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Dr Manny's Notes

Health 2009: A Year in Review

Well, it's time to bid adieu to 2009. It was an interesting year, bringing us closer to the end of what some consider "the worst decade in American history." From the historical inauguration of President Obama, to the most elaborate Ponzi scheme this country has seen, to the bailouts, failed stimulus packages, collapsing global economy, and even the untimely deaths of some American icons - there's no doubt about it - 2009 has been a year to remember.

It was a big year for health too - and I'm not just talking about the heated debate over health care reform that will carry us into 2010 ... I'll save that for another blog entry.

Here are my picks for the biggest FoxNewsHealth.comstories of 2009.

January

Model Dies After Losing Hands, Feet to Urinary Tract Infection Tragedy struck early in the year when a 20-year-old Brazilian model whose hands and feet were amputated due to a common urinary tract infection died after developing septicemia. Click here to read the full story.

February

Octuplets' Mom Wants $2 Million From Oprah, Media DealsAnd who can forget our favorite "pseudo-celebrity" Octomom? When Nadya Suleman burst on the scene with the birth of her octuplets in late January, it seemed the media just couldn't get enough of her. Lucky for us, her 15 minutes of fame was just that and she seems to have faded back into obscurity ... that is, until the bids come in for the "Mother of the Year" award... Click here to relive the 'Octomom' saga.

March

Doctor: Natasha Richardson May Have Suffered 'Talk and Die' Syndrome2009 was a year for goodbyes in Hollywood. Just months after tragic death of 16-year-old Jett Travolta in January, the death of 45-year-old Natasha Richardson in March shocked the world when we learned the cause of her untimely demise. Click here to read the full story.

April

WHO: U.S. Patients May be Transmitting Swine FluI don't think any of us will be able to look back on 2009 without thinking of H1N1. When the first cases of the novel flu strain made up of pig, human and bird flu viruses began popping up in April, it was only a matter of months before the World Health Organization declared the world's first pandemic in over 40 years. Click here to brush up on your flu facts.

May

Missing Mom, Cancer-Stricken Son May Be Headed to Mexico Thirteen-year-old Daniel Hauser and his mother Colleen gained national attention when they went into hiding last May to avoid a court mandate that the teen undergo chemotherapy treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma. Click here to read his story.

June

What Caused Michael Jackson's Cardiac Arrest?The month of June brought with it more tragedy as Americans mourned the deaths of actor David Carradine, 70's icon Farrah Fawcett and pitchman Billy Mayes. But perhaps the most shocking of all, was the death of the King of Pop. Michael Jackson died just weeks before his final concert tour on June 25 at the age of 50. Click here to read the report.

July

Tanning Beds as Deadly as Mustard Gas, ArsenicWe've known the dangers associated with tanning beds for quite some time now. But international cancer experts cause quite a stir when they published a study in the July issue of the journal Lancet Oncologythat put ultraviolet radiation in the top cancer risk category, deeming it as harmful as arsenic and mustard gas. Click here to learn more about the study.

August & September

The Curious Case of Brooke GreenbergShe's almost 17 years old, but when we first met Brooke Greenberg in August, it was immediately apparent that she's not like most girls her age. Brooke is believed to have a mutation of the gene that controls aging and development and doctors are hopeful that her condition may hold the secret to the eternal youth. Click here to read her amazing story.

Edward Kennedy's Cancer Puts Focus on Quality of LifeThe end of summer also marked the end of two highly-publicized cancer battles. Senator Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy defied the odds living for 15 months with a malignant brain tumor before his death in late August at the age of 77. Click here to read the full story.

Doctor: Actor Patrick Swayze Defied the Odds in Many WaysLess than a month later, actor Patrick Swayze, who was diagnosed with an extremely deadly form of pancreatic cancer in January 2008 lost his battle with the disease. He was 57. Click here to read about his battle.

October

17-Pound, 4-Month-Old Baby Denied Health Insurance for Being 'Too Fat'It was mid-October when we met 4-month-old Alex Lange, who was denied insurance coverage by Rocky Mountain Health Plans because he measured 25-inches long and weighed 17 pounds. Click here to read the full story.

November

New Cancer Guidelines Say to Start Mammograms at 50, Not 40Patients, families, breast cancer survivors and health care professionals alike were outraged in November when the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force came out with new mammogram guidelines that contradicted the long-standing recommendations of the American Cancer Society. Click here to read the report.

December

Accidental Overdose Eyed in Death of Brittany Murphy Another life was tragically cut short on Sunday when actress Brittany Murphy was pronounced dead at after suffering cardiac arrest in her Los Angeles home. Investigators are now looking into an accidental overdose because of the large amounts of prescription drugs that were found in the 32-year-old's bedroom when paramedics arrived on the scene. Click here for the latest on the investigation.

It was a tough year so my wish for all of you is that you have a happy and healthy2010. See you in the New Year!