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Health Highlights: Aug. 5, 2013

Health Highlights: Aug. 5, 2013

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

Illegal Buttock Injections a Problem in U.S.

A number of deaths have been reported among the growing number of American women who have illegal injections to make their buttocks bigger.

In some cases, home-improvement materials such as silicone are being injected by people with no medical training, the Associated Press reported.

Deaths from these types of illegal buttock injections have been reported in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Pennsylvania, Nevada and New York. In Mississippi, an interior decorator faces trial in the deaths of two women who were injected at her house.

There is little data on the procedures or injuries they cause, but doctors and officials say there are a growing number of them. Online forums used to set up illegal buttock injections have thousands of responses, the AP reported.

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World's First Lab-Grown Burger Put to Taste Test

The world's first laboratory-grown hamburger was cooked and eaten at a news conference in London on Monday, BBC News reported. The burger was created from cells that were taken from a cow and turned into strips of muscle and combined to make a patty.

Food critics Hanni Ruetzler and Josh Schonwald did the taste test. "I was expecting the texture to be more soft...It's close to meat, but it's not that juicy," Ruetzler said.

"I miss the fat, there's a leanness to it, but the general bite feels like a hamburger," Schonwald said, according to the BBC News report.

The taste test was "a very good start," according to the scientist behind the burger, Prof. Mark Post, of Maastricht University in the Netherlands. But he couldn't say when lab-grown burgers would by available to consumers, noting, "This is just to show we can do it."

Proponents say the technology could offer a sustainable way of meeting what they say is a growing demand for meat, while critic say eating less meat would be a better way to deal with predicted food shortages, BBC News reported.

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Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment Study Halted

Development of a new rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treatment has been halted after disappointing Phase II clinical trial results, Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc. has announced.

While RA patients in the study of the ISIS-CRP treatment showed some improvements, the improvements weren't statistically significant compared to those seen in patients taking a placebo, the Wall Street Journal reported.

While it has no plans to further develop the C-reactive protein for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, the company said it will continue to evaluate it for treating other diseases.

A Phase II study of ISIS-CRP for patients with atrial fibrillation is currently underway and data from the study is expected in the first half of next year, WSJ reported.

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Legionnaire's Disease Kills 5 at Ohio Retirement Community

An outbreak of Legionnaire's disease at a retirement community in central Ohio has killed five people and sickened at least 39 others since July, health officials say. The victims were between 63 and 99 years old.

Bacteria in an air conditioning cooling tower and several water sources have been linked to the outbreak of the rare form of pneumonia at Wesley Ridge Retirement Community in Reynoldsburg, according to the state health department, the Associated Press reported.

The retirement community has taken measures to clean the water by superheating and hyper-chlorinating it and installing filters on shower heads, and residents have been told not to drink the water until testing is complete.

Those measures are believed to have prevented any new infections, according to health officials, the AP reported.

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Football Helmet Warning Labels Vary

A stark warning on one brand of football helmets isn't meant to scare people away from the game, but to make sure they understand the potential risks of the sport, company officials say.

"No helmet system can protect you from serious brain and/or neck injuries including paralysis or death. To avoid these risks, do not engage in the sport of football," say the labels on the backs of Schutt Sports' football helmets, according to a report in The New York Times.

The company has had this warning on its football helmets for about a decade, and it also appears on Schutt's website and in a scannable label on the helmet that links to information about head injuries by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"The simplest thing we can do is remind people that the game has inherent risks," Robert Erb, Schutt's chief executive, told the Times. "It's an ethical, moral and legal issue. People need to know these things."

But some people don't want to know. The warning has cost Schutt customers, including an official with a large youth league in California who said the language was offensive and harmed the game of football. However, Erb said the company has a responsibility to be as clear as possible.

"This is not to provoke fear or controversy," Erb told the Times. "It was to tell you to look both ways when you cross the street, not 'don't cross the street.' "

The wording of warnings on football helmets isn't universal. For example, labels on helmets made by Riddell -- the largest football helmet maker in the U.S. and the official helmet manufacturer of the NFL -- do not suggest that risk-averse players give up the sport, the newspaper reported.

"We feel strongly that the information, education and warning materials that accompany Riddell helmets are clear, concise and comprehensive," Riddell officials said.

 
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