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Recalls in August 2010

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    Bella Kitchen Slow Cookers Recalled

    Sensio Inc. is recalling about 25,000 Bella Kitchen slow cookers. The control panel can overheat and melt, posing a fire hazard.

    Sensio has received 60 reports of the control panels of the slow cookers smoking, melting and sparking and three reports of panels catching fire. Fourteen incidents resulted in minor damage to countertops. No injuries have been reported.

    This recall involves the Bella Kitchen 5-quart programmable slow cookers. Only slow cookers with model number WJ-5000DE and date codes 0907 or 0909 are included in this recall. The slow cookers are black and "Bella Kitchen" is marked on the control panel. The model number and the four-digit date code are printed on a label on the underside.

    The slow cookers, made in China, were sold by Kohl's Department stores from July 2009 through December 2009 for between $20 and $40.

    Consumers should stop using the slow cooker immediately, unplug it and contact Sensio for information on receiving a full refund.

    For additional information, contact Sensio toll-free at (888) 296-9675 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. CT Monday through Friday or visit the firm's website at www.acbpromotions.com/sensiorecall

    The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

    Bella Kitchen Slow Cookers Recalled...

    Medical Device Maker Settles $1.35 Million Mass. Charges

    Product pushed for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration

    Stryker Biotech, a maker of artificial joints and other medical devices, will pay $1.35 million to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

    The payment will resolve allegations that it marketed certain orthopedic products for uses that had not been reviewed and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and misled health care providers about the appropriate uses of its products.

    As a result of a multi-year investigation, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley alleged that Stryker violated the state's Consumer Protection Act by engaging in unfair and deceptive trade practices that boosted sales of certain products used in orthopedic procedures to strengthen and promote growth of bones.

    Under the terms of the settlement, Stryker will pay $325,000 in civil penalties, $875,000 to fund efforts to combat unlawful marketing and other programs to benefit health care consumers, and $150,000 to cover attorneys' fees and investigative costs.

    "Stryker Biotech subverted review procedures designed to safeguard patients and promoted uses of its products that were not shown to be safe or effective," Coakley said. "Our office will vigorously pursue any allegations that health care companies are compromising patient safety in pursuit of profits."

    Unauthorized uses

    The attorney general's investigation focused on the company's marketing of OP-1 Implant and OP-1 Putty, which are bone morphogenetic protein products designed to promote bone growth and are used to treat orthopedic conditions involving weakened or deteriorated bones. The OP-1 products were granted a limited approval by the FDA that restricted the use of the products. With this limited form of approval, the OP-1 products could be used in patients only after a hospital's Institutional Review Board reviewed and approved their use.

    In a complaint filed in Suffolk Superior Court, the attorney general's office alleged that Stryker promoted OP-1 products for conditions that fell outside their very narrow FDA-approved uses and withheld information from health care professionals about the restrictions imposed on the use of the OP-1 products. The complaint also claimed that a Stryker sales representative falsified Institutional Review Board documentation for several Massachusetts hospitals, resulting in the use of OP-1 products in patients without adequate and required review.

    In addition, the AG's complaint alleged that Stryker promoted the use of its OP-1 products in combination with Calstrux, a bone void filler made by Stryker, even though the mixture of the two products had not been studied and had not been approved by the FDA. Stryker continued to promote the unproven and unstudied OP-1/Calstrux mixture even after company officials became aware of reports that the mixture had caused adverse effects in patients, including poor wound healing and inflammation, according to the complaint.

    The settlement bars Stryker and related Stryker entities including Stryker Corporation, Stryker Sales Corporation and Howmedica Osteonics, from engaging in unfair and deceptive trade practices, including marketing Stryker products for uses that have not been reviewed and approved by the FDA and misleading health care providers about the appropriate uses of Stryker products.

    Medical Device Maker Settles $1.35 Million Mass. Charges...

    Suit Filed Against Duo Who Targeted Seniors With Medicaid Ploy

    Pair preyed on nursing home residents, promising help that never came, officials say

    Ohio senior citizens who hoped to receive help in applying to Medicaid became victims of a statewide scam, according to a lawsuit filed recently by Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray.

    The lawsuit contends the scam was orchestrated by two individuals who later left the state and now reside in New Mexico. Andrea L. West and George W. West, formerly of Dublin, are charged with multiple violations of Ohio's Consumer Sales Practices Act and Home Solicitation Sales Act.


