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Health Highlights: Nov. 16, 2012

Last Updated: November 16, 2012.

 

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

Ebola Can be Transmitted by Air: Study

The deadliest form of the Ebola virus can be transmitted by air between species, according to a new study.

Canadian scientists conducted experiments that showed the virus was transmitted from pigs to monkeys without any direct contact between the animals, BBC News reported.

Limited airborne transmission may be contributing to the spread of the disease in some parts of Africa, the researchers said in their study published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Ebola viruses cause deadly hemorrhagic fevers in people and non-human primates. While fruit bats have long been considered the natural hosts of Ebola, a growing body of research suggests that wild and domestic pigs could be a hidden source of the most deadly form of the virus, Ebola Zaire, BBC News reported.

"If they do play a role in human outbreaks it would be a very easy point to intervene" said Gary Kobinger, of the National Microbiology Laboratory at the Public Health Agency of Canada. "It would be easier to vaccinate pigs against Ebola than humans."

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PeaPod Infant Travel Beds Recalled

About 220,000 Kidco PeaPod and PeaPod Plus Travel Beds for infants and toddlers are being recalled due the risk of suffocation, and one death has been reported, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says.

Children can roll off the edge of the inflatable air mattress, become trapped between the mattress and the fabric sides of the small, portable sleep tents, and suffocate.

In December 2011, a 5-month-old boy in New York City was found dead with his face pressed against the side wall of the tent. The cause of death was not determined, the CPSC said.

In addition, there have been six reports in the U.S. and three in Canada of children who became trapped or suffered physical distress in the tents. In two of the six U.S. cases, infants were found beneath a mattress that had not been inserted into the zippered pocket on the bottom of the tent.

Consumers with these products should immediately stop using them and contact KidCo Inc. of Illinois to get a free repair kit, the CPSC said. Contact the company toll-free at 1-855-847-8600 or go to the firm's website.

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Einstein's Brain Was Different: Study

A new study confirms what many have long believed -- Albert Einstein's brain was "unlike those of most people."

Researchers examined recently rediscovered photos taken of Einstein's intact brain after he died in 1955. The brain was later dissected and cut into 240 separate blocks for analysis, USA Today reported.

"Although the overall size and asymmetrical shape of Einstein's brain were normal. The prefrontal, somatosensory, primary motor, parietal, temporal and occipital cortices were extraordinary," said study leader Dean Falk, an evolutionary anthropologist at Florida State University.

"Einstein's brain has an extraordinary prefrontal cortex, which may have contributed to . . . some of his remarkable cognitive abilities," Falk noted in the study, USA Today reported.

The study was published Friday in the journal Brain.

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States Given Extension On Health Insurance Marketplace Decision

The deadline for states to decide if they'll create their own health insurance marketplaces or let the federal government do it for them has been extended to Dec. 14, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced Thursday.

Republican governors had been complaining about the original Nov. 16 deadline, mainly because HHS had not given them details about the structure of a federal exchange, NBC News reported.

"While receiving a letter of intent now will help us assist states in finalizing their application, a state may submit both a letter of intent and an application to operate its own exchange by December 14," Sebelius said in a letter to the Republican Governors Association.

Last Friday, Sebelius announced that states would have nearly a month extra (until Feb. 15) to submit plans for their exchanges if they decided to set up their own, NBC News reported.

The health insurance exchanges are part of the Affordable Care Act and are meant to provide consumers with a side-by-side comparison of policies' prices, coverage and out-of-pocket expenses.

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Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.


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