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Health Highlights: Aug. 1, 2017

States Sue Trump Administration Over Delay in New Air Pollution Rules Fast Heart Attack Care Now the Norm in U.S. Hospitals: Study Sam Shepard Dead at 73

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

States Sue Trump Administration Over Delay in New Air Pollution Rules

The Trump administration is being sued by more than a dozen states over its delay of rules to reduce smog-causing air pollution.

The lawsuit, which focuses on rules instituted by the Obama administration, was filed Tuesday with the U.S. Court of Appeals of the D.C. Circuit by attorneys general from 15 states and the District of Columbia, the Associated Press reported.

In June, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said he was extending the deadline for compliance with the new rules by at least a year. That puts the profits of polluters before public health, according to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is among those filing suit.

The EPA does not comment on pending litigation, an EPA spokeswoman told the AP.

Ground-level ozone can lead to serious breathing problems that cause thousands of premature deaths each year in the United States.


Fast Heart Attack Care Now the Norm in U.S. Hospitals: Study

The speed of heart attack care at U.S. hospitals is faster than ever, researchers report.

More than 93 percent of heart attack patients had blocked arteries opened within the recommended 90 minutes of arrival at a hospital in 2014, and the average time was 59 minutes, the Associated Press reported.

In 2005, less than half of patients underwent the procedure, called angioplasty, within the recommended time and the average time was 96 minutes.

"Things have definitely improved," study leader Dr. Fred Masoudi, a University of Colorado cardiologist, told the AP.

The sooner blood flow to the heart is restored, the lower the risk of permanent damage.

A heart attack patient's risk of death rises 42 percent if angioplasty is delayed even half an hour beyond the recommended 90 minutes after arrival at a hospital, the researchers said.

In angioplasty, a tiny tube is inserted into a blood vessel in the groin or arm and guided to the blockage causing the heart attack. Doctors then inflate a balloon to open the artery and place a stent to keep the artery open.


Sam Shepard Dead at 73

Award-winning playwright and actor Sam Shepard has died at the age of 73.

A family spokesman said Shepard died last Thursday at his home in Kentucky from complications of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), The New York Times reported Monday.

ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a rare neurological disease that attacks the nerve cells that control voluntary muscle movements such as chewing, walking, breathing and talking. The disease is progressive and always fatal, and there is no cure or treatment to halt or reverse the progression of the disease.

Shepard won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1979 and was nominated for two other Pulitzers for his Broadway plays. He also won an Academy Award for his supporting role in the movie "The Right Stuff."

Shepard is survived by three children and two sisters, according to The Times.

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