<![CDATA[NBC10 Boston - Health News]]>Copyright 2018 https://www.nbcboston.com/news/health http://media.nbcboston.com/designimages/clear.gif NBC10 Boston https://www.nbcboston.com en-usFri, 21 Sep 2018 12:31:55 -0400Fri, 21 Sep 2018 12:31:55 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Flea, Tick Pills Can Cause Nerve Reactions in Pets: FDA]]> Thu, 20 Sep 2018 19:52:19 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-175854393.jpg

Chewable products that protect dogs and cats against fleas can cause neurological problems such as stumbling or seizures, and pet owners need more warning, the Food and Drug Administration said Thursday.

The FDA issued an alert to owners and veterinarians and said it was requiring clearer labels on the products, NBC News reported.

The flea pills and chews all contain a pesticide called isoxazoline, the FDA said. They include products sold under the brand names Bravecto, Nexgard and Simparica.

"Another product in this class, Credelio, recently received FDA approval. These products are approved for the treatment and prevention of flea infestations, and the treatment and control of tick infestations," the FDA said in a statement.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[Assessing Risks of Sleep Aids]]> Wed, 19 Sep 2018 17:26:21 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Assessing_Risks_of_Sleep_Aids.jpg

People who have trouble sleeping will do or buy just about anything from sleep patches to special drinks. But doctors are warning to read the ingredients labels very carefully before using. NBC10 Boston's Kristy Lee has more.

<![CDATA[EEE Virus Found in Mosquito for First Time in 2018]]> Wed, 19 Sep 2018 14:58:52 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/214*120/Se_encuentra_el_virus_del_Nilo_en_mosquitos_de_nuestra_area.jpg

Massachusetts health officials say eastern equine encephalitis has been detected in a mosquito in the state for the first time this year.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health made the announcement Wednesday, saying the virus was detected in mosquito samples collected on Aug. 17 in Lakeville.

Authorities said the finding does not indicate an elevate EEE risk but protecting yourself from mosquitoes should remain a high priority.

There have been no human cases of EEE so far this year and none acquired by a Massachusetts resident in 2017, according to health officials.

"We have been fortunate over the last several years to see little evidence of EEE activity," said Public Health Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel, MD. MPH. "Despite that, we know EEE occurs in Massachusetts and this is a timely reminder of that fact."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the disease is not apparent in most infected persons. In severe cases, infected persons can suffer from high fevers and vomiting which and can progress to seizures or comas.

Ways residents can protect themselves include:

  • Apply insect repellent when outdoors
  • Use a repellent with DEET
  • Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours (The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes)
  • Wear long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors to help keep mosquitoes away from your skin
  • Install or repair screens at home to keep mosquitoes outside

<![CDATA[New FDA Campaign Hopes to Scare Teens Away From E-Cigarettes]]> Wed, 19 Sep 2018 07:07:07 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/AP_18260466488784-Vaping-Teens.jpg

The federal government is hoping it can scare American teens away from e-cigarette use.

The Food and Drug Administration is rolling out a new campaign of videos aimed at graphically illustrating the dangers of e-cigarettes and so-called “vaping.”

Teen e-cigarette use rose to 12 percent in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which found that more than 2 million middle and high school students used the devices that year, making them the most popular cigarette problem in the group for the fourth straight year.

The campaign, called "The Real Cost," will feature posters in school bathrooms and advertisements on social media sites popular among children, like YouTube and Facebook. The FDA's Kathy Crosby said it would be "snarky and irreverent," with messages like, "Strangely enough, some kids come here to put crap into their bodies," according to NBC News.

The JUUL brand e-cigarettes have grown especially popular among teens, in part because of the easy to hide design and fruit-flavored liquid nicotine. That popularity led to a nationwide blitz by the FDA on retailers who sell to teens. The agency issues monetary penalties and sent warning letters to more than 1,300 retailers nationwide who sold to children, including eight in Connecticut.

Wolcott mom Christy Bisaillon says she’s encouraged her teen daughters not to try vaping, despite what their classmates are doing and the misconception among some teens that vaping is less harmful than traditional cigarettes.

“Say no just like a regular drug. It’s still nicotine no matter what it is” said Bisaillon. “They think it's not addicting. They think it's not ruining their health. I’m just hoping they stay away from it.”

Even as this anti-vaping campaign rolls out, the clock is still ticking for the makers of e-cigarettes. Last week the FDA gave the five major manufacturers of e-cigarettes two months to come up with a plan to keep their products away from kids.

Photo Credit: Steven Senne/AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[Zika Vaccine Shows Promise for Brain Cancer Treatment]]> Tue, 18 Sep 2018 17:02:45 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Zika_Vaccine_Shows_Promise_for_Brain_Cancer_Treatment.jpg

Researchers have been able to use the Zika virus to target the cells that cause glioblastoma, the brain cancer that claimed the life of Sen. John McCain.

<![CDATA[Puerto Rican Government Abandons Bottled Water, Citing Taste]]> Wed, 19 Sep 2018 10:37:11 -0400 Telemundo Puerto Rico shows what appears to be hundreds of boxes of water abandoned on a naval runway in Ceiba, Puerto Rico. The water delivery, which was a surplus from FEMA, allegedly stalled due to complaints of the smell and taste. ]]> Telemundo Puerto Rico shows what appears to be hundreds of boxes of water abandoned on a naval runway in Ceiba, Puerto Rico. The water delivery, which was a surplus from FEMA, allegedly stalled due to complaints of the smell and taste. ]]> https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/pr_waterbottles.jpg

Puerto Rican government officials resorted to mass finger-pointing after CBS News recently reported that thousands of water bottles were abandoned on the taxiway of a naval base in Ceiba, Puerto Rico.

