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Health Highlights: July 16, 2015

Nearly 2 Million Pounds of Chicken Products Recalled by Aspen Foods House of Representatives Passes Bill to Help Disabled Access Device Residents Near First Atomic Bomb Test Site Seek Government Help Scientists Report Advances in Mitochondrial Disease Treatment Research High-Risk Areas for Lyme Disease Increasing in U.S. George H.W. Bush Breaks Neck Bone in Fall

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

Nearly 2 Million Pounds of Chicken Products Recalled by Aspen Foods

About 1.9 million pounds of frozen, raw, stuffed and breaded chicken products have been recalled by Aspen Foods due to possible salmonella contamination.

The products were produced between April 15, 2015 and July 10, 2015 and have "best if used by" dates between July 14, 2016 and Oct. 10, 2016, the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service said.

The recalled products -- which have the establishment number "P-1358" inside the USDA mark of inspection -- were shipped to retail stores and food service locations across the United States.

The recall was announced after the products were linked to a salmonella outbreak in Minnesota. The state health department is working with federal health and food safety officials on the investigation.

Aspen Foods is a division of Koch Poultry Company in Chicago. For more information, consumers can phone the company at 1-844-277-6802.


House of Representatives Passes Bill to Help Disabled Access Device

A bill to make it easier for people with communication disabilities to get assistive technology was passed Wednesday by the House of Representatives. The bill already has Senate approval and now goes to President Barack Obama.

The Steve Gleason Act is named for the former New Orleans Saints player who has been living with ALS since 2011 and relies on such technology. Changes made to Medicare last year meant that speech-generating devices were no longer covered, so Gleason began to lobby politicians to take action, NBC Sports reported.

In a Washington Post op-ed article, Gleason called the Medicare changes a "human rights violation."

"We saw it happen far too many times. People who wished to live productively denied access to the one tool that could liberate them," Gleason said in a statement. "People in hospice, who had their SGDs seized, so their last words to their loved ones were mere silence."

He thanked activists and legislators for their working in getting the bill passed by Congress.


Residents Near First Atomic Bomb Test Site Seek Government Help

Seventy years after the first atomic bomb was detonated in the New Mexico desert, residents of the nearby village of Tularosa continue to press for compensation for a high cancer rate they say is linked to the bomb test on July 16, 1945.

The aftermath of the blast caused rare forms of cancer among people living in the area, Tina Cordova, co-founder of a group called the Tularosa Basin Downwinders, told the Associated Press.

She said residents were not warned about the dangers of visiting the test site, and often picnicked there and collected artifacts, such as radioactive green glass called trinitite.

So while the state commemorates the first atomic bomb blast, Cordova and others are seeking acknowledgment and compensation from the federal government.

"It's not about anti-nuclear protests," Cordova, a cancer survivor, told the AP. "We want recognition from the U.S. government that they did this to us, that they came here and did this test. And that they walked away and left us for 70 years to deal with it on our own."

National Cancer Institute researchers are studying past and present cancer cases in New Mexico that might be associated with the atomic bomb test.


Scientists Report Advances in Mitochondrial Disease Treatment Research

Major progress in efforts to treat mitochondrial disease has been achieved by scientists.

Mitochondrial disease -- an incurable genetic disorder that affects thousands of American children each year -- can cause problems such as deafness, dementia, heart disease and diabetes, the Wall Street Journal reported.

In a new study, researchers said they used two laboratory techniques -- cloning and cell reprogramming -- to create new tissue that was a perfect match for mitochondrial disease patients.

"In the future we'd like to replace diseased tissue with healthy tissue" in these patients, said study lead author Shoukhrat Mitalipov, development biologist at Oregon Health and Science University, WSJ reported. "That's the work ahead of us."

The study was published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

Mitochondrial disease is believed to affect one in every 5,000 to 10,000 live births in the U.S., according to WSJ.


High-Risk Areas for Lyme Disease Increasing in U.S.

There has been a significant increase of areas in the United States where people are at high risk for Lyme disease, a federal government study says.

There are now 260 counties where the number of Lyme disease cases is at least twice as high as what's expected given the size of a county's population, up from 130 counties a decade ago, the Associated Press reported.

"The risk is expanding, in all directions," Kiersten Kugeler of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. She is lead author of the study published Wednesday in the CDC journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Lyme disease cases are concentrated in the Northeast and upper Midwest, and this study said more areas in those regions are now considered high-risk for the tick-borne disease, the AP reported.

All of Connecticut has been considered high-risk for decades. Now, nearly all of Massachusetts and New Hampshire are classified as high-risk, along with more than half of Maine and Vermont.

Other states with newly-added high-risk areas include Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, the AP reported.


George H.W. Bush Breaks Neck Bone in Fall

Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush was taken to hospital after suffering a broken bone in his neck in a fall.

Bush, 91, fell on Wednesday at his summer home in Kennebunkport. He was fitted with a brace and is doing O.K., according to a Bush spokesman, the Associated Press reported.

"(Bush) fell at home in Maine today and broke a bone in his neck," spokesman Jim McGrath tweeted Wednesday night. "His condition is stable -- he is fine -- but he'll be in a neck brace."

The 41st U.S. president was being treated at Portland's Maine Medical Center, which confirmed his condition as stable. The hospital said Bush would remain there at least overnight but would not say when he might be released, the AP reported.

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