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Health Highlights: Feb. 14, 2020

Last Updated: February 14, 2020.

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

Telemarketers' Access to Medicare Information to be Investigated

An investigation into how telemarketers may be obtaining seniors' personal Medicare information will be launched by the U.S. Health and Human Services inspector general's office.

The audit will be announced next week, an official told the Associated Press and comes in response to a surge of telemarketing scams targeting Medicare recipients that range from back braces to DNA swabs.

The new wider-ranging probe comes after an initial one discovered that an electronic system designed for pharmacies to verify Medicare coverage was being used for searches unrelated to filling prescriptions.

Seniors are told not to give their Medicare information to people they don't know, but the initial probe revealed that personal details can get to telemarketers when a Medicare beneficiary deals with a pharmacy or doctor's office, the AP reported.

Those details can then be compared with databases of individual phone numbers, allowing telemarketers to target seniors, according to the results released Friday.

That initial audit zeroed in on 30 pharmacies and other service providers that often pinged a Medicare system created for drugstores, the AP reported.


Medtronic MiniMed 600 Series Insulin Pumps Recalled

More than 322,000 MiniMed 600 Series Insulin Pumps have been recalled by Medtronic due to a defect that could cause them to malfunction and put users at risk for serious harm or death.

The recalled devices lack or have a broken retainer ring that helps lock the insulin cartridge into place in the pump's reservoir compartment. If the cartridge isn't locked firmly into place, too little or too much insulin may be delivered, which could result in hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia. Severe hyperglycemia can cause loss of consciousness, seizure, and death, the U.S. Food and Drug Administrations said.

Medtronic has received 26,421 complaints about malfunctions in the recalled insulin pumps, and is aware of 2,175 injuries and one death.

The Class I recall -- the most serious type -- is for Model 630G (MMT-1715), all lots before October 2019, and for Model 670G (MMT-1780), all lots before August 2019.

For information about the recall, consumers can call the 24-hour Medtronic Technical Support line at 877-585-0166.


U.S Life Expectancy to Reach 85 by 2060

Nearly a quarter of all U.S. residents will be older than 65 by 2060, and life expectancy will reach an all-time high of 85 by that year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

It says that the increase in life expectancy over the next four decades is likely to be slower than in the previous four decades, the Associated Press reported.

Life expectancy rose by almost eight years between 1970 and 2015, but is expected to increase about by six years between 2017 and 2060.

The Census Bureau noted that in the latter half of the 20th century, infectious diseases and cardiovascular deaths declined, while vaccinations increased and there were campaigns to reduce smoking and encourage physical activity, the AP reported.


Unilever to Stop Marketing to Children

All advertising and marketing campaigns that target children will be halted by the end of the year, food company Unilever says.

The new policy by the owner of brands such as Ben & Jerry's and Klondike ice cream bars stems from concerns about rising childhood obesity rates, which Unilever said is one of the 21st century's most serious public health concerns, CBS News reported.

The company noted World Health Organization data showing that 41 million children worldwide were overweight or obese in 2016.

"By the end of 2020, we will stop marketing and advertising foods and beverages to children under the age of 12 in traditional media, and below 13 via social media channels," Unilever said in a blog post this week, CBS News reported.

In addition, the company said it would limit its use of use of cartoon characters and would not use "any influencers, celebrities or social media stars who primarily appeal to children under the age of 12."

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