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Health Highlights: Oct. 2, 2017

U.S. Scientists Awarded Nobel Prize for 'Body Clock' Work Trump's Health Secretary Resigns Over Travel Controversy

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

U.S. Scientists Awarded Nobel Prize for 'Body Clock' Work

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded Monday to a trio of U.S. scientists for their groundbreaking work on what controls one's circadian rhythms, or "body clock."

The three researchers -- Jeffrey Hall and Michael Rosbash from Brandeis University in Massachusetts, and Michael Young from Rockefeller University in New York City -- isolated a gene in fruit flies that controls the rhythm of a living organism's daily life, The New York Times reported.

According to the Nobel Prize committee, during decades of research the team was "able to peek inside our biological clock," helping make discoveries that "explain how plants, animals and humans adapt their biological rhythm so that it is synchronized with the Earth's revolutions."

The gene guides a protein that accumulates in a cell at night, but degrades during the day.

"With exquisite precision, our inner clock adapts our physiology to the dramatically different phases of the day," the committee said. "The clock regulates critical functions such as behavior, hormone levels, sleep, body temperature and metabolism."

When a person's lifestyle and inner body clock fall out of sync -- as happens with jet-lag, for instance -- that could contribute to an increased risk for various diseases over time, the committee added.


Trump's Health Secretary Resigns Over Travel Controversy

Tom Price, President Donald Trump's secretary of health and human services, resigned Friday afternoon in the wake of revelations he had used charter flights at taxpayers' expense.

The announcement came shortly after Trump had told reporters he considered Price a "fine man" but that he "didn't like the optics," the Washington Post reported.

"I'm not happy, I can tell you that. I'm not happy," Trump said.

Price will be replaced for the time being by Don Wright, who was announced as acting secretary. Wright had been serving as deputy assistant secretary for health and director of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

In a four-page letter of resignation to Trump, Price said he regretted "that the recent events have created a distraction" from the administration's objectives. "Success on these issues is more important than any one person," the Post reported.

A one-time congressman from the Atlanta suburbs, Price served less than eight months.

The revelation of Price's use of charter jets instead of commercial ones has prompted scrutiny of other Cabinet members' travel.

Price wrote a check for $51,887.31 for his own travel costs. The total cost of his travels, including his entourage, was unclear, but could be as high as several hundred thousand dollars, the Associated Press reported.

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