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Thursday
Nov252010

Joose, Four Loko to Be Pulled from Shelves by Mid-December

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(SILVER SPRING, Md.) -- Warnings from the Food and Drug Administration to the manufacturers of caffeinated alcoholic beverages, like the popular and much criticized Four Loko, have not fallen on deaf ears.

The FDA Wednesday announced that “significant progress” has been made after four manufacturers were warned that the addition of caffeine to alcoholic beverages was not approved.

Phusion Projects, the maker of Four Loko, has advised the FDA that it has stopped shipments of its products and expects to have them off store shelves by Dec. 13.
 
The maker of another highly popular drink, Joose, expects to have its products off of shelves on the same day.  United Brands has also informed the FDA that it no longer markets Max, another caffeinated alcoholic beverage.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov252010

Toys That Meet Safety Standards Can Still Pose Choking Hazards

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The holiday shopping season kicks off in earnest Friday, and if there are little kids on your list, there's an important warning you should know about.  The U.S. Public Interest Research Group says some toys can pose a choking hazard, even if they may meet legal safety standards.

Take for instance ABC White House correspondent Jake Tapper's son, who had a close call with such a toy.  The toy in question -- a toy train with removable wooden pegs -- had been in the house less than 24 hours when it happened.

"The block went into his throat like this," Jennifer Tapper, Jack's mother, said.  "And Jack just looked at me with his eyes open like this -- panicking.  And I bent down and I said, 'Jack, Jack.'  And I could not see the block in his mouth.  And that was the moment of huge terror for me, because what was I going to do?"

Jennifer Tapper flipped her 1-year-old son over and hit him on the back, just like she had learned in CPR class, forcing the peg out.

When Haba, the manufacturer, heard about Jack Tapper's close call, it responded immediately, filing a report with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and stopped shipment of the trains to stores.

But it turns out the train met the 1 1/4-inch wide by 2 1/4-inch long safety standard for small parts.  The measurement was established in 1979 and hasn't been updated since.

Earlier this year, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a paper describing "current gaps in choking prevention standards" and called for revisions.  The Academy cited a gap between the 1 1/4-inch width required of regular small parts and the wider 1 3/4-inch width required for balls.  Balls are more strongly regulated because their round shape gives them the potential to be particularly hazardous -- they can completely fill up and block a child's airway.

The Academy also noted that many other small round and oval objects are not subject to the larger ball size requirement, even though they pose the same risk, because technically they are not balls.  The paper singled out cylinders as another shape that could pose a heightened risk of suffocation because of the way they fit in a child's airway.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov252010

White House Applauds DEA Steps to Ban Synthetic Marijuana

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINTON) -- The White House has reacted to an effort by the DEA to temporarily ban synthetic marijuana products such as K2.

In a statement Wednesday, Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, hailed DEA emergency actions against the drug, also known as “Spice.”

“I commend the DEA for using their emergency scheduling authority to protect public health by keeping these substances away from young people,” Kerlikowske said.  “Until the risks associated with ingesting these products and chemicals can be studied and understood, there is no place for them on the shelves of any legitimate business.”

The drug, an herbal and chemical product which is marketed as “incense,” is thought to mimic the effects of marijuana.
 
Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov252010

Half of American Adults Headed for Diabetes by 2020

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(MINNEAPOLIS) -- Half of all American adults are destined to develop diabetes or pre-diabetes by 2020 if they don't slim down, according to a dire new prediction that pegs the cost of their care at $3.35 billion by the decade's end.

Under the scenario, if current trends continue, the ranks of American adults with excessive blood sugar levels would swell from 93.8 million this year (about 28 million diabetics and 66 million more with pre-diabetes) to 135 million in 2020.

Sixty percent of the annual $500 billion burden of the obesity-driven diabetes epidemic would be borne by the U.S. government, according to The United States of Diabetes, a provocative working paper produced by the Center for Health Reform & Modernization, part of the health care giant UnitedHealth Group Inc.

