Acquire the license to the best health content in the world
Contact Us

Health Highlights: Oct. 19, 2010

NFL Players Will Be Suspended For Illegal Hits Drug Companies Pay Doctors To Promote Their Products Phthalates Found In Wallpapers And Floor Coverings FDA OKs Sales by Iowa Egg Farm Involved in Salmonella Outbreak Tylenol Maker Announces Another Recall Nature's Scenes, Sounds Reduce Pain of Bone Marrow Procedure: Study

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

NFL Players Will Be Suspended For Illegal Hits

NFL players will be suspended for dangerous and blatant hits that violate rules, the league announced Tuesday.

The crackdown will begin immediately and suspensions could be handed out for dodgy hits that occurred last weekend and led to the decision to start handing out suspensions, the Associated Press reported. Several of those tackles resulted in concussions.

Previously, players were either fined or ejected from a game for illegal hits, especially those that target the head.

"We're certainly concerned," vice president of football operations Ray Anderson told the AP. "The fundamentally old way of wrapping up and tackling seems to have faded away. A lot of the increase is from hits to blow guys up. That has become a more popular way of doing it."

"Yes, we are concerned they are getting away from the fundamentals of tackling, and maybe it has been coached that way. We're going to have to look into talking to our coaches," he said.


Drug Companies Pay Doctors To Promote Their Products

Some doctors are being paid large sums of money by drug companies to speak to other medical professionals about pharmaceutical products at company-sponsored and scripted events across the United States.

For example, a database compiled by the national investigative news organization ProPublica shows that 11 Illinois physicians each earned more than $100,000 between January 2009 and June 2010 from seven drug companies, and another 13 medical providers earned between $75,000 and $100,000, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The doctors were paid for taking part in speakers' bureaus and educational forums. Other doctors made smaller amounts of money.

Drug companies and the doctors receiving the payments claim that their goal is to provide physicians with education about how drugs work and can be used to treat various illnesses. But critics charge that doctors involved in these programs are compromising their independence and patient care.

"Let's be honest: The purpose of these talks is to influence doctors to buy a company's drugs," Eric Campbell, an associate professor of health policy at Harvard Medical School, told the Tribune.


Phthalates Found In Wallpapers And Floor Coverings

Many wallpaper and flooring products sold in the United States contain phthalates, hormone-like chemicals that have been linked to asthma, birth defects, reproductive changes, learning disabilities, liver toxicity and cancer, says a nonprofit environmental group called the Ecology Center.

The Michigan-based organization tested more than 2,000 wallpapers and floor coverings for toxic substances and found that most of them contained some level of phthalates. Some flooring contained more than 12 percent phthalates and at least one contained banned phthalates, MSNBC reported.

The chemicals were not found in floor coverings made of hardwood, cork, bamboo and natural linoleum, the Ecology Center said.

In 2009, Congress banned phthalates from children's toys and child care products, MSNBC reported.


FDA OKs Sales by Iowa Egg Farm Involved in Salmonella Outbreak

One of two farms linked to last summer's nationwide egg salmonella outbreak and recall will be allowed to start selling eggs again, says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

In a letter dated Oct. 15, the agency told Hillandale Farms of Hampton, Iowa that it could ship eggs to the table market from three of its egg-producing houses.

The decision is based on the company's response to inspections in August, the FDA said. In addition, extensive testing of the three egg houses has revealed no evidence of Salmonella contamination. The company said it would begin shipping eggs from the three egg houses on Oct. 18.

Four other egg houses overseen by HIllandale are undergoing further testing before the FDA considers allowing egg shipments from those facilities.

The other egg producer involved in the salmonella outbreak is still prohibited from shipping eggs. The FDA sent Wright County Eggs of Iowa a warning letter about the company's failure to correct sanitation violations, the Los Angeles Times reported.


Tylenol Maker Announces Another Recall

Complaints of a moldy or musty odor have prompted the recall of Tylenol 8-hour caplets 50 count in the United States and Puerto Rico, says McNeil Consumer Healthcare.

The company said it believes the odor is caused by trace amounts of a chemical called 2,4,6-tribromoanisole and that the "risk of adverse medical events is remote," CNN reported.

Consumers can call 1-888-222-6036 or go to McNeil's Web site to find out how to receive a refund or replacement product, said the company, which is a subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson.

Unusual odors have forced McNeil to issue several recalls so far this year of non-prescription pain and cold drugs including Tylenol, Benadryl and Motrin. The recalls have led to a Congressional inquiry, CNN reported.


Nature's Scenes, Sounds Reduce Pain of Bone Marrow Procedure: Study

The pain of bone marrow extraction can be eased by showing patients nature scenes and playing nature sounds such as chirping birds, trickling water or ribbiting frogs, according to a new study.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore tested these methods on cancer patients undergoing bone marrow aspiration and biopsy, BBC News reported.

They compared the effects of nature scenes and sounds to city scenes and sounds. The scenes were painted on hospital bed curtains. The patients exposed to nature scenes and sounds showed a significant reduction in pain levels during the bone marrow procedure, while those exposed to city scenes and sounds had no pain relief.

The study was published in the September issue of the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

The researchers said the nature scenes and sounds offer a cheap and easy way of reducing patients' pain, BBC News reported.

Consumer News