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Health Highlights: May 3, 2011

Scientists Turn Bad Fat Into Good Fat: Rat Study Blood Thinner Drug Recalled Salmonella Triggers Recall of Grape Tomatoes Trauma-Related Disease Found in Ex-Football Player's Brain

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

Scientists Turn Bad Fat Into Good Fat: Rat Study

U.S. scientists who found a way to turn rats' bad fat into good fat believe the same thing can be done in humans.

The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine team found that modifying the expression of an appetite-stimulating protein called NPY in the brain reduced rats' calorie intake and transformed their white fat into brown fat, which burns off calories and weight, BBC News reported.

The study appears in the journal Cell Metabolism.

"If we could get the human body to turn bad fat into good fat that burns calories instead of storing them, we could add a serious new tool to tackle the obesity epidemic," said study author Dr. Shen Bi, BBC News reported.

"Only future research will tell us if that is possible," Bi added.


Blood Thinner Drug Recalled

One lot of the blood thinner Coumadin (warfarin) is being recalled after the discovery of a tablet that was more potent than normal, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. said Monday.

The recall covers 5-milligram Coumadin tablets with an expiry date of Sept. 30, 2012, production lot number 9H49374A, the Associated Press reported.

Consumers who use 5-milligram Coumadin tablets should not stop taking them, but should ask their pharmacist if their prescription was filled with the recalled tablets, the company said.

Patients who take an excessive dose of Coumadin could be at increased risk for bleeding, the AP reported.


Salmonella Triggers Recall of Grape Tomatoes

Grape tomatoes used in salads distributed by a California company may be contaminated with salmonella, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.

The prepackaged salads from Taylor Farms Pacific, Inc. were shipped to Albertson's, Raley's, Safeway, Sam's Club and Walmart stores in California, Nevada, Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico, Washington, Utah and Montana, United Press International reported.

The grape tomatoes came from a California grower called Six L's, the FDA said.

The salads have "use by" dates of late April and early May. No illnesses have been reported. Consumers can get more information at the FDA or U.S. Department of Agriculture websites, UPI reported.


Trauma-Related Disease Found in Ex-Football Player's Brain

Evidence of a head injury-induced disease was found in the brain of retired football star Dave Duerson, who committed suicide earlier this year.

The 50-year-old former Chicago Bear had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which has recently been found in about two dozen deceased former NFL players, The New York Times reported.

In the months before his death, Duerson complained of headaches, blurred vision and a deteriorating memory. In his final note to his family, he told them to donate his brain for research into football-related brain trauma. He shot himself in the chest on Feb. 17.

An examination of Duerson's brain revealed indisputable evidence of CTE and no evidence of any other disorder, Dr. Ann McKee, a neuropathologist at Boston University's Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, told The Times.


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