Health Highlights: Sept. 3, 2013

Health Highlights: Sept. 3, 2013

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

Women’s Life Expectancy Increases

Life expectancy for women 50 and older has increased worldwide, but there is still room for improvement, a new World Health Organization study says.

Women in most countries now live longer than they did 40 years ago, due to progress against infectious diseases such as flu, pneumonia and tuberculosis. On average, Japanese women live the longest, The New York Times reported.

Heart disease, stroke and cancer kill most women over age 50, so countries should focus on lowering blood pressure with inexpensive drugs and screening for cervical and breast cancer, according to study author Dr. John Beard, director of the WHO’s department of aging.

He added that it’s also important to prevent smoking, excessive drinking and obesity in women, The Times reported.

The study was published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization.


NYC Deaths Put Focus on Party Drug ‘Molly’

A huge 3-day weekend dance festival in New York City ended early after the drug overdose deaths of two people.

More than 100,000 fans were expected at the Electric Zoo festival but the mayor’s office cut the event short after the two drug deaths from MDMA or “molly,” which is a more pure, potent form of ecstasy, CBS News reported.

“The Department of Health did not want to see a re-occurrence,” New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said following the deaths of 23-year-old Rochester, N.Y., native Jeffrey Russ and 20-year-old Olivia Rotondo of Providence, R.I.

People who take the designer drug may not understand how dangerous it is, according to an expert.

“Kids will often think of this as a very benign drug, and that is scary,” Dr. Damon Raskin, an addiction specialist, told CBS News. He explained that the drug lowers users’ inhibitions, giving them a sense of euphoria. After the high, there is a crash resulting in anxiety and depression.

“They will often mix ecstasy with other drugs, especially at parties, like alcohol and marijuana,” Raskin said. “I think that the combination of these drugs makes them all the more toxic.”

In 2011, U.S. hospitals reported more than 22,000 MDMA-related emergency room visits, which was a 120 percent increase from 2004, according to the Drug Abuse Warning Network, CBS News reported.