Health & Wellness


Problems reported with wrinkle fillers in U.S.

Washington - U.S. regulators have received reports of serious and unexpected problems in people treated with wrinkle-fighting injections known as dermal fillers, Food and Drug Administration staff said in a report released on Friday.

The problems included facial palsy, disfigurement and "rare but life-threatening events such as severe allergic reactions and anaphylactic shock," the FDA staff said.

The agency said it received a total of 930 reports of health problems over the past six years. Many included known complications such as minor swelling. The FDA did not identify which products had reports of more serious problems.

The FDA staff said the reports had several limitations such as failing to say when the problems started.


U.S. bans melamine-tainted Chinese dairy products

Washington - The United States issued an import alert for Chinese-made food products on Thursday, calling for foods to be stopped at the border unless importers can certify they are either free of dairy or free of melamine.

Two top U.S. health officials announced they will go to China next week to open food inspection offices and talk about food safety after a series of health scares from Chinese-made food products.

Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach will also open new FDA offices in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai.


Merck vaccine protects men from wart virus, too

Washington - A vaccine designed to protect women and girls from cervical cancer caused by a wart virus may protect men, too, maker Merck and Co reported on Thursday.

The Gardasil vaccine was 90 percent effective in preventing lesions, mostly sexually transmitted warts, caused by the virus in men, Anna Giuliano of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute in Tampa, Florida, and colleagues found.

Comment: The Gardisal vaccine is linked to causing warts. See Gardasil Linked to Seventy-Eight Outbreaks of Genital Warts

It was about 45 percent effective in preventing infection with the four strains of HPV that it targets.


Google to help CDC map flu outbreaks

Atlanta -- Google is offering a service to help Web surfers make it through flu season and also assist U.S. health officials in monitoring the spread of the disease.

The Flu Trends Web site will comb through search words, such as "cough" and "fever," entered by Google users who likely have the flu and use the data to compile a map showing the severity of flu in various regions.

Lyn Finelli, who heads the influenza surveillance team at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, told The Wall Street Journal the real-time service "maps very closely to the influenza-like trends that we see in the United States."


Lucerne Half and Half recalled in Canada

Ottawa -- The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is warning people allergic to eggs not to eat Lucerne-brand 10 percent half and half cream due to a labeling error.

The CFIA said Lucerne Foods, a division of Canada Safeway Ltd., is voluntarily recalling the product because it might contain egg proteins not declared on its label, thereby posing a health risk for people allergic to eggs.


High non-fasting triglyceride risk studied

Copenhagen -- A Danish study suggests high non-fasting triglyceride levels can not only increase the risk of heart attack but also increase the risk of ischemic stroke.

Scientists from Copenhagen University Hospitals, led by Dr. Jacob Freiberg, said the methodology used in previous studies might have missed an association between triglycerides and ischemic stroke.


Costs Force Half of U.S. Chronic Disease Patients to Skimp on Care

More than half of Americans with chronic illnesses did not fill prescriptions, skipped doses of their medications, or didn't see a doctor for a medical problem because they could not afford to, a new study showed.

In a survey of some 7,500 people with chronic diseases in eight industrial nations, 54% of U.S. respondents said they had skimped on recommended care during the previous two years because of costs, reported Cathy Schoen, M.S., of the Commonwealth Fund here, and colleagues online in Health Affairs.

But the U.S. respondents were also much less likely than residents of other countries to report waiting two months or longer to see a specialist.


Eye Conditions Linked With Obstructive Sleep Apnea

If a good night's sleep helps the brain and body perform better, it's a good guess that sleep problems can cause more than just fatigue. Numerous studies have shown a connection between sleep disorders and medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, and metabolic disorders, including the risk of obesity and diabetes mellitus.


U.S. 'Super Bugs' Invading South America

Two clones of highly antibiotic-resistant organism strains, which previously had only been identified in the United States, are now causing serious sickness and death in several Colombian cities including the capital Bogotá, say researchers at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston. The study, done in collaboration with Universidad El Bosque in Bogotá, is presented in a research letter published in the Nov. 13 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

U.S. clones of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecalis (VREF) have emerged in communities across Colombia. The variation of the MRSA clone, referred to as the USA 300, has been previously reported to be the most important cause of severe skin and soft tissue infections in the United States. The VREF clone is genetically related to a strain that hit a Houston hospital in 1994.


Gardasil Linked to Seventy-Eight Outbreaks of Genital Warts

The Gardasil vaccine has been linked to 78 outbreaks of genital warts, according to an article in The Fiji Times entitled "Are our girls guinea pigs?" by Matelita Ragogo. That's right. In addition to all of the other adverse reactions to this controversial vaccine, children who receive it are subject to outbreaks of genital warts. Unfortunately, not too many doctors take the time to educate parents about some of these possible reactions prior to giving little girls this expensive jab.