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Health Highlights: March 10, 2017

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

VA to Provide Mental Health Care for Previously Excluded Veterans

Urgent mental health care will be offered to U.S. veterans with less-than-honorable discharges, the Department of Veterans Affairs says.

Currently, such discharges can prevent veterans from receiving federal benefits. The VA said the new coverage will be available by June or July, the Associated Press reported.

The coverage is needed to help veterans who are more likely to have mental health distress, according to VA Secretary David Shulkin, who said the vast majority of veterans who commit suicide have not been connected to VA care.

"This is a national emergency that requires bold action," Shulkin said. "Far too many veterans have fallen victim to suicide, roughly 20 every day."

Less than honorable discharges typically occur for misconduct such as violence or use of illegal drugs, the AP reported.

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Tests Help Identify Causes of Stillbirth: Study

Two tests are most effective in identifying the cause of stillbirth, a new study says.

It found that an examination of the placenta helped find a cause in about two-thirds of stillbirths, and a fetal autopsy helped in roughly 40 percent of cases. Genetic testing help identify a cause 12 percent of the time, The New York Times reported.

The study was published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology.

"These tests have an impact, and now there's more of a scientific rationale for their use," Dr. Emily Miller, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University who was not involved with the study, told The Times.

Each year, about 26,000 women have a stillbirth, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has long recommended a number of possible tests after stillbirth.

This study is the first nationwide effort to assess the effectiveness of each of those tests, The Times reported.

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Posted: March 2017

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