Health Highlights: Aug. 22, 2014

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

Two New 'Secondary Infection' Ebola Cases in Nigeria

Two new confirmed cases of Ebola in Nigeria are the first to occur among people who did not have direct contact with an ill traveler from Liberia, officials say.

The two new patients are spouses of people who had direct contact with Liberian-American Patrick Sawyer and later became sick with Ebola and died, said Nigerian Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu, NBC News reported.

Sawyer had Ebola when he arrived in Nigeria last month and infected 11 other people before he died. The two new cases bring the total number of confirmed Ebola infections in Nigeria to 14, including Sawyer. Five of the patients have died, four have recovered and four are being treated, Chukwu said.

So far, the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria has infected 2,500 people and killed 1,350 of them, according to the World Health Organization, NBC News reported.


Fast Food 'Happy Meals' Should be Healthier: NYC City Councilor

A New York City councilor wants calorie and salt restrictions on any children's fast food meals that include a toy.

A bill introduced Thursday by Councilman Benjamin Kallos would require such meals to have no more than 500 calories and 600 milligrams of sodium. Less than 35 percent of the calories should come from fat, less than 10 percent from saturated fats, and less than 10 percent from sugar, CNN reported.

The meals would also be required to have a serving of fruit, vegetables or whole grains.

"It is difficult enough for parents to give their children healthy food without the fast food industry spending hundreds of millions of dollars per year advertising to children, and nearly half of that on toys," Kallos said in a press release, CNN reported.

"If restaurants are going to incentivize children, they should incentivize them to eat healthy," he added.

If it's approved by the health committee, the bill will go to city council and then to Mayor Bill de Blasio, CCN reported.


Ice Bucket Challenge Has Raised $41 Million for ALS Research

More than $41 million has been raised to fight amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) -- commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease -- since the "Ice Bucket Challenge" became a social media sensation.

The ALS Association said it received $41.8 million in donations between July 29 and Aug. 21, with more than 739,000 new donors giving money to the non-profit group that funds worldwide research to find treatments and a cure for ALS, The New York Times reported.

During the year that ended Jan. 31, 2013, the ALS Association received $19.4 million in total donations, according to Internal Revenue Service data.

The dramatic increase in donations brought in by the "Ice Bucket Challenge" will give a huge boost to efforts to find treatments and a cure for ALS, and to support services for patients, said ALS Association spokeswoman Carrie Munk, The Times reported.

The group currently supports 98 research projects worldwide and recently announced funding for 21 more.

About 30,000 Americans have ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that leads to total paralysis and death. Patients typically die two to five years after diagnosis. One U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved drug slows disease progression, and other drugs are being tested in clinical trials, according to the ALS Association.

Friday, August 22, 2014

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