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Health Highlights: Sept. 11, 2017

Former CDC Director Announces Global Health Initiative U.S. Congress Defies Trump, Boosts NIH Budget

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

Former CDC Director Announces Global Health Initiative

The former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has launched a new initiative to fight two major global health threats -- heart disease and infectious disease epidemics.

Tom Frieden announced the Resolve effort on Tuesday. It's received $225 million in funding for five years from a number of major donors, the Washington Post reported.

Frieden, who spent seven years leading the CDC during the Obama administration and is also a former New York City health commissioner, said strategic investment and action against the two health problems can have a significant impact.

"I hope five years from now we'll look back and see this was the inflection point for rapid progress in preventing global cardiovascular disease deaths and improving epidemic preparedness," Frieden said, the Post reported.

"In a few years, we hope that blood pressure control, sodium reduction, elimination of trans fats and strong public health systems will have become the new normal," he added.

Heart disease causes about 18 million deaths per year, or about 31 percent of all deaths worldwide, the Post reported.

Resolve aims to save more than 100 million lives over 30 years.


U.S. Congress Defies Trump, Boosts NIH Budget

In a rebuke to President Trump, the U.S. Congress will significantly increase the budget of the National Institutes of Health.

When Trump released the first draft of his budget proposal in March, he sought to cut the NIH budget by 22 percent ($7.5 billion) to $26.6 billion in order to free up more money for defense and border security, The New York Times reported.

But last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bipartisan bill providing $36.1 billion for the NIH in the fiscal year that starts next month, a $2 billion increase. The House Appropriations Committee approved a $1.1 billion increase for the NIH.

Lawmakers said the final figure is likely to be close to the higher amount in the Senate bill, The Times reported.

Trump's budget proposal "would have crippled American innovation in medical research, delayed new cures and treatments and brought NIH funding to its lowest level since 2002," according to Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Senate Democrat.

"The spectacular increase provided by the Senate Appropriations Committee is amazing in the current fiscal environment," Anthony Mazzaschi, a lobbyist at the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health, told The Times.

"Neither the Senate nor the House paid much attention to the president's recommendations," he added.

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