Health Buzz: Doctors Say They've Transplanted an Entire Face

Panel defends Lyme disease treatment guidelines; air pollution's health hazards

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Doctors Say They've Transplanted an Entire Face 

The world's first full face transplant is a success, say doctors in Spain who performed the procedure. They transplanted bones, blood vessels, skin, muscles, and teeth from donor to patient at Vall d'Hebron University Hospital in Barcelona, BBC News reports. A male patient, who reportedly suffered an accidental gunshot wound, underwent the nearly 24-hour procedure in March. Hospitals around the world have already performed partial face transplants, the first taking place in 2005. [Read more: Full face transplant 'a success'.] 

  • Doctors Describe First U.S. Face Transplant
  • Face Transplant Patient Can Smell, Taste, Breathe Normally 
  • Panel Defends Lyme Disease Treatment Guidelines  

    Guidelines for treating Lyme disease should not change, according to a review panel appointed by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Doctors are currently advised to treat the condition with antibiotics for about one month, though critics challenged the society to recognize the chronic nature of Lyme disease, HealthDay reports. The panel, however, found "no convincing evidence for the existence of chronic Lyme disease infection" and thus concluded that "long-term antibiotic treatment of chronic Lyme disease is unwarranted and unproven," according to HealthDay. 

    In January, physician Bryan Arling wrote about how doctors test for Lyme disease. The most sensitive test is the Western blot, which looks at three IgM antibodies and 9 IgG antibodies to antigens found on the Borrelia bacteria that cause Lyme disease, according to Arling, who is U.S. News's Health Advice expert in general internal medicine. It takes several weeks for a person to begin mounting an antibody response after being bitten by an infected tick, so a test would be negative at an early stage. Current blood tests for Lyme are 90 percent accurate, said Arling. [Read more: Is There a Definitive Test for Lyme Disease?

    • 3 Tips for Avoiding Tick Bites and Lyme Disease
    • Genetic Engineering Raises Hope for Lyme Disease Vaccine 
    • Air Pollution: It's Not Just Your Lungs That Suffer 

      Pollutants in the air may worsen asthma in kids, a new study suggests. Researchers found that pollution from cars with combustion engines, for example, may trigger an asthma attack bad enough to send a child to the emergency room, HealthDay reports

      But it's not just lungs that suffer from pollution. A growing body of research is shedding light on the ways that air pollutants can impinge on health, U.S. News's Sarah Baldauf reported in February. The Environmental Protection Agency ruled in December that greenhouse gases are detrimental to human health, particularly because they can aggravate asthma and other respiratory illnesses and can produce longer, more intense heat waves that endanger the poor, sick, and elderly. 

      The health risks that a particular individual might face directly from breathing polluted air are low. But research consistently is finding that, when spread out over a given population—be it residents of a certain city or those with a particular disease—the quality of the air has a very significant impact on public health. When vehicles, factories, power plants, and other machines burn fuel, the chemicals they release into the atmosphere react with one another (and other compounds in the air) in ways that can amplify health hazards. [Read more: Air Pollution: It's Not Just Your Lungs That Suffer.] 

      • Air Pollution: 6 Steps You Can Take to Protect Your Health
      • Is Asthma in Children Preventable? 
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