Thursday, August 04, 2011

The Morning Drill: August 4, 2011

A collection of dentistry and health related links/comments for your day.

Cargill recalls 36 million pounds of ground turkey
Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation announced Wednesday an immediate voluntary recall of approximately 36 million pounds of ground turkey meat because it may be contaminated with salmonella bacteria.

"I'd say it's one of the larger recalls," said Joel Brandenberger, president of the Washington-based National Turkey Federation, where he has worked for more than 20 years. Indeed, that's the weight of more than 36 fully-loaded Boeing 747 commercial airplanes.

Cargill's plant in Springdale, Arkansas, processed the suspect fresh and frozen ground turkey products between February 20 and August 2, the company said in a news release.

Federal health authorities said Tuesday that an outbreak of multi-drug-resistant Salmonella Heidelberg that has killed one person and sickened 76 others in 26 states appears to have been traced to ground turkey products.

The company said it has suspended production of ground turkey products at the processing facility until it can determine the source of the bacteria strain.

See the full product recall list here (PDF)

Consumers are being encouraged to return any opened or unopened packages for a full refund.
Study: Healthy eating means spending more at store
A healthy diet is expensive and could make it difficult for Americans to meet new U.S. nutritional guidelines, according to a study published Thursday that says the government should do more to help consumers eat healthier.

An update of what used to be known as a food pyramid in 2010 had called on Americans to eat more foods containing potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin D and calcium. But if they did that, the study authors said, they would add hundreds more dollars to their annual grocery bill.

Inexpensive ways to add these nutrients to a person's diet include potatoes and beans for potassium and dietary fiber. But the study found introducing more potassium in a diet is likely to add $380 per year to the average consumer's food costs, said lead researcher Pablo Monsivais, an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology and the School of Public Health at the University of Washington.

"We know more than ever about the science of nutrition, and yet we have not yet been able to move the needle on healthful eating," he said. The government should provide help for meeting the nutritional guidelines in an affordable way.

He criticized some of the marketing for a healthy diet — for example, the image of a plate of salmon, leafy greens and maybe some rice pilaf — and said a meal like that is not affordable for many Americans.

Food-assistance programs are helping people make healthier choices by providing coupons to buy fruits and vegetables, Monsivais said, but some also put stumbling blocks in front of the poor.

He mentioned, as an example, a Washington state policy making it difficult to buy potatoes with food assistance coupons for women with children, even though potatoes are one of the least expensive ways to add potassium to a diet.

The study, published in the journal Health Affairs, was based on a random telephone survey of about 2,000 adults in King County, Wash., followed by a printed questionnaire that was returned by about 1,300 people. They noted what food they ate, which was analyzed for nutrient content and estimated cost.
Urine Test May Help Detect, Stratify Prostate Cancer
In men with elevated prostate specific antigen (PSA), an investigational urine test can detect and stratify prostate cancer, researchers reported.

The test is based on the detection of a gene fusion that is specific to prostate cancer, combined with another marker, according to Arul Chinnaiyan, MD, PhD, of the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, and colleagues.

Stratifying patients by the combined marker identified groups with markedly different risks of cancer, high-grade cancer, and clinically significant cancer on biopsy, Chinnaiyan and colleagues reported online in Science Translational Medicine.

The noninvasive test could allow some men with elevated PSA to avoid a needle biopsy, the researchers noted.

"Many more men have elevated PSA than actually have cancer but it can be difficult to determine this without biopsy," Chinnaiyan said in a statement. "The hope is that this test could be an intermediate step before getting a biopsy."
Jerry Lewis out as Muscular Dystrophy Association chairman
The Muscular Dystrophy Association announced Wednesday that comedian Jerry Lewis is no longer serving as the organization's national chairman.

Lewis, 85, and MDA had announced in May that he was retiring as host of the MDA Labor Day Telethon in September. But he said then in a statement that he was planning to continue to serve as the organization's national chairman.

"As a labor of love, I've hosted the annual telethon since 1966," Lewis said in the news release issued in May by the association. "And I'll be making my final appearance on the show this year, by performing my signature song, 'You'll Never Walk Alone.'"

Jim Brown, vice president of public relations for the MDA, told CNN in a telephone interview that Lewis will not be replaced in his role as national chairman.

He also said that Lewis will not host this year's telethon, which is scheduled for September 4. Instead, it will be hosted by Nigel Lythgoe, Nancy O'Dell, Allison Sweeney and Jan Carl, Brown said.

No explanation was offered for the change of plans -- either about his position as national chairman or about the plan to replace him in next month's telethon.

For 45 years, Jerry Lewis and the organization's annual Labor Day fundraiser have been synonymous, so much so that it became known as the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon.
Enjoy your morning!

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