Health Highlights: Oct. 20, 201010/20/10
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of
4 Deaths Prompt Graco Strollers Recall
Entrapment and strangulation hazards have triggered the recall
of about two million Graco strollers, the U.S. Consumer Product
Safety Commission said Wednesday.
The agency has received four reports of stroller-related infant
deaths between 2003 and 2005, along with five reports of entrapment
in the strollers, resulting in cuts and bruises,
The recall includes Graco Quattro Tour strollers and travel
systems made before November 2006 and MetroLite stroller and travel
systems made before July 2007. For a complete list of recalled
strollers and travel systems, go to the Graco Web site at
Consumers with the recalled strollers can contact Graco at
877-828-4046 or to go the company's Web site to obtain a free
Men Have Lower Hospital Death Rate for Stroke: Study
Male stroke, heart attack and heart failure patients are less
likely to die in a hospital than female patients with the same
conditions, according to a U.S. government report.
An analysis of data from the 2000-07 Nationwide Inpatient Sample
found that the hospital death rate for stroke fell 29 percent (from
123 to 87 deaths per 1,000) for men and decreased 24 percent for
women (from 127 to 96 deaths per 1,000), said the Agency for
Healthcare Research and Quality.
Among the other findings:
- Heart failure death rates fell by 52 percent for men and 46
percent for women. In 2007, the heart failure death rate was 28 per
1,000 for men and 29 per 1,000 for women.
- Heart attack death rates fell by 39 percent for women and 37
percent for men. However, the 2007 heart attack death rate was 77
per 1,000 for women and 58 per 1,000 for men.
When they looked at insurance coverage, the researchers found
that the largest decreases in death rates for heart attack and
heart failure were among Medicare patients, followed by those with
private insurance and Medicaid patients.
Potatoes Peeled From Child Nutrition Programs
U.S. government efforts to limit the use of potatoes in child
nutrition programs are causing concern for growers.
Under an interim rule, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has
banned participants in the federal Women, Infants and Children
(WIC) program from buying potatoes with federal dollars. The agency
plans to issue a final rule next year, the
Associated Press reported.
The USDA made the decision based on a recommendation from the
Institute of Medicine, the health arm of the National Academy of
Sciences. It was determined that WIC participants were consuming
enough potatoes, said Institute of Medicine spokeswoman Christine
"The recommendation (to ban potatoes) was made to encourage consumption of other fruits and vegetables," she told the AP.
The institute also wants the USDA to limit the use of potatoes
in its school lunch program. The agency is expected to release
changes to the program by the end of year.
Potato advocates point out that tuber is rich in potassium and
"We're just really concerned that this is a misconception to the public that potatoes aren't healthy," Chris Voigt, head of the Washington Potato Commission, told the AP.
Gene Discovery May Help Fight Alcoholism
A gene that may make people feel the effects of alcohol sooner
than others has been identified by American scientists.
The University of North Carolina researchers said that about 10
percent to 20 percent of people have the CYP2E1 gene, which helps
speed the body's breakdown of alcohol,
BBC News reported.
The finding may lead to new ways to prevent alcoholism.
It may be possible to develop CYP2E1-like drugs to make people
without the gene more sensitive to alcohol, to discourage them from
drinking to inebriation, the researchers explained,
BBC News reported.
The study appears in the journal
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.
Thyroid Cancer Patients May Pose Radiation Risk to Others
Members of the public may have been exposed to radiation from
thyroid cancer patients who were sent home after receiving
radioactive iodine to shrink their tumors, according to a
After undergoing treatment and being released from hospital,
patients have contaminated hotel rooms and set off radiation
detectors on public transportation, the
Associated Press reported.
It's unclear whether levels of radioactive iodine excreted
through patients' urine, saliva and sweat are high enough to cause
harm to other people.
"There's a strong likelihood that members of the public have been unwittingly exposed to radiation from patients," Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., wrote in a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that outlines the findings by his staff, the AP reported.
"This has occurred because of weak NRC regulations, ineffective oversight of those who administer these medical treatments, and the absence of clear guidance to patients and to physicians," Markey wrote.
He called for a number of rule changes including: keeping more
patients who receive treatment with radioactive iodine in hospital;
a ban on releasing patients to hotels or allowing them to use
public transportation; and tighter oversight of medical facilities
that provide this type of treatment, the
The NRC was to discuss the issue at a meeting Wednesday.
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