Health Highlights: March 22, 2017
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
AMA Urges Congress to Defeat Trump Health Bill
Congress should oppose Donald Trump's health care bill because it will lead to millions of Americans losing health insurance, the American Medical Association says.
"Health insurance coverage is critically important. Without it, millions of American families could be just one serious illness or accident away from losing their home, business, or life savings," the AMA said in a letter to members of Congress.
"The AMA has long supported the availability of advanceable and refundable tax credits, inversely related to income, as a means to assist individuals and families to purchase health insurance," the group added. "The credits proposed under the AHCA (American Health Care Act) are significantly less generous for those with the greatest need than provided under current law. The reduced purchasing power with the AHCA tax credits will put insurance coverage out of reach for millions of Americans."
"We also remain deeply concerned with the reduction of federal support for the Medicaid program and the resulting significant loss of coverage. Medicaid expansion has provided access to critical services, including mental health and substance abuse treatment, for millions. Not only will the AHCA force many states to roll back coverage to these millions of previously ineligible individuals, but the significant reduction in federal support for the program will inevitably have serious implications for all Medicaid beneficiaries, including the elderly, disabled, children, and pregnant women, as well," the letter stated.
The AMA said it wants to "work with Congress on proposals that will increase the number of Americans with quality, affordable health insurance coverage but, for the reasons cited above, urge members to oppose the American Health Care Act."
'Gong Show' Creator Chuck Barris Dies at Age 87
The creator of "The Gong Show" and many other game shows has died.
Chuck Barris died at his home in Palisades. N.Y. at age 87, according to his spokesman Paul Shefrin, The New York Times reported.
Barris also created "The Dating Game" and "The Newylwed Game" and was also a novelist and songwriter.
He wrote the pop song "Palisades Park," which became a hit for Freddy Cannon in 1962, The Times reported.
Compounding Center Co-Founder Not Guilty of Murder in Deadly Meningitis Outbreak
A co-founder and pharmacist at the New England Compounding Center was acquitted of murder charges linked to the deaths of patients who received injected steroids at the Framingham, Mass. lab.
But Barry Cadden was found guilty of racketeering, conspiracy and mail fraud charges by the jury in Boston and could receive a maximum sentence of life in prison, USA Today reported.
In 2012, 751 patients in 20 states developed fungal meningitis infections after being injected with steroids from the compounding center, and 64 of them died.
Cadden's defense lawyer said there was no evidence that his client was responsible for the deaths. Cadden is the first defendant to be tried in the case. Supervisory pharmacist Glenn Chin also faces second-degree murder charges, USA Today reported.
Twelve other people were initially charged with lesser crimes. Some pleaded guilty and others have had their charges dropped.
9 Deaths From Breast Implant-Linked Cancer: FDA
Nine deaths and hundreds of cases of a rare cancer have been linked with breast implants, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The disease is not breast cancer, but rather an immune system cancer called anaplastic large-cell lymphoma. In cases associated with implants, the cancer grows in the breast, usually in scar tissue around the implant. In most cases, the disease in treatable, The New York Times reported.
The cancer was first linked to breast implants in 2011. As of Feb. 1, the FDA knew about 359 cases of this cancer associated with breast implants.
The disease is most likely to occur with textured implants that have a pebbly surface rather than a smooth surface, the FDA said. Of the 359 reported cases, there was information about the implant surface in 231. Of those, 203 patients had textured implants and 28 had smooth implants, The Times reported.
Whether the implants contained silicone gel or saline appeared much less important than surface texture in disease risk.
The FDA said the actual number of cases of this breast implant-related lymphoma is unknown, because there is limited documentation of problems and little worldwide data on implant sales, The Times reported.
In 2016, about 290,000 women in the United States had implants for breast enlargement and 109,000 received implants for reconstruction after breast cancer, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Cases of the disease are typically diagnosed when women develop symptoms such as lumps, pain, fluid buildup and swelling. In most cases, removing the implant and the surrounding tissue cures the disease, but some women may require chemotherapy and radiation, The Times reported.
Surgeons Remove Parasitic Twin From Baby
A 10-month-old baby was successfully separated from what doctors called a "parasitic twin."
The twin never fully developed. Instead, it fused with Baby Dominique in the womb and she was born with the twin's waist, legs and feet growing out of her back, with the twin's bladder behind those limbs. Dominique was also born with two closely-connected spines, CNN reported.
Without surgery, Dominique did not have long to live. On March 8, doctors at Advocate Children's Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois worked for 6 hours to remove the parasitic twin. After the surgery, Dominique was 2 pounds lighter.
Doctors were unable to remove the second spine, but don't believe that will be a problem for Dominique, CNN reported.
"Like any child, she needs to be cared for and watched for developmental issues," Dr. John Ruge, a pediatric surgeon at the hospital, said.
"She has slightly more risk because she is built slightly more different than other children. But she looks great. We had 100 worries before surgery, and risks were high, so we're pleased with how she's doing," he added.
Dominique is from Ivory Coast and was brought to the U.S. by the nonprofit Children's Medical Mission West. She is being hosted by a family that lives close to the hospital and is expected to return home in mid-April.