Archive for December 2011

High-Powered Magnets Are A Threat To Children

December 30, 2011

(December 30, 2011) Magnets. Usually they can be found on a kitchen refrigerator. But the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning that high-powered magnets are a serious risk to children.

 

In fact, they are so strong, that teens are using them as fake piercings on their noses and tongues. But it isn’t only the teens that abuse these magnets: curious infants and toddlers love to play with magnets, and, as most babies do, they put them in their mouth.

 

The CPSC has received 22 reports of magnet incidents involving children ages 18 months to 15 years old, since June of 2009. Half of these incidents resulted in removal by surgery, which is usually accompanied with repairing the damaged stomach or intestines.

 

When inside the body, these magnets can connect inside the body, perforating the body part they attach to. They can also result in small holes in the stomach and intestines, intestinal blockage, blood poisoning, and even death. If you don’t believe me, watch this video, to see how real this injury may become.

 

The prevalence of these incidents is increasing every year: one incident in 2009, seven in 2010, and 14 through October 2011.

 

high-powered magnets

 

 

“We want parents to be aware of the danger associated with these innocent looking magnets,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tennenbaum. “The potential for serious injury and death if multiple magnets are swallowed demands that parents and medical professionals be aware of this hidden hazard and know how to treat a child in distress.”

 

To ensure that your child does not swallow a magnet, make sure to keep small magnets and small pieces containing magnets away from young children who might swallow them. Inspect your child’s play area regularly for missing or dislodged magnets.

 

Stop by our website for more information, or contact one of our attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).

For Your Child’s Safety, Avoid The Bumbo Seat

December 29, 2011

(December 29, 2011) When it comes to your baby’s health, does a fractured skull appeal to you? If not, I suggest you return that Bumbo Baby Seat. Infants aged 3-10 months old have fallen out of the Bumbo seat, suffering fractured skulls and other injuries.

 

Bumbo Baby Seat manufacturers Bumbo International Trust of South Africa (“Bumbo International”) and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) are urging parents and caregivers to never place Bumbo Baby Seats on tables, countertops, chairs, or other raised surfaces.  They are currently aware of 45 incidents in which infants fell out of a Bumbo seat while it was used on an elevated surface after an October 25, 2007 voluntary recall of the product.

 

bumbo seat

 

This recall required new warnings on the seat, deterring elevated use of the product. Since the recall, there have been 17 reported injuries by infants who suffered skull fractures, involving both recalled Bumbo seats and Bumbo seats sold after the recall with the additional warnings.

 

The Bumbo seat is marketed to help infants sit in an upright position as soon as they can support their head. The product warnings state that the seat “may not prevent release of your baby in the event of vigorous movement.” Infants as young as 3 months can fall or escape from the seat by arching backward, leaning forward or sideways, or rocking.

 

CPSC and Bumbo International are aware of at least 46 falls from Bumbo seats used on elevated surfaces that occurred prior to the 2007 recall, resulting in 14 skull fractures, two concussions, and one incident of a broken limb.

 

There have been roughly 3.85 million Bumbo seats sold in the U.S. since 2003.

Dietary Supplement Containing Excess Selenium Leaves Consumers with Debilitating Injuries

December 27, 2011

(December 27, 2011) Selenium is a mineral, which the body naturally absorbs. It is taken into the body in food and water. People use it for medicine. It has anti-oxidant properties.

 

Selenium is used for diseases of the heart and blood vessels, including stroke and hardening of the arteries. It is also used for preventing various cancers including cancer of the prostate, stomach, lungs and skin. Some people use selenium for under active thyroid, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, macular degeneration, hay fever, infertility, cataracts, gray hair, abnormal pap smears, chronic fatigue syndrome, mood disorders, arsenic poisoning and preventing miscarriage. Selenium is also used for preventing serious complications and death from critical illnesses such as head injury and burns. It is also used for preventing bird flu, treating HIV/AIDS, and reducing side effects from cancer chemotherapy.

