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Health Highlights: May 22, 2012

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

Chicken Jerky Treats Have Sickened 900 Dogs

The latest tally of complaints from worried dog owners and veterinarians shows that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has received 900 reports of canine illness and death associated with chicken jerky strips, treats and nuggets since November.

Complaints include cases of problems ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to kidney failure and other serious ailments after dogs consumed the Chinese-made treats, reported.

Waggin' Train and Canyon Creek Ranch brands produced by Nestle Purina PetCare Co., and Milo's Kitchen Home-style Dog Treats, produced by the Del Monte Corp, are among the brands of chicken jerky treats cited by pet owners and veterinarians in their complaints of harm filed with the FDA.

Both companies have said their chicken jerky treats are sound and that any pet illnesses are unrelated to the products, reported.


Auction of Vial With Reagan's Blood Stirs Controversy

A vial that allegedly contains blood residue from former U.S. President Ronald Reagan is being auctioned off by a Channel Islands auction house.

The PFCAuctions house said the vial was used by the laboratory that tested Reagan's blood when he was hospitalized after a 1981 assassination attempt in Washington, D.C., the Associated Press reported.

Bidding for the vial passed the $11,000 mark Tuesday. The auction ends Thursday.

The auction was condemned by John Heubusch, executive director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation in California, the AP reported.

"If indeed this story is true, it's a craven act and we will use every legal means to stop its sale or purchase," Heubusch said in a statement. "We've spoken to GW (George Washington) Hospital and are assured an investigation as to how something like this could possibly happen is underway.

"Any individual, including a president of the United States, should feel confident that once they enter into the care of a medical system their privacy and rights are held inviolable," he said.


Fake Malaria Drugs a Major Concern

Efforts to fight malaria are being seriously undermined by fake or bad quality drugs, according to a study.

It found that more than one-third of malaria-fighting drugs tested over the past decade in Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa were either fake or bad quality, the Associated Press reported.

Patients who take fake drugs with no malaria-fighting agents can die, while drugs without enough active ingredients to kill all malaria parasites can lead to drug resistance.

The U.S.-funded study said that urgent international efforts are needed to fight counterfeit malaria drugs, many of which are believed to come from China, the AP reported.


Pomegranate Juice Health Claims Deceptive: FTC Judge

A company's ads claiming that pomegranate juice can treat cancer, heart disease or erectile dysfunction are deceptive, U.S. regulators said Monday.

POM Wonderful LLC violated federal law by making those deceptive claims and must stop making claims of health effects in the absence of "competent and reliable scientific evidence," ruled the U.S. Federal Trade Commission's chief administrative law judge D. Michael Chappell, Agence France-Presse reported.

While the judge said there was 'inadequate" evidence to support the company's claims of pomegranate juice as a superfood, he said the company would not have to submit to pre-approved marketing.

The company said the FTC lawsuit "tried to create a new, stricter industry standard, similar to that required for pharmaceuticals, for marketing the health benefits inherent in safe food and natural food-based products," AFP reported.

However, the company said the judge upheld its "right to share valuable, scientifically validated information about the health benefits of its safe food with consumers."


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Posted: May 2012