Health News

ICE detainee held in California prison diagnosed with chickenpox

ICE detainee held in California prison diagnosed with chickenpox

(CNN) - An immigrant detained at a federal prison in California has been diagnosed with chickenpox, raising concerns among the prison staff.The detainee is among 1,000 immigrants in federal custod ... Continue Reading
Herpes virus may play role in Alzheimer's, study says

Herpes virus may play role in Alzheimer's, study says

(CNN) - Doctors don't know what causes Alzheimer's disease or the best way to treat it, but they have new evidence to suggest that a common virus may play a role in who develops the condition. In ... Continue Reading
Pediatrician: Separated children 'trying to find ... anyone to hold on to'

Pediatrician: Separated children 'trying to find ... anyone to hold on to'

(CNN) - Dr. Tara Neubrand often treats children with a history of trauma.As a pediatric emergency medicine physician, she has seen young children recovering from life-threatening injuries and hist ... Continue Reading
His son's battle with cancer inspired his epic run

His son's battle with cancer inspired his epic run

SAN DIEGO (CNN) - Not many of us can run a marathon. Earlier this month, Richard Nares began a run he says will cover 1,700 miles -- the equivalent of 65 marathons. It began in Seattle, will end in ... Continue Reading
Koko, the gorilla who mastered sign language, has died

Koko, the gorilla who mastered sign language, has died

(CNN) - Koko, the gorilla who mastered sign language and showed the world what great apes can do, has died.

She died Tuesday in her sleep at age 46, The Gorilla Foundation said in a statement.

"Koko touched the lives of millions as an ambassador for all gorillas and an icon for interspecies communication and empathy," the release said. "She was beloved and will be deeply missed."

She learned to communicate at a young age

The western lowland gorilla was born at the San Francisco Zoo in 1971 and began to learn sign language early in life. S

Researchers moved her to Stanford in 1974 and established The Gorilla Foundation, a non-profit organization that works to preserve and protect gorillas.

Koko and The Gorilla Foundation later moved to the Santa Cruz Mountains.

She liked to read and be read to, a blog post by The Gorilla Foundation said. She purred at parts of books she particularly enjoyed.

She was very maternal toward kittens, and has had several throughout her lifetime. Her "tenderness" showed people how loving a gorilla can be, the foundation said.

Koko made famous friends like Fred Rogers, who appeared on TV as Mr. Rogers, and Robin Williams. She used her sign language skills to communicate with them.

She was said to have understood some 2,000 words of spoken English, and could usually keep up with conversations.

She taught the world about gorillas

The foundation says she has taught the world a profound amount about the emotional capacity and cognitive abilities of gorillas.

Koko appeared in several documentaries and twice on the cover of National Geographic. The first cover featured a photo she'd taken of herself in a mirror, the foundation said.

She was widely promoted through appearances and the release of a picture book about her and a kitten that lived with her.

She has also been exhibited as a painter.

The foundation will continue its work on conservation and preservation of gorillas with continued projects, including a sign language application featuring Koko.

Dr. Gupta: After all my years of reporting, this still haunts me

Dr. Gupta: After all my years of reporting, this still haunts me

(CNN) - Most of the time when you hear me talking about food, I am talking about the food we eat. But a few years ago, I realized I needed to talk more about the food we DON'T eat.Far too often, f ... Continue Reading
Sunscreen 101: Your guide to summer sun protection and sunburn care

Sunscreen 101: Your guide to summer sun protection and sunburn care

(CNN) - Whether you're preparing for a day at the beach or an outdoor picnic this summer, make sure to put sun protection on your to-do list.Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United Sta ... Continue Reading
Hospital drugs policy killed 456 patients. Now families want justice

Hospital drugs policy killed 456 patients. Now families want justice

(CNN) - The relatives of more than 450 patients who died after being over-prescribed drugs while in hospital have called for the British government to accept culpability for their deaths.A report ... Continue Reading
India sees sharp fall in heat wave deaths

