Blog archives



Pharmacists Charged with Murder in 2012 Fungal Meningitis Outbreak

iStock/Thinkstock(FRAMINGHAM, Mass.) — A Mass­a­chu­setts phar­macy owner has been arrested and charged with second-degree mur­der in con­nec­tion with the 2012 fun­gal menin­gi­tis out­break tied to tainted steroid injections.

The out­break killed 64 peo­ple and sick­ened 687 oth­ers who received the injec­tions across 20 states. Pros­e­cu­tors said the phar­ma­cists’ actions dis­played “extreme and appalling dis­re­gard for human life.”

Barry Cad­den, who owns the New Eng­land Com­pound­ing Cen­ter, and super­vis­ing phar­ma­cist Glenn Chin were charged with second-degree mur­der in the deaths of 25 vic­tims in six states who received tainted vials of methyl­pred­nisolone acetate.

Cad­den and Chin were “act­ing in wan­ton and will­ful dis­re­gard of the like­li­hood that the nat­ural ten­dency of their actions would cause death or great bod­ily harm,” accord­ing to the indict­ment announced on Wednesday.

The inves­ti­ga­tion uncov­ered wide­spread sus­tained and sys­tem­atic unlaw­ful con­duct at NECC that was not only con­doned but was expressly directed by man­age­ment and senior part­ners,” Act­ing Asso­ciate Attor­ney Gen­eral Stu­art Del­ery said dur­ing a news con­fer­ence Wednes­day morn­ing announc­ing the cul­mi­na­tion of a two-year inves­ti­ga­tion involv­ing state and fed­eral officials.

In addi­tion to Cad­den and Chin, 14 peo­ple asso­ci­ated with NECC were indicted on a laun­dry list of charges includ­ing rack­e­teer­ing, con­spir­acy and mail fraud. The indict­ment details how clean­ing logs were fal­si­fied, expired ingre­di­ents were used with fic­ti­tious labels, and drugs weren’t recalled when microbes were found.

Pro­duc­tion and profit were pri­or­i­tized over safety,” said U.S. Attor­ney Car­men Ortiz for the Dis­trict of Mass­a­chu­setts, adding that the clean room where drugs were com­pounded “failed to com­ply with the most basic health standards.”

Eleven peo­ple, includ­ing Cad­den and Chin, were arrested Wednes­day morn­ing, Del­ery said. Three oth­ers were not arrested but were named in the indictment.

Every patient who receives med­ical treat­ment deserves peace of mind and know that the med­i­cine they’re receiv­ing is safe,” Del­ery said.

For vic­tims such as Michi­gan mother Jona Angst, 46, news of the indict­ment and arrests was emo­tional. Angst received two tainted spinal injec­tions in 2012 and devel­oped a spinal abscess that forced her to spend two weeks in the hos­pi­tal, she told ABC News at the time.

There, doc­tors admin­is­tered intra­venous anti­fun­gal treat­ments, which gave her pow­er­ful hal­lu­ci­na­tions and made her skin burn. Since then, Angst has under­gone two back surg­eries and has been diag­nosed with PTSD in rela­tion to the expe­ri­ence, she said.

I am on cloud nine today,” she told ABC News, adding that the first thing she did was thank God. “I have done noth­ing but cry all day. It’s the best Christ­mas present that any­body could have given me.”

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right 2014 ABC News Radio


Pup Tries Out New 3-D-Printed Paws

Stephanie Portanova/Facebook(NEW YORK) — One lucky dog is get­ting his stride back after being fit­ted with cus­tom 3-D printed paws and legs.

Derby, a mutt believed to be mostly husky, was born with­out fully formed front legs. Instead, the dog had small “elbows” that left him pitched for­wards as he tried to run and play with other dogs.

He was scoot­ing around on these nubs and chest,” said Melissa Han­non, who res­cued Derby through her orga­ni­za­tion, Peace and Paws.

After tak­ing in Derby from his orig­i­nal own­ers in Alabama, Han­non placed the pup with a fos­ter owner, Tara Ander­son, a direc­tor of prod­uct man­age­ment at a com­pany focused on devel­op­ing 3-D prod­ucts called 3-D systems.

From the first day that Han­non matched Derby with Ander­son, she hoped they could fig­ure out a way to get Derby fully on his feet.

I think it was a vision,” Han­non said of the plan to cre­ate 3-D printed pros­thetic legs for Derby. “No one knew if it would work or if it would take.”

As Ander­son cared for Derby, she also started to work with peo­ple at her com­pany to design pros­thet­ics for Derby.

We start him off very low so it wouldn’t be too dras­tic,” Ander­son said of Derby’s first model on the 3D Sys­tems website.

This sum­mer, Derby was matched with his per­ma­nent own­ers, Sherry and Dom Por­tanova in Har­ris­burg, Penn­syl­va­nia. The cou­ple said Derby could get around using a wheeled cart, but because it replaced his front legs it was hard for him to move around or inter­act with other dogs.

When Derby was given his first pros­thetic caps, they were lit­tle more than “caps” to cover and pro­tect his “elbows” as he scooted around.

