Big Health Stories of 2013

PHOTO: Actress Angelina Jolie leaves Lancaster House after attending the G8 Foreign Minsters conference on April 11, 2013 in London, England.
Oli Scarff/Getty Images

The year 2013 was big for health news, complete with high-profile patients, breakthrough studies and even body parts growing in the unlikeliest of places.

So before 2014 gets underway, take a look back and meet the little girl who changed health policy, the baby who stunned doctors and the man who grew a nose on his ...

Well, we'll let you find out for yourself.

Big Health Stories of 2013

Sarah Murnaghan Fights the Under-12 Rule

Sarah Murnaghan, a 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl dying of cystic fibrosis, received a double lung transplant in June after her family successfully sued to make her more likely to get lungs from an adult donor.

The Murnaghans argued that a so-called Under-12 Rule discriminated against children on the lung transplant waiting list, and the saga ultimately convinced the Organ Transplantation and Procurement Network to alter its policy slightly to allow exceptions in certain circumstances.

Sarah, now 11, returned home from the hospital in late August. She even got to play in the snow in early December.

Read more about Sarah's journey here.

Big Health Stories of 2013

Mississippi Baby's HIV Disappears

An unnamed Mississippi baby stunned doctors when her HIV infection seemed to disappear after five months off treatment.

Dr. Hannah Gay, a University of Mississippi Medical Center pediatric HIV specialist, and her colleagues announced the finding in March and concluded that it was the result of early and aggressive therapy with antiretroviral drugs.

They administered the extra drugs when the girl, now a toddler, was 30 hours old, before confirming her HIV-positive status.

Experts warned this kind of treatment wouldn't work for everyone, and that only time would tell whether the girl's HIV returns.

Read about how doctors accidentally stumbled upon what they called a fundamental cure.

Big Health Stories of 2013

Angelina Jolie Announces Double Mastectomy

Angelina Jolie shocked the nation when she went public with her prophylactic double mastectomy in May. The actress and mother of six learned she tested positive for the BRCA gene, which predisposes its carriers to breast cancer.

Jolie was applauded for raising awareness, but doctors were quick to say testing for the gene wasn't for everyone.

Read what you need to know about Jolie's mastectomy and BRCA testing here.

Big Health Stories of 2013

Kraft Removes Yellow Dye From Mac N' Cheese

Moms went up against Kraft Food Group Inc. this year, pressing the company to remove artificial yellow dye from its macaroni and cheese, and in October, they won.

A Change.org petition prompted the food giant to make the change after gathering 348,000 signatures, even though the dyes are legal and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Read about the moms behind the movement.

Big Health Stories of 2013

Porn Industry Shuts Down Over HIV

The porn industry shut down three times this year after five performers reportedly became infected with HIV.

Porn actor Cameron Bay was the first performer to come forward, prompting the first moratorium on filming in September. Then, her boyfriend, porn star Rod Daily, announced that he, too, recently received an HIV diagnosis. The couple has since spoken out against unsafe industry practices, and said it's time to mandate condoms.

In December, an industry trade group reported a fifth HIV-positive performer, resulting in a third shutdown.

Read about the latest porn industry shutdown here.

Big Health Stories of 2013

Mega-Church Tied to Measles Outbreak

An outbreak of the highly infectious measles virus had Texas health officials puzzled in August, considering there's an effective vaccine to prevent it.

They soon learned, however, that the 20 cases were tied to a mega-church whose founder suggested vaccines were dangerous to children because they could cause autism. The televangelist Kenneth Copeland has since preached immunizations to his congregants.

Read about the outbreak here.

Big Health Stories of 2013

Doctors Grew Nose on Forehead

A Chinese man needed a new nose after his original nose was damaged when a car crash left him with a brutal infection.

But his doctors were able to grow him a new one --- on his forehead.

It even has smell receptors.

Read the rest of this bizarre 2013 story here.

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