Health Highlights: Feb. 12, 2008

  • Icy Hot Heat Therapy Air Activated Heat - Back
  • Icy Hot Heat Therapy Air Activated Heat - Arm, neck, and leg
  • Icy Hot Heat Therapy Air Activated Heat - Arm, neck and leg single consumer use samples included in cartons of 3-oz. Aspercreme Pain Relieving Cream.

The products were sold over the counter at food, drug, and mass merchandise stores nationwide. Consumers should stop using them immediately, discard them, or return them to the manufacturer for a full refund.

For more information, visit the FDA.


Fake Malaria Drugs Likely Made in China, Study Finds

An unspecified number of people have been arrested after a global sting aimed at catching people who trade in fake anti-malaria medications, investigators reported in this week's edition of the journal Public Library of Science - Medicine.

Scientific inspection of the fake drugs indicates they probably were made in southern China, study lead author Dr. Paul Newton, of the Wellcome Trust-University of Oxford, said in statement.

Newton and other researchers, law enforcement authorities, and public health workers collaborated to collect and test 391 samples of genuine and fake artesunate tablets collected across southeast Asia. Some were found to contain inaccurate and potentially toxic ingredients, including safrole, used to produce the street drug ecstacy.

The researchers also used a technique called forensic palynology to study pollen contamination of the fake tablets. This pollen evidence suggested that at least some of the counterfeit samples came from southern China, they said.

One suspect arrested in 2006 allegedly traded 240,000 blisterpacks of the counterfeit medicine. In some countries in southeast Asia and Africa, as many as half of all purchased artesunate tablets may be fake, the researchers said.


Researchers Discover Another Way That HIV Attacks Cells

A weapon that HIV uses to invade human cells has been identified by scientists trying to figure out all the different ways the AIDS-causing virus launches its powerful attack on the immune system.

U.S. government researchers say they've identified a new HIV receptor, which helps guide the virus to a place in the gut where it can begin its assault on the body, reports The New York Times.

The discovery was reported Sunday in the journal Nature Immunology by a team led by Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

It's been long understood that HIV prefers to invade the gut's lymph nodes and tissues, then replicate itself. Fauci and his colleagues found that a molecule called alpha-4 beta-7, which is programmed to direct immune cells to the gut, also acts as a receptor for HIV, the newspaper said.

Several other receptors for HIV have been identified previously. Scientists have been trying for years to identify these molecules, then target them with newly devised drugs as a way to stop HIV from invading human cells and replicating itself.


Computer Program Guides Medical Students Through Complicated Hip Surgery

Using a computer program similar to the GPS navigation system, 32 medical students at four hospitals in the United Kingdom have successfully completed a complicated hip surgical procedure that usually takes years to perfect.

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