He took to those imme­di­ately,” Sherry Por­tanova told ABC News. “They have cush­ion inside. That meant he could go run on dri­ve­way and concrete.”

Ander­son kept work­ing with engi­neers at 3D Sys­tems to fine tune the pros­thetic limbs. One model looked like “peg legs” accord­ing to Por­tanova, and didn’t quite work when Derby tried to run around.

How­ever the next model, Ander­son designed — a long loop­ing pros­thetic — seemed to be just right for the ener­getic Derby.

As soon as Derby tried them on, Por­tanova said the dog just took off.

The first time he was put on them and he took off run­ning, he was so happy,” she said in a video for 3D Sys­tems. “I was absolutely amazed at how well he did.”

Now, the dog runs every day with the cou­ple, Por­tanova told ABC News. She hopes Derby’s story encour­ages own­ers to adopt dis­abled pets.

He’s such a good dog and he lives a full life,” she said. “He’s very spe­cial. Every­body who sees him just loves him.”

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right 2014 ABC News Radio


Why You're Doing the Paleo Diet All Wrong

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Pro­po­nents of the so-called paleo diet believe that humans who prob­a­bly went by names like Grok, Thog and Dorn knew more about nutri­tion than we do today. But a new analy­sis by two anthro­pol­ogy pro­fes­sors sug­gests otherwise.

Short for Pale­olithic, the pop­u­lar paleo diet goes heavy on meat, fish and veg­eta­bles while shun­ning grain prod­ucts and processed food. It’s sup­pos­edly pat­terned after the way our ances­tors dined between 10,000 and 2.5 mil­lion years ago before the advent of agri­cul­ture, fast-food or Cronuts.

Ken Say­ers, an anthro­pol­o­gist at Geor­gia State Uni­ver­sity in Atlanta and one of the lead authors of the just-released Quar­terly Review of Biol­ogy paper, said there is very lit­tle evi­dence to sug­gest early humans sub­sisted on a spe­cial­ized diet or con­sid­ered any one food group espe­cially important.

What­ever angle you chose to look at the diets of our early ances­tors, it’s hard to pin­point any one par­tic­u­lar feed­ing strat­egy,” Say­ers said.

The study exam­ined antho­log­i­cal, bio­log­i­cal and chem­i­cal clues that sug­gest hominids lived in a wide range of envi­ron­ments. They were prob­a­bly not the best hunters and their large, flat teeth would have made it dif­fi­cult to chew many com­mon plants, Say­ers explained. Their diet can be more accu­rately described as an oppor­tunis­tic buf­fet than meat-lovers menu, he said.

And even if one assumes early humans had access to some of the foods still around today, they wouldn’t be the same, Say­ers pointed out. For exam­ple, lan­gur mon­keys whose eat­ing habits closely resem­ble our Pale­olithic brethren won’t touch the wild straw­ber­ries that grow high in the moun­tains near Nepal. While attrac­tive, they are very bit­ter. They taste noth­ing like the plump, juicy super­mar­ket straw­ber­ries that have been selec­tively bred for sweet­ness, Say­ers said.

Caine Credi­cott, the founder and edi­tor in chief of Paleo Mag­a­zine, said he can’t speak to this lat­est study but he can say that the paleo lifestyle is “about nour­ish­ing our bod­ies with real food that is grown and raised as nature intended, not man­u­fac­tured in a ster­ile facility.”

And, he insisted, it goes beyond what’s on the plate.

Paleo encour­ages other aspects such as get­ting more sleep, reduc­ing time in front of blue screens, con­sum­ing locally grown foods, sup­port­ing local farm­ers that fol­low sus­tain­able farm­ing prac­tices, reduc­ing stress, play­ing out­side, and get­ting out in the sun,” Credi­cott said.

Per­haps there’s some truth to that, Geor­gia State anthro­pol­o­gist Say­ers said. There is cer­tainly noth­ing silly about some­one try­ing to eat a health­ier diet, he rea­soned. But why bother emu­lat­ing a civ­i­liza­tion where the aver­age lifes­pan was only about 18 years?

They lived short, tough lives that were focused on sur­vival and repro­duc­tion,” Say­ers said. “Most peo­ple on diets today are gen­er­ally afflu­ent and not wor­ried about going hungry.”

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right 2014 ABC News Radio


Parents Unsure Whether Older Teens Can Make Good Medical Decisions

iStock/Thinkstock(ANN ARBOR, Mich.) — Old enough to vote. Old enough to join the mil­i­tary. Not old enough to pick out a doctor?

Although seven in 10 par­ents believe that by the time a child reaches 18 they should move to an adult-focused pri­mary care provider, just 30 per­cent say their kids are no longer being seen by their pediatrician.

Researchers at the Uni­ver­sity of Michi­gan C.S. Mott Children’s Hos­pi­tal made this dis­cov­ery in their national poll of par­ents with chil­dren ages 13 to 30.

The prob­lem seems to be a lack of faith in a child’s abil­ity to han­dle their own health care responsibilities.

