Health Highlights: Dec. 14, 2016
Men Sue J&J; Over Drug That Made Them Grow Breasts Shannen Doherty Undergoes Another Round of Radiation Therapy Judge Approves ConAgra Plea Deal In Tainted Peanut Butter Case Canadian Government Panel Makes Recommendations for Legal Pot Alan Thicke Dies at Age 69 Ohio Governor Signs Bill Banning Abortions at 20 Weeks Products With Powdered Milk Recalled Due to Possible Salmonella Contamination
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Men Sue J&J Over Drug That Made Them Grow Breasts
Thousands of men plan to launch a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson over a psychiatric drug that caused them to grow breasts.
The men allege the company did not disclose this possible side effect of Risperdal in a timely manner, CNN reported.
The men are suing J&J for financial damages related to "disfigurement caused by Risperdal," according to Jason Itkin, a lawyer representing the men.
Risperdal is a useful drug, "essential to helping those affected by mental illness. ... Physicians decide how best to treat their patients," J&J said in a statement to CNN.
The company has already paid more than $2 billion in penalties and settlements to state and government agencies in legal action linked to Risperdal and two other drugs, along with civil and criminal complaints over the drugs.
"Unfortunately, past fines that J&J has already paid did nothing to help those who directly suffered through the bullying and shaming after developing female breasts," Itkin said.
Shannen Doherty Undergoes Another Round of Radiation Therapy
Actress Shannen Doherty has gone through another round of radiation therapy for breast cancer.
She shared an Instagram photo of herself and her mother Rosa that was taken at the hospital on Tuesday, NBC News reported.
The 45-year-old former "Beverly Hills, 90210" and "Charmed" star was diagnosed in 2015 and underwent her first radiation treatment last month. She has been documenting each stage of her breast cancer fight on social media.
Doherty was awarded the American Cancer Society's Courage Award in November. In her acceptance speech, she said cancer had made her aware of the love in her life, NBC News reported.
"Cancer has changed my life for the better," Doherty said. "It's made me a better human being."
Judge Approves ConAgra Plea Deal In Tainted Peanut Butter Case
A judge has approved a plea deal in which food giant ConAgra will pay $11.2 million to settle charges stemming from tainted peanut butter linked to a salmonella outbreak.
Hundreds of Americans were sickened in the outbreak in 2006 that was traced to Peter Pan peanut butter produced in southwest Georgia, the Associated Press reported.
On Tuesday, the president of a ConAgra conglomerate pleaded guilty in federal court on the company's behalf to a misdemeanor charge of shipping adulterated food.
Under the plea deal, ConAgra will pay an $8 million fine -- the largest criminal fine ever levied in the U.S. for a foodborne illness -- and will also pay $3.2 million in cash forfeitures, the AP reported.
Canadian Government Panel Makes Recommendations for Legal Pot
New laws to legalize marijuana will be introduced by the Canadian government in the spring, officials said Tuesday after the release of a federal task force report recommending Canadians 18 and older be permitted to buy marijuana for recreational use.
If the government follows through on its pledge, Canada would be the largest developed country to allow recreational use and sales of marijuana, the Associated Press reported.
The task force said adults should be permitted to carry up to 30 grams of marijuana for recreational use and grow up to four plants. It also recommended that stronger marijuana should have higher taxes than weaker types, and that recreational marijuana should not be sold in the same locations as alcohol or tobacco.
The government said it will study the task force recommendations.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government wants to control and regulate the sale of marijuana in order to keep it away from children and to eliminate a source of revenue for criminals, the AP reported.
In the United States, voters in California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada voted Nov. 8 to approve the use of recreational marijuana, which was already legal in Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska.
Alan Thicke Dies at Age 69
Alan Thicke has died at age 69.
The death of the Canadian-born actor and musician, best known for his role in the 1980s sitcom "Growing Pains," was confirmed Tuesday evening by the publicist of his son, pop-soul singer Robin Thicke, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Robin Thicke told the newspaper his father suffered a heart attack while playing hockey with his son Carter.
"The good thing was that he was beloved and he had closure," Robin Thicke said. "I saw him a few days ago and told him how much I loved and respected him."
Ohio Governor Signs Bill Banning Abortions at 20 Weeks
Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed a bill on Tuesday that imposes a ban on abortions after 20 weeks. But, he vetoed the controversial "heartbeat bill," which would have banned abortions at the first sign of a fetal heartbeat.
A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks into pregnancy, which can often be before a woman knows she is pregnant.
Instead of facing costly legal challenges, Kasich, a Republican and an abortion-rights opponent, chose to sign off on the 20-week ban. It is similar to what 15 states enforce but has been blocked from enforcement in two other states, the Associated Press reported.
Since the election of Donald Trump as President, Republican lawmakers in numerous states -- including Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri and Texas -- have said they will push for new anti-abortion legislation, the wire service said.
And Republicans in Congress are expected to put forth legislation banning most abortions after 20 weeks and halting federal funding for Planned Parenthood as long as it performs abortions. Trump has pledged to support both measures, according to the AP.
Products With Powdered Milk Recalled Due to Possible Salmonella Contamination
A wide range of products with powdered milk that may be contaminated with salmonella have been recalled, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.
The companies and their recalled items include: Valley Milk Products -- nonfat high heat milk powder and sweet cream buttermilk powder; Shearer's Foods, LLC -- kettle chips, potato chips, and nacho chips; Deep River Snacks -- kettle chips; Boulder Brands, Inc. -- macaroni and cheese; TreeHouse Foods, Inc. -- macaroni and cheese; New Hope Mills -- crepe mix; Fourth Street Barbecue Inc. -- macaroni and cheese; Brand Castle, LLC -- monkey bread mix.
Salmonella infection can cause diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever. Most people recover, but infants, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are at increased risk of serious complications from such infections, CNN reported.
To date, no illnesses associated with the recalled products have been reported.
Last week, possible salmonella contamination led Publix Super Markets to recall three of its waffle and pancake mixes sold at stores in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, CNN reported.