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Health Highlights: April 5, 2019


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

Fashion Designer Betsey Johnson to Have Open Heart Surgery

Fashion designer Betsey Johnson has revealed that she's going have open heart surgery.

Johnson, 76, said in a news story that she has an enlarged aorta that will be repaired with an accordion type device, according to the American Heart Association. The surgery is reportedly scheduled for Thursday in Los Angeles.

The aorta is the main artery that carries blood away from the heart to the rest of the body.

He doesn't know the specifics of Johnson's condition, but heart surgeon and past president of the American Heart Association Dr. Timothy Gardner said "possible treatments could include the placing of an endovascular stent in the aorta."

Johnson said she decided to go public about her surgery after Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger announced earlier this week that he was going to have a minimally invasive heart valve procedure. Jagger had the procedure on Thursday and is now recovering.

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Moderate Drinking Increases Stroke Risk: Study

Moderate drinking could increase your risk of stroke, a new study says.

Researchers followed more than 500,000 people in China for a decade. Overall, the study found that alcohol boosts stroke risk by about one-third for every four additional drinks a day.

It also found that moderate drinking -- up to two drinks a day -- increased the risk of stroke by about 10 to 15 percent, and also slightly raised the risk of high blood pressure, the Associated Press reported.

The researchers couldn't determine if moderate drinking might also increase the risk of heart attack, according to the study published online Thursday in The Lancet medical journal.

The findings challenge the theory that moderate drinking could provide some health benefits.

"The claims that alcohol has some magical, protective fix ... has no particularly serious scientific basis," said study co-senior author Richard Peto, University of Oxford, U.K., the AP reported.

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Hundreds of Patients at California Hospital May Have Been Exposed to Measles

At least 200 patients may have been exposed to the measles by a girl who arrived at the University of California, Davis, Children's Hospital two weeks ago, a hospital official says.

The 7-year-old girl arrived at the ER with "some symptoms of measles, but not the typical textbook characteristics of measles," said Dr. Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious diseases, NBC News reported.

"Measles when it starts, starts off very similar to a lot of common community associated respiratory viruses," and can be difficult to diagnose, he explained.

"The patient came to the emergency department on March 17 and the patient was suspected of having measles on March 19," Blumberg said. "At that time, the patient was placed in appropriate isolation."

One of the challenges in containing measles is that infected people can have it for days without knowing it and spread it before they show symptoms, NBC News reported.

So far this year, there have been at least 387 reported cases of measles in 15 states, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There were 372 cases in all of 2018.

Experts say the sharp rise in measles cases is due to widespread misinformation about vaccines spread by so-called anti-vaxxers.

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FDA Issues Warning on E-Cig Liquids Resembling Cough Syrup

Warning letters have been sent to two companies that make and sell electronic cigarette liquids that look like prescription cough syrups, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Thursday.

The identified products in the warning letters to Undisputed Worldwide and EZ Fumes include: Double Cup Liquids Spritech Lemon Lime E-Juice Syrup and Double Cup Liquids Pineapple Phantom E-Juice Syrup e-liquid products.

They have labeling and/or advertising that imitate the prescription cough syrup products Actavis Prometh with Codeine and Hi-Tech Promethazine Hydrochloride and Codeine, respectively, according to the FDA.

"By deliberately making or selling e-liquid products that look like prescription cough syrups, these companies are putting adults and children at risk of nicotine poisoning. The products are being designed in ways that make them falsely appear to be ingestible. These actions are egregious," FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in an agency news release.

"The products not only use labeling with statements, representations and graphical elements that imitate legitimate cough medications, but they also have a list of ingredients that mimics a drug facts label," he added.

There has been a recent surge in child poisonings due to consumption of liquid nicotine. Small children who consume liquid nicotine can suffer severe harm, including death from cardiac arrest, as well as seizure, coma, and respiratory arrest, the FDA said.

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