Health Highlights: March 4, 201403/04/14
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
U.S. Travelers to Phillipines Need Measles Vaccinations: CDC
Many of the 54 measles cases reported in the United States so
far this year originated in the Philippines, federal health
Eighteen cases involved unvaccinated Americans and four cases
involved visitors from other countries. A dozen of those 22 cases
originated in the Philippines and 10 in other countries, according
to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
The remaining 32 cases of measles were in people who were
infected by U.S. travelers to, or visitors from, other countries,
or in people who didn't know how they became infected.
Of the 54 reported cases of measles in the U.S. so far this
year, 21 were in California, Dr. Jane Seward, the CDC's deputy
director for the division of viral diseases, told
The CDC said that people traveling to the Philippines need to be
vaccinated against the measles. There were 1,163 cases of measles
reported there in early January.
On average, the U.S. has about 60 cases of measles a year, but
there were 189 cases last year,
Rare Mutation Protects Against Type 2 Diabetes: Study
Scientitsts who identified a rare mutation that protects people
from developing type 2 diabetes say the finding may lead to the
development of new drugs that can prevent the disease.
The mutation -- which shields even overweight people from
diabetes -- was pinpointed by the researchers after they conducted
genetic tests on 150,000 people,
The New York Timesreported.
The mutation wipes out a gene used by cells in the pancreas,
where insulin is produced. People with the mutation appear to make
a bit more insulin and have somewhat lower blood sugar levels than
The findings from the study, which began four years ago, were
published in the journal
"The study is a tour de force, and the authors are the top people in the field," Dr. Samuel Klein, director of the center for human nutrition at Washington University School of Medicine, told The Times. He was not involved in the study.
Drug makers Pfizer and Amgen were associated with the study and
have launched efforts to develop drugs that mimic the mutation.
However, it can take 10 to 20 years for a discovery about genetics
and disease to lead to the introduction of a new drug, noted
Timothy Rolph, a Pfizer vice president.
The mutation is so rare that it could only be identified by
analyzing data from a huge number of people, according to
This is the first time in diabetes research that investigators
have found a gene-destroying mutation that is beneficial, Louis
Philipson, director of the Kovler Diabetes Center at the University
of Chicago, told
The research team -- led by Dr. David Altshuler, deputy director
of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT -- is now trying to
determine if the mutation has any harmful effects. So far, there
appear to be none.
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