Health Highlights: July 6, 2014

By on July 6, 2014

Health Highlights: July 6, 2014

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Foster Farms Recalls Chicken Products

Following an outbreak of antibiotic-resistant salmonella that has sickened more than 500 people in the past 16 months, a California-based chicken producer has issued its first recall since federal health officials connected the outbreak to chicken products sold by the company.

The recall involves 170 different chicken products, including drumsticks, thighs, chicken tenders and livers, produced at the Fresno facility of Foster Farms in March, the U.S. Department of Food and Agriculture reported Thursday. The amount of chicken products involved is undetermined.

The company took the action after federal health officials reported a case of Salmonella Heidelberg infection on June 23 matched the strain that has been found in Foster Farms products.

All of the products involved were shipped to California, Hawaii, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Oregon and Alaska.

Some of the recalled chicken products bear the labels FoodMaxx, Kroger, Safeway, Savemart, Valbest and Sunland, although most are labeled with the Foster Farms logo. No fresh products currently in grocery stores are involved, the company said.

Since the outbreak began in 2013, 574 people from 27 states and Puerto Rico have been sickened, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Last October, the USDA sent a letter to Foster Farms that documented numerous instances of poor sanitation practices at the company’s plant, including finding “fecal material on carcasses.”

In May, Foster Farms said that it had started tighter screening of birds, improved safety on the farms where the birds are raised and improved sanitary conditions in its plants.

For more on the outbreak and a full list of recalled products, go to the USDA.


JPMorgan Chase CEO Has Throat Cancer

The CEO of JPMorgan Chase has throat cancer, but plans to remain in his position while undergoing treatment.

In a letter sent to bank executives and employees Tuesday, 58-year-old Jamie Dimon said the cancer is curable and his prognosis is excellent because the disease was found at an early stage, USA Today reported.

“The good news is that the prognosis from my doctors is excellent, the cancer was caught quickly, and my condition is curable,” Dimon said in the letter. “I feel very good now and will let all of you know if my health situation changes.”

Dimon said he will undergo chemotherapy and radiation therapy at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan over the next eight weeks, and plans to stay at the helm of the bank during that time, USA Today reported.


Controversial Stem Cell Studies Retracted by Journal

Fraud allegations and waves of criticism from experts have led the journal Nature to withdraw two papers that claimed to describe a breakthrough in stem cell creation.

American and Japanese researchers said they had created stem cells capable of becoming any organ or tissue in the body simply by dipping white blood cells from young mice in an acid bath, the Boston Globe reported.

However, an investigation discovered errors and evidence of scientific misconduct in the papers describing the creation of what the researchers called STAP stem cells.

“Ongoing studies are investigating this phenomenon afresh, but given the extensive nature of the errors currently found, we consider it appropriate to retract both papers,” Nature said in a retraction notice published Wednesday, the Globe reported.


Rare Diseases Targeted in New Research Program

A network of research centers is being established to learn more about rare diseases that individually may affect only a handful of people worldwide, the U.S. National Institutes of Health announced Tuesday.

Doctors at the centers will examine and conduct genetic tests on patients, and share their findings with other experts. By collecting and analyzing this data, it’s hoped that doctors will be able to solve these medical mysteries, NBC News reported.

Learning more about these rare diseases — many of which are caused by genetic mutations — may also provide new insight into more common diseases.

“The Undiagnosed Diseases Network that we are announcing today will focus on the rarest of disorders — often those that affect fewer than 50 people in the entire world,” said Dr. Eric Green, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, one of the NIH institutes, NBC News reported.

“They are so rare that they may never have been discovered or doctors may never have encountered them,” he added.

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