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Health Highlights: April 4, 2017

Last Updated: April 04, 2017.

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

Most in Tobacco-Growing Kentucky Now Support Public Smoking Ban: Poll

Most residents of Kentucky support outlawing smoking in public places, even though the state is one of the largest tobacco producers in the United States, a new survey shows.

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky poll found that more than 7 in 10 people in the state back a statewide smoking ban in most public places, the Associated Press reported.

That's the highest level of support since the group first started asking the question in 2011.

Kentucky has the highest rate of tobacco-related cancer cases in the U.S. and anti-smoking advocates hope the results from the survey last fall will boost efforts to get a public smoking ban implemented, the AP reported.

In Kentucky, smoking bans introduced by local governments cover about one-third of the state's residents, according to the Kentucky Center for Smoke-Free Policy.

Nationwide, 27 states and the District of Columbia have workplace smoking bans, and many local governments have bans, the AP reported.


2nd Opinion Yields Different Diagnosis for 1 in 5 Patients: Study

One-fifth of patients who sought a second opinion at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. had been misdiagnosed by their primary care providers, a new study says.

Twelve percent of the 286 patients who sought a second opinion after seeing primary-care physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners in 2009 and 2010 received the same diagnosis both times, and the remaining patients received "better defined/refined" diagnoses when they sought a second opinion, the Washington Post reported.

The study was published in the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice.

"Diagnostic error is an area where we need more research, more study and more information," said study leader James Naessens, a professor of health services research at the Mayo Clinic, the Post reported. "The second opinion is a good approach for certain patients to figure out what's there and to keep costs down."

He noted that the patients in the study felt their conditions were were serious enough to have them re-checked by some of the best doctors in the country, which makes this group of patients somewhat different than the general population.

"It's not going to be 20 percent wrong every time" a patient sees a doctor, Naessens told the Post.


Painkiller Maker Settles With U.S. Government

A leading maker of narcotic painkillers will pay $35 million to settle a U.S. government investigation of its distribution of those drugs.

Dublin, Ireland-based Mallinckrodt PLC sells a range of opioid painkillers including generic pills containing fentanyl, morphine and oxycodone, and brand-name products such as extended-release Exalgo, Xartemis and Roxicodone pills, the Associated Press reported.

The company also makes medicines to treat narcotic addiction.

Possible links between marketing of addictive painkillers and the epidemic of opioid and heroin deaths in the U.S. have been under investigation by lawmakers and prosecutors, the AP reported.

On Monday, Mallinckrodt said it had reached a deal with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. attorneys for the Eastern District of Michigan and Northern District of New York.

The agreement requires further review and approval by the DEA and Justice Department. As is typical in such cases, Mallinckrodt didn't admit any wrongdoing, the AP reported.

A number of companies that sell opioid painkillers have been accused by U.S. politicians and others of playing a role in the nation's opioid epidemic. Many people become addicted to opioids after being prescribed them after surgery or injury, and a number eventually turn to much-cheaper heroin.

In 2015, a record number of more than 33,000 Americans died of an opioid overdose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly half of such deaths involve a prescription opioid, the AP reported.

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