In a Facebook post written in Spanish, Thomas Rivera Schatz, Puerto Rico’s Senate president, called out Wanda Vázquez, the island’s secretary of the Department of Justice.  

"The discovery of a shipment of boxes containing potable water going to waste out in the open on Ceiba’s naval base possibly did not even provoke an investigation from the Department of Justice,” Rivera Schatz wrote on his Facebook page.

The Senate president also said it's necessary for someone to file a complaint regarding the incident.

"We are waiting for the great explanation ‘someone’ will offer, in some moment, that will justify everything,” he continued.

Viral images on social media show hundreds of boxes of water abandoned outside at the naval base Roosevelt Roads in Ceiba.

Following Hurricane Maria’s landfall last September, many residents were left without clean drinking water for weeks.

After falsely counting the death toll in the wake of the hurricane as 64, the government has since acknowledged the storm caused the deaths of almost 3,000 people on the island.

Clinicians linked 26 of those deaths to leptospirosis, a bacterial illness spread through contaminated water and soil, according to an investigative piece by CNN and the Centro de Periodismo Investigativo. That’s double the amount of deaths the illness caused in Puerto Rico in 2016.

As peak hurricane season approaches, Rivera Schatz said Puerto Ricans are once again preparing for the worst.

“This week, the people have massively resorted to buying potable water before the possible passage of a tropical storm that could become a hurricane, while there [on the naval base] waste thousand and thousands of bottles of water," the Senator leader added. "It is a real shame that this is occurring."

Puerto Rico’s Administrator of the General Services Administration, Ottmar Chávez, and Secretary of the Department of Public Safety Héctor Pesquera offered explanations about the situation.

“The Federal Agency for Emergency Management reported that it had an excess of bottled water in April 2018, and GSA made an application to take custody that was approved and executed upon in May 2018 through the U.S. GSA Surplus Property program,” Chávez explained during a press conference.  

In total, the administration requested about 20,000 pallets of the undistributed excess water, according to a press release written by a spokesperson for the Puerto Rican government.

“GSA took control of the inventory in May 2018 before I took over the agency's functions,” Chávez added. “Deliveries to two municipalities and the Public Broadcasting Corporation of Puerto Rico began that same month and continued through August 2018.”

Chávez said that after his agency delivered more than 700 pallets, recipients from the municipality of Barceloneta and the Corporation for Public Dissemination began sending complaints regarding the water’s smell and taste.

“Based on those complaints, we contacted FEMA to return the water to the federal GSA inventory,” the GSA administrator continued. “The secretary of the [Department of Public Safety] specified that, based on the compiled documentation, in no moment during the digital communication about the surplus water was it evident that the bottled water was spoiled.”

The DPS secretary further highlighted the island government’s lack of information regarding how FEMA stored and distributed the water.

“When GSA performed its merchandise survey, U.S. GSA photographs appeared to show bottled water in a warehouse,” Pesquera said. “We do not know when FEMA moved the inventory to the Roosevelt Roads Base in Ceiba.”

The secretary of DPS further explained that “the Government of Puerto Rico never received the water from FEMA for distribution during the emergency, and it was not until April 2018 that we were notified of its availability.”

Chávez has ordered an administrative investigation to analyze the internal processes associated with this matter and to discuss possible follow-up measures.

In a Facebook Live video, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello also questioned FEMA’s handling of the water and the distribution delay.

“If we had the water supply available since January, why was it not declared until months later, when the bottles of water could possibly be contaminated due to having them exposed outside of a warehouse for so long?” he asked. “The question is should these containers have been kept in some sort of warehouse or storage facility and if they distributed potentially contaminated water?”

Ultimately, the governor believes FEMA is responsible for causing the water to possibly spoil.

“I demand answers from FEMA, because the evidence establishes that this was water that belonged to FEMA, and they left out in the open for so long and did not make it available to those who needed it until a few months later,” Rosselo said. “I guarantee to the public of Puerto Rico that we are in a constant investigation of these events and there will be significant consequences.”

FEMA Spokesperson Lenisha Smith responded to Rosselo’s claims by saying the decision to store the water at the naval base aligned with the agency’s goal of providing “the maximum support to disaster survivors, while also being mindful of our responsibility as stewards of taxpayer dollars.”

Smith claimed placing the water on the tarmac resulted in “millions of dollars of savings.”

“FEMA announced that the water would be available to any agency that needed it, and placed the water at the taxiway of Roosevelt Roads where it could be stored in an area that was free and secure,” Smith wrote in the statement. “The P.R. General Services Administration showed interest in this inventory and requested that it be transferred. Once the transfer of water took place, the water became property of the government of Puerto Rico.”

Photo Credit: Telemundo Puerto Rico]]>
<![CDATA[Doctors Gave No Reason for 1/3 of Opioid Prescriptions: Study]]> Tue, 11 Sep 2018 10:20:26 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/cms1251.jpg

New research shows that about one-third of doctors who prescribed opioids in the buildup to the opioid overdose epidemic gave no reason for doing so, according to NBC News.

In 29 percent of cases between 2006 and 2015, doctors's opioid prescriptions had no explanation for why they were written, a team from Harvard Medical School and the Rand Corp. reported Monday.

