Health Highlights: March 16, 2009

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

Firm Announces Defibrillator Recall

Beaverton, Ore.-based Welch Allyn and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have issued a recall of some 14,000 external defibrillators, saying the devices may produce low-energy shocks or be susceptible to unexpected shutdowns or electromagnetic interference, the Associated Press reports.

In a statement, the company cited 39 reported incidents, including two that involved patient deaths, with 14,054 AED 10 and MRL JumpStart external defibrillators made between Oct. 3, 2002, and Jan. 25, 2007, that might prevent defibrillation of a patient in cardiac arrest. Spokesman Jamie Arnold told the AP, however, that to the company's knowledge, the reported defects did not contribute to the two deaths, but rather were the result of human error, either damage to the device or failure to follow directions.

WHAT TO KNOW
    • Firm Announces Defibrillator Recall
    • Mushrooms, Green Tea May Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
    • Shoppers Get More Information About Food Origins
    • Radio Host Imus Says He Has Prostate Cancer

The company issued the recall last Tuesday after it said it had received 20 reports of low-energy shock, eight instances of electromagnetic noise interference, and 11 instances of unexpected device shutting down, the AP reported. The company said customers should keep using the units until they receive replacements, because the chance of malfunction is low, the wire service said. Defibrillators deliver an electric shock to prevent sudden death when a heart stops beating properly.

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Mushrooms, Green Tea May Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

Consuming mushrooms and green tea may greatly reduce the risk of breast cancer, suggests a study that included more than 2,000 Chinese women.

Women who ate at least a third of an ounce of fresh mushrooms every day were 64 percent less likely to develop breast cancer, while those who ate dried mushrooms had about a 50 percent reduced risk. Women who ate mushrooms and drank green tea were nearly 90 percent less likely to develop the disease, reported the Telegraph newspaper in the United Kingdom.

The study, published in the International Journal of Cancer, doesn't prove that eating mushrooms will stop cancer, and more research is needed to confirm these findings, said the researchers at the University of Western Australia in Perth.

Laboratory tests on animals have shown that fungi have anti-tumor properties and can stimulate the immune system's defenses, the Telegraph reported. There is evidence to suggest that mushrooms act in a similar way to aromatase inhibitors -- breast cancer drugs that block production of the hormone estrogen.

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Shoppers Get More Information About Food Origins

American shoppers will be given more information about the source of some of their foods under a new policy that took effect Monday.

It requires labels on most fresh meats -- along with some fruits, vegetables and other foods -- to list the origin of the products, the Associated Press reported.

The policy, enacted last year by Congress as part of a wide-ranging farm bill, was demanded by food safety groups and welcomed by ranchers in the northern United States who compete with Canadian cattle producers.

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