- Restaurant Trans Fats Ban Becomes Law in California
- Experimental Rheumatoid Arthritis Drug Appears Effective: FDA
- EPA Bans Carbofuran Residue on Food
- Custom Insoles Help Ease Foot Pain
- Omega-3s May Hinder Wound Healing
- Drug Companies Make Billions More Under Medicare Part D
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:
Restaurant Trans Fats Ban Becomes Law in California
In what may be developing as a trans-continental competition to promote healthier eating, California has become the first state to ban restaurants from using trans fats for cooking.
A week ago, New York City became the first city in the United States to require major restaurant chains to post calorie content for all menu items. New York banned trans fats from being used by its restaurants last year.
According to the Associated Press, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation on Friday that ends restaurants' use of oils, margarine and shortening that contain trans fats, which have been linked to coronary artery disease.
The new law won't take effect until 2010, although trans fats have already been banned from being used in preparing food in California schools, the wire service said. Violation of the the law can result in fines of between $25 and $1,000, according to the A.P.
Experimental Rheumatoid Arthritis Drug Appears Effective: FDA
Roche's Actemra (tocilizumab) appears to successfully treat the joint destruction and pain that accompany moderate-to-severe rheumatoid arthritis, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Friday in documents posted on its Web site.
But the drug has been linked to serious infections and cancer -- factors an FDA panel of experts will consider at its scheduled meeting Tuesday, when it decides whether to recommend the full agency's approval of Actemra, the Wall Street Journal reported.
More than 2 million Americans have RA, the newspaper said. Although there are many other treatments, they generally are limited to relieving pain. Actemra, by contrast, targets a receptor that plays a role in RA's acute inflammatory response, which leads to destruction of cartilage and bone that can trigger disability.
The FDA isn't bound to follow the recommendations of its expert panels, but generally does.
EPA Bans Carbofuran Residue on Food
In what's regarded as a surprise move, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it will no longer allow residue of the toxic pesticide carbofuran on domestic or imported food. The decision would effectively remove the chemical from the U.S. market, the Washington Post reported.
The EPA said Thursday it made the decision on the grounds that carbofuran residue on foods poses an unacceptable safety risk to toddlers.
The American Bird Conservancy and the Natural Resources Defense Council had been urging the EPA to forbid carbofuran residue on food because the chemical poses a threat to wildlife, as well as people, the Post reported.
"I was surprised and pleased the EPA did the right thing and followed the science. This is really a big one for workers, birds and bees," said Jennifer Sass, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Custom Insoles Help Relieve Foot Pain
Custom-made insoles may help ease arthritic foot pain, according to researchers who conducted a review of 11 studies that included 1,332 people.
The Australian team concluded that custom foot orthoses -- insoles molded to a cast of the foot -- may reduce pain within three months in adults with rheumatoid arthritis and in children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis, United Press International reported.
Treatment with custom foot orthoses may also reduce pain in adults with highly-arched feet or prominent big toe joints, according to the review, which appears in the The Cochrane Library.
The review authors said custom orthoses were safe, but additional research is needed to better understand their effectiveness, UPI reported.