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Health Highlights: July 10, 2013

Health Highlights: July 10, 2013

07/10/13

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

New Diaper Detects Infant Health Problems

A diaper that can detect possible urinary tract infections, kidney problems and dehydration in babies, along with a smartphone app that can transmit the diaper information to a doctor, has been developed by a New York Company called Pixie Scientific.

The front of the diaper has several colored squares. Each square represents a different interaction with a protein, water content or bacteria and changes color if there is something unusual, The New York Timesreported.

The smartphone app takes a picture and can make precise readings of the chemical data based on color changes in the diaper squares. The information is relayed to a central location, where doctors can determine if the baby requires further testing.

The diaper is expected to be tested at Benioff Children's Hospital of the University of California, San Francisco this September, and Columbia University's children's hospital is considering a similar study. If the tests are successful, the diaper may then be submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for final approval, The Timesreported.

The diaper is expected to cost about 30 percent more than conventional diapers, according to Pixie Scientific founder Yaroslav Faybishenko.

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Surprising Pattern of Spine Injuries Among Jet Crash Survivors

A pattern of spine injuries among some survivors of the Asiana jet crash in San Francisco shows how violently passengers were shaken despite wearing seat belts, a doctor says.

Several patients have needed surgery to stabilize their spines so they can move and two patients can't move their legs, although it's not known if the damage is permanent, Dr. Geoffrey Manley, chief of neurosurgery at San Francisco General Hospital, told the Associated Press.

He said the worst injuries include crushed vertebrae that compress the spinal cord, and ligaments that are so stretched and torn that they're unable to hold neck and back joints in place.

Even among passengers who suffered mild spine trauma, the pattern of injuries shows how their upper bodies were hurled forward than backward over their lap belts, Manley told the AP.

However, that doesn't mean that adding shoulder belts to airline seats is a good idea.

"If you put in the shoulder belt, it might just move the injuries up further. Your head weighs a tremendous amount," Manley said. He hopes to study the issue by comparing survivors' injuries to where they sat, the APreported.

Only 2 of the 307 passengers and crew of the jet died in Saturday's crash. More than 180 people went to hospitals with injuries, but only a small number were critically injured.

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Abortion Bill Moving Through Texas Legislature

A restrictive abortion bill is once again moving through the Texas legislature during a special session called by Republican Gov. Rick Perry.

The controversial bill was stalled last month by Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis' 11-hour filibuster. However, a new version was drafted and there was a hearing on the bill in the Republican-controlled House on Monday and a debate on the floor on Tuesday, The New York Timesreported.

Like its predecessor, the new version would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and hold abortion clinics to the same standards as hospital-style surgical centers.

While proponents of the bill say the requirements for abortion clinics are meant to improve safety, opponents charge that the rules are meant to burden the clinics with costs that will force many to close, The Timesreported.

Copyright © 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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