Health Highlights: Dec. 2, 2009

  • A type of lung cancer surgery called lobectomy. Up 29 percent to $1 billion.
  • Incision and drainage of skin and other tissues. Up 29 percent to $1 billion.
  • Knee surgery. Up 27.5 percent to $9.2 billion.
  • Nephrostomy (surgery to allow urine to pass through the kidneys). Up 25 percent to $683 million.
  • Mastectomy (breast removal because of cancer). Up 24 percent to $660 million.
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    Tyson Foods Warned About Seafood Storage

    Inspectors found unsanitary conditions at a Tyson Foods plant in Forth Worth, Tex., that makes seafood soups, says a U.S. Food and Drug Administration warning letter sent to the company and posted on the agency's Web site.

    The FDA said fish and crab at the plant were stored at dangerously high temperatures -- between 40 and 55 degrees F for about 18 hours -- but should be stored below 40 degrees F to prevent the growth of bacteria and toxins, the Associated Press reported.

    "Pathogen growth and potential toxin formulation is a hazard reasonably likely to occur in the absence of (temperature) control, consequently, the hazard needs to be addressed," said the FDA warning letter.

    Since the inspection, Tyson has updated its temperature control plan, the AP reported.

    The fish and crab noted by FDA inspectors wasn't used in company products, according to Tyson spokesman Gary Mickelson. "Our Forth Worth plant is clean and sanitary, and the products produced there are safe to eat," he said in a statement.


    Patient Uses Mind to Control Robotic Hand

    A man fitted with a robotic hand was able to control it with his thoughts and to feel sensations through the device, say European scientists.

    At a news conference Wednesday, the Italian-led team said this is the first time an amputee has demonstrated the ability to use thoughts to control a biomechanic hand attached to the nervous system, the Associated Press reported.

    Electrodes were implanted into the arm of the patient, who had lost his left hand and forearm in a car accident. During the month-long experiment, the man learned to wiggle the robotic hand's fingers and to make other hand movements.


    No New Tamiflu-Resistant H1N1 Cases at Duke

    No additional cases of Tamiflu-resistant H1N1 flu have been found at Duke University Hospital, according to preliminary results of extensive testing and screening, officials announced Tuesday.

    On Nov. 20, the hospital reported that four patients in a single, isolated unit were confirmed as having Tamiflu-resistant H1N1 swine flu. The unit is for patients with seriously impaired immune systems and multiple other complex medical conditions.

    Over the past 10 days, all patients in the unit were tested several times by the hospital, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the North Carolina Division of Public Health. No new cases of Tamiflu-resistant H1N1 were found.

    The hospital is working with the CDC and state health officials to review the initial four reported cases. It's expected the assessment will continue for several more weeks.

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