Health Highlights: July 7, 2009

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

CDC's Internet Tool Combines Data on Pollutants/Health

A Internet-based tool that will enable members of the public, scientists and health professionals to track environmental exposures and chronic health conditions was unveiled Tuesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Environmental Public Health Tracking Network offers environmental information from across the nation, including data on water and air pollutants, and details about chronic conditions such as asthma, cancer, heart disease, and childhood lead poisoning.

It's known that exposure to such things as lead and air particle pollution contribute to health problems, but many links between pollutants and illness can't be proven because detailed health and environmental data were kept separate until now, according to the CDC.

WHAT TO KNOW
    • CDC's Internet Tool Combines Data on Pollutants/Health
    • Insomnia Patients May Benefit From Web-Based Therapy
    • Kroger Recalls Popcorn Seasoning, Sprinkles: Report
    • FDA Approves Drug for Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

"The ability to examine many data sets together for the first time has already resulted in faster responses to environmental health issues. We believe the Tracking Network holds the potential to shed new light on some of our biggest environmental health questions," Dr. Howard Frumkin, director of the CDC's National Center for Environmental Health, said in a news release.

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Insomnia Patients May Benefit From Web-Based Therapy

Web-based therapy may be able to help people with insomnia, a small U.S. study suggests.

The study included 22 adults with moderate insomnia who used Internet software designed to change patterns that contribute to sleep problems. For example, the Sleep Healthy Using the Internet (SHUTi) software offers advice about specific bedtimes and teaches patients better sleep habits, such as avoiding daytime naps. No human therapist was involved, the Associated Press reported.

After nine weeks of using SHUTi, the 22 participants woke up fewer times and spent fewer minutes awake during the night, compared to a control group. The findings were published Monday in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry.

"This is a very interactive, tailored, personalized program," study co-author Frances Thorndike, of the University of Virginia Health System, told the AP. She helped design the software, which could offer a low-cost alternative to face-to-face behavioral therapy.

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Kroger Recalls Popcorn Seasoning, Sprinkles: Report

Kroger popcorn seasoning and butter-flavored sprinkles sold in some of the company's retail stores are being recalled because of possible salmonella contamination, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.

The Cincinnati-based company said the contamination may have been caused by an ingredient produced by a supplier, United Press International reported.

The recall includes:

  • Kroger Popcorn Seasoning Movie Theater Butter Flavored sold in 2.82-ounce jars with a sell-by date of "JUN 08 10."
  • Kroger Fat Free Butter Flavored Sprinkles in 2-ounce jars with sell-by dates of "JUN 08 10" and JUN 09 10" sold at Kroger stores in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.
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