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Health Highlights: Oct. 22, 2010

Health Highlights: Oct. 22, 2010

10/22/10

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

More Than 40,000 Drop-Side Cribs Recalled

Concerns that children can be trapped or suffocated spurred the recall on Friday of more than 40,000 drop-side cribs manufactured by three companies.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, drop sides on the recalled Ethan Allen, Angel Line and Victory Land Heritage Collection 3-in-1 cribs can come away due to faulty hardware or repeated use, the Associated Press reported. A child might also topple out of the crib should the drop-side detach.

Danbury, Conn.-based Ethan Allen says it has received five reports of such incidents related to its cribs, resulting in three minor injuries. These cribs were sold at Ethan Allen stores from 2002 to 2008.

Pennsville, N.J.-based Angel Line reports one case of a detached drop-side on a Chinese-made crib, but no injuries were reported. Their cribs were sold at Ababy.com, Babyage.com and other online stores between December 2004 and January 2009.

And Bartlett, Ill.-based Victory Land says it has gotten 17 reports of incidents involving its Heritage Collection cribs, including three reports of minor injuries. Those products were made in Vietnam and sold by Kmart from February 2007 to October 2008, the AP said.

The CPSC is advising parents to not use the cribs and to reach out to the companies for a free repair kit. According to the agency, bassinets, play yards or toddler beds can be potentially safe alternatives, depending on the age of the child.

For more information contact Ethan Allen at 888-339-9398 or visit any Ethan Allen store, contact Angel Line at 800-889-8158 and contact Victory Land Group at 866-499-2099.

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Obama Urges Bullying Victims to Seek Help

Several recent suicides by young Americans who were bullied for being gay "shocked and saddened" President Barack Obama, who urged young people in these types of situations to reach out for help.

In a video posted on YouTube and the White House Web site, Obama said these incidents break his heart and are "something that shouldn't happen in this country," the Associated Press reported.

"I don't know what it's like to be picked on for being gay. But I do know what it's like to grow up feeling that sometimes you don't belong. It's tough," Obama said.

Victims of bullying should talk to people they trust, such as parents or teachers, Obama said. "Don't feel like you're in this by yourself," he said, the AP reported.

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Company Awaits FDA Findings From Closed Texas Food Plant

There's no proof that the SanGar Produce & Processing Co. plant in San Antonio is the source of tainted celery linked to a listeriosis outbreak, the company's lawyers say.

They said they're waiting for a separate analysis from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and also have an independent lab re-testing the plant, the Associated Press reported. The FDA findings were expected as early as Friday.

State health officials ordered the plant closed and issued a recall of all produce from the facility after linking it to contaminated celery that sickened at least six people so far this year, four of whom died. But a lawyer for SanGar said the state didn't provide the company with any proof that it was at fault.

A decision on whether to expand the recall will be made once the FDA learns more about the situation, an agency official told the AP.

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Retail Food Facilities Need Food Safety Managers: FDA

Certified food safety managers are needed to oversee safety practices at retail food businesses such as restaurants and grocery stores, says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

That's one of the findings released Friday from a 10-year FDA study tracking the retail food industry's efforts to reduce the number of people who get sick from contaminated food.

The presence of a certified food protection manager at four types of retail food facilities (restaurants, delis, seafood and produce markets) was associated with significantly better compliance with food safety practices and behaviors, the study found.

"In looking at the data, it is quite clear that having a certified food protection manager on the job makes a difference," FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods Michael R. Taylor said in an agency news release. "Some states and localities require certified food protection managers already, and many in the retail industry employ them voluntarily as a matter of good practice. We think it should become common practice."

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Voters Divided on Repeal of Health Reform Law: Survey

Americans appear as divided about politicians' vows to repeal or rework the health care reform law as they do about the law itself, suggests a new survey.

The Associated Press-GfK poll found that 36 percent of likely voters in the Nov. 2 congressional elections want the law revised to expand its impact on the health care system, while 37 percent want the law repealed.

Ten percent wanted changes that would narrow the scope of the law, while only 15 percent said the law should be left as it is.

The survey also found that 52 percent oppose the law and 41 percent support it. The level of strong opposition vs. strong support for the law is about 2-to-1, the AP reported.

Support for the law changed by age and gender, the poll found. People under 30 were most likely to say that they wanted the legislation expanded to do even more. And only 26 percent of women were in favor of repealing the law. Even among Republicans, 52 percent of women supported repeal versus 68 percent of Republican men.

Among likely voters, 46 percent said they trust the Democrats as stewards of the health care system, while 47 percent said they trust the Republicans.

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Florida Company Charged in $200 Million Medicare Scam

The largest community-based mental health center in the United States was charged Wednesday with bilking Medicare of $200 million.

Miami-based American Therapeutic Corp. is alleged to have paid owners of assisted living facilities and halfway houses to compel patients to take part in programs at the company's seven mental health centers in south and central Florida, say federal prosecutors, the Associated Press reported.

Officials also said clinical files were altered so the company could charge more for services and that some patients benefited from the scam by providing their Medicare numbers, but others weren't coherent enough to demand kickbacks.

The investigation was launched last year after an employee of American Therapeutic Corp. contacted authorities, the AP reported.

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HIV Drug Combo May Hike Heart Risk: FDA

Combining two widely used HIV antiviral drugs can trigger potentially deadly irregular heartbeats, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Thursday.

The agency said fainting, lightheadedness and even death can occur if patients combine Roche's Invirase and Abbott Laboratories' Norvir, the Associated Press reported.

The companies have been ordered to add information about this risk to the drugs' warning labels and to provide information pamphlets to patients, the FDA said.

Invirase is often combined with Norvir to improve its effectiveness, the AP reported. The drugs are used to control HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Copyright © 2010 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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