Health Highlights: May 20, 2020

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

Sales of Johnson’s Baby Powder Halted in U.S., Canada

Lawsuits claiming that talc-based Johnson’s Baby Powder has caused cancer have led to a plunge in sales in the United States and Canada, so Johnson & Johnson said Tuesday it is ending sales of the product in those two countries.

The company said the talc-based powder is safe and will still be sold in other countries, the Associated Press reported.

About 19,400 lawsuits alleging that J&J’s talcum powder caused ovarian cancer or mesothelioma, a cancer that affects the lungs and other organs, have been launched against the company.

To date, J&J has won 12 cases, lost 15, and there have been seven mistrials. All of the lost cases have either been overturned on appeal or are still being appealed, the AP reported.


Annie Glenn, Widow of Astronaut John Glenn, Dies at Age 100

Annie Glenn, the wife of the first American to orbit the Earth, died Tuesday at age 100 due to complications of COVID-19.

After her husband John Glenn’s spaceflight in 1962, Annie Glenn tried to avoid media attention because she had a severe stutter. She went on to become an advocate for people with speech disorders, the Associated Press reported.

Annie Glenn died at a nursing home near St. Paul, Minn., said Hank Wilson, a spokesman for the Glenn College of Public Affairs at Ohio State University.

“Annie will be remembered for her work to lift others up, including those who shared her struggles with communicative disorders,” U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat, said in a statement, the AP reported.

John and Annie Glenn were married for 73 years. John Glenn died in 2016.


U.S. Births Hit 35-Year Low

The number of babies born in the United States in 2019 was the lowest in 35 years, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.

There were about 3.7 million births last year, about 1% lower than in 2018. Birth rates continued to fall among teens and women in their 20s, the AP reported.

With the exception of 2014, U.S. birth rates have declined every year since 2007.

The coronavirus pandemic and its economic damage could cause U.S. birth numbers to fall even further, according to some experts.

“This unpredictable environment, and anxiety about the future, is going to make women think twice about having children,” Dr. Denise Jamieson, chair of obstetrics and gynecology at Emory University in Atlanta, told the AP.