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8 health stories to watch today: Obama ‘comfortable’ with morning-after pill decision

President Barack Obama answers questions during his new conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, April 30, 2013. The president strongly suggested Tuesday he'd consider military action against Syria if it can be confirmed that President Bashar Assad's government used chemical weapons in the two-year-old civil war.

Charles Dharapak/AP

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Here's what's making news this morning in the world of health and medicine.

Suicide Rates Rise Sharply in U.S.

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Suicide rates among middle-aged Americans have risen sharply in the past decade, prompting concern that a generation of baby boomers who have faced years of economic worry and easy access to prescription painkillers may be particularly vulnerable to self-inflicted harm. More people now die of suicide than in car accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which published the findings in Friday's issue of its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. In 2010 there were 33,687 deaths from motor vehicle crashes and 38,364 suicides, reports the New York Times.

Obama comfortable with FDA decision to let 15-year-olds buy morning-after pill

U.S. President Barack Obama said on Thursday he is comfortable with a U.S. government agency's decision to allow over-the-counter purchases of a morning-after pill for anyone 15 and older. Some critics have complained girls that young should not be allowed to purchase the pills without a doctor's approval. But Obama told a news conference in Mexico City that the decision was based on "solid scientific evidence," reports Reuters.

N.B. health officer to study energy drink concerns

New Brunswick Health Minister Ted Flemming has asked the province's chief medical officer of health to look into concerns about the adverse effects of energy drinks, particularly on children. Dr. Eilish Cleary will work with stakeholders on the issue, Flemming said in a statement. The Department of Health will also host a one-day meeting later this year to discuss ways to minimize the potential risks of the caffeinated drinks.

Not 'Star Trek' tricorder, but new smartphone tools may help people monitor health

It's not a "Star Trek" tricorder, but by hooking a variety of gadgets onto a smartphone you could almost get a complete physical – without the paper gown or even a visit to the doctor's office reports The Associated Press via Ottawa Citizen

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Public defibrillators could be placed in better locations in Toronto to save lives of cardiac arrest victims

When someone suffers cardiac arrest, speed matters. But defibrillators in public places in Toronto are not in the best locations to help cardiac arrest victims, a new study has found. Researchers at the University of Toronto and St. Michael's Hospital have identified cardiac arrest "hot spots" that are not close enough to automated external defibrillators, reports the Toronto Star.

Rat meat sold as mutton: Crackdown sparks dozens of arrests in China

Chinese police have broken a crime ring that passed off more than $1-million in rat and small-mammal meat as mutton in a food safety crackdown that coincides with a bird flu outbreak and other environmental pressures, authorities said. Authorities have arrested 904 suspects since the end of January for allegedly selling and producing fake or tainted meat products, the Ministry of Public Security said in a statement posted on its website on Thursday, reports Reuters via NBC News.

Breast cancer cases in UK under-50s top 10,000 a year

The number of British women under 50 having breast cancer diagnosed annually has topped 10,000 for the first time, according to Cancer Research UK. The charity says one case in five in the UK is among the under-50s, though fewer than ever in that age group are dying of the disease. Higher alcohol intake and childbirth patterns could be factors, reports BBC News.

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Frozen pizza possibly containing plastic pieces recalled

Federal health officials and Nestle Canada are recalling a brand of frozen pizza because it may contain pieces of plastic. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced the recall early Friday for Delissio brand Thin Crispy Crust Grilled Chicken, Tomato & Spinach pizza. The CFIA hasn't said how the plastic may have gotten into the pizza, reports The Canadian Press via CTV News.

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