Health Highlights: Aug. 27, 2012

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

GMA’s Robin Roberts Begins Medical Leave Next Week

Friday will be the last show for “Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts before she begins a medical leave for a potentially life-saving bone marrow transplant.

Roberts, who has a rare blood disorder called myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), will check into the hospital next Tuesday and then undergo “about 10 days” of medical preparation before the transplant from her sister Sally, the New York Daily News reported.

According to Roberts, she contracted MDS as the result of chemotherapy she underwent during an earlier bout with breast cancer.

In talking about her situation, Roberts made note that medical leave policies are an issue for millions of Americans, the Daily News reported.

“Forty percent of America can’t take a sick day,” she said. “I know I’ll have a job when I come back. I’m very blessed.”


Number of Addicted Newborns in Kentucky Soars 2,400 Percent

In Kentucky, the number of hospitalizations for addicted newborns rose from 29 in 2000 to 730 last year, a 2,400 percent increase that dwarfs the national rise of 330 percent between 2000 and 2009.

One day this month at the University of Louisville Hospital, more than half the babies in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit were suffering from drug withdrawal, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

The rapidly growing numbers of addicted newborns are an indication of Kentucky’s huge problem with prescription drug abuse, which kills about 1,000 people in the state each year and destroys thousands more lives.

“It’s a silent epidemic that’s going on out there,” Audrey Tayse Haynes, secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, told the Courier-Journal. “You need to say: ‘Stop the madness. This is too much.'”