Today's Health Highlights: Dec. 30, 2001

If Champagne Makes You Bubbly, Blame the Fizz Suspected Meat Sabotage Prompts Recall More Anthrax Found at New York Postal Facility Sobering News on the Carnage of Drunken Driving

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

If Champagne Makes You Bubbly, Blame the Fizz

If you pop a cork and partake of champagne on New Year's Eve, take extra care. British researchers say the fizz in bubbly makes its alcohol content more likely to hit your brain faster and keep you drunk longer, HealthDay reports.

Researchers at a university organized a series of "drinking parties" for volunteers and tested their reactions to two glasses of fizzy champagne or two glasses of "wine" -- champagne with the bubbles removed. The booze had more of an effect on those who drank the normal champagne.

It's not clear why bubbles boost the impact of alcohol in the body. But if you don't like the idea of getting drunker than you expect, eat some food with your beverage and drink it slowly.


Suspected Meat Sabotage Prompts Recall

Customers in several Midwestern and Southern states should be on the lookout for ham products that may have been contaminated with nails left by an angry employee, the Associated Press reports.

Cumberland Gap Provisions, a meat producer based in Kentucky, is recalling 250,000 of ham products packed at a plant in Logansport, Ind. The products were distributed in Indiana, Kentucky, Florida, Georgia, Michigan and Ohio, according to federal officials.

The CEO of the company said there is no evidence that any products were actually contaminated, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture asked for a recall just to be sure.

The recalled products, processed on Dec. 18 and Dec. 19, were packaged as ``Olde Kentucky Boneless Full Cooked Hickory Smoked Ham Water Added,'' ``Cumberland Gap Smoked Hickory Hills Ham Water Added,'' ``Martin's Hickory Smoked Ham Water Added,'' ``Cumberland Gap Boneless Smoked Mini Ham Water Added,'' and ``Pine Mountain Brand Mild Sweet Mountain Cure Naturally Hickory Smoked Fully Cooked Ham Water Added.'' Customers should look out for these packing label codes: APR0702C, APR0702B, MAR2202B, MAR2202C, 352B or 353C.


More Anthrax Found at New York Postal Facility

More traces of anthrax have been found on a mail sorting machine at the Morgan Processing and Distribution Center in New York City, the Associated Press reports.

The facility, which handles some 12.5 million pieces of mail per day, had tested positive for the bacteria in October. Subsequent tests came back negative. Another test, this one taken on December 23, however, came back positive. A third-floor sorting machine was the only one to test positive in the 10-story building.

The Morgan Center will not be closed but will be decontaminated and retested. Meanwhile, William Smith, the president of the New York Area Postal Union said he would advise employees not to go to work until the extent of the contamination was clear.

Although no postal workers in New York City have contracted anthrax, mail that went through the Morgan facility appears to have been responsible for four nonlethal cases of skin anthrax in the city.


Study Quantifies the Carnage of Drunken Driving

If you're thinking about hitting the road after guzzling champagne on New Year's Eve, consider this: Drunken drivers are 13 times more likely to kill someone than an average sober driver, a new study says, according to HealthDay.

"A drunken driver who takes a five-mile trip exposes other people to as much risk as a sober driver who drives for 65 miles," says Steven Levitt, professor of economics at the University of Chicago and co-author of the study into the risks of mixing alcohol and driving.

While public awareness of drunken driving has grown over the last two decades, 16,653 people died in alcohol-related traffic accidents in 2000. That's 40 percent of all traffic deaths, according to federal figures.

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