"Whatever the reasons, lack of robust documentation undermines our efforts to understand physician prescribing patterns and curtails our ability to stem overprescribing," said Dr. Tisamarie Sherry, who worked on the study, in a statement.

Federal agencies have said that inappropriate prescribing practices contributed to the crisis that saw 42,000 people die in 2016 alone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been encouraging doctors to prescribe opioids only when necessary.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Cultura RF, File]]>
<![CDATA[More Children Diagnosed With Sleep Apnea]]> Mon, 10 Sep 2018 17:09:06 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/More_Children_Diagnosed_With_Sleep_Apnea.jpg

Sleep apnea doesn't just affect adults... it affects children as well. Doctors say an increase in childhood obesity is one reason why. NBC10 Boston's Kristy Lee explains.

<![CDATA[Nutritionist-Approved Frozen Meals]]> Mon, 10 Sep 2018 13:49:11 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/stirfryGettyImages-112856093.jpg

If you're picking up a frozen meal from the grocery store, there are a few things you want to look for before stocking up, according to NBC News.

A meal that has less than 500 calories and no more than 600 milligrams of sodium is your best option. It should also have at least 10 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber. This will ensure you stay full longer and won't be looking to snack a few hours later. 

Read the ingredients list. The first ingredient should be a whole food, for example, a protein like chicken, a fruit or vegetable or a whole grain. Avoid trans fats.

Here are seven nutritionist-picked meals to consider:


  • Sweet Earth Curry Tiger Bowl
  • Luvo Chicken Harissa Chickpeas
  • Evol Vegetable Enchiladas
  • Amy's Kitchen Brown Rice & Vegetables Bowl
  • Caulipower Margherita Pizza
  • Trader Joe's Wild Salmon
  • Gardein Asian Style Chick'n Fried Rice

Photo Credit: Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Calif. Mom Shares Warning After Finding Glass Shards in Kid's Burrito]]> Tue, 11 Sep 2018 11:54:31 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Santee_Mom_Claims_Glass_Found_in_Burrito.jpg

A Santee, California, mother is warning people about a potential hazard after finding glass shards in her daughter's frozen burrito.

Tracey Brintle's daughter, Kayla, was eating a Tina's Beef and Bean Burrito that she bought from a local 99ȼ Only Stores about two weeks ago when she suddenly heard a crunching noise.

"It's a beef and bean burrito so you shouldn't be hearing anything," Brintle said. "And I saw what's left on her plate and I saw that there was glass."

Brintle immediately rushed her daughter to the emergency room, but her daughter was OK. Brintle reached out to both 99ȼ Only Stores in Santee, where she bought the burritos, as well as the maker of the burritos.

A representative from Tina's Burritos had told Brintle the company would send her a box to ship the burrito back to the company so it could test the food. The company has not sent the box since that conversation, though the company did call her again Friday to say a box was on its way.

Brintle said she wants to warn parents about the potential hazard because she doesn't want what happened to her daughter to happen to another child. She said she doesn't want to wait for the company to complete its testing before deciding to pull the batch from shelves.

"I'm sure that batch is still available in stores because I only bought it in the middle of August," Brintle said. "And it needs to be pulled off the shelves."

A spokesperson for Tina's said Brintle's incident was their only known complaint. 

"The matter has been escalated to the highest levels of our company. We are currently engaged in the process of a full and detailed investigation which we conduct in the case of receiving feedback of this nature," Customer Service Manager Lee Ann Vasquez said. 

The company's testing process includes both the burrito in question, once retrieved from the consumer, and other burritos in the same production run, Vasquez said. So far, their testing has not found any other problems. 

In addition to 99ȼ Only Stores, Tina's Burritos is also available at other grocery store chains, such as Smart & Finals, Food 4 Less and Vons.

The 99ȼ Only Stores in Santee said it's started the recall process but the company. Tina's has not recalled any burritos. 

<![CDATA[Concerns Grow Over Sickness While Flying]]> Fri, 07 Sep 2018 18:10:51 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Concerns_Grow_Over_Sickness_While_Flying.jpg

There are growing fears for passengers flying into the U.S. from overseas after groups of travelers arrived with flu-like symptoms.

<![CDATA[Dangerous 'Kissing Bug' Returns to Massachusetts]]> Fri, 07 Sep 2018 17:29:42 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/214*120/KISSING_BUG_WBTS_for_Share_2018_09_07_16_41_53.jpg

A dangerous insect is making a comeback in Massachusetts. The American Heart Association has issued a warning saying the creature, nicknamed the "kissing bug", releases an undetectable and sometimes untreatable parasite into its victims.

<![CDATA[Third Case of Rabies Confirmed in Wareham in Two Weeks]]> Sat, 08 Sep 2018 16:14:30 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/343133a36173496c80ee21f17eaa6456.jpg

The third case of rabies in two weeks has been confirmed by officials in Wareham, Massachusetts.

According to Wareham Department of Natural Resources, it received a call from a home on Anthony Way in Wareham about an aggressive woodchuck/groundhog in their yard on Thursday.

Wareham Department of Natural Resources collected the animal and sent it to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health - Rabies Laboratory for testing.

The test results came back positive for rabies, Wareham Department of Natural Resources said. The animal was disposed of in MassDPH's facilities.

According to Wareham Department of Natural Resources, this rabies case was located in a different portion of Wareham than the other two reports of rabies in bats.

Last week, Wareham Department of Natural Resources issued a public health warning after two rabid bats were found within less than a week.

