Health Highlights: June 6, 201306/06/13
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Judge Suspends Age Rule for Young Girl Who Needs Lung
A federal judge's ruling to allow a dying 10-year-old girl to
move up the adult waiting list for a lung transplant was welcome
news for her parents but an expert expressed medical and ethical
concerns about the decision.
Sarah Murhaghan has end-stage cystic fibrosis and is waiting for
a lung transplant. But under the nation's transplant policy,
children younger than age 12 can't be given adult organ transplants
unless all adults and teens on the list have been offered the
Sarah's parents have been fighting to change the policy, but
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius refused to
become involved in the case. On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge
Michael Baylson suspended the age rule in the transplant policy at
least until a June 14 hearing on the request for a broader
"We are beyond thrilled," Sarah's mother Janet Murnaghan told the APafter the ruling. "Obviously we still need a match."
However, the judge's decision was questioned by Dr. Arthur
Caplain, a bioethicist at New York University Langone Medical
Center. He explained that lung transplants are the most difficult
of organ transplants and children fare worse than adults, which is
one reason for the existing policy.
Caplain said it is troubling for a judge to overrule that
medical judgment and suggested that the ruling may lead to legal
action by many other patients who aren't happy with their place on
the transplant waiting list.
"I'm not sure I want judges or congressmen or bureaucrats trying to decide what to do with organs at the bedside," Caplan told the AP.
Groups Will Create Databases to Organize and Share Genetic
An agreement to create an organized way to share genetic and
clinical information was announced Wednesday by more than 70
medical, research and advocacy groups in 41 countries.
The goal is to place the extensive and growing amount of data on
genetic variations and health into databases that would be open to
doctors and researchers worldwide,
The New York Timesreported.
In coming years, millions of people are expected to get their
genes decoded and there are concerns that the handling of this huge
amount of genetic and clinical data about how people and how they
respond to treatments could be unorganized and slow the advance of
The agreement announced this week seeks to standardize the data
and make it widely available.
"We are strong supporters of this global alliance," Dr. Francis Collins, director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, told The Times. "There is lots of momentum now, and we really do want to move quickly."
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