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Health Highlights: Feb. 15, 2012

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

Traces of Lead Found in 400 Lipsticks: FDA Analysis

In news that is sure to dampen the spirit of romance on Valentine's Day, an analysis from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has found that 400 of the most popular lipsticks in the United States contain traces of lead.

The lipsticks involved are made by major cosmetic firms, and include such widely known brands as L'Oreal, Maybelline and Cover Girl, according to the analysis. The results confirm an earlier review, but on a greater scale and at higher lead levels, the Washington Post reported.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a consumer group, has been pushing for limits on lead levels in lipsticks for years but the FDA has balked, saying the levels detected do not pose a safety risk to women, the Post reported.

"Lipstick, as a product intended for topical use with limited absorption, is ingested only in very small quantities," the agency said on its website. "The lead levels we found are within the limits recommended by other public health authorities for lead in cosmetics, including lipstick."

Products sampled in 2010 had average concentrations of 1.11 parts per million, close to the average of 1.07 parts per million in a smaller survey the FDA conducted in 2007, according to the agency website.

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Satisfied Patients Aren't Always Healthier: Study

A satisfied patient isn't necessarily a healthier patient, according to a new study.

The research included almost 52,000 Americans who were followed for an average of 3 1/2 years. They were asked to rate their satisfaction with the care they received from their doctors and their health outcomes were then tracked by the University of California, Davis researchers, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Compared with patients who were least-satisfied with their healthcare, those who were most satisfied used more prescription drugs, made more doctor's office visits, and were more likely to have one or more hospital stays, according to the study published online Monday in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.

This was despite the fact that patients most satisfied with their healthcare were in better overall physical and mental health, the Times reported.

The study also found that the most satisfied patients were more likely to die within a few years than those who were least satisfied.

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Drug Company Warns About Fake Avastin

Counterfeit vials of the cancer drug Avastin are being distributed in the United States, according to the maker of the medicine used to treat colon, lung, kidney and brain cancer.

The fake products do not contain the key ingredient in Avastin, warned Roche's Genentech unit, the Associated Press reported.

Drugs labeled with the lot numbers B86017, B6011 and B6010 are believed to be fake, the company said. The counterfeit products do not have Genentech printed on the packaging.

Doctors who believe they have received counterfeit Avastin should contact the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or Roche, the AP reported.

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Artificial Hip Rejected by FDA Sold in Other Countries

Johnson & Johnson continued to market an artificial hip in other countries after the Food and Drug Administration in 2009 denied approval for the product to be sold in the United States based on a review of company safety studies.

The DePuy orthopedic division of Johnson & Johnson also continued to sell a similar model of articular surface replacement (ARS) device in the United States after the FDA rejected the other model, The New York Times reported.

Both models had an all-metal hip socket cup that experts say was faulty in design. Both models were recalled in August 2010 amid reports of high rates of premature failure.

The two implants were on the market for about eight years and used in about 93,000 patients worldwide, about one-third of them in the U.S., according to The Times.

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Research Reveals How Aspirin May Slow Cancer's Spread

New research reveals how aspirin and other anti-inflammatory medications might slow the spread of cancer.

Although this effect has been known by scientists, the biological mechanisms were not understood, Fox News reported Tuesday. The breakthrough research, reported in the Feb. 14 issue of Cancer Cell, was conducted by experts at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne, Australia.

Study co-author Tara Karnezis told Fox News that tumors secret proteins and compounds called growth factors, which draw blood and lymphatic vessels to the tumor that enable its spread.

"But a group of drugs reverse the widening of the supply line and make it hard for the tumor to spread -- at the end of the day that's what kills people," Karnezis told Fox News. "This discovery unlocks a range of potentially powerful new therapies to target this pathway in lymphatic vessels, effectively tightening a tumor's supply lines and restricting the transport of cancer cells to the rest of the body."

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Posted: February 2012


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