Health Highlights: Dec. 18, 2019

By on December 18, 2019

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

Chili Peppers May Reduce Heart Attack, Stroke Death Risk

Eating chili peppers on a regular basis could reduce your risk of death from heart attack and stroke, a new study suggests.

Researchers followed 23,000 people in Italy for eight years and found that those who ate chili peppers at least four times a week had a 40% lower risk of death from heart attack and a more than 50% lower risk of death from stroke, CNN reported.

The study was published this week in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

“An interesting fact is that protection from mortality risk was independent of the type of diet people followed,” study author Marialaura Bonaccio, an epidemiologist at the Mediterranean Neurological Institute, told CNN.

“In other words, someone can follow the healthy Mediterranean diet, someone else can eat less healthily, but for all of them chili pepper has a protective effect,” she noted.

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New Rules Seek to Increase Organ Transplants in U.S.

Two new rules meant to increase organ transplants in the United States have been proposed by the federal government.

More than 113,000 people nationwide are on the waiting list for a transplant, and thousands die each year while waiting for a new organ, according to the Associated Press.

One of the new rules would permit reimbursement to donors for lost wages and child or elder care expenses they incur during hospitalization and recovery.

Currently, donors’ medical bills are paid by the transplant recipients’ insurance, but donors are off work for weeks and not all employers offer paid time off, the AP reported.

The other new rule would tighten standards for organ procurement organizations (OPOs) that collect organs from deceased donors.

Instead of OPOs self-reporting data, their donation and transplantation rates would be calculated using federal death records that show all the potential donors available to each OPO, the AP reported.

This would allow federal officials to assess OPO performance and prod low-performing OPOs to match better-performing ones.

There is a 60-day public comment period before the new rules take effect.

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