Authorities are calling the discoveries "extremely unusual."

The animals, both brown bats, were found along a roughly mile-long stretch between Crooked River and Great Neck roads. The first one was discovered on Aug. 28. The second one, which attacked a woman inside her home, was found on Sept. 2.

"She had walked into her room and the bat had flown into her hair and got caught in her hair and she swatted the bat out of her hair," said officer Joshua Kimball with Wareham Department of Natural Resources.

Officials said rabid bats are rare, noting that fewer than one percent of bats nationwide are infected with the potentially deadly disease at any given time.

"In the last couple of weeks, we've probably taken in 10 bats," said Zack Mertz, the director of the Cape Wildlife Center. "I've heard reports of an increased mosquito population this year, which means they’re more active."

"We urge everyone to make sure your pets are up to date with their rabies vaccine and tagged accordingly. If you are in doubt, check with your veterinarian," a statement by Wareham Department of Natural Resources said.

Officials urge anyone with questions of a possible exposure or to locate an animal acting sickly or aggressive to contact Wareham Department of Natural Resources at 508-291-3100 x3180. After regular business hours, contact Wareham Police at 508-295-1212.

Wareham Department of Natural Resources also warns to not approach any wildlife especially if it is acting in a sickly or aggressive fashion.

<![CDATA[Pediatricians Recommend Flu Shot Versus Nasal Spray]]> Tue, 04 Sep 2018 19:11:28 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/fluvaccineGettyImages-92811553.jpg

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends flu shots for children of all ages, citing higher effectiveness of the shot versus nasal spray. But for children who refuse needles, FluMist nasal spray is available. 

Additionally, some evidence suggests Flucelvax and FluBlok, the only two egg-free vaccines on the market, may work better than the older vaccines grown in eggs. Dr. Richard Zimmerman, who advises the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Influenza Committee, said the major hospital group will only be buying egg-free formulations this year.

"The egg-free vaccines appear to have perhaps a 10 percent higher effectiveness over the traditional egg-based vaccines,” Zimmerman said in an interview with NBC News. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend everyone over the age of six months get a flu vaccine but they "do not recommend one flu vaccine over another."

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Amid Opioid Crisis, Researchers Aim to Put Pot to the Test]]> Mon, 03 Sep 2018 04:45:51 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-99037655+%281%29+weed+edited.jpg

Despite anecdotal and historical accounts of pot’s painkilling properties, scientific evidence that it works better than traditional painkillers is hard to come by. But Dr. Jeffrey Chen, director of UCLA's Cannabis Research Initiative, wants to change that, NBC News reported

The United States classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug with no medical use, like heroin and cocaine. And as a 2015 article in the journal Current Pain and Headache Reports points out, high-quality clinical studies of pot’s effectiveness are limited. 

"The public consumption of cannabis has already far outpaced our scientific understanding," Chen said. “We really desperately need to catch up.”

Now, with one of the first academic programs in the world dedicated to the study of cannabis, researchers hope to conduct a high-quality study using opioid patients. The study aims to find out which combination “produces the most good,” according to Edythe London, a distinguished professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at the UCLA school of medicine who designed the study.

Photo Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images, File ]]>
<![CDATA[1 in 10 Kids Diagnosed With ADHD: Study]]> Fri, 31 Aug 2018 18:35:27 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/anonymous-kid-toy-trucks.jpg

More than 10 percent of U.S. kids have been diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), up from 6 percent 20 years ago, researchers reported Friday.

It’s not clear why, but it’s startling, said Dr. Wei Bao of the University of Iowa, who helped lead the study.

“It is very common now – one in 10 kids,” Bao told NBC News.

The team used surveys covering more than 180,000 children aged 4 to 17 between 1997 and 2016. The surveys were in-person with a parent or guardian and asked whether the child had ever been diagnosed with ADHD.

“Over the 20-year period from 1997 to 2016, we found a significant increase in the prevalence of diagnosed ADHD from 1997-1998 to 2015-2016,” they wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s JAMA Open Network.

Photo Credit: Getty Images (File)]]>
<![CDATA[Pediatricians Change Guidelines for Babies in Car Seats]]> Fri, 31 Aug 2018 17:39:32 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/carseatGettyImages-127238301.jpg

The American Academy of Pediatrics issued new guidelines for young children in car seats: They should remain rear-facing until they reach the maximum height and weight allowed by the car seat manufacturer.

The update is a departure from the previous recommendation that babies remain rear facing until the age of 2. Because the new guidelines are now based on the size of the child, some children will remain rear facing even after turning 2.

The AAP said all infants and toddlers should ride in rear-facing car seats for "as long as possible, until they reach the highest weight or height allowed" by the seat's manufacturer.

While there is new research on car safety for children, the guideline that has not changed is rear facing is safer. 

Photo Credit: The Washington Post/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[FDA Updates on 'Troubling' Blood Pressure, Heart Drug Finding]]> Fri, 31 Aug 2018 12:05:27 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/080618bloodpressire.jpg

The head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says the agency has launched a "major operation to investigate and address" the "troubling" finding of a cancer-causing agent that may be contaminating a growing number of medications used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure.

In a joint statement Thursday, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER), said they have developed a multidisciplinary task force to investigate trace amounts of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a "probable human carcinogen," detected in some generic versions of the medication valsartan.

