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Health Highlights: Nov.20, 2019

Last Updated: November 20, 2019.

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

Nominee to Lead FDA Evades Questions About E-Cigarette Flavor Ban

U.S. President Donald Trump's nominee to head the Food and Drug Administration evaded questions from the Senate's health committee Wednesday about Trump's pledge in September to ban most e-cigarette flavors.

Even though Dr. Stephen Hahn told lawmakers that underage vaping is an "urgent, important crisis" that requires "aggressive action," he said he wants to review more data before deciding how to tackle the problem, the Associated Press reported.

The full Senate must vote on whether to confirm Hahn as FDA head.

"I can't imagine a reason for holding off on immediately banning these kinds of flavors," said Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, the AP reported.

Hahn, a cancer radiation specialist and top medical executive at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, stressed that his decisions would be based on science, not political ideology.

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First Suspended Animation of Humans Reported

Humans have been put in suspended animation for the first time, U.S. researchers say.

They're conducting a trial that will compare the outcomes of 20 seriously injured patients who receive either standard emergency care or be put in suspended animation, known formally as emergency preservation and resuscitation (EPR), The Guardian newspaper in the U.K. reported.

The trial is scheduled to run until the end of the year, with full results expected in late 2020.

At a recent New York Academy of Sciences symposium, the trial was described by Samuel Tisherman of the University of Maryland in Baltimore. At least one patient had undergone the procedure but he did not say whether that patient or any others had survived, The Guardian reported.

The treatment -- meant to give doctors more time to save seriously injured patients -- involves rapidly cooling the brain to less than 10 Celsius (50 Fahrenheit) by replacing the patient's blood with ice-cold saline solution.

By reducing brain activity and slowing the patient's physiology, doctors may get vital extra minutes, an even up to more than an hour, to operate, according to The Guardian.


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