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Skin Cancer and Lip Gloss

A new warning for women who love the high shine they get when using lip glosses  might end up with something they never bargained for – skin cancer. “These lip glosses can make more of the light rays penetrate directly through the skin instead of getting reflected off of the skin’s surface,” says Dr. Christine Brown, a dermatologist at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.

Dr. Bruce Robinson, a Manhattan dermatologist says that the moisture in lip gloss is the culprit because lips have a protective outer layer; however, the hydration of a lip gloss, “kind of smooshes that down.” Once that happens, it’s easier for UV rays to penetrate deeper into the skin. “Instead of having to travel through that thicker layer, it’s more condensed,” Robinson says. “So, the UV rays are reaching deeper layers of epidermis and dermis because you don’t have this force field.” (more…)

Fall Risk Prompts Hammock, Beach Chair Recall

Two defective products, beach chairs and hammocks, have been recalled because of a fall hazard, according to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC). Approximately 400 LivingXL hammocks sold by LivingXL have been recalled. This recall is also for a fall hazard to consumers. Both the Multi Texteline Hammocks and Striped Quilted Hammocks were sold by the retailer Think Big Products LLC—doing business as: LivingXL—of Canton, Massachusetts and were imported by CMRG Apparel, LLC, of Canton, Massachusetts. The LivingXL hammocks were manufactured in India and sold by LivingXL’s catalog or at www.LivingXL.com from May 2007 through October 2007. The LivingXL hammocks retailed for between $170 and $200.

The Living XL hammocks’ metal frame can crack and break, causing a consumer to fall to the ground; LivingXL has received three reports of injuries, including lower back pain and broken ribs, following a hammock collapse wherein the frame broke or cracked. (more…)

Families of Heparin Victims, Others Testify in Congress

A congressional committee yesterday heard testimony from the families of some of those who died as a result of tainted heparin. The House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations also heard from a Food & Drug Administration (FDA) official and the head of Baxter International that the heparin contamination may have been deliberate. Baxter issued a massive recall of tainted heparin earlier this year, and the defective drug has been implicated in at least 81 U.S. deaths.

What lawmakers heard from family members was wrenching. LeRoy Hubley of Toledo, Ohio, described how both his 65-year-old wife and his 47-year-old son died within a few weeks of each other. Both suffered from a genetic kidney disease that required constant dialysis, for which heparin is routinely used. “As Christmas music softly played in the background, we each said our goodbyes,” Hubley said, breaking down in tears. “Then my wife and love of 48 years drifted away.” Hubley said it was weeks before he found out that either death was due to contaminated heparin. (more…)

Cause of Chipotle Grill Norovirus Still Unknown

Food poisoning that hit more than 450 patrons of a Kent Ohio Chipotle Mexican Grill was norovirus, but officials still don’t know how it originated. Noroviruses are found in the stool or vomit of infected people and infection can occur by ingesting contaminated food or liquids; touching contaminated surfaces or objects; and having direct contact with an infected person. Noroviruses are very contagious and people are contagious the moment they begin feeling ill to at least three days after recovery, sometimes up to two weeks after recovery. Because there are many different norovirus strains, it is difficult for a person’s body to develop long-lasting immunity; norovirus illness can recur throughout a lifetime.

Last week, city Health Commissioner John Ferlito said that Ohio Department of Health tests of stool samples came back positive for norovirus. ”It was definitely a norovirus outbreak,” Ferlito said Monday. ”It looks like people ingested it through the food. How it got into the food, I can’t ascertain at this moment.” Results of the food tests came up negative for fecal coliform, a bacteria often found in human waste, Ferlito said and Ohio Department of Health spokesman Kristopher Weiss said there is no specific test for norovirus in food. (more…)

Study Faults FDA “Secret Science” for Blood Substitute Deaths

A new study looking into deaths linked with blood substitute drugs blames the Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) poor oversight of clinical trials for the fatalities. Experimental blood substitutes have been shown to significantly raise the risk of heart attack and sudden death according to researches who also said that their use in new experiments should be stopped until safety issues have been cleared up. The study of blood substitutes revealed that the FDA’s confidential oversight of corporate research was putting patients at risk.

