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Health Highlights: July 10, 2013

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

Surprising Pattern of Spine Injuries Among Jet Crash Survivors

A pattern of spine injuries among some survivors of the Asiana jet crash in San Francisco shows how violently passengers were shaken despite wearing seat belts, a doctor says.

Several patients have needed surgery to stabilize their spines so they can move and two patients can't move their legs, although it's not known if the damage is permanent, Dr. Geoffrey Manley, chief of neurosurgery at San Francisco General Hospital, told the Associated Press.

He said the worst injuries include crushed vertebrae that compress the spinal cord, and ligaments that are so stretched and torn that they're unable to hold neck and back joints in place.

Even among passengers who suffered mild spine trauma, the pattern of injuries shows how their upper bodies were hurled forward than backward over their lap belts, Manley told the AP.

However, that doesn't mean that adding shoulder belts to airline seats is a good idea.

"If you put in the shoulder belt, it might just move the injuries up further. Your head weighs a tremendous amount," Manley said. He hopes to study the issue by comparing survivors' injuries to where they sat, the AP reported.

Only 2 of the 307 passengers and crew of the jet died in Saturday's crash. More than 180 people went to hospitals with injuries, but only a small number were critically injured.


Abortion Bill Moving Through Texas Legislature

A restrictive abortion bill is once again moving through the Texas legislature during a special session called by Republican Gov. Rick Perry.

The controversial bill was stalled last month by Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis' 11-hour filibuster. However, a new version was drafted and there was a hearing on the bill in the Republican-controlled House on Monday and a debate on the floor on Tuesday, The New York Times reported.

Like its predecessor, the new version would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and hold abortion clinics to the same standards as hospital-style surgical centers.

While proponents of the bill say the requirements for abortion clinics are meant to improve safety, opponents charge that the rules are meant to burden the clinics with costs that will force many to close, The Times reported.


Mexico Topples U.S. as Most Obese Nation: U.N.

Mexico has moved ahead of the United States to claim the dubious title of most obese nation in the world, according to a new United Nations report.

It said that nearly 70 percent of Mexican adults are overweight, that childhood obesity in the country has tripled in the past decade, and that one-third of teens are obese, according to Medical Daily, said.

Nearly 33 percent of Mexican adults are considered obese, compared to nearly 32 percent of U.S. adults. Weight-related diabetes causes nearly 70,000 deaths in Mexico each year, and more than 400,000 new cases of diabetes are diagnosed annually.

Experts said that increasing levels of inactivity and a growing number of people who can't afford healthy foods are among the reasons for the rising obesity rate in Mexico, reported.

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