Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon underwent a third round of emergency brain surgery Friday morning after new bleeding was detected in his brain.
At the end of the five hours of surgery, the 77-year-old premier showed "significant improvement" and the pressure inside his skull returned to normal, according to hospital officials in Jerusalem.
"During surgery, the increased intracranial pressure was released, part of the blood clots that remained after the first operation were drained," Dr. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, director of the Hadassah-Ein Kerem Hospital, told reporters . "At the end of the operation, there is no active bleeding and the intracranial pressure has returned to normal."
"I can say that in comparison to previous CT scans ... there is a significant improvement in the way the brain exam looks to Hadassah's experts," Mor-Yosef added, according to an Associated Press report.
He said the prime minister was in "stable, but serious" condition.
Sharon has been in a medically induced coma since he suffered a massive hemorrhagic stroke Wednesday and underwent several hours of surgery on Thursday. He is expected to be kept in the coma until Sunday, news reports said.
Wednesday's stroke followed a mild one Sharon had Dec. 18 and occurred the night before he was scheduled to undergo a procedure to repair a hole in his heart that was discovered after the first stroke.
Baltimore Named America's Fittest City; Chicago the Fattest
Baltimore has been named America's fittest city by Men's Fitness magazine, and Chicago America's fattest.
The top fittest cities behind Baltimore were Honolulu, Virginia Beach, Va., Tucson, and Milwaukee. And the top fattest cities behind Chicago, according to the magazine, were Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Dallas and Houston.
Last year, Baltimore was ranked as the 25th fittest city on a list of Top 25. It vaulted to the lead of this year's list because it was favored by new factors that were taken into account in determining the rankings, the Associated Press reported.
These included: access to health care; air quality; the amount of public park space; the relatively small number of fast-food restaurants, and the leadership of Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley.
While Men's Fitness gave Baltimore top marks, rival magazine Men's Health ranked the city 93rd on its list of the "100 Best Cities for Men." The rankings, which appear in the current issue, gave Baltimore an "F" in health and quality of life and a "C+" in fitness, the AP reported.
Last year's fittest city, Seattle, dropped to No. 8 position. Chicago took over the lowest spot from Houston.
Warning Issued on Bleeding Disorder Drug
Some patients with the bleeding disorder called immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) have suffered a potentially deadly loss of red blood cells when taking the medicine WinRho SDF, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Friday.
The FDA and the companies that make the medicine (Baxter Healthcare Corp. and Cangene Corp.) said that ITP patients taking WinRho SDF should immediately contact their doctor if they experience back pain, shaking or chills, fever, discolored urine or decreased urine output, sudden weight gain, fluid retention, swelling or shortness of breath, the Associated Press reported.
Most of the reported adverse reactions to the medicine have occurred within four hours of treatment.
The companies have revised the medicine's label to include the new warning. The revised label also cautions that the liquid form of WinRho SDF can cause false high blood glucose levels in certain kinds of blood glucose testing systems.
People with ITP have an abnormally low level of blood platelets needed for proper blood clotting.
3rd Turkish Child Killed by Bird Flu
An 11-year-old Turkish girl died of bird flu Friday, the third victim of the virus in that country. The girl's teenage brother and sister also died of bird flu over the past week, and a six-year-old brother is currently in hospital being treated for the disease.
The children lived in a rural area of eastern Turkey, and it's believed they contracted the disease while playing with the heads of dead chickens infected with bird flu, CNN reported.
Officials believe the three children were killed by the H5N1 bird flu strain, but tests have yet to confirm that. The H5N1 strain has been found in the region where the children lived.
The head doctor at the hospital where the children died said 23 people are currently being treated for the disease, CNN reported. A delay in seeking treatment likely led to the three children's deaths, the doctor said.
Thousands of domestic birds are being killed in the children's town and surrounding communities. Extra supplies of the anti-influenza drug Tamiflu have been sent to the region. The World Health Organization is sending a team to Turkey to investigate the outbreak.
U.S. Issues Flu Pandemic Guide
A U.S. government guide released Friday urges people to prepare for a possible flu pandemic and outlines ways they can do that -- including finding out if they'll be able to work from home, recording family members' blood types, allergies and other medical information, and making plans to teach children at home.
Some of the information in the guide, which warns that a pandemic can strike in waves and last for months, is similar to advice given to people for dealing with natural disasters such as hurricanes and blizzards, the Associated Press reported.
This includes creating a stockpile of water, nonperishable foods, and prescription drugs. But the guide also instructs people on how to prevent the spread of flu, including frequent hand washing and staying home from work or school if you're sick.
It also suggests that people volunteer with local groups to assist with emergency response and form support systems of people that can be relied upon in the event of a flu pandemic, the AP reported.
A copy of the "Pandemic Influenza Planning: A Guide for Individuals and Families," other checklists and pandemic planning information is available online at www.pandemicflu.gov.
Food Fact: Prevent "pour" nutrition.
If you're not careful, you may pour veggies' vitamins and nutrients down the drain. Cooking vegetables in water significantly lowers the nutrient content because vitamins leech out. You wind up discarding some very nutritious cooking water! Steaming is your best option for cooking vegetables. The water makes no contact with the food and nutrient loss is minimized.
Fitness Tip of the day: Be a walkie-talkie.
Instead of chewing the fat with co-workers over lunch, discuss office issues while you walk. Next time you find yourself in a meeting, suggest to your boss that you take it outside during a stroll around the block or through the office halls. Just 20 minutes a day of brisk walking will lower your risk of serious diseases -- that's just four five-minute walks a day! A half-hour a day is even healthier. Walk 45 minutes a day, and watch your waistline shrink.
FAQ of the day: Do vegetarians need dairy?
If you adopt a more vegetarian eating style, you should be wary of relying too heavily on cheese for protein, because you'll end up eating too much fat. In fact, protein deficiency is uncommon among vegetarians in the U.S.; more often, vegetarians may be low in iron, calcium or zinc. Low-fat or fat-free dairy foods provide calcium along with protein, as do soy foods such as calcium-set tofu and soymilk. Dried beans, peas, lentils and soy foods are also good sources of iron and zinc, as are shellfish. Add variety to your protein sources, and other needs get filled, too!