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Health Highlights: May 6, 2011

Health Highlights: May 6, 2011


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

New Drug for Pancreatic Tumors Approved by FDA

The drug Afinitor has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to treat patients with advanced pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors that have spread to other parts of the body.

This is the first new treatment approved for this condition in the U.S. in nearly 30 years, according to drug maker Novartis AG, the Associated Press reported.

The company said the approval was based on a study that found Afinitor reduced the risk of cancer progression by 65 percent and more than doubled the time patients went without tumor growth.

Afinitor was already approved in the U.S. for treatment of advanced kidney cancer and for children and adults with a benign brain tumor caused by a rare genetic disorder called tuberous sclerosis, the AP reported.


Recalled Bunk Beds Could Collapse

Nearly half a million wooden bunk beds sold in the United Stated and Canada have been recalled due to concerns that the beds could collapse.

The wooden side rails that connect the headboard and footboard and hold the mattress in place can split, resulting in the collapse of the bunk bed. There have been 23 reports of the side rails cracking or breaking, including seven reports of minor abrasions or bruises, according to the Associated Press.

The beds were made in Vietnam, distributed by Dorel Asia SRL of Barbados, and sold by Walmart, Kmart and Target. About 445,000 of the beds were sold in the U.S. and 21,700 in Canada.

For more information, consumers can call Dorel Asia at 800-295-1980 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or they can check the company's website, the AP reported.


Death Risk High for Grounds Maintenance Workers: Study

Grounds maintenance workers in the United States have a high risk of dying on the job, a new study says.

It found that 1,142 grounds maintenance workers died from job-related injuries between 2003 and 2008. During that time, grounds maintenance workers accounted for one in every 30 worker deaths from traumatic injuries.

Causes of death included transportation incidents, tree work, falls, electrocutions and drowning.

Hispanics make up much of the grounds maintenance workforce in the U.S. but deaths among Hispanics were not disproportionately higher than among non-Hispanics. However, Hispanic workers who died were an average of nine years young than non-Hispanic workers who died. Five out of every six Hispanic workers who died were born outside the U.S.

Enforcement of regulations and training can reduce deaths among grounds maintenance workers, said the authors of the study in the latest issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


EU Approves Viagra-Like Drug to Treat Children With Deadly Lung Condition

A drug that contains the same medicine (sildenafil) as Viagra has been approved by the European commission to treat children with a deadly lung condition called pulmonary arterial hypertension (high blood pressure in lung arteries).

Revatio, which was approved in Europe six years ago to treat adults with the lung condition, can now be given to children ages 1 to 17, the Associated Press reported.

The new approval was based on a study of 234 children with pulmonary arterial hypertension that found Revatio lowered blood pressure in lung arteries and improved breathing and functioning. Side effects included fever, cough, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and extreme light sensitivity.

Revatio is approved for adults in more than 50 countries, including the United States. Drug maker Pfizer plans to seek approval for the drug in numerous countries, the AP reported.


Copyright © 2011 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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