Health Highlights: Oct. 22, 2015

Health Highlights: Oct. 22, 2015

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

Sesame Street Debuts New Character With Autism

A new character with autism has been introduced on Sesame Street.

Julia is a friend of Elmo’s and was introduced Wednesday in an online story, the Washington Post reported.

In the story, Julia meets Abby and Elmo explains why Julia may have some different behaviors, such as avoiding eye contact and being startled by noises that might not affect others.

“Elmo’s daddy told Elmo that Julia has autism,” Elmo says. “So she does things a little differently. Sometimes Elmo talks to Julia using fewer words and says the same thing a few times.”

Julia’s debut is part of an initiative called “Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children,” the Post reported.


Gene Test Company 23andMe to Resume Giving Health Data to Consumers

Consumer genetic testing company 23andMe will resume providing customers with health information, nearly two years after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ordered the firm to stop doing so.

California-based 23andMe said Wednesday it now has FDA approval to provide health information based on genetic tests of customers’ saliva samples, but will provide much less data than before, The New York Times reported.

The company also redesigned its website to make it easier for consumers to understand genetic information, and increased the price of the service from $99 to $199.

“Part of what we tried to do over the last two years is take advantage of being off the market to redesign the entire experience,” Anne Wojcicki, co-founder and chief executive of 23andMe, told The Times.

In November 2013, the FDA told the company to stop providing health information until it could get agency approval by proving that its genetic test results were accurate.

Another California-based medical testing company called Theranos has been told by the FDA to stop using its method of taking blood samples from the finger instead of the arm until the FDA approves the device used, The Times reported.