    "The Wests operated a business called Estate Planning Paralegal Services and told consumers they were paralegals, when in fact that was a misrepresentation," said Cordray. "They targeted residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities around the state, promising to help the residents apply for Medicaid."

    Cordray says while the Wests received thousands of dollars in payment, they never delivered the promised services. "As a result, consumers who paid for the services had their Medicaid applications denied," he says. "Those who fell victim to the scheme or know someone who may be a victim should contact my office immediately. We intend to seek full restitution for the victims of this scam."

    According to the lawsuit, Estate Planning Paralegal Services operated out of Dublin and did not employ any lawyers. By using the word "paralegal" in the name of their business, the Wests misrepresented that consumers would receive professional services associated with legal counsel.

    The Wests are accused of posing as "Medicaid specialists" and charging seniors up to $5,000 for assistance with the Medicaid application process. They often reached agreements at consumers' homes, but failed to provide consumers with a three-day right to cancel the contract, as is required by Ohio law. After accepting payment, the Wests not only failed to provide the services, but they also failed to return original copies of consumers' important financial documents.

    Estate Planning Paralegal Services also was not incorporated or registered with the state as a business.

    Cordray is asking the court to impose injunctive relief, restitution and civil penalties.

    Seniors beware

    "This lawsuit underscores the importance of educating residents of assisted living facilities and nursing homes as well as their families," he said. "Unfortunately, this population can be particularly vulnerable to scam artists and unscrupulous salespeople. We need to work together to protect our growing senior population from individuals who intend to harm them."

    Consumers are encouraged to research a company's reputation carefully with the Attorney General's Office and the Better Business Bureau and to be wary of companies that demand large upfront payments. They also should understand that paralegals are not attorneys and may not do legal work unless it is supervised by an attorney.

    Suit Filed Against Duo Who Targeted Seniors With Medicaid Ploy...

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      Magnetic Maze Boards Recalled

      Lakeshore Learning Materials is recalling about 18,500 magnetic maze boards. The maze boards plastic wand can separate and expose a magnet that can be a choking hazard to children.

      Also, if a child has more than one of these toys and the magnets detach and are swallowed, the magnets can attract each other and cause intestinal perforations or blockages, which can be fatal.

      Lakeshore has received ten reports of wands separating and magnets detaching. No injuries have been reported.

      This recall involves wooden magnetic maze boards. The wooden boards have a clear plastic sheet that covers small wooden or plastic pieces located inside a maze. A plastic wand containing a magnet in its tip is attached to the board by a cord. The wand is used to move items inside the maze. The top of the board reads: Whos Hiding in the Garden?, Whos Hiding in the Ocean?, Magnetic Counting Maze, Magnetic Alphabet Board or My Community Magnetic Board.

      The boards, made in China, were sold by Lakeshore Learning Materials stores nationwide, its catalogs and online at www.lakeshorelearning.com from January 2009 through May 2010 singly or in sets for between $30 and $40.

      Consumers should immediately take this toy away from children and contact Lakeshore to receive a free replacement product.

      For additional information, contact Lakeshore Learning Materials at (800) 428-4414 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT Monday through Friday, or visit the companys website at www.lakeshorelearning.com.

      The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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      Magnetic Maze Boards Recalled...

      FDA Releases Guidance On Federal Menu Labeling Requirements

      Proposed regulations deal with chain restaurants, state and local laws

      The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released two documents that outline steps to help chain restaurants comply with new federal nutrition labeling requirements.

      "One of the most important things we can do when it comes to the nation's health is to provide simple basic information to the American people so they can make choices that are best for them and their family," said FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, M.D. "The menu labeling program will help Americans get the facts about food choices that are available to them in restaurants and vending machines so they know what is in the food and can make healthier selections."

      Section 4205 of the Affordable Care Act, signed into law in March 2010, set new federal requirements for nutrition labeling for foods sold at certain chain restaurants and similar retail food establishments. Establishments with 20 or more locations may be affected.

      Working papers

      The documents released by the FDA include:

      • A draft guidance document describing implementation of certain provisions of the federal law. For certain restaurants and similar retail food establishments, these statutory provisions include posting the number of calories for standard menu items on menus and menu boards, providing additional nutrition information in writing, and posting clearly on menus and menu boards that such information is available upon request. These establishments also must post calorie information for self-serve items and foods on display.

