Health Highlights: May 26, 2007

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

Contact Lens Eye Solution Pulled from Market; FDA Says to Discontinue Use

Increased incidences of a rare but stubborn eye infection have caused the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to alert the public to discontinue using a solution used to clean contact lenses.

The Associated Press reports that AMO Complete Moisture Plus Multi-Purpose Solution, used for cleaning and storing soft contact lenses, had been immediately and voluntarily recalled by its manufacturer, Advanced Medical Optics Inc., of Santa Ana Calif.

WHAT TO KNOW
    • Contact Lens Eye Solution Pulled from Market; FDA Says to Discontinue Use
    • Medicare Won't Cover Artificial Disc Implants in Older Americans
    • Imported Monkfish May Actually be Poisonous Puffer Fish: FDA
    • Kentucky Cardiologist Nominated as Next U.S. Surgeon General
    • TV Viewing Tied to Higher Blood Sugar in Diabetic Kids
    • FDA Approves New Drug for Bacterial Vaginosis

The infection in question is Acanthamoeba keratitis, which is caused by an amoeba, the A.P. quotes Michael Beach, team leader in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's division of parasitic diseases, as saying. If left untreated, the infection could cause permanent vision loss or complete blindness.

Neither the FDA nor Advanced Medical Optics said the contact lens solution caused increased cases of Acanthamoeba keratitis, the wire service reported. Rather, the solution didn't protect against the infection, which usually comes from swimming or showering.

Because Acanthamoeba keratitis strikes only one or two people per million, the situation came to the government's notice because only because a Chicago ophthalmologist, Dr. Elmer Tu, noticed more than a dozen cases of the infection. He usually saw only saw one or two cases a year, the A.P. reported.

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Medicare Won't Cover Artificial Disc Implants in Older Americans

Older Americans won't receive Medicare coverage for artificial disc implants in the lower spine, according to the a report in the New York Times

The newspaper reports that the decision is preliminary and affects people over the age of 60 who are eligible for the U.S. government's Medicare health insurance. The decision is expected to become final in August, the Times said.

The reason given by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for denying coverage was that none of the clinical trials conducted on whether the artificial discs were effective included people over age 60.

Therefore, the agency said it had no basis for approving artificial disc surgery for older Americans. At least three companies are affected by the decision: Johnson & Johnson, Synthes and Medtronic. About 43 million Americans -- most of them over 60 -- use the Medicare health program.

Younger patients, most of them disabled, will continue to be eligible for Medicare coverage for artificial disc implantation, the newspaper reported.

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Imported Monkfish May Actually be Poisonous Puffer Fish: FDA

Americans should not buy or eat imported fish labeled as monkfish that may actually be puffer fish containing a dangerous and potentially deadly toxin called tetrodotoxin, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Thursday.

The agency said that 282 22-pound boxes of the fish were imported from China and distributed by Hong Chang Corp., of Santa Fe Springs, Calif. to wholesalers in Illinois, California and Hawaii beginning in September 2006.

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