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Health Highlights: Feb. 6, 2019

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

Evidence for Climate Change Strengthens, With 2018 4th Warmest Year on Record

2018 was the fourth warmest year on record, ranking behind 2016, 2017 and 2015, an independent analysis released Wednesday by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says.

Collectively, the past five years are the warmest in the modern record.

In 2018, global temperatures were 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit (0.83 degrees Celsius) warmer than the mean temperature between 1951 to 1980, according to scientists at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS).

"2018 is yet again an extremely warm year on top of a long-term global warming trend," GISS Director Gavin Schmidt said in a NASA news release.

Since the 1880s, the Earth's average surface temperature has risen about 2 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius). That warming is in large part driven by increased greenhouse gas emissions from human activities, Schmidt said.

Regional temperatures affect weather dynamics, so not every region on Earth has had similar levels of warming. The 2018 annual mean temperature for the contiguous 48 United States was the 14th warmest on record, according to the new analysis.

The strongest warming trends are in the Arctic, where continued loss of sea ice occurred last year. In addition to rising sea levels, rising global temperatures can also help fuel longer fire seasons and extreme weather events, Schmidt said.

"The impacts of long-term global warming are already being felt -- in coastal flooding, heat waves, intense precipitation and ecosystem change," he noted.


Patient Tested for Ebola at Philadelphia Hospital

Preliminary results from a patient being tested for Ebola suggest that the patient has another condition, say officials at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

"Proper protocols and precautions will remain in place to ensure the safety of all of our patients and staff," Dr. PJ Brennan, Penn Medicine's chief medical officer, said in a statement, NBC News reported.

The Ebola testing was done out of "an abundance of caution," according to the hospital. It did not provide more information about the patient or the treatment circumstances.

In Nebraska last month, an American man was monitored for possible exposure to Ebola following a trip to Africa. He didn't have any symptoms during the 21-day monitoring period for the deadly infectious disease and was released, NBC News reported.

There have been more than 730 confirmed cases and at least 430 deaths in an Ebola outbreak in Congo that began last August, the World Health Organization says.


Exploding E-Cigarette Kills Texas Man

A Texas man died after his electronic cigarette exploded and pieces of the device ripped open his neck artery.

The incident occurred on Jan. 27 and William Brown, 24, died of a stroke in a Fort Worth hospital on January 29, CNN reported.

Brown died from cerebral infarction and herniation after debris from the exploding e-cigarette dissected his left carotid artery, according to the death certificate.

After being rushed to hospital, Brown was put into a medically-induced coma and x-rays showed that part of the e-cigarette was lodged in his throat, his family told CNN affiliate KTVT.


Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes First Public Appearance Since Cancer Surgery

In her first public appearance since cancer surgery in December, U.S. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Monday attended a musical celebration of her life.

Ginsburg, 85, did not speak. She sat in the back of the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington and her presence was not announced, the Washington Post reported.

Ginsburg has not been seen in public since her lung cancer surgery (pulmonary lobectomy) on Dec. 21. Recovery from that type of surgery usually takes six to eight weeks, experts say.

The performance "Notorious RBG in Song" was about Ginsburg's life in law. It was created and performed by her daughter-in-law, the soprano Patrice Michaels, the Post reported.

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