Health Highlights: July 23, 2013

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

Antioxidant Claims, Vitamin E Removed from 7Up Products

Vitamin E will no longer be added to regular, diet cherry, mixed berry and pomegranate 7Up flavors, and the drinks' labels will no longer make antioxidant claims under a legal agreement reached between Dr Pepper Snapple Group and the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

The consumer nutrition and health advocacy group sued the company in November 2012, saying it was making false claims by placing pictures of cherries, blackberries, cranberries, raspberries and pomegranates on its 7Up beverages and claiming the products contained antioxidants. However, the nutritional benefits came from additives like vitamin E, not fruit itself, CBS News reported.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not permit vitamins to be added to carbonated soft drinks and junk food.

"Soda is not a health food, and should not be marketed as a healthy source of antioxidants or other nutrients," CSPI litigation director Steve Gardner said in a news release. "It's to the credit of Dr Pepper Snapple Group that it carefully considered these concerns, and worked collaboratively to resolve the dispute without further litigation. The end result is a big plus for consumers."

Under the settlement, the company will pay $5,000 to the Center for Science in the Public Interest and $237,500 for its attorney's fees, CBS News reported.

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Kate Middleton Gives Birth to a Boy

Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, has given birth to a baby boy.

Her husband, Prince William, was present for the birth, according to Kensington Palace.

Their first child was born at 4:24 p.m. London time at St. Mary's Hospital in Paddington. The infant, who weighs 8 pounds, 6 ounces, and has not yet been named, will be third in line to the throne, BBC News reported.

Both Middleton and the baby were doing well and will stay in the hospital overnight, the newspaper said.

A bulletin, signed by key medical staff, was taken by a royal aide from St. Mary's to Buckingham Palace under police escort. It is now displayed on an ornate easel in the forecourt of the palace, in accordance with centuries of royal tradition.

"The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry and members of both families have been informed and are delighted with the news," a Kensington Palace statement said.

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Multistate Cyclospora Outbreak Has Sickened More Than 200 People: CDC

More than 200 people in numerous states have become ill with cyclospora infections in an outbreak that began a few weeks ago, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Most of the patients first became ill with the foodborne illness between mid-June and early July. Reported cases have occurred in Iowa, Nebraska, Texas, Wisconsin and Illinois. At least eight people have been hospitalized.

Investigators are trying to determine the cause of the illnesses, but have not made any connections with specific food items. Various types of fresh produce have been implicated in previous outbreak investigations, the CDC said.

No common events, such as social gatherings, have been identified among the patients and it is not clear if the cases from all of the states are part of the same outbreak.

Possible additional cases are currently under investigation, the CDC said.

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Actor Dennis Farina Dies at 69

Character actor Dennis Farina died Monday after suffering a blood clot in his lung.

The 69-year-old was being treated in a Scottsdale, Ariz., hospital at the time of his death, according to his publicist.

The former Chicago cop was perhaps best known for his role as Detective Joe Fontana on the television series Law and Order. He also appeared on the 1980s cult favorite Crime Story and was a regular on the 2011-12 HBO drama Luck. He had just finished shooting a comedy called Lucky Stiff, according to The Associated Press.

Farina also appeared in movies such as Get Shorty, Saving Private Ryan, Midnight Run and Out of Sight.

But Farina did not become an actor until he was close to 40, having served as a detective in the Chicago Police Department as a young man.

Farina is survived by three sons, six grandchildren and his longtime partner, Marianne Cahill.

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Decline in Female Genital Mutilation in Africa: Unicef

Female genital mutilation is declining in many nations, even in those where the practice is deeply ingrained, according to a United Nations Children's Fund report released Monday.

It said that teenage girls are now less likely to have undergone genital mutilation, also called cutting, than older women in more than half of the 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East where it is concentrated, The New York Times reported.

In Egypt, where more women have been subjected to genital mutilation than in any other country, 81 percent of 15- to 19-year-olds have been cut, compared with 96 percent of women in their late 40s, Unicef said.

"The numbers aren't huge, but they're going in the right direction," Bettina Shell-Duncan, an anthropology professor at the University of Washington who was a consultant on the report, told The Times.

The steepest drops in female genital mutilation have occurred in Kenya, one of Africa's most developed nations, and, surprisingly, in the Central African Republic, one of the poorest and least developed countries on the continent, The Times reported.

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Persistent Erections Send 10,000 Men to ERs Each Year: Study

Unusually long-lasting and painful erections send about 10,000 men to U.S. emergency departments each year, according to a new study.

Researchers analyzed national data for the years 2006-2009 and found that this problem, called priapism, accounted for 8.5 out of every 100,000 ER visits during that time or a total of about 40,000 visits, NBC News reported.

Erectile dysfunction drugs carry warnings about the risk of priapism, but the data did not specify whether the drugs or other causes triggered the cases of priapism seen in the ERs, said study author Daniel Stein, a urology resident at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.

The study was published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

Treatments for priapism include injecting a drug such as epinephrine to constrict blood vessels, or sticking a needle into the side of the penis and injecting and withdrawing saline solution, NBC News reported.

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Study Examines Whether Cold Cap Prevents Hair Loss During Chemotherapy

A new U.S. study will examine whether having cancer patients wear cold caps during chemotherapy prevents hair loss.

A cold cap keeps the scalp numb during chemotherapy. The goal is to reduce blood flow in the scalp, making it harder for chemotherapy drugs to reach and harm hair follicles, the Associated Press reported.

Cold caps are used in Europe and Canada but are not approved for use in the United States. One concern is that the caps might prevent chemotherapy drugs from reaching stray cancer cells that may be in the scalp.

This study of 110 early-stage breast cancer patients will assess the effectiveness of a product called DigniCap. The insulated cap is attached to a cooling machine and keeps a patient's scalp at 41 degrees F during chemotherapy, the AP reported.

Published
Tuesday, July 23, 2013