Health Highlights: Dec. 29, 201012/29/10
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Donor in 1st Successful Organ Transplant Dies at Age 79
The man who donated a kidney nearly six decades ago in what is
considered the first successful organ transplant has died at the
age of 79.
Ronald Lee Herrick, who donated the kidney to his dying twin
brother 56 years ago, died Monday at the Augusta Rehabilitation
Center in Maine. His wife, Cynthia, said his health deteriorated
after heart surgery in October, the
Associated Press reported.
Herrick donated the kidney to his brother, Richard, at what is
today known as Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Because the
men were identical twins, there was no problem with organ
rejection. The United Network for Organ Sharing said it was the
first successful organ transplant.
The surgery, done two days before Christmas in 1954, kept
Richard Herrick alive for eight years. The lead surgeon, Dr. Joseph
Murray, went on to win a Nobel Prize in 1990.
Salmonella Outbreak Tied to Alfalfa Sprouts Spreads to 16
The salmonella outbreak tied to contaminated alfalfa sprouts has
grown to at least 94 cases in 16 states, federal officials said
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the
number of cases had risen from 89 cases in 15 states in the past
week, with California now on the list, the
Associated Press reported.
More than half the cases have been in Illinois. There have been
The Food and Drug Administration is urging consumers to avoid
alfalfa sprouts produced by the Tiny Greens Organic Farm in Urbana,
Ill., because of possible contamination, the
Low Vitamin D Could Hamper Babies' Breathing
Newborns with low levels of the "sunshine" nutrient, vitamin D,
seem to be at higher odds for respiratory infections as infants and
for wheezing in early childhood -- but not at higher risk for
asthma, a new study finds.
The body produces vitamin D in response to sunlight, and the
nutrient has long been linked to stronger bones. In the new study,
Dr. Carlos Camargo and colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital
in Boston looked at data on more than 1,000 children in New
Zealand. Levels of a marker for vitamin D were measured in
umbilical cord blood samples taken at birth and mothers were asked
about their children's respiratory troubles up till 5 years of
More than 20 percent of the blood samples came in as "very low"
for vitamin D status, the research team said in a hospital news
Low vitamin D levels at birth were linked to a doubling of risk
for respiratory infections at the age of 3 months, compared to
newborns with higher levels of the nutrient in their blood. There
was no significant link between levels of the vitamin D marker and
asthma diagnosed by the age of 5 years, however.
"Our data suggest that the association between vitamin D and wheezing, which can be a symptom of many respiratory diseases and not just asthma, is largely due to respiratory infections," Camargo said in the new release.
And he didn't rule out a vitamin D/asthma link.
"Since respiratory infections are the most common cause of asthma exacerbations, vitamin D supplements may help to prevent those events, particularly during the fall and winter when vitamin D levels decline and exacerbations are more common," Camargo said. "That idea needs to be tested in a randomized clinical trial, which we hope to do next year."
The findings are published in the January issue of
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