Health Highlights: March 6, 201203/06/12
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Group Wants FDA to Ban Caramel Coloring in Sodas
The use of caramel coloring in popular soda drinks such as Coke
and Pepsi should be banned due to a possible cancer risk, the
consumer advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest
says in a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
In the letter, CSPI says lab tests found that the average level
of 4-methylimidazole (4-MI) in 12-ounce servings of regular and
diet Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper and Whole Foods 365 cola was 138
micrograms, far above the 29 microgram limit recommended by the
state of California, the
Los Angeles Times reported.
The average level of 4-MI indicated a lifetime cancer risk of
five out of 100,000 people, according to the letter. That risk may
be higher if people who don't drink sodas aren't included in the
CSPI says 4-MI -- which is formed when sugar is mixed with
ammonia and sulfites to create the caramel coloring that gives
colas their familiar brown color -- has been shown to cause lung,
liver and thyroid cancer in mice and rats, the
The American Beverage Association said the CSPI letter is a
"scare tactic," and noted that regulatory agencies worldwide
"consider caramel coloring safe for use in foods and
L.A. Condom Law for Porn Actors Takes Effect
A Los Angeles law requiring porn actors to wear condoms took
The regulation requires actors in adult movies to use condoms in
order for producers to get a filming permit, the
Associated Press reported.
This type of law is essential to protect porn actors from HIV
and other sexually transmitted diseases, says the AIDS Healthcare
Foundation, which is gathering signatures for a November ballot
measure that would make condoms mandatory for adult movie actors
across the United States.
Los Angeles is the nation's porn movie capital. As many as 90
percent of U.S. porn films are made in Los Angeles, according to
industry leaders. They warn that the city's new law could drive
adult movie production elsewhere, the
Confusion About Fraternal/Identical Twins Common: Study
Many parents of twins don't know if their children are fraternal
or identical twins because doctors give them wrong information,
according to a new study.
British researchers interviewed 1,302 parents of same-sex twins
and found that 191 (14.7 percent) were misinformed, with 179
parents of identical twins told their twins were fraternal and 12
parents of fraternal twins told they were identical,
The New York Times reported.
The study was published Wednesday in the journal
"I think there are a lot of parents who just want to know," study co-author Abi Fisher, a research associate at University College London, told The Times. "A lot of parents finding out later on felt they just didn't know their own children."
FDA Rejects New Combo Cholesterol Drug
A new combination cholesterol-lowering drug has been rejected by
the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The drug -- called MK-0653C -- includes a generic version of
Pfizer's cholesterol-lowering medicine Lipitor (atorvastatin) and
Merck & Co.'s cholesterol medicine Zetia (ezetimibe). The two
medicines work in different ways to lower cholesterol, the
Associated Press reported.
The FDA's decision about the new combination drug -- which was
created by Merck -- was announced Monday. The FDA wants additional
study data on the drug.
Merck officials said they'll talk with the FDA to determine the
next steps and also said that new data expected later this year may
address the FDA's concerns, the
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