Trending News Today: Ovarian Cancer Patient Awarded $417 Million in J&J Baby Powder Lawsuit

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

A woman diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007 was awarded $417 million in a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson talcum powder. According to USA Today, the verdict was reached by a Los Angeles jury in the case, in which plaintiff Eva Echeverria alleged J&J was aware of the potential dangers from using talcum-based products for personal hygiene but refused to warn the public. Echeverria used Johnson Baby Powder—–sometimes twice per day––for 41 years and continued even after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer, according to the article. It was only after a news report in February 2016 of a woman who filed a lawsuit alleging she became ill from the same talcum-based product that Echeverria stopped using the powder. J&J spokeswoman Carol Goodrich said in a statement reported by USA Today, “ovarian cancer is a devastating diagnosis and we deeply sympathize with the women and families impacted by this disease. We will appeal today’s verdict because we are guided by the science, which supports the safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder.” Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths among women, accounting for more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system, according to the American Cancer Society.

New findings suggest marijuana may be linked to hypertension, according to The New York Times. The investigators analyzed data from a large health study that included 1213 individuals. Among the participants, 332 deaths occurred, of whom 57% were marijuana users. Even after adjusting for health and behavioral variables, including a prior hypertension diagnosis, the findings showed marijuana users had more than 3 times the risk of death from hypertension-related causes compared with nonusers, according to the article. Although a link to cardiovascular disease and stroke caused by hypertension was observed, it was not statistically significant. “There is a possibility that marijuana use is related to deaths with hypertension as an underlying cause,” lead author Barbara A. Yankey told the NY Times. “People who use marijuana should have regular medical checkups to assess their cardiovascular health.” The authors added that caution should be taken in interpreting this exploratory study.

Americans flooded the streets yesterday to watch the solar eclipse. In a new interview, optometry expert Ralph Chou spoke with NPR to discuss the potential aftermath on the eyes. Symptoms of a damaged retina take at least 12 hours before emerging and include blurred vision, with the center of the vision containing a spot or multiple spots, according to Chou. This type of vision loss can get better over several months to a year depending on the extent of damage, but approximately half of the time it is permanent. If individuals only saw the sun for a fraction of a second without a protective filter, the chances of damaging their eyes is very low. Those who looked at the display of a camera or smartphone, but did not look through the optics at the sun, are not in danger.

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