India sees sharp fall in heat wave deaths

(CNN) - The death toll from the intense heat that strikes India each year between March and July has dropped drastically over the past three years, according to the latest data from the National Disa ... Continue Reading
International Yoga Day: India takes a deep breath with Modi on the mat

International Yoga Day: India takes a deep breath with Modi on the mat

(CNN) - Indian Prime Minister and longtime yoga practitioner Narendra Modi led an estimated 50,000 volunteers through a series of yoga asanas Thursday to celebrate the fourth anniversary of Internati ... Continue Reading
Laser pointer burns hole in boy's retina

Laser pointer burns hole in boy's retina

(CNN) - A 9-year-old boy in Greece permanently injured his left eye when he repeatedly gazed into a laser pointer's green beam, doctors say. Examination revealed a large hole in the macula, a smal ... Continue Reading
Long-awaited report on water contaminants released by HHS

Long-awaited report on water contaminants released by HHS

(CNN) - A long-awaited government study on the toxicity levels chemicals commonly used in manufacturing was made public on Wednesday, months after a White House official warned that it could be a "po ... Continue Reading
Weapons reveal how this 5,300-year-old ice mummy lived -- and died

Weapons reveal how this 5,300-year-old ice mummy lived -- and died

(CNN) - Although he's older than the Giza pyramids and Stonehenge, the 5,300-year-old mummy of Otzi the Tyrolean Iceman continues to teach us things.

The latest study of the weapons he was found with, published in the journal PLOS ONE on Wednesday, reveals that Otzi was right-handed and had recently resharpened and reshaped some of his tools before his death. They were able to determine this by using high-powered microscopes to analyze the traces of wear on his tools.

The upper half of the Iceman's body was accidentally discovered by a vacationing German couple hiking in the North Italian Alps in 1991. Otzi was found with a dagger, borer, flake, antler retoucher and arrowheads. But some of the stone was collected from different areas in Italy's Trentino region, which would have been about 43.5 miles from where he was thought to live.

"Through analyzing the Iceman's toolkit from different viewpoints and reconstructing the entire life cycle of each instrument, we were able to gain insights into Otzi's cultural background, his individual history and his last hectic days," Ursula Wierer, study author and archaeologist, wrote in an email.

"The Iceman travelled with a compact lithic toolkit formed by few worn out, repeatedly resharpened tools, mostly used for cutting plants. Ötzi was a righthander and had a quite good skill in pressure flaking by using his own functional retoucher."

And when compared with artifacts recovered from the Copper Age, when the Iceman lived, it appears that his tools were stylistically influenced by other Alpine cultures. Clearly, the 46-year-old Iceman, who lived in the South Tyrol region of Northern Italy between 3100 and 3370 BC, survived by staying on the move.

That is, until he was violently killed.

These new findings add to the wealth of knowledge we've gained about this mysterious figure. Here's what else we know about the Iceman and how he was killed.

Cold case

Otzi became a glacier mummy through a unique set of circumstances. He was crossing the Tisenjoch pass in the Val Senales valley of South Tyrol when he was shot in the back with an arrow by a Southern Alpine archer and became naturally preserved in the ice. Otzi, his clothing and his tools were remarkably well-preserved.

The arrowhead is still embedded in his left shoulder and wasn't found until 2001. He would have bled out and died shortly after because it pierced a vital artery. There is also a wound on the back of his head, but that may have occurred when he fell after being struck by the arrow.

A cut on his right hand, indicating hand-to-hand combat, never had a chance to heal before he died. This means that conflict happened before he was shot, perhaps hours or days before, and may have led to the second conflict that killed him.

The injury to his right hand would have made it difficult for Otzi to prepare his weapons in case of another attack. This is most likely why the bow and arrows found with him were unfinished: to replace ones that were lost or damaged in the previous conflict.

But the motive for his killing is unclear, because he was found with a very valuable copper ax. It is the only one of its kind ever discovered and could have functioned as a weapon and tool, as well as a status symbol. During the Copper Age, copper axes were owned by men of rank and buried with them. Copper was the first metal used to make weapons and tools.

