Health Highlights: Sept. 29, 2015

Health Highlights: Sept. 29, 2015

Health Highlights: Sept. 29, 2015

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

Ads Linking STDs and Tinder, Grindr Under Fire

An ad campaign that links the dating apps Tinder and Grindr with the spread of sexually transmitted diseases is being defended by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

The ads that appear on billboards and bus benches in Los Angeles remind people about the risks of casual sex and offer free STD tests, the Associated Press reported.

"In many ways, location-based mobile dating apps are becoming a digital bathhouse for millennials wherein the next sexual encounter can literally just be a few feet away - as well as the next STD," Whitney Engeran-Cordova, the foundation's senior public health director, said in a statement.

However, Tinder and Grindr are are unhappy about the ads. Tinder sent a cease and desist letter to the foundation, saying the campaign falsely associates the location-based dating app with the spread of veneral diseases, the AP reported.

And Grindr -- a similar app for gay men -- removed commercials paid for by the foundation that promote free STD testing.

In its response to Tinder, the foundation said it did not disparage the company and refused to remove the ads' reference to the app, the AP reported.

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Better Patient Care Is Goal of $700 Million in Grants: White House

Nearly $700 million in grants to hospitals, clinics and other health providers will be handed out to improve patient care, the Obama administration announced Tuesday.

The $685 million will be given to about 40 national and regional health care networks and supporting organizations to be used for different types of ambulatory care programs, including continuing education and training on how to use patient data to provide better care, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Recipients include groups such as the American College of Emergency Physicians and the American College of Radiology.

"These awards will give patients more of the information they need to make informed decisions about their care and give clinicians access to information and support to improve care coordination and quality outcomes," Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said in a government news release, WSJ reported.

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Stem Cell Treatment for Blindness Being Tested on Patients

A new stem cell treatment to treat blindness is being tested on patients in the U.K.

In the surgical procedure, a tiny patch that contains specialized eye cells is implanted at the back of the retina. Last month, a 60-year-old woman became the first patient to undergo the operation, which will be performed on nine other patients, BBC News reported.

The patients will be monitored for a year to determine if their vision improves and if the treatment is safe. All of the patients have the wet form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), in which defective blood vessels in the eye lead to vision loss.

The stem cell treatment was developed by the London Project to Cure Blindness.

"We won't know until at least Christmas how good (the first patient's) vision is and how long that may be maintained, but we can see the cells are there under the retina where they should be and they appear to be healthy," project co-leader Professor Peter Coffey, Institute of Ophthalmology, University College London, told BBC News.

If the treatment works, it could also benefit patients in the early stages of dry AMD and might even stop their vision loss.

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Cancer Docs Told to Ask Wealthy Patients for Donations: Study

Many cancer doctors are being encouraged to ask wealthy patients for donations to support cancer research.

A survey of 400 oncologists at 40 leading U.S. cancer centers found that nearly half said they had been instructed to identify rich patients who might be prospective donors, The New York Times reported.

One-third of the doctors said they had been asked to directly request donations, but half of them refused. Three percent of the doctors were promised payments if a patient made a donation.

The study was published online Monday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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