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Health Highlights: March 1, 2013

FDA Report Questions Use of Salmon Hormone to Treat Osteoporosis Chocolate-Covered Marshmallow Eggs Recalled for Salmonella Threat FDA Seeks Doctors' Input on Robotic Surgical System Researchers Analyze Heart of King Richard 'The Lionheart'

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

FDA Report Questions Use of Salmon Hormone to Treat Osteoporosis

A salmon hormone used to treat osteoporosis in post-menopausal women may not reduce the risk of bone fractures enough to outweigh its cancer risks, according to a report by U.S. Food and Drug Administration staff.

It said that three studies of oral, injectable and nasal calcitonin-salmon drugs showed unreliable or disappointing results. Additional research showed that the drugs posed a "plausible" cancer risk, Bloomberg News reported.

FDA advisers are scheduled to meet next week to decide if sales of calcitonin-salmon drugs should be halted in the United States. Last year, the European Medicines Agency said that the drugs should not be used to treat osteoporosis.

"This lack of effectiveness when combined with the potential for a cancer risk associated with calcitonin salmon therapy raises concerns about the overall risk and benefit assessment," FDA staff said, Bloomberg reported.


Chocolate-Covered Marshmallow Eggs Recalled for Salmonella Threat

Zachary Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Eggs are being recalled due to the possible risk of salmonella contamination, according to Zachary Confections, Inc.

The voluntary recall was announced Feb. 27 after a routine test revealed the potential for salmonella contamination in a sample of the product, the company said.

The recalled candies are packaged in 5-ounce white egg crates with purple, green and yellow lettering. They have code dates of D3245D, D3145E, F3145E, D3245E and a Best Buy date of 02/14/14. The code dates and Best Buy date are located on the side panel of the product packaging next to the Unit UPC bar code label.

The recalled candies were distributed to some retail stores in sections of Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. No other Zachary Confections products are involved in this recall.

The company said it has not received any reports of illnesses associated with the recalled candies. Anyone with the recalled products should destroy them or return them to the place of purchase, the company said. For more information, call Zachary Confections at 765-654-8356.

Production of the candies has been halted while the company and the FDA investigate the source of the potential problem.


FDA Seeks Doctors' Input on Robotic Surgical System

Surgeons are being asked to provide U.S. officials with information about the safety and performance of widely-used surgical robots called the da Vinci Surgical System.

The Food and Drug Administration made the request in a letter sent Thursday to physicians who participate in an agency-run product safety network, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Specifically, the FDA asked doctors to provide information about their training on the system and problems involving the machine, made by Intuitive Surgical Inc.

The FDA decided to seek input from surgeons after noting an increase in the number of reports of "adverse events" related to the da Vinci Surgical system, FDA spokeswoman Synim Rivers told WJS.

There has been an increase in the number of adverse-event reports associated with the da Vinci system, but that rise matched an increase in the number of procedures performed using the system, an Intuitive Surgical spokesperson said.


Researchers Analyze Heart of King Richard 'The Lionheart'

Researchers who analyzed the heart of England's King Richard I say they were able to rule out the theory that he was killed by a poisoned arrow.

The king, nicknamed Richard the Lionheart, died in 1199 after being hit by a crossbow bolt. His heart was embalmed and buried in the cathedral of Notre Dame in Rouen. Most historians believe Richard I died from gangrene or septicemia caused by his wound, BBC News reported.

The heart, locked in a small lead box, was discovered in the 19th Century during an excavation. Until now, the heart has not been studied in detail. The remains of the heart are a gray-brown powder and in too poor condition to reveal the exact cause of death.

Along with ruling out a poisoned arrow as the cause of death, the researchers were able to learn more about the methods used to preserve the organ, BBC News reported.

The research appears in the journal Scientific Report.


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