- Scientists Closer to Developing Botulinum Toxin Antidote
- Munchkin Baby Bottle and Food Warmers Recalled
- Nickel in Cheap Earrings Common Cause of Earlobe Dermatitis
- Poultry Slaughtered to Control Bird Flu Outbreak in South Korea
- Men More Likely to Desire Alcohol When Upset: Study
- Lawsuit Alleging Mercury-Autism Link to Begin in U.S. Court of Claims
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:
Scientists Closer to Developing Botulinum Toxin Antidote
U.S. scientists say they've made a breakthrough in efforts to develop an effective antidote for botulinum toxin, which is a common cause of food poisoning and a potentially devastating biological weapon. One gram of the poison can kill hundreds of thousands of people, according to defense experts, BBC News reported.
The Clostridium botulinum bacterium produces seven different neurotoxins that can block the chemicals nerve cells use to communicate with each other and with muscles. This can paralyze the breathing muscles and cause suffocation.
The researchers developed a protein that blocks the effects of the most powerful of these toxins by fooling it into not attacking cells in the body, BBC News reported. It will take at least four to five years before this finding results in an approved drug, said the researchers at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York and the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.
The findings are published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
Currently, there are vaccines for botulinum toxin designed to be given before an attack. This research could produce as drug that would work after exposure.
Munchkin Baby Bottle and Food Warmers Recalled
About 5,000 Munchkin Inc. baby bottle and food warmers are being recalled because they can overheat and pose a fire hazard, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said.
So far, the North Hills, Calif.-based company has received nine reports of units overheating, including several that ignited and caused damage to countertops. No injuries have been reported.
The recall involves the Munchkin Deluxe Bottle and Food Warmer with Pacifier Cleaning Basket 2-in-1 Design, model # 13301 and lot number TP-1487. The Chinese-made warmers were sold at various retailers across the United States and through the Munchkin's catalogue from June 2007 through April 2008 for about $20.
Consumers should stop using the warmers and contact the company (866-619-8673) for a free replacement, the CPSC said.
Nickel in Cheap Earrings Common Cause of Earlobe Dermatitis
Cheap earrings that contain nickel are a common cause of earlobe dermatitis, say U.S. researchers who analyzed 277 inexpensive earrings (under $50) purchased from 34 different stores and artists in San Francisco. The study authors noted that repeated exposure to nickel can make it difficult to treat earlobe dermatitis.
The tests revealed that 30.7 percent of the earrings contained at least some nickel. The highest proportion of earrings with nickel came from local artists (69 percent) and from those purchased in China Town (43 percent), United Press International reported.
The researchers also found nickel in 24 percent of earrings bought at stores targeting young women, compared to 1.7 percent of earrings from stores targeting women over age 40.
Price wasn't a good indicator of whether earrings contained nickel. For example, none of the 44 earrings that cost $5 and $8 at one store had nickel, while many earrings that cost $15 and $25 at another store did contain nickel, UPI reported.
The study is published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
Poultry Slaughtered to Control Bird Flu Outbreak in South Korea
All poultry in South Korea's capital city of Seoul have been killed in an effort to prevent the spread of bird flu following a new outbreak of the disease in the city, officials said Monday.
The slaughter of about 15,000 chickens, ducks, pheasants and turkeys began Sunday night, hours after confirmation of the city's second outbreak of bird flu in less than a week, the Associated Press reported. Authorities are now focusing on blocking any live poultry from being brought into Seoul.