Health Highlights: Jan. 9, 2014

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

Officials Confirm First North American Death From H5N1 Bird Flu

The first death in North America from H5N1 bird flu has been reported in Alberta, Canada. The victim was a resident of the province who had recently traveled to Beijing, China.

Health officials said there was no risk of transmission of the virus between humans, CBC News reported.

The patient first showed symptoms on a Dec. 27 flight from Beijing to Vancouver. The person then spent a few hours in the Vancouver airport before taking a flight to Edmonton.

The patient was admitted to hospital Jan. 1. The symptoms of headache, fever and malaise worsened and the patient died Jan. 3. The Public Health Agency of Canada was notified about the case Jan. 5, and the H5N1 infection was confirmed in a lab test Wednesday night, CBC News reported.

Officials said they do not know how the patient was infected. The patient did not leave Beijing, did not visit any markets and did not travel to farms.

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Woman to Give Birth to Own Granddaughter

A 58-year-old Utah woman is expected to give birth in early February to her first grandchild.

Julia Navarro is carrying the baby for her daughter Lorena McKinnon, who has had about a dozen miscarriages since she and her husband began trying to have a baby three years ago, the Associated Press reported.

McKinnon, 32, and her husband began searching for a surrogate to carry their baby. A friend and a sister considered it, but decided against it. That's when Navarro offered to be the surrogate.

She underwent hormone shots for three months before a fertilized embryo from her daughter and son-in-law could be implanted. Navarro said she has had a smooth pregnancy carrying her granddaughter, the AP reported.

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New Diabetes Drug Approved by FDA

A new pill to treat adults with type 2 diabetes has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Farxiga (dapaglifozin) tablets were approved to improve patients' blood sugar control, in combination with diet and exercise. The approval is based on findings from 16 clinical trials that included more than 9,400 people with type 2 diabetes.

An increased number of bladder cancers were diagnosed among patients who took the drug, so it is not recommended for patients with bladder cancer, the FDA said. The most common side effects among patients who took Farxiga were genital fungal infections and urinary tract infections.

The FDA ordered six post-approval studies for the drug. The studies will examine things such as cardiovascular and bladder cancer risk, liver problems, and pregnancy outcomes among patients taking the drug. Two studies will assess the use of the drug in children.

Farxiga is marketed by Bristol-Meyers Squibb Company and AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals.

Posted: January 2014


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