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Health Highlights: Feb. 21, 2013

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

Medical Groups Warn About Unnecessary Tests and Treatments

Dozens of types of tests and treatments are too often recommended by doctors when patients don't need them, according to a warning issued Thursday by a coalition of leading medical groups in the United States.

This unnecessary care wastes time and money and sometimes causes harm to patients, according to the organizations that represent more than 350,000 doctors, the Associated Press reported.

The Choosing Wisely Coalition said patients need to ask their doctors, "Do I really need that?". The coalition was formed by the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation.

Too many people "think that more is better, that more treatment, more testing somehow results in better health care," Dr. Glen Stream, former president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, told the AP. "That really is not true."

The academy contributed to this year's list of 90 examples of potentially needless care, which adds to 45 examples included on last year's list. Among the newly-added warnings:

  • Don't screen for a clogged neck artery in healthy people with no stroke signs. It could lead to risky surgery for a blockage that would cause no harm.
  • Don't try feeding tubes in people with advanced dementia. Helping them eat is a better approach.
  • Don't routinely give heartburn medicine to infants with reflux. This treatment hasn't been proven effective in babies and could cause side effects.
  • Don't prescribe opioid painkillers for migraines except as a last resort. Opioids can carry the risk of addiction and can actually worsen migraines. Instead, use more migraine-specific drugs.
  • Don't induce labor if a pregnant woman misses her due date and both mother and baby are doing fine.


New Silicone-Gel Breast Implant Approved by FDA

A new silicone-gel breast implant for women 22 years and older has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The agency said that Allergan's Natrelle 410 implant contains silicone gel that is firmer than the company's older Natrelle models, the Associated Press reported.

The approval was based on data from 941 women collected over seven years. Allergan's studies did not compare the safety of the new implant with that of the older models.

"The data we reviewed showed a reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness," said Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, the FDA's medical device director, the AP reported. "We will be looking at the results from post-approval studies that will focus on their long-term safety and effectiveness."

Silicone-gel implants were banned by the FDA in 1992 due to fears they could cause illnesses such as cancer and lupus. But the ban was lifted in 2006 after research ruled out most of the health concerns.


Robin Roberts Returns to 'Good Morning America'

Five months after receiving a bone marrow transplant, Robin Roberts returned to ABC's "Good Morning America" Wednesday.

Roberts needed the transplant due to myelodysplastic syndrome, a blood and bone marrow disease. She began experiencing symptoms about a year ago and last appeared on TV's top-rated morning show in August, the Associated Press reported.

"I have been waiting 174 days to say this. Good morning, America," Roberts said on the show Wednesday.

She looked thin but had a big smile and didn't bother to cover her hair loss with a wig. After the show, Roberts said she wasn't tired and was working on adrenaline, the AP reported.

However, the bright studio lights affected her eyesight and she said she started having trouble seeing the teleprompters midway through the show. Bottles of hand sanitizer were placed nearby for people who come into regular contact with Roberts, whose immune system requires time to build back up.

The plan is for Roberts to work two or three days a week initially and for her health to be closely monitored, Tom Cibrowski, the show's executive producer, told the AP.

Roberts will be busy her first week back. She is scheduled to co-host the show Thursday and perhaps Friday, to tape an interview with first lady Michelle Obama on Friday, and then to fly to California to participant in Oscars coverage and appear on Jimmy Kimmel's post-Oscars show.


Special K Red Berries Cereal Recalled Due to Risk of Glass Fragments

Three sizes of Special K Red Berries cereal are being recalled in the United States because they may contain glass fragments, the Kellogg Company says.

There have not been any reports of injuries associated with the products, according to the company.

The packages included in the voluntary recall include:

  • 11.2 ounce packages, with a UPC Proof of Purchase Code: 38000 5992. Better if Used Before: DEC 02 2013 KNC 105 00:13 through DEC 02 2013 KNC 105 02:30
  • 37.0 ounce packages with a UPC Proof of Purchase Code: 38000 20940. Better if Used Before Date: NOV 30 2013 KNB 107 17:31 through NOV 30 2013 KNB 107 20:05
  • 22.4 ounce twin pack with a UPC Proof of Purchase Code: 38000 78356. Better if Used Before Date: Nov 30 2013 KNA 105 07:00 through NOV 30 2013 KNA 105 08:51 and Better if Used Before Date: NOV 30 2013 KNB 105 15:00 through NOV 30 2013 KNB 105 17:05

Kellogg says the recall does not include other package sizes or packages with the letter codes KXA, KXB or KXC.

Consumers with the recalled packages should not eat the cereal and should contact Kellogg at 1-800-962-1413 to get a replacement coupon, the company said.


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Posted: February 2013