January 10, 2012
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON – The Obama administration argued Monday that Guatemalans unknowingly exposed to sexually transmitted diseases by U.S. researchers in the 1940s cannot sue the United States, no matter how shameful and unethical the studies were.
In its first response to a lawsuit filed on behalf of the experiment’s subjects, the U.S. Justice Department late Monday said sovereign immunity protects federal health officials from litigation stemming from the study. The experiment conducted in the 1940s exposed Guatemalan prostitutes, prisoners, mental patients and soldiers to STDs to test the effects of penicillin. The studies were conducted without the test subjects’ consent.
President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius have apologized for the research, hidden for decades until a Wellesley College medical historian uncovered the records in 2009.
January 11, 2012
By CBS News Staff
Homicide has fallen off the list of the top 15 causes of death in the U.S. for the first time in 45 years.
PICTURES: Who lives longest? CIA’s top 20 nations for life expectancy
The CDC announced Wednesday that murder rates dropped enough in 2010 that it was overtaken at No. 15 by a respiratory illness called pneumonitis that is seen mainly in people 75 and older.
This is the first time since 1965 that homicide failed to make the list, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC’s latest annual report on deaths contained several nuggets of good news:
The infant mortality rate dropped to an all-time low of 6.14 deaths per 1,000 births in 2010. It was 6.39 the year before.
U.S. life expectancy for a child born in 2010 was about 78 years and 8 months, up about a little more than one month from life expectancy for 2009.
Heart disease and cancer remain the top killers, accounting for nearly half the nation’s more than 2.4 million deaths in 2010. But the death rates from them continued to decline.
Deaths rates for five other leading causes of death also dropped in 2010, including stroke, chronic lower respiratory diseases, accidents, flu/pneumonia and blood infections.
April 28, 2011
By David W Freeman
Kids with autism do best when they get early treatment, and new research shows that the sometimes devastating neurodevelopmental disorder can be detected with a simple five-minute checklist that parents fill out in a doctor’s waiting room.
Pediatricians in San Diego tested the tool with more than 10,000 babies at their 1-year checkups, looking for such things as how the tots babble, gesture and interact with others.
The research, published Thursday in the Journal of Pediatrics, isn’t ready for routine use – more work is needed to verify its accuracy. But doctors are optimistic about its value.
“There are subtle signs of autism at one year if you just look for them,” said neuroscientist Karen Pierce of the University of California, San Diego, who led the study. “Let’s just get these kids detected early and treated early.”
One in 100 U.S. children has some form of autism, which causes problems with behavior, communication and socialization. The American Academy of Pediatrics urges autism screening at regular doctor visits at ages 18 months and 24 months. Yet a 2009 study found that children generally aren’t diagnosed until age 5.
The 24-question checklist was developed a few years ago to detect broader signs of language or developmental delays. Pierce signed up 137 pediatricians to use the questionnaire during every 1-year checkup and refer babies who failed for further testing. Those youngsters were re-evaluated every six months to age 3, when a diagnosis could be certain.
January 12, 2012
Wall Street Journal
BY BETSY MCKAY, BILL TOMSON AND LESLIE JOSEPHS
Coca-Cola Co. said it found an unapproved fungicide in orange juice made by Coke and its competitors, and alerted federal regulators that some Brazilian growers had sprayed trees with the substance.
The beverage giant, which makes Simply Orange and Minute Maid, wouldn’t say which brands had shown the fungicide. Both brands contain juice from Brazil.
The Food and Drug Administration said Monday an unnamed juice company had detected low levels of the fungicide in “its and competitors currently marketed finished products.” Those products include some that were on store shelves, according to a person familiar with the matter.
January 12, 2012
In a community meeting Wednesday night to discuss an unusual outbreak of tics among female students at Le Roy High School, a state health official steadfastly refused to reveal the cause of the outbreak.
Citing not just HIPPA as a reason for keeping the diagnosis of 11 girls private, Dr. Gregory Young said that as a matter of principle he didn’t want to see the girls “labelled” by what their doctor has found.
Young, from the NYS Department of Health, said the cause (or causes) isn’t related to the environment; it isn’t anything a person “catches”; it doesn’t come from exposure to something, or from anything ingested. Nor does the cause stem from prescribed drugs or illicit drugs.