During the Copper Age, metal was extracted and smelted, creating new trades and professions. This increased long-distance trade, boosted exchanges among cultures and led to the rise of new social groups.

Since 1998, Otzi and his artifacts have been on display at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, Italy. He was nicknamed Otzi because he was found in the Otztal Alps of South Tyrol.

His clothing, made from leather, hide, braided grass and animal sinews, provides a unique window into the past because other clothing from that time has never been recovered. His hide coat, leggings, loincloth, belt, fur shoes and bearskin cap would have kept him warm in the cold, wet climate.

He also carried a type of wooden backpack, containers made of birch bark rather than breakable pottery, the ax, an unfinished longbow, a quiver of arrows in progress, a flint dagger, a retoucher to sharpen blades, birch fungus to start fires or use as a therapeutic, and a stone disc to attach things to his belt.

One of the most-studied mummies

Otzi was briefly "thawed out" in 2010 so researchers could take tissue samples, and remarkably, he was so well-preserved that red blood cells were recovered. His nuclear genome was isolated in 2011. This revealed not only his blood type but his ancestry, appearance, medical conditions and predispositions to disease.

A reconstruction of Otzi, based on forensics and 3D modeling, showcases what he may have looked like in life.

He stood at 5 feet 2 inches tall and had a slightly muscular build of 110 pounds, a narrow and pointed face, tanned skin, brown eyes, long dark hair and a shaggy beard. His blood type was O-positive, and he was lactose-intolerant.

Otzi had a high risk of cardiovascular disease and traces of Borrelia, tick-borne bacteria that cause Lyme disease, in his genome. Bacteria in his stomach could have led to stomach ulcers. He had intestinal whipworms.

His age was considered old at the time, and he probably had arthritis. There are tattoos all over his body, specifically in places that might be considered therapeutic for someone with arthritis -- especially because they couldn't be seen if he was clothed.

On his father's side, Otzi had common ancestors with those who lived in Sardinia and Corsica and migrated to Europe from the east. His mother's side could be traced to a population from the central Alps that doesn't exist anymore.

His last meal, most likely an hour before his death, included grain and ibex and deer meat.

But many questions remain. What was his occupation? Why was he nomadic during a time of settlements? Why was he killed? The ongoing investigation into Otzi may uncover those answers in the future.

The World Health Organization will stop classifying transgender people as mentally ill

The World Health Organization will stop classifying transgender people as mentally ill

(CNN) - The World Health Organization no longer classifies transgender people as mentally ill.The United Nations health agency announced Monday in its 11th International Classification of Diseases ... Continue Reading
Half of recent immigrant detainee deaths due to inadequate medical care, report finds

Half of recent immigrant detainee deaths due to inadequate medical care, report finds

(CNN) - Among 16 immigrants deaths in US government detention centers between December 2015 and April 2017, half resulted from inadequate medical care for detainees in times of need, a new report finds.

The report, published Wednesday, examined 15 of the deaths, which had "detainee deaths reviews" released by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement during this time period. In eight of those deaths, the reviews found a lack of satisfactory medical care which, in turn, contributed to the deaths.

One detainee, Jose Azurida, 54, died of a heart attack. According to the report, a guard immediately alerted a nurse when Azurida began experiencing symptoms, including vomiting and numbness in his arm. But he was not taken to a hospital for two hours. Once there, his heart was too damaged to respond to treatment and he died four days later.

Evidence of substandard medical practices was also identified in six of the remaining death reviews, according to the report by Human Rights Watch, the American Civil Liberties Union, Detention Watch Network and National Immigrant Justice Center.

"ICE has proven unable or unwilling to provide adequately for the health and safety of the people it detains," said Clara Long, a senior US researcher at Human Rights Watch in a statement. "The Trump administration's efforts to drastically expand the already-bloated immigration detention system will only put more people at risk."

