Health Highlights: April 12, 2019
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Doctors' Group AMA Criticizes U.S. Military Transgender Policy
The Trump administration's ban on transgender people serving in the U.S. military takes effect Friday, and the American Medical Association says it objects to the Department of Defense classifying the need to undergo gender transition as a "deficiency."
"The only thing deficient is any medical science behind this decision. The AMA has said repeatedly that there is no medically valid reason -- including a diagnosis of gender dysphoria -- to exclude transgender individuals from military service," AMA President Dr. Barbara McAneny said in a statement.
"The AMA has played a lead role in educating the military -- and the public -- about the fact that sexual orientation and gender identity are not psychological or medical disorders. The estimated 14,700 transgender military personnel are qualified and willing to serve. Rather than stigmatizing and banning these patriots, DoD should let them serve,"McAneny said.
The new regulation reverses an Obama administration decision to allow transgender troops to serve openly and receive care if they decide to transition to another gender, the Associated Press reported.
The term "deficiencies" is military speak for when a person does not meet standards to maintain a lethal force, according to the Defense Department.
Under the new Trump Administration policy, a service member can be discharged based on a diagnosis of gender dysphoria if he or she is "unable or unwilling to adhere to all applicable standards, including the standards associated with his or her biological sex, or seeks transition to another gender."
The discharge should come after an individual "has been formally counseled on his or her failure to adhere to such standards and has been given an opportunity to correct those deficiencies."
Transgender people can serve if they remain in their biological sex, the Defense Department said.
Baby Created With 3 People's DNA Is Born in Greece
A baby created with the DNA of three people was born in Greece earlier this week, doctors say.
The baby boy was born April 9 and weighed 6 pounds. Mother and child are said to be in good health.
The experimental and controversial IVF procedure used DNA from the 32-year-old mother, sperm from the father, and an egg from a donor woman, CNN reported.
The mother had undergone four unsuccessful cycles of IVF before trying this new technique, which was developed to help families with fatal mitochondrial diseases inherited from mothers.
The new IVF technique was developed in the U.K. and first used in Mexico 2016 to produce a baby for a family faced with the mitochondrial disease threat. It was also used in Ukraine in 2107 to produce a baby for a women with "unexplained infertility," CNN reported.
This most recent birth is part of a clinical trial that involves 24 other women. Eight embryos are ready to be implanted, according to the Institute of Life in Athens, Greece, which is working with the Spanish center Embryotools.
"We are very proud to announce an international innovation in assisted reproduction, and we are now in a position to make it possible for women with multiple IVF failures or rare mitochondrial genetic diseases to have a healthy child," Dr. Panagiotis Psathas, president of the Institute of Life, said in a statement, CNN reported.
Superbug Fungus Has Sickened 600 Americans: CDC
The United States has had more than 600 cases of infection with a type of fungus called a "serious global health threat" by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The first U.S. cases of Candida auris infection appeared in the United States shortly after the CDC became aware of it globally in 2016, ABC News reported.
Since then, there have been 617 confirmed cases of C. auris, with most reported in New York City, New Jersey and Chicago, according to the latest CDC data.
The agency also said that the fungus has been detected in more than 20 other countries, ABC News reported.
C. auris can cause infections in a number of areas of the body, ranging from wounds to the ears to the bloodstream. People most likely to be infected are long-term hospital patients, those with a central venous catheter or other lines or tubes entering the body, and those who have previously taken antibiotics or antifungal medications, according to the CDC.
C. auris spreads more easily between people than other species of Candida, and it can survive on surfaces after routine cleaning, so places such as hospitals and nursing homes are ideal breeding grounds.
"If we don't change the way we clean rooms, then the Candida could potentially infect the next person that enters the room," infectious disease expert Dr. Todd Ellerin told ABC News.
The CDC also said that C. auris is often resistant to one or more of antifungal medications, making infection with the fungus difficult to treat.