Health Highlights: Sept. 24, 2020

By on September 24, 2020

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

Man Dies From Eating Too Much Black Licorice

A Massachusetts man died from eating too much black licorice, doctors say.

The 54-year-old construction worker ate a bag and half every day for a few weeks, which led to an imbalance in his body’s nutrients that caused his heart to stop, according to the case study in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Associated Press reported.

“Even a small amount of licorice you eat can increase your blood pressure a little bit,” said Dr. Neel Butala, a cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital who was involved in the case.

Black licorice contains glycyrrhizic acid, which can cause dangerously low levels of potassium and imbalances in other minerals called electrolytes, the AP reported.

Consuming just 2 ounces of black licorice a day for two weeks could cause a heart rhythm problem, especially for people older than 40, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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Children’s Routine Care Plummets During Pandemic

There’s been a steep drop in routine medical care for low-income children in the United States during the pandemic, which could cause long-term problems, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says.

For example: early childhood vaccinations fell by 22%, or 1.7 million,fewer immunizations among children up to age 2; screenings for cognitive or developmental problems decreased by 44%, dentists visits plummeted by 69%, and there were 6.9 million fewer mental health visits, the Associated Press reported.

“The absence of these vital health care services may have lifelong consequences for these vulnerable children, and I call on states, pediatric providers, families and schools to ensure children catch up,” CMS administrator Seema Verma said in a statement.

More recent data show an increase in childhood immunizations since May, but a huge jump is needed to make up for missed vaccinations since the spring, CMS said.

“The potential for increased outbreaks of infectious disease due to decreased vaccinations is real, and can result in decreased school attendance, decreased learning, and increased childhood illness in general,” according to the agency, the AP reported.

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