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Top 10 Health News Stories of 2008

Salmonella, Vaccines, Belly Fat Were Hot Topics in 2008
By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Dec. 16, 2008 -- Promising to change the U.S. health care system, Barack Obama changed history in 2008. That wasn't the only change:

  • Our faith in the nation's food-safety system was shaken when, month after month, an outbreak of foodborne illness seemed never to end.
  • Popular newsman Tim Russert died unexpectedly of heart disease, making us all think twice about our own heart health.
  • A series of studies raised questions about the safety of bisphenol A, a chemical used in many common plastics -- including baby bottles.
  • Just as we seemed to be turning a corner in the AIDS epidemic, the CDC learned that far more Americans carry the AIDS virus than we'd thought. 

These topics – along with others such as the benefits of vitamin D, the risks of belly fat, and the ongoing controversy about vaccines and autism – are among the top 10 health news stories of 2008, as chosen by the editors at WebMD.

1. Salmonella-Tainted Tomatoes Smash Confidence in U.S. Food Safety

The Salmonella saintpaul outbreak, linked first to tomatoes and then to raw jalapeno and serrano peppers, was the nation's largest food-borne outbreak of any kind in the past decade. It sickened more than 1,400 people, wreaking havoc on tomato farmers, shaking up grocery lists nationwide, and putting the FDA and CDC in the hot seat as the investigation dragged on for months. Here's a look back at the 2008 salmonella scare.

2. The Promise of Health Care Reform

Health care reform was one of the most important issues in the 2008 election, and its importance grew as the tanking economy left more people without jobs -- and the health insurance that came with them. As President-elect Obama and the new Congress prepare to tackle the issue next year, here's a look back at some of WebMD's intensive coverage of the issue -- including a WebMD blog entry from then-candidate Obama.

3. Vitamins With a Capital "D"

The hottest vitamin of 2008 was vitamin D. People with vitamin D deficiency are prey to all kinds of ailments, from depression to cancer. But accumulating evidence suggests that even the currently recommended dose of vitamin D may not be enough. Here are links to WebMD's evolving coverage of the vitamin D story.

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