UnitedHealth issued the report on the heels of an Oct. 22 forecast from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that as many as 1 in 3 adults could be diabetic by 2050.  That's a significant jump from current diabetes prevalence, which is 1 in 10 among adults.

The nation's "diabesity" epidemic, part of a paired global rise in obesity and Type 2 diabetes, has enormous ramifications for Americans' health and well-being, as well as their pocketbooks.  Type 2 diabetes, the form of the disease associated with excess body weight, is a powerful driver of heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and amputation, all of which are expensive conditions.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov242010

Mom Fights Cervical Cancer and Accusation That She Killed Her Daughter

Photo Courtesy -- WTVD(APEX, NC) -- A woman who served a year in prison after pleading guilty to killing her frail infant has angered police by now denying she is guilty, and claiming she only pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter so she could get out of jail and treat her cervical cancer.

The statements, by 24-year-old Nicole Richards, have prompted police in Apex, N.C., to speak out.

"I am just shocked by her at this point, after having pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter, to reach out to this lengths to try to make the point that she didn't do anything inappropriate," said Apex Police Chief Jack Lewis.

"It appears to me she has desires of being seen as a victim," said Lewis. "She is not a victim."

"The victim is Autumn, who was 100 percent dependent on others to care for her," the chief said. "And the standard that you would expect somebody to meet with a child who has health issues is far higher than what took place."

Autumn was born last year two months premature. She had health problems throughout her short life, including a heart condition and hyperthyroidism.

Richards was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2009 after authorities said she put Autumn to sleep face down, despite knowing the potential risk that could cause to her breathing.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov242010

3D Mammogram on the Brink of FDA Approval 

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(BOSTON, Mass.) -- A new three-dimensional mammogram device has cleared another hurdle towards approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to manufacturer Hologic, the device can more precisely detect breast lesions and reduce the number of follow-up breast cancer screenings when used in conjunction with conventional digital mammograms.

"This is a major advance that we have been working on for years," said Dr. Daniel Kopans, director of the breast imaging center at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, which holds the patent to the device. "It will aid in detecting more cancers earlier, and reduce the false positive callbacks."

The FDA panel that reviewed the device sent Hologic an initial letter accepting the device into its next phase for review. And while experts agreed more precise methods of detecting breast cancer are necessary, many said there's not yet enough evidence to show whether the new device can save lives.

"The real issue here is not which test can find the most cancers, it's about which test can find the right cancers," said Dr. Gilbert Welch, professor of medicine and community and family medicine at Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, N.H. "Just because you find more and more, more of what you're finding might not be important."

Welsh said he worried earlier detection of benign masses that might not develop into cancer could result in unnecessary treatment in otherwise healthy women.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov242010

Bowen Hammitt's Small Heart Is a Big Inspiration for His Family

File Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(ANN ARBOR, Mich.) -- Bowen Matthew Hammitt came into this world on Sept. 9, at 9 pounds, 7 ounces, with a wisp of light brown hair and a heart condition that threatened his survival.

"When he came out, I thought he would look different," says his mother, Sarah Hammitt, 31. "[But] he looked totally fine. So it was hard to see a baby that looked so beautiful and know that his insides weren't perfect. I kind of felt like, This isn't real. It couldn't be.'"

Bowen was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, a rare congenital defect in which the left side of the heart is dangerously underdeveloped. In babies with HLHS, the left side of the heart cannot pump blood, so the right side must supply both the lungs and the body. Without surgical intervention, the condition is fatal.

"Any parent would say that watching your child go through something like that is much worse than going through it yourself," says Bowen's father, Matt Hammitt, 31. "You want to take their place, but you can't. That's been the most difficult part for me."

On September 13th, four days after Bowen was born, he underwent his first open-heart surgery at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The procedure successfully inserted a shunt into his heart and, after several hours at Bowen's bedside in intensive care, Sarah and Matt finally felt confident enough to go next door to their hotel room for some rest. A couple of hours later, the phone rang. "Two-thirteen a.m. I will never forget that time," says Matt.

