Health Updates 26 September 2011

  • Radioactivity in Japan rice raises worries: “Government officials on Saturday ordered more tests after detecting elevated levels of radiation in rice crops near the crippled nuclear power plan at Fukushima.  Radioactive substances have already been discovered in beef, milk, spinach and tea leaves, leading to recalls and bans on shipments.  But officials have been especially worried about rice, a staple that makes up a significant part of the Japanese diet.  Japan grows most of the rice it consumers….Some experts have criticized the Japanese government for not doing enough to keep dangerous radioactive substances out of the food supply, threatening the health especially of children and pregnant women, who are thought to be more sensitive to radiation.” (NY Times)
  • Medicaid directors say federal spending could be reduced if government were more flexible with waivers: “The National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD) urged the supercommittee on Thursday to relax the rules that govern how states make changes to their Medicaid programs.  NAMD said the relaxed standards would produce savings for both states and the federal government, but its recommendations don’t include any estimates of those savings.” (The Hill)
  • Do hospital goody bags undermine breastfeeding? “Borrowing a line from a blogger, Ewald says hospitals sending newborns home with formula ‘is like giving somebody divorce papers at their wedding’.  It can really undermine a woman’s determination to breast-feed, she said….Routinely offering new moms free formula is among the practices the CDC would like to end.  In some cases, hospitals agree to give out those freebies in exchange for getting free supplies for special-needs infants, Frieden said.” (Associated Press)
  • FDA confirms listeria outbreak spread to 14 states: “The FDA announced that the multi-state listeriosis outbreak has now spread to 14 states and sickened 55 patients, eight of whom have died….The earliest reports of infection were submitted on Aug. 4 and involved patients who had consumed whole cantaloupe from Jensen Farms’ Rocky Ford brand; they included two deaths….Listeriosis is potentially fatal, particularly to older and immunocompromised patients, as well as to the babies of pregnant mothers.” (Cole Petrochko, MedPage Today)

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