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Doctors, Health Officials Confused By Latest Contact Lens Infections

Acanthamoeba keratitis a potentially blinding eye infection caused scrambling doctors and health officials this weekend to try and find out the reason for the outbreak which resembles a similar one that took place last year. Complete MoisturePlus manufactured by Advanced Medical Optics (AMO) has been pulled from store shelves as a result of the outbreak. The product markets itself as the “The first and only multi-purpose solution that contains two-tear like moisturizers, beneficial electrolytes and taurine.”

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Reiter’s Syndrome Another Worry for Consumers of Contaminated Peter Pan Peanut Butter

Add to the list one more thing folks have to worry about if they consumed salmonella-infected Peter Pan peanut butter: Reiter’s Syndrome, a potentially debilitating and chronic form of reactive arthritis.

Reiter’s, pronounced ri’terz, can affect people who have been exposed to bacteria that cause food poisoning, such as Salmonella, Shebelle, Campylobacter, and Yersinia. When someone gets sick from one of the aforementioned bacteria, it can travel throughout the body to other areas, causing the joints between their bones to swell, also known as inflammation which can be painful. The skin, eyes, and muscles can also be affected.

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Another Gonzales Aide Leaves the DOJ

So far, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has survived the firestorm that has surrounded him for the past couple of months regarding the potentially politically motivated terminations of several U.S. attorneys. However, the scandal continues to claim the jobs of several of his closest aides and advisors.

The latest to jump ship is Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, who announced his forthcoming resignation earlier today. It was McNulty who testified to Congress in February that the firings of eight U.S. attorneys were carried out due to performance-related issues, a fact that has been thoroughly disputed and disproved by later revelations. He also angered Gonzales by admitting during the same testimony that one of the attorneys was sacked in order to make room for a Karl Rove loyalist.
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Study: No Link Between Abortion and Breast Cancer

Crucial new research has failed to discover a link between induced or spontaneous abortions (miscarriages) and the incidence of breast cancer in pre-menopausal women. According to researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and Harvard School of Public Health, “In this cohort study of young women, we found no association between induced abortion and breast cancer incidence and a suggestion of an inverse association between spontaneous abortion and breast cancer incidence during 10 years of follow-up.” The results of the research were published in the April 23 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The report examined the health histories of 105,716 women who were part of the Nurses’ Health Study II (NHSII). All of the women were between the ages of 29 and 46 when the study began in 1993, and they were each subject to follow-up examinations at two-year intervals until 2003. A total of 16,118 women, or about 15 percent of the cohort, reported a history of induced abortion, while 21,753 of them (21 percent) had a history of miscarriage. During the course of the decade-long study, there were 1,458 new cases of breast cancer reported among the women.
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Study: New Blood Pressure Drug Ineffective

A study published in this month’s American Journal of Hypertension called into question the effectiveness of a new blood-pressure drug known as aliskiren. Dr. Jean E. Sealey of New York Presbyterian Hospital and Dr. John H. Laragha at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York reviewed six different clinical trials regarding aliskiren and determined that the new drug is no more effective than previously existing treatments for hypertension.

According to the authors, “A review of six clinical trials of aliskiren involving [more than] 5,000 patients with mild to moderate hypertension indicated that this first of a new class of orally active antihypertensive drugs is no more effective than angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (CEIs), angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), or diuretics for lowering blood pressure.”
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FDA Panel Highlights Safety Concerns of Anemia Drugs in Cancer Patients

In a high-profile meeting this week, an expert panel of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) raised significant concerns about the use of the anemia drug erythropoietin in treating cancer patients. According to the findings of the Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee, the drug, sold by Amgen as Aranesp and by Johnson & Johnson as Procrit, is severely overused in cancer patients and should have new restrictions and guidelines placed on its administration.

Erythropoietin is in a class of drugs known as erythropoiesis-stimulating agents, or ESAs, which are intended to reduce the need for red blood cell transfusions in patients suffering from anemia. (Transfusions are considered a high-risk treatment.) The drug was initially approved for patients suffering from kidney failure, but its approved usage was expanded in 1993 to include cancer patients who were suffering from chemotherapy-induced anemia.
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NASA: Summer Temperatures to Rise Dramatically

Scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) concluded that average high summer temperatures in the eastern United States may rise by as much as 10 degrees by the 2080s. The culprit: greenhouse gases.

To reach their conclusions, researchers at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies looked at three decades of temperature and precipitation data and used computer model simulations that measured soil, atmospheric, and oceanic conditions, along with projected changes in greenhouse gases.
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Makers of OxyContin Slapped with $600 Million Penalty

Today, the dangers of addiction and abuse associated with the powerful narcotic OxyContin are well-established and well-known. However, when the drug was introduced to the market 11 years ago by Purdue Pharma and its parent, Purdue Frederick Co., it was billed by the company as a safer alternative to other painkillers such as Percocet and Vicodin less likely to lead to addiction, abuse, or difficult withdrawal symptoms.

With those dubious claims now fully debunked, Purdue Frederick today pleaded guilty to felony misbranding with “intent to defraud and mislead” in a Virginia federal court, while three of its top executives pleaded guilty to misdemeanor misbranding. The result of their guilty pleas will be a total of $634 million in fines and other punitive payments.
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Clinton Foundation Strikes Deal for Lower-Cost Generic AIDS Drugs in Developing World

The William J. Clinton Foundation announced this week that it has reached a deal with two pharmaceutical manufacturers that will significantly reduce the cost of certain generic AIDS drugs in the developing world. The deal applies to 16 formulations of second-line anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs), along with one new once-a-day pill that is considered the “gold standard” of first-line treatment. The drugs will be available in 66 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

President Clinton also expressed support for the recent decisions by the Brazilian and Thai governments to break patents on certain AIDS drugs held by major U.S. drug companies. Both Brazil and Thailand have issued “compulsory licenses” to allow generic versions of the patented drugs in the interest of public health. In an appearance with Thailand’s Minister of Health, Clinton said, “No company will live or die because of high price premiums for AIDS drugs in middle-income countries, but patients may.”
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British Study: Artificial Food Additives Linked to Children’s Behavioral Problems

In a new study that may have major implications for the food industry, scientists at the University of Southampton have found what they believe is a definitive link between artificial food additives and hyperactivity and restlessness in young children. The research was commissioned by Britain’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) and is set to be peer-reviewed and published later this year.

Researchers tested six artificial colorings; tartrazine (E102), ponceau 4R (E124), sunset yellow (E110), carmoisine (E122), quinoline yellow (E104), and allura red AC (E129) and one preservative, sodium benzoate. All of the tested chemicals were associated with some sort of medical risk, including hyperactivity, mood swings, asthma, allergic reactions, and intolerance.
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