Our weekly roundup of the latest news in the world of health.
A study has found support for allowing use of smokers' lungs for transplant. People who got the lungs lived longer than those who stayed on a waiting list. But they didn't live as long as people who got nonsmokers' lungs. Other research published this week found that contact with live poultry caused a salmonella outbreak. Cases dated back as far as 2004. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg this week proposed limiting the size of sodas sold in the city. The Associated Press wrote this week about new procedures being tried for hard-to-control blood pressure.
This Issue: Study: Smokers' Lungs OK for Transplant Salmonella Cases Linked to Live Chickens Bloomberg Backs Smaller Sodas New Procedures Tried for Uncontrolled Blood Pressure
In the News:
Study: Smokers' Lungs OK for Transplant
Getting a lung transplant from a smoker is better than no transplant, a study released this week concludes. The research supports policies in the United Kingdom, where the study was done, and the United States. Transplants from smokers are used in both countries. The new study looked at survival rates for 2,181 British patients. All of them were waiting for lung transplants between 1999 and 2010. About 40% of the lungs transplanted came from people who had smoked. People who got smokers' lungs were 46% more likely to die within 3 years than people who received transplants from nonsmokers. But they were 21% less likely to die than people who stayed on the waiting list for a transplant. The journal Lancet published the study. The Associated Press wrote about it.
Salmonella Cases Linked to Live Chickens
Mail-order chickens, such as the baby chicks found in many Easter baskets, have been linked to at least 316 cases of salmonella infection. The New England Journal of Medicine published a study of the outbreak this week. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did the investigation. Officials said the cases had occurred since 2004. About 80% were linked to one mail-order hatchery. The Associated Press (AP) said it was in New Mexico. Salmonella bacteria can live on the feet, feathers, beaks and eggs of chickens as well as in the meat. The infection is called salmonellosis. It can cause high fevers, bloody diarrhea and other symptoms. Most of those infected were children, the CDC said. No one died, but 36 people were admitted to hospitals. The CDC said the hatchery has made changes to help prevent future infections. Only 1 case has been linked to the hatchery this year. The CDC said children under age 5 should not touch chickens. AP wrote about the study.
Bloomberg Backs Smaller Sodas
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants the city to limit serving sizes of sodas. The ban would restrict sweetened drinks sold in restaurants, movie theaters, sports venues and street carts to 16 ounces or less. It would not apply to grocery or convenience stores. The rules also would not affect diet sodas, fruit juices, dairy-based or alcoholic drinks. The city's Board of Health, appointed by Bloomberg, must vote on the proposal. The Associated Press wrote about the proposal this week.
New Procedures Tried for Uncontrolled Blood Pressure
Some doctors are trying new methods to lower blood pressure when medicine doesn't get it under control, the Associated Press (AP) reported this week. The approach used most often involves burning away overactive nerves. Medtronic Inc. makes a catheter (thin tube) that can be used for this purpose, AP said. The catheter is threaded through blood vessels to reach the kidneys. A device on the catheter uses radiofrequency waves to burn certain nerves, part of the body's "fight or flight" system. When the nerves stay active all the time, they can keep blood pressure up. Medtronic has done some small studies of the procedure. It led to an average drop of 33 points in systolic blood pressure (the first number in a blood pressure reading), the company said. Now a larger study of 500 patients is being done at multiple medical centers, AP said. It includes a group that will be given a fake treatment for comparison. Other companies also have developed catheters and other devices designed to help lower blood pressure, AP said.
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