Health Highlights: Oct. 3, 2008

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

Leading Psychiatrist Allegedly Failed to Disclose Pharma Payments

A leading U.S. psychiatrist allegedly failed to report to his university at least $1.2 million in pharmaceutical company consulting fees, The New York Times reported Friday.

Dr. Charles Nemeroff of Emory University is the latest physician to be involved in growing controversy over drug maker payments to physicians who speak or provide advice on the companies' behalf.

The newspaper cited, as an example, a letter Nemeroff signed in 2004 telling Emory officials that he thought he would receive less than $10,000 in such fees from GlaxoSmithKline. He went on to receive $170,000 in income that year from the British pharma giant, the Times reported.

WHAT TO KNOW
    • Leading Psychiatrist Allegedly Failed to Disclose Pharma Payments
    • Chicken Soup Offers Stress Relief for Pandas
    • 27 Bus Riders Sought in Canadian TB Probe
    • Kids' Breakfast Cereals Way Too Sweet, Report Says
    • Poor Ratings Given to 13 Child Booster Seats

Congress, led by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), is investigating the conflict-of-interest disclosures provided by many prominent U.S. physicians, comparing them with drug company documents to make sure the two sets of records agree.

"After questioning about 20 doctors and research institutions, it looks like problems with transparency are everywhere," the newspaper quoted Grassley as saying. "The current system for tracking financial relationships isn't working."

Nemeroff didn't respond to the newspaper's attempts to solicit comment. Emory spokesman Jeffrey Molter said the university was "working diligently to determine whether our policies have been observed consistently with regard to the matters cited by Senator Grassley," the Times reported.

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Chicken Soup Offers Stress Relief for Pandas

Your grandmother probably prescribed chicken soup if you had a cold, were run down or simply weren't feeling well.

Chinese zookeepers have taken a page from her recipe book, having fed a pair of stressed-out pandas some homemade chicken soup as a way to calm their nerves, the Associated Press reported.

Xiwang and Weiwei were said to be very tired and suffering from visitor shock at the end of the weeklong National Day holiday. More than 1,000 tourists flocked to the panda enclosure at the Wuhan Zoo in Central China, shouting to get the animals' attention, a zookeeper told the wire service. The pandas started pacing around their enclosure.

So in addition to the standard diet of bamboo, milk and buns, the pandas were given "giant dishes" of chicken soup.

"They drank it all like they drank their milk," the zookeeper said.

Grandma would approve.

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27 Bus Riders Sought in Canadian TB Probe

Canadian health officials are looking for 27 people who may have contracted tuberculosis from an infected passenger during a Toronto-to-Windsor bus trip in late August, the Associated Press reported Thursday.

The infection risk is low, according to Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams, but those on the Greyhound bus who may have been exposed need to be evaluated. The Detroit-bound bus had 42 passengers aboard when it reached Windsor, just across the Canadian border from Detroit, and 27 passengers got off the bus there, the wire service said.

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