Health Highlights: Oct. 3, 2014

Health Highlights: Oct. 3, 2014

Health Highlights: Oct. 3, 2014

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

Woman Gives Birth After Womb Transplant

A 36-year-old Swedish woman has given birth after getting a womb transplant, in what her doctors call a medical first.

In a study that will be published Oct. 5 in The Lancet, doctors report the baby boy was born prematurely but healthy last month. Both the mother and her child are now home. The woman's name is not being disclosed.

"The baby is fantastic," research leader Dr. Mats Brannstrom, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Gothenburg, told the Associated Press Friday.

The case offers hope to thousands of women each who can't have children because their uterus was removed because of cancer or they were born without one, the researchers said.

As part of the two-year study, the Swedish doctors transplanted wombs into nine women, but complications forced removal of two of the organs. Earlier this year, Brannstrom began transferring embryos into the seven other women, and there are two other pregnancies that are at least 25 weeks along, he told the wire service.

The Swedish woman who just had a baby had healthy ovaries, but she was born without a uterus -- a rare condition. She received a uterus from a 61-year-old family friend who had gone through menopause after giving birth to two children.

It took a year before doctors felt the transplanted womb was working properly, at which point they transplanted a single embryo created from the woman's eggs and her partner's sperm in a lab dish.

The baby grew normally until week 31, when the mother developed preeclampsia, a high blood pressure condition that can threaten the lives of both the mother and her baby. After being delivered by cesarean section, the baby weighed 3.9 pounds, a normal weight for that gestation period. He was released from the neonatal unit 10 days after he was born.


Smog-Related Cancer Risk Falls in Southern California: Report

The risk of air pollution-related cancer among people in Southern California fell 65 percent since 2005, but is still too high, according to a new report.

It said air pollution exposure could cause 418 cancer cases per one million people over 70 years, or a lifetime. That's down from 1,194 per one million in 2005, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The decline in cancer risk is due to tougher regulations, incentive programs and cleaner fuels that have led to a significant reduction in diesel emissions from vehicles and ships, according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

Despite the improvement, the risk for Southern Californians remains unacceptable high, air quality officials noted. The recommended limit is 10 cancer cases per one million people over 70 years, the Times reported.


Texas Abortion Clinic Rules Upheld by Appeals Court

Strict abortion clinic laws in Texas can be fully enforced, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.

With the decision, abortions instantly became outlawed at more than a dozen clinics, leaving Texas with as few as seven abortion providers, despite being the second-most populous state in the country, the Associated Press reported.

There are now no abortion clinics south or west of San Antonio, and women who live near the Mexico border will have to drive hours to have a legal abortion.

Two years ago, Texas had more than 40 abortion facilities. That number began to fall after Gov. Rick Perry last year signed a sweeping abortion law that requires doctors who perform abortions to have hospital admitting privileges, and for abortion clinics to meet hospital-level operating standards, the AP reported.

Abortion rights groups challenged the new rules and in August a lower court blocked the operating standards provision. However, that ruling was overturned Thursday by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court in New Orleans.

The decision is only a stay pending a full appeal, but Texas is likely to win the case, the court wrote.

"This is a sad day for women in Texas. It is very unfortunate," Gloria Martinez, the administrative nurse at Hilltop Women's Reproductive Clinic, told the AP.


Antibiotic Use in Livestock Still Rising: FDA

The amount of medically important antibiotics sold for use in animals raised for meat climbed 16 percent from 2009 to 2012, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration report says.

This large increase is troubling given attempts to fight antibiotic resistance in people, experts said.

"We're concerned that antibiotic sales for food animal production keep increasing," Laura Rogers, director of the Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming at the Pew Charitable Trusts, a research and advocacy group, The New York Times reported.

The most disturbing news was an eight percent rise in the sale of cephalosporins in 2012, despite new FDA restrictions placed on that class of antibiotics early that year. That suggests that the FDA's actions may be having little effect, according to health advocates.

The sale of cephalosporins, which are important in human health, rose 37 percent from 2009 to 2012, The Times reported.
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