Health Highlights: Aug. 1, 2011

Planned Parenthood Wins Legal Fight on Funding in KansasPurina Cat Food RecalledKids Don't Need to Fast Before Cholesterol Check: StudyFDA Warns About Fake Emergency Birth Control DrugNew HIV Test Proves Accurate in Field TestHuman Genes Can be Patented: CourtLow Income, Poor Diet Speed Aging: Study

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Planned Parenthood Wins Legal Fight on Funding in Kansas

Implementation of a new Kansas law to prevent federal family planning funding to the state's Planned Parenthood chapter was blocked Monday by a federal judge.

The state must immediately resume funding for Planned Parenthood, U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten ordered, the Associated Press reported.

Unless it received its $330,000 in federal Title X annual funding, Planned Parenthood said it would have to close its clinic in the western city of Hays and that its 5,700 patients would face higher costs, longer wait or travel times to appointments, and less access to services.

Planned Parenthood is suing to block a state budget provision that channels federal family planning dollars to public health departments and hospitals, leaving no money for Planned Parenthood and similar organizations, the AP reported.


Purina Cat Food Recalled

Bags of cat food that may be contaminated with salmonella are being recalled by Nestle Purina.

The recall includes 3.5- and 7-pound bags of Purina One Vibrant Maturity 7+ Dry Cat food with a "best by" date of May 2012. The 3.5 pound bags have production codes of 03341084 and 03351084 and UPC codes of 17800 01885, and the 7-pound bags have production codes of 03341084 and 03351084 and UPC codes of 17800 01887, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The recalled bags of cat food were shipped to customers in California, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio and Wisconsin, but the food could have been taken to other states, the company said.

People who bought the cat food should stop feeding it to their cats and throw it away. Customers can get a refund by calling the company at 1-800-982-6559, the Tribune reported.


Kids Don't Need to Fast Before Cholesterol Check: Study

Children don't have to fast before their cholesterol levels are checked, a finding that will make the test easier for families, researchers say.

They looked at data on cholesterol levels in 13,000 children ages three to 17 and found that levels of total cholesterol and (good) HDL cholesterol were similar, and levels of (bad) LDL cholesterol varied only slightly, whether or not the youngsters fasted for eight hours before their blood was tested, CBS News reported.

The study appears in the journal Pediatrics.

"Cholesterol testing can be very difficult for families," study author Dr. Asheley Cockrell Skinner, research associate professor of pediatrics at the University of North Carolina, said in a written statement, CBS News reported. "When having to fast, this almost always means the child has to return on another morning for the test, which can be very problematic for busy families."


FDA Warns About Fake Emergency Birth Control Drug

Women in the United States are being warned not to use an unapproved emergency birth control drug labeled as Evital because it may be a counterfeit product that is not safe or effective in preventing pregnancy.

Evital is not approved for use in the United States. The packaging label of the potentially counterfeit version says "Evital Anticonceptivo de emergencia, 1.5 mg, 1 tablet", by "Fluter Domull," according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Women should contact a doctor or health care professional if they've taken Evital labeled as the 1.5 mg tablet and experienced any problems, the FDA said.

FDA-approved prescription and over-the-counter emergency birth control medicines are available in the U.S. Women should talk with a doctor, pharmacist or health care professional about the use of these medicines, the FDA advised.


New HIV Test Proves Accurate in Field Test

A new rapid blood test detected both HIV and syphilis in a field trial conducted in Rwanda, according to researchers.

The clear plastic, credit-card shaped "lab on a chip" device provided results within 20 minutes and was 100 percent accurate in detecting HIV and 94 percent accurate in detecting syphilis, the Washington Post reported.

Compared to current methods, the new test could offer a quicker, easier and less expensive way to detect infectious diseases among people in developing countries, according to the authors of the study published online in the journal Nature Medicine.

"This is a big step," Doris Rouse, a vice president at RTI International in North Carolina who specializes in global health technologies, told the Post. "Whats especially exciting about this device is that its rugged, easy to use and doesnt require a lot of infrastructure or training."

She was not involved in the study.


Human Genes Can be Patented: Court

An isolated human gene can be patented, a U.S. federal appeals court has ruled.

Friday's decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed a lower court ruling about Salt-Lake City-based Myriad Genetics Inc.'s patents for two genes (BRCA1 and BRCA1) whose mutations are associated with an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancers, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The case involved a number of researchers, scientific societies and women's health advocacy groups who filed suit to invalidate the patents.

The case may eventually reach the Supreme Court, the Wall Street Journal reported.


Low Income, Poor Diet Speed Aging: Study

Having a low income or eating poorly can hasten aging, according to researchers who evaluated a test that predicts aging by measuring telomeres.

Telomeres are cap-like structures on the ends of chromosomes. Previous research has shown that people with shorter-than-normal telomeres have a shorter lifespan.

In this study, Scottish scientists used the $700 test to compare telomere length in 382 people. Over 10 years, telomeres shorted by 7.7 percent among people with a household income of less than $41,000, compared with 0.6 percent among those who made more money, CBS News reported.

Telomere lengths shortened by 8.7 percent among renters and 2.2 percent among homeowners, and by 7.7 percent among people with poor diets and 1.8 percent among healthy eaters.

The study is scheduled for publication in an upcoming issue of the journal PLoS One.

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