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Health Highlights: Feb. 10, 2017

Lead Poisoning a Threat to Gunshot Survivors Oldest Person in U.S. Dies at Age 114 New Drug for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Approved by FDA

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

Lead Poisoning a Threat to Gunshot Survivors

Lead poisoning in gunshot survivors is a significant problem in the United States, according to a federal government study.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers analyzed data from 41 states and found that 457 people were diagnosed with high lead levels in their blood from bullets between 2003 and 2012, NBC News reported.

The lead is from bullet fragments not removed from the body, according to the study.

"Retained bullet fragments are an infrequently reported, but important, cause of lead toxicity; symptoms are often nonspecific and can appear years after suffering a gunshot wound," the investigators wrote, NBC News reported.

Symptoms include fatigue, abdominal pain, and memory loss, according to Debora Weiss, a CDC epidemiologist, and colleagues.


Oldest Person in U.S. Dies at Age 114

The oldest person in the United States has died at age 114.

Adele Dunlap died Sunday at a hospital near Flemington, N.J., the Martin Funeral Home said, the Associated Press reported.

Dunlap became the oldest American in July 2016 after the death of 113-year-old Goldie Michelson.

The oldest known person in the U.S. now is 113-year-old Delphine Gibson, of Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, according the Gerontology Research Group, which keeps tabs on people older than 110 worldwide, the AP reported.


New Drug for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Approved by FDA

A new drug to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The tablet and liquid forms of Emflaza (deflazacort) were approved to treat patients age 5 years and older. The drug is a corticosteroid that reduces inflammation and slows the activity of the immune system.

Corticosteroids are used in many other countries to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy, but this is the first FDA approval of a corticosteroid to treat the disease, and the first approval of deflazacort for any use in the United States.

Duchenne muscular dystrophy is the most common type of muscular dystrophy. The genetic disorder typically appears at ages 3 to 5 years and causes progressive muscle deterioration and weakness. Patients typically die in their 20s or 30s.

The FDA's approval of Emflaza -- marketed by Marathon Pharmaceuticals of Illinois -- is based on two studies showing that male patients who took the drug had improvements in muscle strength and appeared to lose the ability to walk later than those who took a placebo.

Common side effects of the drug are similar to those of other corticosteroids and include: facial puffiness, weight gain, increased appetite, upper respiratory tract infection, cough, haveig to urinate often during the daytime, unwanted hair growth, and excessive fat around the stomach, according to the FDA.

Less common side effects include: endocrine function problems, increased risk of infection, higher blood pressure, risk of gastrointestinal perforation, serious skin rashes, behavioral and mood changes, decrease in the density of the bones, and vision problems such as cataracts.

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