 

As is often the case, many people believe that if a little of something is good, a lot is better.  It is not recommended to take higher amounts of selenium not only because of the risk of selenium toxicity, but because of its antagonism to chromium, magnesium, zinc and other nutritional factors. Excessive selenium intake over long periods of time increases the potential risk of triggering shingles, or developing osteoporosis, enlarged prostate, reduced glucose tolerance, cystadenoma usually in the throat, neurological disturbances, or other negative consequences.  Higher doses are possibly unsafe. It can cause nausea, vomiting, nail changes, loss of energy, and irritability. Poisoning from long-term use is similar to arsenic poisoning, with symptoms including hair loss, streaking of fingernails, fatigue, moodiness, nausea, vomiting, garlic breath odor and a metallic taste. Selenium can also cause muscle tenderness, tremor, light-headedness, facial flushing, blood clotting problems, liver and kidney problems, and other side effects.  Long-term consumption of selenium supplements increases chance of getting type 2 Diabetes. It may also increase skin cancer recurrence. There is also some concern that too much selenium in the body might increase the risk of death as well from cancer.  Too much selenium can increase your cholesterol by 10 percent, which can lead to heart disease and eventually death.

 

The latest case of excessive selenium consumption causing the consumer debilitating injuries has won the plaintiff a $2 million award.

 

An elderly consumer, Edgar Gurley, was recently awarded $2 million after a jury found that Total Body Essential Nutrition incorrectly blended the supplements causing him to lose his hair, fingernails and toenails. He experienced bouts of diarrhea, frequent urination, congestive heart failure and kidney failure.

FDA Approves First and Only Drug For Myelofibrosis

December 25, 2011

(December 25, 2011) Incyte Corporation announced last month that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved their drug, Jakafi, for the treatment of patients with intermediate or high-risk myelofibrosis (MF), a debilitating bone marrow disease.

 

MF is a progressive, potentially life-threatening blood cancer, and patients who suffer from MF live an impaired quality of life.  MF has a poor prognosis and limited treatment options.

 

More specifically, myelofibrosis is a disease where the bone marrow is replaced by scar tissue, resulting in blood cell production in organs like the liver and spleen. MF may be detected by enlarged spleens, anemia, decreased white blood cells, and platelets. Other symptoms include fatigue, abdominal discomfort, pain under the ribs, satiety, muscle or bone pain, itching, and night sweats.

 

Jakafi Bottles

 

 

Jakafi is the first (and only) product approved by the FDA for MF, and the first in a new class of drugs, known as JAK (Janus Associated Kinase). The safety and effectiveness of Jakafi was evaluated in two clinical trials with 528 patients. All the patients had enlarged spleens and were in need of treatment as a result of the disease-related symptoms.

 

The most serious side effects seen in patients treated with Jakafi include shortness of breath, anemia, fatigue, diarrhea, nausea, dizziness, headache, and low blood platelet levels.

 

“Today’s FDA approval of Jakafi has the potential to transform the way we treat myelofibrosis,” said Srdan Verstovsek, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Leukemia, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He mentioned significant reductions in spleen size and improvements in symptoms early on in the Phase III clinical trial, especially compared to the placebo.

Osteoporosis Drug May Cause Atypical Femur Fractures

December 23, 2011

(December 23, 2011) Health Canada announced on Tuesday that a class of drugs used in Canada for osteoporosis is linked to slightly higher risks of atypical femur fractures, which is rare but serious. If that’s not the definition of irony, I don’t know what is: a drug taken to prevent osteoporosis (thin bones) may actually cause these very bones to break.

 

Health Canada recently concluded its review of bisphosphonate drugs, used to treat osteoporosis in men and post-menopausal women. There are roughly 50 generic versions of the drug listed on the Health Canada statement, and Fosamax and Actonel lead the list of brand name bisphosphonates.

 

Their findings have led to new warnings and precautions, and will lead to new labels on the drugs. The department says that these atypical femur fractures are extremely rare (accounting for under one percent of all hip and femur fractures), and the benefits of these drugs outweigh the slim risk of these fractures.

 

These fractures may occur with little to no impact on the thigh area, and may occur in both legs in the same person. Talk about a rough break!

 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced similar findings and warnings in a statement issued back in October 2010.

 

Health Canada warns that people prescribed bisphosphonate drugs should not stop taking them unless they are advised to do so by their health-care provider. Also, patients who are currently taking or who took bisphosphonate drugs previously and notice new or unusual pain in the groin, hip, or thigh, should talk to their physician, as this could be a sign of an atypical femur fracture.

