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Health Highlights: Nov. 17, 2017

Related Health News

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

Jesse Jackson has Parkinson's Disease

Civil rights crusader Rev. Jesse Jackson announced on Friday that he has been diagnosed with the neurological disorder Parkinson's disease.

"My family and I began to notice changes about three years ago," Jackson wrote in a statement, CNN reported. "After a battery of tests, my physicians identified the issue as Parkinson's disease, a disease that bested my father."

Jackson, 76, said that acknowledging that he has Parkinson's has been a "painful" process, but that he is now determined to "make lifestyle changes and dedicate myself to physical therapy in hopes of slowing the disease's progression."

Parkinson's is a progressive disorder with no cure, which is characterized by tremors, stiffness, and trouble walking and maintaining balance and coordinated movement.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 percent of 60-year-olds develop Parkinson's, with that rate rising to 4 percent by age 80. Men are more prone to Parkinson's than women.

And -- as happened in Jackson's case -- about 15 to 25 percent of Parkinson's patients have a family member who also has the disease.

The disease is often tough to diagnose, but typically begins as slight tremors of the hands or muscle stiffness that worsens over time. Because a lowered level of the neurochemical dopamine is a hallmark of Parkinson's, it's often treated with levodopa, which the brain converts to dopamine. But this can only slow symptoms and often the drug comes with its own side effects.

Other treatment options include deep brain stimulation -- implanting electrodes into the brain.

Jackson was born in Greenville, S.C., and twice ran to become the Democratic Party's nominee in presidential elections. He has a long history of battling for civil rights, walking with Martin Luther King Jr. and speaking out in 2014 against the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri. His son, Jesse Jackson Jr., is a former U.S. Congressman representing Illinois' 2nd District.

Speaking of his new diagnosis, Jackson said, "I am far from alone. I want to thank my family and friends who continue to care for me and support me. I will need your prayers and graceful understanding as I undertake this new challenge."

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Human Cases of Salmonella Rise to 66 in U.S. Outbreak Linked to Pet Turtles

The number of people sickened in a multistate salmonella outbreak linked to pet turtles has risen to 66, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said late Thursday.

Since the last update on Aug. 29, 29 more people have been sickened and seven more have been hospitalized, bringing the total number of hospitalizations to 23. No deaths have been reported.

Five more states have reported illnesses, bringing the total number of states affected by the outbreak to 18.

The outbreak began in the spring and is expected to continue because many people are unaware of the risk of salmonella infection from pet turtles, even if they look healthy and clean, the CDC said.

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FDA Announces Tighter Regulation of Stem Cell Therapies

Tighter regulations that target doctors who promote dangerous stem cell therapies will be introduced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

On Thursday, the agency outlined a plan to regulate stem cell procedures and said it will focus enforcement efforts on "bad actors" who inject stem cells into the bloodstream, nervous system or eyes, the Associated Press reported.

These procedures pose the greatest risks to patients.

"We're going to be prioritizing places where we see products -- not just being promoted inappropriately -- but putting patients at potential risk," FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told reporters on a conference call, the AP reported.

Hundreds of private stem cell clinics have opened across the United States in the last decade. Many offer stem cell injections for a variety of diseases, including arthritis, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's.

The cost of these treatments range from $5,000 to $50,000, but there is little evidence that they are effective or safe, the AP reported.

The FDA's announcement is a "positive sign" and suggests that many clinics will now have to get FDA permission before offering experimental stem cell therapies, according to Paul Knoepfler, a stem cell researcher at the University of California, Davis.

"Now that the FDA's policies are clear, will it back them up with action?" Knoepfler told the AP. "Does it have the resources?"

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American Heart Association President Suffers Heart Attack at Group's Annual Meeting

The president of the American Heart Association suffered a heart attack at the group's annual meeting.

John Warner, 52, suffered a "minor" episode Monday morning and is in stable condition after doctors inserted a stent to open a blocked artery, the AHA said in a statement, the Washington Post reported.

Before his heart attack, Warner spoke at the conference about his family's history of heart disease.

"John wanted to reinforce that this incident underscores the important message that he left us with in his presidential address yesterday -- that much progress has been made, but much remains to be done," Nancy Brown, the AHA's chief executive officer, said in the statement, the Post reported.

"Cardiac events can still happen anytime and anywhere," she emphasized.

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