Health Highlights: April 27, 2016

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

More Than 4.5 Million Pounds of Pilgrim’s Pride Chicken Products Recalled

A recall of Pilgrim’s Pride fully cooked chicken products due to possible contamination with foreign objects such as plastic, wood, rubber and metal has been expanded to more than 4.5 million pounds of products.

An initial recall on April 7 covered about 40,700 pounds of fully cooked chicken nuggets produced on Oct. 5, 2015.

The new recall covers a variety of chicken products produced between Aug. 21, 2014 to March 1, 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) said Tuesday.

There are no confirmed reports of consumers suffering harm after eating the recalled products, but anyone concerned about a possible illness or injury should contact a health care provider, government officials said.

Consumers with the recalled products should throw them away or return them to the place of purchase, FSIS advised.


FDA Must Ban Concentrated Caffeine Products: Critics

Concentrated caffeine products are a major public health hazard and should be banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, critics say.

After two young men, Logan Stiner and Wade Sweatt, died from caffeine overdoses in 2014, the FDA started warning consumers about the products, ABC News reported.

But lawmakers and advocates want the FDA to ban concentrated caffeine, which can be bought online as a powder, liquid or even an inhaler. The products are often marketed as health supplements, with little or no warning about potency.

One teaspoon of powdered pure caffeine is the equivalent of 25 cups of coffee, according to ABC News.

On Tuesday, the FDA said it has received no reports of adverse events associated with concentrated caffeine since it sent warning letters in August 2015 to five companies that produced the products.

Lawmakers say they’re upset that the FDA has not taken more action on the issue and fear that it will take more deaths for the agency to completely ban the products, ABC News reported.

“It’s like an explosive, a catastrophe waiting to happen,” Sen Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., told reporters Tuesday.

One of the groups calling for a ban on concentrated caffeine products is the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CPSI).

“It is astonishing that a substance that is fatal for adults in the amount of two tablespoons is sold cheaply over the Internet as loose powder in large bags without clear warnings,” Laura MacCleery, the group’s regulatory affairs director, said in a statement.

While the five companies targeted by the FDA stopped making the products, that did not solve the problem.

“After only a quick Google search, we were able to order a small bottle of liquid caffeine from South Korea that contains an astonishing 9,000 milligrams of caffeine — enough to kill nearly seven people — and yet the label says only to use it ‘sparingly,’ ” MacCleery said.

“We easily purchased large bags of pure powder sufficient to kill several dozen people, and a gallon jug of what looks like water but is actually a highly caffeinated liquid — a cup of which would be a fatal dose,” she added.

“A ban on such products would allow enforcement action against any company selling it — not just the five that received a warning letter,” MacCleery explained.

“It would mean that such products could be seized by Customs at the border. It would also send a far clearer signal to the public about the risks. Any action less than a ban would be confirmation that FDA has lost its way,” she concluded.


WWE Star Chyna’s Brain Being Donated for Research

The brain of wrestler and entertainer Chyna will be donated for research into a brain disease linked with concussion, according to her representatives.

Her brain will be studied by researchers trying to learn more about the degenerative brain disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), CNN reported.

Chyna, whose real name was Joan Laurer, was found dead in her apartment April 20, according to police in Redondo Beach, Calif.

She was 45, CNN reported.

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