Health Highlights: Feb. 10, 201202/10/12
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
FDA Warns About Handheld Dental X-Ray Units
Some handheld dental X-ray units sold online are potentially
unsafe and should not be used by dentists or veterinarians, the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns.
The devices -- which could expose the user and patient to
unnecessary and potentially harmful X-rays -- are sold online by
manufacturers outside the United States and directly shipped to
The FDA was alerted about the issue by the Washington State
Department of Health, which tested a handheld dental X-ray unit
purchased online and found that it did not comply with X-ray
To date, no adverse events associated with the devices have been
reported, said the FDA, which is investigating the extent of the
problem and alerting state regulatory authorities, dental
professional groups, and other health organizations about the
New Heparin Production Guidelines Issued by FDA
Draft guidelines for the safe production of the blood thinner
heparin were released Friday by the U.S. Food and Drug
Four years ago, contaminated heparin from Baxter International
caused allergic reactions in patients and dozens of deaths,
Agence France-Presse reported.
Heparin is used to prevent blood clots in millions of patients
undergoing kidney dialysis and heart surgery.
The new guidelines are meant for companies that use crude
heparin to make drugs and medical devices. The FDA said there is a
60-day review and comment period before the guidelines take effect,
FDA Issues Guidelines for Review of Lower-Priced Biotech
Draft guidelines for reviewing the first lower-priced
"biosimilar" versions of biotech drugs was released Thursday by the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Biotech drugs are high-tech medications that cost the United
States billions of dollars a year. The new FDA guidelines follow a
decades-long effort to lower the price of the drugs, the
Associated Press reported.
The specialty cancer drug Avastin is an example of a biotech
drug. It costs more than $100,000 a year.
Under the Obama administration's health care overhaul, the FDA
was ordered to created a system for approving biosimilar versions
of biotech drugs. The agency will accept comments on the draft
guidelines for 60 days before finalizing them, the
More Than Half of U.S. Dogs and Cats Too Fat: Survey
Fifty-five percent of adult cats and 53 percent of dogs in the
United States are overweight or obese, according to a survey of
veterinarians conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity
That works out to 88.4 million overweight or obese cats and
CBS news reported.
Twenty-two percent of owners with fat dogs and 15 percent of
those with fat cats believed their pets were "normal weight," the
survey found. APOP founder Dr. Ernie Ward referred to that lack of
awareness as the "fat pet gap."
"In simplest terms, we've made fat pets the new normal," he said in a written statement, CBS News reported.
The survey also found that 93 percent of pet owners realize pet
obesity is a problem.
Tassimo Single-Cup Brewers Recalled
Nearly two million Tassimo single-cup brewers have been recalled
in the United States and Canada after reports of the appliances
spraying hot liquid, coffee grounds or tea leaves onto people.
There have been 140 reports of such problems with the brewers,
including 37 cases in which people suffered second degree burns,
according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the
Associated Press reported.
The plastic T-disc that holds the coffee or tea in the appliance
can burst while brewing, the CPSC said.
About 835,000 Tassimo single-cup brewers are being recalled in
the U.S. and 900,000 are being recalled in Canada. The CPSC also
said four million packets of Tassimo espresso T-discs are being
recalled after 21 reports of problems, the
Dozens Ill in N.J. University Outbreak
Norovirus is the suspected cause of an outbreak at Rider
University in New Jersey that's resulted in about 40 students being
taken to hospitals.
The university said the students from the school's Lawrenceville
campus were taken to hospitals late Wednesday night. As of
Thursday, some of the students had been discharged and returned to
A similar outbreak began a week ago at nearby Princeton
University and is still underway.
"We are coordinating treatment information with that university. We have also informed neighboring institutions," Rider said on its website, CNN reported.
Norovirus causes symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea and stomach
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