      • A final guidance document for industry regarding the effect of the new federal nutrition labeling requirements on state and local laws.

      The draft guidance states that the FDA realizes that industry may need additional information and time to comply with the new provisions, and that the agency expects to refrain from enforcement action for a time period that will be provided in the guidance once it is finalized. The agency is interested in comments from the public on the appropriate length of this time period.

      Your opinion

      Comments may be submitted by mail to:

      The Division of Dockets Management


      Food and Drug Administration

      5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061

      Rockville, MD 20852

      Comments may also be submitted electronically to the docket by following these directions:

      1. Choose "Submit a Comment" from the top task bar

      2. Enter one of the following docket numbers in the "Keyword" space:

      • July 7, 2010 docket notice: FDA-2010-N-0298

      • August 24, 2010 Draft Guidance for Industry: Question and Answers Regarding Implementation of the Menu Labeling Provisions of Section 4205 of the Patient Protection and Affordability Care Act of 2010: FDA-2010-D-0370

      • August 24, 2010 Guidance for Industry: Questions and Answers Regarding the Effect of Section 4205 of the Patient Protection and Affordability Care Act on State and Local Menu and Vending Machine Labeling Laws August 2010: FDA-2010-D-0354

      3. Then select "Search"

      FDA Releases Guidance On Federal Menu Labeling Requirements...

      Char-Broil Recalls Vertical Gas Smokers

      Char-Broil is recalling about 18,000 vertical gas smokers.

      When the temperature setting is in "low," the smoker's hose/valve/regulator (HVR) assembly does not allow sufficient gas to flow, causing the flame to extinguish. Gas continues to flow and build up inside the smoker. If the smoker is reignited the build-up of propane gas can cause an explosion that bursts the smoker's door open, posing an injury hazard.

      The company has received five reports of doors bursting open and hitting consumers. Injuries reported include burns to face and head, head concussion and cuts.

      This recall involves the Char-Broil vertical gas smokers with model number 07701413. The model number is printed on a metal tag located on the right rear leg of the smoker. The smoker measures 21.5" x 19.5" x 45.5" and weighs 75 pounds. A "G" inside a triangle is printed on the regulator (see photo below).

      The smokers, made in China, were sold at Walmart and various other retailers nationwide from March 2008 through June 2010 for about $140.

      Consumers should stop using the recalled smokers and contact Char-Broil for a free replacement hose/valve/regulator assembly and installation instructions.

      For additional information, contact Char-Broil toll-free at (866) 671-7988 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or visit the firm's website at www.charbroil.com.

      The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

      Char-Broil Recalls Vertical Gas Smokers...

      Williams-Sonoma Recalls Beaba Express Baby Bottle Warmers

      Williams-Sonoma is recalling about 11,000 Beaba Express baby bottle warmers. The bottle warmers can overheat liquids and baby food, posing a burn hazard to adults and babies.

      The firm has received 10 reports of the bottles overheating, including one report of an adult who received a finger burn from touching a hot bottle.

      This recall involves the Beaba Express Steam Bottle Warmer which uses steam to heat baby bottles or baby food. The bottle warmer is green with an orange temperature dial. "Beaba" is printed on the base and model number 9602 is printed on the underside of the warmer.

      The bottle warmers, made in China, were sold at Williams-Sonoma stores nationwide, online at www.williams-sonoma.com and through Williams-Sonoma catalogs from June 2010 through July 2010 for about $65.

      Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled bottle warmers and call Williams-Sonoma for instructions on how to return the product for a full refund. Additionally, consumers who return the bottle warmers will receive a $25 Williams-Sonoma merchandise card.

      For additional information, contact Williams-Sonoma toll-free at (877) 548-0850 between 4 a.m. and 9 p.m. PT seven days a week or visit the firm's website at www.williams-sonoma.com.

      The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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      Williams-Sonoma Recalls Beaba Express Baby Bottle Warmers...

      MamaLittleHelper Recalls Baby Hammocks

      MammaLittleHelper LLC is recalling about 500 baby hammocks. The side-to-side shifting or tilting of the hammock can cause the infant to roll and become entrapped or wedged against the hammock's fabric and/or mattress pad, resulting in a suffocation hazard.

      The firm has received three reports of the hammock becoming unbalanced, including one report of a two-month old who rolled to the side corner of the hammock and was found crying face down. No injuries have been reported.


      This recall includes MamaLittleHelper Hammocks with model numbers 1010, 1020 and BL222. They have a steel frame and a fabric hammock with a mattress which are connected by a large spring, safety rope and a metal hanger. Model BL222 has a computerized rocker device. "MamaLittleHelper" is printed on a label sewn onto the hammock models 1010 and 1020. Model BL222 does not have a label.

      The hammocks, made in Malaysia, were sold online at www.mamalittlehelper.com from May 2008 through February 2010 for between $100 and $230.

      Parents and caregivers should immediately stop using the hammocks and find an alternative, safe sleeping environment for their baby. Contact MamaLittleHelper to receive a free repair kit for hammock models 1010 and 1020. Consumers who own model BL222 should return the hammock to MamaLittleHelper in exchange for a new hammock. There is no repair available for model BL222. Repair kits can also be ordered online at www.mamalittlehelper.com/recall.htm

      For additional information, contact MamaLittleHelper toll-free at (866) 612-9986 between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, visit the firm's website www.mamalittlehelper.com/recall.htm. -->

      The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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      MamaLittleHelper Recalls Baby Hammocks...

      Mazda Plans Recall of 2007-2008 Mazda3, Mazda5 Models

      Power steering can fail unexpectedly

      Flaws in the power-steering system are driving Mazda to recall more than half a million vehicles worldwide, the company announced.

      Mazda said it plans to recall 215,000 vehicles in the United States and more than 10,000 in China. Additional recalls are being planned in Europe and Australia, bringing the total to about 514,000 vehicles, a company spokesman said.

      The affected models include the Mazda3 and Mazda5, as they are known in the U.S., manufactured in Japan from 2007 to 2008.

      The company said the vehicles could experience a sudden loss of power steering, increasing the risk of a crash. Three accidents have been attributed to the defect in the United States, none involving injuries or deaths.

      Mazda Plans Recall of 2007-2008 Mazda3, Mazda5 Models...

      Zooper Tango Recalls Double Strollers

      Lan Enterprises is recalling about 3,700 Zooper Tango double strollers. The stroller's frame latch above the front wheels can fail when the stroller hits an object, causing the stroller to unexpectedly collapse. This can result in minor scrapes, cuts and bruises.

      The company has received 185 reports of frame latch failures. In one incident a 13-month-old boy and a 3-year-old boy received scrapes and bruises when their stroller hit a sidewalk and the stroller collapsed.

      This recall involves 2007 and 2008 Zooper Tango double strollers with a model number of SL808B and SL808F. The model numbers were printed on the original packaging. The strollers have production dates ranging from January 1, 2007, through April 30, 2008. The production dates are printed on the warning labels attached to the seats. The word "Zooper" is printed on the stroller canopies and grab bars. The Web address www.zooper.com is printed on the basket under the stroller seats.

      The strollers,, made in China, were sold at juvenile product and mass merchandise retailers nationwide and at www.babiesrus.com from January 2007 through August 2008 for between $400 and $430.

      Consumers should immediately stop using these recalled strollers and contact Zooper USA to receive a free repair kit.

      For additional information, contact Zooper USA toll-free at (888) 966-7379 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT Monday through Friday or visit the firm's website at www.zooper.com.

      The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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      Zooper Tango Recalls Double Strollers...

      CVS, Pennsylvania, Reach Settlement On Expired Drugs, Food Products

      Drug chain to reward whistleblowers with coupons, provide products to needy families

      The Pennsylvania Attorney General's Health Care Section has reached a $250,000 consumer protection settlement with the CVS Pharmacy chain addressing complaints that expired over the counter drugs, infant formula, baby food, dairy products and other food items were sold at stores in the Commonwealth.

      "Expiration dates are included on various products to ensure that consumers are purchasing items that are effective and safe to use," Attorney General Tom Corbett said. "This settlement not only requires CVS to adopt policies designed to prevent expired items from being sold in the future, it will also help community organizations provide much-needed food and medical supplies to low-income families across Pennsylvania."

      The agreement with Pennsylvania CVS Pharmacy and White Cross Stores Inc. No 14, known as an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC), requires the pharmacy chain to take a number of steps to prevent items from being sold after their listed "sell by" or "expiration dates."

      CVS is required to provide coupons for $2.00 off any future purchase to any consumers who find expired products offered for sale at a CVS store in Pennsylvania, said Corbett. Those consumers must notify a CVS employee about the expired product and present the expired item to a store employee or cashier.

      Additionally, Corbett said the settlement includes a $150,000 payment from CVS, which will be distributed by the attorney general's office to organizations that provide assistance to Pennsylvania families by distributing baby food, infant formula, dairy products and over the counter drugs. The AVC also includes $100,000 that will be used by the AG's office for future consumer protection and education activities.

      Clearing the shelves

      In addition, the settlement requires CVS to institute a system to ensure that expired products are not sold, including:

      • Daily inspection of all dairy products at CVS stores.

      • Regular inspections of other products and removal of items that are within 60 days of their expiration dates (This includes all items related to allergy treatment, baby feeding, children's remedies, cold remedies, oral hygiene products, pain relievers, stomach remedies and all other over the counter drugs that contain expiration dates).

      • Prominent notices in all stores reminding customers to check the "sell by" and "expiration" dates, and to notify CVS employees immediately if customers find expired products.

      • Automatic prompts in store cash register systems requiring cashiers to verify expiration dates before items can be sold (expired products may not be sold).

      • Training and certification for all store managers and employees involved in stocking baby food, infant formula, dairy products and over the counter drugs.

      • Regular audits of CVS stores to verify compliance with the settlement.

      Consumers with questions or complaints concerning expired products at CVS stores in Pennsylvania should contact the Attorney General's Health Care Section at 1-877-888-4877 or file an online complaint using the attorney general's website.

      CVS, Pennsylvania, Reach Settlement On Expired Drugs, Food Products...

      White Tiger Recalls Folding Wooden Chairs

      White Tiger Traders Co. is recalling about 7,000 folding wooden chairs. The wooden frame of the chairs can break, posing a fall hazard to consumers.

      The wooden frame of the chairs can break, posing a fall hazard to consumers.

      The Kroger Co. and White Tiger have received three reports of chairs breaking, resulting in minor injuries including back and shoulder pain, sprains and contusions.

      The chairs, made in China, were sold individually and as part of a three-piece set that included one table and two chairs. "HD Outdoor" is printed on the chair's packaging.

      The chairs were sold at Kroger, Fred Meyer, Ralph's, Fry's, Smith's, Dillon's, Gerbes, City Market, and Baker's stores nationwide from February 2009 through December 2009 individually for about $50 and as part of the set that sold for about $130.

      Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled chairs and return them to the store where purchased for a full refund.

      For additional information, contact Kroger at (800) 632-6900 between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. ET or visit the firm's website at www.kroger.com.

      The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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      White Tiger Recalls Folding Wooden Chairs...

      Powertec Recalls Leverage Gyms

      Powertec is recalling about 1,000 Leverage gyms. Detaching the exercise workbench from the gym system causes instability, posing a risk of injury to users.

      This recall involves the Workbench Leverage Gym, 2010 version, which has a lock and load removable bench section opening up the lever area for power exercises such as squats, shrugs and rows. The gym has black upholstery and either a black or yellow frame. The Powertec logo with the Workbench series name is printed on the removable bench. The models affected by this recall are WB-LS10 and WB-LS10-B. . Workbench Levergyms with model numbers WB-LS10 and WB-LS10B sold after February 2010 are not affected by this recall.

      The gyms, made in China, were sold by fitness equipment dealers nationwide and online at www.powertecfitness.com from October 2009 through February 2010 for about $850.

      Customers should immediately stop using the product and contact Powertec to receive a free repair kit or to schedule a free repair with an authorized dealer. The firm has contacted all known purchasers of this product.

      For additional information, call Powertec toll-free at (877) 525-5710 between 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. PT Monday through Friday, email the firm at info@powertecfitness.com or visit the firm's website at www.powertecfitness.com.

      The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

      Powertec Recalls Leverage Gyms...

      Do Advertising Bans Deter Bad Habits In Youth?

      Review of youth drinking and smoking studies shows little effectiveness

      Bans on alcohol and tobacco marketing are among the least effective tactics for combating underage drinking and smoking, a recent research review shows.

      "My conclusion is that the emphasis on advertising bans and similar regulations in the public health literature is misplaced," says Jon Nelson, professor emeritus of economics at Penn State. "More effective policies need to be sought to deal with issues of youthful risk-taking associated with alcohol and tobacco."

      Among the deficiencies, Nelson reports that there were problems with how researchers selected people to participate in their studies and how they drew conclusions from the data they collected.

      "The studies, in fact, are deficient in so many respects that the big question is whether there's any influence of marketing at all, especially the mass media," Nelson says.

      Policy makers and advocacy groups use these studies to initiate and justify bans on alcohol and tobacco product advertising in order to lower the social costs associated with using these products and to promote youth health.

      According to Nelson, the American Medical Association (AMA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are among the organizations that uncritically cite these studies in their advocacy of tobacco and alcohol advertising bans.

      Room for improvement

      Nelson recommends several ways to improve studies on youth alcohol and tobacco behaviors. Researchers who explore advertising's influence on youth drinking and smoking should better identify why variables, such as peer and parental influences, are included in the study and choose variables that more effectively measure the exposure of alcohol and tobacco marketing in youth behavior.

      In a recent review of 20 youth drinking studies and 26 youth smoking studies published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Nelson found that only 33 percent of the results were statistically significant in linking marketing with youth drinking.

      He considered only 49 percent of the results significant on marketing and youth smoking behavior.

      "These studies should be done against a well-defined scientific standard for an empirical investigation," says Nelson. "There is really no such thing as a perfect study, but the object should be to get closer to those acceptable standards."

      Nelson identified longitudinal studies that measured the influence of a range of alcohol and tobacco marketing efforts including mass media, in-store displays, branded merchandise, movie portrayals, and brand recognition. The participant in a longitudinal study is interviewed or surveyed over two or more years.

      Nelson looked at these studies in two categories -- youth drinking and youth smoking. Although these studies had common features, they were treated separately because they used slightly different models to explore advertising receptivity and exposure.

      Nelson then offered critical assessments of the studies in each category, paying particular attention to the consistency of empirical results among the studies.

      The review reinforced findings in Nelson's previous work. In 2001 and 2010 studies, he showed advertising bans in European countries did not reduce adult alcohol consumption. In 2003 and 2006 studies, he reported a similar finding for tobacco advertising bans.

      Bans on alcohol and tobacco marketing are among the least effective tactics for combating underage drinking and smoking, a recent research review shows....

      Is Tylenol Good for Heartaches, Too?

      Acetaminophen could help alleviate emotional pain, study finds

      August 16, 2010
      Everybody being mean to you? There may be a pill for that.

      A new study shows that acetaminophen -- an ingredient in the popular over-the-counter pain reliever Tylenol -- may relieve social pain from hurt feelings.

      The findings suggest for the first time that emotional and physical pain are interrelated, according to Gregory Webster, a University of Florida psychologist who wrote the study with a team of researchers.

      "We think that social pain piggybacks onto physical pain and the two systems sort of bleed into each other, so that just as you feel emotional distress from physical pain, the social pain of having a romance breakup, or getting a horrible grade can translate into feeling sick to your stomach or getting a bad headache," he says.

      In the study, to be published in the journal Psychological Science, people who took acetaminophen daily for three weeks reported less emotional suffering over time and showed less activity in regions of the brain previously shown to respond to social rejection than those who took the placebo, Webster says.

      "Even so," he adds, "we don't want to tell people to go take Tylenol to cope with their personal problems until more research is done."

      Further applications

      The findings, Webster believes, have the potential for acetaminophen to be used eventually to treat minor social pains instead of more powerful drugs. In addition, he says acetaminophen may show promise in curtailing antisocial behavior. Because research has found that being rejected triggers aggression, using acetaminophen to alleviate emotional distress could reduce the likelihood of destructive actions, he adds.

      "The fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) results from our study show that acetaminophen diminished reactivity in regions of the brain that have been linked to emotional processing, which helps regulate aggression," he says.

      The study's participants received fMRI during a computerized game of cyberball, which simulated social rejection. Each participant, accustomed to passing a ball with two computerized images of people who were ostensibly other participants, was suddenly excluded from the exchange as the others pass it back and forth.

      "They were not given a reason why, which made it frustrating, which is exactly what we wanted to do," Webster explains. "We wanted to give them this feeling of being socially ostracized."

      By random assignment, nearly half the participants, 24 women and six men, took a 500-mg pill of acetaminophen immediately after waking up each day and another 500-mg pill one hour before going to sleep, while 24 women and eight men took a placebo.

      Each night the participants filled out a survey to assess their level of hurt feelings during the day.

      Solid results

      Throughout the three weeks, those who took acetaminophen reported significantly fewer hurt feelings on average than participants in the placebo group, Webster says. In addition, they showed much less activity in areas of the brain linked with emotional feelings, such as hurt and rejection.

      "The possibility of this link between physical and social pain systems is exciting because we live in a dualistic society where people see the mind and body as being very separate," Webster says. "In terms of public policy, it may indirectly support the notion that we should treat mental health issues the same way we treat physical health issues instead of having separate systems for the two."

      The connection of mind and body to the extent that pain in one sphere can be transferred at least indirectly to another may have provided an evolutionary edge to our ancestors, he says.

      Because humans have an extended infancy compared with many other animals in which they are unable to defend or feed themselves, developing social connections from an early age was crucial, Webster says.

      As a result, humans' social attachment system may have developed by piggybacking onto the physical pain system and becoming an outgrowth of it in order to promote survival, he adds.

      "Our findings have important implications because social exclusion is such a common part of life," he concludes. "People can feel ostracized at work, snubbed by friends, excluded by their partners or slighted in any number of situations."

      A new study shows that acetaminophen -- an ingredient in the popular over-the-counter pain reliever Tylenol -- may relieve social pain from hurt feelings....

      Circus World Recalls Levana Wireless Video Baby Monitors

      Circus World Displays is recalling about 800 Levana wireless video baby monitors. Wiring in the camera can overheat and emit smoke, posing a burn hazard.

      Circus World Displays has received two reports of the camera portion of the monitors overheating and smoking. No injuries have been reported.

      This recall involves Levana wireless baby monitors with model number LV-TW300. The receiver front is white and green with six round buttons and the printed word "Levana". It is 7 inches tall and includes a stand/base. The camera is all white, about 5 inches tall and is attached to a 3 1/2 inch long white base. The camera can rotate and swivel in various directions. The camera and receiver each has its own A/C adapter.

      The monitors, made in China, were sold at BB Buggy & Health and Safety stores nationwide and on the Internet between February 2010 and May 2010 for about $200.

      Consumers should immediately stop using and return the baby monitor directly to CWD for a refund or replacement with a different model. When returning, please include the entire product, your complete name, mailing address and phone number in the package and mail to Circus World Displays Ltd, Attention: Adam Crysler, Dealer Returns Specialist, 60 Industrial Parkway Suite Z64, Cheektowaga, NY 14227

      For additional information, contact Circus World Displays toll-free at (866) 946-7828 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or on the firm's website at www.mylevana.com.

      The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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      Circus World Recalls Levana Wireless Video Baby Monitors...

      P. Graham Dunn Recalls Toy Rattles

      The P. Graham Dunn Co. is recalling about 500 wooden rattles. The wooden dowels can be installed at an angle, allowing the metal rattle inside to become exposed. This poses a serious choking hazard to young children.

      The firm is aware of four incidents of the metal rattle becoming exposed. No injuries have been reported.

      This recall involves a wooden toy rattle with light brown stain, eight wooden dowels and a gold-colored metal rattle inside. The toy rattle is circular in shape, measuring 2 3/4 inches by 2 inches.

      The rattles, made in China, were sold by gift stores and book retailers nationwide from June 2010 through July 2010 for about $6.

      Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled product and contact P. Graham Dunn to receive a full refund.

      For additional information, contact P. Graham Dunn at (800) 828-5260 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or visit the firm's website at www.pgrahamdunn.com.

      The recall involves all Model Year 2010 Arctic Cat 500 Sno Pro models. The model name and number are displayed on the side of the seat and on the engine cowling.

      The snowmobiles were sold by Arctic Cat dealerships nationwide from October 2009 to February 2010 for between $7,800 and $8,200. They were made in the United States.

      Consumers should stop using these snowmobiles immediately and contact their local Arctic Cat snowmobile dealer to schedule a free repair. Registered owners have been directly notified about this recall by mail.

      For additional information, call Arctic Cat at (800) 279-6851 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday or visit the firm's Web site at www.arctic-cat.com/

      The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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      P. Graham Dunn Recalls Toy Rattles...

      New York Expands Health Care Financing Probe

      Relationship between health care providers and lenders explored

      A week after launching an investigation into the marketing practices of GE Money's CreditCare credit card, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has expanded his probe of what he calls predatory health care lending.

      Cuomo disclosed last week that his investigation found that some health care providers use fast-talking sales pitches to pressure and deceive consumers into applying for health care credit cards such as Chase Health Advance, Citi Health, and GE Money's CareCredit. The investigation also found that CareCredit pays kickbacks in the form of rebates to the providers based on how much business they charge consumers on CareCredit cards.

      The investigation was based in part on hundreds of consumer complaints received by the attorney general's Office. Consumers reported that health care providers promised that the credit card had "no interest," when it often carried retroactive interest of over 25 percent if not paid in full during a promotional period.

      Consumers were also unknowingly charged up front for services they never received, and their attempts to obtain refunds were often thwarted or ignored. Meanwhile, the credit card companies typically paid the health care providers in full within 48 hours of the charge, Cuomo said.

      The investigation also found that CareCredit charges the providers a fee for the right to offer the cards, and then rebates part of the fee based on the amount of money the providers generated through CareCredit sales. This kickback arrangement, plus CareCredit's payment in full to providers within two days of the charge, creates an incentive for providers to push consumers to use CareCredit rather than other methods of payment. In fact, providers pushed CareCredit over cash.

      Conflicts of interest

      "Our ongoing investigation has uncovered conflicts of interest and predatory practices in the health care industry that are hurting New Yorkers and patients across the country," Cuomo said. "Patients are being misled into paying for services they never received by the people they should be able to trust the most -- their doctors. Doctors are supposed to represent patients, not credit card companies, no matter what kind of kickbacks they are offered."

      Cuomo issued subpoenas to 14 dental and health care clinics that promote CareCredit, as well as to GE's CareCredit, Chase Health Advance, and Citi Health Card. The subpoenas seek marketing materials, applications, terms of credit, contracts and rebate agreements, policies and procedures, consumer complaints, and regulatory inquiries. The investigation continues.

      In addition to the 14 subpoenas, Cuomo has written letters to a number of medical organizations that promote CareCredit or other health care financing cards. The letters, asking why they endorse these credit products, were sent to the American Dental Association, American College of Eye Surgeons, and American Hearing Aid Associates, among others.

      Widely accepted

      CareCredit is accepted by more than 125,000 health care practices nationwide. The New York State Dental Association asserts that more than eight million dental patients and 80,000 dental practices use CareCredit nationwide.

      The credit card is advertised as a way to pay for services often not covered by insurance, including:

      • Chiropractic procedures

      • Cosmetic procedures

      • Dental procedures

      • Infertility treatment

      • Hearing procedures

      • Vision procedures

      • Weight loss procedures

      • Veterinary services

      In recent years, Cuomo says, his office received hundreds of complaints from consumers indicating they were lured and misled by providers into applying for, accepting, and using health care credit cards.

      New York Expands Health Care Financing Probe...

      Goldstar, Comfort-Aire Dehumidifier Recall Repeated

      Consumers are being warned that refurbished BlackBerry cell phones may contain counterfeit batteries that could overheat, causing burn and fire hazards.

      The Asurion Company of Smyrna, Tenn., said about 470,000 cell phones may have counterfeit batteries. The company has received two reports of batteries overheating, causing minor burns to a consumer's finger and minor property damage to a sofa and car seat.

      This recall involves only BlackBerry-branded batteries provided with refurbished Blackberry-branded devices. The refurbished devices were sent to consumers by Asurion through a handset protection program.

      The batteries were used across virtually all models of refurbished BlackBerry devices distributed by Asurion prior to November 1, 2009. Genuine Blackberry-branded batteries are not included in this recall. No other Asurion or BlackBerry products are involved in this recall.

      Consumers who received refurbished BlackBerry devices through Asurion prior to November 1, 2009 should immediately stop using the product and contact Asurion for a replacement product. Asurion is directly contacting known consumers with the affected batteries to notify them of this recall.

      For more information, contact Asurion toll-free at (866) 384-9175 between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, or visit the firm's website at www.001batex.com.

      The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

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      Goldstar, Comfort-Aire Dehumidifier Recall Repeated...