Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:
Few U.S. Adults Proficient at Managing Health Care
Only 12 percent of the 228 million adults in the United States have the health literacy skills to manage their own health care proficiently, according to the latest News and Numbers report from the federal Agency for Healthcare Research.
Health literacy skills -- which describe a person's ability to obtain and use health information to make appropriate health care decisions -- include weighing the risks and benefits of different treatments, knowing how to calculate health insurance costs, and being able to fill out complex medical forms.
People with poor health literacy skills may have worse health care outcomes and face an increased risk of medical errors.
A 2003 survey found that:
New Guidelines Urge Careful Monitoring of Heart Device Patients
People with implanted pacemakers, defibrillators and other devices to regulate heartbeat need to be monitored carefully after the devices begin working, a team of international experts recommended Wednesday.
Almost 2 million people across the globe have had the devices implanted, the Associated Press reported.
While much of the attention so far has been directed to who should get the devices and whether insurance companies would pay for them, the wire service said, experts in San Francisco at a meeting of the Heart Rhythm Society unveiled new guidelines designed to provide follow-up care for people who already have them.
The guidelines recommend:
Former Supreme Court Justice Pleas for Alzheimer's Research
Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman to sit on the nation's high court, is urging Congress to help boost research on Alzheimer's disease.
O'Connor retired from the bench in 2005, when she and her spouse moved to an assisted care center in Phoenix, the Associated Press reported. "My beloved husband John suffers Alzheimer's," she told the Senate Special Committee on Aging. "He is not in very good shape at present."