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Health Highlights: March 16, 2015

France May Outlaw Anorexic Models in Ads Listeriosis Not Cause of Patient Deaths at Kansas Hospital: Officials Homeopathy Doesn't Work: Study

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

France May Outlaw Anorexic Models in Ads

France could soon outlaw the use of anorexic models in advertising.

One proposal would make it illegal to employ models believed to have an eating disorder, while another would make it a crime to glorify "excessive thinness" and target pro-anorexia websites, the Associated Press reported.

The measures are expected to be included in a health reform bill to be presented in parliament's lower house on March 31. The proposal to criminalize the use of anorexic models in ads is supported by the country's health minister.

Israel and Spain are among the countries that have taken action against the glorification of dangerously thin models, the AP reported.


Listeriosis Not Cause of Patient Deaths at Kansas Hospital: Officials

A foodborne illness linked to ice cream products may have contributed to the deaths of three hospital patients in Kansas since late 2013, but did not cause the deaths, according to health officials.

Five patients at Via Christi St. Francis hospital in Wichita developed listeriosis after eating the ice cream products from the Blue Bell creamery in Brenham,Texas, and three of them later died, the Associated Press reported.

However, listeriosis did not cause the deaths, according to Kansas Department of Health and Environment spokeswoman Sara Belfry.

The names of the five patients who became ill were not released, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they were older adults and three of them were women. The agency did not reveal the genders of the patients who died, the AP reported.

The patients became ill while hospitalized for unrelated causes between December 2013 and January 2015, but the reasons for their hospitalization can't be made public due to confidentiality laws, hospital spokeswoman Maria Loving said.

While in the hospital, four of the five patients had milkshakes made with a Blue Bell ice cream product called "Scoops" in the month before they developed listeriosis, the CDC said.

The Food and Drug Administration says listeria bacteria were found in samples of Scoops, as well as in other products from the Blue Bell creamery. The company has recovered all recalled products from all 23 states where they were sold, as well as those in storage, Blue Bell spokeswoman Jenny Van Dorf told the AP.

A machine linked to the contamination has been shut down permanently, she said.

Kroger has removed Blue Bell products from 860 of its more than 2,600 stores and is alerting customers through its recall notification system, a spokesman said.

Blue Bell and similar facilities are inspected monthly and the company's facility in Brenham is operating in compliance with food safety laws, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services, the AP reported.

Listeriosis is a potentially deadly infection that poses the greatest risk to older adults, pregnant women and newborns, and people with weakened immune systems.


Homeopathy Doesn't Work: Study

The team at Australia's National Health and Medical Research Council reviewed 225 studies and concluded that homeopathy is no better than placebo, ABC News reported.

Studies that claimed homeopathy was effective were of poor quality, the investigators said.

"From this review, the main recommendation for Australians is that they should not rely on homeopathy as a substitute for proven, effective treatments," Council CEO Professor Warwick Anderson, said, ABC News reported.

"This statement was the result of a rigorous examination of the evidence and used internationally accepted methods for assessing the quality and reliability of evidence for determining whether or not a therapy is effective for treating health conditions," Anderson added.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Americans spent $2.9 billion on over-the-counter homeopathic products and $170 million on visits to homeopathic practitioners in 2007, ABC News reported.

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