Health Highlights: Oct. 20, 2014

By on October 20, 2014

Health Highlights: Oct. 20, 2014

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

New Fitbit Flex Debuts After Consumer Complaints About Skin Problems

A new version of the Fitbit Flex activity-tracking wristband is being introduced after consumer complaints that the previous version caused skin problems.

The devices will now carry a warning that they contain nickel — a common allergen — and have a new sizing guideline to prevent users from wearing the wristband too tightly, The New York Times reported.

The previous version of Fitbit Flex was taken off the market in February due to the consumer complaints. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission decided against a recall as long as the company made changes to improve the product’s safety.

A few months ago Fitbit recalled another version of its wristband, the Fitbit Force, due to consumer complaints about skin problems such as rashes and blisters, The Times reported.

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Funding for Risky Infectious Disease Research Halted: White House

Funding for research in which certain infectious agents are made more dangerous so that scientists can better understand them has been temporarily halted, the White House announced Friday.

An example of this type of research is trying to create a more contagious version of the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus in order to learn which mutations make it that way, The New York Times reported.

SARS and MERS are among the other types of dangerous viruses included in this type of research.

The announcement by the White House Office of Science and Technology and the Health and Human Services Department said a process to “assess the potential risks and benefits” of this type of research would begin this month and continue at least into next year. Officials did not say how long the funding moratorium would last.

Critics of this type of research welcomed the announcement.

“The government has finally seen the light. This is what we have all been waiting for and campaigning for. I shall sleep better tonight,” Peter Hale, the executive director of the Foundation for Vaccine Research, told The Times.

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