Health Highlights: Oct. 25, 2008

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

Ink From Tagless Labels May Have Caused 400 Incidents of Baby Rashes

About 400 babies have developed skin rashes from wearing certain knit items sold by Carter's Inc., a major baby and children's clothing retailer

According to the Associated Press, about 400 incidents of rashes occurring on baby's backs had been reported, and officials suspect the cause may be the ink in the tagless labels on the garments.

The warning applies to the fall 2007 line of garments such as baby knit body suits, shirts and pajamas, the A.P. reports, and it covers all 110 million items produced.

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The rash incidents appear to come from the ink on the heat-transferred, tagless labels on the back of garments, according to an announcement on the Carter Web site. "It appears that a very small percentage of children can be allergic to one or more ingredients in the labels. The solid, rather than stenciled, background on the fall 2007 labels appears to have produced a more pronounced and noticeable reaction among those children who are most allergic to the ink," the announcement said.

A Carter company manager in Atlanta, would not comment to the A.P. on whether any of the rashes were serious enough to cause hospitalization.

Carter's has established a consumer phone number to answer questions: 888-282-4674


New Test Checks Embryos for 15,000 Inherited Diseases

British researchers say they've developed a gene mapping test that, within a matter of weeks, can determine whether an embryo is affected by any one of 15,000 inherited diseases. Current tests focus on a specific gene mutation or can take much longer to provide results.

For the new test, a single cell is taken from an 8-day-old embryo. DNA samples are then collected from the parents and their parents. In many cases, a DNA sample is taken from another member of the family, such as a child affected by an inherited disease, BBC News reported.

All the family members' DNA is analyzed for 300,000 specific DNA markers, creating a map of the family's genetics, said Professor Alan Handyside and colleagues at London's Bridge Center, who are currently conducting trials of the gene mapping test.

"The effectiveness and efficiency of the procedure is quite exciting, and the fact that it's quicker means it could be helpful to couples at risk of inherited diseases -- and that in itself is significant," Dr. Mark Hamilton, chairman of the British Fertility Society, told BBC News.

"We can currently test for several hundred conditions, but the claim is that the spectrum of conditions which could be screened for is enormous," he added.


Sales of Anti-Obesity Drug Acomplia Suspended in Europe

Hours after European health authorities warned doctors to stop prescribing the anti-obesity drug Acomplia (rimonabant), the drug's maker announced Thursday that it was suspending European sales, the Associated Press reported.

Earlier, the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) warned that patients who took the drug had approximately twice the risk of serious psychiatric problems.

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