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Health Highlights: June 12, 2019

Last Updated: June 13, 2019.

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

More Women Should Be On Scientific Panels, NIH Head Says

The head of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins, has vowed not to speak at conferences where women are not given a prominent speaking role.

Men have typically dominated the platform at scientific meetings, the New York Times reported.

In a statement, Collins said: "I want to send a clear message of concern: It is time to end the tradition in science of all-male speaking panels."

"Starting now, when I consider speaking invitations, I will expect a level playing field, where scientists of all backgrounds are evaluated fairly for speaking opportunities," he said.

Collins urged others to follow his lead.

The announcement was generally praised.

"We've been working on this for years, and it's great to have someone who's a leading figure and a man do the same thing," Yael Niv, a Princeton neuroscientist, told the Times.

"People really want him at a conference -- he brings the crowds. So if he says, 'I'm not coming to your conference to give the keynote speech because I don't see adequate representation,' that is huge."

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Costco Frozen Blackberries Recalled, May Be Tainted With Hepatitis A

Townsend Farms, Inc. has told food giant Costco that -- according to a U.S. Food and Drug Admiration inspection -- frozen blackberry products made by the company may be contaminated with hepatitis A.

The recalled frozen blackberries are used to make the Costco brand Kirkland Signature Three Berry Blend.

The possibly affected products had expiration dates of February 16, 2020, and May 4, 2020. The products are sold only at Costco stores in San Diego, Los Angeles and Hawaii.

Testing has so far shown that no products made for Costco by Townsend Farms have been found to contain hepatitis A. None of the affected product is currently in inventory at Costco, but out of an abundance of caution Costco has been asked to tell its members about the possible contamination.

The warning affects the following products:

KIRKLAND SIGNATURE THREE BERRY BLEND, 4 lb bag -- Best By codes located in the white box on the back of the Product bag:

  • FEB1620,(A),(B),(C),(D),(E),(F),(G), or (H);
  • FEB1820,(A),(B),(C),or (D);
  • FEB2920,(A),(B),(C),or (D);
  • MAR0120,(A),(B),(C),or (D);
  • APR1920,(B),(C), or (D);
  • APR2020(A),(B),(C),(D),(E), or (F);
  • APR2720(A),(B),(C),(D),(E),(F),(G), or (H);
  • APR2820(A),(B),(C),(D),(E),(F),(G), or (H);
  • MAY0220(A),(B),(C),(D),(E),(F),(G), or (H);
  • MAY0420 (H).

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New Facebook Feature Aims to Boost Blood Donations

Facebook wants to help people who want to donate blood connect with local blood banks.

The new feature helps users to find places to give blood where they live and also notify them when blood is needed, CNN reported.

Users can sign up for the service in the "about section" of their profile.

"In five U.S, cities, we're going to put a notice right at the top of News Feed, asking people to register if they want to," Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook, told CNN.

The first cities are Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Baltimore and Washington. Facebook plans to roll out the feature throughout the country in the next few months.

"Then, if there's a blood shortage in your city, our partners like the American Red Cross can notify you and give you an opportunity to donate," Sandberg said. "This is an opportunity for us, we think, to help people contribute to each other in a way that's really important."

Similar programs are already operating in India, Pakistan, Brazil and Bangladesh, and more than 35 million people have signed up, according to Facebook.


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