Health Buzz: Salmonella Source and Other Health News

A House of Representatives vote to regulate tobacco; heart screening for kids; and Dara Torres's team.

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Mexican Farm Linked to Salmonella Outbreak

Laboratory testing by the Food and Drug Administration has linked a Mexican farm to the salmonella outbreak in the United States, the agency said yesterday. A sample of serrano peppers and irrigation water taken from the farm, located in Nuevo León, Mexico, contained the same strain of salmonella that caused the U.S. outbreak. A contaminated jalapeño pepper had been identified two weeks ago at another farm in a different part of Mexico. Until further notice, the FDA advises consumers to avoid eating raw serrano or jalapeño peppers from Mexico or any foods that contain them.

U.S. News's Nancy Shute offered advice in June on how to foil salmonella by cooking your tomatoes.

House Votes in Favor of Tobacco Regulation

By a 326-to-102 vote, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation that would, for the first time, provide the FDA with the authority to regulate tobacco products, according to the New York Times. The bill bans flavored cigarettes and would give the FDA the power to reduce the amount of nicotine contained in tobacco products to nonaddictive levels and to reduce or eliminate other harmful ingredients in tobacco products. But the FDA would not have the power to outright eliminate nicotine from tobacco products or ban all tobacco products. The legislation is expected to be taken up by the Senate in the fall; the White House has said it is opposed to the bill.

In June, U.S. News's Lindsay Chura explored whether hypnosis can help snuff out a smoker's cigarette habit, and Lindsay Lyon previously identified America's 10 smokiest states.

Pediatric Group Says 'No' to Heart Tests

The American Academy of Pediatrics says it does not recommend that children taking stimulant drugs for ADHD have an electrocardiogram to screen for hidden problems, despite the American Heart Association's recommendation to the contrary in April. The AAP posted its recommendation online in May, but word is only now filtering out, Nancy Shute reports. In response, the cardiologists softened their stance. "We say it is reasonable to add an ECG, but it is not mandatory," says Timothy Gardner, medical director of the Christiana Care Center for Heart & Vascular Health in Wilmington, Del., and president of the AHA. He notes that children with cardiovascular abnormalities are more likely to have ADHD.

Shute explained the AHA's original recommendation in April.

Dara Torres's Abs and the Average Woman's Body Image

As the Olympics approach, and coverage of many ultrafit female athletes fills the airwaves, U.S. News's Deborah Kotz explores women's body image issues. About 30 percent of women who responded online to a recent AOL poll said their bodies make them uncomfortable and ashamed. Kotz says that seeing the perfect six-pack abs of Olympian Dara Torres, who is a 41-year-old mother of a 2-year-old, made her do a little self-examination. But in order to maintain that body, Torres employs three coaches, two stretchers, two massage therapists, a chiropractor, and a nanny, at the cost of at least $100,000 per year.

Last week, Katherine Hobson provided an introduction to 11 Olympic athletes and their workouts.

—January W. Payne