Health Highlights: March 14, 2014

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

Health Insurance Efforts a Success: Obama

Enough Americans have obtained insurance under the new health care plan to make it a success, President Barack Obama said Friday.

While the 4.2 million who have signed up for coverage is below administration projections, that number of people "is already large enough that I'm confident the program will be stable," Obama said in an interview with WebMD.

He urged more people to sign up and said it's important to have enough young, healthy people enroll in order to offset the costs of older people with more health problems, USA Today reported.

Critics focused on Obama's remark that some people may have to change doctors.

"For the average person -- many folks who don't have health insurance initially -- they're going to have to make some choices. And they might end up having to switch doctors, in part because they're saving money," Obama said in the interview, USA Today reported.


Flea and Tick Collars With Propoxur Being Phased Out: EPA

Flea and tick collars for pets that contain a pesticide called propoxur will be removed from the market, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Friday.

Under the deal between the EPA and Sergeant's Pet Care and Wellmark International, the companies will be allowed to produce their Bansect, Sentry, Zodiac and Biospot pet collars until April 1, 2015, but will not be allowed to distribute them after April 1, 2016.

An investigation conducted by the EPA concluded that exposure to pet collars with propoxur posed an unacceptable risk to children.

Flea and tick collars leave a pesticide residue on dogs' and cats' fur, and the pesticide can be transferred to people when they pet, hug or have other contact with the animal. Consumers who buy a propoxur collar should read the label and carefully follow all directions. Do not let children play with the collar, and wash your hands with soap and water after handling the collar, the EPA said.


Graco Child Seat Recall Expanded

More than 403,000 child car seats have been added to the 3.8 million recalled last month by Graco Children's Products.

Food and drink residue can jam the buckles on the seats and make it difficult to remove children. Some parents have had to cut the harnesses to free their children, and the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the defect increases children's risk of harm in emergencies, the AP reported.

The NHTSA also wants Graco to recall 1.8 million infant seats that have the same buckles, but the company says that isn't necessary because the whole infant seat can be removed from the car in an emergency, instead of having to unlatch the buckle to remove the child.

The current recall of 4.2 million child seats is the fourth-largest of its kind ever in the United States. Adding the infant seats would make it the largest such recall, the AP reported.


Data Handling Problems in Stem Cell Study: Investigation

There was "inappropriate handling" of data in a stem cell study that was originally hailed as a breakthrough, according to an interim report from an investigation into the paper.

The authors of the study published in Nature in January claimed that dipping cells in acid could rapidly and cheaply convert them into stem cells. But other scientists could not reproduce the results and questions were raised about the images used in the study, BBC News reported.

The study was conducted at the Riken Center for Developmental Biology in Japan. Riken officials launched an investigation and their initial findings said that while there are concerns about how the data was handled, there is no evidence of research misconduct.

Earlier this week, one of the authors said the study should be withdrawn, BBC News reported.

Friday, March 14, 2014

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