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Health Highlights: Dec. 9, 2016

John Glenn, Legendary Astronaut and Later Senator, Has Died Drug ODs Caused Record Number of Deaths in U.S. Last Year Publix Pancake and Waffle Mixes Recalled GNC Pays $2.5 Million to Settle Improper Labeling Investigation

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

John Glenn, Legendary Astronaut and Later Senator, Has Died

John Glenn, a famed astronaut who was the first American to orbit the Earth, died Thursday. He was 95.

Glenn, who went on to a distinguished career as a U.S. Senator from Ohio, had heart valve replacement surgery in 2014, CNN reported.

Ohio State University President Michael Drake confirmed the death, releasing a statement Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"The Ohio State University community deeply mourns the loss of John Glenn, Ohio's consummate public servant and a true American hero. He leaves an undiminished legacy as one of the great people of our time," Drake wrote.

Glenn made his historic space flight in 1962, before serving as a Senator for 24 years.

Drug ODs Caused Record Number of Deaths in U.S. Last Year

A record number of Americans died from drug overdoses in 2015, according to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

Overdose deaths rose 11 percent last year, to 52,404, driven by high rates of heroin and prescription painkiller abuse, the Associated Press reported.

In 2015, car crash deaths increased 12 percent to 37,757, and gun deaths were up 7 percent to 36,252, according to the annual report on deaths and death rates.

Rates for 8 of the 10 leading causes of death rose last year, which caused life expectancy in the U.S. to decline for the first time in more than 20 years, the AP reported.

The leading cause of death was heart disease.


Publix Pancake and Waffle Mixes Recalled

Certain Publix Premium Pancake and Waffle Mixes are being recalled due to possible salmonella contamination.

The 16-oz. packages of Banana-Flavored Chocolate Chip, Pumpkin, and Blueberry Flavored mixes were sold at Publix Super Markets in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee and North Carolina.

Salmonella can cause diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps, but most people recover without treatment. However, the illness may be more severe in seniors, infants, and those with weakened immune systems.

To date, no illnesses associated with the recalled products have been reported, according to Publix.

Consumers with the recalled products should return them to a Publix store for a full refund. For more information, call the company at 1-800-242-1227 or visit its website.


GNC Pays $2.5 Million to Settle Improper Labeling Investigation

A $2.25 million settlement over inaccurate labeling of supplements has been reached between GNC and the U.S. Department of Justice.

The nation's largest retailer of supplements did not admit to any wrongdoing, but agreed to more closely monitor the products it sells and avoid products with illegal or unsafe ingredients, NBC News reported.

The DOJ said GNC faces the threat of prosecution if it breaks any promises in the settlement.

"A lengthy investigation ... revealed that GNC's practices related to ensuring the legality of products on its shelves were lacking," the DOJ said in a statement, NBC News reported.

"GNC engaged in acts and omissions that allowed a misbranded supplement -- OxyElite Pro Advanced Formula, a product of Dallas-based USPlabs LLC (USP Labs) -- to be sold at GNC locations nationwide in 2013," according to the agency.

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