Health Highlights: Oct. 29, 2018

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

Ninth Child Dies in Virus Outbreak at N.J. Facility

A ninth child has died in an adenovirus outbreak at a New Jersey rehabilitation center, state health officials said Sunday.

They said the unidentified child who died Saturday evening at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell was “medically fragile,” CBS News reported.

There have been 25 cases associated with the outbreak.

“This is a tragic situation, and our thoughts are with the families who are grieving right now,” Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal said in a statement. “We are working every day to ensure all infection control protocols are continuously followed and closely monitoring the situation at the facility.”

Adenoviruses account for about 5 to 10 percent of fevers in young children, but most patients recover. However, the children at Wanaque appear to have been at increased risk for serious adenovirus infections due to their other health problems, CBS News reported.

Children at the center are severely disabled, according to the Bergen Record.


Wide Variation Seen in Pelvic Shapes: Study

There is significant racial variation in the structure of the human pelvis, according to a study that could change how babies are birthed.

Doctors’ understanding of the pelvis has long been based on anatomical studies of people of European descent, but researchers measured 348 skeletons from around the world and found a wide range of pelvic shapes, The New York Times reported.

That was “remarkable and unexpected,” according to the authors of the study published Oct. 29 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

In general, people of sub-Saharan origin had the deepest pelvises back-to-front and Native Americans had the widest side-to-side. Europeans, North Africans and Asians were in the middle of the range, The Times reported.

Since pelvic shape can be quite different, it’s likely “that the birthing process is also highly variable,” Helen Kurki, an anthropology professor at the University of Victoria in Canada, told The Times.

She said this study contradicts the belief “that there is one ‘right’ way to birth a baby,” Kurki said, and indicates that might be better to take a a more individualized approach to childbirth.


Trump Announces Plan to Cut Drug Prices

Trying to cut high drug costs, the prices paid by Medicare for certain prescription drugs would be based on those in other advanced industrial nations, according to a proposal announced by the Trump administration.

“This is a revolutionary change,” President Donald Trump said in a speech on Thursday at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, The New York Times reported. “Nobody’s had the courage to do it, or they just didn’t want to do it.”

The move would cut costs for Medicare and save beneficiaries millions of dollars, according to the Times.

Under a demonstration project in half the country, Medicare would create and use and “international pricing index” to decide how much to pay for drugs covered by Part B of Medicare.

A recently-released government study said that Medicare paid 80 percent more than other advanced industrial countries for some of the most expensive prescription medicines, The Times reported.

The proposal was met with skepticism by Democrats.

“It’s hard to take the Trump administration and Republicans seriously about reducing health care costs for seniors two weeks before the election when they have repeatedly advocated for and implemented policies that strip away protections for people with pre-existing conditions and lead to increased health care costs for millions of Americans,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, The Times reported.

A number of health care-related announcements have been made by the White House ahead of next month’s midterm elections. Health care has been a major focus of Democrats in their campaigns, including high drug prices and warnings that Republicans will remove protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions.

Posted: October 2018

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