Health Highlights: July 27, 201107/27/11
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Judge Dismisses Suit Barring Embryonic Stem Cell Research
The Obama administration will be able to continue funding
embryonic stem cell research after a lawsuit challenging it was
The lawsuit alleged that a federal law that prohibits taxpayer
financing of embryonic stem cell research that harms an embryo was
being violated by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. But the
Obama administration argued that federal policy allows research
using embryos that were harvested long ago through private funding,
Associated Press reported.
U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth ruled last year that the
lawsuit was likely to succeed and ordered a stop to
federally-funded embryonic research while the case continued. But
the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. ruled that
the lawsuit was likely to fail and overturned the injunction.
As a result, Lamberth released an opinion Wednesday in favor of
the Obama administration, the
Scientists hope that embryonic stem cells will one day provide
cures for a number of ailments, including spinal cord injuries and
Little Evidence of 9/11 Cancer Link: Report
A U.S. government report released Tuesday says there isn't
enough evidence at the moment to determine whether dust and smoke
caused by the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center caused
cancer in rescue or recovery workers or New York City residents who
lived near the site.
The finding means that people with cancer diagnoses they
attribute to the 9/11 attack don't qualify for federal benefits to
treat or compensate them for their disease, says
The New York Times.
The report by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and
Health was required by a new federal act that provides $4.3 billion
over the next five years to monitor, treat and compensate people
who were exposed to dust and fumes from the WTC attack.
The report is based on a review of available evidence, but there
have been only 18 published research studies on the WTC attack that
mentioned cancer. Only five of those studies were peer-reviewed and
they yielded mixed findings, according to NIOSH Director Dr. John
The Times reported.
A second review of a possible link between cancer and the WTC
attack will be conducted in early to mid-2012, Howard said.
The Times, some physicians believe a link to cancer will emerge with time.
Dr. Philip J. Landrigan, head of a program devoted to 9/11
treatment, monitoring and research at Mount Sinai Medical Center,
told the newspaper that the likelihood of malignancies tied to 9/11
increases as years go by. He pointed to his team's research into
multiple myeloma, which seems to be occurring at a
higher-than-usual rate and at an unusually young age in some
Universal Flu Vaccine May be Available Within Five Years: NIH
A universal flu vaccine to protect people against all strains of
influenza could be available within five years, according to the
director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
The vaccine would replace annual flu vaccines developed for
specific seasonal flu strains, Dr. Francis Collins told
Just a few years ago, a universal flu vaccine "seemed completely
out of reach" due to yearly mutations in flu viruses, Collins said.
But scientists have recently discovered that certain parts of flu
viruses don't change and could be targeted by a vaccine.
While the development of a universal flu vaccine is "not a
question of whether, but when," saying that one may be available in
five years "is a bit ambitious," Arnold Monto, of the University of
EPA May Take Closer Look at Environmental Impact of BPA
A sampling and testing program to learn more about the potential
environmental effects of bisphenol A (BPA) is being considered by
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
"A number of concerns have been raised about the potential human health and environmental effects of BPA," said Steve Owens, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, United Press International reported.
"The data collected under the testing EPA is considering would help EPA better understand and address the potential environmental impacts of BPA," he added.
BPA -- used in a wide range of consumer and industrial products
including food can liners and hard polycarbonate plastics -- has
been shown to cause reproductive and development effects in
animals, the news agency reported.
Chicken Recall Expanded
A recall of ready-to-eat chicken that may be contaminated with
Listeria monocytogenes has been expanded, Pilgrim's Pride announced
The company said the recall now includes about 7,000 pounds of
Pilgrim's Pride Brand Fully Cooked Chicken Breast Nuggets
distributed to dozens of Dollar General stores in West Virginia,
Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky, Florida, Indiana, Georgia
and Ohio, the
Associated Press reported.
Last week, a voluntary recall of more than five tons of
ready-to-eat chicken was announced.
Pilgrim's says it does not know of any reported illnesses linked
to the recalled products, the
Walter Reed Army Medical Center Closing
A ceremony was held Wednesday to mark the closing of the Walter
Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. after more than a
century of providing care for hundreds of thousands of U.S.
The hospital, which opened in 1909, was also the place where
President Dwight Eisenhower and Gens. John J. Pershing and Douglas
MacArthur died and where a number of foreign leaders were treated,
Associated Press reported.
In 2007, the medical center was rocked by a scandal about
substandard living conditions for wounded troops receiving
outpatient care and the difficulties they faced in getting
A government commission voted two years ago to close Walter Reed
and consolidate its operations with two other military facilities,
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