Health Highlights: Oct. 4, 201010/04/10
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of
In Vitro Fertilization Developer Wins Nobel Prize for
The 2010 Nobel Prize in medicine has been awarded to a British
scientist for his role in developing in-vitro fertilization.
Robert Edwards, 85, developed the technique with gynecologist
surgeon Patrick Steptoe, who died in 1988. The first birth of a
so-called test-tube baby was in 1978, the
Associated Press reported.
Edwards, a professor emeritus at the University of Cambridge,
first started working on IVF in the early 1950s.
"(Edwards') achievements have made it possible to treat infertility, a medical condition afflicting a large proportion of humanity, including more than 10 percent of all couples worldwide," the Nobel medicine prize committee said in its citation, the AP reported.
"Approximately 4 million individuals have been born thanks to IVF," the citation noted. "Today, Robert Edwards' vision is a reality and brings joy to infertile people all over the world."
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."
Officials said the apology is directed to Guatemalan and
Hispanic residents of the United States,
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,
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
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