Health Highlights: Feb. 12, 2010

By on February 12, 2010

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

Nature Variety Pet Food Recalled

Fears of possible salmonella contamination have led to a recall of Nature Variety chicken-flavored pet food.

The Lincoln, Neb.-based company said Thursday that no pets or people have been sickened by the pet food, the Associated Press reported.

The recall includes 3-pound packages of chicken medallions, 6-pound packages of chicken patties, and 2-pound packages of chicken chubs, all with a best-by date of Nov. 2010.

Symptoms of salmonella infection include fever, headache, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea and usually last 4-7 days. Most people recover without treatment, but the infection can be more serious in the elderly, young children and those with weakened immune systems.


Induced Stem Cells Inferior To Embryonic Stem Cells: Study

Stem cells grown from skin cells show early aging and other abnormalities compared with embryonic stem cells, say U.S. scientists.

They compared 25 human embryonic stem cell lines with 8 induced stem cell lines created from skin cells, USA Today reported.

The biologists at Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine International in Worcester, Mass. found the embryonic stem cells grew about 1,000 times more readily than the induced cells. In addition, the induced stem cells “significantly increased apoptosis (cell death), severely limited growth and expansion capability, as well as a substantially decreased hematopoietic (blood cell) colony forming capability,” the researchers wrote.

The study appears in the journal Stem Cell.

“The authors show that induced stem cells are not of the same ‘quality’ as embryonic stem cells, and that induced-derived cell types tend to age and die earlier than those derived from embryonic cells,” said Maria Blasco, a biologist at the Spanish National Cancer Center in Madrid, USA Today reported. She was not part of the study.


Jury Acquits Texas Nurse In Whistleblower Case

A Texas nurse charged with a third-degree felony for reporting that a doctor at her hospital was practicing unsafe medicine was found not guilty Thursday.

After a four-day trial, it took the jury only an hour to acquit Anne Mitchell, who faced a prison sentence of up to 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000 if found guilty, The New York Times reported.

The prosecution alleged that Mitchell — at the time a nurse at Winkler County Memorial Hospital in Kermit — illegally used her position to obtain and disseminate confidential information (patient file numbers) in her letter to the state medical board in an attempt to harm Dr. Rolando G. Arafiles Jr.

This went against state law, which requires that reports of misconduct be made in good faith, according to the prosecution, The Times reported.

However, in a unanimous vote on the first ballot, the jury of six men and six women found Mitchell innocent. After the verdict, Mitchell said she was only trying to protect her patients.


Applegate Farms Sausage Recalled

More than 1,400 pounds of Applegate Farms-brand sausage are being recalled because of possible contamination with plastic material, says the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service.

The recall is for 12-ounce packages of “Applegate Farms Certified Organic Fire Roasted Red Pepper Fully Cooked Chicken & Turkey Sausage,” with a “use by/freeze by” date of February 28, 2010, United Press International reported.

The FSIS said the recalled sausages were distributed in California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon and Texas.

For more information, consumers can contact the company — Schmalz European Provisions of Springfield, N.J. — at 800-587-5858, UPI reported.


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