Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of
Traffic Crashes Cost $99 Billion Annually: Report
The annual cost of medical care and lost productivity associated
with injuries from motor vehicle crashes in the United States is
more than $99 billion, which works out to nearly $500 for each
licensed driver, says a federal government study.
The yearly cost of direct medical care associated with traffic
crashes is $17 billion, according to the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention analysis of 2005 data.
They found that the annual costs of fatal and non-fatal
crash-related injuries is $70 billion for people in cars and light
trucks, $12 billion for motorcyclists, $10 billion for pedestrians,
and $5 billion for bicyclists.
"Every 10 seconds, someone in the United States is treated in an emergency department for crash-related injuries, and nearly 40,000 people die from these injuries each year. This study highlights the magnitude of the problem of crash-related injuries from a cost perspective, and the numbers are staggering," Dr. Grant Baldwin, director of CDC's Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, said in a CDC news release.
Millions Of Seniors May Have To Change Medicare Drug Plans:
Millions of American seniors may be forced to switch their
Medicare drug plans next year due to a plan designed to make it
simpler for people to select drug coverage, according to an
analysis by private research firm Avalere Health.
The company estimates that prescription drug plans for more than
three million Medicare beneficiaries will be eliminated under
Medicare's efforts to reduce duplicative coverage and offer seniors
better choices, the
Associated Press reported.
Those beneficiaries wouldn't lose coverage but could see changes
in their premiums and copayments, according to Avalere.
Medicare officials were quick to dismiss the company's
"Anybody who is producing this kind of analysis is simply guessing," Jonathan Blum, deputy administrator for Medicare, told the AP.
Mr. Magic Male Enhancer Capsules Pose Health Risk: FDA
A product called Mr. Magic Male Enhancer from Don Wands has been
recalled because it contains an undeclared drug ingredient that
could pose a health risk to men who take the capsules, says the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The agency said lab tests show that Mr. Magic contains
hydroxythiohomosildenafil and sulfoaildenafil, an analogue of
Sildenafil, which is an FDA-approved drug used as treatment for
male Erectile Dysfunction (ED). These ingredients mean that Mr.
Magic is an unapproved drug.
The analogue in Mr. Magic may interact with nitrates in some
prescription drugs (such as nitroglycerin) and cause blood pressure
to drop to dangerous levels, the FDA warned. People with diabetes,
high blood pressure, high cholesterol or heart disease often take
The recall includes lot numbers 9041401, 251209 and 8121904.
FDA Issues Proposed Guidelines For Restaurant Nutrition
Proposed guidelines to help restaurants comply with new federal
food labeling requirements were released Tuesday by the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration.
The new regulations are part of the new health-care legislation
and apply to food chains and vending machines, the
Wall Street Journal reported.
They'll be required to post the amount of calories in standard
items on their menus and menus boards. In addition, consumers who
request it must be provided with additional nutritional
information, such as levels of sodium, saturated fat, cholesterol,
sugars, fiber, total carbohydrates and total protein.
The FDA said it understands that companies require time to
comply with the new regulations and said it will not enforce the
rules for a period of time that's yet to be determined, the
Wall Street Journal reported.
The agency is seeking the public's opinion on an appropriate
length of time for that grace period.
FDA Not Backing Vaccine That Protects Hens in UK from
In the midst of a massive recall of eggs due to salmonella, the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration is being criticized for not
making it mandatory for American farmers to vaccinate their hens
against the bacteria.
New egg safety rules that took effect last month do not include
vaccinating hens against salmonella, a measure that would add less
than a penny to the cost of a dozen eggs. The FDA said there wasn't
enough evidence to show that such a vaccination program would
prevent people from getting sick,
The New York Times reported.
But critics point to Britain, where the practice of farmers
vaccinating their hens against salmonella began more than a decade
ago. Last year, England and Wales had 581 reported cases of the
most common type of salmonella (
Salmonella Enteritidis PT4), a drop of 96 percent from 1997.
"We have pretty much eliminated salmonella as a human problem in the U.K.," Amanda Cryer, director of the British Egg Information Service, an industry group, told The Times.
The current egg recall is one of the largest ever and involves
nearly 550 million eggs from two Iowa producers. Nationwide,
thousands of cases of salmonella in humans have been traced to eggs
contaminated with the bacteria.
The vaccine reduces the number of hens that get infected with
salmonella and also makes it less likely that an infected hen will
pass the bacteria into her eggs.
Vaccines "are the only thing Im aware of that really controls
the problem from the inside out, at the source," Ronald Plylar, the
former president of a company that developed an early salmonella
There's a strong belief within the American egg industry that
the current outbreak and recall will force nearly all U.S. egg
producers to begin vaccinating their hens in order to reassure
'Tootsie Tanner' Radiation Can Harm Skin, Eyes: FDA
People using the Tootsie Tanner portable foot tanning device are
at risk for an overdose of ultraviolet (UV) radiation that may
cause immediate and delayed serious skin and eye injuries, warns
the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The label on the device says it can be used for 30 minutes and
the timer control permits 30-minute exposures. However, FDA testing
indicates a maximum exposure of 20 minutes.
In addition, the product fails to display prominent warnings
about the need for protective eyewear, the agency said.
The FDA sent a warning letters to Texas-based manufacturer IPCH
but since learned that the company is no longer in business. This
means that there will be no refunds available for the estimated
3,000 devices sold and the devices will not be replaced or updated
with the correct labeling.
Individuals and businesses who own these devices should stop
using them, remove the lamps and safely discard all components
according to local environmental standards, the FDA
To date, the FDA has not received any reports of injuries
associated with the Tootsie Tanner device.