Health Highlights: Aug. 18, 2008

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

2 Deaths Reported Among Users of Byetta, a Diabetes Drug

Two deaths have resulted from six recent cases of pancreatitis among users of the diabetes drug Byetta, marketed by drug makers Amylin Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly & Co., the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Monday.

The other four pancreatitis patients are recovering, the Associated Press reported. The FDA is working on stronger labeling for the drug after the recent deaths, which came despite earlier government warnings about users' increased risk of acute pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas.

    • 2 Deaths Reported Among Users of Byetta, a Diabetes Drug
    • Video Games Help Players Acquire Skills
    • Expectations Affect College Students' Self-Esteem
    • Honest University Students Braver Than Cheaters
    • New Drug May Prevent Fibrosis
    • Australian Doctors Call for Gardasil Review
    • Barracks for Wounded Soldiers Full of Mold

The injected drug is marketed for people with type 2 diabetes. It has been used by more than 700,000 people since being approved in June 2005, the AP said.

The drug companies issued a statement warning that among people taking Byetta there are "very rare case reports of pancreatitis with complications or with a fatal outcome." Diabetics are already at greater-than-normal risk of pancreatitis, the companies said.

Monday's FDA announcement was preceded last October by its warning that there had been 30 reports of pancreatitis among Byetta users. In that announcement, the FDA warned that people should stop taking the drug if they developed symptoms of acute pancreatitis, including nausea and abdominal pain.


Video Games Help Players Acquire Skills

Video games may provide many benefits, ranging from improving youngsters' problem-solving abilities to improving surgeons' skills, suggest studies presented at the American Psychological Association meeting in Boston.

One study of 122 students in Grades 5, 6 and 7 found that playing video games seemed to encourage the younger students' planning and problem-solving abilities, the Associated Press reported.

Another study found that laparoscopic surgeons who played video games were 27 percent faster at advanced surgical procedures and made 37 percent fewer errors than their non-gamer colleagues.

A third study looked at the popular online fantasy game World of Warcraft, in which players who work together have more success. The researchers concluded the game encourages scientific thinking, such as using math and testing to investigate problems, the AP reported.

However, other studies presented at the meeting did confirm that those who play violent games tend to be more hostile, less forgiving and more likely to believe that violence is normal than those who don't play violent games.


Expectations Affect College Students' Self-Esteem

College students and their parents often have differing perceptions of expectations, which can cause self-esteem problems for students, says a University of Central Florida study.

Researchers surveyed 174 students and 230 of their parents about their perceptions of personal maturity, academic achievement, dating and communication, United Press International reported.

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