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Health Highlights: April 23, 2015

FDA Warns Supplement Makers About Stimulant Man Not Guilty of Sexually Abusing Wife With Alzheimer's VA Launches Review of Disability Claims Processing Judge Approves NFL Concussion Settlement

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

FDA Warns Supplement Makers About Stimulant

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday sent warning letters to the makers of eight dietary supplements that state their products contain a potentially dangerous compound that acts like amphetamine.

According to the New York Times, the letters notify the five companies that the chemical, known as BMPEA, is not an appropriate dietary ingredient or an extract of the rare shrub Acacia rigidula, as the product labels claim.

Earlier this month, Harvard researchers reported on the presence of BMPEA in 11 of 21 weight-loss and sports supplements they tested. At the time, they also said the FDA first discovered BMPEA in these products in 2013, but failed to take any action or issue any warnings to the public.

The companies the agency notified Thursday included Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals, Human Evolution Supplements, Train Naked Labs, Better Body Sports, and Tribravus Enterprises, according to the Times.

Steve Mister, president and chief executive of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, told the Times that, "We see this as a positive step to getting a potentially dangerous ingredient out of the marketplace."

Vitamin Shoppe and Vitacost, which is owned by Kroger, have already announced they would stop selling the supplements. And the Canadian government pulled the products from store shelves last December because of safety concerns, the Times reported.


Man Not Guilty of Sexually Abusing Wife With Alzheimer's

An Iowa man was found not guilty of sexually abusing his wife with Alzheimer's disease.

Henry Rayhons, 78, faced a felony charge after being accused of having sex with his wife Donna in a nursing home after staff members told him she was unable to give consent. If found guilty, he faced up to 10 years in prison, The New York Times reported.

On Wednesday, a jury found Henry not guilty.

After the verdict, the former Republican state legislator tearfully told reporters, "The truth finally came out," the The Times reported.

Donna Rayhons, 78, died in August 2014 and Henry was arrested soon after her funeral. After being arrested, he decided not to seek re-election to the Legislature.

Both Donna and Henry were widowed and they married in 2007. By all accounts, the couple had a mutually loving relationship, The Times reported.

The sexual abuse was alleged to have occurred on May 23, 2014. But Henry testified that he and Donna just kissed and held hands after he drew a curtain around her bed in a shared room.


VA Launches Review of Disability Claims Processing

A top-down review of its handling of disability claims has been launched by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

In Wednesday's announcement, the VA also vowed to punish staff who falsify data, the Associated Press reported.

The VA is trying to eliminate mismanagement and launched the 180-day review to better assess staffing needs and other changes, Danny Pummill, VA's principal deputy undersecretary for benefits, told a House panel.

He admitted the VA may have put undue pressure on overworked staff to reduce patient backlogs, which may have led employees to cut corners, the AP reported.

In related news, the VA inspector general's office said it has expanded its review of the Philadelphia VA office and is investigating two senior leaders for misconduct.


Judge Approves NFL Concussion Settlement

A landmark settlement between the National Football League and 5,000 football players who accused the league of hiding the dangers of concussions was approved by a federal district court judge Wednesday.

The settlement marks the end of a long legal battle that began after reports surfaced of former professional football players suffering severe neurological problems after retiring from the NFL.

Under the terms of the settlement, the NFL will provide payments of up to $5 million to players who have one of a handful of severe neurological disorders, will monitor all players to determine when or if they should receive a payment and will spend $10 million on concussion education, The New York Times reported.

In approving the settlement, Judge Anita Brody called the terms "fair, reasonable and adequate," the Times reported.

However, no player will receive any payment until all appeals work their way through the courts, according to the newspaper. That process could take years, leaving some players who want and need the payments frustrated as others continue to fight for a better deal, the Times said.

The league had insisted that all retired players be covered by the settlement, but roughly 200 players decided to walk away from the settlement, to preserve their right to continue pushing for bigger payments in court.

Scott Rosner, a lawyer who teaches sports business at the University of Pennsylvania, told the Times it would be tough for any player to fight for further damages because Judge Brody asked both parties, on two occasions, to revise the settlement. She also addressed criticisms of the deal in court papers, Rosner added.

NFL General Counsel Jeff Pash said in a statement that the agreement would help players in need and avoid a prolonged trial, the Times reported.

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