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Health Highlights: Aug. 31, 2016

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

New Drug Shows Promise Against Alzheimer's

An experimental drug called aducanumab shows promise in treating Alzheimer's disease, researchers report.

A small clinical trial showed that it significantly reduced toxic plaques in the brains of 165 patients with early-stage Alzheimer's disease, National Public Radio reported Wednesday.

The findings, published in the journal Nature, suggest the drug may slow the loss of memory and thinking in Alzheimer's patients.

"If that hint of a clinical benefit is confirmed, it would be a game changer in the fight against Alzheimer's disease," said Dr. Eric Reiman, executive director of the Banner Alzheimer's Institute in Phoenix, NPR reported.

He wrote a commentary that accompanied the study. Much larger clinical trials are needed to confirm whether the drug actually slows Alzheimer's disease, Reiman said.

Two much larger studies of aducanumab have already been started by drug maker Biogen Inc. Those trials will include 2,700 patients, with results not expected for several years, NPR reported.


New U.S. Funding to Fight Opioid Abuse

The White House is distributing $53 million to 44 states to fight abuse of powerful opioid painkillers.

The money will be used to reduce over-prescribing of the drugs, increase access to treatment, and to make the antidote naloxone widely available, said Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, the Associated Press reported.

The Obama administration also wants Congress to provide $1.1 billion in new money to tackle the problem. Recently approved $181 million in new spending did not do enough to expand treatment, the White House said.

New federal funding is urgently needed so that people who require treatment don't have to wait months, Steve Williams, the mayor of Huntington, West Virginia, said in a conference call announcing the funding, the AP reported.

Williams said opioid abuse in his community is so common that he carries an overdose reversal kit with him.


Country Fresh Recalls Vegetable Products in 9 States

Possible listeria contamination has prompted the recall of 30,000 cases of fresh vegetable products by Houston area producer Country Fresh.

The recall includes vegetable products wrapped in clear plastic with the Country Fresh label or with store-branded labels at Walmart, Harris Teeter, Winn Dixie, Publix, QuikTrip, Bi-Lo, Fresh Point and The Spinx Company stores in nine states. The states are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, USA Today reported.

The recalled products -- which include diced peppers, diced onions, stir fry vegetables, grilling vegetables and stuffed mushrooms -- have "Best If Used By" dates between Aug. 7 to Aug. 19.

Listeria can cause serious infection and even death in children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems. No illnesses associated with the recalled vegetable products have been reported, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Consumers who bought the products can return them to the place of purchase for a full refund, and can get more information by calling Country Fresh at 281-453-3305, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CDT, USA Today reported.

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