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Gulf Shores parasailing company under investigation after accident

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GULF SHORES, Ala. — A father and his 7-year-old daughter survived a parasailing accident in Gulf Shores, Ala., last week when the line tethering them to the boat snapped and sent them careening 400 feet into the Gulf. U.S. Coast Guard Commander Robert Compher told AL.com that the father and daughter were rescued by the towboat that had been pulling them. The father needed to have stitches for a gash to his forehead, Steve Vrondran, owner of Perdido Key Parasail, told AL.com. The girl was reportedly fine after bumping her head in the accident. A powerful storm with winds of ... Read More

BP oil spill settlement the largest of its kind in U.S. history

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BP reached a record $18.73-billion agreement with the U.S. government and five Gulf states Thursday to resolve most legal claims stemming from its 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, considered the biggest environmental catastrophe in the U.S. The settlement is the largest environmental settlement in U.S. history. If approved by the court, the settlement will require BP to pay the federal government $5.5 billion in civil penalties for violating the Clean Water Act. NP subsidiary BPXP will make those payments over a 15-year period. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) said that 80 percent of the Clean ... Read More

Statins linked to increased irritability in postmenopausal women

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Cholesterol-lowering statin medications may make women more fussy but may help temper aggression in men, according to a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE. Statins, such as the widely prescribed Lipitor, are used to lower cholesterol levels in order to reduce a person’s risk of heart disease, heart attacks and strokes. Previous studies have shown that low cholesterol has been linked to a risk of violent actions and death from violence. There have also been reports of people using statins being more irritable and aggressive. Dr. Beatrice A. Golomb, professor of medicine at the University of California-San Diego ... Read More

Experimental type 2 diabetes treatment fails in clinical trials

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An experimental type 2 diabetes treatment made by Vitae Pharmaceuticals and Boehringer Ingelheim failed to significantly reduce blood sugar levels in patients when used with the first-line medication metformin, and analysts are wary that the medication will provide better results in trials testing it as a monotherapy. The drug was being tested as a treatment for obese patients with type 2 diabetes. The medication, currently known as VTP-34072, would have been the first drug in a class known as 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 inhibitor. It was discovered using Vitae’s Contour platform. VTP-34072 works by targeting an enzyme that produces a ... Read More

Whistleblower complaint helps U.S. recover $75.5 million from technology contractors

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A whistleblower lawsuit alleging two contractors overcharged the U.S. government and cheated it out of discounts available to commercial customers has ended with a $75.5-million settlement. Dale Smith, a former executive of VMware Inc., a Palo Alto, Calif.-based computer virtualization software company, filed that lawsuit under the federal False Claims Act, which allows private individuals with evidence of fraud to sue on behalf of the U.S. government. In the complaint, Smith alleged that VMware and information technology services company Carahsoft Technology Corporation of Reston, Va., which distributes IT products to federal, state, and local governments, failed to honor the terms ... Read More

Eating citrus fruits may increase risk of melanoma

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People who eat citrus fruits are more likely to develop melanoma, according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The findings are based on a observational study conducted by researchers with the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Rhode Island Hospital, and the Channing Division of Network Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Researchers used data from about 63,000 women and 41,000 men between the mid-1980s and 2010, and found that those who consumed citrus between two to four times a week had a 10 percent increased risk of developing melanoma. The reason ... Read More

Anesthesia system recalled due to manufacturing defect

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Maquet is recalling its FLOW-I Anesthesia Systems after receiving several complaints where patient cassettes, which are the center of gas flow in the system, have come loose, which can prevent the ventilator from providing breathing support. While no injuries or deaths have been reported, this issue could cause serious injury or death in patients. Maquet has received 10 reports of this malfunction. The issue is that the patient cassette locking device may accidentally release the patient cassette from its mount when users perform a change of system. This may cause anesthesia gas to leak and could prevent the ventilator from providing ... Read More

Leukemia drug can make cancer more aggressive

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PI3K inhibitors, a class of drugs used to treat leukemia and two types of lymphoma, when used as a monotherapy may actually make a patient’s cancer more aggressive and metastatic, according to a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The only FDA-approved PI3K inhibitor is the brand name Idelalisib, which entered the market in July 2014. Several other drugs in the class are currently in development and being tested as a treatment for other cancers, including colorectal cancer, multiple myeloma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and inflammatory respiratory disease. The enzyme PI3K, or phosphatidylinositol-3 ... Read More

FDA warns consumers about unapproved prescription ear drops

Ear - Earrr by צביה Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is vowing to come down hard on drug companies who are manufacturing and selling unapproved prescription ear drops labeled to relieve ear pain, infection, and inflammation. The ear drops contain active ingredients such as benzocaine and hydrocortisone, which have not been evaluated by the FDA for safety, effectiveness and quality. The agency has informed the companies that manufacture these illegal ear drops to stop or face enforcement actions including seizure, injunction, and/or criminal proceedings. The agency said that the drops’ labels do not indicate that they are not FDA approved, thus health care professionals may ... Read More

FDA investigates safety of codeine in children’s cough and cold medicine

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Children younger than 18 who have suffered serious side effects after taking cough and cold medicine containing codeine has prompted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to launch an investigation into the safety of the medications in children. Side effects include slowed or difficult breathing. Children with breathing problems may be more susceptible to respiratory adverse events. In April, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) banned the use of codeine to treat coughs and colds in children younger than age 12, and recommended the drug not be used in children and adolescents between 12 and 18 who have breathing problems, such as asthma. The ... Read More