 

If you or a loved one have taken these bisphosphonate drugs for osteoporosis and have suffered an atypical femur fracture, you may be entitled to compensation. Please stop by our website, or contact one of our attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878) for more information. Feel free to Retweet this article or share it on Facebook.

30,000 Breast Implants Recalled

December 23, 2011

(December 22, 2011) There’s two big problems coming out of France, and the French authorities currently have no plans on paying for replacement surgery.

 

Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) has recalled 30,000 women’s breast implants in France for using a type of silicone gel, which is not intended for medical use.

 

Plastic Surgeon Laurent Lentieri says that the eight patients who received these implants and developed cancer are not related to the recalled implants.

 

Dr. Lentieri says that the implant recall is simply preventive and not precautionary, as these implants have a higher rupture rate than the usual breast implant silicone gel. “The risk is not at all linked to cancer, these women are not in danger of death. They can spend Christmas and New Years calmly, but gradually they have to go see their surgeon.” Some New Years resolution, eh?

 

French authorities have said that costs involved in removing the implants would be reimbursed, but there currently is no plan to reimburse replacement costs.  The French government has formed a special committee to look at the issue, and these implants are currently banned in France.

 

However, these implants made by PIP are exported to tens of thousands of women in Britain, Italy, Spain, and other European nations, yet there are no recalls made by their governments.

 

It isn’t right that these women elected for surgery (and already paid for it once), and are now expected to pay again (for two additional surgeries) because the silicone is faulty. Is this justice?

 

What do you think? Feel free to leave comments on our Facebook page, or Retweet this article. Please stop by our website or contact one of our attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878) if you have more questions.

Excess Selenium Content in Supplements not Listed on Label

December 21, 2011

(December 20, 2011) Selenium is essential to good health but required only in small amounts. Plant foods are the major dietary sources of selenium in most countries throughout the world. Selenium also can be found in some meats and seafood. Animals that eat grains or plants that were grown in selenium-rich soil have higher levels of selenium in their muscle. In the U.S., meats and bread are common sources of dietary selenium. Some nuts are also sources of selenium. Brazil nuts can contain as much as 544 micrograms of selenium per ounce. They also may contain far less selenium. It is wise to eat Brazil nuts only occasionally due to their unusually high selenium content.

 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration testing has found hazardous levels of selenium, up to 200 times greater than the actual amount stated on the label, in Tropical Orange and Peach Nectar flavors of “Total Body Formula” and orange/tangerine flavor of “Total Body Mega Formula.” Testing also showed elevated levels of chromium in the supplements, up to 17 times greater than the amount stated on the label. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working with state health departments to identify cases of selenium toxicity associated with the supplements. Total Body Essential Nutrition, Inc., has voluntarily recalled the affected products.

 

CDC urges consumers to throw away all bottles of Total Body Formula Tropical Orange with lot numbers 4016801, 4024801 and 4031801; Total Body Formula Peach Nectar with lot numbers 4031803.

 

The company distributed supplements to Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia, and sold them directly over the internet. Ten of these states have reported cases of selenium toxicity.

 

Although the human body requires selenium in small amounts, large amounts of selenium ingestion can be harmful. Symptoms of selenium toxicity can vary among individuals, and are dependent on a number of factors, including dose, type, and form of selenium ingestion, as well as the length of time used. Symptoms include significant hair loss, muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, joint pain, fatigue, fingernail changes, and blistering skin. Patients reported that symptoms occur roughly 5-10 days after taking selenium. After discontinuing use of the product, symptoms of selenium toxicity may last several weeks, but should improve eventually without treatment for poisoning. There currently is no proven antidote for selenium poisoning.

 

Supplements are considered less likely to cause chromium toxicity because chromium levels in supplements are not as elevated. Symptoms of chromium toxicity can include flushing, rash, dizziness, headache, agitation, confusion, chest pain, gastrointestinal disorders, elevated liver enzymes, muscle breakdown, blood cell problems, and kidney problems. There also is no proven antidote for chromium toxicity.

 

Stop by our website or contact one of our attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878) if you have any questions.