Health Highlights: Dec. 26, 2007

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

N.J. Approves HIV Testing for Pregnant Women, Some Newborns

HIV testing will become part of routine prenatal care for pregnant women in New Jersey under a law signed Wednesday by acting Gov. Richard Codey, the Associated Press reported. The measure also requires a newborn to be tested if the mother tests positive for the AIDS-causing virus or if her HIV status isn't known.

The law, which takes effect in six months, does allow a woman to opt out of the testing if she chooses. The measure was signed by Codey, who is acting governor while Gov. Jon Corzine is out of the country for the holidays. Codey sponsored the measure as president of the state Senate.

WHAT TO KNOW
    • N.J. Approves HIV Testing for Pregnant Women, Some Newborns
    • Medication Pumps Recalled
    • 'Fertility Diet' Book Causes Controversy
    • Russian Farm Culls 600,000 Chickens to Block Bird Flu
    • Survey Finds Parents Don't Admit Kids Are Fat

"We can significantly reduce the number of infections to newborns and help break down the stigma associated with the disease," Codey said. "For newborns, early detection can be the ultimate lifesaving measure."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended voluntary HIV testing for all pregnant women, the AP said. This and other medical interventions during pregnancy can lower mother-to-child HIV transmission from 25 percent to 2 percent, the CDC said.

The American Civil Liberties Union and some women's groups have contended that even though the testing is voluntary, the law deprives women of "the authority to make medical decisions," the AP reported.

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Medication Pumps Recalled

Cardinal Health is recalling an unspecified number of infusion pumps that are used to dispense medication because a manufacturing error could lead to overinfusion of medication, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday.

Affected Alaris Pump model 8100 modules were shipped prior to Sept. 27, 2007. They may contain misassembled occluder springs, which could work intermittently and give no warning of overinfusion, the agency said. Overinfusion of medication could "result in serious adverse health consequences or death," the FDA said in a statement.

The recalled pumps were distributed to 46 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, Guam, Puerto Rico, and Saudi Arabia.

Anyone with questions about the recall may contact Cardinal Health customer service at 800-625-6627.

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'Fertility Diet' Book Causes Controversy

Harvard School of Public Health researchers may be feeling the heat from a controversial new book that suggests a link between diet and human fertility, the Boston Globe reported Wednesday.

While "The Fertility Diet" doesn't make a direct claim that the new Harvard plan is a cure for infertility, the book's title, media hype and public statements by its authors make a case for a strong insinuation, the newspaper reported.

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