The initial recall in July has now been expanded to include five manufacturers and other companies who repackage the affected valsartan products under a different name, and officials warned Thursday more products may need to be recalled. A third-party supplied the valsartan contained in the recall. The FDA recently updated the list of products affected and the list of those unaffected

"At the same time, the FDA is working to make certain that patients have access to the treatment that they need," the joint statement said. "Currently, more than half of all valsartan products on the market are being recalled. But prescribers can find a similar replacement product within the same class to substitute for patients who require this medication."

The FDA said it is working with companies to take "swift action" to pull any products found with unacceptable amounts of NDMA from the U.S. market. The agency also said manufacturers would not have been testing for NDMA in valsartan because there was no anticipation such levels would be evident. 

"Recognizing these risks is based on a deep understanding of the chemistry involved in drug manufacturing, and the theoretical risk that an impurity could be a by-product of an essential step used in the manufacture of an active ingredient," the statement said. "When these impurities are identified, there are ways to re-engineer manufacturing processes to find pathways that don’t create these by-products."

It continued: "As we develop a better understanding of the root cause of NDMA formation, and develop a way to detect NDMA in valsartan or other ARBs, we can ensure that appropriate testing is performed in the future."

The FDA also said that while millions of Americans take blood pressure medication, the risk of many of them developing cancer because of the NDMA exposure is fairly low. CDER toxicologists and chemists estimated that if 8,000 people took the highest valsartan dose from NDMA-affected medicines every day for four years, which is the period of time officials believe the affected products have been on the U.S. market, there may be one extra case of cancer beyond the regular average cancer rate of Americans. 

Patients are urged to look at the drug name and company name on the label of their prescription bottles to determine whether a specific product has been recalled. If the information is not on the bottle, patients should contact the pharmacy that dispensed the medicine to find out the company name.

If a patient is taking one of the recalled medicines, they should follow the recall instructions each specific company provided, which are available on the FDA’s website.

If a patient's medicine is included in the recall, he or she should contact his or her health care professional to discuss treatment options, which may include another valsartan product this recall doesn't affect or an alternative option.

The agency encourages patients and health care professionals to report any adverse reaction to the FDA’s MedWatch program.

In the meantime, the FDA said it will continue to improve its procedures for guarding against such impurity risks. 

"We will use the information that we learn from our investigation into valsartan to strengthen our oversight," the statement said. 

Read more about the agency's probe and NDMA here. 

Photo Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Officials: 2nd Confirmed Case of West Nile Virus in Boston]]> Fri, 31 Aug 2018 17:48:44 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/3_Mass._Women_Infected_With_West_Nile_Virus.jpg

Health officials announced Friday the second confirmed case of West Nile virus in a Boston resident this year.

The Boston Public Health Commission said the resident is a man in his 50s. The announcement comes after the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s increased the risk level for the virus from moderate to high for communities in the greater Boston area.

The announcement of a second confirmed case brings the total number of reported cases in Massachusetts this year to five. A Boston woman in her 50s developed the virus in August.

Health officials warn that individuals infected with the virus often won’t present symptoms. However, when they are apparent, flu-like symptoms occur such as headaches, swollen lymph nodes and body aches.

"About 80 percent of folks who get bit by an infected mosquito are going to have an asymptomatic infection — meaning they won't have any symptoms at all," said Dr. Jenifer Jaeger with the Boston Health Commission. "In fact, they won't even know they are sick. About 20 percent will have a severe infection that's predominately neurological so meningitis or encephalitis. And a small percentage of those folks, a total of less than one percent, may die from the infection."

The Boston Public Health Commission urges everyone to be vigilant in taking steps to prevent contracting the virus. Long-sleeved shirts and pants are recommended to keep mosquitoes away from skin, and EPA-approved insect repellents have proven to be helpful.

"We take this pretty seriously. We want to make sure people know how to protect themselves," Jaeger said.

Most residents in the Greater Boston area said they have noticed the increase in mosquitoes and are taking the threat seriously.

"I think the education has definitely helped and that people are taking more precautions than they did in the past. So it's been very helpful," said Gina Hahn of Brookline.

Some residents however mosquitoes rarely bother them.

"I'm very lucky. Mosquitoes Never bother me, at all. Ever," Cullene Murphy of Brookline.

In the past two years, there was just one reported human case of West Nile Virus in Boston, according to the Boston Public Health Commission.

<![CDATA[Cheese and Yogurt Help Protect Against Dying, Study Finds]]> Fri, 31 Aug 2018 07:28:46 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/910571610-Yogurt-Cheese.jpg

Eating dairy products, especially cheese and yogurt, is linked with a lower mortality rate, according to a new study reviewed by NBC News.

Consuming any dairy was associated a 2 percent lower risk of death by any cause, while dairy diets of mostly cheese was associated with an 9 percent lower risk, according to the research presented Tuesday at a meeting of the European Society of Cardiology. Dairy consumption also slightly lowered the risk of death by stroke.

The researchers reviewed data from U.S. federal health and nutrition surveys conducted between 1999 and 2010.

"This was a study of an eating pattern — which is really what we need to be focusing on, eating patterns as opposed to individual foods or food groups," said University of Alabama at Birmingham nutrition science professor Beth Kitchin in an email. She was not affiliated with the study.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Johner RF]]>
<![CDATA[Stretching Found to Reduce Tumor Growth in Mice]]> Thu, 30 Aug 2018 18:56:31 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Stretching_Found_to_Reduce_Tumor_Growth_in_Mice.jpg

A study at Brigham and Women's Hospital has found that stretching may help the body fight cancer.

