Health Highlights: Sept. 13, 2017

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

Infections Strike Young Heart Surgery Patients in New Orleans

Incision infections have been reported in at least a dozen children who had heart surgery at Children’s Hospital New Orleans earlier this year.

The children are receiving intravenous antibiotics and are responding to the treatment, said Dr. John Heaton, the hospital’s senior vice president and chief medical officer, the Associated Press reported.

Heaton said the mycobacteria infections were caused by contamination in a machine that regulates a patient’s temperature during heart surgery.

Mycobacteria is common in water, soil and dust, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It also said contaminated medical devices can cause infections in the skin and soft tissues under the skin, the AP reported.

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Smoking Reduction Foundation Announced by Tobacco Company

A major tobacco company says it will provide about $1 billion over 12 years for a foundation to reduce smoking worldwide, but critics are skeptical of the move.

Philip Morris International Inc. said the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World will fund research, assess the effects of smoke-free alternatives, monitor progress toward snuffing out smoking, and look at how to prepare tobacco farmers for reduced demand, Bloomberg News reported.

The company has applied to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for approval to market its IQOS device — which heats rather than burns tobacco — as a product that may lower the risk of smoking-related health problems.

One anti-smoking group expressed doubt about the tobacco company’s new foundation.

“The tobacco industry has a terrible track record of funding research designed to support its efforts to block policies to cut smoking,” Deborah Arnott, chief executive of London-based Action on Smoking and Health, said in a statement, Bloomberg reported.

“Tobacco industry claims can never be accepted at face value,” she added.

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CHIP Funding Deal Reached by U.S. Senate

The U.S. Senate has reached a deal to extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Current federal funding for the program expires at the end of this month, and many states will run out of federal money for CHIP later this year or in early 2018, The New York Times reported.

The bipartisan agreement would provide federal funds for CHIP for five additional years, along with “increased flexibility for states to administer the program,” according to the chairman of the Finance Committee, Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah.

He helped created the program in 1997 with Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, The Times reported.

“Congress needs to act quickly to extend the funding for CHIP,” Hatch said.

CHIP provides health insurance for nearly nine million children in families whose incomes are too high for them to quality for Medicaid, but not high enough to afford other coverage, The Times reported.

Posted: September 2017

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