Health Highlights: May 9, 2014

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

New Study Examines Therapy Dogs' Effects on Children with Cancer

Capitol Hill went to the dogs on Thursday to raise awareness about a new study that will examine if therapy dogs help children with cancer.

Over the next year, the study will gather data from five hospitals across the United States. Childhood cancer patients will be visited by a therapy dog for 20 minutes once a week and the patients' heart rate and blood pressure will be monitored to see if the visits reduce their stress, USA Today reported.

The therapy dogs were brought to Washington's Capitol Hill by the American Human Association, which would like to see therapy dogs become a standard part of hospital care.

"There are so many tantalizing stories about the power of animals to comfort and provide us healing, but we are never going to be able to bring this into wider use until we bring quantifiable, rigorous data," said Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of the American Humane Association, USA Today reported.

"At the end of the day, it's about bringing a path to healing for kids who are fighting the fight of their lives," Ganzert added.

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Healthy Sounding Terms to be Taken Off Some Kashi Products

The terms "all natural" and "nothing artificial" will be dropped from some Kashi products, the Kellogg Company said Thursday.

The move is part of a settlement to end a class-action lawsuit filed in 2011 in California. The settlement also includes a $5 million payment, the New York Times reported.

The plaintiffs said Kellogg used the healthy sounding terms on Kashi products with ingredients such as pyridoxine hydrochloride, calcium pantothenate and soy oil processed using hexane, a component of gasoline.

Those ingredients do occur naturally, but food and vitamin makers often use synthetic versions to reduce costs and ensure they have adequate supplies, The Times reported.

"We stand behind our advertising and labeling practices," Kellogg spokeswoman Kris Charles said in a statement. "We will comply with the terms of the settlement agreement by the end of the year and will continue to ensure our foods meet our high quality and nutrition standards while delivering the great taste people expect."

Posted: May 2014


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