Health Highlights: Oct. 7, 2019
Bill Would Limit Nicotine in E-Cigarette Products Three Scientists Win Nobel Prize in Medicine for Work on Cells and Oxygen Illness Causes Sia to Have Chronic Pain New HIV Prevention Drug Not Approved for Women
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Bill Would Limit Nicotine in E-Cigarette Products
A bill to limit the amount of nicotine in e-cigarette products was introduced Monday by U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi in a bid "to make them significantly less addictive and appealing to youth."
The bill would restrict nicotine content to a maximum of 20 milligrams per milliliter, which matches regulations in the European Union, and would give the Food and Drug Administration the authority to reduce the cap if necessary, CNN reported.
Currently, there is no national limit in the U.S. and some brands have nicotine levels several times higher than 20 milligrams per milliliter.
Experts say high nicotine concentrations have contributed to what they say is vaping epidemic among U.S. youth, CNN reported.
"Capping the concentration of nicotine in e-cigarettes is integral to ending the youth vaping epidemic by making these products less addictive, less appealing to youth, and less harmful to public health," Krishnamoorthi said in a statement.
He's leading a congressional investigation into youth vaping.
Three Scientists Win Nobel Prize in Medicine for Work on Cells and Oxygen
Two American scientists and a British researcher have won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their work on how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability, it was announced Monday.
The three joint winners are William Kaelin Jr. and Gregg Semenza of the U.S. and Peter Ratcliffe of the U.K., The New York Times reported.
Their work "identified the molecular machinery that regulates the activity of genes in response to varying levels of oxygen," which is a major advance in the understanding of the importance of oxygen to animals, according to the Nobel Assembly.
The assembly noted that the role of oxygen in the process of converting food into useful energy has long been known, but how cells adapt to changing oxygen levels was unclear, The Times reported.
Illness Causes Sia to Have Chronic Pain
The singer Sia revealed that she has chronic pain due to a neurological disease plus a connective tissue disorder called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.
"I just wanted to say to those of you suffering from pain, whether physical or emotional, I love you, keep going," she tweeted Friday, CNN reported. "Pain is demoralizing, and you're not alone."
Ehlers-Danlos syndrome affects connective tissues that support the skin, bones, blood vessels and other organs and tissues, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
At least 1 in 5,000 people worldwide have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and many people with the syndrome have soft, fragile skin and bruise and scar easily, CNN reported.
New HIV Prevention Drug Not Approved for Women
A new drug to prevent HIV infection has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but its use is limited to men and transgender women.
That's because the drug, Descovy, was tested only in those groups, The New York Times reported.
Descovy is only the second drug approved for HIV prevention. The first was Truvada.
The FDA's approval of Descovy does not outline a plan to make it available to women, but the FDA will require its maker, Gilead Sciences, to study the drug in women, according to company officials, The Times reported.
The FDA's approval of Descovy could set a dangerous precedent by allowing companies to sidestep the costly trials required to test medicines in women, according to some experts.
This exclusion of women "should be unacceptable in these days and times," Dr. Rochelle Walensky, chief of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, told The Times.