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Saturday
Nov062010

E. Coli Outbreak Linked to Apple Cider? FDA Issues Warning

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(SILVER SPRING, Md.) -- The FDA is warning consumers to avoid Baugher’s Apple Cider after an E. coli outbreak sickened at least seven people in Maryland, sending three of them to the hospital. One individual was being treated for a possible case of hemolytic uremic syndrome, a disease that the FDA says may impair kidney function.

The company says the cider, available for purchase in Maryland and Pennsylvania, should be discarded. Consuming the product, the FDA says, could cause diarrhea and abdominal cramps, with longer and more severe infection possible.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Nov062010

Salmonella Worries in California Red Leaf Lettuce

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- The California Department of Public Health is worried about the possibility some consumers may contract salmonella poisoning from red leaf lettuce sold by three different grocery companies.

There have been no illnesses reported, but the state says there could still be some of the potentially contaminated lettuce on people's refrigerator shelves and they want to prevent any unpleasant or dangerous consequences. 

The recalled red leaf lettuce was sold between October 20 and November 1 at Canton Food Company in Los Angeles, Cardenas Market and Numero Uno Market locations throughout Southern California. The red leaf lettuce was produced by Fresh Choice Marketing of Oxnard. It was available in grocery stores as whole head lettuce with no identifying label.

If you think you have some, you can either take it back to the store for a refund or throw it out.

The state says salmonella symptoms include fever, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea which may be bloody. Most infected people recover within a week. Some may develop complications that require hospitalization. Infants, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems are at highest risk for more severe illness.

Copyright ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov052010

Gene Screening vs. Family History: Which Wins?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CLEVELAND) -- The widely held belief that you can always rely on family may be especially true when it comes to your risk for certain diseases, new research shows.

Researchers led by Dr. Charis Eng, chairman and founding director of the Genomic Medicine Institute of the Cleveland Clinic, found that a thorough family history better predicted the risk for developing certain cancers than genomic screening did.

Eng and her colleagues assessed 44 people's risk for developing breast cancer, prostate cancer and colorectal cancer by obtaining a complete family health history and also by using a direct-to-consumer personal genomic screening tool. They presented their findings at the annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics.

A comparison between the two methods showed they did not often place people in the same risk category for the three kinds of cancer. Researchers also found that personal genomic screening did not identify nine people who were found to be at high risk for colon cancer because of a previous family history.

In addition to helping assess disease risk, doctors say knowing a patient's family history can help offer insight into how someone will respond to certain treatments.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov052010

Hospitals Slow to Adopt Blood Stream Infection Prevention Program

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(BALTIMORE) -- It's a common procedure in any intensive care unit -- doctors insert into patients what is called a central line, which can be used to administer vital medications while monitoring various critical elements within the heart and blood.

But a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate shows that 250,000 patients with central lines contract blood stream infections every year, and more than 10 percent die as a result.  The study, conducted in 2002, is the CDC's most current figure.

A doctor at Johns Hopkins University says these deaths can be eliminated -- at virtually no extra cost and with little additional training.  Moreover, a program exists that promises to do just that, but almost two years after its inception, only a fraction of hospitals choose to participate.

"In what other industry, would there be a known safety standard — and nobody's debating the evidence — that a failure to comply with kills people," Dr. Peter Pronovost, medical director for the Center for Innovation in Quality Patient Care at Johns Hopkins, told ABCNews.

Pronovost, a practicing anesthesiologist and critical care physician, believes these infections can be eliminated with a program he developed.  But, he said, progress is too slow.

Early last year, Pronovost set out to eliminate those infections.  He created a program called On the CUSP: Stop BSI (Comprehensive Unit-Based Safety Program to reduce Central-Line Blood Stream Infections in the ICU) in concert with Johns Hopkins, the Health Research and Educational Trust (an affiliate of the American Hospital Association), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov052010

Newly Approved Drug May Help Patients Control Laughing, Crying Outbursts

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Last Friday, after more than four years of review, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first and only therapy designed to improve symptoms of Pseudobulbar Affect (PBA), a neurological disorder that causes involuntary laughter and sudden, uncontrollable crying in patients.

