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Health Highlights: Oct. 7, 2019

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

Three Scientists Win Nobel Prize in Medicine for Work on Cells and Oxygen

Two American scientists and a British researcher have won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their work on how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability, it was announced Monday.

The three joint winners are William Kaelin Jr. and Gregg Semenza of the U.S. and Peter Ratcliffe of the U.K., The New York Times reported.

Their work "identified the molecular machinery that regulates the activity of genes in response to varying levels of oxygen," which is a major advance in the understanding of the importance of oxygen to animals, according to the Nobel Assembly.

The assembly noted that the role of oxygen in the process of converting food into useful energy has long been known, but how cells adapt to changing oxygen levels was unclear, The Times reported.


Sia Has Chronic Pain Due to Neurological Disease

The singer Sia revealed that she has chronic pain due to a neurological disease called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

"I just wanted to say to those of you suffering from pain, whether physical or emotional, I love you, keep going," she tweeted Friday, CNN reported. "Pain is demoralizing, and you're not alone."

Ehlers-Danlos syndrome affects connective tissues that support the skin, bones, blood vessels and other organs and tissues, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

At least 1 in 5,000 people worldwide have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and many people with the syndrome have soft, fragile skin and bruise and scar easily, CNN reported.


New HIV Prevention Drug Not Approved for Women

A new drug to prevent HIV infection has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but its use is limited to men and transgender women.

That's because the drug, Descovy, was tested only in those groups, The New York Times reported.

Descovy is only the second drug approved for HIV prevention. The first was Truvada.

The FDA's approval of Descovy does not outline a plan to make it available to women, but the FDA will require its maker, Gilead Sciences, to study the drug in women, according to company officials, The Times reported.

The FDA's approval of Descovy could set a dangerous precedent by allowing companies to sidestep the costly trials required to test medicines in women, according to some experts.

This exclusion of women "should be unacceptable in these days and times," Dr. Rochelle Walensky, chief of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, told The Times.

© 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: October 2019

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