Health Highlights: April 5, 201104/05/11
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Radiation Standards for Fish Announced by Japanese
The first radiation standards for fish were announced Tuesday by
the Japanese government just hours after it was disclosed that
radiation levels in seawater near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi
nuclear plant were several million times the legal limit.
The new rule for fish allows up to 2,000 becquerels of iodine
131 per kilogram, the same standard used for vegetables in Japan,
The New York Times reported.
A fish caught last week off the coast halfway between the plant
and Tokyo was found to have 4,080 becquerels of iodine 131 per
kilogram and 526 becquerels per kilogram of cesium 137, which
decays much more slowly than iodine 131.
"Clearly the fish are consuming highly radioactive food," Paul Falkowski, a professor of marine, earth and planetary sciences at Rutgers University, told The Times. However, he added that the health threat in Japan or far away is low because fishing is restricted in Japan and the high levels of radiation are not likely to extend far beyond the area of the crippled nuclear facility.
Human Gene Patents Subject of Appeals Court Hearing
A legal case that could affect the patenting of human gene
sequencing is being heard by a three-judge panel of the U.S.
Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington.
The case involves Myriad Genetics Inc. patents for identifying
people's risk for breast and ovarian cancer. The patents make the
company the exclusive U.S. provider of genetic screening tests for
the diseases, the
Wall Street Journal reported.
Last year, a federal judge invalidated Myriad's patient claims
after the American Civil Liberties Union launched a lawsuit
challenging the patenting of gene sequences.
A decision by the appeals court is expected in the coming
Wall Street Journal reported.
Updated Guidelines to Prevent Bloodstream Infections
Health care worker education/training and cleaning a patient's
skin with an antibacterial scrub are among the major
recommendations included in updated guidelines to protect American
hospital patients from bloodstream infections.
The use of maximal sterile barrier precautions and avoiding
routine replacement of certain catheters are also among the main
areas of emphasis in the health care provider guidelines issued by
the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the
Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee.
The guidelines were created by a working group led by clinical
scientists from the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center
Critical Care Medicine Department, along with 14 other professional
"Preventing these infections is an excellent example of how hospitals and other health care facilities can improve patient care and save lives, all while reducing excess medical costs," CDC Director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden said in a CDC news release.
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