Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:
Test Predicts Onset of Preterm Labor
A test that predicts whether premature birth is imminent if a woman's water breaks early in pregnancy has been identified by Swedish researchers.
In such cases, there's a strong link between high levels of lactate in vaginal fluid and onset of labor within 48 hours, said the researchers, who assessed the test in 86 women with single pregnancies of 20 to 36 weeks gestation, BBC News reported.
The study found that 87 percent of the 23 women with high lactate concentrations had spontaneous labor within 48 hours, compared with 5 percent of the 58 women with low lactate concentrations.
Among women with high lactate concentrations, the average time between examination of labor onset was 13.6 hours, compared with 48 days for those with low lactate levels, BBC News reported.
The study about the "Lac-test" appears in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology.
FDA Panel Endorses New Female Condom
A second-generation female condom called the FC2 Female Condom should be approved for use in the United States, a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel decided Thursday.
In its 15-0 vote recommending approval by the full agency, the panel said there should be a condition that instructions for use remain the same as those for the FC1 Female Condom. The panel also said the manufacturer should identify the study performed to establish the comparable safety and effectiveness of FC2 with FC1.
The first generation FC1 condom was approved for U.S. sale in 1993, and 165 million of the condoms have been distributed in 142 countries. So far, 22 million of the FC2 condoms have been distributed in 77 countries. The World Health Organization has said the condoms can be purchased by United Nations agencies.
The FC2 condom looks similar to the FC1, but is produced and sold at a lower cost. The product is made by the Female Health Company, based in Chicago.
While not required to do so, the FDA usually follows the advice of its advisory panels.
Certain Dementia Patients Can't Detect Sarcasm
People under the age of 65 with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) can't detect when someone is being sarcastic, a finding that may help improve diagnosis of the condition, say Australian researchers.
FTD, also called Pick's disease, is the second most common form of dementia and can be difficult to diagnose in its early stages.
In this study, actors presented scenarios to 26 FTD patients and 19 Alzheimer's patients. The scenarios used the exact same words but were presented either in a sincere tone or laced with sarcasm, Agence France Presse reported.
The Alzheimer's patients picked up on the sarcasm but the FTD patients did not, concluded the University of New South Wales study, which appears in the journal Brain.
"The patients with FTD are very literal and they take what is being said as genuine and sincere," AFP quoted senior author John Hodges as saying. He said the findings help explain the behavior of people with FTD, which is often upsetting to family members.