Health Highlights: March 23, 201103/23/11
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Elizabeth Taylor Dies at 79
Following six weeks of hospitalization for congestive heart
failure, Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor died Wednesday at the age
The Oscar-winning actress recently suffered a number of
complications but her condition had stabilized and it was hoped she
would be able to return home,
ABC News reported.
She was surrounded by her four children when she died at
Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. Along with her children,
Taylor is survived by 10 grandchildren and four great
In recent years, the two-time Academy Award winner experienced a
number of health problems and appeared frail in public appearances,
ABC News reported.
During her life, Taylor had between 30 to 40 surgeries,
including lung, hip, brain and heart procedures, according to
biographers. Her many health challenges included pneumonia, skin
cancer, a tracheotomy, and treatment for alcohol and painkiller
Colon Cancer Screening Rates Rise for Some Americans
Colorectal cancer screening rates for whites, blacks and
Asian-Americans age 50 and older improved between 2000 and 2008,
barely rose for Hispanics, and fell for American Indians and Alaska
Natives, says a U.S. government study.
In 2008, about 60 percent of whites and 55 percent of blacks age
50 and older said they had undergone at least one colorectal cancer
screening, compared with 51 percent and 44 percent, respectively,
in 2000. The rates for Asian-Americans in 2000 and 2008 were about
the same as those for blacks, according to the latest
News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and
The proportion of Hispanics who reported every being screened
for colorectal cancer increased from 35 percent to about 44
percent, while rates fell from 49 percent to 37 percent among
American Indians and Alaska Natives.
The study also said that colorectal cancer screening rates
increased from about 26 percent to about 30 percent among whites
and blacks with no health insurance. But rates fell from 16 percent
to 13 percent among Hispanics without health insurance.
New Blood Test Improves Diagnosis of Heart Attack
A new blood test improves the ability to diagnose heart attacks
that may otherwise go undetected.
The test measures a protein called troponin that's released when
heart cells are damaged during a heart attack,
BBC News reported.
In their study of more than 2,000 patients with suspected heart
attack, U.K. researchers found that the test could detect troponin
at levels four times lower than the standard blood test.
As a result, one-third more patients were diagnosed with heart
attack, which halved their risk of dying of a heart attack within a
BBC News reported.
The study appears in the
Journal of the American Medical Association.
U.S. Bans Imports of Some Japanese Food Products
Imports of dairy products and produce from the area around the
damaged Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan will be stopped by the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The agency said Tuesday that those food items will be
intercepted on entry to the U.S. in order to prevent their sale to
the public, the
Associated Press reported. Previously, the FDA said it would
boost screening of dairy products and produce from the area
affected by radiation leaking from the nuclear plant.
The FDA said it will allow the sale of other imported Japanese
foods, including seafood, but the products will be screened for
Less than four percent of the United States' food imports come
from Japan. The most common Japanese food items sold in the U.S.
are seafood, snack foods, and processed fruits and vegetables, the
The FDA said it expects no radiation-related risk to the U.S.
food supply. Doses of radiation in food products are low and don't
pose a threat to human health unless a person consumes abnormally
high amounts of radiation-tainted products, according to officials
and health experts.
This week, the World Health Organization said Japan needs to act
quickly to ensure that no radiation-contaminated foods are sold,
In related news, officials said that infants in Tokyo and
surrounding areas should not drink tap water due to elevated levels
of radioactive iodine.
Tests of the capital's water supply have found levels of
iodine-131 to be 210 becquerels per liter. The recommended limit
for infants is 100 becquerels per liter, while the limit for adults
is 300 becquerels per liter,
The New York Times reported.
While it's unlikely that infants would suffer health problems if
they drink the tap water, it should be avoided if possible and the
water should not be used to make infant formula, said Japan's
CPSC Reissues Drop-Side Crib Recall
The suffocation death of a 7-month-old girl has prompted U.S.
officials to reissue a 2008 recall of more than 985,000 drop-side
cribs by Delta Enterprise Corp.
Missing safety pins can cause the crib's side-rail to disengage
from the track, creating a gap where an infant can become trapped
and suffocate, says the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The
cribs were sold at major retail stores in the U.S. between 1995 and
Associated Press reported.
The 2008 recall included information about the death of an
8-month-old girl. The reissue of the recall mentions the more
recent death of a 7-month-old girl who became trapped and
suffocated in her crib, which was purchased secondhand and
re-assembled without safety pegs in the bottom tracks, the CPSC
For more information, consumers can phone Delta Enterprise Corp.
at 800-816-5304 or visit the company's website, the
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