Health Highlights: May 2, 2012

HealthDay SHARE
  • USDA Introduces New Rules to Combat E. Coli Contamination in Meat
  • Study Points to Trigger Behind Need for Nighttime Urination
  • More American Teens Using Marijuana: Survey
  • Dog Food Recall Expanded
  • Mother Charged After Young Daughter Suffers Burns in Tanning Booth
  • Appeals Judge Grants Extension in Planned Parenthood Funding Case

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

USDA Introduces New Rules to Combat E. Coli Contamination in Meat

Updated rules to keep potentially the deadly bacterium out of meat have been introduced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The new regulations allow inspectors to start looking for meat contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 as soon as early testing shows a potential problem. The goal of the new policy is to accelerate the USDA's ability to track down and contain contaminated hamburger and ground beef, USA Today reported.

The USDA says it will be quicker to take action if there are signs of trouble. Previously, the agency did not launch investigations into possible contaminated meat until several tests were completed, a process that often took days.

The policy change "buys us 24 to 48 hours in terms of finding the sources," said USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Elisabeth Hagen, USA Today reported.

Other new safety measures introduced by the USDA include an early reporting system that requires companies to notify the agency within 24 hours if potentially harmful meat or poultry has been shipped. The agency has also added six new E. coli strains to a government watch list.

-----

Study Points to Trigger Behind Need for Nighttime Urination

Low levels of a certain protein might spur people to get up numerous times in the night to urinate, according to a new study conducted in mice.

Japanese researchers found that reduced levels of the connexin43 protein trick the bladder into believing that it is full, which sends a "must urinate" signal to the brain, Agence France-Presse reported.

The finding was made in laboratory mice that had been genetically modified to lack the gene that produces connexin43.

The study was published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications.

-----

More American Teens Using Marijuana: Survey

A new survey says a growing number of American teens are smoking marijuana.

Past-month use of marijuana rose from 19 percent in 2008 to 27 percent last year. The percentage of teens who smoked marijuana 20 or more times a month increased from 5 percent in 2008 to 9 percent last year, according to the Partnership at Drugfree.org survey results released Tuesday, the Associated Press reported.

Abuse of prescription drugs appears to be easing among youth in grades 9 through 12, but still remains high.

The survey also found that teens' use of harder drugs such as methamphetamine and cocaine has stabilized in recent years, the AP reported.

-----

Dog Food Recall Expanded

Diamond Pet Foods' recall of dog food due to possible salmonella contamination has been expanded to include puppy food, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.

The latest recall is for Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food that was distributed in 12 states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, msnbc.com reported.

Previous recalls were for Diamond Naturals Lamb & Rice dry dog food and Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul Adult Light formula dry dog food.

The FDA says there have not been any reports of dogs becoming ill after eating the recalled products, msnbc.com reported.

-----

Mother Charged After Young Daughter Suffers Burns in Tanning Booth

A New Jersey woman has been charged with child endangerment after she allegedly took her 5-year-old daughter into a stand-up tanning booth and the girl suffered burns.

Police were called to an elementary school on April 24 because a kindergarten student was suffering pain due to a "pretty severe sunburn," Nutley Police Det. Anthony Montanari told The Record newspaper, the Associated Press reported.