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Health Highlights: April 17, 2012

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

New Prostate Cancer Treatment Causes Fewer Side Effects: Study

A new ultrasound treatment for early prostate cancer may be less likely to cause impotence and incontinence than surgery or radiotherapy, a new U.K. study suggests.

In the new treatment, a probe placed close to the prostate emits sound waves that heat targeted cancer cells to 80 degrees Celsius (176 degrees Fahrenheit). There is minimal damage to surrounding nerves and muscles, BBC News reported.

The study included 41 patients and the results 12 months after treatment are encouraging, according to study leader Hashim Ahmed, a urological surgeon at University College Hospital in London.

"We've shown in this study that focal therapy -- by targeting the individual areas of cancer -- can avoid the collateral damage. We've shown that nine in 10 men had no impotence and none of the men in the study had incontinence of urine," Ahmed said.

The researcher added that early evidence suggests that the ultrasound technique also provides good cancer control, but this needs to be evaluated in much larger studies, BBC News reported.

The study was published in the journal Lancet Oncology.

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Calming Technique Eases Infants' Vaccination Pain

A popular technique for calming fussy babies appears to help reduce infants' pain and tears when receiving routine immunizations, according to a new study.

The "Five S's" include: swaddling tightly in a blanket; being laid sideways or on the stomach while awake; shushing; swinging back and forth; and sucking on something, often a pacifier, USA Today reported.

This U.S. study of 230 infants found that those who received the Five S's immediately after being vaccinated had less pain and stopped crying sooner than those who received a concentrated sugar solution, one of the most common pain relief remedies in such situations.

The study was published in the journal Pediatrics.

The Five S's was developed a decade ago by Harvey Karp, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the USC School of Medicine. He said the technique calms infants by imitating the "symphony of sensations, noise, jiggly movements and touching," in the womb, USA Today reported.

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Salmonella Outbreak in 20 States Linked to Tuna

A salmonella outbreak linked to a frozen raw yellowfin tuna product has sickened 116 people in 20 states and the District of Columbia, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.

Officials said 12 people have been hospitalized but there have been no deaths, the Associated Press reported.

Nearly 59,000 pounds of the product, labeled Nakaochi Scrape AA or AAA, has been recalled by Moon Marine USA Corp. of Cupertino, Calif. The product, which is scraped off fish bones, was sold to grocery stores and restaurants to make dishes such as sushi, sashimi and ceviche.

The FDA said many people who became ill reported eating raw tuna in sushi as "spicy tuna," the AP reported.

As of Friday, illnesses linked to the recalled product had been reported in: Alabama (2), Arkansas (1), Connecticut (5), District of Columbia (2), Florida (1), As Georgia (5), Illinois (10), Louisiana (2), Maryland (11), Massachusetts (8), Mississippi (1), Missouri (2), New Jersey (7), New York (24), North Carolina (2), Pennsylvania (5), Rhode Island (5), South Carolina (3), Texas (3), Virginia (5), and Wisconsin (12).

In related news, possible salmonella contamination has prompted Dole Food Co. to recall 756 cases of bagged Seven Lettuces salad. The bags have a use-by date of April 11, 2012, UPC code 71430 01057, and product codes 0577N089112A and 0577N089112B, the AP reported.

The recall was announced after salmonella was discovered in a random sample of the salad tested by New York State officials. No illnesses have been reported, Dole said.

The bags of salad were distributed in Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin, the AP reported.

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U.S. Nursing Homes' Disaster Plans Fall Short: Report

U.S. nursing homes' plans to protect frail residents in the event of a natural disaster such as a tornado, flood or hurricane are inadequate, according to a report by federal government investigators being released Monday.

For example, federal government-mandated emergency plans often fail to list specific measures such as coordinating with local officials, notifying relatives, or pinning name tags and medication lists to residents in an evacuation, the Associated Press reported.

"We identified many of the same gaps in nursing home preparedness and response," the investigators from the inspector general's office of the Health and Human Services Department wrote. "Emergency plans lacked relevant information. ... Nursing homes faced challenges with unreliable transportation contracts, lack of collaboration with local emergency management, and residents who developed health problems."

The investigators said Medicare and Medicaid should add specific emergency planning and training steps to the existing requirement that nursing homes have a disaster plan, the AP reported.

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