Health Highlights: Aug. 19, 2013

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

Radiation Rx for Prostate Cancer Prescribed More Often by Docs Who Profit: Report

Radiation treatment for Medicare patients with prostate cancer is much more likely to be prescribed by doctors with a financial interest in radiation treatment centers, according to report by Congressional investigators.

They also found that patients often did not know that their doctors would profit from the use of radiation therapy, according to The New York Times.

The Government Accountability Office report noted that alternative treatments may be equally effective and are less costly for Medicare and for patients with prostate cancer, which is one of the most common cancers in men.

In other recent studies, GAO investigators found that doctors who owned laboratories and imaging centers were more likely recommend CT scans and MRIs for Medicare patients, The Times reported.


Iams and Eukanuba Dry Dog and Cat Foods Recalled

Certain lots of Iams and Eukanuba dry dog and cat foods are being recalled due to possible salmonella contamination, the Procter & Gamble Company says.

The recall covers specific lots of the pet foods that were distributed in the United States. No illnesses have been reported in association with the recalled products, according to the company.

Salmonella can cause illness in pets who eat the products and in people who handling contaminated pet products, especially if they do not thoroughly wash their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

No other dry dog food, dry cat food, dog or cat canned wet food, biscuits/treats or supplements are being recalled.

For more information, contact P&G at 1-800-208-0172.


FDA Needs to Regulate Flavored Cigars: Critics

The lack of federal government regulations for flavored cigars and other tobacco products threaten recent progress in reducing smoking among young Americans, critics say.

While a law passed in 2009 banned virtually all flavors in cigarettes, it did not address flavors in cigars and a number of other tobacco products. As a result, flavored cigars and cigarillos, including some that look like cigarettes, are common in convenience stores and gas stations, The New York Times reported.

"The 20th century was the cigarette century, and we worked very hard to address that," said Gregory Connolly, the director of the Center for Global Tobacco Control at the Harvard School of Public Health. "Now the 21st century is about multiple tobacco products. They're cheap. They're flavored. And some of them you can use anywhere."

The Food and Drug Administration has broad discretion to decide whether to regulate flavored cigars and other tobacco products but has yet to take action. The agency acknowledges criticism that it has been slow to act, said Mitchell Zeller, director of the FDAs Center for Tobacco Products.

"What we've seen in the past 10 years is this remarkable transformation of the marketplace," Zeller told The Times. "There are products being sold today -- unregulated products -- that literally did not exist 10 years ago."

However, new rules on these products must be based on scientific evidence and written to survive legal challenges, Zeller noted. But critics say the FDA is moving too slowly.

"We shouldn't need 40 years of study to figure out that chocolate- and grape-flavored cigars are being smoked by young people," Matthew Myers, the president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, told The Times.

Monday, August 19, 2013

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