Health Highlights: April 9, 2008

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

Hazardous Amounts of Selenium Found in Supplements: FDA

Hazardous amounts of the trace mineral selenium have been found in samples of the dietary supplements "Total Body Formula" and "Total Body Mega Formula," the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Wednesday.

The agency said it has 43 reports from nine states of serious adverse reactions among people who took the supplements, which have been recalled by the distributor.

Last month, the FDA warned consumers not to buy or use tropical orange or peach nectar flavors of "Total Body Formula," or the orange/tangerine flavor of "Total Body Mega Formula." The agency cited adverse reactions occurring within 10 days of the products' use, including hair loss, muscle cramps, diarrhea, joint pain, deformed fingernails, and fatigue.

WHAT TO KNOW
    • Hazardous Amounts of Selenium Found in Supplements: FDA
    • Elevated Lung Cancer Cases in Users of Inhaled Insulin
    • 6,700 Children Hospitalized for Neglect, Abuse in 2005
    • U.S. Officials Seize Unapproved Impotence Drugs
    • U.S. Surgeons Perform 6 Simultaneous Kidney Transplants
    • THC/Alcohol Combination Kills Brain Cells: Study
    • Pre-Eclampsia May Increase Child's Heart Disease Risk

Selenium, an immune-system boosting mineral, is needed in very small amounts. But the FDA said its analysis found that the supplements contained up to 200 times the amount per serving that had been indicated on the products' labeling.

The agency said it is investigating how the excess selenium wound up in the products, which are distributed by Atlanta-based Total Body Essential Nutrition. The supplements were distributed nationwide in 32-ounce plastic bottles.

Consumers should immediately stop using the products and throw the remainder away, the FDA said.

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Elevated Lung Cancer Cases in Users of Inhaled Insulin

Patients who used the inhaled insulin product Exubera had an elevated number of lung cancer cases, drug maker Pfizer Inc. disclosed Wednesday. The lung cancer cases were discovered in an analysis of clinical trials and post-approval reports to Pfizer and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Bloomberg news reported.

All the patients who developed lung cancer "had a prior history of cigarette smoking" and "there were too few cases to determine whether the development of lung cancer is related to the use of Exubera," Pfizer said in a statement.

Last October, Pfizer stopped selling Exubera, which failed to catch on with patients and doctors due to its cost and cumbersome delivery device, Bloomberg reported.

In addition, the inhaled insulin seemed to decrease lung function, apparently due to the way the insulin was delivered into the lungs, Forbes reported at the time.

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6,700 Children Hospitalized for Neglect, Abuse in 2005

Of the 6,700 children in the United States hospitalized for neglect or physical abuse in 2005, more than 200 died and all the children who died were under age 5, according to the latest News and Numbers from the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

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