Health Highlights: July 2, 2018

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

Court Blocks Kentucky’s Medicaid Work Rules

Kentucky’s plan to require many Medicaid recipients to work, get job training or volunteer has been blocked by a federal judge.

The Trump administration’s approval of the plan was “arbitrary and capricious” because it did not fully weigh whether the plan would “help the state furnish medical assistance to its citizens, a central objective of Medicaid,” Judge James E. Boasberg of Federal District Court for the District of Columbia rule Friday, The New York Times reported.

Implementation of the plan had been scheduled to begin next week and completed by the end of the year.

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin has said if the courts block the plan, he will end Medicaid expansion in Kentucky. Adam Meier, the state’s top health official, said he would work with the Trump administration to “quickly resolve the single issue raised by the court so that we can move forward,” The Times reported.

If quick implementation of the plan is not possible, “we will have no choice but to make significant benefit reductions,” Meier said.

Three other states have also been given permission by the Trump administration to impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients, and seven more states have asked to do so, The Times reported.


Early Success in Artificial Ovary Research

An early advance in efforts to develop artificial ovaries for women with cancer who are at risk of becoming infertile has been achieved by scientists.

Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, can damage the ovaries and leave women infertile. In some cases, all or part of the ovary is removed before those cancer treatments and frozen so that it can be used in the future, BBC News reported.

However, there is a slight risk that the ovarian tissue may contain cancer cells, putting a woman at risk for the return of her cancer.

In this new research, scientists in Denmark removed ovarian follicles and ovarian tissue from women due to have cancer treatment. They removed cancer cells from the ovarian tissue, leaving behind a “scaffold” made up of proteins and collagen, BBC News reported.

The team then grew ovarian follicles on this scaffold of ovarian tissue. This artificial ovary was then transplanted into mice, where the ovarian cells survived and grew.

The research was presented at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology.

This is an “exciting” technique, but still requires testing in humans, experts said. Such testing is expected to be conducted over the next few years, BBC News reported.

This approach could enable women who’ve become infertile to get pregnant “naturally”, instead of having to rely on in vitro fertilization (IVF), Stuart Lavery, consultant gynecologist, Hammersmith Hospital, U.K., told BBC News.

Another advantage of ovarian tissue transplants is that women who’ve become infertile due to medical treatments could start having periods again, eliminating the need for hormone replacement therapy, according to Dr. Gillian Lockwood, medical director, Midlands Fertility Services, U.K.

Posted: July 2018

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