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Children hurt most by medicine errors

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           HEALTH TIPS - Friday, March 9, 2007
               "News That Keeps You Healthy"   

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     Children hurt most by medicine errors

BETHESDA, Md., -- A U.S. study says children are the most
frequent victims of surgery-related medication mistakes.
The report by the United States Pharmacopeia analyzed 
11,000 mistakes that had been voluntarily and anonymously 
reported to the pharmacopeia by hundreds of hospitals since
1998, The New York Times reported. The report found that 
five percent of errors resulted in harm to the patient, in-
cluding four deaths. The rate of harm to children was nearly 
12 percent.  USP said patients are often put at risk 
becauseof a lack of coordination with different surgical
departments."Even if located along a single hallway, these
departments canbe remarkably disconnected from one 
another," Diane Cousins, vice president of USP's Healthcare 
Quality Information depart-ment, said in a release. "The 
fragmented system creates a high risk for harmful medication
errors."  To improve patient safety and reduce the risk of
medication errors, USP recommends that hospitals and
health systems dedicate pharmacists to the surgical units
so they can oversee the distribution of medi-cations. The
report also says surgical staff need to better coordinate
hand-offs to eliminate the loss of patient information. 
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         Mold byproduct kills multiple myeloma
U.S. scientists have discovered chaetocin, a byproduct of 
common wood mold, kills multiple myeloma cancer cells. "This 
research is only the beginning," said Dr. Keith Bible of the 
Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, the study's primary investigator. 
"But we are very hopeful that chaetocin may someday provide 
needed help to our patients." Multiple myeloma is an 
incurable bone marrow cancer that kills more than 11,000 
people each year in the United States. Bible's team dis-
covered chaetocin's promise includes the ability to kill
myeloma cells harboring a diverse array of genetic abnor-
malities, as well as the ability to rapidly accumulate in 
cancer cells. It also reduced myeloma growth in mice. "There
were a number of fascinating findings," said graduate 
student Crescent Isham, lead author of the study. "In 
addition to observing many favorable aspects of chaetocin,
we discovered some avenues for further research into other
possible anti-myeloma agents."The research is detailed 
online in the journal Blood.


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        FDA warns about Jermuk mineral water

WASHINGTON, March 8 (UPI) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Admin-
istration issued a warning advising consumers not to drink
Jermuk brands of mineral water from Armenia. FDA scientists
say the recalled water, distributed nationally, might be
contaminated with high levels of arsenic, which is a known
cause of cancer.  FDA testing of the water revealed 500 to
600 micrograms of arsenic per liter, exceeding the FDA's 
standard for quality bottled water that allows no more than 
10 micrograms of arsenic per liter.  Symptoms of acute 
arsenic exposure usually occur within several hours of con-
sumption and include vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain.
Extended exposure can lead to cancer and death.  The green
glass bottles being recalled carry labels that read "Jermuk
Original Sparkling Natural Mineral Water Fortified With
Natural Gas From The Spring," "Jermuk Sodium Calcium 
Bicarbonate and Sulphate Mineral Water," or "Jermuk, Natural
Mineral Water Sparkling." Consumers who drank the water and
have concerns are encouraged to contact a healthcare 
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Copyright 2007 by UPI. All rights reserved. 

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