Health Highlights: March 8, 201103/08/11
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Use of Pregnancy Hormone in Diet Program Causes Concern
U.S. health officials and some experts are concerned about the
popularity of a weight-loss regimen that combines daily injections
of the pregnancy hormone hCG and a near starvation diet.
Patients, mainly women, pay upward of $1,000 a month for a
consultation, a supply of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) and
the syringes needed to inject the hormone, but there is little
evidence that the regimen is effective,
The New York Times reported.
Many patients are told that the hCG will induce their bodies to
eliminate fat from areas such as the upper arms, bellies and
thighs. They're also told the hormone will prevent them from
feeling hungry or tired despite their low calorie intake.
The promotion of hCG as a diet tool is "manipulating people to
give them the sense that they're receiving something that's
powerful and potent and effective, and in fact, they're receiving
something that's nothing better than a placebo," Dr. Pieter Cohen,
a weight-loss supplement researcher and assistant professor at
Harvard Medical School, told
Homeopathic forms of hCG, such as lozenges and sprays, that are
sold over the Internet and some health food stores are fraudulent
and illegal if they claim to promote weight-loss, says the Food and
The injectable, prescription form of hCG is approved as a
treatment for infertility and other uses, and it is legal for
doctors to prescribe it "off-label" for weight loss,
The Times reported.
However, hCG packaging must carry a warning that it has not been
shown to increase weight loss, does not cause a more "attractive"
distribution of fat, and does not "decrease hunger and discomfort"
from low-calorie diets.
In addition, the hormone carries risks of blood clots,
depression, headaches and breast tenderness or enlargement, FDA
spokesman Christopher Kelly told
Distracted Driving Common Among Young Adults: Poll
A new poll finds that 63 percent of Americans under 30 use a
handheld phone while driving and 30 percent admit they've sent text
messages while behind the wheel.
The survey, by the U.S. Department of Transportation and
Consumer Reports, also found that only one-third of young drivers
believe such behavior is very dangerous, the
Associated Press reported.
Among Americans over age 30, 41 percent said they use handheld
phones while behind the wheel and 9 percent said they'd sent test
messages while driving.
Nearly 5,500 people were killed in distracted driving-related
crashes in 2009, according to the Department of Transportation, the
The Transportation Department and Consumers Union have launched
a new partnership to tackle the issue. It includes a guide for
parents and educators, a public service announcement for TV
stations, and a video for retail stores.
Skippy Peanut Butter Recalled
Concerns about possible salmonella contamination have led to a
recall of some jars of creamy and chunky Skippy Reduced Fat peanut
The recall includes jars distributed to retailers in Arkansas,
Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri,
Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota,
Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin, according to information on
the website of Skippy manufacturer Unilever,
CBS News reported.
The 16.3-ounce jars are marked with UPC codes 048001006812 and
048001006782 and have Best-If-Used-By Dates of MAY1612LR1,
MAY1712LR1, MAY1812LR1, MAY1912LR1, MAY2012LR1 and MAY2112LR1.
Consumers with recalled jars of Skippy peanut butter should stop
consuming it and contact Unilever at 900-453-3432 for a replacement
CBS News reported.
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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.