Health Highlights: March 8, 2018

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

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Trump to Meet With Video Game Makers; Florida Introduces New Gun Control Measures

Despite no evidence of a link between mass shootings and video game/movie violence, President Donald Trump is to meet Thursday with video game industry representatives as he considers ways to deal with gun violence.

Since last month's shooting at a Florida school that left 17 people dead, Trump has regularly mentioned violence in movies and video games in his public comments about guns and school safety, the Associated Press reported.

In related news, Florida lawmakers on Wednesday passed new gun regulations and created a program to arm some school employees.

The new rules were approved after weeks of debate. They include a three-day waiting period for most purchases of long guns and raise to 21 the minimum age for purchasing those weapons, the Washington Post reported.

Florida lawmakers also approved millions of dollars to improve school security and to train and arm school employees.

In Washington, efforts to tighten gun regulations and improve the federal background check system have stalled, the Post reported.

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Brain's Hippocampus Doesn't Produce New Neurons After Age 13: Study

The brain's hippocampus stops producing new cells (neurons) by age 13, according to a new study.

It had been thought that the hippocampus -- which plays a major role in learning and memory -- generates new neurons throughout adulthood, CNN reported.

Arturo Alvarez-Buylla, professor of neurological surgery at the University of California, and colleagues analyzed 59 hippocampus tissue samples ranging from fetuses to adults. Their study was published in the journal Nature.

The study is important, according to Jason Snyder, assistant professor, Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, Canada. He was not involved in the study but wrote an accompanying editorial in the journal.

"It provides strong evidence that the human brain's ability to produce newborn neurons in the hippocampus (a brain region involved in memory formation) is limited as we get older," Snyder wrote in an email to CNN.

The study also points to new areas of investigation.

"If we can understand how neural precursor cells work, we may be able to use them to replace neurons that have died," Snyder told CNN.

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Thousands of Cheerleaders May Have Been Exposed to Mumps

Tens of thousands of people who attended a cheerleaders competition in Dallas last month may have been exposed to mumps, Texas health officials say.

After learning that someone from another state who attended the event had mumps, the state's health department sent out warning letters last Friday about possible exposure to the disease, the Washington Post reported.

"If you, your child, or any other individuals linked to this event experience or have experienced mumps symptoms, please contact your healthcare provider and inform them of your exposure to mumps," the letter states.

There have been no reports of mumps in Texas or any other states in connection with the National Cheerleaders Association All-Star National Championship held Feb. 23-25, according to health department spokesman Chris Van Deusen.

He told the Post that the "incubation period" is nearly over and that the "next few days will probably be telling." He said the more than 23,000 cheerleaders and 2,600 coaches from 39 states and nine countries have been advised to watch for mumps symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle aches, and swollen jaw and cheeks.

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Symptoms typically occur 16 to 18 days after exposure to the virus, which is spread by "breathing in saliva droplets of an infected person who has just sneezed or coughed" or from "sharing utensils or cups with someone who has mumps," according to the Mayo Clinic.

It said there is a vaccine for mumps but no specific treatment, but people with the mumps usually recover within a few weeks, the Post reported.


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