Health Highlights: April 11, 2018

By on April 11, 2018

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

Human Error Caused Loss of Frozen Eggs and Embryos, Storage Tank Company Says

Human error, not storage tank malfunction, led to the loss in early March of more than 4,000 frozen eggs and embryos at a fertility clinic run by University Hospitals in Cleveland, says the company that supplied the storage tank.

An initial investigation in recent weeks revealed mistakes made by the clinic, according to Michigan-based Custom Biogenic Systems, the AP reported.

Two weeks ago, University Hospitals said problems with the storage tank had been occurring for weeks and that a remote alarm system meant to sound when the tank’s temperature started to rise was turned off.

In a letter to about 950 affected patients, the hospital said a system that automatically fills the liquid nitrogen meant to keep the eggs and embryos frozen was not working properly, and that the clinic was manually filling the tank with nitrogen by pouring it into the top, the AP reported.

But the storage tank is not meant to be filled manually from the top and isn’t designed to monitor liquid nitrogen poured into the top, Custom Biogenic Systems said.

The company also said it had nothing to do with the remote alarm system that was switched off, and that the tank functioned properly by showing a high temperature and sounding a local alarm, the AP reported.

University Hospitals has said it doesn’t know who shut off the remote alarm, which should have sounded when the storage tank’s temperature started rising on the weekend of March 3.

In a statement Tuesday, University Hospitals said it’s working with the company and others to pinpoint what happened, the AP reported.

“We intend to continue to work with the tank manufacturer to ensure this does not happen again,” the hospital said. “We’ve been careful to not assign blame. But we’ve accepted responsibility.”

The hospital is facing a number of lawsuits over the loss of the frozen eggs and embryos.

That incident and another one on the same day at a fertility clinic in San Francisco are the largest known losses of frozen eggs and embryos in the U.S., and led fertility centers nationwide to conduct reviews, the AP reported.


Strawberries Again Top the List of ‘Dirtiest’ Produce

Strawberries are once again first on a list of the 12 “dirtiest” fruits and vegetables issued by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Environmental Working Group.

Every since 2004, the group has released its Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, which ranks pesticide contamination of 47 popular fruits and vegetables, CNN reported.

In order of contamination, the others in the top “Dirty Dozen” are: spinach, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes and sweet bell peppers.

Each of the top 12 items tested positive for pesticide residues and contained higher concentrations of pesticides than other produce, CNN reported.

While these 12 fruits and vegetables have the highest levels of contamination, nearly 70 percent of conventionally grown (non-organic) produce samples that were tested were contaminated, according to the Environmental Working Group.

There were some grocery-aisle winners, though, too. EWG also lists its “Clean 15” — produce containing the least amount of pesticides. Avocados topped that list, followed by sweet corn, pineapples, cabbage, onions, frozen sweet peas, papayas, asparagus, mangoes, eggplant, honeydew melon, kiwi, cantaloupe, cauliflower and broccoli.

EWG notes that less that 1 percent of samples of either avocados or sweet corn tested positive for pesticides.

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