Author: John McKiggan

Botox Linked to Children’s Deaths: FDA Issues Warning

by John McKiggan

The popular anti-wrinkle drug Botox and a competitor have been linked to dangerous botulism symptoms in some users, cases so bad that a few children have died, the government warned Friday.

Botox, and its competitor, Myobloc, use botulinum toxin to block nerve impulses, causing them to relax. In rare cases, the toxin can spread beyond the injection site to other parts of the body, paralyzing or weakening the muscles used for breathing and swallowing, a potentially fatal side effect.

The drugs are not approved for use with children but are commonly used to treat severe muscle spasticity in children with cerebral palsy.

Fatal Nova Scotia Crash Nets Drunk Driver $700 Fine

by John McKiggan

A judge has fined a Nova Scotia man $700 for driving drunk last spring in an incident that killed his best friend. Jonathan Savoy initially faced four charges, which included impaired driving causing the death of his friend, David MacDonald.

The more serious charge was dropped in a plea bargain deal that involved Savoy pleading guilty to impaired driving, taking a car without permission and driving while suspended.

Susan MacAskill of Mothers Against Drunk Driving said she was appalled with the judge’s decision.

Tainted Drugs and the Abortion Pill

by John McKiggan

Nearly 200 Chinese cancer patients were paralyzed or injured by contaminated leukemia drugs manufactured by a Chinese pharmaceutical company that supplies the abortion pill Mifepristone (or RU-486) to the United States.

The New York Times has reported that Chinese drug regulators have accused the drug manufacturer, Shanghai Hualian, of a cover-up and have closed the factory that produced the tainted cancer drugs.

The Times has reported that the same company is the sole supplier of Mifepristone (the abortion pill) to the U.S.

Watching Superbowl May Increase Risk of Heart Attacks

by John McKiggan

…and not just for Patriot fans.

After watching New England’s shocking loss to the Giant’s in last nights Superbowl (and watching the reactions of the people watching the game) I was reminded of a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine that suggests watching exciting sporting events can increase the risk of heart attack.

I haven’t seen any reports (yet) of anyone having a cardiac arrest after Manning’s touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress with 35 seconds left in the game.

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Stop Smoking Drug May be Linked to “Serious Psychiatric Problems”

by John McKiggan

A drug designed to help people stop smoking may be linked to “serious psychiatric problems.”

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the United States Food and Drug Administration issued a public health advisory Friday saying is “increasingly likely” that Pfizer Inc.’s smoking-cessation drug Chantix may be tied to serious psychiatric symptoms.

Health Canada approved Chantix for sale in Canada in early 2007.

Depression Linked to Brain Injury

by John McKiggan

A new Canadian study suggests depression is a physical outcome of “minor” head injuries like concussion.

In the past, coaches and athletes have considered having your “bell rung” (a concussion) to be a relatively minor injury that athletes need to “shake off” before returning to the game. The sports medicine study was conducted to determine the effects of concussion on elite or professional athletes.

The National Post reported that:

Eardrops May Cause Hearing Loss: Canadian Study

by John McKiggan

A new study, led by researchers at The Montreal Children’s Hospital, has revealed that certain over-the-counter earwax softeners containing the active ingredient triethanolamine polypeptide oleate condensate (10%) can cause severe inflammation and damage to the eardrum and inner ear.

The research team studied the impact of the non-prescription drug Cerumenex on hearing. In addition, overall toxicity in the outer ear and changes in the nerve cells of the inner ear were analyzed.

“Harmful effects to many of the cells were observed after only one dose,” says Dr. Melvin Schloss co-author and MCH Director of Otolaryngology. “We observed reduced hearing, severe inflammation, and lesions to the nerve cells.”