Health Highlights: July 25, 201307/25/13
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Groundbreaking Sex Researcher Virginia Johnson Dies
Pioneering sex researcher Virginia Johnson died Wednesday at age
She and William Masters revolutionized the study of sex in the
1960s and wrote two best-sellers on the topic, "Human Sexual
Response" and "Human Sexual Inadequacy," the
For the next 20 years, Masters and Johnson were celebrities.
They married in 1971 and divorced 20 years later. Masters died in
Johnson died at an assisted living facility in St. Louis after
suffering complications from various illnesses, according to her
son, Scott Johnson. A private funeral is planned, the
Luxury Cruise Ship Fails Surprise CDC Inspection
The luxury cruise ship Silver Shadow failed a surprise
inspection by U.S. health officials and was cited for attempting to
move 15 trolleys of food from the galley to individual crew cabins
to avoid inspection.
The snap inspection by the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention was conducted June 17 in Skagway, Alaska after an
anonymous crew member sent photos to the CDC showing meat in crew
cabin sinks and trays of food in the corridors in the passageways
outside of those cabins,
The ship, owned by Silversea Cruises, was given a failing grade
of 82. Anything less than 84 is considered "less than
satisfactory," according to the CDC's Vessel Sanitation Program
In its ads, Florida-based Silversea Cruises emphasizes luxury
and what it claims is a "world class" culinary experience.
Passengers pay an average of $5,000 a week to sail,
Silversea vessels have always scored in the highest range of
grades in the past and these inspection results on the Silver
Shadow were an anomaly, company spokeswoman Gina Finocchiaro told
CNN. Neither she or anyone else at Silversea would divulge
whether any employees were disciplined over the inspection
Don't Change Medicare Payment System: Panel
Changing the Medicare payment system to reward hospitals and
doctors in areas of the country that provide high-quality care at
low cost is not a good idea, according to the Institute of Medicine
at the National Academy of Sciences.
The conclusion by a 19-member panel after a three-year study
challenges statements by members of Congress from states such as
Iowa and Minnesota who claim that Medicare has shortchanged their
health care providers for decades,
The New York Timesreported.
The panel said Congress should not create a "value index" to
channel Medicare funds to regions that provide high-quality health
services at relatively low cost. They said this would be unfair
because it would "reward inefficient providers in low-cost regions
and punish more efficient providers in high-cost regions."
The panel explained that a regional value index makes no sense
because spending for doctors and hospitals in a single area often
vary as much as spending for health care providers in different
Cat Allergy Trigger Identified
Scientists who discovered what triggers allergic reactions to
cats say their findings could lead to new treatments for the
The team at the University of Cambridge in the U.K. pinpointed
how the body's immune system detects cat allergen, resulting in
symptoms such as sneezing and coughing,
The findings, published in the
Journal of Immunology, are a major step forward in
understanding how cat allergen causes allergic reactions, said the
charity group Allergy U.K.
"Cat allergen is particularly difficult to avoid as it is a 'sticky' molecule that is carried into every building on people's shoes and clothes," Maureen Jenkins, the group's director of clinical services, told BBC News. "It can also still be found in a home, on the walls and ceiling or fittings, even a few years after a cat has ceased to live there."
She said these findings "could pave the way for treatments for
those with persistent disease triggered by cat allergen and, in the
future, potentially dog and house dust mite allergen."
High Lead Levels Found in Some Mexican Salsa Brands
High levels of lead have been found in four Mexican salsa brands
that are sold in some areas of the United States.
The brands include El Pato Salsa Picante, Salsa Habanera, Salsa
Picante de Chile Habanero and Bufalo Salsa Clasica, said
researchers at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas,
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not have an
established safe level of lead in hot sauces, according to the
researchers. But they said that these four brands of salsa had lead
levels exceeding 0.1 parts per million, which is the current FDA
standard for safe lead levels in candy.
The researchers noted that hot sauces from Mexico contain
similar ingredients to spicy candies that are made in that country
and also sold at ethnic food stores throughout the U.S.,
The good news is that the UNLV team analyzed 25 brands of
imported hot sauces and only found lead problems in these four
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