Health Highlights: May 2, 2018
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Iowa Republicans Pass Most Restrictive Abortion Bill in U.S.
The most restrictive abortion bill in the United States was passed by Republican lawmakers in Iowa early Wednesday and now goes to Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds.
She is anti-abortion but has not stated publicly if she will sign the bill into law. However, her press secretary said in an email that the governor was open to signing it, the Associated Press reported.
The bill would ban most abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, usually around six weeks of pregnancy. There are exemptions to save a pregnant woman's life and for some cases of rape and incest.
The bill also prohibits some uses of fetal tissue, with exemptions for research, the AP reported.
The bill was passed with votes along party lines. Critics say it would ban abortion before some women even know they're pregnant, and that it's likely to face a legal challenge over its constitutionality, the AP reported.
Kentucky, Indiana Latest States with Hepatitis A Outbreaks
Kentucky and Indiana are the latest states with outbreaks of the highly-contagious liver disease virus hepatitis A.
In Kentucky, health officials say 400 cases have been identified since August and a statewide outbreak was declared in November. Since November, 76 cases have been identified in Indiana, according to health officials, CNN reported.
Both states have an average of about 20 hepatitis cases a year.
There have been three hepatitis A deaths in Kentucky so far this year, but none of the hepatitis A cases in Indiana have resulted in deaths, CNN reported.
Michigan, Utah, Colorado and California have had increases in hepatitis A cases over the past year.
The hepatitis A virus is found in the feces of infected people and is most frequently transmitted by eating food or drinking water handled by someone with the virus who has not properly washed their hands. The virus is also transmitted by sex and by illicit drug use, CNN reported.
There is a vaccine for hepatitis A, but many adults have not received it. A shortage of the vaccine at the beginning of the year hampered states' efforts to fight hepatitis A outbreaks.
NY High School Installs Vaping Detectors
A New York state high school has installed sensors in bathrooms to detect the use of electronic cigarettes by students.
Plainedge High School is taking part in a pilot program for Fly Sense, a sensor system that detects e-cigarette use, Edward Salina, the superintendent for Plainedge Public Schools on Long Island, told ABC News.
"There's a sensor inside there that is able to detect vape and what it does is it sets off an alarm, which is basically sent to an administrator who reports to the bathroom in order to inspect what's going on," he explained.
Fly Sense is also an anti-smoking and anti-bullying sensor system and can be installed where cameras aren't allowed, such as in bathrooms or locker rooms. Plainedge High School school has cameras located outside bathrooms that record people five minutes before they enter and five minutes after they exit the bathroom, Salina told ABC News.
The use of E-cigarettes, which vaporize a liquid that may contain nicotine and flavorings, can be difficult to detect because the devices don't emit an odor and can be disguised to resemble everyday items such as USB sticks.
E-cigarette use among U.S. high school students rose 900 percent from 2011 to 2015, according to the U.S. Surgeon General.
The concern is that e-cigarette use can be a step toward smoking cigarettes, Salina said.
"It's not a good, healthy lifestyle and our job is to basically help our students make good decisions in their lives," he told ABC News.
One Million Volunteers Sought for NIH Genetics and Health Study
The U.S. National Institutes of Health wants one million Americans to share their DNA and health habits in order to create a huge database to learn more about how lifestyle, genetics and environment affect health and how to reduce the risk of illness.
Nationwide enrollment in the 10-year, $1.45-billion All of Us Research Program will begin Sunday. People can sign up online or at participating health centers, the Associated Press reported.
Over the past year, more than 25,000 people gained early entry through an invitation-only pilot program offered by participating universities and health providers.
The program is a "national adventure that is going to transform medical care," according to NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins.
At first, the program will be limited to people 18 and older, but will later be opened to children. At least half of the participants must be from groups typically under-represented in medical research, the AP reported.
There are other collections that include genetic data from at least 100,000 people, but the NIH project is meant to be the largest and most diverse of its kind.
Participants will give blood samples that will undergo genetic testing, share their electronic health records, and provide details about lifestyle factors such as diet, sleep, and environmental exposures. Some might be asked to wear fitness trackers and other sensors.
In contrast to most medical students, volunteers will be allowed to see their test results and share them with their doctor, the AP reported.
In order to protect participants' privacy, identifying information on their medical data will be replaced with a code and only scientists that meet specific security requirements will be allowed to study the data, according to NIH.
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