Health Highlights: Dec. 24, 2009

The suit against the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Texas A&M University System argued that their failure to obtain parental consent violated constitutional protections against unlawful search and seizure. The parents feared their children's private health information would be misused.

About 5.3 million samples would be destroyed, said a state health services spokeswoman.

For decades, Texas has collected blood specimens to screen for birth defects and diseases. Last May, the state placed some restrictions on the procedures, giving parents the right to refuse and instituting controls over the research that can use the specimens. The lawsuit involves the samples collected prior to the new law.

If parents agree, the health department can still use the blood samples for disease research, the AP said.

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No Proof of Vytorin Cancer Link: FDA

An extensive data review of the cholesterol drug Vytorin turned up no evidence that the drug causes cancer, federal drug regulators say.

Following up on concerns raised by a patient study last year, the Food and Drug Administration examined all of the data from that study and reviewed available information from two ongoing large studies, the Associated Press reported.

But whether Vytorin, which is made by Merck & Co., is linked to a higher risk of cancer or death from cancer cannot definitively be ruled out, the FDA said.

Vytorin combines two types of cholesterol pills, Zetia and Zocor.

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