Monday, November 30, 2009

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Ranges from Mild to Deadly

Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) is the name given to a group of hereditary disorders that all involve the weakening of connective tissues in the body. Among the most common symptoms seen in patients with EDS are skin that bruises and stretches easily, small and fragile blood vessels, loose joints, and weakness of body tissues.

Since connective tissue is found throughout the body and serves many important roles, such as supporting skin and bones and making up blood vessels, malfunctioning in this tissue can be a very serious problem. Joints can move beyond their normal range of motion, and this can lead to dislocation of the shoulder and other major joints.

There is no cure for Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Treatment for these disorders focuses on managing symptoms.

For more information on Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, see these articles from the Mayo Clinic,, and the U.S. government's National Library of Medicine. These articles explain the six different types of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, their characteristics, and more

Monday, November 23, 2009

Crib Recall, November 2009 - CPSC Recalls 2.1 Million Cribs

More than two million cribs made by Stork Craft are being recalled, the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) announced on its Web site Monday, November 23rd.

About 1.2 million of the drop-side cribs were sold in the U.S.; the remainder were sold in Canada, where Stork Craft is based. Some of the cribs were sold with the Fisher-Price label.

A baby can become trapped between the side and the mattress, creating a suffocation hazard. In addition, broken or missing parts can cause a problem, and in some cases the side of the crib can be installed upside down, also causing a hazard.

The CPSC announcement says in part:

"CPSC urges parents and caregivers to immediately stop using the recalled cribs, wait for the free repair kit, and do not attempt to fix the cribs without the kit. They should find an alternative, safe sleeping environment for their baby. Consumers should contact Stork Craft to receive a free repair kit that converts the drop-side on these cribs to a fixed side."

This is the biggest crib recall in history. There have been other crib recalls this year, including those made by Delta Enterprises and Simplicity, as well as Stork Craft. The earlier Stork Craft recall this year involved more than half a million cribs.

Check the CPSC crib recall announcement for descriptions of how the cribs can malfunction, manufacture dates, and retailers that sold the cribs.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Google Helps You Find Flu Shots & Tracks Flu Trends

With the word out today that the swine flu has claimed nearly 4,000 lives in the U.S., the good news is that search giant Google is using its algorithms and technology to assist in the effort to combat the illness.

The company once again has put up its Google Flu Trends Web page to indicate where outbreaks of the flu may be occurring (this link is to the U.S. map, but you can choose other countries). To see how Google Flu Trends works, click on the FAQ or "How does this work?" links.

With shortages of both seasonal and swine flu vaccines around, Google is this year also trying to simplify finding a flu shot with its new Flu Shot Finder at A page on Google's blog explains how the Flu Shot Finder works.

You can also find the Flu Shot Finder at the U.S. government's flu information Web site,

Monday, November 9, 2009

Maclaren Recalls Child Strollers for Injury Risk

Although this isn't strictly a medical issue, I thought it important to post news of the Maclaren child stroller recall because of the possible safety risks. A Wall Street Journal article today notes that a side hinge had amputated the fingertips of 12 children.

Maclaren announced the recall in conjunction with the Consumer Products Safety Commission. The company is offering a free repair kit that includes pieces to cover the hinges that have been causing the problem.

Maclaren USA has posted a recall notice on its Web site, which reads in part:

"Consistent with our unwavering commitment to child safety we are providing U.S. consumers notice of a voluntary recall of all Maclaren umbrella strollers sold in the U.S. In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, we are providing free of charge to all affected consumers and retailers a kit to cover the stroller's hinge mechanism, which poses a fingertip amputation and laceration hazard to the child when the consumer is unfolding/opening the stroller. The affected models include Volo, Triumph, Quest Sport, Quest Mod, Techno XT, Techno XLR, Twin Triumph, Twin Techno and Easy Traveller."

You can find out more information at the CPSC Maclaren recall page.