Health Highlights: March 29, 2018
FDA to Move Ahead With Obama Administration Food Labeling Rules Man's Stubborn Belly Fat Turned Out to be 30-Pound Tumor U.K. Man Has World's Worst Case of Super-Gonorrhea Shulkin Dumped as VA Secretary, Trump Nominates His Doctor to Lead Agency
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
FDA to Move Ahead With Obama Administration Food Labeling Rules
After a long delay, Obama administration rules requiring calorie labeling on restaurant menus and new "Nutrition Facts" panels on food products will be implemented by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The Trump administration's year-long delay in moving forward with the new rules caused concern for public health advocates and consumer watchdogs, the Washington Post reported.
But FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced Thursday that the new rules would be included in a wide-ranging, multiyear bundle of nutrition initiatives to be launched this summer in order to combat health problems such as obesity and heart disease.
Those initiatives will also include encouraging food makers to reduce salt in processed foods and making some food labels easier to understand, the Post reported.
"I'm committed to advancing our work in nutrition as one tool to help reduce health disparities and improve the lives of all Americans," and "to help every family live more free from the burden of preventable illness," Gottlieb said at a meeting of food industry representatives, consumer watchdogs and academics in Washington, D.C.
The initiatives outlined Thursday are part of what Gottlieb called the FDA's "Nutrition Innovation Strategy," and many continue programs introduced by the Obama administration, the Post reported.
While the food industry and some lawmakers in Congress have opposed reducing salt in processed foods, Gottlieb said the FDA will strive to lower salt in foods and said that salt reduction is the "single [most] effective public health action related to nutrition."
New, short-term voluntary salt reduction targets will be introduced in 2019 and the FDA will push for longer-term reductions to prevent high blood pressure and other health conditions associated with high salt intake.
Among the other measures: as of May 8, chain restaurants and grocery stores will have to display calorie and other nutrition information on menus; and beginning January 2020, food products will have to carry the new Nutrition Facts panel, which includes information about added sugars and highlights calorie counts in bold letters, the Post reported.
Man's Stubborn Belly Fat Turned Out to be 30-Pound Tumor
What a New Jersey man thought was stubborn belly fat turned out to be a 30-pound tumor.
Kevin Daly, 63, was encouraged by his doctors to lose weight after he underwent heart surgery for a calcified valve in Dec. 2015. Over two years, he lost 34 lbs. but couldn't shed his excess belly fat, according to People magazine.
Further investigation revealed a massive tumor in his abdomen.
"I took a look at the images and immediately got very concerned, given the size of this mass," Dr. Julio Teixeria, Lenox Hill Hospital, told People. "I've seen tumors that are large, but not of this size. Just the mere fact that something was able to grow this big shows that it has a malignant behavior, so I was concerned."
Late last year, Daly had surgery to remove the low-grade liposarcoma tumor. Doctors had expected it to be 12 lbs and were surprised that it was actually 30 lbs.
"I feel tremendous," Daly told People. "I had lost a tremendous amount of weight already and then I came out of the hospital weighing 172, and that was my high school weight. I'm now up to 187, which is my college weight. It feels really, really good. It's made me feel 35 again."
This case highlights the importance of people advocating for their health, according to Teixeria.
"It's important that people listen to their bodies, and are in tune with their bodies, because often, your instincts are right," he told People. "If you have a sudden weight loss, or a lack of appetite, or a loss of energy, or if you see an abnormal asymmetry with your body, those are things that you should bring to the attention of your doctor."
U.K. Man Has World's Worst Case of Super-Gonorrhea
The world's "worst-ever" case of super-gonorrhea has been diagnosed in a U.K. man who was infected after sex with a woman in south-east Asia, health officials say.
It's the first case of the sexually-transmitted disease that could not be cured with the main antibiotic treatment, a combination of azithromycin and ceftriaxone, according to Public Health England, BBC News reported.
The unidentified man picked up the superbug earlier this year and health officials are trying to track down his other sexual partners in an effort to contain the spread of the disease.
"This is the first time a case has displayed such high-level resistance to both of these drugs and to most other commonly used antibiotics," said Dr. Gwenda Hughes, Public Health England, BBC News reported.
The World Health Organization and the European Centers for Disease Control confirm that this is the first such case in the world, BBC News reported.
Experts worry that this superbug could eventually become resistant to all antibiotics.
"The emergence of this new strain of highly resistant gonorrhea is of huge concern and is a significant development," Olwen Williams, president of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, told BBC News.
Shulkin Dumped as VA Secretary, Trump Nominates His Doctor to Lead Agency
Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin was fired on Wednesday by President Donald Trump, who nominated White House doctor Ronny Jackson to head the agency.
Jackson is a Navy rear admiral and former Obama administration official, and would be the first non-veteran to head the VA, the Associated Press reported.
Jackson, who has served since 2013 as physician to the president, was described by Trump as "highly trained and qualified."
However, a major veterans' group expressed concern that Jackson lacks the experience to lead the VA, the AP reported.
"We are disappointed and already quite concerned about this nominee," said Joe Chenelly, the national executive director of AMVETS. "The administration needs to be ready to prove that he's qualified to run such a massive agency, a $200 billion bureaucracy."
Jackson was selected for his current position by the Obama administration and the White House is hopeful that will make his confirmation process easier, the AP reported.