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Health trends

Published:Wednesday | January 20, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Johnson & Johnson recalls Tylenol

Johnson & Johnson issued a massive recall last Friday of over-the-counter drugs including Tylenol, Motrin and St Joseph's aspirin because of a mouldy smell that has made people sick. It was the second such recall in less than a month because of the smell, which regulators said was first reported to McNeil in 2008. The recall includes some batches of regular and extra-strength Tylenol, children's Tylenol, eight-hour Tylenol, Tylenol arthritis, Tylenol PM, children's Motrin, Motrin IB, Benadryl Rolaids, Simply Sleep, and St Joseph's aspirin.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Johnson & Johnson said about 70 people have been either sickened by the odour - including nausea, stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhoea - or noticed it. The smell is caused by small amounts of a chemical associated with the treatment of wooden pallets, Johnson & Johnson said. The FDA said the chemical can leach into the air, and traced it to a facility in Las Piedras, Puerto Rico.

The FDA & Johnson's McNeil Consumer Healthcare Products said they did not know the number of bottles recalled. It included caplet and geltab products sold in the Americas, the United Arab Emirates, and Fiji. Consumers should check the full list at http://www.mcneilproductrecall.com to identify the recalled batches.

Source: The Associated Press

Catching up with sleep loss

Sleeping in on Saturday after a few weeks of too little shuteye may feel refreshing, but it can give a false sense of security. New research shows chronic sleep loss can't be cured that easily. Scientists teased apart the effects of short- and long-term sleep loss and found that the chronically sleep-deprived may function normally soon after waking up, but experience steadily slower reaction times as the day wears on, even if they had tried to catch up the previous night.

The findings have important safety implications in our increasingly 24/7 society, not just for shift-workers but for the roughly one in six Americans who regularly get six hours or less of sleep a night.

"We know that staying awake 24 hours in a row impairs performance to a level comparable to a blood-alcohol content beyond the legal limit to drive," said lead researcher Dr. Daniel Cohen of Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Source: The Associated Press