Health Highlights: June 8, 2009

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

New Orleans Mayor Quarantined in China

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and his wife were being held in quarantine by the Chinese government Sunday after traveling on a plane to Shanghai with a passenger who had swine flu symptoms, the (NY) Daily News reported.

The mayor, his wife, Seletha, and a bodyguard were among those quarantined. Shanghai has 10 confirmed cases of swine flu, and authorities are taking extreme precautions, the Daily News said.

    • New Orleans Mayor Quarantined in China
    • Cancer Patients Still Taking Antioxidant Supplements
    • Kids and Concussions: Guidelines Stir Controversy
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The three were feeling fine, said mayoral spokeswoman Ceeon Quiett. She also said they were being treated with the "utmost courtesy by Chinese officials," the Daily News said.

Nagin, who became a national figure in 2005 when New Orleans was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, was on an economic-development trip to China and Australia.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization reported that swine flu has now spread to 73 countries, with 139 deaths from the disease since it was first detected in April.

The latest WHO figures, released Monday, show more than 25,000 people have been infected with the swine influenza A-H1N1 worldwide, according to Voice of America.


Cancer Patients Still Taking Antioxidant Supplements

Cancer patients are still taking antioxidant supplements, despite concerns that they could interfere with chemotherapy and radiation therapy, US News & World Report said.

A new study published in the journal Cancer found that 61 percent of breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, radiation or anti-estrogen drug therapy were taking antioxidant supplements, such as Vitamins C and E, beta carotene or selenium, the magazine said.

Scientists aren't certain that the antioxidants are harmful, but some evidence suggests the supplements could protect the cells that cancer therapies are trying to destroy. Proponents of antioxidants argue otherwise, saying antioxidants may help chemo and radiation combat the deadly cells, the magazine said.

Heather Greenlee, lead author of the study and assistant professor of epidemiology and medical oncology at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, said there isn't enough information to settle the question. What doses, if any, could be problematic is also unknown, she said, according to U.S. News.

Cancer patients should continue to eat fruits and vegetables that contain natural antioxidants, the magazine reported. Also, tell your doctor what medications and supplements you are taking, even things such as green tea extract.


Kids and Concussions: Guidelines Stir Controversy

Brain-injury experts are split over new guidelines on concussion care, with some worried that the stricter recommendations will ultimately put young athletes at greater risk of injury, according to the New York Times.

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