Health Highlights: May 16, 2017

Police Officer Overdoses After Wiping Fentanyl Off UniformSlowing of Decline in Number of Uninsured Adults: CDCToo Much Caffeine Caused South Carolina Teen's Death: CoronerRed Meat Increases Death Risk: Study

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

Police Officer Overdoses After Wiping Fentanyl Off Uniform

An Ohio police officer was rushed to the hospital and treated for an overdose after wiping fentanyl powder off his uniform.

Fentanyl is a powerful opioid painkiller that can be deadly even in tiny amounts. The incident occurred last Friday, CNN reported.

The drug entered Chris Green's system through his hands. The fentanyl got on his uniform earlier in the day when he made a drug arrest.

"This is scary. He could have walked out of the building and left and he could have passed out while he was driving. You don't even know it's there on his clothes," East Liverpool Police Chief John Lane told CNN.

"His wife, kids and his dog could be confronted with it and boom, they're dead. This could never end," Lane added.

Fentanyl can be absorbed through the skin or accidentally inhaled, making it a threat to anyone who comes into contact with it, experts say.

"It's time our state government drafts legislation to protect our safety forces from these harmful drugs," the City of East Liverpool said in a Facebook post, CNN reported. "Those in possession not only pose a risk to themselves but everyone they come into contact with as well."


Slowing of Decline in Number of Uninsured Adults: CDC

The decline in the number of Americans without health insurance halted in 2016 after five years of progress, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released Tuesday.

There were 28.6 million people without insurance last year, about the same as in 2015, and the uninsured rate was 9 percent in 2016, compared with 9.1 percent in 2016, the Associated Press reported.

The CDC said there was a rise in the percentage of people younger than 65 covered last year through government-sponsored insurance markets. About 11.6 million (4.3 percent) had marketplace insurance in the last three months of 2016, compared with 9.1 million (3.4 percent) in the last three months of 2015.

States that expanded Medicaid were more likely to have lower uninsured rates. Of the 16 states with adult uninsured rates well below the national rate, 15 expanded Medicaid. Of those states, only Wisconsin had not extended coverage for low-income people, the AP reported.

Of the nine states with much higher uninsured rates, only New Mexico expanded Medicaid.

The CDC's finding that the decline in uninsured Americans has stalled is supported by other major surveys. For example, the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index showed that the uninsured rate for adults rose slightly during the first three months of this year, the AP reported.

"It looks like we are kind of sticking a landing and holding on to the gains," Katherine Hempstead, who directs research on health insurance at the nonpartisan Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, told the AP.

"To increase coverage, you would have to see more states take up the Medicaid expansion, and some reforms to increase take-up in the individual (private) market," she added.

The uninsured rate could start rising again under some of the policies now being considered by President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans, according to the AP.

The CDC report "is really timely because it just helps everybody focus on what's at stake," Hempstead said.


Too Much Caffeine Caused South Carolina Teen's Death: Coroner

Drinking too much caffeine led to the death of a South Carolina teen who collapsed in a classroom last month, according to a coroner.

Davis Allen Cripe, 16, died from a "caffeine-induced cardiac event causing a probable arrhythmia," said Richland County Coroner Gary Watts, The Anderson Independent-Mail reported.

The caffeine came from a large Diet Mountain Dew, a cafe latte from McDonald's and an energy drink consumed over the course of about two hours, according to Watts.

Cripe was healthy and had no family history of a medical problem the caffeine could have exacerbated, the coroner said at a new conference Monday, the Independent-Mail reported.

"Davis, like so many other kids and so many other people out there today, was doing something (he) thought was totally harmless, and that was ingesting lots of caffeine," Watts said. "We lost Davis from a totally legal substance."


Red Meat Increases Death Risk: Study

Eating red meat increases your risk of death from nine diseases, according to a new study.

Researchers tracked the diet and health of more than 536,000 people, ages 50-71, for an average of 16 years, The New York Times reported.

Compared with the one-fifth who ate the least red meat, the one-fifth who ate the most were 26 percent more likely to die from cancer, heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, diabetes, infections, Alzheimer's disease, kidney disease and liver disease.

People who ate the most white meat were 25 percent less likely to die from various causes than those who ate the least white meat, according to the study in the journal BMJ.

"This is an observational study and we can't determine whether red meat is responsible for these associations. But we have a 16-year follow-up, and we had the numbers to look at different causes, and we can see that it's happening" said lead author Arash Etemadi, an epidemiologist at the U.S. National Cancer Institute, The Times reported.

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