Health Highlights: Oct. 31, 2007

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

Psychological Distress Less Common Among Parents

It may be hard to believe, but a new U.S. study says parents are less likely to suffer serious psychological distress than non-parents.

Researchers at RTI International in North Carolina analyzed data on more than 33,000 American adults, ages 18 to 49, who took part in the 2002 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. They found that nine percent of parents had experienced serious psychological distress in the past year, compared to 12 percent of non-parents, ABC News reported.

    • Psychological Distress Less Common Among Parents
    • Lead Concerns Prompt More Recalls of Chinese-Made Products
    • Treadmills Help Down Syndrome Babies Walk Earlier
    • Retinoic Acid May Cut Ex-Smokers' Lung Cancer Risk
    • More Young Adults Take Cholesterol, Blood Pressure Drugs
    • Concurrent Sexual Partnerships Common Among U.S. Men

Of all the adults, younger women with lower incomes were most likely to experience serious psychological distress, the study found.

In explaining the difference between parents and non-parents, the researchers said parents with a strong social support network of family and friends may recover more quickly from psychological problems, ABC News reported.


Lead Concerns Prompt More Recalls of Chinese-Made Products

More lead-related recalls of Chinese-made toys and novelty items were announced Wednesday by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The recalls include:

  • About 43,000 fake teeth with paint that contains excessive levels of lead. The teeth are painted white, black and orange with brown gums. They were imported by Amscan Inc. of Elmsford, N.Y., and sold as party favors in packages of eight, with UPC 0-48419-65002-7 and UPC 0-48419-61663-4 printed on the packaging. Consumers should return them to the place of purchase for a refund.
  • About 16,000 "Elite Operation" toys with surface coatings that contain excess levels of lead. The recall of the toys, imported by Toys "R" Us Inc., includes Super Rigs (#1004), Command Patrol Center (#1020), Barracuda Helicopter (#1023), and 3 Pack 8-inch Figures (#1024). Consumers should return the toys to Toys "R" Us for a refund.
  • About 1,500 SimplyFun Ribbit board games that have frog-shaped wooden playing pieces that contain excess levels of lead. Consumers should immediately remove the frog playing pieces from the game and contact SimplyFun LLC, of Bellevue, Wash., for a replacement set. The number is 877-557-7767.


Treadmills Help Down Syndrome Babies Walk Earlier

Compared to traditional therapies, treadmills can help infants with Down syndrome learn to walk months earlier, says a University of Michigan study published in the October issue of the journal Physical Therapy.

The study included 30 babies with Down syndrome who were walked on a treadmill for eight minutes a day, five days a week, Agence France-Presse reported. As a result, the babies learned to walk four to five months earlier than usual 24 to 28 months it takes using traditional physical therapy alone.

Helping babies with Down syndrome learn to walk earlier can boost their motor skills, social skills, perception and spatial cognition, explained study author Dale Ulrich of the university's division of kineisiology.

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