Health Highlights: Dec. 14, 2017

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

John McCain Hospitalized Due to Side Effects of Brain Cancer Treatment

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has been hospitalized to recover from what are said to be the normal side effects of his latest round of treatment for brain cancer.

McCain, 81, was diagnosed with terminal glioblastoma brain cancer in July and has been receiving rounds of chemotherapy and radiation.

“Senator McCain is currently receiving treatment at Walter Reed Medical Center for normal side effects of his ongoing cancer therapy,” his office said in a statement, The Washington Post reported.

McCain hopes to return “to work as soon as possible,” according to the statement

Two of McCain’s close friends told The Post there are no plans for the senator to resign.

On Wednesday, McCain’s daughter, Meghan became tearful as she interviewed former Vice President Joe Biden, whose son died from glioblastoma in 2015, CBS News reported. Meghan McCain is the co-host of ABC’s “The View.”

Biden recently published a memoir of his son’s battle with the brain cancer and the impact it had on the family.

“There’s a lot of things happening,” Biden told Meghan McCain. “There’s breakthroughs occurring now … It could happen.”


Computer-Illiterate Doctor Again Denied Request to Regain License

A doctor whose lack of computer skills played a role in surrendering her license to practice in New Hampshire has again been denied a request to regain her license.

The ruling against Dr. Anna Konopka, 84, was issued Wednesday by Judge John Kissinger, the Associated Press reported.

New Hampshire officials said Konopka’s limited computer skills meant she couldn’t access the state’s mandatory electronic drug monitoring program, which requires prescribers of opioid pain killers to register in an effort reduce overdoses. The state also challenged her record keeping, prescribing practices and medical decision making.

But after giving up her license to practice, Konopka went to court to try to get it back. Last month, Kissinger ruled that Konopka failed to prove her allegation that she was forced to give up her license. In the decision released Wednesday, the judge said Konopka could not show that the state Board of Medicine “acted unreasonably or improperly,” the AP reported.

“I’m not giving up yet,” Konopka said. “I will keep fighting until it’s pointless. Then I will accept that.”


Flu Kills 646,000 People Worldwide Each Year: Study

Seasonal flu kills 291,000 to 646,000 people worldwide each year, according to a new estimate that’s higher than the previous one of 250,000 to 500,000 deaths a year.

The new figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other groups were published Dec. 13 in The Lancet medical journal.

The updated numbers, which do not include deaths during flu pandemics, are based on more recent data from a larger and more diverse group of countries than the previous estimate, the CDC said.

The data came from 33 countries that have 57 percent of the world’s population and had seasonal flu numbers for a minimum of four years between 1999 and 2015. That information was used to create an estimate of flu-related respiratory deaths in 185 countries worldwide.

The study found that the risk of flu-related death was highest in the poorest regions of the world and among older adults.

“These findings remind us of the seriousness of flu and that flu prevention should really be a global priority,” study co-author Dr. Joe Bresee, associate director for global health in CDC’s Influenza Division, said in a CDC news release.


Baby Born With Heart Outside Body Recovering After Surgeries

A baby in the U.K. who was born with her heart outside her body is recovering after having three surgeries to put her heart inside her chest.

Fifty medical professionals delivered Vanellope Hope Wilkins, now three weeks old, at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester on November 22, CNN reported.

“I deal with babies with heart problems all the time, some of them very complicated,” Dr. Frances Bu’Lock, consultant in pediatric cardiology at the hospital, said.

“This is only the second case in 30 years that I’ve seen this particular condition, it’s extremely rare,” said Bu’Lock, CNN reported.

The condition, called ectopia cordis, occurs in just under eight of one million live births. It is often accompanied by other problems and newborns with the condition have a less than 10 percent chance of survival.