Health Highlights: Sept. 23, 2009Last Updated: September 23, 2009.
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:
Food Production Must Increase 70 Percent By 2050: U.N.
A 70 percent increase in global food production will be needed to feed the 9.1 billion people who will be on the Earth in 2050, says the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Currently, the world's population is 6.8 billion.
While the FAO said it was "cautiously optimistic about the world's potential to feed itself by 2050," there will be a number of significant challenges, said FAO Assistant Director-General Hafez Ghanem, Agence France Presse reported.
In its forecast, the FAO said most of the world's population growth will occur in developing countries. "Sub-Saharan Africa's population is expected to grow the fastest (up 108 percent, 910 million people), and East and South East Asia's the slowest (up 11 percent, 228 million)."
The FAO also predicted that about 70 percent of the world's population will live in cities or urban areas by 2050, compared with 49 percent today, AFP reported.
Green Tea May Protect Bones: Study
Chemicals in green tea may help slow bone breakdown, according to a Chinese study.
Researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong exposed cultured bone-forming cells (osteoblasts) to a number of major ingredients of green tea for several days. One of the compounds, epigallocatechin, increased the activity of an enzyme that promotes bone growth by as much as 79 percent, United Press International reported.
Also, high concentration of epigallocatechin blocked the activity of osteoclasts, which are cells that break down or weaken bones. There was no evidence that epigallocatechin had any toxic effects on bone cells, the news service said.
The study was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Personal Emergency Response Button Poses Choking Hazard: FDA
A type of personal emergency response button worn around the neck poses a choking hazard, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Tuesday.
Between 1998 and 2009, there were six reports of serious injury or death, including four deaths in the United States, after the cord on the Philips Lifeline Personal Help Button became entangled on other objects, the FDA said.
The choking risk is greatest for people with mobility limitations or for those who use wheelchairs, walkers, beds with guard rails, or other objects that could entangle with the device's neck cord.
Users and caregivers should consult with health-care providers to determine which style of emergency button is best for an individual patient, the FDA said. Some emergency buttons are worn on the wrist.
New OxyContin Offers 'Limited' Resistance to Abuse: FDA
A new version of the painkiller OxyContin is somewhat harder to abuse than the current version, say U.S. health officials.
The new version, made by Purdue Pharma LP, has a plastic-like coating that's designed to make it more difficult to crush, snort or inject the drug, the Associated Press reported.
On Tuesday, U.S. Food and Drug Administration scientists said the new version's resistance to abuse is "limited," but "may provide an advantage over the currently available OxyContin."
Last year, an FDA advisory panel told Purdue that it needed to conduct more tests to demonstrate the tamper resistance of the new version. On Thursday, the panel will decide whether new data submitted by Purdue is sufficient to recommend approval of the new version of OxyContin, the AP reported.
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