Health Briefs

* (JTA) — Jewish groups praised President Obama for reversing a Bush administration order banning U.S. assistance to overseas groups that provide abortions or information about other providers.

“The repeal of the Global Gag Rule represents a major victory for international family planning programs and renews America’s position as a leader in the global community,” Mark Pelavin, the associate director of the Union for Reform Judaism’s Religious Action Center, said Friday.

“Jewish tradition teaches that if a person saves one life, it is as if they have saved the world,” Pelavin continued. “In a world where poor reproductive health remains the leading cause of death for women, and complications from unsafe abortion result in approximately 67,000 deaths and at least 5 million serious injuries annually, today marks an important step forward.”

The National Council of Jewish Women also praised Obama.

“On his third day in office, President Obama took an action that will save thousands, if not millions, of lives,” the group said in a statement.

*New York Methodist Hospital’s Cornell Heart Center now offers a minimally invasive procedure to treat thoracic aortic aneurysms. Thoracic stent grafting, which recently received FDA approval, is designed for the treatment of an aneurysm located in one of the four regions of the aortic arch, a major blood vessel that feeds blood from the heart to the brain.

The hospital’s Cornell Heart Center is also now performing “real time” stress MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) testing, a new feature of cardiac MRI that offers physicians an alternative for diagnosing coronary stress artery disease in patients unable to exercise because of health reasons. For information, call 1-866-84-HEART.

*New York Methodist Hospital’s Division of Urology now offers a minimally invasive procedure to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BSH), non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate. The division recently acquired a new high-powered green light laser that can be used to treat the condition. The green light laser therapy “decreases post-operative symptoms and has a shorter recovery period than the traditional procedure,” according to a Methodist Hospital release.

*The New Jersey Nets basketball franchise has recently partnered with Lutheran Medical Center, P.S. 152 in Brooklyn and the managed care organization Health Plus on a program to fight childhood obesity. The new initiative is called “Shoot for Better Health: Score a Perfect 5-2-1-0 Every Day.” The 5-2-1-0 stands for 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day; 2 hours a day maximum of TV watching and computer time; 1 hour of physical activity a day; and 0 soda or other sugar-sweetened drinks.

*The Reuth-Eshel Information Center in Israel has trained counselors on staff to help elderly family and friends with issues ranging from rehabilitation, nursing care, loneliness and acute illness. The center also deals with legal issues regarding seniors, including pensions and benefits. Visit; e-mail at; in Israel, call 700-700-204.