Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Rep. Giffords to Resign From Congress
Representaive Gabrielle Giffords announced Sunday that she will
resign from Congress to focus on her recovery from injuries
suffered in an assassination attempt last year.
The Democrat from Arizona wanted to return to Congress and was
expected to have an easy re-election if she ran this year, but she
decided in recent days that she could not continue her recovery and
still serve as a member of Congress,
The New York Times reported.
Giffords will resign after attending President Barack Obama's
State of the Union address to Congress Tuesday. A special election
will be held to determine who will fill the remainder of her term,
which ends in November.
Giffords was shot in the head on Jan. 8, 2011, as she held a
constituent meeting outside a grocery store in her hometown of
Tucson. Six people died in the shooting.
In a video released online Sunday, Giffords told her
constituents: "I don't remember much from that horrible day, but I
will never forget the trust you placed in me to be your voice.
Thank you for your prayers and for giving me time to recover. I
have more work to do on my recovery, so to do what is best for
Arizona, I will step down this week."
However, she also hinted at a possible future political
comeback. "I will return, and we will work together for Arizona and
this great country," Giffords said.
In a statement released Sunday, President Obama said: "Gabby
Giffords embodies the very best of what public service should be.
She's universally admired for qualities that transcend party or
ideology -- a dedication to fairness, a willingness to listen to
different ideas, and a tireless commitment to the work of
perfecting our union."
FDA OK for Marijuana-Based Cancer Pain Drug Sought
A British company hopes to gain U.S. Food and Drug
Administration approval for a marijuana-based mouth spray to treat
The product -- called Sativex -- contains two components of
marijuana, delta9-THC and cannabidiol. The product has been
approved in Canada, New Zealand and a number of European countries
to relieve muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis, the
Associated Press reported.
Sativex is currently in advanced clinical trials and maker GW
Pharma hopes to get FDA approval for use of the medicine in cancer
patients by the end of 2013.
Along with developing new applications for Sativex, GW Phamra is
working on other drugs with different cannabis formulations, the
China Reports 2nd Bird Flu Death
A man in southern China died of H5N1 bird flu Sunday, the second
such death in China in less than a month.
The Health Ministry said the 39-year-old victim became ill on
Jan. 6 and was admitted to a hospital in Guizhou Province the same
The New York Times reported.
On Dec. 31, the H5N1 virus claimed the life of a 39-year-old man
in the city of Shenzhen in Guangdong Province.
Neither victim reported any contact with birds in the month
before they became ill. Officials monitoring people known to have
been in contact with the latest victim say none of them has any
signs of bird flu, the
Recently, Vietnam and Indonesia have each reported one human
death from H5N1 bird flu.
Former Penn State Football Coach Joe Paterno Dead at 85
Joe Paterno, one of the most successful coaches in college
football history, died Sunday. He was 85.
Paterno's 46-year career at Penn State came to an abrupt end in
November when he was dismissed as head coach amid news of a child
sex abuse scandal involving his former assistant coach Jerry
Sandusky. Paterno was diagnosed with lung cancer late last
In a statement released to the media on Sunday, the Paterno
family said, "It is with great sadness that we announce that Joe
Paterno passed away earlier today. His loss leaves a void in our
lives that will never be filled."
The turbulent final months of Paterno's life were a tragic end
to an outstanding coaching career for many of his loyal fans,
ABC News reported.
His personal life included service in the Army, an English
degree from Brown University, a marriage that lasted more than half
a century, five children and 17 grandchildren, the news network
While at Penn State as head coach, Paterno led the Nittany Lions
to seven undefeated seasons and two NCAA championships, had only
five losing seasons and was inducted into the College Football Hall
of Fame in 2007.