Health Highlights: Aug. 27, 201308/27/13
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Some U.S. Schools Dropping Healthy Lunch Program
Faced with large numbers of students who simply avoid low-fat
fare, some U.S. school districts are opting out of new federal
healthy lunch programs, which have been in place for only a
While exact numbers aren't available, federal officials told the
Associated Pressthat they've had reports of schools dropping
out of the National School Lunch Program, which spends $11 billion
to help fund school lunches nationwide.
School districts that dropped out of the program said they were
forced to do so after too many students stayed away from the school
lunch counter and began bringing food from home, or even went
hungry. The federal healthy lunch initiative typically serves up
lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and whole grains.
"Some of the stuff we had to offer, they wouldn't eat," Catlin, Ill., Superintendent Gary Lewis told the AP. He said his district saw a 10 to 12 percent drop in lunch sales, translating to $30,000 lost under the program last year.
"So you sit there and watch the kids, and you know they're hungry at the end of the day, and that led to some behavior and some lack of attentiveness," Lewis said. He said fare from the days before the healthy lunch initiative, such as soups and fish sticks, will return to the cafeteria menu this coming term.
Dr. Janey Thornton, deputy undersecretary of the U.S. Department
of Agriculture's Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services division,
said that kids may simply need more time to adjust to new,
healthier choices. "Many of these children have never seen or
tasted some of the fruits and vegetables that are being served
before, and it takes a while to adapt and learn," she told the
Girl Who Got 2 Lung Transplants Goes Home
The 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl whose lung transplant sparked
a national debate over organ-transplantation policy left the
hospital and returned home Tuesday, the
Sarah Murnaghan, of Newtown Square, 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, Sarah's parents took her case to the courts. A federal
judge intervened on her behalf, ordering that she 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, said in a Facebook page posting
late Monday that Sarah would be leaving Children's Hospital of
Philadephia on Tuesday. On Sunday, Janet Murnaghan said her
daughter had 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 periods, the
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
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