Health Highlights: June 13, 201106/13/11
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Countries Pledge Billions for Child Vaccinations Worldwide
More than four million lives will be saved over the next four
years after a promise by a number of nations to donate $4.3 billion
to help vaccinate children against preventable diseases such as
pneumonia, according to the Global Alliance on Vaccines and
Donations were pledged by the U.K. ($1.3 billion), Norway ($677
million), the United States ($450 million), Sweden, The
Netherlands, Australia, France, Germany and Italy. Another $1
billion was promised by Microsoft tycoon Bill Gates,
BBC News reported.
GAVI had been seeking a total of $3.7 billion.
Even though there is a vaccine against pneumonia, the disease
kills two million children under age 5 each year worldwide. It's
estimated that pneumonia and diarrhea kill 3 times more children
under age 5 than malaria and HIV/AIDS combined. But many countries
can't afford the vaccines to prevent pneumonia and diarrhea,
BBC News reported.
Study Questions Routine Autism Screening
A number of autism experts are challenging a new study that says
there is not enough evidence to support routine autism screening in
Canadian researchers reviewed existing studies and concluded
that it's not clear if screening for autism is the right approach,
"Good screening tools and efficacious treatment [for autism] is lacking," they wrote in the journal Pediatrics. The study authors added that "none of the autism screening tests currently available has been shown to be able to fulfill the properties of accuracy."
The study's conclusions left many autism experts puzzled and
"By screening for autism at an early age, children are able to begin intervention as soon as possible," Geraldine Dawson, chief science officer for the Autism Speaks advocacy group, told CNN. "Studies have shown that early intervention results in significant increases in cognitive and language abilities, and adaptive behavior, and gives children the best chance for a positive outcome."
Currently, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that
children be screened for autism at regular checkups at ages 18 and
Photos of Gabrielle Giffords Released
Photographs of Representative Gabrielle Giffords posted Sunday
on her Facebook page include one of her smiling broadly and another
with her mother at her side.
The photos were taken May 17 in the courtyard of the TIRR
Memorial Hermann rehabilitation hospital in Houston,
The New York Times reported. They are the first clear public
images of the congresswoman since she was shot in the head during
an assassination attempt in January.
Giffords' hair is much shorter than before and is dark instead
of golden. Damage caused by the shooting is evident on the left
side of her head.
The photos were released in order to prevent Giffords from being
hounded by photographers when she leaves the rehabilitation
hospital later this month, according to her spokesman C.J.
The Times reported.
Girl Survives Rabies Despite Delayed Treatment
Hospital officials say an 8-year-old California girl is just the
third person in the United States known to have survived rabies
without receiving vaccinations immediately after being
It's believed that Precious Reynolds of Willow Creek got rabies
in April from a feral cat she encountered near her school, the
Associated Press reported. She was diagnosed with rabies in
May after she was seen by a doctor for serious flu-like
After rabies was confirmed, the girl was treated by
pediatricians at the University of California Davis Children's
Hospital in coordination with state and federal health officials,
according to a statement released by the hospital.
Precious received antiviral medications while she was in a
drug-induced coma. After two weeks of treatment in intensive care,
she was transferred to the general pediatric unit, where she
remained Sunday, the
"From the very beginning, Precious had a very rapid, robust immune response to her infection, which is a significant contributor to why she survived," Dr. Jean Wiedeman, leader of the pediatric team, said in the hospital statement.
Apples Top Pesticides 'Dirty Dozen' List
Pesticide residue was found on 98 percent of apple samples
tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in a yearly survey,
but most of the residue levels were within amounts considered
Pesticide residue was also found on more than 90 percent of
samples of six other types of produce tested by the USDA: oranges,
spinach, strawberries, grapes, cilantro and potatoes, the
Wall Street Journal reported.
Before the produce samples were tested, they were washed under
cold water for 10 seconds in order to replicate how produce is
typically handled by consumers at home.
The findings are outlined in the "Dirty Dozen" list, to be
released Monday by the Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Working
Group, a consumer advocacy organization, the
Wall Street Journal reported.
People shouldn't stop eating these fruits and vegetables because
their health benefits outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure,
according to the group. But consumers might consider organic
The Environmental Working Group also published the "Clean 15"
list, which includes crops which offer consumers the least exposure
to pesticides. Onions, sweet corn, pineapples and avocadoes top the
Springsteen Saxophonist Clarence Clemons Suffers Stroke
Saxophonist Clarence Clemons, best known for his work with Bruce
Springsteen's E Street Band, has suffered a stroke but there is no
information about his condition.
The news was confirmed Sunday night by a person who has worked
with Clemons in the past but spoke on condition of anonymity
because the person did not have authorization to speak on the
Associated Press reported.
The 69-year-old Clemons has had a number of health issues over
the last few years, including double knee surgery.
However, his health seemed to be improving and last month he
performed with Lady Gaga on the season finale of "American Idol,"
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