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Health Highlights: Jan. 10, 2017

Vaccine Skeptic Robert Kennedy Jr. Asked to Head Trump 'Vaccination Safety' Committee 3-D Printed Blood Vessels Implanted in Monkeys No Evidence Prevagen Improves Memory: Government Lawsuit

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

Vaccine Skeptic Robert Kennedy Jr. Asked to Head Trump 'Vaccination Safety' Committee

Robert Kennedy Jr., long a vocal skeptic of childhood vaccinations, told reporters Tuesday that president-elect Donald Trump has asked him to "chair a commission on vaccination safety and scientific integrity."

According to CBS News, Trump met Tuesday with Kennedy, who said the meeting was held at Trump's request. Incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the meeting was to focus on "issues pertaining to vaccines and immunizations."

Kennedy, the son of slain US. Presidential candidate Sen. Robert Kennedy, has spent years focusing on the alleged dangers of vaccines.

The meeting comes after numerous instances in which Trump has seemed to cast doubt on the safety of vaccines -- a notion not backed up by the vast majority of science on the issue.

"I am totally in favor of vaccines," Mr. Trump said in a GOP primary debate. "But I want smaller doses over a longer period of time. Same exact amount, but you take this little beautiful baby, and you pump -- I mean, it looks just like it's meant for a horse, not for a child, and we've had so many instances, people that work for me ... [in which] a child, a beautiful child went to have the vaccine, and came back and a week later had a tremendous fever, got very, very sick, now is autistic."

Kennedy has also supported a link between thimerosal -- a preservative once widely used in childhood vaccines -- and autism, according to published reports.

The vast majority of medical experts say there is no evidence that vaccines cause autism, and the study that popularized the idea was found to be fraudulent and retracted.

"Research does not show any link between thimerosal in vaccines and autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder," the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention says on its website.

And in response to today's announcement, the American Academy of Pediatrics said that vaccines, "have been part of the fabric of our society for decades and are the most significant medical innovation of our time. Vaccines are safe. Vaccines are effective. Vaccines save lives."


3-D Printed Blood Vessels Implanted in Monkeys

Chinese scientists say they've implanted 3-D printed blood vessels in rhesus monkeys.

Along with potentially benefiting the nearly 1.8 million people worldwide with heart disease, this may be a major step toward mass printing human organs for transplant, according to CNN.

The research was conducted by scientists at a company called Sichuan Revotek, which plans to apply for regulatory approval to test the process on humans.

"This is an important breakthrough in the field," Alex Lee, an assistant professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, told CNN.

He and his team have been using 3-D printing to prototype heart models to personalize cardiac surgeries for patients.

But Lee added that it will take years to observe the long-term effect of these printed blood vessels and warned that they "may become blocked again years later," CNN reported.


No Evidence Prevagen Improves Memory: Government Lawsuit

There's no scientific evidence to support claims that the dietary supplement Prevagen improves memory, a government lawsuit says.

The lawsuit was filed Monday by the New York Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission against Prevagen maker Quincy Bioscience. It seeks a ban on further claims about the product's effectiveness, refunds for consumers and civil penalties, the Associated Press reported.

Prevagen is marketed as being "clinically shown" to support "clearer thinking" and to "improve memory within 90 days," but those claims are based primarily on a single study that did not show a statistically significant improvement in memory, according to New New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

In a statement, Quincy Bioscience, based in Madison, Wisc., said it "vehemently disagrees" with the allegations, the AP reported.

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