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Health Highlights: June 21, 2013

Health Highlights: June 21, 2013

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

New Implant Enables 3-Year-Old Boy to Hear for First Time

A 3-year-old boy last month became the first child in the United States to receive an auditory brain stem implant.

The first time that Grayson Clamp heard sound was recorded on video. His mouth opens wide as he points to the person in front of him who is speaking, CNN reported.

Grayson was born without a cochlear nerve, which carries sound waves to the brain. He was fitted for a cochlear implant at an early age but the device didn't help.

Until now, auditory brain stem implants in the U.S. have been limited to adults. When Grayson's parents learned about a clinical trial for children at the UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, N.C., they signed the youngster up.

"He's sound aware, but we don't know what exactly he hears," said surgeon Dr. Craig Buchman, CNN reported. "We're relying on the plasticity of brain to start to sort this out."

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the implant for only 10 children.


USDA OKs Label for Meat from Animals Not Given Gene-Modified Feed

A label for meat from animals that have not been given genetically-modified feed has been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The label is the first of its kind and says that meat certified by the Non-GMO Project is from livestock that never ate genetically-modified ingredients such as soy, corn and alfalfa, The New York Times reported.

This "allows companies to demonstrate on their labels that they meet a third-party certifying organization's standards, provided that the third-party organization and the company can show that the claims are truthful, accurate and not misleading," USDA spokeswoman Cathy Cochran said in a statement.

She said the approval of the label was not an indication of "any new policy regarding non-G.E. or non-G.M.O. products," The Times reported.


Flu Shot Approved for Those With Egg Allergies

A new flu vaccine that is produced without eggs was approved by a federal advisory panel Thursday.

The unanimous vote of recommendation from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will give adults with egg allergies a way to protect themselves in the coming flu season.

Called FluBlock, the vaccine was licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last January.

Using an insect virus and recombinant DNA technology, FluBlock is made by Protein Sciences Corp. of Meriden, Conn. The method used to produce the vaccine is also used in the manufacture of other vaccines, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Although officials do not know how many people might be allergic to eggs, an estimated one in every 66 children has the allergy. However, the new vaccine is currently only approved for use in people aged 18 to 49, the CDC added.

Side effects with FluBlock are similar to those seen with other flu vaccines, and include pain at the injection site, headache, fatigue and muscle aches, the CDC said.

FluBlock has a shorter shelf life than other flu vaccines, and doctors should check the expiration date before giving it to patients, the CDC said.

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