Health Highlights: July 6, 2012
Pfizer Removes Breast, Colon Cancer Claims From Vitamins 'Ted' Joke About Lou Gehrig's Disease Triggers Backlash Dengue Cases Rise Sharply in Puerto Rico
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Pfizer Removes Breast, Colon Cancer Claims From Vitamins
Drug giant Pfizer is removing claims for "breast health" and "colon health" from labeling on its popular Centrum vitamins line of products, after being accused of deceptive advertising.
The move comes after consumer advocacy group the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) threatened a lawsuit against Pfizer, ABC News reported. "Those claims of breast and colon health implied that the supplements would prevent breast and colon cancer -- disease prevention claims that supplement manufacturers can't legally make," CSPI said in a news release.
"Supplement manufacturers must not mislead consumers into thinking that these pills will help ward off cancer," CSPI added.
In a statement, Pfizer said that it disagrees with CSPI, but would alter label wording to resolve the issue.
Pfizer has also announced it will change wording on Centrum labels referring to heart health and the notion that the vitamins provide an energy boost. As regards to heart health, Centrum labeling will now carry a note that the vitamins are "not a replacement for cholesterol-lowering drugs" alongside the "heart health" wording, and additional language will make it clear that the pills do not provide an energy boost.
'Ted' Joke About Lou Gehrig's Disease Triggers Backlash
A line from the summer hit movie "Ted" is generating criticism from advocates for people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis -- ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease.
The line, "From one man to another, I hope you get Lou Gehrig's disease," has spurred outrage from people with the progressive neurological illness, which is fatal and has no cure.
"I didn't expect to go to a movie and sit with an audience laughing at the expense of people with ALS," Randy Pipkin, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2005, told ABC News. "I think the message this film sends out is a huge slap in the face to people dying from this horrific disease."
In a statement, Traci Bisson, of the advocacy group ALS Therapy Alliance, said, "We want to make it clear that ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, is not a laughing matter for people and families suffering from this life-threatening illness."
Speaking to a Washington, D.C., radio station on Thursday, "Ted" star Mark Wahlberg said that, "Obviously, you know, it wasn't our intention to really offend anybody." He said offended viewers should take the matter up with the movie's writer, Seth MacFarlane, who did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.
Dengue Cases Rise Sharply in Puerto Rico
Cases of painful dengue fever are occurring at above-average levels in Puerto Rico, according to the territory's Health Secretary, Lorenzo Gonzalez.
He said that 111 cases of the mosquito-borne disease were reported the first week of June, and 117 cases the prior week. Eight people have come down with the more severe hemorrhagic form of dengue, although no one has died, the Associated Press reported.
According to Gonzalez, improvements in educating doctors to spot dengue fever may account for the rise in cases, which usually peak in Puerto Rico in early October.
Dengue causes fever, severe headaches and sometimes excruciating joint and muscle pain. An epidemic of the disease killed a record 31 people in Puerto Rico in 2010, the AP said.