Health Highlights: March 24, 2015
Angelina Jolie Reveals She Had Ovaries Removed New Project Aims to Develop Gluten-Free Wheat Amy's Kitchen Products Recalled Over Listeria Fears 11 Million Fewer Uninsured Americans : CDC
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Angelina Jolie Reveals She Had Ovaries Removed
Angelina Jolie announced Tuesday that she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed last week after tests indicated possible signs of ovarian cancer.
The 39-year-old Oscar-winning actress and U.N. envoy went public about the surgery in an op-ed published in the New York Times. Ovarian cancer killed Jolie's mother, Marcheline Bertrand, at age 49, NBC News reported.
"The beautiful thing about such moments in life is that there is so much clarity. You know what you live for and what matters," Jolie wrote.
She said the preventive surgery means she is now in menopause and cannot have any more children, NBC News reported.
"I expect some physical changes," Jolie wrote. "But I feel at ease with whatever will come, not because I am strong but because this is a part of life. It is nothing to be feared."
Two years ago, Jolie underwent a double mastectomy.
In the op-ed piece, the actress noted that surgery is just one option for women in the same situation, NBC News reported.
"There is more than one way to deal with any health issue. The most important thing is to learn about the options and choose what is right for you personally," Jolie wrote. "It is not easy to make these decisions. But it is possible to take control and tackle head-on any health issue... Knowledge is power."
New Project Aims to Develop Gluten-Free Wheat
Early genetic research into creating gluten-free wheat is being funded by the Kansas Wheat Commission.
It will spend $200,000 over the first two years of the project, which seeks to pinpoint everything in wheat's DNA that can cause problems for people with celiac disease, the Associated Press reported.
The ultimate goal is to develop new varieties of wheat that don't harm people with celiac disease, a disorder in which consuming even small amounts of gluten can damage the small intestine. People with celiac disease must eat a gluten-free diet that does not include any foods made with wheat, rye or barley.
"If you know you are producing a crop that is not tolerated well by people, then it's the right thing to do," said project lead researcher Chris Miller, senior director of a Kansas company called Engrain, the Associated Press reported.
Amy's Kitchen Products Recalled Over Listeria Fears
More than 73,000 cases of its products are being recalled by Amy's Kitchen due to possible listeria contamination.
"This recall is based on a recall notice from one of Amy's organic spinach suppliers that Amy's may have received organic spinach with the possible presence of Listeria monocytogenes," the company said in a statement, ABC News reported.
The recalled products which include lasagnas, pizza and enchiladas that contain the potentially contaminated spinach. Amy's Kitchen said it is not aware of any illness or complaints related to the recalled products.
Listeria can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and other people with weakened immune systems, according to Kirsten Larson, manager of the food safety program for the Association of Public Health Laboratories, ABC News reported. Symptoms include high fever, headache and abdominal distress.
11 Million Fewer Uninsured Americans : CDC
There are 11 million fewer uninsured Americans now than when the Affordable Care Act was signed into law five years ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
Even though there are still about 37 million people without insurance, the CDC said that's the lowest number in more than 15 years, the Associated Press reported.
The CDC figures are from the first nine months of 2014. The largest gains in coverage were among adults ages 18-64. The number of people in that age group without insurance fell from nearly 40 million in 2013 to 32.6 million in the first nine months of last year.
The Obama administration says 16 million people have gained health insurance under the health care overhaul, but that number includes the law's second signup season, which stretches into this year, the AP reported.