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FDA okays last-resort use of Jarvik artificial heart

TUCSON, Ariz. - The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved for last-resort use the artificial heart developed by Dr. Robert Jarvik, modifying a decision made last month, the University of Arizona said Monday. Last month, the FDA withdrew its approval of the device both as a permanent implant and as a temporary bridge to transplantation, saying there were "serious deficiencies" with its manufacture.University Medical Center said in a statement Monday that the FDA would not object to use of the device as a last resort if all other approved alternative treatments have failed or were deemed inappropriate.

Cocaine may hurt fertility

NEW YORK - Men who use cocaine may be harming their fertility, say researchers who suggest that may help explain why some couples have trouble conceiving a child. In a study of men from couples consulting a fertility clinic, cocaine use was associated with low sperm counts and other problems that can reduce a man's fertility, researchers said.

Analysis suggested the apparent effect of cocaine may disappear after the drug use stops, study co-author Michael Bracken, professor of epidemiology, obstetrics and gynecology at Yale University, said Tuesday.

Anesthesia death explained

NEW YORK - The disorder that killed a 23-year-old volleyball player when she received general anesthesia last month is apparently caused by a defective gene that normally helps muscles work, a study says. If that suspicion is confirmed, further work might lead to a blood test to detect people at risk for the condition, experts said. The disorder is called malignant hyperthermia. It causes sustained muscle contraction, fever and muscle destruction in reaction to commonly used inhaled general anesthetics. It is blamed for the death of Judy Bellomo, a member of the U.S. women's volleyball team, who died during surgery for thyroid cancer.

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