Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Germany, France Pull Diabetes Drug Actos Due to Bladder Cancer
Sales of the popular diabetes drug Actos have been halted in
Germany and France after it was linked to bladder cancer.
Health officials in those countries also pulled the pill
Competact, a drug that combines Actos and the diabetes drug
CBS News reported.
The action was prompted by a French government-funded study that
followed diabetes patients from 2006 to 2009 and concluded that the
drugs increase the risk of bladder cancer.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration began a review of Actos in
September 2010 after reports that patients who took the drug for
more than two years had an increased risk for bladder cancer,
CBS News reported.
Actos, which is meant to control blood sugar levels by making
the body more sensitive to insulin, is prescribed for patients with
type 2 diabetes.
Fungal Infections Strike Some Joplin Tornado Survivors
Some people injured during the tornado in Joplin, Mo. have
developed a rare, potentially deadly fungal infection called
zygomycosis, which can be caused when soil or vegetative matter
becomes embedded under the skin.
There have been eight reported cases of suspected zygomycosis
among tornado victims who suffered multiple injuries and secondary
wound infections, Jacqueline Lapine, a spokeswoman for the Missouri
Department of Health and Senior Services, told the
A infectious disease specialist at the Freeman Health System in
Joplin said his hospital treated five tornado survivors for
zygomycosis and three of them died. However, he refrained from
blaming the deaths specifically on the infections.
"These people had multiple traumas, pneumonia, all kinds of problems. It's difficult to say how much the fungal infections contributed to their demise," Dr. Uwe Schmidt told the AP.
Doctors Perform Full Face Transplant on Woman Mauled by
A full face transplant was performed late last month on a
Connecticut woman who was severely mauled two years ago by a
chimpanzee, doctors at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston
announced this week.
The surgery team also performed a double hand transplant on
Charla Nash but the hands failed to thrive and were removed, the
Associated Press reported.
In February 2009, Nash was asked to help lure a pet chimpanzee
back into a friends' house. But the 200-pound animal attacked Nash,
ripping off her nose, lips, eyelids and hands before it was shot
and killed by police.
Hospital officials did not release the name of the donor for
Nash's face transplant. It's the third full-face transplant
performed at Brigham and Women's Hospital this year, the
Vegetable Sprouts Caused E. Coli Outbreak: German Officials
Vegetable sprouts grown on an organic farm in northwestern
Germany caused the E. coli outbreak that's sickened nearly 3,000
people and killed 29, according to the head of the nation's
national disease control center.
While no tests of vegetable sprouts from the farm in Lower
Saxony came back positive for the E. coli strain responsible for
the outbreak, an investigation into the pattern of the outbreak
yielded enough evidence to put the finger of blame on the farm,
Reinhard Burger, president of the Robert Koch Institute, said at a
press conference, the
Associated Press reported.
Authorities are lifting the warning against eating lettuce,
cucumbers and tomatoes, said Andreas Hensel, head of the Risk
The farm blamed for the outbreak was shut down last Thursday and
all of its produce recalled. It's possible that all of the tainted
vegetable sprouts have either been thrown away or consumed by now,
but the crisis isn't over and people should not eat sprouts, Burger
Mail Order Hatchery Source of Salmonella Outbreak: CDC
Baby chicks and ducklings from a mail order hatchery are to
blame for a salmonella outbreak that sickened 39 people in 15
states between late February and late May, according to the U.S.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
At least nine people were hospitalized but there were no deaths.
People who became ill ranged from young children to seniors, but
nearly half of those affected were age 5 and younger, the
Associated Press reported.
Ohio had the highest number of reported cases, with eight. Other
states affected by the outbreak were Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky,
Michigan, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, New York,
Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin and West
The CDC did not name the hatchery that was the source of the
infected birds, the
Disabilities Affect One Billion People Worldwide: Report
The proportion of people worldwide with disabilities has
increased from 10 percent in the 1970s to a current level of 15
percent, and that percentage is expected to rise as the global
population ages, according to a report released this week by the
World Health Organization and the World Bank.
Of the one billion people with disabilities, about one in five
(nearly 200 million) have a severe disability,
Agence France-Presse reported.
Some nations have made progress in improving the lives of people
with disabilities, but much more must be done to help them, the
agencies said. For example, disabled people are three times more
likely than others to be refused necessary medical care and often
face exclusion from society in a number of areas, including jobs
"We need schools, employment to be accessible to people with disabilities... rather than to be segregated," said Etienne Krug, director of the WHO's department on prevention of violence, trauma and disability, AFP reported.
He added that every country should adopt a national plan for the
disabled, and noted that disability affects the most vulnerable
people, including women, children, the elerly and the poor.
New Program Seeks to End HIV in Newborns
A global program to eliminate HIV among newborns by 2015 was
launched this week by the United Nations and the United States
The Countdown to Zero initiative aims to treat HIV-infected
pregnant women in order to cut infection rates among their babies
to less than 5 percent. It will cost an estimated $2.5 billion in
order to treat 15 million women, double the number currently
BBC News reported.
"We believe that by 2015 children everywhere can be born free of HIV and that their mothers can remain healthy," UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe said. "This new global plan is realistic, it is achievable and it is driven by the most affected countries."
Currently, a baby is born with HIV nearly every minute, nearly
all of them in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the UN,
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