Health Highlights: Nov. 2, 2011

FDA Testing Pet Food for Salmonella Melanoma-Detecting Device Approved by FDA Obama in Excellent Health

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

FDA Testing Pet Food for Salmonella

A nationwide program to test pet food and related products for salmonella has been launched by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration because there is evidence that tainted pet food is making owners sick.

In October, agency investigators began taking samples of pet treats, dry pet food and pet diet supplements from retailers, wholesalers and distributors, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The testing includes products for dogs, cats, rabbits, reptiles, aquarium fish, birds and rodents such as mice, guinea pigs and hamsters.

In a memorandum released this week, the FDA said it is "particularly concerned about salmonella being transmitted to humans through pet foods, pet treats, and supplements for pets that are intended to be fed to animals in homes, where they are likely to be directly handled or ingested by humans," the Wall Street Journal reported.

To highlight the need for testing, the FDA cited Centers for Disease Prevention and Control data showing that 70 people became ill from January 2006 to December 2007 in connection with salmonella-tainted dry dog food made in Pennsylvania.


Melanoma-Detecting Device Approved by FDA

A device designed to help doctors decide if a mole should be removed and tested for melanoma was approved Wednesday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The MelaFind takes detailed images of suspicious-looking skin growths and analyzes them for signs of melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer, the Associated Press reported.

The device, made by Mela Sciences Inc. of Irvington, N.Y., compares images from patients to a database of 10,000 images and then recommends whether a biopsy should be done.

Finding melanoma at an early stage can save lives. While 85 percent of patients diagnosed with late-stage melanoma die within five years, nearly all patients diagnosed with early-stage melanoma can be treated and cured, the AP reported.


Obama in Excellent Health

President Barack Obama is physically active, eats a healthy diet, maintains a healthy weight, occasionally consumes alcohol in moderation, has quit smoking and is fit for his age, according to a new medical report.

"The President is in excellent health and 'fit for duty,'" Dr. Jeffrey C. Kuhlman, the physician who supervised the physical performed last week at the White House, wrote in the two-page report, USA Today said. "All clinical data indicate he will remain so for the duration of his presidency."

"The President is current on all age-appropriate screening tests," Kuhlman noted. "He is 'fit at 50' and 'staying healthy at 50+.'"

Obama's next physical should be held in December 2012, Kuhlman recommended. That's a month after the presidential election, USA Today said.

Consumer News