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Health Highlights: Dec. 18, 2012

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

Mandela to Remain in Hospital

Nelson Mandela has spent 11 days in hospital and could spend a few more days there, South African President Jacob Zuma said in a statement released Tuesday.

The 94-year-old anti-apartheid hero has been treated for a lung infection and underwent surgery to remove gallstones, the Associated Press reported.

In the statement, Zuma said that doctors "say there is no crisis, but add that they are in no hurry to send him home just yet until they are satisfied that he has made sufficient progress."

Zuma added: "We urge the public to continue supporting (Mandela), but at the same time to understand that he is 94 years old and needs extraordinary care. If he spends more days in hospital, it is because that necessary care is being provided," the AP reported.

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NIH Launches Effort to Boost Number of Minority Scientists

A program to boost the number of biomedical researchers from minority groups has been launched by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

It will provide research opportunities for undergraduate students, financial help for undergraduate and graduate students, and a mentoring program to help students and researchers beginning their careers, The New York Times reported.

There will also be a pilot program to test a grant review process in which there is no identifying information about the applicant.

When fully implemented, the program will cost about $50 million a year and support about 600 students, The Times reported.

The NIH created the program after receiving recommendations in June from an advisory committee created to study the reasons for the low number of medical researchers from minority groups.

Each year in the U.S., only about 500 doctoral degrees in biological sciences go people in minority groups such as blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans, The Times reported.

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