Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
U.S. scientists join effort to solve mysterious vaping-related illnesses
The U.S. investigation into hundreds of cases of life-threatening lung illnesses related to vaping has turned up a curious abnormality: Many of the victims had pockets of oil clogging up cells responsible for removing impurities in the lungs. Dr. Dana Meaney-Delman, who has been leading the inquiry at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, wants to know where that oil came from. The answer will help explain whether these cells play a key role in the vaping-related outbreak that has killed seven people and sickened 530 so far.
Too few pregnant women get exercise advice from doctors, study finds
(Reuters Health) - Only one in two pregnant women in an Australian survey said their healthcare practitioner had advised them about exercising, and more than half of these women had to raise the topic themselves, researchers found. Healthcare practitioners "are uniquely positioned" to advise women about exercise during pregnancy, the study team writes in the journal Women and Birth, but it's possible that many doctors don't bring it up because they are unsure about what to recommend.
U.S. senators urge FDA to remove pod, cartridge-based e-cigarettes from market
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators on Friday urged federal regulators to immediately remove all pod and cartridge-based e-cigarettes from the market until it can be proven the products are safe. In a letter to Ned Sharpless, acting commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Senators Dick Durbin, Lisa Murkowski, Jeff Merkley and Richard Blumenthal cited recent reports of 530 cases of vaping-related lung disease, as well as eight deaths, in asking for the ban.
Congo to deploy second Ebola vaccine
Health authorities in Democratic Republic of Congo said on Saturday that they plan to introduce a second Ebola vaccine, manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, to counter the second-worst outbreak of the virus in history. The team overseeing Congo's Ebola response did not say when exactly the J&J vaccine would be introduced. It will complement another vaccine manufactured by Merck, which has been administered to more than 225,000 people since August 2018.
Health care investment needed to curb out-of-pocket spending: WHO
Governments must boost spending on primary health care by at least an additional 1 percent of their gross domestic product to widen coverage and stop impoverishing patients, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Sunday. Despite some progress, more people are having to pay out-of-pocket for often costly medicines and treatment, the U.N. agency said in a report compiled with the OECD and World Bank.
World Health Organization: Tanzania not sharing information on Ebola
Tanzania is refusing to provide detailed information on suspected Ebola cases, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a rare public rebuke as the region struggles with an outbreak already declared a global health emergency. Transparency and speed are key to combating the deadly hemorrhagic fever because it can spread rapidly. Anyone deemed to have been in contact with potentially infected people must be quarantined and the public warned to step up precautions such as handwashing.
Anemia in early pregnancy linked with risk for neurodevelopmental disorders
Children born to mothers with iron-deficiency anemia early in pregnancy may be at higher risk for neurodevelopmental disorders, a new study suggests. In an analysis of data on more than half a million babies born in Sweden, researchers found that anemia in the mother before the 30th week of pregnancy was linked with a heightened risk of disorders including autism, ADHD and intellectual disability.
Tens of thousands march for ban on abortions in Slovakia
Tens of thousands marched in Slovakia's capital on Sunday calling for a total ban on abortions in the predominantly Catholic central European country. Abortion laws in Slovakia are relatively liberal compared to those in countries like Poland or Malta, which have among the strictest laws in the European Union and often allow them only in cases like rape.