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Health Highlights: Jan. 7, 2020

Last Updated: January 07, 2020.

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

American Embassy in China Issues Health Alert Over Mystery Illness

A mysterious pneumonia outbreak in China has prompted the U.S. embassy there to warn Americans traveling in the country to avoid contact with sick people and animals.

Since the viral illness was first reported last week in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, the number of cases has increased to at least 59, CBS News reported.

"Be aware and practice usual precautions," said the health alert issued Tuesday by the U.S. embassy. It advised Americans to seek medical care "right away" if they felt ill after being in Wuhan.

Fears have spread online that the highly contagious SARS virus -- which caused hundreds of deaths more than a decade ago -- has returned, but Chinese have ruled that out, CBS News reported.


'Prozac Nation' Author Elizabeth Wurtzel Dies of Breast Cancer at 52

The U.S. author of the widely-acclaimed 1994 memoir "Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America" has died.

Elizabeth Wurtzel died Tuesday in Manhattan at age 52. The cause of death was metastatic breast cancer, according to friend and fellow writer David Samuels, The New York Times reported.

Wurtzel's memoir was praised for initiating dialogue about clinical depression.

Her breast cancer was caused by a BRCA genetic mutation and she had a double mastectomy in 2015. After her diagnosis, Wurtzel became an advocate for BRCA testing, something she didn't undergo, The Times reported.

"I could have had a mastectomy with reconstruction and skipped the part where I got cancer," she wrote in a Times article about her cancer experience. "I feel like the biggest idiot for not doing so."


Whole Milk May Lower Children's Obesity Risk

Children who drink whole milk may have a lower risk of overweight and obesity than those who drink low-fat milk, a new review suggests.

Canadian investigators analyzed 14 studies that included nearly 21,000 children who drank either whole milk (3.3% fat) or milk with less than 2% fat, The New York Times reported.

Compared with children who drank low-fat milk or skim milk, those who drank whole milk had a 39% lower risk of overweight or obesity, and obesity risk fell steadily as whole milk consumption increased, the researchers said.

The findings were published recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends switching children to skim or low-fat (1%) milk at age 2, The Times reported.


Health Claims on Gwyneth Paltrow's New Netflix 'Goop' Show Raise Concerns

The first trailer and poster for a Netflix series on Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop brand has raised concerns among some people.

The six-episode series of "the goop lab" will be released later this month. The trailer hinted at exorcisms, psychedelics, psychic mediums and energy healing, and the promotional poster shows Paltrow standing in the middle of what appears to be a vagina, NBC News reported.

Goop has been criticized for questionable wellness claims, including the use of jade and quartz "eggs" for vaginal health. In 2018, the company agreed to pay $145,000 in civil penalties in a California settlement because such claims were ruled "unsubstantiated."

Other products slammed as misleading by experts include an "energy sticker" spray said to "protect" people from psychological and emotional harm, NBC News reported.

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