Bath Salts Case Underscores Dangers of Legal Drugs

A New Orleans woman recently lost an arm to necrotizing fasciitis — the so-called “flesh-eating bacteria” — after injecting a drug called “bath salts,” according to a case study report in the medical journal Orthopedics [1]. She presented with cellulitis, a skin infection, two days after attending a party at which she injected the drug. The infection initially responded to administered antibiotics, but then worsened. The woman lost not only her arm, but her breast and a large portion of her chest wall to amputation. The significant removal of tissue was necessary to prevent the spread of the bacteria.

Controversial Anti-obesity Ads Aim to Reduce Childhood Obesity

A new series of billboard and television ads is outraging Georgians, who object to the “Stop Sugarcoating It, Georgia” campaign being run by the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta pediatric hospital. The ads depict overweight and obese children in a variety of settings, and are meant to shock parents into action.

Stop childhood obesity

Novartis Issues Recall Because of Broken, Mixed Medicines

Novartis said on Sunday that it is voluntarily recalling certain lots of over-the-counter products because they might contain broken or stray tablets from other products [1]. The recall comes following consumer complaints of chipped and broken pills, and inconsistent bottle packaging line clearance practices (meaning cleaning and clearance operations that are performed when a product or strength change occurs during medicine packaging) that may have possibly resulted in mixed tablets.

Excedrin Bufferin NoDoz Gas-X

Neti Pot Deaths Spark Tap Water Warnings

Sinus irrigation — the use of a saltwater solution to “wash” the sinuses — is recommended by allergists and other physicians as a mechanism for reducing symptoms of seasonal cold, allergies, and nasal or sinus irritation [1]. Research also suggests that sinus irrigation, generally performed at home using a special sinus irrigation bottle or a device called a neti pot, is safe and isn’t associated with any serious adverse effects [2].

Woman using a neti pot

Bone Marrow Donation Less Painful, Potentially Profitable

The National Marrow Donation Program (NMDP), which maintains the “Be The Match” registry to help provide individuals who would benefit from bone marrow donation with potential donors, is currently at odds with a ruling made by the Ninth Circuit Court in California. The court ruled that, while it’s not legal to compensate organ donors in the United States for their donation, one of the bone marrow-donating procedures isn’t “technically” organ donation — it’s blood donation — and donors can therefore be compensated.

Bone marrow harvest