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Health Highlights: May 1, 2018

One Million Volunteers Sought for NIH Genetics and Health Study New CDC Director Requests and Receives Salary Cut VA Clinic Investigating Unsanitary Treatment Room George H.W. Bush to Remain in Hospital

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

One Million Volunteers Sought for NIH Genetics and Health Study

The U.S. National Institutes of Health wants one million Americans to share their DNA and health habits in order to create a huge database to learn more about how lifestyle, genetics and environment affect health and how to reduce the risk of illness.

Nationwide enrollment in the 10-year, $1.45-billion All of Us Research Program will begin Sunday. People can sign up online or at participating health centers, the Associated Press reported.

Over the past year, more than 25,000 people gained early entry through an invitation-only pilot program offered by participating universities and health providers.

The program is a "national adventure that is going to transform medical care," according to NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins.

At first, the program will be limited to people 18 and older, but will later be opened to children. At least half of the participants must be from groups typically under-represented in medical research, the AP reported.

There are other collections that include genetic data from at least 100,000 people, but the NIH project is meant to be the largest and most diverse of its kind.

Participants will give blood samples that will undergo genetic testing, share their electronic health records, and provide details about lifestyle factors such as diet, sleep, and environmental exposures. Some might be asked to wear fitness trackers and other sensors.

In contrast to most medical students, volunteers will be allowed to see their test results and share them with their doctor, the AP reported.

In order to protect participants' privacy, identifying information on their medical data will be replaced with a code and only scientists that meet specific security requirements will be allowed to study the data, according to NIH.


New CDC Director Requests and Receives Salary Cut

The new director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked for and will receive a reduction in his record-setting pay.

Robert Redfield Jr. was to be paid $375,000 a year, which was at least $150,000 more than any previous CDC director, and much more than any other top federal health officials, the Associated Press reported.

Redfield is a leading HIV researcher, but had no experience in public health or managing a public health agency, and his salary raised eyebrows.

On Monday, Health and Human Services officials said Redfield requested a pay cut because the issue had become a distraction. The officials said his salary will be reduced, but did not disclose the new amount or when it will be announced, the AP reported.


VA Clinic Investigating Unsanitary Treatment Room

Unsanitary conditions in a treatment room at a Veterans Affairs clinic in Salt Lake City are being investigated, facility officials say.

They were reacting to tweeted images taken April 5 of Army veteran Christopher Wilson in a room with medical supplies scattered about and an overflowing trash can. The photos were posted by his father, Stephen Wilson, the Associated Press reported.

Christopher Wilson spent six years in the Army and was deployed to Iraq twice. His father said the conditions in the treatment room were "very unprofessional, unsanitary and disrespectful."

As of Monday afternoon, the post had been retweeted nearly 17,000 times, the AP reported.

"The condition of the room was the way it was when he went in, no other room was offered and no attempt to clean it up was made for the duration of his appointment," Stephen Wilson tweeted.

Along with an apology, Dr. Karen Gribbin, chief of staff at the George E. Wahlen Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Utah, said staff members were intent on ending Christopher Wilson's wait and didn't notice how messy the room was, the AP reported.

"Mr. Wilson should not have been placed in the room in that condition," Gribbin said at a news conference Monday. "The room should be cleaned, supplies and trash removed, before the next patient is placed in there."

Clinic officials are investigating and staff members could be disciplined, Gribbin said.


George H.W. Bush to Remain in Hospital

Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush will remain in Houston Methodist Hospital "to continue regaining strength" after treatment for an infection that spread to his blood, a family spokesman said Monday.

Bush, 93, was admitted to the hospital on April 22, a day after the funeral of his wife, Barbara, the Associated Press reported.

Bush "is in great spirits and is looking forward to going home soon," according to family spokesman Jim McGrath.

The former president has a form of Parkinson's disease and a history of pneumonia and other infections, the AP reported.

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