Health Highlights: Nov. 4, 2007

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

Another Nationwide Recall of Ground Beef Ordered

Cargill Inc., one of the worlds largest meat producers, has recalled more than 1 million pounds of ground beef because of the possibility it contains E. coli bacteria, the Associated Press reports.

The announcement was made Saturday by John Keating, president of Cargill Regional Beef, the wire service reports. The beef was produced between Oct. 8 and Oct. 11 at the company's Wyalusing, Pa. plant and was distributed nationwide to retailers, including Giant, Shop Rite, Stop & Shop, Wegman's and Weis.

WHAT TO KNOW
    • Another Nationwide Recall of Ground Beef Ordered
    • Kidney Disease Cases Predicted to Jump 60 % by 2020
    • FDA Orders Recall of Unregulated Erectile Dysfunction Products
    • Test Developed to Help Avoid 'Red Wine Headache'
    • Children Inherit Cancer Survival Traits: Study
    • Millions of Totino's and Jeno's Frozen Pizzas Recalled

No illnesses have been reported, Keating told the A.P., but a U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection of an Oct. 8 sample found possible contamination from E. coli O157:H7.

In early October Cargill recalled more than 800,000 pounds of ground beef distributed through Sam's Club. At least four cases of E. coli poisoning were confirmed.

Cargill has established a phone number for people with questions or those who want to report illness: 877-455-1034. The company's meat business is based in Wichita, Kan., and the corporate headquarters is in Mayzata, Minn.

The E. coli bacterium causes diarrhea and abdominal cramping, usually two-to-five days after the tainted food is consumed. Left untreated, it can cause more serious complications, including kidney failure.

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Kidney Disease Cases Predicted to Jump 60 % by 2020

Spurred by the epidemic rise in diabetes rates, end stage renal disease (ESRD) is estimated to increase by 60 per cent in the United States within the next 12 years, new research says.

The study, presented this weekend at the American Society of Nephrology's 40th Annual Meeting and Scientific Exposition in San Francisco, predicted that by the year 2020, "The expected number of patients with ESRD... is almost 785,000, which is an increase of over 60 percent compared to 2005."

According to a Society of Nephrology news release, Dr. David T. Gilbertson of the U.S. Renal Data System and the Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation, was to report that the predicted kidney disease increase, while dramatic, was actually somewhat lower than earlier estimates.

Nevertheless, Gilbertson said, the cost to care for kidney disease patients will be significant. "Medicare pays for the care for the vast majority of patients with ESRD, with costs approaching $60,000 per year for every patient," he said.

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FDA Orders Recall of Unregulated Erectile Dysfunction Products

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has asked a California distribution company to recall pills and capsules advertised as "all natural" products to correct erectile dysfunction.

Calling True Man Sexual Energy Nutrient Capsules and Energy Max Energy Supplement Men's Formula Capsules illegal drug products, the FDA said in a news release that the supplements' ingredients are potentially harmful and could cause dangerously low blood pressure.

In a letter to the owner of America True Man Health Inc., of West Covina, Calif., the FDA said that the products have substances with chemical structures very similar to the active ingredients in FDA-approved prescription drugs, such as Viagra. The FDA has not approved the products distributed by America True Man Health Inc., and the labels don't declare the the active ingredients thione, an analog of sildenafil; or piperadino vardenafil, an analog of vardenafil.

These substances can be especially harmful to men with diabetes, the FDA said.

Consumers should report adverse events related to these products to the online Web site MedWatch, the FDA's voluntary reporting program, at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch/report.htm.

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Test Developed to Help Avoid 'Red Wine Headache'

For some people, it may take only a glass of red wine to cause a headache. Now, University of California at Berkeley researchers say they've developed a device that can help stave off the "red wine headache."

The device, about the size of a briefcase, will eventually be able to test the biogenic amine levels in a variety of foods and liquids, the Associated Press reports.

Biogenic amines are chemicals found in a variety of popular foods and beverages, including wine, chocolate, nuts cheese, olives and cured meats, the wire service reports.

The amines tyramine and histamine are suspected of being causes of not only headaches in some people but also high blood pressure and elevated adrenaline levels, the A.P. reports. "The food you eat is so unbelievably coupled with your body's chemistry," researcher Richard Mathies is quoted as saying.

Right now, the amine test works only liquids, the A.P. says. The study is published in the latest edition of the journal Analytical Chemistry.

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Children Inherit Cancer Survival Traits: Study

Survival traits for certain kinds of cancers are passed from parents to children, concludes a Swedish study reported in the November issue of The Lancet Oncology journal.

Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm analyzed a Swedish family database that included three million families and more than 1 million cancer patients. The scientists found that children whose parents had good survival rates after being diagnosed with breast, lung, prostate or colorectal cancer had better survival rates for those same cancers than people whose parents died within 10 years of being diagnosed with those cancers.

The increased risk of death for children whose parents had died earlier was 75 percent for breast cancer, 107 percent for prostate cancer, 44 percent for colorectal cancer, and 39 percent for lung cancer.

"In conclusion, our findings provide support for the hypothesis that cancer-specific survival of a patient can be predicted from previous parental survival from cancer at the same site," the study authors wrote. "Consequently, molecular studies that highlight the genetic determinants of inherited survival in cancers are needed. In a clinical setting, information on poor survival in a family might be vital in accurately predicting tumor progression in the newly diagnosed individual."

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Millions of Totino's and Jeno's Frozen Pizzas Recalled

Five million Totino's and Jeno's frozen pepperoni pizzas that could be linked to an outbreak of E. coli in the United States are being recalled by General Mills. The pizzas were made in the company's Wellston, Ohio plant and distributed across the United States, the Associated Press reported.

Between July 20 and Oct. 10, there were 21 cases of E. Coli 0157:H7 reported in Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin. Of the 21 people who became ill, nine said they'd eaten Totino's or Jeno's pizza with pepperoni, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service said in a news release.

Included in the recall are Totino's Original Crisp Crust Party Pizza and Jeno's Crisp 'N Tasty Pizza containing pepperoni or a combination of pepperoni, sausage and other ingredients, the AP reported. Packages affected by the recall show "EST. 7750" inside the USDA mark of inspection, and include a "best if used by" date on or before "02 APR 08 WS."

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