Health Highlights: June 6, 2007

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Wednesday, June 6, 2007; 12:00 AM

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

Alaska Best in Disciplining Docs, Mississippi Worst: Report

Alaska topped the 50 United States in how effectively its medical board disciplined doctors from 2004 to 2006, while Mississippi was at the bottom of the rankings, a consumer advocacy group reported Wednesday.

Public Citizen said its list was based on state-by-state data released by the Federation of State Medical Boards. The group said it calculated the rate of serious disciplinary actions per 1,000 doctors in each state.

Nationwide, there were a total of 2,916 serious disciplinary actions taken by state medical boards in 2006, down 10.4 percent from 2005, the group said in a prepared statement. Such actions included license revocations, surrenders, suspensions and orders of probation.

Individual boards were likely to be more effective if they were adequately funded and staffed, if they were proactive and didn't just respond to complaints, if they were independent from other parts of state government, and if the state had "a reasonable legal framework" in place for disciplining doctors, Public Citizen said.

After Alaska, rounding out the top five states were: Kentucky, Wyoming, Ohio and Oklahoma. Ranking just ahead of Missouri in the bottom five states were: South Carolina, Minnesota, South Dakota and Nevada.

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Teen Smokers Prefer Marketed Brands: Survey

Almost four out of five American youths who smoke cigarettes prefer heavily marketed brands, the American Legacy Foundation said in a report released Wednesday.

A survey of more than 3,500 U.S. teens found that 78 percent of them usually smoked one of the three brands: 50 percent preferred Marlboro, 14 percent Newport, and 14 percent Camel, the foundation said in a prepared statement.

Nearly 40 percent of respondents said they usually smoked cigarettes labeled as "light," "ultra-light", or "mild." The proportion increased as youth grew older, with 18 percent of 13- to 15-year-olds saying they preferred light brands, compared with 32 percent of smokers aged 16 to 18.


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