Health Highlights: Jan. 11, 2009

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

106 Major League Baseball Players Granted Exemptions for ADHD Drugs

Almost 8 percent of all major league baseball players used drugs to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) during the 2008 season, almost twice the percentage of the general population.

The drugs -- usually stimulants -- to treat ADHD are among those banned for general use in the major leagues, according to the Associated Press. The 106 exemptions -- 7.86 percent of all major league players -- are actually three more than granted during the 2007 season, the wire service reports.

WHAT TO KNOW
    • 106 Major League Baseball Players Granted Exemptions for ADHD Drugs
    • CDC Director Gerberding Submits Resignation
    • FDA Delays Decision on Gardasil Approval for Older Women
    • Consumers Union Urges Expanded Testing of Infant Formula

The National Institute of Mental health estimates that 3-to-5 percent of U.S. children have ADHD.

A major league spokesman told the A.P. that making that sort of comparison might not be a fair one. "We are far younger than the general population," Rob Manfred, baseball's executive vice president of labor relations, is quoted as saying, "and we have far better access to medical care than the general population."

But Dr. Gary Wadler, chairman of the committee that creates a list of banned drugs for sports organizations, told the wire service he was concerned about the percentage exemptions for ADHD drugs in major league baseball.

"I've been in private practice for a lot of years," W#adler told the A.P.. "I can count on one hand the number of individuals that have ADD. To say that (7.86 percent) of major league baseball players have attention deficit disorder is crying out for an explanation."

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CDC Director Gerberding Submits Resignation

The first woman to head the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has submitted her resignation, the Associated Press has learned.

The wire service reports it obtained a copy of Dr. Julie Gerberding's resignation e-mail to employees at the Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC's parent agency. William Gimson, the CDC's chief operating officer, will be interim director after Barack Obama becomes president, the AP reports, but no permanent successor has been announced.

Gerberding became CDC director in July 2002, after joining the agency in 1998 as an infectious disease specialist. There had been some speculation she would remain as the agency's director, the AP reports, but her resignation, effective Jan. 20, was accepted by the Obama transition team.

The CDC investigates disease outbreaks and is the official government record-keeper of U.S. health statistics.

Gerberding has been considered an effective communicator, the wire service reports, but a number of problems occurred during her time in office.

These included a shortage of flu vaccine in 2003 and 2004; the departure of a number of CDC scientists during a reorganization she ordered; the CDC's response time to complaints about formaldehyde levels in trailers being provided to Hurricane Katrina survivors, and what was explained as a "computer glitch" when Gerberding reported that obesity had surpassed smoking as the top cause of death in the United States.

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FDA Delays Decision on Gardasil Approval for Older Women

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