Health Highlights: Aug. 26, 201308/26/13
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Music Star Linda Ronstadt Has Parkinson's Disease
Singer Linda Ronstadt, a music star for more than four decades,
has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, which has robbed her
of the ability to sing.
"No one can sing with Parkinson's disease," the 67-year-old Ronstadt said in an interview with AARP Magazine. "No matter how hard you try."
Ronstadt said she was diagnosed eight months ago and "can't sing
a note." She said she initially experienced symptoms about eight
years ago, but thought her singing problems were caused by a tick
She said she was "completely shocked" when a neurologist
diagnosed her with Parkinson's disease. "I wouldn't have suspected
that in a million, billion years."
Ronstadt sold tens of millions of records starting in the late
1960s. Some of her earlier hits included "You're No Good" and "When
Will I Be Loved." She later sang pop standards and mariachi music,
Ronstadt now uses poles to walk on uneven ground and a
wheelchair when traveling, the AARP story said.
The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
says Parkinson's disease is part of a group of conditions called
motor system disorders that are caused by the loss of certain key
brain cells. Typical symptoms include tremors, or trembling in the
hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face; stiffness of the limbs and trunk;
slowness of movement; and problems with balance and coordination.
As symptoms become more severe, some patients may have trouble with
walking, talking or other simple tasks. The disease usually affects
people 50 and older.
There's no cure for Parkinson's, but a variety of medications
can provide significant relief from the symptoms, according to the
Florida Boy Dies From Brain-Eating Amoeba
Zachary Reyna, a 12-year-old Florida boy infected with a rare
but lethal brain-eating amoeba, has died,
Reyna is thought to have contracted an infection with the
Naegleria fowleriamoeba on Aug. 3 while kneeboarding in a
water-filled ditch near his house in LaBelle, Fla. His infection
quickly developed into primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), a
brain condition that is nearly always fatal.
"This infection is one of the most severe infections that we know of," Dr. Dirk Haselow of the Arkansas Department of Health told CNNaffiliate WMC. "Ninety-nine percent of people who get it die."
Reyna was hospitalized and underwent brain surgery to treat PAM,
and he was also given an experimental drug used to fight the rare
amoeba. But a post placed Saturday on a Facebook page that has
provided updates on the case announced the boy's death. His organs
will be donated to help others, the website noted. "Even though Zac
has passed, he will still be saving many lives," the post said.
N. fowleriis rare but can be found in warm freshwater, most
often in the southeastern area of the United States, according to
the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It enters the
body through the nose and travels to the brain.
N. fowlericannot be transmitted by drinking contaminated
Another 12-year-old, Kali Hardig, was infected with
N. fowlerithis summer but has survived after being treated
with the same experimental drug that Reyna received,
CNNsaid. The Arkansas girl is only the third person to
survive infection with the amoeba over the past 50 years.
Girl Who Got 2 Lung Transplants Is Off Oxygen
The 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl whose lung transplant sparked
a national debate over organ transplantation policy is off oxygen
and doing well, the
Sarah Murnaghan of Newtown Square, Penn., has end-stage cystic
fibrosis and received two transplants of adult-sized lungs, even
though current organ transplant policy states that children only
receive child-sized lungs.
However, Murnaghan's parents took her case to the courts. A
federal judge intervened on her behalf, ordering that Sarah be
allowed an adult lung transplant.
The first set of adult lungs the child received failed within
hours of transplant, but a second set, transplanted three days
later, seem to have worked.
Sarah's mother, Janet Murnaghan, told the
APthat the girl has been taken off oxygen but does get some
breathing support from a machine. She is now able to walk around
the hospital using a walker, and has gone outside for brief
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