Health Highlights: May 4, 2012

14 People in U.S. Sickened by Tainted Dog Food Vogue Pledges to Only Use Healthy-Looking Models Federal Funding for Oregon Preventive Health Program Helmet Use in Tornado Okay, But Still Need Safe Shelter: CDC Electronic Implants Restore Men's Vision Bacterial Infection Killed California Researcher

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

14 People in U.S. Sickened by Tainted Dog Food

A 74-year-old woman and a four-month-old baby are among at least 14 people in the United States who have been sickened by tainted dog food, according to health officials.

No deaths have been reported, but five people have been hospitalized in connection with the recalled dog food made by Diamond Pet Foods, Agence France-Presse reported.

Pet owners should wash their hands before and after handling pet foods and treats, touching or feeding their pet, and before preparing or eating their own food, officials advised.

"Humans can become ill by handling pet products contaminated with salmonella, and by coming in contact with pets or with surfaces that have been contaminated," Ohio's health department said in a statement, AFP reported.


Vogue Pledges to Only Use Healthy-Looking Models

The fashion magazine Vogue will no longer use models who appear to have an eating disorder or models under the age of 16.

The pact, made by the editors of the 19 international editions of the magazine, was announced Thursday, CBS News reported.

"Vogue editors around the world want the magazines to reflect their commitment to the health of the models who appear on the pages and the well-being of their readers," Conde Nast International chairman Jonathan Newhouse said.

The change will take effect in the June issues of all the international editions of Vogue, CBS News reported.


Federal Funding for Oregon Preventive Health Program

The Obama administration says it's willing to provide $1.9 billion over five years to help Oregon launch a new health care plan to promote preventive care in order to reduce health care costs.

State officials believe the program could save $11 billion in state and federal health care spending over the next decade by reducing duplicated treatments and preventable hospitalizations, the Associated Press reported.

Using this approach to save Medicaid billions of dollars can be achieved without sacrificing the quality of health care, according to Gov. John Kitzhaber, a Democrat and former emergency room doctor.

He said the federal government could save $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years if all 50 states adopted similar programs, the AP reported.


Helmet Use in Tornado Okay, But Still Need Safe Shelter: CDC

Wearing a helmet during a tornado is okay but you still need to find safe shelter, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

Head trauma is a common among people who die or suffer serious injuries in tornadoes. Some safety advocates have started telling people to wear helmets when there is a tornado warning, USA Today reported.

While there is no good research on the effectiveness of helmets in tornadoes, "we do know that head injuries are common causes of death during tornadoes, and we have long made the recommendation that people try to protect their heads," the CDC said in a statement Thursday.

However, the CDC said if you decide to wear a helmet during a tornado warning you need to make sure that looking for it won't delay you from getting to the basement or other types of shelter, USA Today reported.

The CDC also emphasized that helmets "should not be considered an alternative to seeking appropriate shelter."


Electronic Implants Restore Men's Vision

Small wireless devices restored useful vision in two British men who had previously been totally blind due to the genetic eye condition retinitis pigmentosa.

The implants, which contain 1,500 tiny electronic light detectors and are fitted behind the retina, send electronic signals to the optic nerve, CBS News reported.

Chris James, 54, and Robin Millar, 60, were able to detect light and locate objects on a dark background immediately after the devices were activated.

The devices are made by German company Retina Implant AG and the clinical trials on the two men were conducted at Oxford University Hospital NHS Trust in the U.K.

"What makes this unique is that all functions of the retina are integrated into the chip," surgical team leader Professor Robert MacLaren said in a university news release, CBS News reported.


Bacterial Infection Killed California Researcher

The death Saturday of a 25-year-old researcher at the San Francisco VA Medical Center was caused by a meningococcal infection he may have acquired at the hospital.

The man, whose name has not been released, developed headache, fever and chills on Friday about two hours after he left the lab where he was helping to develop a vaccine for Neisseria meningitidis, a bacterium that causes life-threatening blood infections and meningitis, ABC News reported.

"It looks like he took all the appropriate precautions," said Dr. Harry Lampiris, chief of infectious diseases at the San Francisco VA Medical Center, who described the ventilated workspace in the lab that sucks air up and any from the person handling the bacteria. "But this is under investigation by Cal-OSHA [California Occupational Health and Safety Association]."

Neisseria meningitidis is transmitted person-to-person through respiratory droplets. Ten people who had close contact with the researcher, including his girlfriend and roommates, have been given antibiotics, San Francisco Department of Public Health spokeswoman Eileen Shields told ABC News.

Another 60 people at the San Francisco VA Medical Center have received antibiotics, including the researcher's coworkers and medical staff involved in his treatment.


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