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Weekly Health Digest: Canadian Tobacco, HIV, And World’s Tiniest Baby

A summary of important health news from the past week.

Canada appeals court orders tobacco firms to pay billions in damages

By: BBC News

Tobacco companies in Canada appealed a 2015 ruling in favor of Quebec smokers who sued stating that the companies failed to appropriately warn them of the health impact of smoking. This ruling was the result of lawsuits filed in 1998. The companies, which include Imperial Tobacco Canada, Rothmans Benson & Hedges and JTI-MacDonald, argue that Canadians have a “high awareness” of the risks for the past 50 years. American tobacco firms have been ordered to pay awards in the past in similar suits.

Decline in HIV infections stalls as Trump administration aims to end epidemic

By: Jacqueline Howard

In President Trump’s recent State of the Union address, he announced a plan to end the HIV epidemic in the US by 2030. Complementing that announcement, the CDC has released a reportthat shows HIV incidences plateauing after a period of decline. In 2016, the highest percentages of HIV infections at 68.2% were mainly due to male to male sexual conduct. Data shows that between 2010 and 2016, HIV infections increased in Latino men, decreased in white men and stabilized among black men. To resume reducing infections, more people with HIV need to be diagnosed then treated with viral suppression medications. And that will take a lot of government resources. 

After Five Months in ICU, the World’s Tiniest Baby Boy has Left the Hospital

By:  Loumay Alesali and Justin Lear

In August 2018, Keio University Hospital in Tokyo delivered a baby boy through an emergency C-section after his weight stopped increasing at 24 weeks of pregnancy. At birth, he weighed only 9.45 ounces (slightly more than the weight of a grapefruit) and could fit in an adult’s cupped palms. After five months in the neonatal ICU, the baby’s weight reached 7.1 pounds, and he was cleared to go home with his parents. 

Ebola treatment center in Congo reopens after attack: ministry

By: Alessandra Prentice and Peter Cooney

Last week two Ebola treatment centers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were torched by unknown assailants. The two centers are located in Butembo, a hotspot for the Ebola outbreak in the country. As a result of the attacks, Médecins Sans Frontières suspended their efforts at the two centers until further notice. The Congolese health ministry reopened the treatment centers on March 3rd and, with collaboration from the World Health Organization and UNICEF, the center has resumed daily operations. These treatment centers are crucial as the current Ebola outbreak in the DRC has killed more than 500 people to date.

Heart attacks are on the rise among young women, study shows

By: Jacqueline Howard and Michael Nedelman

A study conducted at UNC-Chapel Hill has found that the biggest population experiencing heart attacks are young women, ages 35-54. While the reasons are complex and there is no exact explanation to this trend, researchers suspect that it is tied to diabetes and high blood pressure. Furthermore, women are less likely to get hypertension and cholesterol medicines. Women are also likely to experience different symptoms than men such as nausea and sweating. Overall, people are not aware of the risk factors for heart attack and so being proactive and aware is crucial.