Health Highlights: April 7, 2011

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

9 Million in U.S. Say They’re Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgendered: Study

New research finds that about nine million people in the United States identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).

About 1.8 percent of adults identify themselves as bisexual, 1.7 percent as gay or lesbian, and .03 percent as transgender, said the researchers at UCLA’s School of Law, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The analysis of nine surveys conducted over the last seven years also revealed that about 8.2 percent of Americans said they participated in same-sex sexual activity and about 11 percent said they had some same-sex sexual attraction, but neither of these groups necessarily identified themselves as LGBT.

The researchers noted that insufficient and inconsistent national surveys make it difficult to get an estimate of the LGBT population in the U.S., the Times reported.


FDA Will Not OK Gardasil for Women Over 26

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will not widen the indication for the Gardasil vaccine to prevent human papillomavirus-related cancers in women ages 27 to 45, says Merck & Co.

Instead, the agency said Gardasil’s label must be updated to say the vaccine hasn’t been shown to prevent cervical dysplasia or more serious problems in women in that age group, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Gardasil is approved in the U.S. for use in females ages nine to 26 to prevent cervical, vulvar, vaginal and anal cancers, as well as genital warts and lesions, caused by HPV.

It’s also approved for males in the same age group to prevent anal cancer and lesions and genital warts, the Wall Street Journal reported.


Triad Antiseptic Products Seized: FDA

Concerns about possible contamination led to the seizure of more than $6 million worth of antiseptic products made by Triad Group and H&P Industries, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Wednesday.

The items confiscated from Triad’s facility in Hartland, Wis. included cough and cold products, antiseptic creams, suppositories, nasal sprays, antifungal creams, medicated wipes and raw materials, the Associated Press reported.

The products were used in medical facilities across the United States and sold under a variety of product names at a number of chain stores. Various kinds of bacterial contamination in the products have prompted three recalls since December.

The FDA said the action comes after the “continued failure” of Triad Group and H&P Industries to comply with good manufacturing practice regulations. The companies are owned and managed by the same parties, the AP reported.


Genetic Change Increases Risk of Lung Cancer Spread: Study

Scientists have identified a genetic change that increases the risk that lung cancer will spread to other parts of the body, a finding that could lead to improved treatments.

The U.S. team found that reduced activity of a gene called NKX2-1 was associated with higher lung cancer death rates. The discovery was made in mice but confirmed in human lung tumor samples, BBC News reported.

The study appears in the journal Nature.

“Lung cancer is a huge problem worldwide, and understanding why some lung cancers are more likely to spread is vital for developing better, more personalized treatments,” Neil Barrie, senior science information officer at Cancer Research UK, told BBC News. “Research like this is helping to unravel the genetic ‘signatures’ of different cancers, and will spark ideas for new ways to tackle the disease,” he added.