Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments,
compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
More Discharged Hospital Patients Require Home
Care: U.S. Report
From 1997 to 2008, the number of U.S. patients who required home health
care after being released from hospital increased about 70 percent, from
2.3 million to four million, according to a federal government report
During the same time, the number of discharged hospital patients who
did not require home care grew by less than 8 percent, from 27 million to
29 million, according to the latest News and Numbers from the
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Among the other findings from the analysis of data from
- There was a 35 percent rise in the number of hospital patients
discharged to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, from 3.7
million to 5 million.
- The number of patients who left the hospital against medical advice
rose 40 percent, from 264,000 to 370,000.
- There was a 4 percent increase in the number of patients transferred
from one hospital to another hospital, from 846,000 to 878,000.
- The number of patients who died in the hospital decreased 5 percent,
from 852,000 to 811,000.
Hawaii Happiest State: Survey
Hawaii is the happiest state, while West Virginia is the most glum,
according to a new U.S. telephone survey of 352,840 people ages 18 and
The national poll, conducted between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2010, found
that 10 southern states were in the lower range of happiness, while five
western states were among the top 10 happiest, Fox News
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being survey focused on six categories of
well-being: life evaluation; emotional health; work environment; physical
health; healthy behavior; and basic access (access to health care, a
doctor, safe places to exercise and walk, and community satisfaction).
The top five happiest states were: Hawaii, Wyoming, North Dakota,
Alaska and Colorado. The five least happy states were West Virginia,
Kentucky, Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama, Fox News reported.
Use of Pregnancy Hormone in Diet Program
U.S. health officials and some experts are concerned about the
popularity of a weight-loss regimen that combines daily injections of the
pregnancy hormone hCG and a near starvation diet.
Patients, mainly women, pay upward of $1,000 a month for a
consultation, a supply of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) and the
syringes needed to inject the hormone, but there is little evidence that
the regimen is effective, The New York Times reported.
Many patients are told that the hCG will induce their bodies to
eliminate fat from areas such as the upper arms, bellies and thighs.
They’re also told the hormone will prevent them from feeling hungry or
tired despite their low calorie intake.
The promotion of hCG as a diet tool is “manipulating people to give
them the sense that they’re receiving something that’s powerful and potent
and effective, and in fact, they’re receiving something that’s nothing
better than a placebo,” Dr. Pieter Cohen, a weight-loss supplement
researcher and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, told The
Homeopathic forms of hCG, such as lozenges and sprays, that are sold
over the Internet and some health food stores are fraudulent and illegal
if they claim to promote weight-loss, says the Food and Drug
The injectable, prescription form of hCG is approved as a treatment for
infertility and other uses, and it is legal for doctors to prescribe it
“off-label” for weight loss, The Times reported.
However, hCG packaging must carry a warning that it has not been shown
to increase weight loss, does not cause a more “attractive” distribution
of fat, and does not “decrease hunger and discomfort” from low-calorie
In addition, the hormone carries risks of blood clots, depression,
headaches and breast tenderness or enlargement, FDA spokesman Christopher
Kelly told The Times.