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Health Highlights: July 1, 2014

Sperm Grown From Frozen Testicles Produce Baby Mice: Study West Africa Ebola Death Toll Reaches 467: WHO VA Offers Medical Appointment to Veteran Two Years After His Death

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

Sperm Grown From Frozen Testicles Produce Baby Mice: Study

Researchers who used sperm grown from frozen testicles to produce baby mice say their breakthrough could eventually benefit boys with cancer who become infertile due to chemotherapy.

The Japanese scientists froze testicle samples from mice five days after they were born. Sperm from the frozen testicle samples were grown in the lab and injected into eggs. The baby mice that resulted were able to mate and produce another generation of healthy mice, BBC News reported.

The study was published in the journal Nature Communications.

"This is the first time in animals," Professor Takehiko Ogawa, of Yokohama City University, told BBC News.

"I predict it will take at least a couple of years before it is done in humans, it's not so easy," Ogawa added. "We are now working on human samples, which are very different from mice tissue, I have to find some trick to make it work, so it's very difficult to predict how long that will take."

While men with cancer can have sperm samples frozen before they undergo chemotherapy, this is not an option for boys with cancer who haven't gone through puberty, BBC News reported.

"With the increasing cure rate of pediatric cancers, infertility has become an important concern for patients and their families," the study authors noted.


West Africa Ebola Death Toll Reaches 467: WHO

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed 467 people so far as the death toll continues to climb, the World Health Organization said Tuesday.

It also said that there have been 759 suspected, probable and confirmed cases in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the Associated Press reported.

The figures were released on the eve of a two-day regional meeting in Ghana to improve efforts to fight the outbreak.

Last week, the WHO said there had been 367 deaths. The previous most deadly Ebola outbreak killed 254 people in Congo in 1995, the AP reported.


VA Offers Medical Appointment to Veteran Two Years After His Death

The Veterans Affairs Department recently offered a medical appointment to a Vietnam veteran who died nearly two years ago, the man's wife says.

Suzanne Chase, of Acton, Mass., said her husband Doug was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2011. In 2012, they tried to get him into the VA hospital in Bedford, but waited four months and never heard back from the VA, the Associated Press reported.

Doug died in August 2012. Two weeks ago, Suzanne received a letter from the VA addressed to her husband, telling him to call to make an appointment. Suzanne said the VA knew her husband was dead because she applied for funeral benefits and was denied.

In a statement, the VA said: "We regret any distress our actions caused to the veteran's widow and family," the AP reported.

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