11.10.14:  Study: Hundreds of kids harmed by detergent ‘pods’


UNDATED (AP) — Accidental poisonings from squishy laundry detergent packets called pods have landed more than 700 U.S. children in the hospital in just two years.

An analysis of poison center data for 2012 and 2013 shows that there were more than 17,000 poison center calls about the products involving children younger than 6.

Most children weren’t seriously harmed. But some of those who were hospitalized suffered seizures and some fell into a coma. One even died last year.

The analysis is in today’s Pediatrics online.

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — Authorities in Sierra Leone say a doctor has died of Ebola — the fifth local doctor in the West African nation to succmb to the disease.

The government said Monday that Dr. Godfrey George, medical superintendent of Kambia Government Hospital in northern Sierra Leone, died overnight.

George’s death was announced by Dr. Brima Kargbo, the chief medical officer of Sierra Leone.

10.15.14:  $1.5M grant supports Eye Research Institute work


ROCHESTER, Mich. (AP) — A $1.5 million grant is supporting research into cataracts by a professor at Oakland University in suburban Detroit.


The school announced this week that Dr. Frank Giblin’s work is getting a four-year grant. National Institutes of Health funding has supported his research for more than three decades. Giblin is a professor of biomedical sciences and director of the Eye Research Institute.


His research on “Proteins of Normal and Cataractous Lenses” has received more than $10 million since the grant funding started in 1977.


With the latest funding, he plans to further explore the cause of age-related cataracts.


About 20,000 students attend Oakland University. Its campus spans more than 1,400 acres in the Oakland County cities of Auburn Hills and Rochester Hills.


9.12.14:  Dormitory reopens after Olivet students sickened


OLIVET, Mich. (AP) — Olivet College has reopened a residence hall where dozens of students were sickened with symptoms that included headaches, dizziness and nausea.


Maria Davis, provost and dean at the college, says school officials on Thursday reopened the Blair Hall men’s dormitory where most of the 55 affected students live. The cause of what sickened the students on Tuesday and Wednesday is under investigation.


Emergency crews responded and symptoms appeared to be consistent with carbon monoxide exposure. The school says Blair Hall has been tested, however, and authorities haven’t found elevated levels of the gas. The fire department says it’s not carbon monoxide poisoning.


The school said that the ill students were back on campus Thursday after being evaluated at hospitals.

9.10.14:  Michigan investigates severe illnesses in children


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan health officials say they are investigating severe respiratory illnesses in children but haven’t confirmed if the cases are associated with a national outbreak.


The Michigan Department of Community Health said Tuesday it’s received reports of an increase in such illnesses and is working with local health agencies. Officials are forwarding samples to the Centers for Disease Control.


Cases of the suspected germ known as enterovirus 68 have been confirmed in Missouri and Illinois. The CDC is testing to determine if the virus caused illnesses reported in 10 states including Michigan.


The virus is an uncommon strain of a common family of viruses that typically hit from summertime through autumn. The virus can cause mild coldlike symptoms but officials say these cases are unusually severe with serious breathing problems.

9.8.14:  Human safety study of Ebola vaccine


WASHINGTON (AP) — The first human safety study on a promising Ebola vaccine is getting under way. Researchers say new monkey studies show that one shot of the experimental vaccine can trigger fast protection, but the effect wanes without a booster shot made a different way. It’s hoped the vaccine eventually might be used in the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The study is reported in the journal Nature Medicine.

8.26.14:  UN health agency: E-cigarettes must be regulated


GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. health agency says electronic cigarettes should be regulated and banned from use indoors until the exhaled vapor is proven not to harm bystanders.


The World Health Organization also calls for a ban on sales to minors of the popular nicotine-vapor products, and to either forbid or keep to a minimum any advertising, promotion or sponsorship.


In a report Tuesday, the Geneva-based agency said the “apparently booming” $3 billion global market for more than 400 brands of e-cigarettes is increasingly becoming a competition between independent companies and transnational tobacco companies aggressively muscling for market share.


The report is to be discussed at a WHO conference on controlling tobacco in October.


The American Heart Association backs the battery-powered devices that vaporize nicotine as a last resort to help smokers quit.

7.22.14:   State child poverty up, teen deaths down


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The annual Kids Count survey finds child poverty rates rising during 25 years of data-gathering while fewer teens are giving birth or dying.


The report released Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation says Michigan ranks 32nd in overall child well-being nationally, down one slot since last year.


Michigan’s lowest ranking was in education, where children have struggled in math, reading and graduating on time. But since 1990, the state has seen significant improvements with its children attending preschool and having a parent or guardian with a diploma.


Michigan League for Public Policy says in a statement that “good public policy” has made a difference in some areas. But it’s “not acceptable” that Michigan ranks in the bottom half of the nation and more needs to be done.


6.17.14:  FDA says we are eating too much salt


WASHINGTON (AP) — Food companies and restaurants could soon face government pressure to make their foods less salty. It’s a long-awaited federal effort to try to prevent thousands of deaths each year from heart disease and stroke.


The Food and Drug Administration is preparing to issue voluntary guidelines asking the food industry to lower sodium levels. FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg says sodium is “of huge interest and concern” and she hopes the guidelines will be issued relatively soon.


The food industry has already made some reductions, and has prepared for government action since a 2010 medical journal report said companies had not made enough progress on making foods less salty.