Health Highlights: June 28, 2010

Posted by: healthday (May 18, 2011) in: DAILY HEALTH PULSE

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

Airline Food Companies Cited for Health and Safety Violations

A number of catering facilities of three companies that supply meals to major U.S. airlines have been cited for suspected health and safety violations, according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration documents.

The companies are LSG Sky Chefs, Gate Gourmet and Flying Food Group, according to FDA documents obtained by USA Today. The food firms are used by nearly all large U.S. airlines, including American, Continental, Delta, United and US Airways, the newspaper said.

The violations listed by the FDA include food stored at improper temperatures, unclean equipment, poor worker hygiene, and signs of inadequate pest control, USA Today reported.

When asked about the problems, the food companies said they work hard to ensure food is safe, and the airlines said they monitor the food served to passengers.

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New Prostate Cancer Drug in Short Supply

Because demand is outpacing production, prostate cancer patients may face delays of a year or more before they can get the new tumor-fighting vaccine Provenge.

Until manufacturing capacity increases in mid-2011, Dendreon Corp. is only able to produce enough of the vaccine to treat about 2 percent of eligible patients, Bloomberg news reported.

The shortage of the drug, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on April 29, is a concern for hospitals across the nation.

“Until the capacity issues can be addressed, this will not be an effective agent,” Dr. Chris Logothetis, head of prostate cancer research at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, told Bloomberg. “(Our) waiting list — even as we are telling patients we’re not starting a waiting list because we are inundated — is more than 50 patients. This is going to be a problem.”

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Sen. Robert Byrd Dies at Age 92

Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia, 92, the longest-serving senator in U.S. history, died early Monday.

Byrd had been admitted to Inova Hospital in Fairfax, Va., late last week. It was initially believed that he was suffering from heat exhaustion and severe dehydration, but he developed other health problems. He had been in frail health for several years, the Associated Press reported.

Byrd, who held his seat for more than 50 years, was Senate majority leader for six years.

Byrd was born Nov. 20, 1917 in North Wilkesboro, N.C. His death comes less than a year after the death of fellow leading Democratic senator Edward M. Kennedy.

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Excess Weight Increases Risk of Miscarriage After IVF: Study

Normal-weight women are much less likely to have a miscarriage after in-vitro fertilization (IVF) compared to overweight and obese women, a British study says.

Researchers followed 318 women who became pregnant after IVF and found that 22 percent of normal-weight women had a miscarriage, compared with 33 percent of those who were overweight or obese, the Associated Press reported.

The study was presented Monday at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology.

“Our aim was not to exclude women from getting (IVF) treatment, but to help women get the best outcome after they have IVF,” said study leader Dr. Vivian Rittenberg, a clinical fellow in the Assisted Conception Unit at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Hospital in London, the AP reported.

Before undergoing artificial reproduction techniques, overweight and obese women should seek help in losing weight, she suggested.

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