Health Highlights: Nov. 4, 2013

By on November 4, 2013

Health Highlights: Nov. 4, 2013

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

Perrigo Recalls Infant Pain and Fever Reliever

Safety concerns have prompted Perrigo to recall 18 batches of an over-the-counter pain and fever reliever for infants that is sold under brand names including Babies R Us and Care One.

The U.S.-wide recall covers batches of acetaminophen infant suspension liquid, 160mg/5mL sold in 2 oz. and 4 oz. bottles packaged with oral syringes. Some of the products may contain syringes without dose markings, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Using a syringe without dose markings could result in infants receiving an incorrect dose of the medicine, the agency said.

Consumers who discover that the product has a syringe without dose markings should not use the product. They should call Perrigo at 1-800-719-9260 for more information, the FDA said.


Blood Test May Track Spread of Melanoma: Study

A simple blood test could detect if the deadly skin cancer melanoma has spread, a new study says.

U.K. researchers found that measuring levels of a gene called TFP12 in patients’ DNA could be crucial, BBC News reported.

“By using a blood test, we have the basis of a simple and accurate way of discovering how advanced the disease is, as well as an early warning sign of whether it has started to spread,” study author Dr. Tim Crook said. “This would give doctors and patients important information much sooner than is possible at the moment.”

“There’s increasing evidence that the latest treatments are more effective in these early stages and, if we can identify patients whose cancer has only just started to spread, this would significantly improve the chances of beating the disease,” said Crook, a consultant medical oncologist at the University of Dundee.

The findings, presented at a National Cancer Research Institute meeting, could lead to faster diagnoses and new treatments, according to Cancer Research U.K., BBC News reported.


Many Herbal Supplements Aren’t What They Claim: Study

Many herbal supplements don’t contain the type of plant that’s listed on the label, according to a new study.

Canadian researchers used a special DNA test to analyze 44 bottles of popular herbal supplements sold by 12 companies. One-third of them had no trace of the plant they claimed to contain, The New York Times reported.

Many of the products included ingredients that were not listed on the label — such as rice, soybean and wheat — and were used as fillers. In some products, these fillers were the only type of plant detected in the supplement. That’s a health concern for people with allergies or those who believe they were buying gluten-free products, said study lead author Steven Newmaster, a biology professor and botanical director of the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario at the University of Guelph.

The study in the journal BMC Medicine lends support to previous studies that have suggested a significant number of herbal products are not what they claim to be, The Times reported.

An estimated 29,000 herbal products and substances are sold in North America and Americans spend about $5 billion a year on such products.

These new findings suggest “that the problems are widespread and that quality control for many companies, whether through ignorance, incompetence or dishonesty, is unacceptable,” David Schardt, a senior nutritionist at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, told The Times.

“Given these results, it’s hard to recommend any herbal supplements to consumers,” he added.

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