Health Highlights: Oct. 23, 201210/23/12
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
FDA Investigating Role of Energy Drink in Five Deaths
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration confirmed Monday that it
is investigating whether Monster energy drinks might have played a
role in the deaths of five people.
Bloomberg News, FDA spokeswoman Shelly Burgess said the
victims cited in the five reports had all consumed the energy drink
before they died, but she stressed that the claims in the reports
are only allegations at this point.
The family of a 14-year-old girl who died after drinking the
energy drinks is using the reports in a lawsuit it has filed
against the maker of the drinks, Monster Beverage Corp. of Corona,
Calif., according to
The high levels of caffeine in these energy drinks has prompted
public concern as emergency room visits involving these drinks
increased tenfold between 2005 and 2009, and Sen. Dick Durbin
(D-Ill.) has asked the FDA to consider caffeine limits on energy
Bloombergreported. The agency has said it is working on
draft guidelines to guarantee energy drinks do not pose a danger to
those who consume them.
Monster, which sold $1.6 billion worth of energy drinks in 2011,
defended its product,
"Over the past 16 years Monster has sold more than 8 billion energy drinks, which have been safely consumed worldwide," the company said in a emailed statement. "Monster is unaware of any fatality anywhere that has been caused by its drinks."
Progesterone Shots Don't Reduce Preterm Birth Risk in Women with
Short Cervix: Study
The injected form of the hormone progesterone does not reduce
the risk of preterm birth in women with a cervix shorter than 30
millimeters, a new study says.
Previous research found that the vaginally-administered form of
progesterone helped prevent preterm birth in women with a cervical
length of less than 20 millimeters, but those women account for
only two percent of the population,
The New York Timesreported.
Women with a short cervix are at increased risk for preterm
birth. Women with a cervix shorter than 30 millimeters have about
the same risk -- about 25 percent -- as those who have already had
a preterm birth.
This new study included 657 women with a cervical length of less
than 30 millimeters at 16 to 22 weeks' gestation. They received
either a weekly injection of progesterone or a placebo. Preterm
births occurred in 25.1 percent of those who received the
progesterone and in 24.2 percent of those who received the placebo,
The study was published online in the
American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
Most Employers Plan to Keep Health Care Coverage: Survey
There is little indication that U.S. employers plan to drop
health care coverage ahead of the planned implementation of the
Affordable Care Act, according to a new study.
The Midwest Business Group on Health conducted an online survey
this summer that included small, mid-size and large companies,
Fifty-seven percent of the companies said they currently offer
consumer-directed health plans that work with health savings
accounts or health reimbursements accounts. That is expected to
rise to 62 percent of employers in 2013 and 71 percent of employers
"Employers still believe that health benefits are vital to attract talented employees and maintain a productive workforce," Scott Thompson, president of the healthcare practice of The Benfield Group, a market research and strategy firm that collaborated with the Midwest Business Group on the study, told Forbes.
"This research found that most employers, especially those with more than 200 employees, will not drop employee benefit coverage in the foreseeable future," Thompson said.
Banana Boat UltraMist Sunscreen Recalled After Users Catch
Nearly two dozen types of Banana Boat UltraMist spray-on
sunscreen are being recalled after reports of people catching on
fire after applying the lotion, says product maker Energizer
In the last year, there have been four reports of in the United
States and one report in Canada of people catching on fire after
applying the sunscreen and getting close to open flame,
CBS News/Associated Pressreported.
More than 20 million units of the 23 UltraMist products have
been sold since being introduced in 2010.
"Energizer believes that this issue is associated with the product delivery system, specifically the size of the spray valve opening on the affected products," the company said in a statement, CBS/APreported.
"The spray valve opening on the affected products dispenses more than is typical in the industry for continuous sun care sprays. As a result, the product is taking longer to dry on the skin than is typical with other continuous sprays. If a consumer comes into contact with a flame or spark prior to complete drying of the product on the skin, there is a potential for the product to ignite," Energizer explained.
For more information, consumers can phone the company at
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