The new medication, Nuedexta from Avanir Pharmaceuticals in Aliso Viejo, Calif., combines the over-the-counter cough suppressant dextromethorphan with quinidine, a generic drug used to restore normal rhythms to erratically beating hearts.

In clinical trials, Nuedexta was safe, reduced the frequency and severity of PBA episodes, and showed a significant advantage over a placebo. But in 2006, the FDA expressed concerns that higher doses of the drug combination raise the risks of dangerous cardiac rhythms. By reducing the doses of quinidine from 30 milligrams to 10 milligrams, Avanir satisfied the FDA's concerns about cardiac risks. In a Phase III clinical trial of the drug with MS patients, half the study participants who got the drug reported no PBA episodes in their last two weeks of the study.

"This is wonderful news for all the patients who suffer from PBA," said Dr. Erik Pioro, a Cleveland Clinic neurologist who specializes in ALS and related disorders. "They will now have an effective, safe, and well-tolerated treatment for this distressing and extremely isolating condition."

In the absence of something better, doctors have treated PBA with off-label prescriptions for antidepressants or levodopa, which boosts levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine. But these have a range of side effects and haven't been subjected to large studies in PBA patients.

Avanir plans to make the drug available in the first quarter of 2011, said CEO Keith Katkin, and will start by providing 30-day samples to select doctors who treat PBA.  Avanir estimates the drug will run $3,000 to $5,000 a year for patients, or about $250 a month.  Patients with limited incomes will get the drug free through a patient assistance program, Katkin said.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov042010

Hand Sanitizers Stop Working After Two Minutes, Specialists Say

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(DALLAS) -- The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that keeping the hands clean is one of the most effective ways that people can prevent sickness and the passing of germs to others.  Additionally, the CDC recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water is unavailable.

While 71 percent of the people that use hand sanitizers say they get peace of mind from using the soap and water substitute, infection prevention specialists say hand sanitizers may eliminate germs on contact, but the effects only last for about two minutes.

"This is a common misperception among consumers," said Lawton Seal, Ph.D., S.M., director of medical science for infection prevention at Healthpoint Ltd.  "People are unaware that they are vulnerable to germs almost immediately after they cleanse their hands with short-acting hand sanitizers."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov042010

Beet Juice May Fight Off Dementia

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.) -- A new study suggests that is isn't just kids who should eat their vegetables.

Researchers at Wake Forest University's Translational Science Center have found that older adults who drink beet juice can combat the onset of dementia, reports Consumer Affairs.

Beet juice, which is high in nitrates, opens up blood vessels in the body which increase the flow of oxygen to the brain.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 

Thursday
Nov042010

MRI Could Detect Stroke Onset

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(PARIS) -- A study by the Universite Paris Descartes in France suggests that MRI images can help pinpoint the onset of stroke in some patients, according to HealthDay News.

Stroke patients whose symptoms began in their sleep may be able to use magnetic resonance imaging to determine if a clot-busting therapy -- which is most effective when administered within three hours of suffering a stroke -- could save their life.

About 795,000 Americans suffer a stroke each year, and around 137,000 die as a result, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov042010

Toddlers Gain 'Very Little' From Educational Videos

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) -- Toddlers who are exposed to "educational" videos show the same improvement in their vocabulary skills as toddlers who are not shown the videos, according to a report published in Psychological Science.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Virginia and Vanderbilt University, tested 72 infants aged 12 to 18 months.

The toddlers who were shown a learning DVD regularly over a one month learned "very little" from the exposure and learned no more words that were featured on the DVD than children who had not see it.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov042010

Better Dietary Guidelines for Gov. Food Program

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A new report has called for improved nutritional standards in a key government food program.

An Institute of Medicine report has asked that the Child and Adult Care Food Program be brought into line with federal and dietary guidelines. Among the recommendations were increased requirements for the amount of whole grains, fruits and vegetables in meals as well as limitations on the amount of salt, saturated fat, trans fat, and added sugars.

The program, administered through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), serves some three million children and 114,000 adults in child care centers, after school programs, emergency shelters, and adult day cares around the country.

The report noted that day care centers will need extra money and assistance to meet the new nutritional guidelines.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio