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Health Highlights: May 25, 2012

Last Updated: May 25, 2012.

 

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

Pom Ad Campaign Challenges Judge's Ruling

Pom Wonderful has launched an aggressive ad campaign to counter an administrative judge's potentially damaging ruling that the company greatly exaggerated the health benefits of its pomegranate juice.

Judge D. Michael Chappell's ruling Monday came in response to a complaint by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission two years ago. He found that Pom Wonderful does not have sufficient evidence to support claims that its juice reduced the risks of prostate cancer, heart disease and impotence, The New York Times reported.

The judge issued a cease-and-desist order that forbids the company from making the claims for 20 years.

In response, Pom Wonderful started an ad campaign Thursday that uses selective phrases from the judge's ruling and invites consumers to "be the judge," The Times reported.

The ad includes this quote from the ruling: "Competent and reliable scientific evidence supports the conclusion that the consumption of pomegranate juice and pomegranate extract supports prostate health, including by prolonging PSA doubling time in men with rising PSA after primary treatment for prostate cancer."

But the ad does not include the next sentence in the judge's ruling.

"However, the greater weight of the persuasive expert testimony shows that the evidence relied upon by the respondents" -- Pom Wonderful and its affiliate, Roll Global -- "is not adequate to substantiate claims that POM products treat, prevent or reduce the risk of prostate cancer or that they are clinically proven to do so," The Times reported.

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Children Swallowing Tiny Detergent Packets

Hundreds of American children have swallowed miniature laundry detergent packets after confusing them for candy.

Poison control centers say nearly 250 cases have been reported so far this year, with children suffering symptoms such as nausea and breathing problems, according to the Associated Press.

The tiny packets were introduced to the market earlier this year. Each colorfully-swirled packet contains a single-use amount of detergent that dissolves in water. Poison control centers began receiving calls from parents about the packets in March and April, soon after they became widespread on store shelves.

"We're not quite sure why it's happening," Dr. Kurt Kleinschmidt, a Dallas toxicologist and professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, told the AP. "But we've clearly had some kids who have become much more ill. We look at these pods as being clearly more dangerous than the standard detergent."

In response to these incidents, Proctor & Gamble announced Friday that it will change the design of the packaging for its miniature laundry determent packets in order to reduce the risk that children will eat them.

The company plans to create a double latch lid on tubs of Tide Pods in the next few weeks, company spokesman Paul Fox told the AP.

He also reminded parents that household cleaners and laundry detergents should be kept out of children's reach.

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'American Idol' Winner to Undergo Kidney Surgery

The "American Idol" 2012 winner will soon undergo kidney surgery to deal with chronic kidney stones.

Phillip Phillips, 21, won the singing contest Wednesday night and apparently had to contend with severe kidney stones throughout the show's season, ABC News reported.

In a call to the television show "Live! With Kelly" Thursday morning, The singer from Leesburg, Ga. said doctors tended to him during his time on "American Idol."

"I'll be having [surgery] here soon. I'm getting prepared for all that. I'm ready to feel better, feel like myself," he said in the phone call, ABC News reported.

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Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.


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