- Health authorities in India have initiated a criminal investigation into how an international medical devices company failed to adequately follow up a worldwide recall notice on a defective hip implant device.
- Researchers say they have identified a relatively small but thriving group of microbes that inhabit the placenta alongside human cells in a finding that may point to new ways of spotting women at risk for preterm births.
- Viagra and diet pills are among the most popular drugs bought illegally by Australians, judging by a recent customs crackdown.
The news on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 27TH May 2014. Read by Rebecca Foster.
Health authorities in India have initiated a criminal investigation into how an international medical devices company failed to adequately follow up a worldwide recall notice on a defective implant device.
The device, known as the DePuy ASR, was sold in India by DePuy International, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, the world’s largest medical devices company.
Nearly 100,000 patients around the world were implanted with the device, 4,600 of whom were in India.
The worldwide recall of the ASR device occurred in 2010, after medical authorities in Australia and the UK noted a rate of failure of the device far higher than expected.
Thousands of people worldwide have suffered adverse effects from the use of the faulty implant, including Joan Wager, who travelled to India to have her ASR implanted and who appears in tonight’s program.
Between 2004 and 2010, DePuy imported 15,829 ASR devices into India, with 4,600 subsequently implanted into patients.
The human placenta, the organ that nourishes a developing baby, is not the pristine place some experts had assumed.
Researchers say they have identified a relatively small but thriving group of microbes that inhabit the placenta alongside human cells in a finding that may point to new ways of spotting women at risk for pre-term births.
There were clear differences in the makeup of placental microbes, or microbiome, in women who had premature babies compared with those who delivered full-term babies, said Dr James Versalovic, a professor at Baylor College of Medicine and head of pathology at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.
Versalovic says this knowledge could lead to diagnostic tests to forecast which women may be at risk for pre-term birth and help obstetricians manage those pregnancies in new ways.
Scientists have known that microorganisms routinely reside in large numbers in certain parts of the human body such as the gut, which is naturally awash with bacteria.
The gut is one thing. But would the placenta, which forms within the mother’s womb, provides oxygen and nutrients to the fetus and is pushed out after birth, also support a bunch of bacteria?
The researchers examined placental tissue collected in Houston from a diverse group of 320 women. DNA, both human and bacterial, was extracted from the placenta and sequenced using sophisticated techniques, says Baylor College of Medicine Professor Dr Kjersti Aagaard, another of the researchers.
More than 300 types of bacteria were detected in this placental tissue, with the well-known E. coli the most abundant, says Versalovic.
The study found that this placental microbial population more closely resembled that of the mouth than other sites in the women such as the gut or vagina.
The microbial population in the placenta is more sparse than in other places such as the gut, the researchers said.
The study, part of a project funded by the US National Institutes of Health to understand these microbes and their effect on health, was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
Viagra and diet pills are among the most popular drugs bought illegally by Australians, judging by a recent customs crackdown.
Fifty-one packages containing unauthorised medicine were seized from the Sydney and Melbourne international mail centres over seven days this month, according to the Australian Customs Service.
Altogether, thousands of pills, capsules or doses of counterfeit or illegal medications were confiscated, and a large proportion were medications for erectile dysfunction or weight loss.
Therapeutic Goods Administration manager John Skerritt warned that substances bought online could range from ineffective to harmful.
”The TGA advises consumers to exercise extreme caution when purchasing medicines over the internet.”