September 25, 2008

Antidepressants may damage sperm
Men who take antidepressants may damage their fertility, according to a report in New Scientist. After four weeks of taking Paxil, 35 healthy men had their sperm DNA fragmentation rates increase from 13.8% to 30.3%. The increased rates are a sign of sperm damage, and they've been associated with a more difficult time with embryo formation and implantation during in vitro fertilization treatment. (Read more about antidepressants.)

Ban those big, unrealistic breasts, surgeons say
Plastic surgeons in the U.K. would like to nix cosmetic-surgery ads that feature “anatomically impossible” breasts. The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons say these digitally altered photos give women unrealistic expectations of cosmetic surgery. Another concern? Ads that promise impossible-to-achieve “lunchtime face-lifts,” which should be banned as well, they say.

When COBRA bites, bite back
If you lose your job, your one hope for health insurance is usually COBRA, the federally mandated program that allows you to keep your old job's health insurance for 18 months (if you pay for it). But you may have more options than you think. You should check out to compare the cost of COBRA with other health-insurance plans, according to the Wall Street Journal’s Health blog. Your chance of finding a cheaper plan is—no surprise—better if you’re young and healthy.

Two drugs to be pulled off market
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) told manufacturers to stop selling two unapproved products this week—a topical cream used to treat diabetes-related ulcers and a saline solution used during eye surgery. The Rx cream is made by Hospira and contains papain, a papaya derivative that can cause allergic reactions, according to Reuters. The eye solution can cause eye inflammation and permanent vision loss. There are FDA–approved versions of the eye solution—both of which are still suitable for sale—made by Alcon as well as Akorn. The FDA targeted an unapproved eye solution made by Baxter Healthcare.

Hospital workers snap patient pics, lose jobs
We’re not sure why hospital workers would want to post close-up pictures of patients’ injuries to their MySpace page—it just sounds like a bad idea. In fact, two University of New Mexico hospital employees lost their jobs for doing just that, according to the Associated Press. The workers snapped the pics using cell-phone cameras, a problem that’s interfered with patient privacy in other states, including California, Arizona, and South Dakota. (Read our related story, Is Your Doctor Laughing at You Behind Your Back?)