Health Highlights: Dec. 7, 2016

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

Brain-Controlled Robotic Hand for People With Quadraplegia

A brain-controlled robotic hand for people with quadriplegia shows promise, according to a new study.

It took just 10 minutes for participants to learn how to use the system to do daily activities such as signing a document or picking up potato chips, the Associated Press reported.

The participants had high spinal cord injuries, meaning they were able to move their shoulders but not their fingers. The small-scale study was published Tuesday in the journal Science.

“The participants, who had previously expressed difficulty in performing everyday tasks without assistance, rated the system as reliable and practical, and did not indicate any discomfort during or after use,” according to the researchers, the AP reported.


Five NYC Babies Born With Zika-Linked Brain Problems

Five babies in New York City have been born with Zika-linked brain developmental symptoms, the city’s health department said Wednesday.

In addition to those five babies, eight other infants have tested positive for Zika but have not shown evidence of problems, The New York Times reported.

The health department also said that of about 8,000 city residents who have been checked for Zika, 962 have tested positive for the virus, including 325 pregnant women.

All of the cases were associated with travel, including six that involved sexual transmission of the virus by a partner who had visited regions hardest hit by Zika, The Times reported.

“Today’s news is a reminder that Zika continues to be a threat to pregnant women and their babies,” city health commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said.

“We are closely following all babies born to mothers who test positive for Zika infection and will connect parents to available services to improve their child’s quality of life,” she added, The Times reported.