Health Highlights: Sept. 7, 201009/07/10
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of
Brass Instruments May Be Linked to Lung Condition
People who play brass musical instruments such as the saxophone
may be at increased risk for an allergic lung condition called
hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP), according to researchers.
HP may develop when these musicians unknowingly inhale mold and
bacteria from their instruments. Shortness of breath and coughing
are symptoms of HP, which can develop into a more dangerous
ABC News reported.
The American and European researchers looked at cases involving
a trombone player and two saxophone players who developed HP. Their
findings appear in the journal
"This isn't shocking, nor do I think it's very common," Martin Blaser, chairman of medicine at New York University and a specialist in infectious diseases, told ABC News. "My guess is these are isolated events and somebody got unlucky."
FDA Issues Warning Letters Over Green Tea Beverages
The makers of Canada Dry ginger ale and Lipton tea have been
issued warning letters for making unproven nutritional claims about
their green tea beverages, says the U.S. Food and Drug
One letter was issued to Dr. Pepper Snapple Group about its
labeling of Canada Dry Sparkling Tea Ginger ale, while the other
was sent to Unilever Inc. over labeling and Web site information
about its Lipton Green Tea, the
Associated Press reported.
The FDA told Dr. Pepper Snapple Group that the ingredients in
Canada Dry Sparkling Green Tea Ginger Ale "are not nutrients with
recognized antioxidant activity" and the product does not meet
federal requirements to carry the claim that the it is "enhanced
with 200 mg of antioxidants from green tea and vitamin C."
In the warning letter to Unilever, the FDA said antioxidant
labeling claims on Lipton Green Tea do no follow federal
guidelines. The agency also challenged information on the company's
Web site, the
The companies were given 15 days to respond to the warning
letters and explain what action they will take to correct the
Low Blood Pressure Drug Will Stay On Market: FDA
A drug to treat low blood pressure will be allowed to remain on
the U.S. market while more data about its effectiveness is
collected, says the Food and Drug Administration.
In August, the agency warned it would order Shire PLC to halt
U.S. sales of ProAmatine (midodrine) because the drug had not been
proven effective. The FDA approved the drug in 1996 based on
promising early results but also ordered a follow-up study to prove
the long-term benefits of the drug, the
Associated Press reported
Because that study was never conducted, the FDA last month
proposed taking ProAmatine off the market and giving Ireland-based
Shire the opportunity to schedule a hearing to discuss the
However, the FDA has decided to allow the drug to remain on the
market "while the necessary data is collected and the legal issues
get sorted out," agency spokeswoman Sandy Walsh said in an emailed
Last year, about 100,000 people in the U.S. received
prescriptions for ProAmatine or generic versions of the drug,
according to the FDA.
Expert Urges Vigilance Against Flu Outbreaks
Even though the recent swine flu pandemic was less deadly than
predicted, health authorities around the world must remain alert
and prepared to deal with the next global outbreak, says a leading
"We may think we can relax and influenza is no longer a problem. I want to assure you that that is not the case," Robert Webster, chairman of the virology and molecular biology department at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, the Associated Press reported.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an influenza
conference in Hong Kong, Webster said that the next pandemic could
be triggered by a bird flu virus such as H5N1, which has killed 300
people in recent years.
"H5N1 can kill 61 percent of humans infected, but it doesn't know how to spread from human to human. But don't trust it to because it could acquire that capacity. So we must stay vigilant," Webster said, the AP reported.
In other news from the meeting, a World Health Organization
official says that the speed and volume of vaccine production will
have to be increased during the next global flu pandemic, the
Widepread vaccine use was a major reason why the swine flu
pandemic death toll was only 18,600 instead of the millions that
experts predicted might die. The 350 million doses of vaccine
offered protection in up to 95 percent of people who received it,
WHO official David Wood said at a news conference.
He noted that while the vaccine was effective, it became
available too late for some countries.
Wood said the WHO is looking at ways to produce vaccines more
quickly and added that technological advances will speed up the
Fathers Also Affected By Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression can afflict fathers as well as mothers and
rates of the disorder among men have been rising since the early
1990s, says a new study.
Researchers analyzed the medical records of nearly 87,000 U.K.
couples who had a baby between 1993 and 2007. They found that the
rate of postpartum depression for mothers was nearly 14 cases per
100 person-years in the first year after a baby was born, dropping
to about 6 per 100 person-years in the second year and continuing
to decline slightly over the next decade, the
Los Angeles Times reported.
Among fathers, the rate in the first year after a child's birth
was 3.56 cases per 100 person-years. The rate than varied between
1.95 and 2.72 cases per 100 person-years until the children reached
The researchers also found that rates of postpartum depression
among men increased during the study period, from 1.61 cases per
100 person-years in 1993 to 2.87 cases per 100 person-years in
Overall, 39 percent of mothers and 21 percent of fathers
experienced postpartum depression during their child's first
The study was published online in the journal
Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
Salmonella Fears Prompt Hartz Dog Treat Recall
Hartz Mountain Corp. has recalled nearly 75,000 bags of Naturals
Real Beef Treats for Dogs that may be contaminated with salmonella,
says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The recall was announced after FDA tests detected the presence
of salmonella organisms in one or more 8-ounce bags of the treats,
CNN reported. The recalled bags of treats have the lot code
So far, Hartz has not received any reports of animals or people
becoming sick as a result of contact with the treats. The company
said it is investigating the source of the potential salmonella
Consumers who bought the treats should immediately throw them
away, Hartz advised. People with questions about the recall can
contact Hartz at 1-800-275-1414,
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