A statement sent to CNN from ICE said the agency "takes very seriously the health, safety and welfare of those in our care, including those who come into ICE custody with prior medical conditions or who have never before received appropriate medical care. Any death that happens in ICE custody is a cause for concern."

The statement said agency protocols call for deaths to be reviewed to "determine whether the detainee received appropriate health services in relation to nationally recognized standards of detention health care and practices" and an "objective examination" determines whether detention standards were complied with. Results "are provided to ICE senior management and the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties."

"ICE is committed to ensuring that everyone in our custody receives timely access to medical services and treatment. Comprehensive medical care is provided from the moment detainees arrive and throughout the entirety of their stay. All ICE detainees receive medical, dental and mental health intake screening within 12 hours of arriving at each detention facility, a full health assessment within 14 days of entering ICE custody or arrival at a facility, and access to daily sick call and 24-hour emergency care," according to the statement.

Report: 'Systemic deficits' in health care

The new report said that since March 2010, 74 people have died in detention, but death reviews have only been released for 52 of them.

It also notes that death reviews do not represent detainee health care outcomes as a whole, but that the identification of these oversights points to "larger, systemic deficits in immigration detention facility health care."

"The death toll amassed by ICE is unacceptable and has proven that they cannot be trusted to care for immigrants in their custody," said Silky Shah, executive director of Detention Watch Network, a national coalition that exposes the injustices of the US' immigration detention and deportation system.

The report also identified the case of Rafael Barcenas-Padilla, 51, who was prescribed medication for an upper respiratory tract infection by an external doctor who was consulted over the phone. His ICE detention center did not have a nebulizer, a device used to deliver the medication, therefore he was not receiving it and his oxygen levels plummeted. Three days after the sharp decline in oxygen, he was sent to a hospital, where he died of bronchopneumonia.

"ICE puts thousands of people's health and lives at risk by failing to provide adequate medical care to the people it detains for weeks, months, and even years," said Victoria Lopez, senior staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union.

In the fiscal year 2017 -- running from October 2016 to September 2017 -- 12 people died in immigration detention, which is more than any year since 2009, according to the report.

That same year, ICE held, on average, 40,500 people per day, the report states. In 1994, this figure was 6,800.

Earlier this year, the Trump administration requested a budget of $2.8 billion to detain 52,000 immigrants each day, a 30% expansion.

"To the extent that Congress continues to fund this system, they are complicit in its abuses," said Heidi Altman, policy director at nongovernmental NGO the National Immigrant Justice Center. "Congress should immediately act to decrease rather than expand detention and demand robust health, safety, and human rights standards in immigration detention."

10-year-old girl with Down syndrome held at border detention center, Mexico says

10-year-old girl with Down syndrome held at border detention center, Mexico says

(CNN) - A 10-year-old Mexican girl with Down syndrome is among the thousands of children who have recently been separated from their parents at the southern US border, Mexico's foreign minister said. ... Continue Reading
How one sick boy could end UK's medical marijuana ban

How one sick boy could end UK's medical marijuana ban

LONDON (CNN) - The suffering of a 12-year-old boy with epilepsy could lead to the UK legalizing the medicinal use of marijuana, after outrage over his case prompted the government to announce a review ... Continue Reading
There's a severe shortage of mental health professionals in rural areas . Here's why that's a serious problem

There's a severe shortage of mental health professionals in rural areas . Here's why that's a serious problem

(CNN) - Almost every American will, at some point or another, face a mental health challenge. It may be related to depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse or maybe something more circ ... Continue Reading
The war against childhood cancer: Who's winning?

The war against childhood cancer: Who's winning?

(CNN) - Every day, the terrifying reality of a cancer diagnosis changes a child's life. But as technology and treatments improve, many more children could be able to call themselves survivors. The ... Continue Reading
How prepared is the US for an anthrax attack? The CDC investigates

How prepared is the US for an anthrax attack? The CDC investigates

(CNN) - President Trump's recent declaration that North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat, despite a lack of verifiable proof that the regime will put an end to its nuclear program, has not complet ... Continue Reading