Health Highlights: Aug. 27, 2013

Health Highlights: Aug. 27, 2013

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

Girl Who Got 2 Lung Transplants Goes Home

The 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl whose lung transplant sparked a national debate over organ-transplantation policy left the hospital and returned home Tuesday, the Associated Press reported.

Sarah Murnaghan, of Newtown Square, has end-stage cystic fibrosis and received two transplants of adult-sized lungs, even though current organ-transplant policy states that children only receive child-sized lungs.

However, Sarah’s parents took her case to the courts. A federal judge intervened on her behalf, ordering that she be allowed an adult lung transplant.

The first set of adult lungs the child received failed within hours of transplant, but a second set, transplanted three days later, seem to have worked.

Sarah’s mother, Janet Murnaghan, said in a Facebook page posting late Monday that Sarah would be leaving Children’s Hospital of Philadephia on Tuesday. On Sunday, Janet Murnaghan said her daughter had been taken off oxygen but does get some breathing support from a machine. She is now able to walk around the hospital using a walker, and has gone outside for brief periods, the AP reported.


Music Star Linda Ronstadt Has Parkinson’s Disease

Singer Linda Ronstadt, a music star for more than four decades, has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, which has robbed her of the ability to sing.

“No one can sing with Parkinson’s disease,” the 67-year-old Ronstadt said in an interview with AARP Magazine. “No matter how hard you try.”

Ronstadt said she was diagnosed eight months ago and “can’t sing a note.” She said she initially experienced symptoms about eight years ago, but thought her singing problems were caused by a tick disease, the Associated Press reported.

She said she was “completely shocked” when a neurologist diagnosed her with Parkinson’s disease. “I wouldn’t have suspected that in a million, billion years.”

Ronstadt sold tens of millions of records starting in the late 1960s. Some of her earlier hits included “You’re No Good” and “When Will I Be Loved.” She later sang pop standards and mariachi music, the AP reported.

Ronstadt now uses poles to walk on uneven ground and a wheelchair when traveling, the AARP story said.

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke says Parkinson’s disease is part of a group of conditions called motor system disorders that are caused by the loss of certain key brain cells. Typical symptoms include tremors, or trembling in the hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face; stiffness of the limbs and trunk; slowness of movement; and problems with balance and coordination. As symptoms become more severe, some patients may have trouble with walking, talking or other simple tasks. The disease usually affects people 50 and older.

There’s no cure for Parkinson’s, but a variety of medications can provide significant relief from the symptoms, according to the institute.