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Health Highlights: Nov. 18, 2011

Last Updated: November 18, 2011.


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

Paterno Has Lung Cancer, Son Reveals

Recently fired Penn State football coach Joe Paterno has lung cancer, his son wrote Friday in a statement provided to the Associated Press.

Joe Paterno, 84, is being treated and "his doctors are optimistic he will make a full recovery," his son, Scott, wrote.

"As everyone can appreciate, this is a deeply personal matter for my parents, and we simply ask that his privacy be respected as he proceeds with treatment," Scott Paterno's statement said.

The diagnosis, according to the statement, was made at a doctor's visit last weekend -- originally a follow-up appointment for a bronchial illness, the AP reported.

Joe Paterno was fired last week amid allegations about former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who has been charged with sexually assaulting eight boys during a 15-year period.


Romaine Lettuce Salad Products Recalled

Ready Pac Food Inc. bagged salad products containing romaine lettuce have been recalled because they might be contaminated with E. coli, the California Department of Health said Thursday.

The recalled products are in 9 oz., 9.25 oz., 10 oz., 10.25 oz. and 16 oz. bags and have Ready Pac, Trader Joe's, Safeway, and Dining In Classic labels. They have a Use by Date of Nov. 18, 2011, CBS News reported.

The products were distributed in Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, Texas and Washington. No cases of illnesses associated with the recalled products have been reported.

The recall was announced after tests by the U.S. Department of Agriculture detected some E. coli contamination in the product, CBS News reported.


Former NFL Players Taking Part in Brain Disease Study

Researchers have started testing retired professional football players in an attempt to learn how to diagnose a degenerative brain disease in former athletes while they are still alive.

Currently, the only way to confirm Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is by examining brains after death, the Associated Press reported.

The researchers at Boston University's Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy plan to compare 100 retired NFL players with 50 retired elite athletes from non-contact sports.

Participants undergo two days of examinations that includes brain scans, a spinal tap, neurological and cognitive tests, blood work and a psychiatric interview, the AP reported.

Until CTE can be diagnosed while athletes are still alive, it's impossible to develop treatments or learn how to prevent it, said center co-director Robert Stern.


Smucker's Peanut Butter Recalled

Possible salmonella contamination has led to the recall of some 16-ounce jars of Smucker's Natural Peanut Butter Chunky sold in nearly two dozen states.

Ohio-based J.M. Smucker Co. said the recalled jars have "Best if Used By" dates of Aug. 3 and Aug. 4, 2012, and carry the production codes 1307004 and 1308004, the Associated Press reported.

There have been no reports of illnesses associated with the peanut butter, according to the company.

The recalled product was distributed in: Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.


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