Health Highlights: Nov. 21, 2007

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

Actor Dennis Quaid's Twins Reported Hospitalized After Medical Error

Two-week-old twins born to actor Dennis Quaid and his wife, Kimberley, are recovering from a massive overdose of blood thinner they received at Los Angeles' Cedar-Sinai Medical Center, according to news reports.

The infants, who are being cared for in the hospital's neonatal care unit, each received vials of the anticoagulant drug heparin that was 1,000 times stronger than had been prescribed, the Associated Press reported.

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The babies reportedly received doses containing 10,000 units per millimeter of heparin versus vials with a recommended concentration of 10 units per millimeter.

According to the AP, Cedar-Sinai's chief medical officer, Michael L. Langberg, said three patients received the erroneous doses in what he called a "preventable error." Cedars-Sinai has apologized to the patients' families but cannot release their names due to confidentiality issues.

However, celebrity Web site named the Quaid twins, Thomas Boone and Zoe Grace, as two of the patients involved.

According to the hospital statement, tests to asses blood-clotting function came out normal for one of the patients, but, in the other two patients, doctors used a drug that reverses heparin's effects.

Further testing on the those two patients "indicated no adverse effects from the higher concentration of heparin," Langberg said.

The twins were born to Quaid, 53, and his wife Nov. 8 to a surrogate mother. In a statement, the actor's publicist, Carla Tripicchio, said the couple "appreciate everyone's thoughts and prayers and hope they can maintain their privacy during this difficult time," according to the AP.


More Americans Physically Active, Report Finds

There is good, and moving, news for most Americans preparing to tuck into one of the big holiday meals of the year.

Between 2001 to 2005, the number of Americans who got regular physical activity increased from 48 percent to 49.7 percent among men, and from 43 percent to 46.7 percent among women, according to government research released Wednesday.

The largest increase in regular physical activity occurred among non-Hispanic black women (from 31.4 percent to 36.1 percent) and non-Hispanic black men (from 40.3 percent to 45.3 percent). Rates of physical activity increased from 46 percent to 49.6 percent among white women and from 50.6 percent to 52.3 percent among white men.

Among Hispanic women, rates of physical activity increased from 36.3 percent to 40.5 percent, and from 41.2 percent to 46.6 percent among women of other races. In 2005, 41.9 percent of Hispanic men got regular physical activity.

The findings are from an analysis of data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and are published in this week's issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The CDC points out that regular physical activity can reduce the risk of a number of health problems, including obesity, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and certain cancers.


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