For instance, many par­ents with kids’ between the ages of 16–19 didn’t think these teens were capa­ble enough to make a doctor’s appoint­ment or refill a prescription.

Of those with chil­dren 18–19, half of par­ents were unsure whether their kids could fill out a med­ical ques­tion­naire while less than 30 per­cent were con­fi­dent in their young­sters’ under­stand­ing of what their insur­ance covers.

The bot­tom line, accord­ing to study author Emily Fred­er­icks, is for par­ents to teach their chil­dren to be self-sufficient by get­ting them involved in mak­ing appoint­ments, refill­ing pre­scrip­tions and ask­ing ques­tions about their insur­ance and health care providers.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right 2014 ABC News Radio


Trying to Save on Gas Money May Lead to More Motorcycle Accidents

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Gaso­line prices con­tinue to fall with no bot­tom in sight, which puts more money in people’s pock­ets but could also hurt the econ­omy in the long run if the sup­ply of oil far exceeds demand.

How­ever, when gaso­line prices were way over three dol­lars a gal­lon, as they were for a num­ber of years, it may have resulted in more peo­ple dri­ving motor­cy­cles and sub­se­quently, more deaths and injuries from bike crashes.

A study in the jour­nal Injury Pre­ven­tion doesn’t pro­vide a defin­i­tive cause-and-effect link. Yet, an analy­sis of Cal­i­for­nia motor­cy­cle reg­is­tra­tions between 2002 and 2011 sug­gests that higher gas prices can be cor­re­lated to an increase in deaths and injuries as more inex­pe­ri­enced dri­vers took to the roads on bikes.

Most acci­dents occurred dur­ing the after­noon in urban areas. In 93 per­cent of the crashes, the cyclists were men with more than two-thirds white and almost half middle-aged.

Another big prob­lem: 20 per­cent of those hurt in motor­cy­cle crashes were uninsured.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right 2014 ABC News Radio


Repeating Algebra Can Make Things Worse

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Alge­bra has been the bane of many high school stu­dents going back in time. And yet, it appears that mak­ing some young­sters take alge­bra again because they didn’t do well enough the first time seems to do more harm than good, accord­ing to a new Cal­i­for­nia study.

Anthony B. Fong, the lead researcher for the study con­ducted for the U.S. Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion, says that about half the stu­dents who received at least a “C” and passed California’s alge­bra assess­ment test actu­ally saw their grades and tests scores decline when they repeated the course.

Fong’s study didn’t look into the rea­sons why this hap­pened but he guesses that many of these stu­dents felt embar­rassed about hav­ing to take alge­bra again and just did the min­i­mum amount of work to get by.

He also ques­tioned teach­ers’ moti­va­tions for mak­ing stu­dents repeat alge­bra. His con­clu­sion is, “If you have a kid who’s on the bor­der­line of repeat­ing alge­bra or mov­ing on, if you’re in doubt, it seems like it’s bet­ter to move on.”

In other cases, when a stu­dent flunked the course, repeat­ing alge­bra tended to get their grade up to a “D” but there was really no indi­ca­tion that they mas­tered the material.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right 2014 ABC News Radio


More Deaths in Animated Children's Films than Dramatic Films for Adults

Fly­ing Colours Ltd/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Ani­mated films meant for chil­dren fea­ture more on-screen deaths than ever before, a new study found.

In a study pub­lished in the British Med­ical Jour­nal, researchers ana­lyzed the 45 ani­mated films with the high­est gross rev­enue from 1937 to 2013. Rang­ing from Snow White to Frozen, researchers com­pared, year-to-year, the films to the two highest-grossing non-children films.

Researchers then adjusted for run time and years since release, and found that children’s ani­mated films fea­ture 2.5 times as many deaths as the non-children films.

Researchers also sug­gest that par­ents may want to watch movies with their chil­dren, “in the event that the chil­dren need emo­tional sup­port after wit­ness­ing the inevitable hor­rors that will unfold.”

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right 2014 ABC News Radio


'Low Glycemic' Diets May Not Provide Significant Health Advantage

ASIFE/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Diets that focus on low impact on blood sugar may not have a sig­nif­i­cant impact on risk of heart dis­ease or diabetes.

Researchers from Johns Hop­kins Uni­ver­sity and Brigham and Women’s Hos­pi­tal in Boston looked at data from 163 healthy adults who were either over­weight or obese at five-week inter­vals. Each par­tic­i­pant ate either a “low glycemic diet” which focuses on foods that have low impact on blood sugar, or a “high glycemic diet.”

The study, pub­lished in the Jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Med­ical Asso­ci­a­tion, found that those par­tic­i­pants who ate a diet with low glycemic indexes did not have sig­nif­i­cant improve­ment in their car­dio­vas­cu­lar risk fac­tors and often had increased lev­els of “bad” LDL cho­les­terol and decreased sen­si­tiv­ity to insulin.

The study was done over a short period of time, so researchers did not ana­lyze med­ical out­comes, such as the devel­op­ment of dia­betes or the rate of occur­rence of heart attacks, but rather stud­ied the risk fac­tors asso­ci­ated with those outcomes.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right 2014 ABC News Radio