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Health Highlights: July 5, 2017

Last Updated: July 05, 2017.

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

Snortable Chocolate Product Raises Concerns

A snortable chocolate powder called Coco Loko is raising questions in the medical community.

The product, which is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, first appeared on store shelves about a month ago.

"The question is, what are the risks of doing it?" Dr. Andrew Lane, director of the Johns Hopkins Sinus Center, told the Washington Post. "There's no data, and as far as I can tell, no one's studied what happens if you inhale chocolate into your nose. When I mention it to people, nobody's ever heard of it."

Health experts have long voiced concerns about the health risks of energy drinks, which contain stimulants and have been shown to increase blood pressure and cause heart palpitations. Those effects could be magnified if a person inhales a stimulant, according to Lane.

"There are a few obvious concerns," he told the Post.

"First, it's not clear how much of each ingredient would be absorbed into the nasal mucus membranes. And, well, putting solid material into your nose -- you could imagine it getting stuck in there, or the chocolate mixing with your mucus to create a paste that could block your sinuses," Lane said.

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Deadly E. Coli Outbreak In Utah Under Investigation

An E. coli outbreak that killed two children in a mostly polygamous community in Utah is being investigated by state health officials.

The outbreak in Hildale, which sickened four other people, was confined to one neighborhood and appears to have been caused by contaminated food or exposure to animals, not the town's water supply, according to David Heaton, spokesman for the Southwest Utah Public Health Department, CBS News/Associated Press reported.

However, the water supply is being assessed, he added.

The children died in the past two weeks after developing hemolytic uremic syndrome, which causes kidney damage. Their names and ages were not released, and Heaton did not reveal if they were related, CBS News/AP reported.

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Johnson & Johnson Vaginal Mesh Implant Lawsuit Case Begins in Australia

Vaginal mesh implants sold by Johnson & Johnson caused severe pain, physical harm and, in some cases, ruined their lives, according to more than 700 Australian women in a class-action case that began Tuesday.

The lawsuit alleges that Johnson & Johnson was negligent for not properly warning doctors and patients about the risks associated with the devices, that the implants were not fit for the purposes for which they were designed, and the testing prior to the devices being marketed was inadequate, the Associated Press reported.

The trial is expected to last six months.

Patients in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada have filed tens of thousands of lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson and other pelvic mesh manufacturers over the devices used to treat urinary incontinence and repair pelvic organ prolapse, the AP reported.

The lawsuits say the devices caused women chronic and often debilitating pain, infections, loss of sexual function and incontinence. In 2014, Irish medical device maker Endo International agreed to pay $830 million to settle more than 20,000 personal injury lawsuits related to its vaginal mesh implants, the AP reported.


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