Health Highlights: July 31, 201307/31/13
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Bill Would Make Anti-Allergy Drug Available in Schools
Legislation to make life-saving medicine available in schools to
treat severe allergic reactions in students with food allergies was
passed Tuesday by the U.S. House of Representatives.
The bill would provide grant preferences to states that
implement policies to provide epinephrine in schools,
CBS News/Associated Pressreported.
In addition, the bill encourages schools to permit trained
administers to give epinephrine to students believed to be having a
severe allergic reaction and requires states to review their
liability laws to ensure that the administrators have sufficient
legal protections when they assist students.
The issue gained media attention this week with the sudden death
of 13-year-old Natalie Giorgi at her summer camp in Sacramento,
Calif. The girl, who has a severe peanut allergy, took a bite of a
Rice Krispie square containing peanuts and died after her airways
closed off in a reaction to the allergen.
The bill, which now goes to the Senate for consideration, was
sponsored by Rep. Phil Roe, a Tennessee Republican and doctor, and
Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the second-ranked Democrat in the
"My granddaughter has a severe peanut allergy, and the presence of EpiPens (epinephrine) in schools can be lifesaving," Hoyer said.
Well-Known Hospitals Not Always Best for Surgery: Report
Big-name hospitals in the United States aren't always the best
when it comes to surgery, according to a new report.
The Consumer Reports team analyzed federal government data to
assess patient outcomes after surgery at nearly 2,500 hospitals.
When it came to preventing infection and other measures of quality
of care, some well-known hospitals did not always do well, while
some big-city hospitals that care for the poorest and sickest
patients did surprisingly well,
For example, the poorest overall rating was given to Harvard
Medical School-associated Brigham and Women's Hospital and to two
of Washington D.C.'s flagship hospitals, MedStar Washington
Hospital Center and Sibley Memorial Hospital. Johns Hopkins
Hospital received an average rating.
On the other hand, top ratings were given to urban hospitals
such as the Greater Baltimore Medical Center and NYU Langone
Medical Center in New York, along with some regional facilities
such as Nebraska Heart Hospital in Lincoln,
"Consumers have very little to go on when trying to select a hospital for surgery, not knowing which ones do a good job at keeping surgery patients safe and which ones don't," Lisa McGiffert, director of Consumers Union's Safe Patient Project, said in a news release. "They might as well just throw a scalpel at a dartboard."
While it's a good idea to provide patients with information
about the quality of surgical care provided at hospitals, the data
used in this report is flawed, Dr. Peter Pronovost, senior vice
president for patient safety and quality at Johns Hopkins, told
Bagged Salad Mix May be Source of Cyclospora Outbreak
Investigators suspect that a bagged salad mix was the cause of a
cyclospora stomach bug outbreak that has sickened 372 people in at
least 16 states.
Iowa had the most cases -- 143 -- and the state's health
department determined that about 80 percent of the patients had
been exposed to a prepackaged salad mix,
State health officials have not disclosed the brand or
manufacturer of the salad mix, but said it contains iceberg and
romaine lettuce, carrots and red cabbage. The salad mix is no
longer available in the state.
It hasn't been determined if this same prepackaged salad mix is
the source of the multi-state outbreak, said federal officials, who
added that they are following other leads as well,
Artificial Ear Created in Lab
Scientists who grew a human-like ear from animal tissue say the
achievement moves them a step closer to being able to grow a
complete human ear from a patient's cells.
The full-sized artificial ear has the shape and flexibility of a
real ear, according to the Massachusetts General Hospital team,
The researchers took living tissues from cows and sheep and grew
them on a flexible wire frame in the shape of human ear. This was
then implanted in a rat, where it grew for 12 weeks, according to
an article in the
Journal of the Royal Society Interface.
The team is working on creating artificial living ears to help
people with missing or deformed ears,
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