Health Highlights: July 24, 2017
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Charlie Gard's Parents Halt Legal Fight
A legal bid to have critically-ill U.K. baby Charlie Gard sent to the United States has been halted by his parents.
The 11-month-old infant has a rare fatal genetic condition and his parents launched a challenge against court rulings that their son's life support should be withdrawn, the Associated Press reported.
Charlie's parents wanted to send him to the U.S. for experimental treatment, but doctors said the therapy wouldn't help the boy and could cause him pain.
Lawyer Grant Armstrong says Chris Gard and Connie Yates said private discussions will be held about when Charlie's life-support will be switched off, and his parents "wish to treasure their remaining time with Charlie, however short that may be."
African Boy Achieves HIV Remission Without Drugs
A 9-year-old boy in South Africa has controlled his HIV infection without regular treatment for most of his life, doctors say.
It's the first reported case in Africa of a child controlling HIV infection without medication, and the third such case worldwide, CNN reported.
The unidentified boy was diagnosed with HIV when he was one month old. Soon after diagnosis, he began 40 weeks of antiretroviral treatment (ART). After the drug treatment stopped, the boy's health was monitored.
In late 2015, blood tests showed the boy to be in HIV remission, meaning levels of the AIDS-causing virus in his blood are undetectable using standard tests. Analysis of blood samples collected since the boy was an infant showed that he achieved remission soon after ART ended, CNN reported.
The case was presented by the boy's doctor on Monday at the International AIDS Conference on HIV Science in Paris.
"This is really very rare," said Dr. Avy Violari, head of pediatric clinical trials at the Perinatal HIV Research Unit at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, told CNN reported.
"By studying these cases, we hope we will understand how one can stop (treatment)," Violari added.
There is no vaccine or cure for HIV. Lifelong drug treatment for children with HIV carries the risk of potential toxicity, side effects and the need for daily adherence, which becomes more difficult when patients become teens, CNN reported.
Previous cases of treatment-free long-term HIV remission in children have been confirmed in Mississippi and in France.
Cancer Patients' Gray Hair Turns Dark While Taking New Immune Drugs
Doctors are trying to figure out why lung cancer patients' gray hair turned dark when they took new immunotherapy drugs.
All but one of the 14 patients in the study had at least stable cancer and responded better to treatment than other patients. This suggests that the hair darkening might be an indication that the drugs are working, according to the Spanish researchers.
They are continuing the study in an attempt to learn more and to determine if the hair darkening is just a fluke, the AP reported.
The study was published online in the journal JAMA Dermatology.
Posted: July 2017