Health Highlights: Sept. 13, 2012

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

Texas Woman to be 1st U.S. Recipient of Double-Arm Transplant

A Texas woman who had all her limbs amputated two years ago after contracting a severe infection is set to become the first U.S. patient to receive a double arm transplant, CBS News reported.

Katy Hayes, 43, a mother of three from Kingwood, contracted Streptococcal A infection days after giving birth to her third child in 2010 and fell into a coma. Doctors had to amputate her arms and legs to save her life.

Now, doctors at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston plan to operate on Hayes in the double-arm transplant, attaching donated arms to the spot where her elbows used to be. The bones of the arms will be attached using metal plates and screws, and then the muscles, tendons, arteries, veins and major nerves will be connected. The hospital is seeking a suitable donor via the New England Organ Bank, CBS News said.

At a news conference Wednesday, lead surgeon Dr. Simon Talbot said Hayes would require six months of rehabilitation and it's possible that she might never get motion or feeling in her new hands. Speaking at the news conference, Hayes said she is hopeful.

"I want to hug my children and hug my husband, cook food, and wipe my own bottom; things you guys take for granted," she said. "I have the determination to make these arms my own."

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McDonald's to Post Calorie Counts on Menus

Fast food giant McDonald's announced Wednesday that it would begin listing calorie counts for its burgers, French fries and other menu items.

Federal regulation was expected to mandate such menu information for major chain restaurants next year, the Associated Press reported, but McDonald's move comes ahead of that.

"We want to voluntarily do this," Jan Fields, president of McDonald's USA, told AP. "We believe it will help educate customers."

Some U.S. cities, such as New York City and Philadelphia, already require calorie counts on menus, so many customers won't notice any change. However, Fields said that, "I do think people feel better knowing this information."

One nutrition expert said the move won't dramatically slim Americans' widening waistlines, but every little bit helps.

"Obesity isn't the kind of thing where one day you wake up and you're fat. We gradually and slowly gain weight over time," Margo Wootan, director of nutrition at the public advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest, told the AP.

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FDA Warns L'Oreal About Skin Cream Claims

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cautioned cosmetics giant L'Oreal SA that claims made on its website for Genifique skin cream are exaggerated, suggesting that the product is a drug with medical properties.

The warning letter was issued Friday to L'Oreal's Lancome unit, the Associated Press reported, but was not posted on the FDA's website until Tuesday.

Lancome makes the claim that Genifique Youth Activating Concentrate "boosts the activity of genes" and contains elements that "stimulate cell regeneration to reconstruct skin to a denser quality," the AP said.

According to the FDA, only drugs are allowed to make such claims and Lancome has not provided data sufficient to market Genifique as a drug. L'Oreal has 15 business days in which to respond to regulators with a plan to adjust the language in the ad, the AP said.

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Posted: September 2012


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