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Health Highlights: July 24, 2012

Over 220,000 Peg Perego Strollers Recalled MS Drug Raises Seizure Risk: FDA First U.S. Woman in Space Dies Alzheimer's Drug Shows No Benefit in Large Study New TB Therapy Shows Promise

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

Over 220,000 Peg Perego Strollers Recalled

About 223,000 Peg Perego strollers are being recalled due to the risk that babies could become trapped and strangle, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says.

Infants who are not harnessed in the stroller can pass through the opening between the stroller tray and seat bottom, but their head and neck can become trapped by the tray, putting them at risk for strangulation.

In 2004, a 6-month-old boy from California died of strangulation after his head was trapped between the seat and tray of his stroller. In 2006, a 7-month-old girl from New York City nearly strangled when the same thing happened to her, the CPSC said.

The recall involves two different older versions of the Peg Perego strollers, Venezia and Pliko-P3, which were sold nationwide between January 2004 and September 2010. Consumers with the recalled strollers should stop using them immediately and contact Peg Perego USA Inc. for a free repair kit.

For more information, contact Peg Perego at 1-888-734-6020 or go to the company's website.


MS Drug Raises Seizure Risk: FDA

A warning about the increased risk of seizures in multiple sclerosis patients taking the drug Ampyra (dalfampridine) has been issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The drug is prescribed to improve MS patients' ability to walk.

The FDA reviewed reports of adverse events associated with the drug and found that most seizures occurred within days to weeks after MS patients started taking the drug and occurred in patients with no history of seizures.

Ampyra should not be used in patients with a history of seizures or in those with moderate to severe kidney impairment, according to the FDA, which is updating the drug's label to clarify prescribing information for doctors.


First U.S. Woman in Space Dies

Sally Ride, the first American woman to travel into space, died Monday at her home in San Diego.

The 61-year-old physicist died of pancreatic cancer, according to an announcement on the website of her company, Sally Ride Science, The New York Times reported.

Ride was accepted into the space program in 1978 after she answered a newspaper ad for astronauts. She was 32 -- the youngest American in space -- when she flew on the shuttle Challenger on June 18, 1983. She flew on a second shuttle mission in 1984.

Later, Ride became the only person to sit on both panels investigating the two shuttle accidents that killed all astronauts on board, the Challenger in 1986 and the Columbia in 2003, The Times reported.


Alzheimer's Drug Shows No Benefit in Large Study

A highly anticipated experimental drug for Alzheimer's disease was shown to be ineffective in its first large clinical trial.

The phase 3 trial of 1,100 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's found that bapineuzumab provided no benefits, The New York Times reported.

The findings will be presented at a medical meeting in September, according to Pfizer, one of the three companies behind the drug.

All the patients in the study had the ApoE4 gene, which increases the risk that a person will develop Alzheimer's and can make the disease worse. Findings from a phase 2 study suggest that bapineuzumab may be more effective in patients without the gene, The Times reported.

The drug was designed to target beta-amyloid, a protein that has toxic effects in the brain and is widely believed to be a cause of Alzheimer's.


New TB Therapy Shows Promise

A new three-drug therapy for tuberculosis appears to be highly effective and could dramatically shorten treatment times, according to a new study.

After two weeks of treatment, more than 99 percent of TB bacteria was killed in 85 patients, BBC News reported. Of the three drugs used in the therapy, one is new and another is not yet licensed.

The findings were published in The Lancet. Larger studies are now being conducted to further assess the therapy.

Currently, TB patients have to take drugs daily for six months. Drug-resistant TB is much more difficult and can require up to two years of treatment, BBC News reported.

TB kills about 1.4 million people a year worldwide, mainly in poor nations.


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