Health Highlights: June 8, 2012

Dramatic Rise in U.S. Troop Suicides E. Coli Cases Near Atlanta Under Investigation Liver Grown From Stem Cells Only Person Cured of HIV/AIDS Wants to be Source of Hope Salmonella Fears Prompt Recall of Liquid Dietary Supplement

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

Dramatic Rise in U.S. Troop Suicides

Suicides among U.S. troops have averaged nearly one a day so far this year, the highest rate since the nation went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Pentagon statistics show that the 154 suicides among active-duty troops in the first 155 days of 2012 are about 50 percent more than the number of U.S. troops killed in action in Afghanistan over the same period, the Associated Press reported.

Suicides in the U.S. military leveled off in 2010 and 2011 and the dramatic increase so far this year has surprised some officials. The 154 suicides by active-duty troops as of June 3 is 18 percent higher than during the same period last year.

The suicide toll so far this year is up 25 percent from 2010 and is 16 percent higher than in 2009, which had the highest yearly total of suicides so far, the AP reported.


E. Coli Cases Near Atlanta Under Investigation

Health officials are investigating a cluster of five confirmed E. coli cases in the metro Atlanta area but have not yet determined the source of the E. coli.

One of the people infected with the strain known as E. coli 0145 was hospitalized. No deaths have been reported, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said.

Four of the five cases involved women 18 to 52 years old and the infections were reported between April 15 and April 28, a public health spokeswoman said.

Health officials in several other southern states are investigating similar cases, including at least one death, the Journal-Constitution reported.


Liver Grown From Stem Cells

Friday's announcement that Japanese scientists created a functioning human liver from stem cells raises hopes that it may eventually be possible to create artificial organs for people who need transplants.

The team transplanted induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells - which have the potential to develop into any body tissue -- into mice. The cells grew into a human liver 0.2 inches in size that could generate human proteins and break down drugs, Agence France-Presse reported.

An abstract of the research by Professor Hideki Taniguchi at Yokohama City University was delivered to other scientists ahead of an academic conference next week, AFP reported.

Two separate teams in Japan and the United States discovered iPS cells -- which can be taken from adults -- in 2006.


Only Person Cured of HIV/AIDS Wants to be Source of Hope

A 46-year-old American man who is the only person in the world to be cured of HIV/AIDS says his case shows that the disease can be conquered.

Timothy Brown was cured as a result of a 2007 transplant of blood stem cells he received to treat leukemia, ABC News reported. The cells came from a donor with a special genetic mutation that made him resistant to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

The genetic mutations occurs in less than one percent of whites and far less often in people of other races.

"I feel good," Brown told ABC News. "I haven't had any major illnesses, just occasional colds like normal people."

While he feels guilty about being the only HIV/AIDS patient to be cured, Brown said he hopes his story will inspire others that a cure is possible.


Salmonella Fears Prompt Recall of Liquid Dietary Supplement

Potential salmonella contamination has led to the recall of a product called Wellesse Digestive 3 in 1 Health liquid dietary supplement, made by Botanical Laboratories Inc.

A supplier of one of the ingredients in the product said the ingredient has the potential to be contaminated with salmonella, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.

Product lots affected by this recall include: 16 oz. size with "LOT 34441C (followed by a four digit time code) A EXP 03/2014" jet coded on the bottom of the bottle; 33.8 oz. size has "LOT 34552C (followed by a four digit time code) A EXP 03/2014" jet coded on the bottom of the bottle. The products were sold nationwide.

People who bought these product should return them to the place of purchases for a full refund, the FDA said. For more information, consumers can call the company at 1-800-232-4005.

Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain are among the symptoms experienced by healthy people infected with salmonella.

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