Health Highlights: Jan. 22, 2014

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

Obama Creates Task Force to Reduce College Sexual Assaults

A task force to combat sexual assault on U.S. college campuses is being created by President Barack Obama.

The presidential memorandum to create the task force was to be signed by Obama on Wednesday, the same day as the release of a White House report saying that college women are more likely to be raped or assaulted than anyone else in the country, the Associated Press reported.

The document revealed that nearly 22 million American women and 1.6 million men have been raped their lifetime, and that victims are more likely to have depression, substance abuse and physical health problems such as diabetes and chronic pain.

The report said that the highest prevalence of rape is on college campuses and that one in five women have been sexually assaulted at college, but only 12 percent of student victims report the incident, the AP said.

The task force of administration officials will have 90 days to develop recommendations for colleges to prevent and respond to sexual assault, boost public awareness of each school's actions on the issue, and improve how federal agencies work together to hold colleges accountable if they don't address the problem.


Sisters Have Lung Transplants at the Same Time

Two sisters who needed lung transplants and insisted that the other should be first ended up in the same operating room getting one lung each from the same donor.

The transplants on Irma Myers-Santana, 71, and Anna Williamson, 69, were performed earlier this month at Houston Methodist Hospital. It was the first such case at the facility.

"It's never happened. ... We've transplanted siblings before, but years apart," Dr. Scott Scheinin, who did Myers-Santana's transplant, told the Associated Press. "It's a little bit of serendipity."

About 10 years ago, both sisters developed a lung condition called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. People with the condition -- which kills more people than breast cancer every year -- develop scarring of the lungs and often require a transplant, Scheinin said.

About 10 months ago, Williamson went to Houston to await a lung transplant. Within six months, she was joined by Myers-Santana. They lived 10 doors apart in a Houston RV park. On a few occasions, each woman was offered a lung, but they argued over who should take it, with each one insisting the other do so.

"If we hadn't had the transplant when we did, she would be dead right now, dead," Williamson said as her sister sat beside her in the hospital room, the AP reported.


New Child Car Seat Standards Proposed by NHTSA

Child car seats would have to protect youngsters from injury and death in side-impact collisions under new standards proposed by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The agency said the upgraded requirements for car seats for children weighing up to 40 pounds would prevent the deaths of about five children and injuries to 64 others each year, the Associated Press reported.

The proposal is scheduled to be announced Wednesday and public comments will be accepted for 90 days. After the tougher standards are approved, car seat makers will have three years to meet the new requirements.

Safety advocates praised the proposed new rules.

"I think this is terrific," Joan Claybrook, the NHTSA administrator during the Carter administration and later president of Public Citizen, told the AP. She added that the NHTSA's predictions of how many lives will be saved and injuries avoided are "very, very conservative."

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

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