Health Highlights: Jan. 17, 2017

Related Health News

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

U.S. Abortion Rate Drops to Lowest in Decades

The number of abortions in the United States in 2014 was the lowest since 1974, a new study says.

There were 926,200 abortions in 2014, a 12.5 percent drop from 1.06 million abortions in 2011, according to the study released Tuesday by the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights, the Associated Press reported.

Only six states had increases in abortions between 2011 and 2014.

Nationwide, the abortion rate in 2014 was 14.6 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44, the lowest rate since abortion was legalized in the U.S. in 1973. Abortions reached a peak of 1.6 million in 1990 and there has been a decrease since then, the AP reported.

The highest abortion rates in 2014 were in the District of Columbia, New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Florida, and the lowest rates were in Wyoming, Mississippi and South Dakota. Those states had only one abortion clinic operating in 2014.

The study also said there was a 6 percent decline in the number of abortion clinics nationwide, from 839 in 2011 to 788 in 2014, the AP reported.

The study authors said two main factors likely drove the decline in abortions nationwide in recent years -- increased availability of affordable, long-lasting contraceptives and tighter abortion restrictions in many states.


Mold Found in Baby Teething Toy

Several parents have reported finding mold inside a popular teething toy called Sophie the Giraffe.

The mold could pose long-term health risks to infants, Dr. Sujartha Ramamurthy, of Doctors2You in Fort Myers, Fla., told NBC News.

"This is huge wake-up call for parents," said Ramamurthy, who explained that moisture from a baby's drool can remain in the toy and cause mold to grow. Exposure to the mold could lead to future health complications.

"It could develop later on into asthma or upper respiratory issues," Ramamurthy told NBC News.

Washing the teething toy could also trigger mold growth. The toy's maker said consumers should avoid getting water into the product. Rather than submerging it, clean the surface with a damp cloth.

Parents with concerns about their child's teethers should throw them away, Ramamurthy told NBC News.


Eugene Cernan, Last Person to Walk on Moon, Dies

Eugene Cernan, the last person to walk on the moon, died Monday at age 82.

His death in Houston was announced by NASA, The New York Times reported.

Cernan commanded the Apollo 17 lunar landing mission in 1972 and was the last of 12 Americans to set foot on the moon in six Apollo landings.

The Chicago-born Navy captain went into space three times and to the moon twice, The Times reported.

This is a story from HealthDay, a service of ScoutNews, LLC.