Health Highlights: March 27, 2018
Human Error to Blame for Loss of Frozen Eggs/Embryos, Fertility Center Says Prince's Body Had 'Exceedingly High' Fentanyl Levels Gay Dating App Grindr To Offer HIV Test Reminders Dentists Urged to Reduce Opioid Painkiller Prescribing
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Human Error to Blame for Loss of Frozen Eggs/Embryos, Fertility Center Says
Human error is to blame for the loss of thousands of frozen eggs and embryos at the University Hospitals Fertility Center, according to a letter of apology being sent to nearly 1,000 patients of the center.
Some of the frozen eggs and embryos had been stored for decades, NBC News reported.
In a draft letter, the center says a remote alarm system on the storage tank that failed should have alerted an employee to temperature swings, but it was turned off. The center said it does not know who turned off the alarm.
The letter also says it's unlikely that any of eggs and embryos that were stored in the tank are viable.
NBC News also said it discovered that the maker of the failed tank, Custom Biogenic Systems, has a history of storage tank malfunctions dating back almost 15 years.
Prince's Body Had 'Exceedingly High' Fentanyl Levels
Musician Prince had an "exceedingly high" concentration of fentanyl in his body when he died in April 2016, shows a toxicology report from his autopsy.
Prince, 57, was found dead at his home. Public information released six weeks after his death revealed that he died of an accidental overdose of the synthetic opioid fentanyl, the Associated Press reported.
The confidential toxicology report obtained by the AP says the concentration of fentanyl in Prince's blood was 67.8 micrograms per liter, and notes that deaths have occurred in people with blood levels ranging from three to 58 micrograms per liter.
The level of fentanyl in Prince's liver was 450 micrograms per kilogram, according to the report, which said that liver concentrations greater than 69 micrograms per kilogram "seem to represent overdose or fatal toxicity cases," the AP reported.
Prince's stomach also had a potentially deadly amount of fentanyl.
The findings leave no doubt that Prince died of a fentanyl overdose, experts not associated with the investigation into the musician's death told the AP.
Gay Dating App Grindr To Offer HIV Test Reminders
Reminders about getting tested for HIV will be offered to men who use the gay dating app Grindr.
The company, which claims to have 3.3 million daily users worldwide, will send those who opt into the service a reminder every three to six months, and also show them the nearest testing site, The New York Times reported.
Grindr will also give free advertising top clinics, gay community centers and other HIV testing sites.
The reminders are being offered to "reduce H.I.V. transmission and support our whole community -- regardless of H.I.V. status -- in living long and fulfilling lives," said Jack Harrison-Quintana, Grindr's director for equality, The Times reported.
The company's decision was welcomed by HIV experts.
"This will 'demedicalize' testing and destigmatize it," Perry Halkitis, dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health and an expert in gay male behavior, told The Times. "The more you make it normal, the more people are going to access it."
Dentists Urged to Reduce Opioid Painkiller Prescribing
A new policy encouraging dentists to reduce their use of potentially addictive opioid painkillers as much as possible was announced Monday by the American Dental Association, which has about 161,000 members.
While dentists write fewer than 7 percent of opioid prescriptions in the U.S., new research reveals an increase in recent years, even though non-opioids such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen have been shown to work just as well for most dental pain and pose less risk than opioids, the Associated Press reported.
Dentists are the leading prescribers of opioids for U.S. teens and the largest increase in dental-related opioid prescriptions between 2010 to 2015 was among patients ages 11-18, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association.
Among dental patients in that age group, opioid prescription rose from nearly 100 to 165 per 1,000 patients. Among all ages, the rate rose from 131 to 147 per 1,000, the AP reported.
The new policy "essentially says eliminate opioids from your arsenal if at all possible," said Dr. Joseph Crowley, president of the American Dental Association.