Today's Health Health Highlights: Dec. 13, 2013

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Health Highlights: Dec. 13, 2013

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

Sugar Trumps Fat in Driving Unhealthy Eating: Study

Sugar, not fat, is the major reason why people are drawn to unhealthy treats, a new study says.

Researchers monitored the brain activity of more than 100 teens as they drank chocolate-flavored milkshakes that had the same number of calories but were either high in sugar and low in fat, or the other way around, The New York Times reported.

Both types of shakes activated pleasure centers in the brain, but those that were high in sugar did so far more effectively and triggered a food reward network involved in compulsive eating, according to the study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The findings add to a growing body of research that's improving understanding of what causes overeating.

"We do a lot of work on the prevention of obesity, and what is really clear not only from this study but from the broader literature over all is that the more sugar you eat, the more you want to consume it," study lead author Eric Stice, a senior research scientist at the Oregon Research Institute, told The Times.

"As far as the ability to engage brain reward regions and drive compulsive intake, sugar seems to be doing a much better job than fat," he said.

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14 Million Cancer Diagnoses Worldwide in 2012: Report

The number of people worldwide diagnosed with cancer climbed from 12.7 million in 2008 to 14 million in 2012, and the number of cancer deaths increased from 7.6 million to 8.2 million, a new report says.

The rising rates of cancer cases and deaths are due higher rates of smoking and obesity, as well as the fact that people are living longer, according to the World Health Organization study, BBC News reported.

The 1.8 million cases of lung cancer made it the most common type of cancer in 2012, accounting for about 13 percent of all cancers. There was also a sharp rise in breast cancer cases and deaths since 2008, and it is now the most common cancer in women in 140 countries.

The WHO predicted that the number of cancer cases worldwide will rise to more than 19 million a year by 2025, BBC News reported.

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FDA Approves Generic Versions of Antidepressant Cymbalta

The first generic versions of the antidepressant Cymbalta have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The agency okayed six generic versions of the drug from a number of companies, including Teva Pharmaceuticals, Sun Pharma Global and Dr. Reddy's Laboratories Ltd., the Associated Press reported.

Cymbalta, the fifth best selling medication in the world in 2012, is marketed by Eli Lilly & Co. Inc. The company's patent on Cymbalta expired Wednesday. Generic drugs typically sell for much less than the original branded product.

Along with depression, Cymbalta is also used to treat generalized anxiety disorder, fibromyalgia, diabetic nerve pain, and some types of chronic pain, the AP reported.

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