Health Highlights: Oct. 4, 2016
Actor Ben Stiller Reveals Prostate Cancer Diagnosis Insulin Pump Can be Hacked: Johnson & Johnson Cigarette Smoke Toxins Remain in Home Long After Smoker Quits: Study Maine Mussels and Clams Recalled Little Proof Brain-Training Games Are Effective: Review Mylan CEO Misled Congress About EpiPen Profits: Lawmakers
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Actor Ben Stiller Reveals Prostate Cancer Diagnosis
Ben Stiller was diagnosed with prostate cancer two years ago and survived because of early detection, the 50-year-old actor says.
Stiller was diagnosed at age 48 and had surgery. The cancer was detected through a simple prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test, People magazine reported.
Due to his experience, Stiller is urging men to get tested for prostate cancer.
"If I hadn't gotten the test, my doctor started giving it to me at 46, I still wouldn't know," he said in an interview on The Howard Stern show Tuesday morning, People reported.
"I wanted to talk about it because of the test, because I feel like the test saved my life," Stiller added.
Insulin Pump Can be Hacked: Johnson & Johnson
The OneTouch Ping insulin pump is vulnerable to hacking, Johnson & Johnson says.
A cybersecurity flaw in the device could allow hackers to infuse potentially life-threatening additional doses of insulin without a patient's knowledge, Bloomberg News reported.
"The probability of unauthorized access to the OneTouch Ping System is extremely low," the company said in a letter to patients. "It would require technical expertise, sophisticated equipment and proximity to the pump, as the OneTouch Ping system is not connected to the Internet or to any external network."
Johnson & Johnson said it has taken steps to correct the problem and outlined how patients can reduce their risks, Bloomberg reported.
Cigarette Smoke Toxins Remain in Home Long After Smoker Quits: Study
Toxins from tobacco smoke persists in smokers' homes for at least six months after they quit and remain a threat to nonsmoking residents, according to researchers.
The team studied 65 smokers who were quit smoking and discovered that tiny particles from burning tobacco get into surfaces such as carpets, wallpaper, ceiling tiles upholstery, clothes, blankets and pillows and were still present long after a smoker quit, The New York Times reported.
There were large immediate declines in nicotine on surfaces and in dust, which then leveled off and remained the same, but still detectable, by the end of the study period, according to the study in the journal Tobacco Control.
And even six months after smokers quit, nonsmokers still in the same home still had detectable levels of a marker of tobacco exposure in their urine after six months, The Times reported.
Maine Mussels and Clams Recalled
The threat of a deadly neurotoxin has led to a recall of mussels and clams harvested in Maine.
Some mussels and clams tested positive for domoic acid at levels higher than the established threshold. The state's Department of Marine Resources said no known illnesses have been linked to the mussels and clams, CNN reported.
The recall covers mussels and mahogany quahogs harvested or wet-stored Sunday through Friday of last week in the Jonesport area of Maine, and clams harvested last Wednesday through Friday from Cranberry Point in Corea to Cow Point in Roque Bluffs.
Eating shellfish or fish with domoic acid can lead to a condition called amnesic shellfish poisoning, which results in symptoms such as abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, CNN reported.
Eating high levels of the toxin can result in neurological symptoms such as short-term memory loss, seizures, dizziness, headache, weakness, heart rhythm problems, coma and even death.
Little Proof Brain-Training Games Are Effective: Review
There is little proof to support claims that digital brain-training games improve people's memory, focus or attention and help delay mental decline, researchers say.
They reviewed 374 studies of the increasingly popular products and found "extensive evidence" that they do improve performance on the tasks users directly train for, such as remembering a series of letter or numbers, USA Today reported.
However, there was less evidence that mastering these tasks helps users remember things such as birthdays or mobile phone numbers, and little evidence that brain training games boost thinking abilities in other areas.
The review was published in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest.
Mylan CEO Misled Congress About EpiPen Profits: Lawmakers
The CEO of the company that makes EpiPens misled Congress about how much profit the company makes on the life-saving injection devices used when people suffer severe allergic reactions, according to leaders of the House Oversight Committee.
Last month, Heather Bresch told the committee that Mylan made just $50 profit on EpiPens sold for more than $300 each, the Associated Press reported.
However, a letter released Monday by the panel said the figures cited by Bresch were calculated after the 37.5 percent U.S. tax rate was factored in. Before taxes, Mylan's profit on an EpiPen two-pack is actually $160.
"Failing to disclose tax assumptions that formed the basis for ... the profit per pack claim, despite opportunities to do so before and during the hearing, raises questions," wrote ommittee Chairman Jason Chaffetz of Utah and Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the panel's senior Democrat, the AP reported.
Since 2007, the list price of EpiPens has increased more than 500 percent and a two-pack of the devices now costs $608.