Health Highlights: April 26, 2007

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

Congress Should Limit TV Violence: FCC

The U.S. Congress should legislate limits on TV violence in order to better protect children since voluntary parental controls aren't working, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said in a report released Wednesday.

The FCC said this kind of regulation is needed because research shows that extended exposure to TV violence can lead to more aggressive behavior in kids, The Washington Post reported.

V-chip blocking technology is only partially effective in screening violent content, said the FCC, which produced the report at the request of 39 lawmakers. The report will be used as a basis to draft legislation, said Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.).

    • Congress Should Limit TV Violence: FCC
    • Roche Slows Tamiflu Output
    • Many Spanish Couples Donate Surplus Embryos for Stem Cell Reseach
    • System Assesses Death Risk for Bariatric Surgery Patients
    • Imported Eye Products Contain Lead, NYC Warns
    • Texas Governor's HPV Vaccine Order Rejected
    • Pull Shrek Exercise Ads for Children, Group Says

"Clearly, steps should be taken to protect children from excessively violent programming. Some might say such action is long overdue," FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said in a prepared statement.

Giving the government the power to determine what's acceptable for TV concerns some groups, however.

"The job of policing TV for children is one for parents, not the government," Caroline Fredrickson, director of the American Civil Liberty Union's legislative office in Washington, D.C., told the Post. "The government isn't capable of making distinctions about what's violent or gratuitous."


Roche Slows Tamiflu Output

Swiss drug maker Roche Holding AG is slowing production of Tamiflu because its ability to make the flu drug is outpacing demand, the Associated Press reported.

The World Health Organization recommends Tamifu as a first-line treatment for people infected with bird flu. It's also used to treat seasonal flu.

In its announcement Thursday, Roche said it could increase Tamiflu production at any time to deal with an increased threat of a flu pandemic, the AP reported.

Governments worldwide have been stockpiling the drug in order to be prepared in case the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus mutates into a strain that's easily transmitted between humans and sparks a pandemic.

Orders from governments amount to about 215 million courses of Tamiflu, but Roche and its partners can now produce more than 400 million courses of the drug a year, the AP reported.


Many Spanish Couples Donate Surplus Embryos for Stem Cell Reseach

Many Spanish couples who undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF) donate surplus embryos for stem cell research, according to research published online Thursday in the journal Cell Stem Cell.

The study by the Spanish Stem Cell Bank found that nearly 50 percent of couples who were interviewed at least three years after undergoing IVF decided to donate their surplus, stored embryos for research.

The reason for this high donation rate is a result of clear information given to couples by a legal advisor and embryologist during an interview process, the study authors said.

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