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Health Highlights: April 4, 2011

Updated Guidelines to Prevent Bloodstream Infections Radiation-Tainted Food After Chernobyl Still a Problem in Ukraine: Study Jennie-O Turkey Burgers Recalled Over Salmonella White House Appeal of Health Care Law Ruling Set for June 8 Restless Legs May Indicate Heart Problem: Study

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

Updated Guidelines to Prevent Bloodstream Infections

Health care worker education/training and cleaning a patient's skin with an antibacterial scrub are among the major recommendations included in updated guidelines to protect American hospital patients from bloodstream infections.

The use of maximal sterile barrier precautions and avoiding routine replacement of certain catheters are also among the main areas of emphasis in the health care provider guidelines issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee.

The guidelines were created by a working group led by clinical scientists from the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center Critical Care Medicine Department, along with 14 other professional organizations.

"Preventing these infections is an excellent example of how hospitals and other health care facilities can improve patient care and save lives, all while reducing excess medical costs," CDC Director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden said in a CDC news release.


Radiation-Tainted Food After Chernobyl Still a Problem in Ukraine: Study

Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians still consume food contaminated by radiation from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster in 1986, according to Greenpeace report released Monday.

The group said that samples of milk, potatoes, root vegetables and berries in two areas of northwestern Ukraine have unacceptable high levels of the radioactive isotope cesium-137, the Associated Press reported.

The two areas are outside the 30-kilometer "exclusion zone" around the destroyed Chernobyl plant but were in the direct path of the radiation cloud created when a reactor at the plant exploded.

Two years ago, the Ukrainian government stopped providing the two regions with counter-radiation measures, such as supplying uncontaminated hay for dairy cattle, the AP reported.


Jennie-O Turkey Burgers Recalled Over Salmonella

Twelve cases of salmonella poisoning in 10 states has prompted the recall of 54,960 pounds of Jennie-O Turkey Store frozen turkey burgers, say U.S. officials.

The recall includes 4-pound boxes of Jennie-O Turkey Store "All Natural Turkey Burgers with seasonings Lean White Meat," that contain 12 1/3-pound individually wrapped burgers, CBS News reported.

The recalled products have a use by date of "DEC 23 2011" and a lot code of "32710" through "32780" on the side panel of each box. The establishment number "P-7760" is located within the USDA mark of inspection on the front of each box, according to the federal government.

The 12 cases of salmonella poisoning believed to be linked to the recalled turkey burgers were in Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Washington, and Wisconsin, CBS News reported.


White House Appeal of Health Care Law Ruling Set for June 8

Oral arguments in the Obama administration's federal-court appeal of a ruling that the new U.S. health care law is unconstitutional will be heard June 8, says an Atlanta-based appeals court, Bloomberg News reported.

The appeal challenges a Jan. 31 decision by U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson that the new health care law's requirement that nearly all Americans must have medical insurance by 2014 violates the constitution. The ruling was in a lawsuit filed by 26 states that oppose the new health care law.

In its ruling, the appeals court denied the state's request for a full-panel review of Vinson's decision. Instead, the court said the White House appeal will be heard by a randomly selected three-judge panel, Bloomberg reported.


Restless Legs May Indicate Heart Problem: Study

Restless legs syndrome may be a sign of a hidden heart problem in some people, according to researchers.

Their study of 584 people with the syndrome found that the 45 percent of patients who had the most leg movement while sleeping were more likely to have thick hearts than those who had less leg movement. Thick hearts make people more prone to heart problems, stroke and death, the Associated Press reported.

After about three years of follow-up, patients with severely thick hearts were twice as likely as other patients to have suffered a heart problem or died, the study found.

"We are not saying there is a cause-and-effect relationship," just that restless legs might be a sign of heart trouble that doctors and patients should consider, said study leader Dr. Arshad Jahangir, a heart rhythm specialist at the Mayo Clinic Arizona in Scottsdale, the AP reported.

The findings were presented Sunday at an American College of Cardiology meeting.

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