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Health Highlights: Nov. 17, 2017

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

Human Cases of Salmonella Rise to 66 in U.S. Outbreak Linked to Pet Turtles

The number of people sickened in a multistate salmonella outbreak linked to pet turtles has risen to 66, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said late Thursday.

Since the last update on Aug. 29, 29 more people have been sickened and seven more have been hospitalized, bringing the total number of hospitalizations to 23. No deaths have been reported.

Five more states have reported illnesses, bringing the total number of states affected by the outbreak to 18.

The outbreak began in the spring and is expected to continue because many people are unaware of the risk of salmonella infection from pet turtles, even if they look healthy and clean, the CDC said.


FDA Announces Tighter Regulation of Stem Cell Therapies

Tighter regulations that target doctors who promote dangerous stem cell therapies will be introduced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

On Thursday, the agency outlined a plan to regulate stem cell procedures and said it will focus enforcement efforts on "bad actors" who inject stem cells into the bloodstream, nervous system or eyes, the Associated Press reported.

These procedures pose the greatest risks to patients.

"We're going to be prioritizing places where we see products -- not just being promoted inappropriately -- but putting patients at potential risk," FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told reporters on a conference call, the AP reported.

Hundreds of private stem cell clinics have opened across the United States in the last decade. Many offer stem cell injections for a variety of diseases, including arthritis, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's.

The cost of these treatments range from $5,000 to $50,000, but there is little evidence that they are effective or safe, the AP reported.

The FDA's announcement is a "positive sign" and suggests that many clinics will now have to get FDA permission before offering experimental stem cell therapies, according to Paul Knoepfler, a stem cell researcher at the University of California, Davis.

"Now that the FDA's policies are clear, will it back them up with action?" Knoepfler told the AP. "Does it have the resources?"


American Heart Association President Suffers Heart Attack at Group's Annual Meeting

The president of the American Heart Association suffered a heart attack at the group's annual meeting.

John Warner, 52, suffered a "minor" episode Monday morning and is in stable condition after doctors inserted a stent to open a blocked artery, the AHA said in a statement, the Washington Post reported.

Before his heart attack, Warner spoke at the conference about his family's history of heart disease.

"John wanted to reinforce that this incident underscores the important message that he left us with in his presidential address yesterday -- that much progress has been made, but much remains to be done," Nancy Brown, the AHA's chief executive officer, said in the statement, the Post reported.

"Cardiac events can still happen anytime and anywhere," she emphasized.

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Posted: November 2017