Health Highlights: Nov. 22, 2011

Group Issues Annual List of Unsafe Toys HIV Tests Offered At Government Offices in Washington, D.C. Medical Device Company Executives Sent to Prison Woman Mauled by Chimp Gets Compliments on New Face Dog Illnesses May be Linked to Chicken Jerky Treats: FDA

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

Group Issues Annual List of Unsafe Toys

A Sesame Street Oscar doll, a plastic book for babies, and a wooden blocks set are among the toys that could harm children this holiday season, according to the U.S. Public Research Interest Group's 26th annual "Trouble in Toyland" report.

The document lists just over a dozen toys on store shelves that violate federal safety standards for lead and chemicals called phthalates, or that could pose a choking hazard for small children, the Associated Press reported.

Toys that are too loud and could damage hearing, as well as balloons, were also cited as potential dangers by PIRG. Balloons cause more choking deaths than any other children's product.

Toy recalls in the United States have declined in recent years and PIRG credits a 2008 law that set stricter standards for children's products, the AP reported.


HIV Tests Offered At Government Offices in Washington, D.C.

An HIV-testing program offered at a Department of Motor Vehicles' office in Washington, D.C. was so successful that it has been expanded to an office where residents of the nation's capital register for food stamps, Medicaid and other government services.

Since it began last October, more than 5,000 people have had the free HIV test at the DMV office and received results while they wait. Sixty people were tested Monday during the first day of the program at the new site, the Associated Press reported.

The HIV testing isn't done by government employees, but rather by a nonprofit group called Family and Medical Counseling Services Inc.

"You have to meet people where they are," Sheila Brockington, who's in charge of HIV testing at the DMV office, told the AP.


Medical Device Company Executives Sent to Prison

Executives of a U.S. medical devices company received prison sentences Monday for unapproved testing of bone cement that caused three deaths.

U.S. District Judge Legrome D. Davis said the desire for profits blinded executives of Pennsylvania-based Synthes North America to the "sanctity of human life," the Associated Press reported.

In order to bypass U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval and get their bone cement to market before competitors, the executives plotted to train select surgeons in the off-label use of the bone cement and then have the surgeons publish their findings, the judge said.

Three patients died before Synthes halted the surgeon training in 2004, the AP reported.

"One adverse event should have been enough to let you know that this course was not right," Davis said. "I can't understand how there wasn't a stop sign."

He sentenced former company President Michael Huggins and former Senior Vice President Thomas B. Higgins to nine months in prison. Former director of regulatory and clinical affairs John J. Walsh was given a five-month sentence. The sentencing of former Vice President Richard Bohner was postponed after his lawyer became ill in court.


Woman Mauled by Chimp Gets Compliments on New Face

An American woman who received a face transplant after being mauled by a chimpanzee says people are complementing her on her new face.

Charla Nash said on NBC's "Today" show that her new face has started to mold to her underlying bone structure and she's resuming more of her normal life, the Associated Press reported.

People have told her she's beautiful, something that didn't occur before, Nash said.

In the 2009 attack, the chimp tore off Nash's nose, lips, eyelids and hands and she was blinded. She had a face and double hand transplant in May, but complications forced the removal of the hands, the AP reported.


Dog Illnesses May be Linked to Chicken Jerky Treats: FDA

Chicken jerky treats imported from China may be to blame for dog illnesses and deaths in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration warns.

So far this year, at least 70 dogs have become ill after reportedly eating the jerky products and some of the dogs have died, reported.

FDA officials have not been able to pinpoint a specific contaminant and did not identify a particular brand of the chicken jerky products, also sold as chicken treats, chicken strips and chicken tenders.

Reports from dog owners and vets indicate that dogs may suffer a variety of illnesses within days or hours of eating the treats, including kidney failure, said.

Decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst and increased urination are among the symptoms. If they are severe or persist for more than 24 hours, take the dog to a veterinarian, the FDA said.


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