Health Highlights: Oct. 17, 2008

HealthDay SHARE
  • Psoriasis Drug Raptiva Gets Black Box Warning on Infections
  • Recalled Cribs Pose Suffocation and Entrapment Hazard
  • 'Stayin' Alive' May Help Save Lives
  • Social Security Benefits to Rise 5.8% in 2009
  • EPA Tightens Lead Air Pollution Limits
  • People With Autism Less Likely to React on 'Gut Instinct': Study

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

Psoriasis Drug Raptiva Gets Black Box Warning on Infections

The psoriasis drug Raptiva must now carry a black box warning -- the most serious kind -- about the risk of life-threatening infections, including a rare brain infection called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Thursday.

Earlier this week, California-based drug maker Genentech said a 70-year-old patient taking Raptiva died after developing PML. A Genentech spokeswoman told Bloomberg news it was the only confirmed case of PML in a patient taking Raptiva.

The black box warning also notes the risk of serious infections -- such as viral meningitis, bacterial blood infections and invasive fungal disease -- that have led to hospitalizations or deaths in patients taking Raptiva. Previously, those warnings were listed in an unboxed section on the drug's labeling.

Raptiva suppresses the immune system in order to reduce psoriasis flare-ups, but this immune system suppression can increase the risk of serious infections and malignancies in patients, the FDA said.

Genentech also added warnings of neurological conditions noted in patients taking Raptiva, Bloomberg reported. The conditions include Guillain-Barre syndrome, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, transverse myelitis, and facial palsy. Those warnings won't be boxed.

-----

Recalled Cribs Pose Suffocation and Entrapment Hazard

A suffocation and entrapment hazard that caused the death of a child has prompted the recall of about 2,000 Playkids convertible cribs, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said Thursday. The sides of the crib are made of mesh that expands, creating a gap between the mattress and the side.

On Aug. 31, a 5-month-old child in Brooklyn, N.Y., became trapped between the crib mattress and drop side rail and suffocated.

This recall involves made-in-China convertible crib/playpen/bassinet/bed with model number PLK-909. "Playkids U.S.A." can be found on the packaging and on a label sewn into the side of the crib, and the model number can be found on the packaging, the CPSC said. The cribs have a drop side rail, a stationary side rail, a canopy assembly, and a bassinet. The sides of the crib, the mattress support, the bassinet, the canopy and the bedskirt are covered in fabric and mesh, which come in a variety of colors and patterns.

The cribs were sold in juvenile product stores in New York from March 2007 through September 2008 for about $100. Consumers should stop using these cribs and contact Playkids USA of Brooklyn, N.Y., at (718) 797-0302 to receive a full refund.

-----

'Stayin' Alive' May Help Save Lives

The classic disco tune "Stayin' Alive" has almost the perfect beat for people doing CPR chest compressions, according to University of Illinois medical school researchers. The song has 103 beats per minute, while the American Heart Association recommends 100 chest compressions per minute for CPR.

In this study, 15 students and doctors first did CPR on mannequins while listening to "Stayin' Alive." They were told to time chest compressions with the song's beat, the Associated Press reported. Five weeks later, the same participants repeated the drill without the music, but were told to play the famous Bee Gees song in their head, while they did chest compressions.

The average number of compressions in the first session was 109 per minute, and 113 per minute in the second session. That's more than recommended by the AHA, but a few extra compressions are better than too few when trying to restart a stopped heart, said study author Dr. David Matlock, the AP reported.