Health Highlights: Dec. 17, 2013

By on December 17, 2013

Health Highlights: Dec. 17, 2013

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

Companies Ordered to Pay for Lead Paint Cleanup in California Homes

Three current or former paint manufacturers and distributors have been ordered to pay $1.1 billion into a fund to remove lead paint-related hazards from hundreds of thousands of California homes.

The ruling by a California Superior Court judge in San Jose against Sherwin Williams. Co., NL Industries Inc. and ConAgra Grocery Products Co. came in a 13-year-old lawsuit filed by 10 city and county governors in California, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The three companies have 15 days to file objections to the decision and said they plan to appeal the ruling unless the judge declares a mistrial or agrees to hold a new trial. The judge dismissed two other defendants in the lawsuit, DuPont Co. and Atlantic-Richfield Co.

The ruling also ordered the creation of a fund to remove lead paint hazards from homes. The fund would be administered by California’s existing state Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch program, WSJ reported.

While not requiring the removal of all lead paint from homes, the cleanup plan does order that lead be removed from areas where friction may release lead dust, such as window frames and doors.

The ruling will have a “tremendous impact on the health and welfare of the children of California,” said Nancy Fineman, a lawyer representing local governments who filed the suit, WSJ reported.


Doctors Keep Man’s Severed Hand Alive by Attaching it to Ankle

A man’s severed hand was saved by grafting it to his ankle, Chinese doctors say.

It wasn’t possible to reattach Xiao Wei’s right hand to his arm immediately after he lost the hand in a work accident. Instead, doctors kept the hand alive by stitching it onto Wei’s left ankle and using arteries in the leg to supply the hand with blood, BBC News reported.

A month later, the hand was removed from the ankle and reattached to the arm. Wei will have to undergo several more operations but doctors say they’re hopeful that he will regain full function of his hand.

“His injury was severe. Besides ripping injuries, his arm was also flattened,” the surgeons said, BBC News reported. “We had to clear and treat his injuries before taking on the hand reattachment surgery.”


High Rate of Autism Among Somali Children In Minneapolis: Study

Children in the Somali community in Minneapolis do have a higher rate of a disabling form of autism than other children in the city, a new study confirms.

It found that about one Somali child in 32 had autism, compared with one in 36 for whites, one in 62 for blacks and one in 80 for Hispanics. The national average is one child in 88, The New York Times reported.

The researchers also discovered that Somali children with autism were less likely than whites with autism to be “high-functioning” and more likely to have IQs below 70. The average IQ is 100, The New York Times reported.

No explanation for the findings was offered in the study by the University of Minnesota, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the research and advocacy group Autism Speaks, The Times reported.

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