Health Highlights: Oct. 1, 201010/01/10
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of
STD Experiments in Guatemala 'Clearly Unethical,' U.S. Says
The United States issued an apology Friday for
government-sponsored experiments that deliberately infected
hundreds of people in Guatemala with gonorrhea or syphilis in the
U.S. Public Health Service researchers and others experimented
on institutionalized mental patients, giving them gonorrhea and
syphilis without their knowledge. About one-third of the patients
who became infected never received adequate treatment,
"The sexually transmitted disease inoculation study conducted from 1946-1948 in Guatemala was clearly unethical," according to a joint statement from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "Although these events occurred more than 64 years ago, we are outraged that such reprehensible research could have occurred under the guise of public health. We deeply regret that it happened, and we apologize to all the individuals who were affected by such abhorrent research practices."
Records of the experiments, which were hidden, were discovered
by a professor at Wellesley College. The research involved the
antibiotic penicillin but never provided useful information,
The government researcher who led the work in Guatemala also was
involved in the infamous Tuskegee experiment. From 1932 to 1972
scientists tracked 600 black men in Alabama who had syphilis but
didn't know it, without ever offering them treatment, the
Associated Press reported.
J&J, FDA Take Blame for Secret Motrin Recall
Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson and the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration both took the blame Thursday for a secret
recall last year of the painkiller Motrin, according to news
Leaders from both testified before a congressional committee
hearing that had been triggered by an unprecedented string of
recalls from J&J, the
Associated Press reported.
Noting that hired contractors last year quietly bought up about
88,000 packets of Motrin that wouldn't dissolve correctly, J&J
Chief Executive William Weldon called the secret recall "a mistake"
and "not one of our finer moments," according to
FDA deputy commissioner Dr. Joshua Sharfstein also told the
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that his agency
should have acted sooner to halt J&J's plan.
The FDA learned of J&J's plan to rebuy the pills in April
2009, Sharfstein said, but the agency did not recommend a recall
until July, the
But Sharfstein added, "Based on the documents I reviewed, I
don't see any indication that the FDA was aware of the
surreptitious, lying nature of the recall."
And he reminded the lawmakers that the agency can't tell
companies when and how to handle recalls.
J&J has announced nine recalls of drugs for children and
adults since last September, including one that involved millions
of bottles of infants' and children's Tylenol, the
U.S. Sex Ed Funding Moves Beyond Abstinence-Only
Government-funded sex education programs in U.S. schools are
shifting away from abstinence-only for the first time in more than
A five-year, $375 million grant from the U.S Department of
Health and Human Services is being shared among 28 programs that
have shown they lower pregnancy rates regardless of their
Associated Press reported. Many also distribute condoms.
"There's a growing realization that we have to talk to young people about relationships. It's not just body parts," said Bill Albert, chief program officer for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, the AP said
Critics of the abstinence-only approach say there is little
proof those programs reduced the teen pregnancy rate or resulted in
less teenage sex.
Although most U.S. teens have had formal sex education, many
fewer have been taught birth control methods, a recent Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention report noted.
Abstinence programs will still receive a $50 million annual
federal grant that requires states to match $3 for every $4, and
about 30 states have applied for that money. The new HHS grant does
not require matching funds.
More Than 10 Million Fisher-Price Toys Recalled
Safety concerns are behind the unprecedented recall of more than
10 million Fisher-Price tricycles, toys and high chairs.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said Thursday that 7
million of the recalled products involve Fisher-Price Trikes and
Tough Trikes toddler tricycles. Near the seat on the trikes is a
plastic key that juts out and can cause injuries, including genital
bleeding, according to the
The toy maker is also recalling more than 1 million Healthy
Care, Easy Clean and Close to Me High Chairs, the commission said.
Kids can be injured by pegs on the rear of the high chairs that are
meant for tray storage.
Commission Chairwoman Inez Tenenbaum applauded Fisher-Price for
"taking the right steps by agreeing to these recalls and offering
consumers free repairs or replacement," the
AP said. However, she said toy makers must be more safety
conscious before their products reach stores.
In addition, choking hazards prompted the recalls of more than
2.8 million other toys that have valves that can detach from
inflatable balls. They include: Baby Playzone Crawl & Cruise
Playground toys; Baby Playzone Crawl & Slide Arcade toys, Baby
Gymtastics Play Wall toys; Ocean Wonders Kick & Crawl Aquarium
toys; 1-2-3 Tetherball toys and Bat & Score Goal toys. About
100,000 Fisher-Price Little People Wheelies Stand 'n Play Rampway
toys are also being recalled because of wheels that can come
The company's Web site at http://www.service.mattel.com has more
information on the recalled products' dates of sale and model
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