Health Highlights: Aug. 10, 2018

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

Court Rules That U.S. Must Halt Sales of Pesticide

The Environmental Protection Agency must remove the pesticide chlorpyrifos from sale in the United States within 60 days, a federal appeals court ordered Thursday.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said the Trump administration put public health at risk by reversing an Obama administration decision to ban the pesticide. Chlorpyrifos was created by Dow Chemical and is widely used on citrus fruits, apples and other crops, the Associated Press reported.

Even tiny levels of exposure to chlorpyrifos can damage babies’ brains, research shows.

Last year, a coalition of farmworkers and environmental groups launched a legal challenge after then-EPA chief Scott Pruitt scrapped plans to ban chlorpyrifos. The attorneys general for California, New York, Massachusetts and a number of other states joined the case against EPA, the AP reported.

In the decision Thursday, the court said Pruitt violated federal law by ignoring the conclusions of EPA scientists that chlorpyrifos is a health threat.

“Some things are too sacred to play politics with, and our kids top the list,” said Erik Olson, senior director of health and food at the Natural Resources Defense Council, the AP reported.

“The court has made it clear that children’s health must come before powerful polluters. This is a victory for parents everywhere who want to feed their kids fruits and veggies without fear it’s harming their brains or poisoning communities,” Olson said.

The EPA is reviewing the court ruling, agency spokesman Michael Abboud said. It could appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, the AP reported.


Low-Calorie Diet Benefited Men More Than Women

A low-calorie diet benefited men more than women, a new study found.

It included more than 2,000 people with pre-diabetes who were put on a low-calorie, high-protein diet. People with pre-diabetes have high blood sugar but have not developed type 2 diabetes, ABC News reported.

After eight weeks on the diet, all participants had lost about 10 percent of their body weight and had their blood sugar under control, according to the Danish researchers.

But men lost much more body fat than women, had improvements in resting heart rate, lower bad cholesterol and shaved a few inches off their waist, ABC News reported.

Meanwhile, women had decreases in good cholesterol, lean body mass and bone-mineral content, all of which may pose a risk to long-term health.

Both women and men had a decline in inflammatory biomarkers, resulting in improved blood flow, ABC News reported.

“Despite adjusting for the differences in weight loss, it appears that men benefited more from the intervention than women. Whether differences between genders persist in the long-term and whether we will need to design different interventions depending on gender will be interesting to follow,” lead author Pia Christensen, from the University of Copenhagen, told ABC News.

About 86 million American adults have pre-diabetes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

People with pre-diabetes need to understand that they can easily progress to diabetes if they don’t make lifestyle changes.


New Tick Species Spreading in U.S.

The first new tick species to appear in the United States in 50 years is spreading rapidly in the East and has been confirmed in seven states and the suburbs of New York City.

In it’s home range, the Asian long-horned tick carries a virus that kills 15 percent of its victims, but it is considered a greater threat to livestock than to humans, The New York Times reported Monday.

U.S. public health experts say they are concerned, but not alarmed, by the presence of the long-horned tick, which is known in Australia as the bush tick and in New Zealand as the cattle tick.

The ticks can reproduce rapidly and suck so much blood from a young animal that it dies, the Times reported.

In the United States, the first long-horned tick was found last summer in western New Jersey. Since then, they’ve been found in Bergen, Essex and Middlesex counties in that state, in New York’s Westchester County, and in Pennsylvania, Arkansas, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

The ticks were found feeding on horses, dogs, deer, a calf, a sheep and an opossum. They do feed on humans, but experts say you can protect yourself by following the same measures to guard against domestic ticks, such as using repellents and checking for ticks after walking through woods or tall grass, the newspaper reported.

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