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Health Highlights: Nov. 21, 2018

Last Updated: November 21, 2018.

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

U.S. Abortions Decline 24 Percent: CDC

Abortions in the United States fell 24 percent between 2006 and 2015, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study.

It said the number of abortions declined from 842,855 to 638,169, CNN reported.

Abortions among women ages 15-44 fell 26 percent, from 15.9 to 11.8 abortions per 1,000 women, and abortions per 1,000 live births fell 19 percent, from 233 to 188.

Between 2014 and 2015, there was a 2 percent decrease in abortions, CNN reported.

In the study released Wednesday, the CDC noted limitations with its findings due to the fact that abortion reporting is voluntary and requirements for reporting vary nationwide.

For example, the number of abortions reported to the CDC is 68 percent to 71 percent of the number in a census of abortion providers by the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health and rights research and policy group, CNN reported.


U. Maryland Student Dies of Adenovirus-Related Illness

An 18-year-old University of Maryland student has died from an adenovirus-related illness, and there have been reports of five other cases among students.

Adenoviruses are common causes of colds, but some strains can cause more serious illnesses. Recently, at least 11 children at a New Jersey rehab facility died of adenovirus-related illness, CBS News reported.

The University of Maryland student who died was identified as Olivia Paregol, who was in her first semester of college. The university's health center said it learned of her illness on Nov. 1.

In a letter, the university said that "the testing of one specimen sent to the CDC revealed Adenovirus 7, a strain that may cause more severe illness," CBS News reported.

The letter said departments campus-wide began increased cleaning of surfaces early in November in response to the situation, and warned students to be vigilant, particularly those with asthma, diabetes and those who have illnesses or take medications that weaken the immune system.


Cigarette Boxes to Carry 'Corrective Statements' Outlining Health Risks

Federal court-ordered "corrective statements" that outline the health dangers of smoking will soon appear on cigarette boxes sold in the United States.

In 2006, federal Judge Gladys Kessler ordered tobacco companies to issue "corrective statements" on their packaging, on company websites, and in print and television ads. The order was the result of a 1999 lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice against the tobacco industry.

As part of that court order, tobacco companies last year launched and paid for "corrective statement" ads on television and in newspapers. The requirement for statements on cigarette boxes takes effect Wednesday, CNN reported.

The statements explain that smoking is highly addictive, that it's difficult to quit, that nicotine changes the brain, and that all cigarettes can cause cancer, lung disease and heart attacks, and other health problems.

"We are at a point where 480,000 people a year die from tobacco use," Mary Rouvelas, senior counsel for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, told CNN.

The network was one of the groups involved in the lawsuit against the tobacco industry.

"We want to make sure that the public knows about the harms of smoking. We want to make sure that it knows about the fact that the industry intentionally manipulated nicotine, there are dangers of secondhand smoke. All those things that are in those statements are things that we think are very important to be out in the public domain," Rouvelas said.


FDA Warns Two Companies About Bogus Opioid Addiction Treatments

Warning letters about products illegally marketed as treatments for opioid addiction, pain and anxiety have been sent to two companies, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday.

The agency has received reports of serious health problems associated with use of the products, which are marketed as dietary supplements and contain an unsafe food additive called tianeptine.

The warning letters were sent to Jack B Goods Outlet Store for its Tianaa Red, Tianaa White and Tianaa Green products and to MA Labs for its Vicaine product.

Tianeptine is approved to treat depression in other countries, but the FDA has not approved tianeptine for any use. Tianeptine can pose a number of health risks, including neurologic, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal problems, and can mimic opioid toxicity and withdrawal, according to the FDA.

In August, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said tianeptine exposure calls to U.S. poison control centers rose from 2014 to 2017, suggesting a possible emerging public health risk, the FDA said.

FDA-approved medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction can reduce by half a patient's risk of death from all causes, but the use of unproven treatments can increase their risk of death.

"In this case, these companies are preying on vulnerable patients who may be seeking alternative treatments to serious medical conditions like opioid use disorder. They're also selling products with known safety issues," FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in an agency news release.

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