Health Buzz: Mukasey's Collapse and Other Health News

What felled the AG? Also, your birthday's role in asthma risk, quitting the smokes, and pregnancy tips.

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Attorney General Michael Mukasey Hospitalized After Collapsing

There is no evidence that a stroke or heart attack caused Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey, 67, to collapse yesterday while giving a speech, the Washington Post reports. Mukasey remained in George Washington University Hospital overnight for observation and routine tests, according to the Justice Department. He talked with President Bush early this morning and is reportedly looking forward to returning to work. At the time of his collapse, Mukasey was speaking at the annual dinner of the Federalist Society at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington.

In September, U.S. News's Nancy Shute offered five ways to keep a stroke from disabling you. In June, Katherine Hobson listed six ways to avoid dying of a surprise heart attack.

Autumn Babies at Higher Risk for Asthma

Kids born four months before the peak of cold and flu season are at increased risk of developing childhood asthma, compared with kids whose birthdays fall during other parts of the year, according to a study published in the December 1 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Researchers looked at the birth and medical records of more than 95,000 Tennessee children and their moms and found that having a bad bout of bronchiolitis (a respiratory infection) at any time during infancy increases the risk of childhood asthma, but that risk is greatest for autumn babies.

"Infant age at the winter virus peak following birth independently predicts asthma development, with the highest risk being for infants born approximately four months prior to the peak, which is represented by birth in the fall months in the northern hemisphere," Tina V. Hartert, principal investigator of the study and director of the Center for Asthma Research at Vanderbilt University, said in a prepared statement. "Birth during this time conferred a nearly 30 percent increase in odds of developing asthma."

In October, U.S. News suggested taking taking photos of your home to document potential asthma and allergy triggers and provided a second look at a type of asthma medication. Earlier, we explained why it's a bad idea to take a break from your inhaler without permission from your doctor.

A Time to Quit Smoking

Yesterday was the American Cancer Society's 33rd annual Great American Smokeout. The Smokeouts were launched in 1976 to give smokers a designated day to abstain from cigarettes in the hopes that they'll find impetus to stop puffing for good. If that's not enough to sway you to quit, perhaps these 12 nonobvious reasons to really quit smoking will be. It's not just lung cancer and respiratory ills you should worry about, Lindsay Lyon reports. Still, if you're having trouble quitting, you're in good company. Smoker in Chief (and President-elect) Barack Obama has reportedly said he is trying to quit smoking but also admitted to having some cigarettes while on the campaign trail.

In June, U.S. News explored whether hypnosis can help snuff out a smoker's cigarette habit. In March, Lyon described a website designed to help smokers kick the habit.

Pregnant or Thinking About It? Follow These Prenatal Tips

From conception to delivery, a fetus is at the mercy of its environment. A mother-to-be has more control over her internal chemistry than she might think, and her odds of having a healthy baby will be much improved if she follows widely recommended advice. U.S. News lists 10 prenatal tips for having a healthy baby.

In October, Sarah Baldauf reported on how to cope with depression during pregnancy. Also, Deborah Kotz wrote that too many infants—and moms—die at birth.

—January W. Payne

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