- FDA Warns of Bogus Swine Flu Products
- EPA Seeks to Expand Lead Safety Rules
- Cancer Drug Prevents Premature Labor
- Researchers Report Successful Womb Transplants in Rabbits
- Protein Controls Other Proteins' Access To DNA: Study
- Check Commercial Drivers, Ship Pilots for Sleep Apnea: NTSB
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:
FDA Warns of Bogus Swine Flu Products
Fake Tamiflu is one of many bogus products being sold over the Internet that claim to prevent, treat or diagnose swine flu, says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The agency has issued warnings about fraudulent claims to the Web marketers of more than 140 products, ranging from sprays or devices that supposedly sterilize surfaces or the air to dietary supplements touted for strengthening the immune system, the Associated Press reported.
Shortly after swine flu emerged last spring, about 10 bogus products a day were appearing online, according to Alyson Saben, the head of the FDA swine flu consumer fraud team. That rate slowed as the flu abated in the summer, but recently "we are seeing new sites pop up," Saben said.
Fake Tamiflu causes the most concern for the FDA. The agency purchased and tested five of the products and found that one contained powdered talc and general Tylenol, but no Tamiflu. Others contained some Tamiflu but weren't approved for sale in the United States, the AP reported.
"We have no idea of the conditions under which they were manufactured. They could contain contaminated, counterfeit, impure or subpotent or superpotent ingredients," Saben said.
EPA Seeks to Expand Lead Safety Rules
An expansion of a rule that requires contractors who renovate, repair or paint older homes to be trained and certified in "lead safe" work practices is being proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Currently, contractors working on homes built before 1978 are required to take precautions to reduce potential paint-associated lead exposure if pregnant women or children under age 6 live in the home. The proposed change would cover most homes built before 1978, regardless of who lives in them, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The change would mean a 50 percent increase in the number of contractors who would need to abide by the "lead-safe" rule for older homes, according to EPA spokesman Dale Kemery.
The EPA also wants to re-examine the hazard standard for lead in dust and possibly modify the regulatory definition of lead-based paint. Some groups say that current regulations are outdated, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Comments on the proposal will be accepted for 30 days and the EPA expects to finalize the changes by April 2010.
Cancer Drug Prevents Premature Labor
The cancer drug Trichostatin A (TSA) can stop contractions and may point to new ways to prevent premature labor, according to English researchers.
They tested the drug on muscle tissue taken from 36 women who had cesarean sections and found that the drug increases levels of a protein that controls muscle relaxation, BBC News reported.
Specifically, the Newcastle University team found that TSA reduced contractions for spontaneously contracting tissue by an average of 46 percent and reduced contractions induced by the labor drug oxytocin by an average of 54 percent.
The drug works by increasing the levels of a protein that controls muscle relaxation.
"We will not give this drug to a patient because it can damage as many as 10% of the genes in a cell," said study leader Professor Nick Europe-Finner, BBC News reported. "But it does show us that other more specific agents that act on the same enzymes but only one at a time are worth investigating."
The study appears in the journal Cellular and Molecular Medicine.
Researchers Report Successful Womb Transplants in Rabbits
Research in rabbits suggest that the world's first successful human womb transplant could be achieved within two years, according to British researchers.