Health Highlights: March 22, 2012

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

Dissolvable Tobacco Products May Have Fewer Health Risks: FDA Panel

While dissolvable tobacco products could pose fewer health risks compared to cigarettes, they could increase the number of tobacco users in the United States, a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel says.

Dissolvable tobacco — finely milled tobacco pressed into shapes like tablets that slowly dissolve in the mouth — are one of the cigarette alternatives being considered by tobacco companies for future sales growth, the Associated Press reported.

There is a lack of research on dissolvable tobacco products, which make up a small share of the market, the panel noted.

The findings were posted online Thursday and will be reviewed by the FDA in any future decisions but there’s no timeline for the agency to act, the AP reported.


Army Mental Health Programs Under Review

A system-wide review of U.S. Army mental health facilities is being conducted to determine if psychiatrists overturned soldiers’ diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in order to save money.

The review by the Army inspector general comes as the case of a U.S. soldier suspected of killing 16 Afghan civilians has led to renewed focus on war-related mental strain among military personnel, the Associated Press reported.

The service is trying to determine whether changes in PTSD diagnoses were isolated or common practice, Army Secretary John McHugh told Congress on Wednesday.

The forensic psychiatry unit at Madigan Army Medical Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord is under investigation for reversing PTSD diagnoses in order to avoid the expense of providing care and benefits to soldiers, according to Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.

“Not only is it damaging for our soldiers, but it also really furthers the stigma for others that are — whether they’re deciding to seek help or not today,” Murray said, the AP reported.


More Young Adults OK Living With Parents: Study

The stigma of having to move back in with their parents appears to be fading for young adults in the United States, a new study suggests.

Pew Research Center investigators found that more than 75 percent of young adults who moved back home during and after the recent recession say they’re fine with living at home and feel good about their future financial prospects, according to U.S. News & World Report.

The fact that living with friends and relatives has become so common in a challenging economy may be one reason why so many of the so-called boomerang generation are less likely to be ashamed to be living with their parents.

The study found that 61 percent of young adults say they have family or friends who have been forced to return to their parents’ home in recent years due to money problems, U.S. News & World Report said.