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Health Highlights: Dec. 21, 2012

Health Highlights: Dec. 21, 2012

12/21/12

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

FDA Says Gene-Engineered Salmon Is Environmentally Safe

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Friday that a genetically engineered salmon is not likely to cause environmental problems, the Associated Pressreports. This fish is engineered to grow twice as fast as normal salmon.

The FDA's decision clears the way for the agency's approval for the first genetically engineered animal for humans to consume.

The fish, created by AquaBounty and called the AquaAdvantage salmon, has been the subject of controversy at the agency for a year. According to the FDA the fish "will not have any significant impacts on the quality of the human environment of the United States." More than two years ago the FDA said the fish was safe to eat, according to the AP.

Critics typically call genetically engineered fish "frankenfish" and are concerned it might cause allergies and might even end up destroying natural salmon should one of these fish escape into the wild, the APnoted.

The company, however, claims that only a limited number of its modified fish would be able to breed as most would be sterile and the odds that one of these fish could escape are very low. The FDA has supported the company's claims.

In all, AquaBounty has spent more than $67 million developing the fish. In mid 2012, the company reported having only $1.5 million left and no other products on the drawing board, the APreported.

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Stop Prescribing Heart Drug Tredaptive: Merck

The heart drug Tredaptive is ineffective, causes major side effects and should no longer be prescribed, drug maker Merck said Thursday.

The drug is used in 40 countries, but is not available in the United States, CBS Newsreported.

Merck's announcement came after a study of more than 25,000 patients at high risk for heart problems found that Tredaptive did not reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke and caused significant side effects.

Merck, which did not specify what those side effects, did not say that patients currently taking the drug should stop doing so, CBS Newsreported.

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Copyright © 2012 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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