Health Highlights: Dec. 20, 201312/20/13
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
E-Cigarettes Added to NYC's Smoking Ban
Electronic cigarettes have been added to the ban on smoking in
New York City offices, parks, restaurants and bars.
The measure passed in a 43-8 city vote at a city council meeting
Thursday and will take effect in four months,
E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that simulate smoking
by producing nicotine vapor. They may be a gateway to smoking
regular cigarettes and make it more difficult for smokers to quit,
according to Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
"The council has worked for well over a decade to curb smoking in New York City and I really believe it's one of our greatest accomplishments," Quinn said prior to the vote, Bloombergreported. "E-cigarettes threaten, in my opinion, to undermine enforcement of the Smoke-Free Air Act."
Researchers Discover How HIV Harms Immune System
Two new studies reveal how HIV damages the immune system, but
researchers say an existing drug can protect the immune system from
the AIDS-causing virus.
Scientists found that in a desperate attempt to rid the body of
HIV, throngs of white blood cells self-destruct in a mass suicide.
This action attracts more unsuspecting white blood cells to the
scene to help, leading to a domino effect that decimates the immune
White blood cells protect the body against infectious
The findings, published online Thursday in the journals
Science, solve a decades-long mystery that has baffled
scientists since HIV/AIDS first emerged.
"For literally thirty years, we thought it was directly the virus killing the cell. This wasn't a particularly satisfying explanation since many, many more cells die than were infected," Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the Post. He was not involved in the studies.
The good news is that the scientists believe an existing drug
that was originally developed to prevent seizures may be able to
stop this white blood cell destruction. The researchers are
currently trying to develop a clinical trial to test the drug in
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