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Toyota may use “smart pedal” to fix unintended accleration problem

A safety feature common in most German vehicles, which reduces the likelihood of an unintended acceleration, could have prevented the injuries and deaths of people caught in runaway Toyotas. According to a report published by the New York Times, the technology isn’t new. It just hasn’t been adopted by most automobile manufacturers outside of Germany. Toyota, however, is reportedly considering implementing this technology as a solution to the acceleration problems in up to 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles. Toyota announced last month that it would soon issue a vehicle recall over concerns that the driver’s side floor mats can ... Read More

New drug shows promising results in treatment, prevention of colon cancer

A new formulation of an older generation antibiotic is showing promising results in lab animals as an effective treatment in the prevention and treatment of colon cancer and could minimize the need for uncomfortable colonoscopies and surgical polyp removal. Dr. Rina Rosin-Arbesfeld of Tel Aviv University’s Sackler School of Medicine has reformulated an antibiotic that has reduced the sizes of polyps in about 80 percent of mice. On average, the mice that were given the drug lived about 30 percent longer than mice that were not treated with the antibiotic. Dr. Rosin-Arbesfeld hopes these findings will lead to a preventative ... Read More

Emory River to remain closed until February as cleanup continues

A 1 ½-mile stretch of the Emory River in east Tennessee will remain closed to boat traffic through mid-February – several months longer than expected – while the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) continues to dredge the river to remove toxic coal ash that spilled there following a coal ash impoundment pond breach last December. The dredging is part of a three-year, $1 billion cleanup of the area with hopes to restore the land and waterways that were badly damaged and contaminated following the massive spill. The river was originally closed for 30 days in early August, followed by another 30-day ... Read More

Flu patient dies after receiving Relenza inappropriately

The death of a patient suffering from influenza who was treated with Relenza (zanamivir) Inhalation Powder in a manner not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has spurred a notification from the drug maker to infectious disease health care professionals and hospital risk managers urging them not to use the medication in any form that is not approved by the FDA. The incident occurred in the United States and involved a pregnant woman on mechanical ventilation. The patient received zanamivir solution made from dry powder product from Relenza Rotadisks via nebulizer for three days. Death was attributed to ... Read More

Texting and driving now illegal for federal employees

President Obama signed an executive order earlier this month prohibiting federal employees from texting while driving. The new law applies to workers who use cars or phones provided by the federal government in addition to those using their own cars and phones for government business. The new legislation is part of the Obama administration’s plans to fight what has become an epidemic of distracted driving on America’s roads. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood made the announcement at a Washington D.C. conference that brought together hundreds of law enforcement officials, legislators, auto and telecommunications industry reps, academics, consumer and safety advocates, and families whose loved ... Read More

Agency names the germiest FDA-regulated foods

Despite the efforts of the federal government to keep America’s food supply clean, every year nearly 80 million people in the United States fall ill after eating food contaminated with dangerous bacteria such as salmonella, listeria, and E. coli. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately 5,000 Americans inflicted with food poisoning die every year. Although there is no way to completely avoid the bacteria that lead to food borne illnesses, there are some ways to reduce your risk of becoming sick. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has issued a list of 10 ... Read More

Colon cleansing carries risk of traumatic injury, medical problems

Movie stars and celebrities may swear by them, but medical experts agree that colon cleansing should only be done when medically necessary. “Sometimes it is necessary for people preparing to undergo a medical procedure or examination, such as a colonoscopy or a colon x-ray,” says to Dr. Mark Larson, a gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., in the Hartford Courant. “But unless a doctor has recommended it as a preparation for such procedure, I strongly discourage people from colon cleansing. It can cause traumatic injury to the colon and result in long-term medical problems.” Colon cleansing is the process ... Read More

CPSC issues another child drowning advisory

In June, as swimming pools opened for the summer across the country, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a safety advisory to the public in an effort to raise awareness about child drowning and the ways to prevent swimming related deaths and injuries. Now, as pools close for the fall and winter, a new CPSC advisory seeks to keep children safe in bathtubs and child bathing equipment. “After pools, more children drown in bathtubs than in any other product in and around the home,” the advisory says. From 2003 to 2005, the CPSC received an average of 90 reports each ... Read More

Ontario Medical Association wants children banned from ATVs

All-terrain vehicle accidents are common in Canada, where the vehicles have become a way of life for so many people living in the country’s vast stretches of rural land and wilderness. Unfortunately, Canada’s youngest citizens account for a significant percent of the injuries and deaths resulting from ATV rollovers and collisions – a grim statistic that has prompted the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) to push for new legislation that would help protect many Ontario children from being injured or killed on ATVs. “As physicians, we are seeing far too many children with serious injuries caused by the use of ATVs,” ... Read More

Anti-nausea drugs carry black box warnings

Patients who suffer from nausea and vomiting are often given medication to stop their symptoms. But many of those drugs carry serious side effects that have earned them black box warnings from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A black box warning indicates that use of the drug carries a significant risk of serious or life-threatening adverse effects. Last month, the FDA issued a black box warning on the injectable form of promethazine hydrochloride. Promethazine hydrochloride, once sold under the now-discontinued brand name Phenergan, is available in generic formulations in the form of tablets, liquid, rectal suppository, intravenous injection and ... Read More