Health Highlights: April 11, 2018

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Texas's Pregnancy-Related Death Rate Not as High as Thought: Study

A new study says previous research showing that Texas has an extremely high death rate from pregnancy complications was wrong, a new study says.

A 2016 study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology said that the number of women in the state who died of pregnancy-related complications rose from 72 in 2010 to 148 in 2012. The national number in 2013 was 28, the Washington Post reported.

Some thought that the big uptick in numbers was due to the state's 2011 decision to slash funding to family-planning clinics.

But in the new study published in the same journal, the Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force says the 2012 findings were based on sloppy and erroneous data collection.

The task force said more than half of the deaths in the state attributed to pregnancy-related complications in 2012 were recorded that way in error, the Post reported.

Texas's 2012 pregnancy-related death rate was corrected from 38.4 deaths per 100,000 live births to 14.6 per 100,000 live births.

Pregnancy-related death is defined as one that occurs while a woman is pregnant or within 42 days of giving birth, and does not include deaths from accidents or homicide.

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OxyContin Reformulation Did Not Prevent OD Deaths: Study

The reformulation of OxyContin in 2010 did not prevent any overdose deaths, a new study says.

In the four years after the prescription opioid painkiller was changed to make it harder to abuse, opioid addicts switched to heroin, which was cheaper and easy to get. Every death that was prevented from reformulating OxyContin was replaced with a heroin overdose death, according to the study, Bloomberg News reported.

The findings "call into question" whether reformulating drugs to make them harder to abuse "is an effective policy to reduce drug abuse and poisonings in the presence of close substitutes," according to the authors of the National Bureau of Economic Research working paper.

Purdue Pharma's new formulation of OxyContin meant the pills could no longer be crushed into a powder to be snorted or liquefied for injection, Bloomberg reported.

In the four years after the change, "heroin death rates increased by a factor of four while opioid death rates remained fairly flat," the researchers wrote.

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Mariah Carey Reveals Battle with Bipolar Disorder

When she was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2001, singer Mariah Carey didn't want to believe it, and only sought treatment recently after "the hardest couple of years I've been through," she says in a People magazine story.

"Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me," Carey said. "It was too heavy a burden to carry and I simply couldn't do that anymore. I sought and received treatment, I put positive people around me and I got back to doing what I love -- writing songs and making music."

Carey is now in therapy and taking medication for the mental health condition.

"I'm actually taking medication that seems to be pretty good. It's not making me feel too tired or sluggish or anything like that. Finding the proper balance is what is most important," she told People.

"For a long time I thought I had a severe sleep disorder," Carey said. "But it wasn't normal insomnia and I wasn't lying awake counting sheep. I was working and working and working I was irritable and in constant fear of letting people down. It turns out that I was experiencing a form of mania. Eventually I would just hit a wall. I guess my depressive episodes were characterized by having very low energy. I would feel so lonely and sad -- even guilty that I wasn't doing what I needed to be doing for my career."

She said she decided to go public about her condition because "I'm just in a really good place right now, where I'm comfortable discussing my struggles with bipolar II disorder. I'm hopeful we can get to a place where the stigma is lifted from people going through anything alone. It can be incredibly isolating. It does not have to define you and I refuse to allow it to define me or control me."

Carey is working on a new album that's due out later this year.

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Human Error Caused Loss of Frozen Eggs and Embryos, Storage Tank Company Says

Human error, not storage tank malfunction, led to the loss in early March of more than 4,000 frozen eggs and embryos at a fertility clinic run by University Hospitals in Cleveland, says the company that supplied the storage tank.

An initial investigation in recent weeks revealed mistakes made by the clinic, according to Michigan-based Custom Biogenic Systems, the AP reported.

Two weeks ago, University Hospitals said problems with the storage tank had been occurring for weeks and that a remote alarm system meant to sound when the tank's temperature started to rise was turned off.

In a letter to about 950 affected patients, the hospital said a system that automatically fills the liquid nitrogen meant to keep the eggs and embryos frozen was not working properly, and that the clinic was manually filling the tank with nitrogen by pouring it into the top, the AP reported.

