Health Highlights: Nov. 10, 2010

By on November 10, 2010

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

San Francisco Bans Some Fast-Food Toys

A proposal to ban fast-food restaurants from giving free toys with children’s meals that are high in fat, sugar or salt was approved Tuesday by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors.

Tuesday’s 8-3 final approval of the legislation means that San Francisco could become the first U.S. city with this type of law, meant to combat childhood obesity. It could go into effect in December 2011, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The law will allow restaurants to offer free toys with healthy children’s meals.

“This is a simple and modest policy that holds fast-food (businesses) accountable and it allows toys with kids’ meals if basic nutritional standards are met,” said Supervisor Eric Mar, the legislation’s chief sponsor, the Chronicle reported.

Mayor Gavin Newsom has said he would veto the legislation, but it received the eight votes needed to override his veto.


Cal-Maine Recalls 288,000 Eggs

Possible salmonella contamination has prompted the recall of 288,000 eggs sold by Cal-Maine Foods Inc., the largest egg seller in the United States.

The company said salmonella was detected at the Ohio farm that supplied the eggs. The farm, Ohio Fresh Eggs, has financial ties to Jack DeCoster, the owner of Wright County Egg, which was involved in a massive egg recall earlier this year, reported CBS News and the Associated Press.

The recalled eggs were packaged in early October and shipped to food wholesalers and retailers in Arkansas, California, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas, Cal-Maine said.

The company said it wasn’t notified of the salmonella problem at the Ohio farm until Nov. 5. There have been no reported illnesses, CBS News/AP reported.

For more information, consumers can call Cal-Maine at 1-866-276-6299 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. CDT.


Parents Can’t Hide Stress From Children: Survey

Parents aren’t very good at hiding their stress and worry from their children, according to a new survey released by the American Psychological Association.

The Harris Interactive online poll of 1,136 youngsters ages 8 to 17 years old found that 91 percent said there are a number of ways they know when their parents are stressed, USA Today reported.

Those signs include parents yelling (34 percent), parents arguing with other people in the home (30 percent), and parents being too busy or don’t have time to spend with children (18 percent).

The survey also found that 32 percent of young people believe that their parent has been “really worried or stressed out about things” in the past month, while only 6 percent said their parent is never stressed, USA Today reported.

Parents try to protect their children from stress, but these findings show “that children are able to see through that,” said APA CEO Norman Anderson.

“It’s actually better to talk with your kids about the fact that the parent is having challenges,” he said. “The key message is ‘We’re going to address these difficulties and we’ll be OK. We’ll get through this.’ “


Cholera Treatment Centers Set Up in Port-au-Prince

The spread of cholera into Haiti’s capital has triggered a rush to establish treatment centers across Port-au-Prince.

“We expect transmission to be extensive and we have to be prepared for it, there’s no question,” Dr. Jon K. Andrus, deputy director of the Pan-American Health Organization, told journalists Tuesday, the Associated Press reported.

“We have to prepare for a large upsurge in numbers of cases and be prepared with supplies and human resources and everything that goes into a rapid response,” he said.

The spread of Haiti’s cholera epidemic from river towns in the countryside to the capital is a dangerous development, says the organization.

The first case of cholera that originated in Port-au-Prince was confirmed Monday and two more cases were confirmed Tuesday, the AP reported.


FDA Managers Cleared of Wrongdoing

U.S. Food and Drug Administration managers did not pressure or harass agency scientists into approving medical devices such as CT scanners and MRI machines against their judgment, according to federal investigators.

This is the second time this year that the allegations have been dismissed by the office of inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the FDA, the Associated Press reported.

After the first finding was released in February, the inspector general agreed to reopen the investigation at the request of advocacy groups and federal lawmakers, who said the first investigation was too narrow in scope.

In a one-page memo dated Oct. 14, the inspector general says the second investigation found “no evidence of retaliation” against the agency’s medical device reviewers and concludes that “this case is closed,” the AP reported.

The nine current and former FDA scientists alleged that managers improperly overruled their opinions about medical devices and attempted to intimidate them when they made their concerns public.


New AMA Policy Covers Physicians’ Use of Social Media

Privacy and appropriate conduct are major points included in a newly released American Medical Association policy about physicians’ use of social media.

“Using social media can help physicians create a professional presence online, express their personal views and foster relationships, but it can also create new challenges for the patient-physician relationship,” Dr. Mary Anne McCaffree, an AMA board member, said in an association news release. “The AMA’s new policy outlines a number of considerations physicians should weigh when building or maintaining a presence online.”

The policy recommends physicians:

  • Use the strongest possible privacy settings to safeguard personal information and content.
  • Routinely check that personal and professional information on their own sites and content posted about them by others is accurate and appropriate.
  • Maintain appropriate boundaries of the patient-physician relationship when interacting with patients online and ensure patient privacy and confidentiality.
  • Consider separating personal and professional content online.
  • Understand that online actions and content can harm their reputations among patients and colleagues, and may even damage their medical careers.

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