Health Highlights: Nov. 22, 201311/22/13
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
FDA Approves Bird Flu Vaccine
On Friday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a
vaccine to prevent H5N1 influenza, known as avian or bird flu. The
vaccine will not be commercially available but will be added to the
nation's anti-flu stockpile. It's specifically meant for use in
people aged 18 and older at increased risk for H5N1 virus
Bird flu is typically spread among poultry infected by certain
influenza A viruses. Outside the United States, however, there have
been cases when people in close contact with infected poultry have
died or become severely ill. About 60 percent of infected people
die, according to the World Health Organization. Because wild birds
continue to be infected, the potential for a human pandemic exists,
according to an FDA news release.
"This vaccine could be used in the event that the H5N1 avian influenza virus develops the capability to spread efficiently from human to human, resulting in the rapid spread of disease across the globe," Dr. Karen Midthun, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in the news release.
The new vaccine is called Influenza A (H5N1) Virus Monovalent
Vaccine, Adjuvanted. It contains an oil-in-water emulsion -- the
adjuvant. Adjuvants enhance or direct the immune response of the
person receiving the vaccination. The vaccine is made by ID
Biomedical Corporation of Quebec (a division of GlaxoSmithKline
Biologicals). It will be included in the Strategic National
Stockpile to be distributed by U.S. public health officials if
Nearly 2/3rds of Americans Believe People Should be Allowed to
Die in Certain Situations: Poll
A growing number of Americans believe that patients should be
allowed to die in certain situations, according to a new
It found that 62 percent of the nearly 2,000 adult respondents
said that people who are in a great deal of pain and have no hope
of improvement have a moral right to end their lives. That's up
from 55 percent in 1990,
The Pew Research Center poll also revealed that Americans are
still divided on whether doctors should be able to help
terminally-ill people end their lives, with 49 percent opposed and
47 percent in favor.
Thirty-one percent of respondents said doctors should always do
everything possible to save a life, no matter what the
circumstances are, the survey found. That number more than doubled
U.S. Lifts Ban on Transplantation of HIV-Infected Organs
Legislation lifting a ban on transplanting organs infected with
HIV was signed into law Thursday by President Barack Obama. HIV is
the virus that causes AIDS.
Under the HIV Organ Policy Equity Act, transplants would only be
allowed between patients already infected with HIV,
CBS News/Associated Pressreported.
The new act was welcomed by the American Society of
"The HOPE Act is a common sense policy proposal that will improve the lives of many patients in need of organ transplants," said society president Dr. Dan Salomon, CBS News/APreported.
"The AST and its thousands of professionals worldwide strongly support this legislative proposal allowing for greater use of life saving donor organs and much-needed research in the area of HIV organ donation and transplantation," he added.
The White House website says the HOPE Act will establish
"criteria and quality standards for the research and
transplantation of such organs," and also allow "an exception to a
Federal criminal prohibition on the knowing donation or sale of HIV
The bill was first introduced to the Senate in February of this
year, with bipartisan backing,
HIV can be spread through organ transplants, according to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Hugh Jackman Treated for Skin Cancer
Actor Hugh Jackman said Friday that he has been treated for skin
cancer on his nose and urged others to use sun protection and get
checked for the disease.
In a note posted on Instagram, the 45-year-old "Wolverine" star
revealed that he was diagnosed with a common form of skin cancer
called basal cell carcinoma, which is rarely fatal. He also
included a selfie of his bandaged nose, but did not say when his
treatment took place, the
"Deb said to get the mark on my nose checked. Boy, was she right!" Jackman wrote, referring to his wife, Deborra-Lee Furness.
He added: "Please don't be foolish like me. Get yourself
checked. And USE sunscreen!!!" the
Deaths Lead to Recall of Baby Monitors
About 600,000 baby monitors are being recalled after two babies
strangled to death on the device's cord, the U.S. Consumer Product
Safety Commission says.
The recall covers Angelcare Movement and Sound Monitors with
Sensor Pads that were made between 1999 and 2013. The cord, which
is attached to the monitor's sensor pad is placed under the crib
mattress, poses a strangulation risk if the child pulls the cord
into the crib and it becomes wrapped around the neck.
Two infant deaths linked to the monitors have been reported to
the CPSC: a 13-month-old girl who died in San Diego in 2011 and an
8-month-old boy who died in Salem, Ore. in 2004. In both cases, the
infants pulled the sensor pad cord into the crib.
Quebec-based Angelcare Monitors Inc. is providing consumers with
a repair kit that includes rigid protective covers through which
the sensor pad cords can be threaded, a new electric cord warning
label about the strangulation risk, and revised instructions, CPSC
NFL Team Owner Funds Brain Injury Research
The owner of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks announced Thursday that
he'll fund a two-year, $2.4 million study into whether repeated
blows to the head can lead to brain diseases later in life.
The donation from Paul Allen -- a co-founder of Microsoft --
will be used by researchers at the Allen Institute for Brain
Science and the University of Washington to examine donated brains
for links between head injuries and later problems such as dementia
and Parkinson's disease, the
The brains will come from the Group Health brain bank, which has
more than 500 brains that were donated during the past 25 years by
older Seattle adults.
Concussion-related brain damage among football players is a
major issue. About 19,000 retired NFL players became eligible for
money and medical testing under a recent $765 million deal reached
with the NFL to settle concussion lawsuits. The Seattle study has
no financial connection with that settlement, the
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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.