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NHTSA receives more Toyota acceleration and brake complaints

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received a surge of new complaints involving Toyota vehicles in the last three weeks. The additional reports came as the NHTSA and two different congressional committees step up their probe of Toyota and the way it handled safety issues affecting between 8 and 9 million U.S. vehicles. The NHTSA had on record 17 complaints of acceleration-related Toyota crashes involving 21 deaths between 2000 and 2009. Since January 27, the agency has received reports of an additional 13 deaths and 10 injuries allegedly caused by sudden acceleration accidents since 2005, bringing the total number ... Read More

External heart defibrillators recalled by manufacturer

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning emergency medical professionals, health care professionals and consumers about a recall of Powerheart, Cardiovive, CardioLife models of Cardiac Science Automated External Defibrillators (AED) because the devices may not be able to deliver therapy during a cardiac resuscitation attempt, which may lead to serious adverse events or death. Cardiac Science Corporation says the AEDs were manufactured in a way that makes them potentially susceptible to failure under certain conditions. About 12,200 devices are affected by the recall. ... Read More

Governors voice support for Toyota in letter to Congress

The governors of four states with large non-union Toyota manufacturing operations have banded together to voice their support for Toyota amidst damaging news reports about the company’s record-breaking safety recalls. The letter bears the signatures of Governor Bob Riley of Alabama, Haley Barbour of Mississippi, Steven Beshear of Kentucky, and Mitch Daniels of Indiana. It addresses the leaders of two congressional committees that are probing Toyota for the way it handled customer reports and complaints of sudden unintended acceleration in several of its best-selling models, including the Camry, which is the top-selling car in the U.S. The governors immediately praise ... Read More

Illinois lawmakers ask White House not to classify coal ash as hazardous

A group of Illinois lawmakers are asking the White House not to classify coal ash as a hazardous material because doing so would cripple their state’s economy. In a letter to the Office of Management and Budget, the bipartisan group of congressmen expressed concerns that reclassifying the byproduct from coal-firing plants would raise the cost of energy for Illinois consumers. It would also hamper local utilities’ ability to recycle the coal ash in products like cement, concrete and other building materials, a process that the group says generates thousands of jobs in Illinois. Coal ash storage is currently under review ... Read More

Black box warning on Reglan came too late for some

Metoclopramide, known by the brand name Reglan, is one of the leading medications prescribed to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and gastroparesis, a condition in which the stomach takes too long to empty its contents. What many don’t know is that metoclopramide was first used to treat psychosis in patients, but it was found to show more promise as a drug to treat gastrointestinal disorders. Unfortunately, like many medications used to treat psychosis, metoclopramide also increased one’s risk of developing a severe movement disorder known as Tardive Dyskinesia. Tardive Dyskensia is a condition in which a person develops involuntary movements ... Read More

Indiana women sue makers of Yaz after suffering serious side effects

More than 50 women in Indiana are suing Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals Inc., the makers of Yaz, Yasmin and its generic brand Ocella, claiming the birth control pills caused them heart attacks and strokes. The women are among hundreds across the country who say they were not appropriately warned of the risk of serious adverse events associated with the drugs. Even the commercials for Yaz point out that it is a different type of birth control pill, specially designed to treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a severe form of PMS, as well as moderate acne. Yaz is the only birth control ... Read More

Trickle-down effect causing problems for coal ash disposal

It was bad enough when the coal ash impoundment pond at the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Kingston, Tenn., plant holding more than a billion gallons of toxic sludge ruptured, sending a wave of coal ash onto a neighboring community and into nearly waterways. Cleaning it up hasn’t been a walk on the beach. One challenge was locating a landfill that would accept the recovered coal ash. The newest issue is finding a company willing to treat the wastewater from that landfill. Coal ash recovered from the Kingston spill is being shipped by train car to Arrowhead Landfill in Perry County, ... Read More

Family of Texas Toyota victims speaks

Toyota’s top executives steadfastly deny that the acceleration problems plaguing millions of Toyota and Lexus vehicles have anything to do with electronics, despite a growing body of evidence that strongly suggests electronics are actually the cause of many sudden, unintended acceleration incidents. Recently, the widow of a man who died in Southlake, Texas when his 2008 Avalon sped out of control in December told ABC News that she had experienced ongoing acceleration problems with the vehicle. Linda Hardy said that she took the Avalon to her dealer three times between Thanksgiving and Christmas, complaining that the vehicle would suddenly race ... Read More

Estrogen-only HRT linked to asthma after menopause

A study involving nearly 58,000 women in France over a 12-year period suggests that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may increase a woman’s risk of developing asthma after menopause. Researchers from the Gustave Roussy Institute in France and the Instituto Nacional de Salud Publica in Mexico published the findings in the British medical journal, Thorax. The study suggested that women who took HRT were 21 percent more likely to develop asthma than women who did not take HRT. The risk was even greater for women who took estrogen-only HRT compared to the combined estrogen-plus-progestin therapy, with the estrogen-only group at 54 ... Read More

FDA issues warning about local anesthetics, pain pumps

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is notifying health care professionals of reports of a serious and destructive cartilage condition known as chondrolysis in patients who have had shoulder surgery during which they received continuously infused local anesthetics to deaden pain. The anesthetics were delivered via pain pumps, balloon-like devices that hold medication outside the body and have a catheter that delivers pain medication directly into the shoulder joint for up to 72 hours following surgery. It is not known whether the drugs or the device is causing the chondrolysis, or if it is a combination of several factors. However, ... Read More