Health Highlights: March 12, 2018

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

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Newer Cholesterol-Lowering Drug Offers Hope

A newer cholesterol-lowering drug shows promise, researchers report.

When used in combination with older statins, Praluent slightly reduced heart risks and deaths in heart attack survivors, the Associated Press reported.

The results of the large study, done by the drug's makers, Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, were presented last weekend at the American College of Cardiology annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.

It's the first time a cholesterol-lowering drug has been shown to reduce the risk of death since statins such as Lipitor and Crestor were introduced decades ago, according to the AP.

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Disease X Added to WHO's Global Epidemic Threat List

Even though it doesn't yet exist, a malady called "Disease X" has been added to the World Health Organization's list of threats that could cause a deadly worldwide epidemic.

The WHO's website says Disease X represents a "known unknown" that could be created by biological mutation in the future, Newsweek reported.

The hypothetical Disease X could become real in a number of ways, such as through biological warfare or the sudden spread of virus similar to the Spanish flu that killed at least 40 million people in 1918-19.

Other threats on the list include the Ebola virus, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS,) Zika virus and Rift Valley fever, Newsweek reported.

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2nd Malfunction Affecting Frozen Embryos Reported

A second U.S. fertility clinic has reported a malfunction that could potentially affect thousands of frozen eggs and embryos.

The Pacific Fertility Clinic in San Francisco said Sunday that on March 4 there was a liquid nitrogen failure in a storage tank holding thousands of frozen eggs and embryos, the Washington Post reported.

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The clinic did not reveal how many eggs and embryos were affected but said the tank contained "several thousand" of them.

Last week, a similar malfunction was reported by the University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center's fertility clinic in Cleveland. The clinic has notified about 700 patients that their frozen eggs and embryos may have been damaged, the Post reported.


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