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Health Highlights: Dec. 8, 2011

Last Updated: December 08, 2011.

 

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

Obama Backs Decision Against OTC Sale of Morning-After Pill

President Barack Obama said Thursday that he supports the decision by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to forbid over-the-counter sales of an emergency contraceptive to young teens.

Sebelius overruled the Food and Drug Administration, which had conducted extensive research and concluded that the Plan B One-Step pill was safe to sell to teens younger than 16 without a prescription, The New York Times reported.

Obama said he was not involved in the HHS secretary's decision but stands behind it.

"The reason Kathleen made this decision is that she could not be confident that a 10-year-old or an 11-year-old going to a drug store should be able -- alongside bubble gum or batteries -- to buy a medication that potentially, if not used properly, could have an adverse effect," Obama told reporters at the White House, the Times reported.

"And I think most parents would probably feel the same way," he added.

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Texting While Driving Rises in U.S.

There was a 50 percent increase in texting while driving in the United States in 2010 and about one in five drivers say they've sent text messages or emails while on the road, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study released Thursday.

The increase in this dangerous practice occurred despite a growing number of states that have banned texting while driving. Last month, Pennsylvania became the 35th state to outlaw the behavior, the Associated Press reported.

The NHTSA study found that the number of drivers who texted or used other hand-held devices while behind the wheel increased from 0.6 percent in 2009 to just under one percent last year.

The use of headsets also increased from 0.6 percent to 0.9 percent, but the use of handheld cell phones remained steady at five percent.

An NHTSA survey of more than 6,000 drivers 18 and older found that 18 percent of them said they've sent text messages or emails while driving.

"It is clear that educational messages alone aren't going to change their behavior," Jonathon Adkins, a spokesman for the Governors Highway Safety Association, told the AP. "Rather, good laws with strong enforcement are what is needed. Many drivers won't stop texting until they fear getting a ticket. The increase shows what an uphill challenge distracted driving remains."

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Yawns Most Contagious Among Family, Friends: Study

Yawning family members or friends are more likely to make you yawn than strangers, according to a new study.

Italian researchers observed 109 people for up to two hours in their natural setting and recorded when the subjects' yawns triggered yawns in other people, ABC News reported.

The study found that yawns were most contagious among family members and life partners, followed by friends, and then acquaintances and strangers.

"Yawn contagion is affected by the empathic bond that links two people," the University of Pisa researchers said in a news release, ABC News reported.

The study was published in the journal PLoS One.

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CooperVision Contact Lenses Recalled

Silicone oil residue on certain lots of CooperVision Avaira Aquaform Sphere soft contact lenses has prompted a recall of the products, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday.

The oil residue can cause hazy or blurry vision, discomfort or eye injuries that require medical treatment.

The recalled lenses were made between Feb. 1, 2011 through Aug. 24, 2011 and distributed from March 2, 2011 through Nov. 15, 2011.

Consumers with these contact lenses should stop wearing them and contact an eye professional for advice, the FDA said.

For more information, go to CooperVision's recall website (www.coopervision.com/international-recall) or call the company's consumer hotline at 1-855-526-6737.

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Copyright © 2011 HealthDay. All rights reserved.


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