Health Highlights

January 10, 2020

Health Highlights: Jan. 10, 2020

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

15-Year-Old Texas Teen Youngest in U.S. to Die From Vaping

A 15-year-old Texas teen who died from vaping is the youngest victim so far in an outbreak of vaping-related deaths in the United States.

The teen's death was announced by Dallas County Health and Human Services, The New York Times reported.

In a statement on Dec. 31, Texas officials said the teen had "a chronic underlying medical condition," but did not identify the condition, the patient's gender or what products the teens had been vaping.

"Reporting a death in a teen due to Evali (E-cigarette or Vaping-Associated Lung Injury) is so tragic," Dr. Philip Huang, the Dallas County health director, said in a statement. "We are seeing that severe lung damage, and even death, can occur with just short-term use of these products."

As of Tuesday, there had been 2,602 cases of the illness and 57 deaths in the U.S. Those who've died have been between ages 15 and 75, with a median age of 51, The Times reported.

The outbreak appears to be slowing, but states are still reporting new cases every week, and more deaths are under investigation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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California May Start Producing Its Own Medicines

A proposal for California to contract generic drug companies to make medications would make the state the first in the country to produce its own medications.

The measure would "take the power out of the hands of greedy pharmaceutical companies," Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom said when he announced the plan on Thursday, the Associated Press reported.

Increasing competition in the generic drug market would lower drug prices for the state's nearly 40 million residents, according to Newsom.

The proposal also includes a single market for drug pricing in the state. Companies would have to bid to sell their medicines at a set price.

"Other countries control or negotiate the price of drugs, and if there is one state that could do it, it's California, which is the size of a country," Larry Levitt, executive vice president of health policy for the Kaiser Family Foundation, told the AP. "A drug company could walk away from Rhode Island. It's much harder to walk away from California."

The proposal must be approved by lawmakers before it takes effect.

Priscilla VanderVeer, vice president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, told the AP she's waiting for more details on the proposal before she will comment.

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Second U.S. Baby Born from Transplanted Uterus from a Deceased Donor

The second U.S. baby born from a transplanted uterus from a deceased donor was delivered by cesarean section in November, it was announced Thursday.

Benjamin Thomas Gobrecht was born to 33-year-old Jennifer Gobrecht, who was born without a uterus, and husband Drew Gobrecht, who live outside of Philadelphia, CNN reported.

Jennifer enrolled in an ongoing trial at Penn Medicine to assess uterine transplantation as a treatment option for infertile women.

The first baby in the U.S. to be born from a transplanted uterus from a deceased donor was delivered last June at the Cleveland Clinic, CNN reported.

The first baby in the world to be born from a transplanted uterus from a deceased donor was an infant girl delivered in Brazil in 2017.

To date, babies born from transplanted uteri have only been delivered by C-section, CNN reported.

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Twitter to Test New Features to Reduce Cyberbullying

New features that will enable Twitter users to control who can reply to their posts or to block replies altogether are going to be tested, the company says.

The announcement at the annual Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas comes as social media companies are under pressure to deal with cyberbullying, BBC News reported.

Twitter already has a feature that allows users to hide replies to their tweets.

"We want to help people feel safe participating in the conversation on Twitter," the company said, BBC News reported.

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