Bowen's heart had stopped beating, and by the time the Hammitts reached the hospital, doctors and nurses were frantically trying to save his life. After about forty minutes, Sarah and Matt were losing hope. "They took us into another room," says Matt, "and we thought for sure he was gone." Sarah recalls she began to wonder how it was going to feel to be a mother who had lost a child. "We were just waiting for them to call out the time [of death]," she remembers. "I kept looking at the clock and, 'ok, when are they going to say it? Just say it.'"

Fortunately, the medical staff was eventually able to revive Bowen. "We were so confused," recalls Matt. "We didn't understand that after that long that they could stabilize a child on life support. [But] we found out his heart was beating, his lungs were working."

Throughout their difficult ordeal, the Hammitts have been sharing their experiences on a website they call "Bowen's Heart." What started as a place to keep friends and family up to date on Bowen's health, soon began to attract thousands of visitors who regularly check in to share stories and offer encouragement to the Hammitts and to each other. "We started discovering so much and experiencing so much growth through all of this that we just wanted to share that with people and show that, in a really dark time of life, there is hope," explains Matt. "All the good that has come out of it has been pretty amazing."

Sarah Hammitt says the blog also serves as a place to give meaning to Bowen's life. "We're not guaranteed any amount of time," she says. "So we were immediately giving him a place and a purpose."

"We wanted his life to make a difference," adds Matt, "no matter how long or short it would be."

Bowen spent the first ten weeks of his life in the hospital. But finally -- just in time for Thanksgiving -- Bowen was well enough to go home to Perrysburg, Ohio. Dressed in a black and grey striped outfit and clutching a stuffed alligator, Bowen got a standing ovation from the nursing staff as his parents carried him out to the car. Matt held Sarah closely, comforting her as her eyes filled with tears.

When their silver SUV pulled into the driveway an hour later, Bowen's big sisters, Emmy and Claire, were waiting outside, each with a teddy bear to present to their brother for his homecoming.

Bowen's second surgery is scheduled for February.

Tuesday
Nov232010

Study Brings New Reasons to Eat Your Fruits and Veggies

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- HealthDay News reports that consuming high amounts of alpha-carotene, a lesser-known "cousin" to the antioxidant beta-carotene, in fruits and vegetables can lower risks of dying from all causes.

These nutrients, typically found in the bright red, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables are converted by the body into vitamin A.

Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that over a period of 14 years, most people -- regardless of lifestyle or habits -- had fewer life-limiting health issues as blood concentrations of alpha-carotene increased.  Researchers said the effect was dramatic, with risks declining from 39 to 23 percent as alpha-carotene levels climbed.

"This study does continue to prove the point there's a lot of things in food -- mainly in fruits and vegetables that are orange or kind of red in color -- that are good for us," said registered dietitian Lona Sandon, spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov232010

Optimism and an Open Mind Are the New Keys to Successful Aging, Study Says

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Researchers say that optimism, an open mind and a will to live are the keys to successful aging, according to a report in USA Today.

Study results presented at a meeting of the Gerontological Society of America linked psychological factors to the health and well-being of subjects ages 65-94. 

"We see less decline, maybe even growth" among older people who possess character traits such as persistence and optimism, said Daniela Jopp of Fordham University.

Jay Firman, president of the National Council on Aging, noted that this mindset would be particularly vital for Baby Boomers to thrive as they continue to face changes that come with aging. 

"A lot of people will get depressed when they give up careers.  They will have to find a new sense of self-worth," said Firman.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 

Tuesday
Nov232010

FTC Asked to Investigate Faulty Online Health Marketing

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(WASHINGTON) – The Federal Trade Commission has been called on to investigate potentially illegal marketing practices that target a growing number of Americans seeking medical information and treatment online.

In a complaint filed with the FTC, the Center for Digital Democracy, U.S. PIRG, Consumer Watchdog and the World Privacy Forum called on the commission to protect consumers from insecurely providing personal data when looking for health information and services on the Internet.

The filing has asked that the FDA, which has been pressured to expand the rights of health marketers online, await a study and report from the FTC before taking any action.

At issue are the types of online targeting techniques and methods used by advertisers and what type of personal data is being collected through those methods.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio