Health Highlights: Jan. 15, 2016

Health Highlights: Jan. 15, 2016

Health Highlights: Jan. 15, 2016

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

Appeals Court Overturns Ruling on Menthol Cigarette Report

There was no legal basis for tobacco companies to challenge a U.S. Food and Drug Administration report on menthol cigarettes, according to a federal appeals court ruling released Friday.

The decision overturns a lower court ruling that backed allegations by cigarette makers Lorillard and Reynolds that some members of the FDA advisory committee that wrote the 2011 report had conflicts of interest because they had previously testified against tobacco companies in court, the Associated Press reported.

The advisory committee concluded that menthol flavoring leads to higher cigarette use, particularly among blacks, teens and low-income Americans, and that removing menthol would make it easier for some smokers to quit.

The new ruling may not have much impact. There have been a number of changes to advisory panel members, and the FDA conducted its own review of menthol cigarettes in 2013 and concluded they are a greater public health risk than regular cigarettes, the AP reported.

However, the FDA has not made any move to limit or ban menthol cigarettes, the news service said.


New Ebola Case in West Africa

One day after the World Health Organization (WHO) said the Ebola outbreak in West Africa was over, a corpse in Sierra Leone tested positive for the deadly virus.

The 22-year-old woman died earlier this month in northern Sierra Leone. Officials have sent investigators to the area and are tracing the woman's contacts. Certain areas will be quarantined, Francis Langoba Kellie, an Office of National Security spokesman, told a local radio program, the Associated Press reported.

When the WHO declared the Ebola outbreak over, it did warn that flare-ups were still possible.

"We are now at a critical period in the Ebola epidemic as we move from managing cases and patients to managing the residual risk of new infections," said Dr. Bruce Aylward, WHO's Special Representative for the Ebola Response, the AP reported.

"We still anticipate more flare-ups and must be prepared for them," he added.

The two-year Ebola outbreak in West Africa -- the worst in history -- killed more than 11,300 people.
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