Health Line

FDA blocks Ranbaxy imports

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has blocked imports of over 30 drug products, including antivirals like Acyclovir and antibiotics like Cephalexin, from Ranbaxy, India’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturer. The ban comes after the company repeatedly broke current good manufacturing processes (cGMPs) in two of its manufacturing facilities. cGMPs are basic requirements that ensure the quality of consumer products by regulating industrial processes.

The FDA warns patients not to abandon their current medications, as the breach in cGMPs only indicates the potential for contaminated products though no tainted products have been identified.

Source: American Society of Health-System Pharmacists

New insights on organ transplant

Scientists at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh have just published an 80-patient study on the background of organ rejection. In the study, Dr. Rakesh Sindhi was able to correlate thousands of genetic differences with increased probability of rejection in young liver transplant patients.

These differences, known as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), produced three times as many B lymphocytes in the patients. B lymphocytes are a type of immune system cell that sends out signals after encountering foreign cells, triggering rejection of the tissue. Dr. Sindhi intends to eventually develop a genetic screening test which will instruct doctors on how to effectively prevent or treat organ rejection in transplant patients.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Grey’s Anatomy fans learn medicine

Viewers who watch episodes of the medical drama Grey’s Anatomy are more likely to understand public health misconceptions. The Kaiser Family Foundation recently released a report, “Television as a Health Educator: A Case Study of Grey’s Anatomy.”
The report focused on a May 2008 episode in which an HIV-positive woman enters Seattle Grace Hospital and learns that she’s pregnant. Throughout the episode, the physician refers to treatment methods that reduce the HIV transmission rate between mother and unborn child.

Even six weeks after watching the episode, viewers were found to retain knowledge on transmission rates of HIV during pregnancy. Most regular viewers surveyed also believe that they are more educated on health care issues.

Source: The Los Angeles Times

Cell phones reduce sperm quality

A man who carries a cell phone in his pocket might suffer from reduced sperm quality, according to a study published by the Cleveland Clinic.

In the experiment, researchers exposed sperm samples to cell phone emissions for one hour. The exposed cells showed an 85 percent increase in free radical count above the average value in the control group. The investigators concluded that these oxidative stresses led to lower sperm motility and viability. However, the researchers will still research the shielding effect of tissue and skin.