Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Mercury Found in Skin-Lightening Cream
Mercury has been found in illegal Mexican-made skin-lightening
cream being sold in California.
Health investigators are teaming with health and beauty workers
in the immigrant communities of Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose
to track down the skin cream in shops and at swap meets. Officials
are also urging consumers to dispose of the products safely, the
Associated Press reported.
Earlier this month, the California Department of Public Health
issued a medical alert to health care professionals asking them to
notify the state of potential mercury poisoning cases and to tell
their patients to stop using the cream.
Skin lightening cream is typically used to lighten skin, reduce
freckles and age spots, and treat acne, the
Radiation From Nuclear Plant Detected Far Off Japan's Coast
Water samples collected from the Pacific Ocean in June 2011
showed that radioactive contamination from the damaged Fukushima
nuclear power plant was present up to nearly 400 miles off the
Japanese coast, scientists say.
Some of the water samples showed readings for cesium-137 up to
1,000 times higher than prior levels, but those elevated levels are
far below what is generally considered harmful to marine animals or
people who eat seafood, according to Ken Buesseler of the Woods
Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, the
Associated Press reported.
Along with the thousands of water samples collected about three
months after the nuclear power plant disaster, researchers also
tested fish and plankton and found cesium-137 levels well below the
legal limit, Buesseler said Tuesday at the annual Ocean Sciences
Meeting in Salt Lake City.
He was chief scientist for the cruise that took water samples
from about 20 miles to 400 miles off the coast east of the
Fukushima plant. Buesseler said concentrations of cesium-137 ranged
from 10 to 1,000 times higher than normal, but were about 10
percent of the levels generally considered harmful, the
Because swirling ocean currents created concentrations of
cesium-137, the highest readings were not always from water samples
taken closest to the plant, Buesseler explained. He also noted that
most of the cesium-137 in the ocean came from water discharges,
rather than atmospheric fallout.
Cesium-137 wasn't the only type of radioactive contamination
released from the Fukushima plant, but is of particular concern
because of its long persistence in the environment, Buesseler
Due to continued leakage from the plant, Buesseler told the
AP that "we're not over the hump" yet in terms of radioactive
contamination of the ocean.
Stem Cell Transplant Helps Monkeys with Parkinson's Disease
Monkeys with Parkinson's disease showed significant improvements
in movement after human embryonic stem cells were implanted in
their brains, according to Japanese scientists.
Before the procedure, the four monkeys all had violent shaking
in their limbs and were unable to control their bodies,
Agence France-Presse reported.
Three months after the stem cell transplant, the monkeys began
showing recovery of their muscle control. Within about six months,
they were able to walk around in their cages.
"Clear improvements were confirmed in their movement," Jun Takahashi, an associate professor at Kyoto University, told AFP.
He said these results are a world first and he wants to make the
procedure more safe and effective before conducting human clinical
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