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Health Highlights: May 5, 2015

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

Man Has Rare Throat-Area Transplant

A patient is recovering after undergoing a rare, extensive transplant of the throat area, Polish surgeons announced Monday.

The 37-year-old man -- identified only as Michal -- had advanced cancer of the voice box and was unable to breathe on his own, or to swallow and speak.

Along with a new voice box, the man also received a windpipe, esophagus, thyroid gland and adjacent glands, muscles, nerves, blood vessels and skin, the Associated Press reported.

The 17-hour transplant was performed April 11. Michal can now swallow liquified, mushed food. With intensive rehabilitation, he should eventually be able to "eat, breathe and speak just like we all do," said Dr. Adam Maciejewski, a professor at the Oncology Center in the town of Gliwice.

Michal appeared with his medical team at Monday's news conference and whispered thanks. Potential problems include rejection and infections, the AP reported.

This is only the third such transplant to be performed in the world, according to Maciejewski, who added that the previous two were less extensive.


Power Plant Emissions Cuts Could Save Thousands of Lives a Year: Study

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's proposed new carbon emission standards for coal-fired power plants could prevent 3,500 premature deaths and more than 1,000 heart attacks and hospitalizations a year, a new study says.

The researchers used modeling to predict the potential benefits of reducing carbon emissions from power plants. The largest decreases in pollution and related health problems would occur in states in the Ohio River Valley, including Pennsylvania and Ohio, The New York Times reported.

The study was published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change.

The researchers began their study -- which includes three models -- about a year before the EPA announced its proposed carbon reduction plan. It was a coincidence that one of their models closely resembled the EPA proposal, lead author Charles Driscoll, a professor of environmental systems engineering at Syracuse University, told The Times.

The EPA proposal -- which would reduce power plant carbon emissions 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 -- is included in a final set of climate change regulations expected to be unveiled this summer by President Barack Obama.

Opponents in the energy industry say the health benefits of the plan to reduce power plant emissions are overstated, The Times reported.

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