Health Highlights: July 20, 2015
Teen's HIV Under Control 12 Years After Stopping Drug Treatment U.S. Adults Don't Eat Enough Fruits and Vegetables: Survey New Abortion Ban in Wisconsin U.S. Seniors' Care Pioneer Dies
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Teen's HIV Under Control 12 Years After Stopping Drug Treatment
A French teen born with HIV has the disease under control even though she stopped treatment 12 years ago, according to doctors. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.
The 18-year-old girl's situation is unique and provides hope that early, aggressive treatment can limit how strongly HIV takes hold and, in rare cases, even enable people to control it without having to take drugs all their life, the Associated Press reported.
The unidentified teen -- who lives in Paris -- may have some form of natural resistance to HIV that has not yet been discovered. While at least a dozen adults with HIV have had remissions for a median of 10 years after they stopped taking HIV medicines, doctors say the French girl is the first to have long-lasting remission that began in childhood.
Dr. Asier Saez-Cirion, of the Pasteur Institute in Paris, presented the case Monday at an International AIDS Society conference in Vancouver, Canada, the AP reported.
The girl's mother did not have her HIV under control while pregnant, and the girl was infected either before or during birth. The girl was given the HIV drug zidovudine (AZT) for six weeks, followed by a more powerful four-drug combination.
She kept taking HIV drugs until she was nearly 6, when doctors lost contact with her. When doctors saw her again a year later, the girl's mother said she had stopped giving her daughter the HIV drugs. However, doctors could not detect HIV in her blood so they decided not to restart drug treatment, the AP reported.
Since then, the girl's HIV levels have remained below a detection threshold, with the exception of brief rise when she was 11 that cleared up without drug treatment. Very sensitive tests show extremely low levels of HIV.
"This is an exciting story," but it is unknown if the remission will last, said Francoise Barre-Sinoussi, a Pasteur Institute scientist and a co-discoverer of HIV, the AP reported.
"This case is clearly additional evidence of the powerful benefit of starting treatment as soon as possible," she added.
"This girl is in remission of infection but she is infected" and not cured, Saez-Cirion noted, the AP reported.
He explained that the girl doesn't have any of the gene variants or other biomarkers known to provide natural control or protection from HIV infection, and her body could not suppress the virus on its own before she started taking the powerful drug combination.
These factors suggest that early drug treatment is responsible for her HIV remission, Saez-Cirion said, the AP reported.
U.S. Adults Don't Eat Enough Fruits and Vegetables: Survey
Only 9 percent of American adults eat the recommended amount of vegetables a day, and only 13 percent eat enough fruit, according to a new survey from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
California had the highest rate of consumption of both fruits and vegetables, while Mississippi ranked lowest in vegetables and Tennessee lowest in fruit, the Associated Press reported.
The 2013 telephone survey included hundreds of thousands of people nationwide.
The amount of fruits and vegetables eaten by Americans seems to be staying at disappointingly low levels, according to study lead author Latetia Moore, the AP reported.
Adults should eat at least 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables each day, the federal government recommends.
New Abortion Ban Law in Wisconsin
A bill that outlaws non-emergency abortions at or beyond 20 weeks of pregnancy was signed into law Monday by Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
There is no exception for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. Wisconsin is the 15th state to pass similar abortion bans, the Associated Press reported.
The new law was passed in the Republican-controlled legislature without any support from Democrats. It's widely expected that the law will be challenged in court.
Nine months ago, Walker ran a television ad during his re-election campaign saying that whether to obtain an abortion is a decision between a woman and her doctor, the AP reported.
A week ago, Walker announced his bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.
U.S. Seniors' Care Pioneer Dies
The woman who decades ago took charge of the U.S. government's efforts to improve seniors' long-term care facilities has died.
Helen Holt died July 12 at her home in Boca Raton, Fla. at age 101. The cause was heart failure, according to her son Rush Holt. Jr., a former congressman from New Jersey, The New York Times reported.
Holt was appointed by President Dwight Eisenhower to lead a program created by the Housing Act of 1959 for the Federal Housing Administration to insure mortgages on nursing homes required to adhere to updated regulations.
"All there had been up until this time were 'old people's homes,' " Holt said in a 2014 biography. "Some were called 'poor farms' and some were 'pop and mom' care places. They needed something better and with higher standards."
Holt encouraged architects, developers and operators to get to know at least one person in each home, the Times reported.
"Knowing this person's needs would allow them to understand on a personal level what was required at the facility," she explained in the biography.
Serving with the federal government until 1984, Holt created standards for the financing, construction and operation of about 1,000 new nursing homes with 100,000 beds, the Times reported.
More than 7,000 facilities have been built since the launch of the program, now run by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.