Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
FDA Urged to Regulate E-Cigarettes Like Tobacco Products
The federal government should start regulating electronic
cigarettes like tobacco products in order to prevent children from
using them, says a letter sent by 40 state attorneys general to the
Food and Drug Administration.
The letter notes that e-cigarettes are being marketed to
children through cartoon-like characters in ads and by offering
fruit and candy flavors,
CBS News/Associated Pressreported.
The attorneys general pointed out that the health effects of
e-cigarettes have not been adequately studied and the ingredients
are not regulated.
The FDA needs to meet an Oct. 31 deadline to release proposed
regulations to control the advertising, ingredients and sale to
minors of e-cigarettes, the letter stated. In the past, the FDA has
announced intentions to tighten oversight of e-cigarettes but has
delayed taking action.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released
earlier this month found that 1.8 million middle and high school
students said they had tried e-cigarettes in 2012. The percentage
of students who said they tried an e-cigarette jumped from 4.7
percent in 2011 to 10 percent in 2010,
Dr. Drew Pinsky Had Prostate Cancer Surgery in July
Television personality Dr. Drew Pinsky revealed Tuesday that he
had his prostate removed earlier this year after being diagnosed
Pinsky said he had a robotic prostatectomy in July and returned
to work within 10 days. He said he's cancer-free and the only
reminders of his surgery are six small scars on his torso, the
The 55-year-old host of HLN's "Dr. Drew on Call" wrote about his
experience on the network's website. He said he went public about
his condition to raise men's awareness about prostate cancer.
Pinsky is an addiction specialist who previously appeared on
such TV series as "Loveline," "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew" and
Burger King Launches Lower-Calorie Fries
Burger King has introduced new crinkle-cut french fries that the
fast-food chain says contain about 20 percent fewer calories than
its regular fries due to a new batter that doesn't absorb as much
The company says that a small order of the new "Satisfries" has
270 calories, compared with 340 calories for a small order of it
regular fries, the
Satisfries use exactly the same ingredients --- potatoes, oil
and batter -- as regular fries and customers won't be able to tell
that the new fries are lower in calories, according to Burger King
The worlds No. 2 hamburger chain worked with one of its potato
suppliers -- McCain Foods -- to develop the lower-calorie fries,
said Alex Macedo, head of North American operations at Burger King.
He told the
APthat McCain can't sell the fries to other fast-food
Environmental Chemicals a Threat to Pregnancy: Report
Americans are exposed daily to chemicals in the air, water, food
and everyday products that can damage reproductive health,
according to a report from the American College of Obstetricians
and Gynecologists and the American Society for Reproductive
The groups said doctors need to lobby for stronger environmental
policies to better identify and reduce exposure to harmful
They also want doctors to ask pregnant women about their
exposure to different chemicals and to teach their patients how to
avoid some of the chemicals considered to be the most dangerous
"What we're trying to get is the balance between awareness and alarmist," ACOG President Dr. Jeanne Conry told the AP.
For the report, a committee of specialists from the two groups
examined studies about industrial chemicals that people's bodies
can absorb from various sources. They noted that certain chemicals
have been linked to infertility, miscarriages, birth defects and
other reproductive problems.
On-the-job exposure poses the greatest risk for women, so
doctors should ask pregnant women about their workplaces when they
make their first prenatal visit, the committee recommended.
They also said that research suggests that nearly all pregnant
women are exposed to at least 43 different chemicals. It's unclear
how many pose a threat, but some can reach the fetus and are known
to be harmful, the
For example, mercury can accumulate in certain types of fish.
When pregnant women eat these fish, the mercury can damage her
unborn baby's developing brain. Exposure to certain pesticides in
the womb can increase the risk of childhood cancer, according to
Women and their babies aren't the only ones at risk. The
committee noted that high levels of pesticide exposure in adult men
has been linked to sterility and prostate cancer, the
The committee advised consumers to choose fresh fruits and
vegetables over processed foods when possible and to thoroughly
wash produce. Pregnant women and young children should limit their
seafood consumption to species with low levels of mercury, such as
shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon and catfish.
"There's only so much people can do as individuals and families to limit chemical exposures," University of Washington public health dean and environmental health specialist Dr. Howard Frumkin told the AP. He was not involved in the report.
But he called the report "a very balanced, reasonable and
Current environmental regulations provide sufficient consumer
protection and the new report will create "confusion and alarm
among expectant mothers" and distract them from proven measures for
having a healthy pregnancy, according to the American Chemistry
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