Health Highlights: Dec. 10 2009

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

Consumerism Boosts Teen Mental Health Problems: Study

Consumerism may be a major reason why psychological problems among American teens have been on the rise since the 1930s, a new study finds.

"We have become a culture that focuses more on material things and less on relationships," and this emphasis on things is affecting mental health on a societal level, said lead researcher Jean Twenge, an associate professor of psychology at San Diego State University, ABC News reported.

WHAT TO KNOW
    • Consumerism Boosts Teen Mental Health Problems: Study
    • Label Error Prompts Recall of Alka-Seltzer Cold Capsules
    • Childhood Germ Exposure Offers Life-Long Protection: Study
    • Drug, Health Care Costs Increase for Americans 18 to 44
    • Senators Reach Deal on Health Bill Roadblock
    • Antipsychotic Drugs May Carry Weight Gain Warning: FDA
    • WHO Urges Stronger Action Against Smoking

Twenge and colleagues analyzed data collected between 1938 and 2007 on the mental health and personality of more than 63,000 high school and college students.

The researchers found that students today feel much more isolated, misunderstood and emotionally sensitive or unstable than in previous decades, ABC News reported. In addition. teens today are more likely to be narcissistic, have poor self-control and to say they're worried, sad, and dissatisfied with life.

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Label Error Prompts Recall of Alka-Seltzer Cold Capsules

About 100,000 packages of Alka-Seltzer cold capsules have been recalled because of a labeling error, says Bayer Healthcare.

The company said about 4 percent of packages from a single lot of Alka-Seltzer Plus Day & Night Liquid Gels lack risk information about drowsiness, the Associated Press reported.

The recall is for packages from lot 296939L. Consumers who bought packages from this lot should stop using the product immediately and contact Bayer (800-986-3307) for a refund. Stores have been told to destroy products from the affected lot.

A Bayer spokeswoman said the labeling problem was caused by human error during the printing process, the AP reported.

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Childhood Germ Exposure Offers Life-Long Protection: Study

A lack of exposure to germs in childhood could increase the risk of disease in adulthood, suggests a new study.

"Our research suggests that ultra-clean, ultra-hygienic environments early in life may contribute to higher levels of inflammation as an adult, which in turn increases risks for a wide range of diseases," including heart disease, said lead author Thomas McDade, of Northwestern University in Illinois, Agence France Presse reported.

He and his colleagues found that infants and toddlers in the Philippines had far more infectious diseases than those in the United States, but levels of C-reactive protein -- a marker of inflammation -- are at least 80 percent lower in Filipino adults than in American adults.

"CRP concentrations are incredibly low in Filipinos compared to people in the United States and that was counter to what a lot of people would have anticipated because we know that Filipinos have higher exposure to infectious diseases," McDade told AFP.

The study appears online in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society.

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Drug, Health Care Costs Increase for Americans 18 to 44

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