Investigation Into Vaping-Related Deaths Continues: With No Known Cause, Relatives Struggle To Find Out What Killed Family Members

Although vaping-related lung illnesses are declining, more than 2,700 have been reported across the U.S. and its territories since last March, according to the CDC. A total of 60 have died. Public health news is on a rare neuromuscular disease, cervical cancer, obesity, preparing for civilization’s end, longevity, vocal disorders, postpartum depression, organ transplants, a sweet substitute for kids’ cough medicines, Alzheimer’s disease, mental health, and medical errors, as well.

The Wall Street Journal: Vaping-Related Deaths Fall, But Families Still Look For Answers Kimberly Boyd keeps a stack of her son’s medical files on her dining-room table, in neatly organized folders. In a Ziploc bag, there are some of the nicotine vaping cartridges he used at their Orlando, Fla., home before the 28-year-old died in November. Across the country, in Seattle, Robin Hurt is waiting for a response to a public-record request she filed with the state’s medical examiner in Oregon, asking for the autopsy report on her 23-year-old grandson, who unexpectedly died in October after having recently taken up vaping. (Ansari, 2/9)

Stat: Lottery Like No Other Offers A Cutting-Edge Medicine — With Lives On The Line The treatment, a gene therapy called Zolgensma, is designed for children like Wynter who have a neuromuscular disease called spinal muscular atrophy, or SMA. Without it or other treatments, those with the most serious type are likely to die as babies. It was first approved by U.S. regulators only last year, and is not yet available in other countries. The lottery was devised by the drug’s manufacturer, Novartis, to give families in those places a chance to get it through a novel form of compassionate use — a way to get medications that have not been approved — while they wait. Fifty doses are slotted to be given away for free in the first half of the year, with up to 100 total. The first drawing occurred Monday. (Joseph and Silverman, 2/7)

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