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Investigators still baffled over cookie dough contamination

Food safety authorities and microbiologists arrived at Nestle’s Danville, Virginia plant to investigate the likely presence of E. coli bacteria in refrigerated cookie dough products. The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been baffled by the bacteria’s presence in the cookie dough because it is a type of food unlikely to contain E. coli. The E. coli outbreak has sickened 70 people in 30 states since March 2009. Thirty of the reported illnesses led to hospitalization. While some of the E. coli infections have led to serious kidney damage, no deaths from renal ... Read More

Clinical trials seek treatment for Tardive Dyskinesia

Three clinical trials seeking treatments for a neurological disorder known as Tardive Dyskinesia are currently seeking volunteers. The studies – Efficacy of Docosahexaenoic Acid on Tardive Dyskinesia, Safety and Efficacy of Avastrem (Pryidoxal 5’ –Phosphate) in the Treatment of Tardive Dyskinesia, and Aripiprazole for Neuroleptic-Induced Tardive Dyskinesia – are supported by, a service of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Tardive Dyskinesia is a neurological syndrome caused by the long-term use of neuroleptic drugs generally prescribed for psychiatric disorders, and some gastrointestinal disorders, such as metoclopramide, commonly known by the brand name Reglan. The condition causes repetitive, involuntary movements that may ... Read More

Pregnant women beware: Some medications can be lethal to fetus

In 2005, GlaxoSmithKline informed health care professionals that it was updating the Pregnancy subsection of the PRECAUTIONS section of the labels for its popular antidepressant medication Paxil to indicate the risk of possible side effects based on a study conducted by the drug maker. The study revealed a greater risk of birth defects in infants born to woman taking antidepressants during the first trimester. An even greater risk was found associated with the use of Paxil over other antidepressants in the study. Sometimes drugs are essential for the health of the pregnant mother. In those cases, it is imperative for ... Read More

Researchers working on safer synthetic HRT for menopause

Researchers in Ottawa, Canada are hoping to ease women’s fear of hormone replacement drugs by creating and testing synthetic hormones to combat aggravating symptoms of menopause, according to The research follows an earlier grant from the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation to explore the re-engineering of estrogen estradiol, which is one of the components of the popular hormone replacement therapy (HRT) Premarin. The new grant, funded by a $267,000 research grant from the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, seeks to evaluate those compounds of synthesized molecules on the liver, cardiac and other types of cells. The goal is that it must ... Read More

Cancer drug linked to serious skin condition SJS/TEN

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) along with OSI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Genetech has announced that new safety information has been added to the WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS sections of the prescribing information for the cancer drug erlotinib, known by the brand name Tarceva. The new labeling warns health care professionals of the risk of sometimes fatal conditions of gastrointestinal perforations, and bullous, blister and exfoliative skin conditions including cases suggestive of Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS) and its most serious form, toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), during the use of Tarceva. The safety information comes from routine pharmacovigilance activities of clinical study ... Read More

New guidelines aim to improve nursing home care

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued new guidance for nursing home surveyors, offering more clarification for several components of the survey that aim to improve nursing home residents’ quality of life and environment. Under these new guidelines, nursing home surveys will be focused on key areas such as ensuring residents live with dignity, offering choices in care and services, accommodating the environment to each residents’ needs and preferences, and creating a more homelike environment with access to visitors. CMS Acting Administrator Charlene Frizzera calls the revisions groundbreaking. “The improvements in the guidance are intended to support efforts ... Read More

Four factors worked like ‘perfect storm’ to cause coal ash spill

Four conditions created extra stress and movement in the massive coal ash pond at the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Kingston, Tennessee plant and caused the impoundment to breach last December, sending a wave of toxic material on to 300 acres of nearby property, according to a study conducted by Los Angeles-based AECOM USA Inc. and released Thursday. Those factors include high water content of the ash, the height of the pile, the construction of sloping dikes over wet ash around the landfill, and a hidden layer of fly ash “slime” hidden 40 to 85 feet below the section of pond ... Read More

Depressed, black women at higher risk of delivering prematurely

Women who experience symptoms of depression prior to becoming pregnant have an increased risk of preterm birth, but black women who are depressed are at greater risk of delivering a preterm baby than white women, according to a report in the Journal of Women’s Health. Researchers looked at data collected between 1990 and 1996 from a larger study investigating heart disease risk, and pulled data from 555 women who were 24 years old on average when they gave birth. Researchers studied that data for links between race, preterm birth and pre-pregnancy depressive mood. The data showed that 18.1 percent of ... Read More

Report finds Chrysler, GM bankruptcies jeopardize public safety

Safety Research & Strategies, Inc., a research firm that specializes in motor vehicle issues and safety, recently published a comprehensive report entitled “Public Safety at Risk: Bankruptcies Leave Legacy of Defects, Injuries and Death.” The report presents a concise, statistically supported argument about the dangers of allowing Chrysler and General Motors to shed all liability claims as part of their bankruptcy and restructuring. The bankruptcy terms will excuse the car manufacturers from being held accountable for defective and dangerous automobiles and components that have already injured and killed thousands of people and threaten to injure and kill thousands more. Studying ... Read More

Victims of TVA coal ash spill speak out at town meeting

Residents of east Tennessee affected by last December’s coal ash spill are still reeling six months after the toxic sludge poured down on their community, changing their lives forever. They expressed their anger at a meeting this week with Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) officials at Roane State Community College. The comments from community members were telling: “TVA says I’m not affected, I’ve never been so affected by anything in my life,” one concerned citizen says. “How are you going to make me whole again?” “I generally don’t come to these meetings because I get really upset because I don’t believe ... Read More