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‘Unmatched Wickedness’: Reports Allege Child Separation, Organ Harvesting Against China’s Muslims

July 10, 2019

(Religion News Services) – Two new reports conclude that China is engaging in organ harvesting and a child separation campaign against the country’s Uighur Muslim minority. China’s ambassador to the U.K., Liu Xiaoming, has denied a BBC investigation’s findings, which concluded that Muslim children in the Uighur-majority region of western Xinjiang are being systematically separated from their parents.

In US First, Baby Is Born from Dead Donor’s Transplanted Womb

July 9, 2019

(Medical Xpress) – The Cleveland Clinic says it has delivered the first baby in North America after a womb transplant from a dead donor.  Uterine transplants have enabled more than a dozen women to give birth, usually with wombs donated from a living donor such as a friend or relative. In December, doctors in Brazil reported the world’s first birth using a deceased donor’s womb.

Caregiver Depression Tied to More ER Visits for Dementia Patients

July 9, 2019

(Reuters) – Dementia patients may go to the emergency room more often when their caregivers are depressed, a recent study suggests. Researchers observed 663 dementia patients and their family caregivers – typically spouses, domestic partners or other relatives – for six months. At the start of the study, 84 caregivers, or almost 13%, had depression. Caregiver depression was associated with a 73% increase in emergency room use among dementia patients, researchers report in JAMA Neurology.

Ebola in DR Congo: Fear and Mistrust Stalk Battle to Halt Outbreak

July 9, 2019

(BBC) – There can be few greater challenges than tackling a lethal epidemic. But imagine trying to do so in a conflict zone ravaged by extreme poverty, insecurity and poor communications amid a population where health workers are feared and distrusted.  Yet that is the reality of Ebola in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where more than 1,500 people have lost their lives from the virus in the past year.

With a Surge in Cases of Mysterious Polio-Like Condition, CDC Appeals to Doctors to Help Crack Case

July 9, 2019

(STAT News) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday appealed to doctors to rapidly report suspected cases of a mysterious ailment that afflicts young children, saying delays in identifying possible cases of acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM, are hindering the search for the condition’s cause. Every two years since 2014, a surge of the polio-like illnesses has struck a number of young children across the country, leaving them with weakened limbs. Efforts to find the cause of the phenomenon have pointed to viral infections as a possible culprit, but to date no one virus has been clearly implicated.

Half of Babies Affected by Zika Virus Are Developing Normally by Age 2

July 8, 2019

(New Scientist) – Among a group of about 200 babies born to mothers who had contracted Zika virus, about one third had developmental delays, but not all of them were lasting. About half of the babies with abnormal assessments early in their lives later tested normally on developmental tests around age 2 or 3. Karin Nielsen-Saines at the University of California, Los Angeles, and her colleagues tracked the development of babies born to women who contracted Zika virus in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil during the 2015-2016 epidemic.

U.S. Health Officials Record 14 New Cases of Measles as Outbreak Slows

July 8, 2019

(Reuters) – The United States recorded 14 new measles cases between June 27 and July 3, federal health officials said on Monday, signaling a slowdown in the spread of the disease that has infected 1,109 people this year in the worst U.S. outbreak since 1992. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it had seen a 1.3% increase in cases since the previous week and that it has recorded cases of the highly contagious and sometimes deadly disease in 28 states.

Teens Who Abuse Opioids Likely to Use Heroin, Study Says

July 8, 2019

(UPI) – New findings show teens who use opioids to get high are more likely to use heroin after high school. More than 13 percent of young people who currently use prescription opioids recreationally also used heroin after high school, according to a study published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics. But nearly 11 percent of those who stopped using prescription opioids recreationally also moved on to heroin after graduation. That’s compared to only 1.7 percent of teens who didn’t get high on opioids during high school school but still used heroin after graduation.

Nerve Surgery Helps People with Paralysis Control Their Hands and Arms

July 5, 2019

(New Scientist) – Surgeons have reanimated the hands and arms of people who are paralysed by connecting up working nerves to the injured ones, giving people the ability to use their phones, apply make-up and feed themselves again. The surgery is life-changing, says surgeon Natasha van Zyl at Austin Health, Australia. One of her patients is currently travelling in Europe, and another can now take his grandchild to the movies by himself – both are leading drastically more independent lives than either had before.

Why Are Menstruating Women in India Removing Their Wombs?

July 5, 2019

(BBC) – Periods have long been a taboo in the country, menstruating women are believed to be impure and are still excluded from social and religious events. In recent years, these archaic ideas have been increasingly challenged, especially by urban educated women. But two recent reports show that India’s very problematic relationship with menstruation continues. A vast majority of women, especially those from poor families, with no agency and no education, are forced to make choices that have long-term and irreversible impacts on their health and their lives. 

DR Congo Ebola Death Toll Exceeds 1,600 Mark

July 5, 2019

(Medical Xpress) – Deaths from an 11-month-old epidemic of Ebola in eastern DR Congo have crossed the 1,600 mark and a new fatality has been reported near the border with Uganda, the health ministry said on Friday. As of Thursday, the health authorities had recorded 2,382 cases of Ebola, of which 1,606 had been fatal, it said.

The Legal Limbo of Lost Embryos

July 5, 2019

(Vox) – Freezer failures may be a first-world problem, but they’re not innocent lapses or harmless errors. Even if biological kids weren’t a sure thing, most fertility patients had a real chance that the malfunctions erased. In every other area of medicine, that loss of chance is usually enough to justify proportional recovery for whatever potential loss or causal contribution can be traced to a health professional’s misconduct.

Acne’s Wonder Drug Is a Mental-Health Puzzle

July 3, 2019

(The Atlantic) – Meanwhile, a steady stream of research has continued to probe the question of whether isotretinoin causes depression and suicide. None of it has conclusively proved an answer. But a study published today in JAMA Dermatology contends that, for all the focus on these most dramatic side effects, dermatologists and psychiatrists might have overlooked other potential mental-health risks for patients taking the drug.

Attempt to Replicate Clinical Trials with Real-World Data Generates Real-World Criticism, Too

July 3, 2019

(STAT News) – It’s one of the most seductive ideas in medicine: that “real-world evidence,” including data from electronic health record systems and even records of insurance payouts, could replace the far more expensive and time-consuming studies currently considered the gold standard. The Food and Drug Administration is required, under the 21st Century Cures Act, to explore this idea. And late last month, New York private health care company Aetion published the findings of a study in which real-world evidence was used to try to replicate the results of a specific randomized, controlled clinical trial. Did it work? It depends on who you ask.

Liver Donations Seen Feasible After Assisted Suicide

July 3, 2019

(MedPage Today) – Just as organs harvested after a fatal drug overdose can often be safely transplanted, so may livers taken from individuals undergoing physician-assisted suicide, Belgian researchers reported in a JAMA research letter. In a retrospective single-center review, Diethard Monbaliu, MD, PhD, of University Hospitals Leuven in Belgium, and colleagues found the following 3-year outcomes for graft and patients’ overall survival, respectively, by type of donor death.