Health Highlights: Jan. 9, 2019

Police to Collect DNA From Male Workers at Phoenix Facility Where Comatose Woman Gave Birth Measles Outbreak in New York State Largest in Recent History AI Technology Detects Genetic Diseases Using Facial Photos

HealthDay News

HealthDay News

Updated on January 09, 2019

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

Police to Collect DNA From Male Workers at Phoenix Facility Where Comatose Woman Gave Birth

DNA samples will be collected from all male workers at a long-term care facility in Phoenix, Arizona where a female patient in a vegetative state recently gave birth, police say.

The search warrant to obtain DNA samples from the Hacienda HealthCare-owned facility was served on Tuesday, according to company spokesman David Leibowitz, the Associated Press reported.

The 29-year-old female patient had been in a vegetative state for more than 10 years after a near-drowning. The baby was born on Dec. 29.

Hacienda HealthCare said it welcomed the DNA testing.

"We will continue to cooperate with Phoenix police and all other investigative agencies to uncover the facts in this deeply disturbing, but unprecedented situation," the company said in a statement, the AP reported.

It's unclear if facility staff members knew about the pregnancy until the birth. According to its website, the facility serves infants, children and young adults who are "medically fragile."

The case has prompted reviews by state agencies and put on focus on the safety of severely disabled or incapacitated patients, the AP reported.

The woman was an enrolled tribal member of the San Carlos Apache tribe of southeastern Arizona, according to officials.

"On behalf of the tribe, I am deeply shocked and horrified at the treatment of one of our members," tribal chairman Terry Rambler said, the AP reported.

"When you have a loved one committed to palliative care, when they are most vulnerable and dependent upon others, you trust their caretakers. Sadly, one of her caretakers was not to be trusted and took advantage of her. It is my hope that justice will be served," Rambler said.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey's office has called the case "deeply troubling." Phoenix police so far not commented, the AP reported.

The case is "disturbing, to put it mildly," said Jon Meyers, executive director of The Arc of Arizona, an advocacy group for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

"I can't believe someone receiving that level of constant care wasn't recognized as being pregnant prior to the time she delivered," Meyers told the AP.


Measles Outbreak in New York State Largest in Recent History

There have been at least 112 confirmed cases of measles in Rockland and Orange counties and at least 55 in New York City in what officials say is the largest measles outbreak in New York state in recent history.

"If you go back many decades ago when we weren't vaccinating, of course there were probably more outbreaks, but in my memory, I don't know of a measles outbreak that was this significant," Dr. Howard Zucker, the state commissioner of health, said Tuesday, CNN reported.

"We have immunized 13,000 children since this outbreak has begun," he said. "I would say this is the largest measles outbreak that New York state has had in recent history."

The outbreak has particularly affected Orthodox Jewish communities and began after some children were infected on a visit to Israel in September, the New York City Health Department said.

As of Tuesday, "we have 55 cases confirmed in Brooklyn," said Dr. Jane Zucker, assistant commissioner for the Bureau of Immunization at the NYC Health Department, told CNN.

She said the largest recent measles outbreak in New York City had 58 cases in 2013. "I'm certainly hoping that there are no further cases and we won't exceed that 58, but we're still in the middle of the outbreak."

There's been an increase in measles cases across the U.S. and worldwide, CNN reported.


AI Technology Detects Genetic Diseases By Analyzing Facial Photos

Certain genetic diseases can be detected by new artificial intelligence technology that analyzes a photo of a person's face, researchers say.

The DeepGestalt technology was better than doctors at identifying a range of genetic syndromes, CNN reported.

The study was published Monday in the journal Nature Medicine.

Examples of conditions that can be identified by the technology include the nervous system disorder Angelman syndrome, in which patients have a wide mouth and widely spaced teeth, and strabismus, where the eyes point in different directions, CNN reported.

The deep learning algorithm was created by the artificial intelligence and precision medicine company FDNA using 17,000 facial images of patients with more than 200 distinct genetic syndromes.

While it could prove useful in personalized care, the researchers warned that the technology could be used by insurers and employers to discriminate against people who have pre-existing conditions or developing medical conditions, CNN reported.

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