The researchers plan to present their findings at an FDA public workshop on the safety of the products this week. “The case study detailed here underscores both the scientific inefficiency and the real risks to patients of the current failure to report data promptly,” wrote Dr. Charles Natanson of the National Institutes of Health and colleagues there and at Public Citizen. “When ‘secret science’ is allowed, scientists are unable to build on the successes or failures of other researchers testing similar products, and patients can be repeatedly exposed to risks unnecessarily,” he added also saying, “One straightforward solution to these problems would be for Congress to reverse the FDA’s policy of treating as confidential all corporate materials submitted during the product development process, including the investigational new drug application.” (more…)

More Bad News on Avandia, as Study Confirms Bone Fracture Risk

A new study has found that diabetes drugs in the thiazolidinediones class, Avandia and Actos, double the risk of bone fractures.  With an estimated 3.5 million or more U.S. patients taking thiazolidinediones, the public health impact from bone degradation could be substantial. Diabetes patients already at a high risk for bone fractures and osteoporosis – for example, post-menopausal women – might want to ask their doctors about alternatives to thiazolidinediones. There are currently many diabetes drugs on the market that do not carry a similar bone fracture and osteoporosis risk.

Previous studies have found that these drugs increase the risk of bone fractures, but this latest research, conducted by Swiss scientists, sheds light on how serious this problem might be.  According to the Swiss bone fracture study, those on Avandia or Actos had double or triple the odds of non-spine fractures. The odds for fracture were increased among patients who took the drugs for approximately 12 to 18 months and the risk was highest for those with two or more years of therapy. The researchers came to their conclusions by comparing the records of 1,020 diabetic patients with fractures diagnosed by British doctors between 1994 and 2005 against a control group of diabetics who did not have fractures. (more…)

FDA Advisors Recommend Better LASIK Warnings

Patients considering LASIK surgery should receive stronger warnings about potential problems, a Food & Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel said last week. Lasik was approved a decade ago and an estimated six million Americans have undergone Lasik surgery. The surgery permanently reshapes the cornea, there are no guarantees of 20/20 vision, and the long-term safety of Lasik remains unknown.

The FDA has received 140 letters of complaints. “The FDA has called this a quality-of-life issue, because patients are complaining that their vision isn’t sharp, they have poor night vision, some have glare or halos, some complain that their eyes are dry,” said Dr. Robert Cykiert, associate professor of ophthalmology at New York University Langone Medical Center. (more…)

Congress to Question Baxter CEO on Heparin

The head of Baxter International will facing questioning from Congress this week, when a House of Representatives subcommittee investigates tainted heparin that has been linked to scores of deaths in the US.  Baxter recalled nearly all of its heparin lots earlier this year after hundreds of patients experienced serious and sometimes fatal reactions to the drug.

Beginning tomorrow, a US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing called “The Heparin Disaster: Chinese Counterfeits and American Failures,” the latest congressional proceeding to address shortcomings in the US inspection process. Baxter CEO Robert Parkinson will testify, along with FDA drug unit chief Janet Woodcock. Also slated to testify is the CEO of Scientific Protein Labs which supplied Baxter with heparin ingredients. (more…)

FDA Probes Lasik Surgery Injuries

Lasik surgery injuries are are finally getting the attention of federal regulators, who want to hear from both Lasik surgeons and patients who have experienced complications from the popular eye surgery. Lasik was approved a decade ago and an estimated six million Americans have undergone Lasik surgery. The surgery permanently reshapes the cornea; there are no guarantees of 20/20 vision and the long-term safety of Lasik remains unknown.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has no authority over physician handling of patients; however, regulators have agreed to work with the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery on a large-scale study of patients’ post-surgical quality of life. As part of the study to examine the relationship between Lasik complications and quality of life issues, are plans to look at psychological problems such as depression. When patients undergo vision-correcting laser eye surgery—such as Lasik—they sign a release form with an extensive list of risks; however, researchers and former patients say a potential complication is not mentioned: Depression leading to suicide. (more…)

Woman Sues Over BPA in Nalgene Bottles

A consumer has filed suit against the maker of Nalgene bottles because they are made with the chemical  Bisphenol A—BPA. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Sacramento, accuses Nalge Nunc of continuing to state that BPA is safe despite dozens of studies linking BPA to hormone disruptions, infertility, early puberty, and cancer.  The complaint is believed to be the first ever filed involving BPA.

BPA is found in dental sealants, food and baby formula can liners, CDs and DVDs, eyeglasses, and hundreds of household goods. Over 90 percent of Americans are exposed to BPA, according to the CDC and BPA has been found in the urine of 95% of Americans tested.nIn response to increasing concerns about BPA, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) says there’s “no reason at this time to ban or otherwise restrict its use”. (more…)

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