Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Two More Deaths Caused by Mystery Virus
Two more deaths caused by a mysterious respiratory virus have
been confirmed in the Middle East, according to international
The two cases date back to April and are part of a group of
people who became ill in Zarqa, Jordan. Investigators are trying to
determine if the 10 other people who fell sick also were infected
with the virus and how it might have spread, the
Other cases of the SARS-related virus have occurred in Saudi
Arabia and Qatar. So far, a total of nine people have been sickened
by the virus and five of them have died.
The World Health Organization says it's not clear how the virus
spreads and does not rule out the possibility that it is being
transmitted from person to person, the
In 2003, SARS killed about 800 people in a global outbreak.
Company Halts Production of Generic Lipitor
The world's largest producer of the generic version of the
cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor has stopped production until it
can determine how glass particles ended up in its pills, the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration says.
Earlier this month, Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals recalled more than
40 lots of the drug due to the glass contamination. The FDA says it
has not received any reports of patients being harmed by the
particles, which are about the size of a grain of sand,
The New York Timesreported.
Ranbaxy would not reveal where the drug was made, but an FDA
spokeswoman said Thursday that the company would stop producing the
pill's active ingredient, which is made in India, until the
investigation is completed.
A Ranbaxy spokesman declined to comment beyond an informational
statement posted on the company's website,
U.S. Birthrate Hits Record Low
The U.S. birthrate hit a record low in 2010, largely due to a
sharp decline in births among immigrant women hard hit by the
recession, according to an analysis of data from the National
Center for Health Statistics.
The Pew Research Center team said that the annual number of
births per 1,000 women ages 15-44 fell eight percent from 2007 to
2010, when it reached 64 births per 1,000, the
Wall Street Journalreported. The U.S. birthrate peaked at
122.7 per 1,000 in 1957.
The birthrate among immigrant women fell 14 percent between 2007
and 2010, to 87.8 births per 1,000 women. During the same time,
there was a six percent decline in the birthrate among U.S.-born
women, to 58.9 births per 1,000.
Among immigrants of Hispanic origin, the birthrate plunged 19
percent between 2007 and 2010. The birthrate for Mexicans, the
largest groups among Hispanics, fell 23 percent, the
Preliminary data show that the overall U.S. birthrate in 2011
was 63.2 per 1,000.
Most Adult Bedrail Deaths Involve Older People: Report
About 126 of the 155 adults who died in bedrail incidents
between January 2003 to September 2012 were 60 or older, according
to a review of adult bedrail deaths and injuries released Thursday
by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
About 61 percent of the deaths occurred at home and about
one-quarter occurred in a nursing home or assisted living facility,
The New York Timesreported.
The CPSC review also found that nearly half of the adults who
died in bedrail incidents had medical problems, including dementia,
Parkinson's disease and heart disease. Most of the deaths occurred
when patients became stuck in the bedrails, mainly with their head
or neck getting trapped.
Between 2003 and 2011, nearly 37,000 people were injured in
bedrail incidents and treated at hospital emergency rooms,
according to the CPSC.
The review was released as the CPSC considers how to correct
potential hazards associated with bedrails. Consumer advocates have
long called for federal officials to take action on the issue,
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