Health & Wellness


Canada: Maple Leaf Recalls Deli Meats Amid Listeria Outbreak

Maple Leaf Foods Inc., Canada's largest food processor, said it recalled 23 delicatessen meat products as authorities warned of an outbreak of Listeria bacteria that was responsible for one death in Ontario.


Researchers Question If HPV Vaccine Is Worth the Risk

Gardasil's High Cost and Effectiveness Come Under Fire

Comment: Since Merck developed the cervical cancer vaccine, their first-quarter profits nearly doubled in April 2008.

The New England Journal of Medicine editorial can be read here. Researchers point out that:

[..]the real impact of HPV vaccination on cervical cancer will not be observable for decades. [..]

Although it was licensed for use in the United States in June 2006, the first phase 3 trials of the HPV vaccine with clinically relevant end points - cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grades 2 and 3 (CIN 2/3) - were not reported until May 2007, first in the Journal2 and 1 month later in the Lancet.3,4

[..] will the vaccine ultimately prevent not only cervical lesions, but also cervical cancer and death? How long will protection conferred by the vaccine last? Since most HPV infections are easily cleared by the immune system, how will vaccination affect natural immunity against HPV, and with what implications? How will the vaccine affect preadolescent girls, given that the only trials conducted in this cohort have been on the immune response? The studies with clinical end points (i.e., CIN 2/3) involved 16- to 24-year-old women. [..]

In other words, people who are getting the vaccine now are guinea pigs. This applies especially to younger girls.


Sixth 'Taste' Discovered - Calcium

©Michael Tordoff
A section of a rat tongue stained for the calcium-sensing receptor, CaSR, which is in the central, bright green onion-shaped taste bud.

Here's the new taste sensation - your tongue might be able to taste calcium.

The capability to taste calcium has now been discovered in mice. With these rodents and humans sharing many of the same genes, the new finding suggests that people might also have such a taste.


Cel-Sci lets Teva sell cancer drug

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. got the OK to market and distribute Cel-Sci Corp.'s cancer drug Multikine in Israel and Turkey.

Once the drug has been approved, Vienna-based Cel-Sci (AMEX:CVM) will make the product, while the Israel-based generic pharmaceutical giant will be responsible for sales. Revenue will be split evenly between both companies.


UK Drug chief angry at medicine cost

NICE advises on which drugs should be bought by the NHS

The head of a government health advisory body has accused pharmaceutical companies of driving up the price of medicine.

Professor Sir Michael Rawlins says drugs are expensive because of "perverse incentives" in the pharmaceutical industry.

The chairman of the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) made his comments to the Observer newspaper.

NICE has recently been criticised for failing to approve kidney cancer drugs.


US Drug reps cut back on doctor freebies

Soon, those drug-branded pens, clipboards and coffee mugs will be a thing of the past in physicians offices.

The nation's largest pharmaceutical trade association now says its members can no longer hand out those trinkets and freebies, and it sharply curtailed when, where and how drug companies can wine and dine physicians.

The new code of conduct, which goes into effect Jan. 1, was designed to squelch, once and for all, any negative perceptions that doctors are influenced by or make prescribing choices as a result of gifts from drug manufacturers.


Silver is key to reducing pneumonia associated with breathing tubes

People have long prized silver as a precious metal. Now, silver-coated endotracheal tubes are giving critically ill patients another reason to value the lustrous metal. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the NASCENT Investigation Group, report that the silver-coated tubes led to a 36 percent reduction of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP).

Arrow Down

West Nile victim still ailing six years after virus struck

Jackie Reid doesn't have much faith in new research that shows many people who have contracted West Nile virus from infected mosquitoes will fully recover.

Her 67-year-old husband, Ron, contracted the virus in 2002 from a mosquito bite while in Toronto. It soon developed into a neurological condition - encephalitis, a swelling of the brain. Six years later, the city man still requires around-the-clock care.


Career women are their own worst enemies: study

Singapore - Women are their own workplace enemies when it comes to cracking the glass ceiling, with an international study finding they are less likely to promote themselves and network than their male counterparts.

The 2008 study, part of U.S. behavioral scientist Shannon L. Goodson's new book The Psychology of Sales Call Reluctance, compared almost 11,500 professional women with 16,700 men from 34 countries.

Black Cat

Workplace violence comes in many forms

You may think you know that person over in the next cubicle. You know what position his kid plays on his Little League team. You know he makes a mean guacamole for the company picnic. And you know he always remembers to send his wife flowers on her birthday.