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Health Highlights: Jan. 25, 2019

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

More Lawsuits Launched Over Loss of Frozen Eggs, Embryos

Eight new lawsuits have been filed over the loss of more than 4,000 frozen eggs and embryos at an Ohio hospital nearly a year ago.

The new lawsuits against University Hospitals and CAS DataLoggers add to the more than 70 lawsuits already filed against the hospital system, NBC News reported.

The frozen eggs and embryos were lost March 4, 2018, when a malfunction caused the temperature to rise in a cryo storage tank. The problem went undetected because a remote alarm system had been turned off.

After the incident, University Hospitals Fertility Center sent letters of apology to the nearly 1,000 affected patients, NBC News reported.

"We don't know who turned off the remote alarm nor do we know how long it was off," the letter stated," the letter stated.

The new lawsuits claim that CAS DataLoggers was responsible for monitoring the remote alarm, NBC News reported.

In a statement released Thursday, University Hospitals said the fertility center had apologized to the affected patients and offered them free fertility care.


Gum Disease Bacteria Found in Brains of Alzheimer's Disease Patients

Gum disease bacteria may play a role in Alzheimer's disease, researchers say.

They studied dead and living patients with diagnosed and suspected Alzheimer's and found bacteria associated with chronic gum disease in the brains of people with Alzheimer's, BBC News reported.

Tests on mice confirmed the bacteria, Porphyromonas gingivalis could migrate from the mouth to the brain and that a toxic protein they secrete (gingipain) destroyed brain neurons.

The bacteria also boosted production of amyloid beta, a component of brain plaques associated with Alzheimer's, BBC News reported.

Further tests on mice showed that drugs that block the toxic proteins produced by the bacteria stopped brain degeneration.

The study was published in the journal Science Advances.

The researchers said their findings could point to new ways to help people with Alzheimer's. Currently there is no cure or effective treatment, BBC News reported.

The team developed a new drug and plan to test it later this year in a clinical trial with patients who have mild to moderate Alzheimer's.

The study adds to evidence of a link between gum disease and dementia, but it's still not clear if gum disease bacteria actually trigger Alzheimer's, said scientists not involved in the study, BBC News reported.

Previous studies linking gum disease with dementia include one published last year that found that people with chronic gum disease for 10 years or more had a 70 percent higher risk of Alzheimer's than those without gum disease.

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