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Health Highlights: Sept. 24, 2019


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

Woman Faces Dilemma After Face Transplant Fails 6 years Later

Six years after having a face transplant, Carmen Blandin Tarleton's, doctors have found tissue damage that will most likely lead to the loss of the face.

Tarleton, whose face was burned in a domestic violence attack, is being considered for another transplant, according to the Boston Globe.

That's an option Tarleton, 51 would prefer instead of being left with the scarred, misshapen face she had after her assault.

"Even though this has happened, I have no regrets," Tarleton, of Manchester, N.H., told the Globe. "I had such a low quality of life prior to my face transplant. Do I wish it had lasted 10 to 20 years? Of course."

To date more than 44 face transplants have been done around the world, 15 in the U.S. Last year a French surgeon gave a patient a second face transplant to replace the one done eight years before.

All transplants have a limited lifespan. And face transplants are still experimental and come with many unanswered questions about their risks and benefits, the Globe said.

Some people who have gotten them suffer from infections and other side effects that result from the drugs they take to prevent rejection of the transplant.

"There are so many unknowns and so many new things we are discovering,'' said Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, director of plastic surgery transplantation at the Brigham and Women's Hospital and one of Tarleton's surgeons, told the Globe. "It's really not realistic to hope faces are going to last [the patient's] lifetime."

Tarleton has had bouts of rejection when her new face became swollen and red. Although doctors were able to treat the infection this new episode resulted in swelling and sores along the edges of the transplant on her neck and near her ears.

Doctors found that some blood vessels to her face had narrowed and closed and facial tissue had died and turned dark.

Depending on how fast the deterioration progresses, Tarleton may be placed on a donor list or if the damage happens fast, her face will have to be reconstructed, leaving her severely disfigured, according to the Globe.

That's Tarleton's greatest fear. "These are not common things to go wrong, but when things go wrong you have to deal with it," she said. "l will get back to where I was. How I don't know. I will get through this."

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Kansas Death From Vaping-Linked Illness Brings National Total to Nine

A 50-year-old man has become the second patient in Kansas to died from lung damage tied to e-cigarette use. That brings the national total of these cases to nine, CNN reported.

So far, the number of deaths include two in California, two in Kansas, one each in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri and Oregon, according to CNN.

In all, 530 people have possible or confirmed lung injuries from the vaping-linked lung illness, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

People sickened by vaping can develop a cough, shortness of breath, nausea, chest pain, and some people vomit, have stomach pain and fever. If you vape and get sick see a doctor immediately, CNN says.

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Exposure to Insecticide Might Explain Cuba 'Sonic Attack'

In 2016, American and Canadian diplomats in Cuba complained of vertigo, ringing in the ears, pain, blurred vision, dizziness and memory and concentration problems.

The U.S. feared a Cuban directed 'sonic attack.' Cuba denied it. Now a new study posits that the baffling illness was caused by exposure to an insecticide sprayed to kill mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus, CNN reports.

Researchers speculated that the problem might be caused by overexposure to the enzyme cholinesterase, which the nervous system needs to function.

An examination of 26 Canadian diplomats found traces of cholinesterase-inhibiting insecticides, which were used in Cuba. Researchers also found traces of Temephos, another compound used in insecticides, in some of those tested.

"There is a lot we don't know about how much we can expose people to these chemicals and what are toxic levels, or if the damage in the brain is reversible," researcher Dr. Alon Friedman, a professor of neuroscience at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, told CNN. "But it's not called a neurotoxin for nothing. The hint is in the name."

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More Blood Pressure Drugs Recalled

The recall of the commonly prescribed blood pressure drug losartan has been expanded once again to include an additional five lots.

The drug made by Torrent Pharmaceuticals has been recalled because some lots are contaminated with the cancer-causing chemical N-Methylnitrosobutyric acid, according to a company press release.

These drugs added to the recall include lots of Losartan Potassium Tablets, USP and Losartan Potassium / Hydrochlorothiazide Tablets, USP, all of which have amounts of the contaminate that exceed FDA recommend levels.

This is the fifth recall of losartan Torrent has announced this year.

Losartan used to lower blood pressure and treat heart failure is in a class of drugs called angiotensin II receptor blockers.

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