Health Highlights: Aug. 8, 2017

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

U.S. Already Experiencing Significant Effects of Climate Change: Report

Climate change is already having a significant impact on the United States, according to a draft report by scientists from 13 federal government agencies.

It says there has been a rapid and drastic rise in the nation’s average temperature since 1980, and that recent decades have been the warmest in the past 1,500 years, according to The New York Times.

The newspaper obtained a copy of the document, which has not been made public.

“Evidence for a changing climate abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans,” the draft report states.

It challenges claims by President Donald Trump and his officials that the human contribution to climate change is uncertain, and the ability to predict its effects is limited, The Times reported.

Thousands of studies conducted by tens of thousands of scientists have documented climate change, the document says.

“Many lines of evidence demonstrate that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse [heat-trapping] gases, are primarily responsible for recent observed climate change,” the report said.

The National Academy of Sciences has approved the draft report, but it has to be approved by the Trump administration before it can be released, The Times said.

The document is among “the most comprehensive climate science reports” to be published, Katharine Hayhoe, a professor of political science at Texas Tech University and one of the government scientists who worked on the report, told The Times.

Another scientist involved in the report said he and others were concerned it would be suppressed, according to The Times.

Calls and emails to the White House and Environmental Protection Agency had not been returned as of Monday night, the newspaper said.


Mandatory Sleep Apnea Testing for Truck Drivers and Train Engineers Scrapped by U.S. Government

Safety experts say millions of lives will be put at risk after the U.S. government abandoned plans to require truck drivers and train engineers to be screened for sleep apnea, which can cause extreme fatigue.

Late last week, the Federal Railroad Administration and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said they are no longer seeking the regulation that would require testing for sleep apnea, which has been linked to deadly rail and highway crashes, the Associated Press reported.

It should be up to railroads and trucking companies to decide whether to test employees, according to the agencies.

The Metro-North railroad in the New York City suburbs does test and has found that nearly 12 percent of its engineers have sleep apnea, the AP reported.

The sleep apnea testing plan is one of hundreds of proposed regulations that have been delayed or withdrawn by the Trump administration as it moves to significantly reduce federal regulations, the AP reported.


FDA Tells NYC Doctor to Stop Marketing Controversial Fertility Treatment

A New York fertility doctor has been ordered to stop marketing a controversial three-parent fertility treatment that creates a fetus from two women and a man.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration told Dr. John Zang, founder of the New Hope Fertility Center in New York City, that the agency has not authorized use of the procedure, called the spindle nuclear transfer, in humans, CNN reported.

The technique was used to conceive a boy born in Mexico in April 2016.

Zhang outlined the procedure in an article published last year in the journal Fertility and Sterility, CNN reported.


Teen Hospitalized After Sea Bug Attack

An Australian teen was hospitalized after what experts believe were sea fleas left his ankles and feet covered in blood from multiple bites.

After a soccer game on Saturday evening, 16-year-old Sam Kanizay soaked his legs in Melbourne’s Brighton Beach. He stood still waist-deep in water for about half an hour and didn’t feel a thing, but was “bleeding profusely” when he returned home, his father, Jarrod Kanizay, told BBC News.

“It looked like a war injury … like a grenade attack. It was really bloody,” he said.

“We got him in the shower but as soon as we did that the blood kept re-appearing,” Jarrod told BBC News. “It wasn’t clotting at all. It just kept bleeding and bleeding.”

Sam is expected to make a full recovery.

Jarrod collected samples of the tiny water bugs and sent them to experts. One of them was marine biologist Genefor Walker-Smith. She told Australia’s Herald Sun newspaper that the bugs were likely sea fleas, BBC News reported.

“It’s possible he disturbed a feeding group but they are generally not out there waiting to attack like piranhas,” Walker-Smith said.

Such cases are very rare and there is no reason for alarm, according to experts, BBC News reported.


U.S. Teen Suicide Rates Continue to Rise

Teen suicide rates in the United States continue to rise, particularly among females, a new government report shows.

In fact, the suicide rate for females aged 15 to 19 in 2015 was the highest seen in 40 years, the researchers noted.

Among males aged 15 to 19, suicide rates increased from 12 per 100,000 to 18 per 100,000 between 1975 and 1990, fell between 1990 and 2007, and then reached 14 per 100,000 by 2015, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, NBC News reported.

“Rates for females aged 15-19 were lower than for males aged 15-19 but followed a similar pattern during 1975-2007,” they wrote. “The rate in 2015 was the highest for females for the 1975-2015 period.”

Between 2007 and 2015, suicide rates doubled among females aged 15 to 19 and increased more than 30 percent among males aged 15 to 19, NBC News reported.

It’s part of an overall rise in suicides in the United States, which have increased 28 percent since 2000, according to CDC suicide expert Thomas Simon.

“Nationally overall we have been seeing an increase in suicide rates that is pretty pervasive among all age groups,” said Simon.

In 2007, 4,320 U.S. children and young adults up to age 24 committed suicide, according to the CDC, making suicide among the four leading causes of death among Americans aged 10 and older. In 2015, 5,900 children and adults aged 10 to 24 committed suicide, separate CDC data reveals.

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