<![CDATA[Texas Nurse Fired Over Post About Young Measles Patient]]> Thu, 30 Aug 2018 16:24:39 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/measles-vaccine.jpg

A Houston nurse who posted protected health information about a young patient with measles to a Facebook page related to the anti-vaccine movement is no longer employed at Texas Children’s Hospital, the facility said in a statement Thursday.

The nurse, who has not been identified, posted to the page that despite the fact that the young patient was “super sick,” was admitted to the ICU and "looked miserable," the nurse was still opposed to vaccines, NBC News reported.

The nurse was investigated and ultimately dismissed for privacy violations, but her anti-vaccine stance concerns others in the medical field.

Dr. David Persse, director of the Houston Health Department, was dismayed that a medical professional would be opposed to childhood vaccinations. "She is one of the few people who has seen firsthand how devastating these diseases can be, and she has still taken this position against vaccines," Persse said in an interview.

Measles has been eliminated in the United States through vaccination, but every year, cases are imported from other countries. People who are not vaccinated or who are incompletely vaccinated can become infected and carry the virus with them. It will spread if there are pockets of other unvaccinated people.

Photo Credit: Leo Correa/AP (File)]]>
<![CDATA[12 Legionnaires' Cases, Including 1 Death, Reported in NH]]> Thu, 30 Aug 2018 23:28:10 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/cms1261.jpg

Officials in New Hampshire say there have been 12 confirmed cases, including one resulting in a death, of Legionnaires' disease near Hampton Beach.

One elderly adult died from pneumonia associated with the disease, New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services officials said Thursday.

The outbreak has been tentatively traced to two hot tub spas at two resorts, The Sands Resort and Harris Sea Ranch Motel, according to officials.

New Hampshire health officials and officials with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working to identify the source of the bacteria, and said the majority of the cases are within the Ashworth Avenue area between Island Path and M Street in Hampton.

The infections happened between early June and mid-August. The initial announcement of Legionnaires' disease traced to the Hampton Beach area came Aug. 24.

"We got to get out," said Alan Cunningham, a guest at the Sands Resort. "I'm 72 years old, this is hitting too close to home. I don't want a chance on this."

Cunningham says his conversation with a motel clerk didn't go well because he was told he won't get a refund.

"He said, 'Oh, no, it's not a problem.' He said it's only located in the hot tub," said Cunningham, who checked in from New York Thursday. "I said 'We're not comfortable with this, we would like to move out and we'll find someplace else to stay. We just want a refund.'"

Health officials are still working to pinpoint the exact source of the outbreak, but the impacted hot tubs have been closed as a precaution.

Hot tub spas are a known source of the bacteria that causes Legionnaire's, officials said.

"I don't know if I'm supposed to hug my friends," said Julia Martinelli, a resident in the area of the outbreak.

Legionnaires' disease, a potentially serious bacterial pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacteria, can result in an infection after someone breaths in small drops of water that contains bacteria.

Health officials say most people exposed to the Legionella bacteria won't get sick, but the bacteria does pose a higher risk to those who have a weakened immune system, those who take drugs that can weaken their immune system, current or former smokers, those who are 50 years old or older and people with underlying illnesses, such as diabetes, kidney or liver failure.

"We'll be a little more careful," said Catherine Daoust Pichette, a tourist from Canada staying at the Harris Sea Ranch. "We'll still plan on having fun."

Both motels remain open, and neither would comment about the situation.

"My wife and I are here to enjoy ourselves, not put ourselves in jeopardy," said Cunningham. "And this is putting us in jeopardy right now."

Officials ask members of the public who have developed symptoms, which include coughing, shortness of breath, fever and headaches, to contact the state health department at 603-271-9461.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Hundreds of Nasal Products for Kids, Adults Recalled]]> Thu, 30 Aug 2018 11:09:53 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/ucm616192.jpg

An over-the-counter health and beauty product manufacturer supplying medicines to retailers across the country has expanded its voluntary nasal product recall to include all nasal products and baby oral gels -- amounting to hundreds of items -- over concerns of microbial contamination that could pose life-threatening infection risk for vulnerable users.

Product Quest, which first announced a recall of some bottles of CVS Health's 12 Hour Sinus Relief Nasal Mist, said this week it was pulling all lots of nasal treatments and baby oral gels made in its Florida facility. The recall amounts to hundreds of nasal allergy and congestion treatments used by both children and adults. See the full 65-page list of recalled items here.  

Product Quest recalled the items as a precaution after finding Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a kind of bacteria, in some of its CVS products. Frequent use of the contaminated product could result in infections, which could be life-threatening for users with cystic fibrosis or people who are immuno-compromised, according to the FDA.

Product Quest said there is no known microbial contamination associated with the nasal products and gels added to the recall, but it was pulling them out "an abundance of caution" and said retailers who shelve the products should dump them as well. There have been no reports of illnesses connected to the recall, "to the best" of the manufacturer's knowledge, a statement said. 

Product Quest says it is notifying its customers by oral and written communication and is arranging for return and or replacement of all recalled products. Consumers/distributors/retailers that have a recalled product should stop using it immediately and return it to the place of purchase. 

Consumers with questions can contact Product Quest Manufacturing LLC at 704-939-4342, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., EST. Consumers should contact their physicians or health care providers if they have experienced any problems that may be related to taking or using these drug products.

