Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of
Stroke Prevention Trial Halted for Kids With Sickle Cell
A study to determine whether the drug hydroxyurea prevents
stroke in children with sickle cell anemia and iron overload has
been halted early because the drug was unlikely to prove more
effective than the current standard treatment of blood
transfusions, the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Hydroxyurea is known to prevent complications of sickle cell
disease in adults. This 26-site clinical trial included 133
children, ages 5 to 18, who had already suffered a stroke and had
received blood transfusions for at least 18 months and had high
levels of iron.
"Protecting our participants is an important factor in determining whether to stop a trial," Dr. Susan B. Shurin, acting director of the NHLBI, said in an agency news release. "When an experimental treatment fails to meet its predetermined goals, it is best to return participants to standard treatment as soon as possible."
About 10 percent of children with sickle cell disease suffer a
stroke, which puts them at high risk for subsequent stroke unless
they receive preventive treatment, the agency said.
McDonald's Recalls Shrek Glasses
About 12 million "Shrek"-themed drinking glasses sold nationwide
at McDonald's are being recalled because the painted designs
contain cadmium, a known carcinogen that can also cause bone
softening and severe kidney problems.
Consumers should immediately stop using the 16-ounce glasses,
warned the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the
Associated Press reported.
The U.S.-made glasses, which cost about $2 each, are part of a
promotional campaign for the movie "Shrek Forever After," and
depict characters from the movie. McDonald's plans to post
instructions on its Web site regarding refunds.
A pigment in paint on the glasses contained cadmium, said
McDonald's USA spokesman Bill Whitman. CPSC spokesman Scott Wolfson
did not specify the amounts of cadmium that leached from the paint
in tests, but said the amounts were "slightly above the protective
level currently being developed by the agency," the
WHO Flu Advisers Had Ties to Drug Makers: Report
A trio of experts who created the World Health Organization
guidelines advising governments to stockpile drugs to prepare for a
possible flu pandemic had close links to the drug companies that
make the antiviral drugs, a new report contends.
The scientists who wrote the guidelines, issued by the WHO in
2004, had previously been paid for other work from Roche, which
makes Tamiflu, and GlaxoSmithKline, which makes Relenza, according
to an investigation by the
British Medical Journal and the Bureau of Investigative
Guardian newspaper in England reported.
The companies made more than $7 billion when governments around
the world stockpiled the drugs, according to analysts.
Even though the trio of experts had previously publicly declared
their ties to the drug companies, the WHO itself did not publicly
disclose any of these connections in its 2004 guidance about the
need to stockpile the antiviral drugs, the newspaper reported.
Kellogg Hit for Rice Krispies Health Claims
After being accused by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission of
making exaggerated health claims about its Rice Krispies cereals,
Kellogg Co. has agreed to expanded restrictions that prohibit the
company from making any claims of health benefits of any food
unless there's scientific proof.
The FTC went after Kellogg for advertising that Rice Krispies
"now helps support your child's immunity," the
Wall Street Journal reported.
The new agreement expands a 2009 settlement between the FTC and
Kellogg over claims that Frosted Mini-Wheats cereal was "clinically
shown to improve kids' attentiveness by nearly 20 percent."
"We expect more from a great American company than making dubious claims -- not once, but twice -- that its cereals improve children's health," said FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz, the Journal reported. "Next time, Kellogg needs to stop and think
twice about the claims it's making before rolling out a new ad
campaign, so parents can make the best choices for their