Health Highlights: March 30, 201103/30/11
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Another Batch of Tylenol Recalled
Thousands more bottles of Tylenol are being recalled due to
customer complaints about a strange, musty odor, says Johnson &
Johnson's McNeil Consumer Health division.
The latest recall covers about 34,000 150-count bottles of
Tylenol 8 Hour Extended Release Caplets,
ABC News reported. The company believes the odor is caused by
trace amounts of chemicals produced by the breakdown of a fungicide
treatment on wooden pallets used to store the drugs.
The new recall follows a series of larger recalls in 2010
triggered by the same odor problem.
There was a recall last October of about 128,000 bottles of the
same Tylenol caplets. Last July, McNeil recalled 21 different
product lines, including Children's Tylenol, Benadryl and Motrin.
In April, the company recalled more than 136 million bottles of
Tylenol, Motrin, Zyrtec and Benadryl,
ABC News reported.
Fewer U.S. Adult Diabetics Having Annual Tests
The percentage of poor and middle-income adults age 40 and over
with diabetes who are having their blood sugar, eyes and feet
checked at least once a year is declining, says a U.S. government
The three tests are done to prevent diabetes-related
complications such as kidney failure, blindness and amputation.
The proportion of poor adults who had the tests fell from 39
percent in 2002 to 23 percent in 2007, while the rate dropped from
41 percent to 33 percent among middle-income adults, according to
News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and
The rate of high-income adults who had all three tests remained
steady at 52 percent.
The percentage of adults who had all three tests fell from 43
percent to 32 percent among those with a high school education,
from 34 percent to 29 percent among those who didn't finish high
school, and from 51 percent to 47 percent for those with at least
some college education.
Company Stops Production of Contaminated IV Bags
An Alabama company has stopped making intravenous feeding bags
that were contaminated with
Serratia marcescens bacteria and linked to infections in
Nine patients who were hooked up to contaminated bags have died
and 10 more were sickened, state health officials reported.
However, they added that they have not definitively connected the
deaths to the bacterial outbreaks at six hospitals, the
Associated Press reported.
"There is nothing to suggest the deaths were directly related to the bacterial infections," according to State Health Officer Dr. Donald E. Williamson.
After receiving reports of increased cases of
Serratia marcescens from two hospitals on March 16, the
Alabama Department of Public Health linked the infections to the
IV-delivered nutritional supplement TPN, the
The IV bags were made by one pharmacy, Meds IV in Birmingham.
The company has halted production of the IV bags.
Expand Availability of Anti-Radiation Drug: U.S. Politicians
The drug potassium iodide should be made available to all people
living within 20 miles of nuclear power plants in the United
States, instead of the current 10-mile radius, say a number of
politicians from both parties.
And the American Thyroid Association says the drug should be
offered to everyone with 200 miles of a nuclear power plant, the
Associated Press reported.
If taken within a few hours of radiation exposure, potassium
iodide (also known as KI) helps reduce the risk of thyroid cancer.
Currently, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission makes potassium iodide
available to states for distribution to residents within 10 miles
of a nuclear plant.
Expansion of the distribution radius to 20 miles was included in
a 2002 bioterrorism law but the Bush administration waived the
requirement in 2007. President Barack Obama has not reversed that
In separate letters to Health and Human Services Secretary
Kathleen Sebelius, Reps. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Bill Young,
R-Fla., have urged her to fully implement the 20-mile radius
provision in the 2002 law.
"The exercise of presidential power to distribute KI is now long overdue, leaving many Americans living near these plants needlessly at risk, as sadly evidenced by the disaster in Japan," Markey wrote in his letter to Sebelius, the AP reported.
Attractive People Happier: Study
Good-looking people are generally happier than less attractive
people and a good measure of that happiness is due to the economic
benefit of being beautiful or handsome, according to a new
Researchers analyzed data from five large surveys conducted
between 1971 and 2009 in Britain, Canada, German and the United
States and found that people in the top 15 percent of looks were
more than 10 percent happier than those in the bottom 10 percent of
USA Today reported.
"The majority of beauty's effect on happiness works through its impact on economic outcomes," said lead author Daniel Hamermesh, an economist at the University of Texas-Austin.
He said better-looking people generally have higher incomes and
marry people who are better looking and earn more money,
USA Today reported.
The study was published by the German-based Institute for the
Study of Labor.
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