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Health Highlights: June 28, 2019


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

Alabama Appeal Over Abortion Law Rejected by U.S. Supreme Court

Alabama's appeal on lower court rulings blocking the state's ban on the most commonly used procedure in second-trimester abortions was rejected Friday by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The ban on the procedure called dilation and evacuation was passed by the state in 2016, but the Supreme Court's decision means it can't be enforced, the Associated Press reported.

Courts have blocked similar laws in Kansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas.

In an earlier lower court ruling, U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson said the Alabama law would amount to a virtual ban on abortion in the state after 15 weeks of pregnancy, the AP reported.

According to court documents, 93% of abortions in Alabama occur before 15 weeks of pregnancy, and nearly all of the 7% that occur later in pregnancy are by dilation and evacuation.

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Older Kids Should Get Hepatitis A Vaccine: Expert Panel

Hepatitis A vaccinations should be given to more than 2 million older U.S. children, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices said Thursday.

Thirteen years ago, the expert panel recommended hepatitis A shots for all children at age 1. The new recommendation is for older children who weren't vaccinated earlier, including 14- to 18-year-olds who turned 1 before the previous recommendation was made, the Associated Press reported.

The panel also said that all of the estimated 1.1 million Americans with HIV should be vaccinated against hepatitis A because they're more likely to develop severe hepatitis A illnesses.

There's been a rise in hepatitis A infections and deaths in the U.S. over the last two years due to outbreaks among the homeless and drug users, the AP reported.

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Fisher-Price Recalls 71,000 More Infant Sleepers

About 71,000 Play Yard products that include inclined infant-sleeper attachments have been recalled by Fisher-Price.

There have been no reported injuries or deaths involving the inclined-sleeper attachment included with Fisher-Price's Ultra-Lite Day & Night Play Yards, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

However, more than 30 infant deaths have occurred with other inclined sleeper products. About 4.1 million units of the Fisher-Price Rock 'n Play Sleeper were recalled in April after being linked to at least 10 deaths, the Associated Press and CBS News reported.

The new recall is for Fisher-Price play yard model numbers CBV60, CHP86, CHR06, CJK24 and DJD11. Consumers should immediately stop using the inclined-sleeper attachment and contact Fisher-Price for a refund or voucher, the CPSC said.

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Scientists Create 'Mini-Brains' for Lab Use

Mini-brains created by scientists from stem cells show complex neuronal activity but aren't capable of sophisticated function, researchers say.

In fact, a tool developed by the team to detect nerve cell activity is just as important as the creation of the mini-brains, study co-author Dr. Hideya Sakaguchi, a postdoctoral fellow at Kyoto University who is currently at the Salk Institute, said in an email to CNN.

The new calcium ion analysis tool may someday help researchers better understand complex brain functions and neurological disorders, Sakaguchi explained.

The preliminary study was published in the journal Stem Cell Reports.

The study is "not a big breakthrough," Yi Zhou, an associate professor of biomedical sciences and neuroscience at Florida State University who was not involved in the research, told CNN.

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Last Flu Season's Vaccine Only 29% Effective: CDC

The overall effectiveness of last flu season's vaccine was only 29% because it didn't protect against a flu virus that appeared later in the season, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It said the vaccine was 47% effective into February, but that dropped to just 9% after the late strain showed up, the Associated Press reported.

Flu vaccines are created each year to protect against flu strains predicted to be circulating in the upcoming season.

The effectiveness of last season's vaccine was the second lowest since 2011. The vaccine for the 2014-15 flu season was only 19% effective, the AP reported.

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