Health Highlights: May 11, 201205/11/12
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Flesh-Eating Disease Victim Likely to Lose Hands and Remaining
The 24-year-old Georgia woman who developed flesh-eating disease
after a zip line injury will likely lose her hands and remaining
foot, her family says.
Aimee Copeland suffered a gash in her left calf after falling
from a zip line on May 1. She developed necrotizing fasciitis and
her left leg was amputated at the hip three days after her
ABC News reported.
Despite the latest bad news, Copeland has shown signs of
recovery and her family has remained optimistic.
"Aimee appears to have normal brain function at this time, which is something I'm celebrating because within Aimee we have a very compassionate heart and an incredible mind of intellect," her father Andy Copeland told ABC News.
The infection was caused by a common bacteria called
Aeromonas hydrophila, which thrives in warm climates and fresh water.
Turtle-Linked Salmonella Has Sickened 124 People in 27 States:
To date, 124 people in 27 states have been reported ill in
salmonella outbreaks linked to small pet turtles, the U.S. Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention said in an update issued
Here are the number of ill people in each state: Alaska (2),
Alabama (1), Arizona (3), California (21), Colorado (5), Delaware
(3), Georgia (3), Illinois (1), Indiana (1), Kentucky (1),
Massachusetts (3), Maryland (6), Michigan (2), Minnesota (1),
Nevada (4), New Jersey (7), New Mexico (3), New York (24), North
Carolina (1), Ohio (2), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (9), South
Carolina (3), Texas (12), Virginia (3), Vermont (1), and West
There have been no deaths, but 19 people have been hospitalized.
Children age 10 or younger account for 67 percent of the reported
cases of illness, the CDC said.
Since the previous update on April 5, two new multistate
salmonella outbreaks linked to small pet turtles have been
identified, bring to five the total number of multistate
Investigators have determined that the outbreaks were caused by
exposure to the turtles or their environments, such as water from
their habitats. Seventy-five percent of patients reported being
exposed to turtles prior to their illness, and 93 percent of those
patients said they had been exposed to small turtles (those with a
shell length of less than four inches).
Small turtles are a well-known source of salmonella infections
in humans and the sale and distribution of these turtles as pets
has been banned in the U.S. since 1975, the CDC said.
Blood Transfusions for Dialysis Patients Rose After Drug Payment
There's been a large increase in the number of U.S. dialysis
patients undergoing blood transfusions since Medicare changed how
it pays for drugs to treat these patients.
Federal regulators believed the changes introduced last year
would save money and protect patient health by correcting what was
believed to be a misguided financial incentive for dialysis centers
to overprescribe anti-anemia drugs to patients,
The New York Times reported.
Before the changes, Medicare paid dialysis centers for
anti-anemia drugs separately from the actual blood-cleansing
treatments. This may have encouraged overuse of the drugs by
patients, which leads to increased red blood counts that boost the
risk of heart attack and stroke.
The payment system was changed to reimburse dialysis centers for
overall care, bundling together the cost of blood-cleansing
treatments and drugs. This meant that the drugs became a drain on
profits instead of a profit generator for dialysis centers,
The Times reported.
In the first nine months of 2011, the proportion of dialysis
patients covered by Medicare who received blood transfusions
increased by 9 to 22 percent over the first nine months of 2010,
according to the United States Renal Data System.
For example, there were 10,041 transfusions for dialysis
patients in September 2011, compared with 8,259 in September 2010,
The Times reported.
Between 2009 and 2010, there was virtually no change in blood
transfusion rates for dialysis patients.
The research was to be presented Friday at a National Kidney
Words in Larger Fonts Cause Stronger Reaction: Study
Words in larger fonts trigger a stronger emotional brain
response than those in smaller fonts, according to a new study.
German researchers monitored brain activity in 25 volunteers as
they looked at 72 different positive, neutral and negative words in
a variety of font sizes,
ABC News reported.
Positive (e.g. holiday) and negative (e.g. disease) words
printed in larger fonts prompted a stronger emotional brain
response than the same words in smaller fonts. The font size of
neutral words, such as chair, did not cause the same type of
"Our study showed that the effects of emotional meaning are boosted when words are presented in large fonts. In other words, more attention is captured by larger emotional words, probably explaining the power of large fonts in tabloid headlines or catchwords," lead author Mareike Bayer, of Humboldt University in Berlin, told ABC News.
The study was published in the journal
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