Health Highlights: Oct. 15, 2019

Metal Pieces Found in Taco Bell Beef Climate Change Raises Risk of Ebola Spread: Study Meat Study Authors Have Financial Ties to Beef Industry New Migraine Drug Approved by FDA

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

Metal Pieces Found in Taco Bell Beef

About 2.3 million pounds of seasoned beef taco and burrito filling was removed from Taco Bell outlets in 21 states after metal pieces were found in the beef, the company said Tuesday.

The problem came to the attention of federal regulators on Saturday, after three consumers complained about metal pieces in Taco Bell beef, NBC News reported.

The beef was produced by Kenosha Beef in Columbus, Ohio, between Sept. 20 and Oct. 4 and distributed to Taco Bell restaurants in 21 states across the eastern Midwest, northern Southeast and Northeast regions, according to Taco Bell.

There were reports that Taco Bell restaurants in some states were suggesting chicken or steak to customers as a beef substitute before the recall was publicly announced, which led to criticism by some people on social media, according to NBC News.


Climate Change Raises Risk of Ebola Spread: Study

Climate change could help Ebola spread farther and affect areas previously free of the deadly virus, including the United States, researchers warn.

They concluded that by 2070, the climate crisis will result in a 1.75 to 3.2-fold increase in the rate that Ebola moves from animals to humans, CNN reported.

There will be a greater risk of outbreaks in areas of Africa that haven't had outbreaks before, while outbreaks in previously affected areas would occur more often and spread farther, via air travel, to previously unaffected areas.

That includes a high risk of the disease spreading to China, Russia, India, Europe and the United States, CNN reported.

The study was published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications.


Meat Study Authors Have Financial Ties to Beef Industry

The authors of a recent study downplaying the health risks of red meat have financial ties with meat producers.

The international group of researchers has received funding from a university program partially backed by the beef industry, the Washington Post reported Monday.

The study, recently published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, claimed that the health threat from red and processed meat has been overstated, and that warnings connecting meat consumption to heart disease and cancer are not backed by good scientific evidence.

The group of about 20 researchers, which goes by the name NutriRECS, said meat eaters should continue their current levels of consumption.

But the study did not disclose that NutriRECS has formed a partnership with an arm of Texas A&M University called Agriculture and Life Sciences (AgriLife), which is partially funded by the beef industry, the Post reported.

One of the study authors was Patrick Stover, vice chancellor and dean of AgriLife.

He said the meat study was completed before the new funding came from the beef industry and that beef accounts for just a tiny fraction of research at AgriLife, the Post reported.

One nutrition expert took issue with that response.

"Of course that institution [AgriLife] is tightly tied with the cattle industry," said Walter Willett, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health and a critic of the NutriRECS meat study.

"It is inconceivable that Stover's involvement in this project was by chance or because Stover had expertise in this area. ... There were clearly huge conflicts of interest that readers should have known about," Willett told the Post.

The Annals of Internal Medicine says it requires authors to "disclose all active and inactive financial and intellectual interests related to health care."

However, Editor-in-Chief Christine Laine would not say whether the NutriRECS ties with AgriLife should have been disclosed, the Post reported.

If there was a funding source for this study that was not disclosed, the journal would have to publish a correction, but would not retract the paper, Laine said.


New Migraine Drug Approved by FDA

A new drug to treat migraine has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Reyvow (lasmiditan) tablets were approved for short-term treatment of migraine with or without aura in adults, but not for preventive treatment of migraine.

The approval of the Eli Lilly drug is based on the result of two clinical trials that included a total of nearly 3,200 adults. The most common side effects of Reyvow were dizziness, fatigue, a burning or prickling sensation in the skin and sedation, according to the FDA.

Patients should not drive or operate machinery for at least eight hours after taking Reyvow, the agency added.

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