Health Highlights: Dec. 10, 2019

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

Man Who Inspired Ice Bucket Challenge Dies

The man who inspired the Ice Bucket Challenge that raised awareness about the neurodegenerative disease ALS has died.

Peter Frates was 34. His death was confirmed by his family on Monday, NBC News reported.

Frates was diagnosed with ALS in 2012. He helped create the Ice Bucket Challenge, a social media sensation in which people shared videos of themselves being drenched by buckets of ice water and asking for donations to the ALS Association.

The association says the challenge raised more than $200 million worldwide, NBC News reported.

Frates, a former Boston College basketball player, never complained about his ALS and instead viewed it as an opportunity, according to his family.

“A natural born leader and the ultimate teammate, Pete was a role model for all, especially young athletes, who looked up to him for his bravery and unwavering positive spirit in the face of adversity,” his family said in a statement. “He was a noble fighter who inspired us all to use our talents and strengths in the service of others.”

More than 17 million people participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge, resulting in 2.5 million donors to ALS causes, Brian Frederick, vice president of communications for the ALS association, told NBC News.


Bipartisan Bill to Control Health Care Costs Backed by White House

A bipartisan measure meant to control rising health care costs for Americans — including limiting “surprise” medical bills — has the backing of the White House.

The measure would introduce a system of arbitration for disputes over surprise bills, which patients can face if they’re unknowingly treated in emergency rooms by health care providers who aren’t in their insurance networks, NBC News reported.

It would also would limit some out-of-pocket costs for patients hit with surprise bills.

Other items in the measure include steps to limit prescription drug price increases and provide $20 billion over five years for community health centers, which offer medical care to millions of low-income earners in thousands of towns.

Another part of the measure would increase the federal minimum age for buying tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, from 18 to 21, according to House and Senate aides, NBC News reported.

The measure represents “months of delicate work” and there has been hope that Congress would approve it this year, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

However, it’s uncertain whether the bill can approved in the two weeks before Congress is scheduled to adjourn for the year, NBC News reported.


C-Section Delivery Doesn’t Increase Child’s Obesity Risk: Study

Children delivered by cesarean section aren’t more likely to be obese than those delivered vaginally, a new study says.

The findings contradict some recent research suggesting that children delivered by C-section are at increased risk for obesity, The New York Times reported.

In the new study, Swedish researchers examined the medical records of more than 97,000 men who were born between 1982 and 1987, following them to age 18.

After accounting for a number of factors, they found no association between type of delivery and risk of obesity at age 18, The Times reported.

The study was published recently in the journal PLoS Medicine.

“Women don’t need to be alarmed about C-section causing obesity in their children,” said lead author, Viktor Ahlqvist, a researcher at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, The Times reported.