But the storage tank is not meant to be filled manually from the top and isn't designed to monitor liquid nitrogen poured into the top, Custom Biogenic Systems said.

The company also said it had nothing to do with the remote alarm system that was switched off, and that the tank functioned properly by showing a high temperature and sounding a local alarm, the AP reported.

University Hospitals has said it doesn't know who shut off the remote alarm, which should have sounded when the storage tank's temperature started rising on the weekend of March 3.

In a statement Tuesday, University Hospitals said it's working with the company and others to pinpoint what happened, the AP reported.

"We intend to continue to work with the tank manufacturer to ensure this does not happen again," the hospital said. "We've been careful to not assign blame. But we've accepted responsibility."

The hospital is facing a number of lawsuits over the loss of the frozen eggs and embryos.

That incident and another one on the same day at a fertility clinic in San Francisco are the largest known losses of frozen eggs and embryos in the U.S., and led fertility centers nationwide to conduct reviews, the AP reported.

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Human Error Caused Loss of Frozen Eggs and Embryos, Storage Tank Company Says

Human error, not storage tank malfunction, led to the loss in early March of more than 4,000 frozen eggs and embryos at a fertility clinic run by University Hospitals in Cleveland, says the company that supplied the storage tank.

An initial investigation in recent weeks revealed mistakes made by the clinic, according to Michigan-based Custom Biogenic Systems, the AP reported.

Two weeks ago, University Hospitals said problems with the storage tank had been occurring for weeks and that an alarm system was turned off when the tank's temperature started to rise.

In a letter to about 950 affected patients, the hospital said a system that automatically fills the liquid nitrogen meant to keep the eggs and embryos frozen was not working properly, and that the clinic was manually filling the tank with nitrogen by pouring it into the top, the AP reported.

But the storage tank is not meant to be filled manually from the top and isn't designed to monitor liquid nitrogen poured into the top, Custom Biogenic Systems said.

The company also said it had nothing to do with the remote alarm system that was switched off, and that the tank functioned properly by showing a high temperature and sounding a local alarm, the AP reported.

University Hospitals has said it doesn't know who shut off the remote alarm, which should have sounded when the storage tank's temperature started rising on the weekend of March 3.

In a statement Tuesday, University Hospitals said it's working with the company and others to pinpoint what happened, the AP reported.

"We intend to continue to work with the tank manufacturer to ensure this does not happen again," the hospital said. "We've been careful to not assign blame. But we've accepted responsibility."

The hospital is facing a number of lawsuits over the loss of the frozen eggs and embryos.

That incident and another one on the same day at a fertility clinic in San Francisco are the largest known losses of frozen eggs and embryos in the U.S., and led fertility centers nationwide to conduct reviews, the AP reported.

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Strawberries Again Top the List of 'Dirtiest' Produce

Strawberries are once again first on a list of the 12 "dirtiest" fruits and vegetables issued by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Environmental Working Group.

Every since 2004, the group has released its Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce, which ranks pesticide contamination of 47 popular fruits and vegetables, CNN reported.

In order of contamination, the others in the top "Dirty Dozen" are: spinach, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes and sweet bell peppers.

Each of the top 12 items tested positive for pesticide residues and contained higher concentrations of pesticides than other produce, CNN reported.

While these 12 fruits and vegetables have the highest levels of contamination, nearly 70 percent of conventionally grown (non-organic) produce samples that were tested were contaminated, according to the Environmental Working Group.

There were some grocery-aisle winners, though, too. EWG also lists its "Clean 15" -- produce containing the least amount of pesticides. Avocados topped that list, followed by sweet corn, pineapples, cabbage, onions, frozen sweet peas, papayas, asparagus, mangoes, eggplant, honeydew melon, kiwi, cantaloupe, cauliflower and broccoli.

EWG notes that less that 1 percent of samples of either avocados or sweet corn tested positive for pesticides.

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