Health Highlights: Dec. 7, 2012
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Nurse in Duchess of Cambridge Radio Prank Reportedly Commits Suicide
News reports suggest that the nurse at a London Hospital who was tricked into providing two Australian radio hosts with information about the Duchess of Cambridge's condition has committed suicide.
At about 9:35 a.m. Friday, officers responded to reports of a woman found unconscious at an address in central London, Scotland Yard said. She was pronounced dead at the scene, and the death is being treated as unexplained but not suspicious, CBS News reported.
King Edward VII hospital confirmed the nurse's death.
Earlier this week, the two radio hosts called the hospital and pretended to be Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles asking about the Duchess of Cambridge, who was being treated for severe morning sickness.
New Rules Would Ease Veterans' Access to Brain Injury Benefits
Proposed new rules that will make it easier for thousands of American veterans to receive health care and compensation for certain conditions linked to traumatic brain injury were announced by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Under the revised regulations, veterans with Parkinsonism, unprovoked seizures, certain dementias, depression and hormone deficiency diseases linked to the hypothalamus, pituitary or adrenal glands would be eligible for the expanded benefits, The New York Times reported.
The changes could lead to tens of thousands of veterans filing claims with the Veterans Benefits Administration.
The regulations will be published Monday in the Federal Register and there will be a 60-day public comment period, The Times reported.
Drug Makers Fight Calif. Drug Take-Back Law
U.S. drug companies are fighting a local law in California that makes them responsible for funding and running a program where consumers can bring in unused medicines for proper disposal.
The law in Alameda County, Calif. -- which includes Oakland and Berkeley -- was enacted in July and is the first such law in the country. Drug companies have until July 1, 2013 to submit their plans for complying with the law, The New York Times reported.
The drug industry planned to file a lawsuit in United States District Court in Oakland on Friday in an effort to have the law overturned. The lawsuit is being filed by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, which represents brand-name and generic drug makers, and biotechnology companies.
The law was enacted due growing concerns that unused medicines are a potential threat to public health and the environment. Most drug take-back programs are run by local or other government agencies. But there are increasing calls to make drug makers pay for such programs, The Times reported.
Two-Year-Old Goes Home After Being in Hospital Since Birth
A two-year-old Texas girl who was born with her intestines and liver outside her body and has spent her entire life in hospital went home on Thursday.
Adalynn Willett spent 850 days in Cook Children's Medical Center as she underwent 28 surgeries and extensive physical therapy. When she was born, her family thought Adalynn would spend about three months in the hospital, ABC News reported.
"She is very excited to be home," says her father, Bryan Willett. "She is full of joy."
Adalynn's condition is called omphalocele. It affects about 1 out of every 5,386 babies born in the United States each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ABC News reported.
Meningitis Victims' Lawyers Likely to be Allowed to Inspect Pharmacy
Lawyers for victims of a deadly meningitis outbreak linked to a compounding pharmacy will likely be granted their request for a thorough inspection and testing at the Framingham, Mass. facility.
On Thursday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jennifer Boal said she expects to issue an order allowing lawyers for people suing the New England Compounding Center to access the pharmacy, the Associated Press reported.
Thirty-six people died and more than 500 others have been sickened in the meningitis outbreak, according to health officials. The plaintiffs allege that they or family members contracted fungal meningitis from contaminated steroid injections made by the New England Compounding Center.
A lawyer for the center asked the judge to delay her decision about an inspection at the pharmacy until a judicial panel rules on whether lawsuits across the country will be heard by a single court, the AP reported.
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