Reporting on health and quality of life in South LA

Equal rights blood donations and misleading 'male enhancement' drugs: In health news today

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A group of college students in New York and California have started a petition to allow gay men to donate blood. Current regulations restrict them from doing so.

In today's health news:

Maybe cold sores are good for something. Forbes reports that new research from Amgen shows a modified version of herpes simplex virus type 1—the same virus that causes cold sores—were able to shrink melanoma tumors during a clinical trial. Melanoma is a deadly skin cancer that is more common in people with fair skin or those spend a lot of time in direct sunlight. People who've had multiple sunburns or live at high elevations are also more likely to get this type of cancer. 

As deaths from prescription medications surpass car crashes in sheer numbers, the Los Angeles Times reports that a new national bill aims to place tighter restrictions on hydrocodone. The painkiller serves as the base for brand names including Vicodin, Norco and Lortab, and is a key contributor to increasing amount of prescription drug deaths. Prescription drugs cause or contribute to more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined.

Bad news for "male enhancement" drug users: NBC News reports that according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), three erectile dysfunction "herbal" medicines sold online actually contain prescription drug ingredients that can be harmful. “Rock-It Man,” “Libido Sexual Enhancer,” and “Stiff Days” contain an ingredient that can interact negatively with nitrates found in prescription drugs. The FDA says throw these three medications out. 

A group of college students has started a petition to get blood collection agencies to accept donations from gay men. CBS News reports that Food and Drug Administration (FDA) blood donation rules ban gay males or any man who's ever had sex with a man. A woman must wait 12 month to donate if she's had sex with a man who'd had sex with a man. Students at San Jose State University and New York's Sarah Lawrence College hope to get President Barack Obama's support in changing the requirements.

Some dietitians and chefs say ordering dressing on the side and opting for veggies instead of fries may not be enough to sidestep fatty menu choices. CNN reports restaurant trends—like tapas or small plates—can trick you into consuming more calories than you might expect from an appetizer-sized plate. Ham croquettes or patatas bravas can have 500 calories, while a seemingly fresh caprese salad drizzled with olive oil clocks in at about 400. The double whammy is that when you're done eating, you're often left unsatisfied because of diminutive portion. Chefs suggest ordering grilled items or an assortment of veggie or protein items. 

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