Photo Credit: Food and Drug Administration ]]>
<![CDATA[Rubber Critter Toys Recalled for Excessive Lead Paint Levels]]> Thu, 30 Aug 2018 10:54:35 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/rubber-critters-recall.jpg

Tens of thousands of rubber critter toys in the shapes of animals are being recalled for excessive lead levels in their orange and yellow paint. 

BSN Sports sold the 31,200 recalled units nationally through catalogues and online at Amazon.com, Athleticconnection.com, Bsnsports.com, Esportsonline.com and Usgames.com from February 2017 to June 2018, according to a recall notice posted Wednesday by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. 

The toys, which the notice says are "primarily used to play physical education tossing games," are shaped like an octopus, alligator, chicken, frog, pig, penguin or cow.

"Consumers should immediately take the recalled rubber critter toys away from children," the recall notice said.

Lead is especially dangerous to children because their bodies absorb the toxic element more than adults' bodies do, and a child's nervous system is also more sensitive to lead's effects, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The toys, which were made in China and imported and distributed by BSN Sports, sold for about $10 for an individual rubber critter or up to $145 for a set, according to recallrt.com/rubbercritters. Sets ranged from two to 24 critters. 

BSN Sports said it was contacting all known purchasers directly but those who bought the critters can also request a merchandise credit by calling 1-888-847-8816 between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. CT on weekdays. Those who want refunds can also register at recallrtr.com/rubbercritters.

Photo Credit: BSN Sports]]>
<![CDATA[Sleep-Inducing Massage Tackles Insomnia]]> Tue, 28 Aug 2018 19:06:54 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Sleep-Inducing_Massage_Tackles_Insomnia.jpg

If you've tried everything and can't fall asleep, a special type of massage could be the answer.

<![CDATA[STDs Set New Record, Continuing Rapid Rise in US, CDC Says]]> Tue, 28 Aug 2018 13:35:24 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/475150913-Condom-Safe-Sex.jpg

Nearly 2.3 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis were diagnosed in the United States last year, far more than the STD record set in 2016, NBC News reported.

The new data come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which said Tuesday that the number of cases in 2017 surpassed the previous record by more than 200,000.

There have been recent increases in STDs among heterosexual men and women and among pregnant women and their babies, said Dr. Gail Bolan, head of the CDC's Division of STD Prevention.

"Usually there are ebbs and flows, but this sustained increase is very concerning," Bolan said. She and others suspect that newer drugs that made HIV less lethal and infectious may have contributed to declining condom use.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Cultura RF]]>
<![CDATA[50 Adult Meds Added to National Recall With 32 Kids' Items]]> Tue, 28 Aug 2018 11:27:53 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Dr+King+Bio+Recall.jpg

King Bio has announced it is pulling all of its water-based products across all brands, amounting to more than 50 products intended to treat virtually every ailment from migraines to allergies, amid a national recall over concerns about possible purity issues.

The company's founder, Frank King, announced the expanded recall in a statement on the website Monday. Nearly three dozen children's medicines have already been recalled over the microbial contamination fears. 

King Bio, a North Carolina-based company that makes homeopathic drugs, first said last week that a small percentage of its products produced between Aug. 1, 2017 and April 2018 tested positive for the microbial contamination.

The company said use of the medicines could result in increased or life-threatening infections. There have been no reports of illnesses, according to the FDA, and King Bio issued the recall "out of an abundance of caution."

There were still no reported illnesses as of Monday, and King Bio said it was notifying its distributors and customers by letter to arrange for return and/or replacement of all the affected medicines.

The recalled products are used to treat dozens of conditions, including allergies, migraine, anxiety, bed wetting, chicken pox, common colds, nosebleeds, sore throat and teething. Products meant for use on pets are also being recalled. They were sold nationwide between August 2017 and July 2018.

"We are truly sorry for the inconvenience or concern our recall may have caused, but we felt this was the right thing to do to maintain your trust," King said in a statement. "Thank you for your continued loyalty and confidence in our King Bio products."

Customers are urged to stop using the affected products immediately and contact King Bio by email at recall@kingbio.com or call the company at 866-298-2740, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. ET to 3:30 p.m. ET. Consumers who believe they may have been sickened by one of the recalled products should contact their physician or healthcare provider. 

See a list of 32 the affected kids' medicines below. For a complete list of UPC and Lot numbers click here. Find all the recalled adult medicines here.

• DK Attention & Learning Enh.
• Chicken Pox Symptom Relief
• Children's Appetite & Weight
• Children's Appetite Enhance
• Children's Cough Relief
• Children's Fever Reliever
• Children's Growth & Development
• DK Newborn Tonic
• DK Nosebleed Relief
• TonsilPlex
• Children's Ear Relief Formula
• DK Teething
• DK Colic Relief
• Tummy Aches
• Kids Multi-Strain Flu Relief
• Kids Stress & Anxiety
• Kids Sleep Aid
• Kids Bed Wetting (NP)
• Kids Candida - 4-ounce bottle
• Kids Attention & Learning (SCRX)
• Bed Wetting Prevention (SCRX)
• Chicken Pox Symptom Relief (SCRX)
• Childrens Cough (SCRX)
• Children’s Ear Formula (SCRX)
• Children’s Fever Reliever (SCRX)
• Children’s Growth & Development (SCRX)
• Colic Relief (SCRX)
• Newborn Tonic (SCRX)
• Teething (SCRX)
• Tummy Aches (SCRX)
• Children’s Apetite & Weight (SCRX)
• Children’s Appetite Enhancer (SCRX) 

Photo Credit: Dr. King's by King Bio]]>
<![CDATA[Some Turn to Medical Marijuana for Relief in Opioid Crisis]]> Mon, 27 Aug 2018 18:04:15 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/Pot+file.JPG

While medical marijuana is legal in Massachusetts, most doctors aren't recommending it to their patients and, in many cases, are instead prescribing highly addictive opioids. Some, however, suggest a solution.

