Health Highlights: Jan. 30, 201301/30/13
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Soldier Says Double-Arm Transplant Gives 'Hope for the
A 26-year-old American soldier who recently underwent a
double-arm transplant said at a new conference Tuesday that he
looks forward to driving and swimming with his new arms.
Brendan Marrocco lost all four limbs in a roadside bomb attack
in Iraq in 2009. He had the double-arm transplant last month at
Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and said he is happy and amazed
to have new arms,
CBS News/Associated Pressreported.
"It's given me a lot of hope for the future," Marrocco said at the news conference. "I feel like it's given me a second chance." He has prosthetic legs but said that without arms, he felt "kind of lost for a while."
Marrocco was joined at the news conference by the surgeons who
performed the operation. Lead surgeon Dr. W.P. Andrew Lee said the
procedure "was the most extensive and complicated" transplant
surgery ever performed,
Lee said the transplant involved connecting bone, nerves, blood
vessels, muscles, and other tissue, and noted that he and his team
rehearsed the procedure four times on cadavers in the last two
The operation was only the seventh double-hand or double-arm
transplant done in the United States,
Marrocco, who can already twist the wrist in his left arm,
checked out of the hospital Tuesday and will begin several months
of outpatient therapy. Nerves regrow at about an inch per month, so
it will take between several months to over a year for Marrocco to
regain most of his normal arm movements, Lee said.
New Drug to Treat Rare Cholesterol Disorder Approved by FDA
A new drug that treats a rare inherited disorder that causes
extremely high cholesterol levels and heart attacks by age 30 was
approved Tuesday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The disease is called homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia
(HoFH) and affects only a few hundred people in the U.S. Left
untreated, people with HoFH can develop levels of "bad" LDL
cholesterol that are about 10 times higher than what is considered
The New York Timesreported.
The drug Kynamro (mipomersen) works by inhibiting the action of
a gene -- apolipoprotein B -- involved in the formation of
particles that carry cholesterol in the blood. Kynamro is injected
once a week.
A clinical trial of the drug found that it lowered LDL
cholesterol levels by an average of nearly 25 percent. The FDA said
the label for Kynamro will carry a boxed warning about potential
liver damage. Other side effects include flu-like symptoms and
Kynamro was invented by Isis Pharmaceuticals and will be
marketed by Sanofi's Genzyme division. Last month, the FDA approved
Aegerion Pharmaceuticals' once-a-day pill called Juxtapid for
treatment of patients with HoFH.
Barbara Walters Released From Hospital
Barbara Walters is now recovering at home after spending more
than a week in hospital after suffering a fall.
The 83-year-old newswoman and talk-show host fell and struck her
head at a party on the weekend before President Obama's second
inauguration. She was hospitalized in Washington and then moved to
a New York hospital late last week,
ABCannounced that Walters had been released from hospital
and returned home. Walters is a host on the network's
The Viewtalk show.
The Viewco-host Whoopi Goldberg said that Walters was
recovering from chickenpox as well as the cut on her forehead from
"You all know that she fell and cut her head 10 days ago, and then was running a temperature, but it turns out it is all the result of a delayed childhood. Barbara has the chickenpox. She'd never had it as a child. So now she's been told to rest, she's not allowed any visitors. And we're telling you, Barbara, no scratching," Goldberg said on the show.
Two More Surgeries for Malala
British doctors say Pakistani teen activist Malala Yousafzai
requires just two more surgeries before her long ordeal of
operations is over.
In the coming days, the 15-year-old girl will receive a titanium
plate to cover an opening in her skull and an inner ear implant,
Malala was shot in the head and neck in October as she rode home
on a school bus in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Islamist extremists
targeted her for speaking out on the right of girls to get an
Surgeons in Pakistan removed a section of her skull about the
size of a hand in order to reduce pressure caused by brain
CNNreported. She was later transferred to England for
First Benefits Awarded From 9/11 Health Fund
On Tuesday, 15 emergency responders became the first people to
be awarded money from a $2.8 billion federal fund established to
compensate people sickened by the 9/11 terrorist attack on the
World Trade Center.
The names of the 14 firefighters and one correction officer were
not released. They responded to the disaster early on, mainly on
the first day, said Sheila Birnbaum, the special master of the
victim compensation fund,
The New York Timesreported.
She said most of the 15 recipients had respiratory illness and
none of them had cancer. Their tax-free awards ranged from $10,000
to $1.5 million. However, they are receiving only 10 percent of
their awards at first due to uncertainty about how many people will
apply for the benefits and whether the fund will have enough money
to pay all the claims.
The benefits are available to first responders, volunteers,
workers and residents who were in Lower Manhattan in the months
after the attack. Thousands of people are eligible for the fund,
which expires in October 2016,
FDA Issues Warning on Unapproved Flu Product
A Florida company has been sent a warning letter about marketing
an untested inhaled formula as a flu remedy, federal officials
Flu and Cold Defense LLC is making misleading and unproven
claims about its GermBullet inhaler, according to the letter issued
by the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade
The company's website states that "an FDA recognized virology
lab" tested the product and "confirmed that it has the potential
capability to kill cold and flu viruses." Ads describe the product
as "proprietary blend of 11 organic botanicals."
The FDA said the GermBullet inhaler has never been reviewed as
safe and effective and that the company is violating drug safety
regulations. The letter, dated Jan. 24, was posted on the FDA's
website Tuesday. The company was given 15 business days to correct
its claims, the
The GermBullet is sold online through retailers such as CVS.com
and at a few small pharmacies and natural food stores in
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