endorsement of condoms and sex education in
elementary school to combat AIDS.
"My position on AIDS was dictated by scientific integrity and Christian compassion," Koop wrote in his 1991 biography, Koop: The Memoirs of America's Family Doctor.
Koop, a one-time pipe smoker, also spearheaded a crusade to end
smoking in the United States. He said cigarettes were as addictive
as heroin and cocaine, the
After leaving office, he continued to promote public health
causes, from preventing childhood accidents to better training for
Teen Driver Deaths Rose in First Half of 2012: Report
The number of 16- and 17-year-old drivers killed in the United
States was 19 percent higher in the first six months of 2012 than
in the first half of 2011, according to a new Governors Highway
Safety Association report.
That percentage rise in young teen driver deaths was more than
double the 8 percent increase in overall traffic deaths during the
During the first half of 2012, 240 16- and 17-year-old drivers
died, up from 202 deaths a year earlier. Deaths of 16-year-old
drivers rose 24 percent to 107 while deaths of 17-year-old drivers
increased 15 percent to 133.
In 2011, there was a 3 percent rise in the number of 16- and
17-year-old drivers who died, ending 8 straight years of declines,
More Men Going Into Nursing: Study
A growing number of American men are going into the nursing
profession, a new study says.
It found that the proportion of male registered nurses more than
tripled between 1970 and 2011, increasing from 2.7 percent to 9.6
Over the same period, the proportion of male licensed practical
and licensed vocational nurses rose from 3.9 percent to 8.1
percent. This group of nurses works under the direction of doctors
and registered nurses.
While women account for 91 percent of the nursing workforce,
male nurses make more money, the study found. In 2011, male nurses
had an average annual income of $60,700 a year, compared with
$51,100 for female nurses,
"A predicted shortage has led to recruiting and retraining efforts to increase the pool of nurses," study author Liana Christin Landivar, a sociologist in the Census Bureau's Industry and Occupation Statistics Branch, said in a news release. "These efforts have included recruiting men into nursing."
Sports Whistles a Threat to Hearing: Study
Whistles may damage referees' hearing, a new study says.
Researchers surveyed 321 sports officials with the Michigan High
School Athletic Association and found that nearly half of them
reported ringing in the ears (tinnitus) after officiating,
The New York Timesreported.
Ringing in the ears often goes away but can become permanent if
there is repeated exposure to loud noises. Tinnitus can also be a
sign of hearing loss.
"Sports officiating cannot be ruled out as a promoter of early hearing impairment," wrote the authors of the study published in the January issue of The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene.
Whistle volumes range from 104 to 116 decibels at the ear, which
means that referees exceed the safe daily noise dose in just 5 to
90 seconds of overall time blowing their whistles during a game,
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