Health Highlights: Dec. 27, 2012

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

Ex-President George H.W. Bush in Hospital ICU: Reports

Former President George H.W. Bush, 88, remains in "guarded condition" in the intensive care unit at a Houston hospital because of a persistent fever related to a lingering respiratory illness, according to published reports.

Bush, who was initially hospitalized on Nov. 23 with a cough linked to bronchitis, was moved to the ICU at Methodist Hospital on Sunday because of an alarming fever, Jim McGrath, Bush's spokesman in Houston, told the Associated Press.

"It's an elevated fever, so it's actually gone up in the last day or two," McGrath told the AP. "It's a stubborn fever that won't go away." However, the cough that sent Bush to the hospital last month is improved, he said.

Bush -- the 41st president and the oldest former commander-in-chief -- was put on a liquid diet, McGrath also said on Wednesday. The former president's family is with him, and his physicians are cautiously optimistic about his prognosis, McGrath said.

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Ground-Breaking Breast Cancer Researcher Dies at 92

Award-winning medical researcher Elwood V. Jensen, who pioneered life-saving treatments for breast cancer, died of pneumonia complications on Dec. 16 in Cincinnati at age 92, The New York Times reported Thursday.

Jensen's work with steroid hormones led to new treatments for breast cancer, and in 2004 earned him the prestigious Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award, which he shared with two other scientists.

In the 1950s at the University of Chicago, Jensen advanced the study of steroid hormones and their relation to cancer, The Times noted. Focusing first on the hormone estrogen, he eventually concluded that about one-third of breast cancer cells were estrogen positive -- that is, they contain estrogen receptors.

By blocking estrogen surgically or with drugs such as tamoxifen, many women with this type of breast cancer go into remission. It's believed that Jensen's efforts saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

A test for estrogen receptors that Jensen and a University of Chicago colleague developed is now routine in breast cancer treatment.

Also, because of research by Jensen and his colleagues, it's known that different receptors play myriad roles in the body's cells, starting with fetal development and including fat and cholesterol buildup, the newspaper noted.

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Four Retailers Recall 'Nap Nanny' Recliners Tied to 5 Infant Deaths

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced Thursday that four major retailers are joining in a voluntary recall of the Nap Nanny infant recliner, after the product was linked to the deaths of five infants. The recliner is made by Baby Matters LLC, of Berwyn, Pa.

Retailers participating in the recall include Amazon.com, Buy Buy Baby, Diapers.com and Toys R Us/Babies R Us, the CPSC said in a news release. "At the request of the CPSC, these retailers have agreed to voluntarily participate because the manufacturer is unable or unwilling to participate in the recall," the agency said.

According to the CPSC, the Nap Nanny Generation One and Two, and the Chill model infant recliners carry design defects tied to 92 reports of babies hanging out of the recliner or falling out, even though they were restrained by a harness.

Priced around $130, more than 155,000 of the recliners are thought to have been sold since 2009, the CPSC said. Consumers who have one of the models listed above should contact the retailer from which they purchased it for information on returning the product, the agency said.

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Nelson Mandela Released from Hospital Care

Anti-apartheid hero and former South Africa President Nelson Mandela was discharged from the hospital Wednesday, according to CBS News/Associated Press.

According to the AP, the 94-year-old Mandela, who had been hospitalized with respiratory trouble since Dec. 8, will receive more medical care at his Johannesburg home.

Mandela was diagnosed with a lung infection and also underwent gallstone surgery during his hospital stay, the news agency said. He had contracted tuberculosis during his 27-year prison stay in the apartheid era, CBS/AP noted.

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Posted: December 2012


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