Sarah-Jaana Nodell is eight years cancer free, but the journey to get healthy was extremely difficult and painful.

"I have a very hard time looking back and seeing how many prescriptions — looking at how many times they pushed an opioid on me," said Nodell.

Not only was Nodell dealing with pain from the treatment, she didn't like the pills her doctors were prescribing. At times, the drugs were even giving her migraines. Her dad suggested she turn to an unlikely source because he didn't want to see his daughter in pain.

"Instead, I found medical marijuana. It shaped my perception of what pain management can look like," said Nodell.

It's no secret marijuana will likely become big business in Massachusetts, helping people like Nodell, as well as licenses for recreational use on the horizon.

Brian Strasnick is on the front lines of the burgeoning business, opening one of only two labs in the state that will test the product before its sold.

"It's still a schedule one drug, which is the most bizarre thing in the world," said Strasnick.

Strasnick's background and passion started in drug abuse testing.

"The opioid crisis is truly the biggest concern I have in addiction treatment right now," said Strasnick. "There are so many people who get involved in opioid use that don't know what it's all about."

Strasnick said marijuana could be the game-changer in the opioid crisis.

"No one has ever died from an overdose of CBD or THC, and many people are dying every day from the overuse of opiates," said Strasnick.

The question remains why doctors in Massachusetts are still prescribing opiates over marijuana. Dr. Janice Bissex, a registered dietician and holistic cannabis practitioner, answers that question with three reasons.

"The vast majority of doctors received no training in cannabis, so they are a little leary and they don't understand the medical benefits. It's federally illegal — I think that scares a lot of health care professionals. The third is that the pharmaceutical industry is still a powerful player in our industry," said Bissex.

Many say with positive results and little to no side effects all that could change with time.

"I do wish I had a doctor that made it feel like it was OK to experiment with medical marijuana. I had nowhere to turn with those questions — I just wanted pain relief," said Nodell.

Bissex said when you add cannabis to a patient who is using opioids, their use of opioids decreases by 44 percent. They get some relief from the cannabis, so they can lower their dose.

"The more people learn about the medical benefits of cannabis, the more they are going to demand it," said Bissex.

There is a license a doctor needs to acquire to get more knowledge on cannabis before they are able to recommend it to their patients.

<![CDATA[Mass. Health Officials Announce 4th Case of West Nile Virus]]> Mon, 27 Aug 2018 16:33:25 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/mosquito-west-nile-zika-virus.jpg

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced the fourth human case of West Nile virus on Monday.

Health officials said the victim is a woman in her 50s from Middlesex County who was never hospitalized for her illness.

Three other human cases were reported on Friday in addition to a horse. The horse had to be euthanized.

Days before the West Nile cases were reported, high numbers of mosquitoes testing positive for the virus prompted health officials to raise the risk level across the state from low to moderate. Friday's announcement then prompted health officials to raise the risk level from moderate to high for 11 communities in the Greater Boston area. Authorities said the communities impacted are Arlington, Boston, Belmont, Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Medford, Newton, Somerville, and Watertown.

"Several individuals from the same area have developed West Nile virus,” said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel. "That means that there is an increased risk in this specific area and that additional people could become infected."

The human cases last week were identified as a woman in her 70s from Worcester County, a woman in her 60s from Middlesex County and woman in her 50s from Boston.

Bharel said health officials are particularly concerned about people over 50 and those who have immunodeficiency issues.

Officials say most people infected with West Nile virus won't present symptoms; however, when they do occur, they tend to manifest as fever and flu-like illness, with more serious illness presenting in rare cases.

Experts recommend people apply insect repellent when outside, be aware of peak mosquito hours and wear long sleeves, long pants and socks to keep mosquitoes away from skin.

"It is extremely important for people to take steps to avoid mosquito bites, including using repellents, wearing clothing to reduce exposed skin, dumping standing water, and moving indoors when you notice mosquitoes biting you," said DPH State Epidemiologist Dr. Catherine Brown.

In 2017, there were six human cases of West Nile virus infection identified in Massachusetts.

Photo Credit: Alice Barr]]>
<![CDATA[Cigarette Butts Are Biggest Source of Ocean Trash: Advocates]]> Mon, 27 Aug 2018 09:07:59 -0400 https://media.nbcboston.com/images/213*120/680792025-cigarette-butts-beach.jpg

As coastal cities ban plastic straws and California and Hawaii consider following suit, activists are trying to raise awareness about cigarette butts, a much greater source of ocean pollution, NBC News reported.

The filters have been the most-collected item on the world's beaches for 32 consecutive years of the Ocean Conservancy's annual beach cleanup, more than plastic wrappers, eating utensils, bottles and containers combined.

Among those arguing that cigarette butts should be banned are the international Surfrider Foundation, a California lawmaker and leading tobacco industry academic Thomas Novotny.

"It's pretty clear there is no health benefit from filters. They are just a marketing tool," said Novotny, a professor of public health at San Diego State University. "It's also a major contaminant, with all that plastic waste. It seems like a no-brainer to me that we can't continue to allow this."

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Science Photo Libra, File]]>