State health officials know what is behind the outbreak, but Young would not disclose it. Yet he tried to reassure parents that it’s safe to send their children to school.
In all, according to Young — though some in the audience disputed the number — at least 11 girls have come down with the “tic manifestations” (Young cautioned against calling it a syndrome).
The doctor’s explanation, and a stone barrier he put up regarding the cause, didn’t go over well with parents or students.
James Dupont Jr. spoke passionately about the need for officials to be more forthcoming about what physicians have found. Dupont complained that although Young said the cause has been diagnosed, nobody’s told him what caused his daughter to develop tics.
After he spoke, he went into hallway and was mobbed by reporters.
“We all have to respect that (keeping medical information private), but I tell you what, if my daughter had a diagnosis and I knew that, as a parent, I would tell you — because I’m not a doctor and I don’t care about HIPPA,” Dupont said. “I care about getting these kids better or finding what’s causing it so it doesn’t get any worse.”
Later, from the back of the auditorium, Dupont called out Young on his repeated insistance that a diagnosis has been completed for the 11 students.
Dupont asked parents in attendance whose daughters had developed tics to raise their hands. More than a half dozen adults raised their hands. Then Dupont asked how many had been told by their daughters’ doctors what caused the tics. Several said they had not been given a diagnosis.
January 8, 2012
by: Andre Evans
In the winter months, it’s easier to become susceptible to various diseases, especially the flu.
A lack of sun exposure prevents you from taking in adequate amounts of vitamin D, which has powerful disease prevention properties.
With the onset of colder months, many will consider flu shots in order to prevent them from contracting the seasonal flu. Despite this, they may not only be wasting their time, but possibly making themselves even more susceptible to disease by receiving one of these shots.
January 09, 2012
by: Tara Green
While drinking Mountain Dew, have you ever seen (or perhaps felt on your tongue) a thick, jelly-like substance? Maybe you assumed the ingredients in the soda had gelled. According to Mountain Dew manufacturer Pepsi, you may have been ingesting some extra protein with your beverage in the form of a liquified rodent.
January 10, 2012
As previously reported, while people were de-stressing and enjoying their much needed time off during the holidays, the United States Department of Agriculture announced its approval of Monsanto’s ‘drought tolerant’ genetically engineered corn. The decision to give the green light to Monsanto regarding their GE corn didn’t seem too difficult for the Obama Administration, despite receiving nearly 45,000 public comments voicing opposition and only 23 comments in favor since comments opened. Prepare to see this new GE corn unleashed into the environment as well as the American food supply.
12th January 2012
By Claire Bates
A chemical widely used as a preservative in cosmetics, food products and pharmaceuticals has been found in tissue samples from 40 women with breast cancer.
A number of studies since 1998 have raised concerns about the potential role of these parabens in breast cancer as they possess oestrogenic properties.
Oestrogen is known to play a central role in the development, growth and progression of breast cancer.
Parabens are a chemical compound found in everyday toiletry products including moisturisers, make-up, shaving foam, tanning lotions and toothpaste.
They are also found in numerous brands of underarm deodorant. However, a causal link has never been found between them and breast cancer.
They are present in processed meats such as sausages, pies and pastries along with other savoury snacks.
HOW TO SPOT PARABENS
Parabens are a chemical compound of para-hydroxybenzoic acid. They are most widely used in cosmetics to extend their shelf-life by protecting them from microbial growth.
The most common parabens used in cosmetic products are methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben.
Less common types include benzylparaben and sobutylparaben.
These ingredients must be printed on the label.
Parabens are also used in drugs and as food additives.
They occur naturally in some foods like blueberries.
Parabens have been found to have an oestrogen-mimicking effect – however this is at a far lower level than the amount of oestrogen produced naturally in the body.
The research team led by Dr Philippa Darbre from the University of Reading studied tissue samples from 40 women undergoing mastectomies between 2005 and 2008 for first primary breast cancer in England.
12th January 2012
by: Nina Golgowski
Twelve Americans have been reported infected with a mutating and now possibly human-to-human transmitted form of the H1N1 Swine Flu virus called H3N2v.
An investigation undertaken by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that human infections of these viruses followed contact with swine as well as through ‘limited human-to-human transmission.’
‘While there is no evidence that sustained human-to-human transmission is occurring, all influenza viruses have the capacity to change and it’s possible that this virus may become widespread,’ the CDC explained through their website.