Monday, May 12, 2014

Meta-analysis: AD/HD medication not tied to increased smoking risk.

USA Today (5/12, Healy, 5.82M) report that according to a meta-analysis published online May 12 in the journal Pediatrics, medications for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD), teens “who are prescribed stimulant medications to treat AD/HD are less likely to smoke than those with AD/HD who are not treated with the” medications. The meta-analysis pooled data from “14 published studies involving 2,360 participants (1,424 were treated with medication; 936 were not).”

GM replaces head of safety investigations.

The Detroit News (5/10, Shepardson, Burden, 643K) reports that General Motors reassigned its former director of safety investigations and safety regulations Carmen Benavides to another company safety division, having been replaced by Brian Latouf, who comes from previously serving at GM as its field product investigations and evaluations director. The article notes that this “latest shakeup in GM’s safety department” follows GM’s massive recalls involving 2.6 million Chevrolet Cobalts, Ions, and other small cars, which led to Federal investigations by NHTSA, the Justice Department, and Congress. According to the article, Benavides received an email in July 2013 from NHTSA Office of Defects Investigation Director Frank Norris saying that the automaker was “slow to communicate, slow to act.”
        In other coverage of the GM recalls, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (5/10, 614K) reports that GM needs “nine million parts” to fix all the vehicles “recalled since Feb. 7,” as replacement parts are “arriving slowly at dealers.” The article notes that the company is having to organize fixes for millions of vehicles at once, which is uncommon for an automotive recall, with GM claiming that sending out all the replacement parts for the largest recall issue, ignition switches, will require about half a year.

Chrysler recalling almost 800,000 vans for overheating risk.

Reuters (5/10, Klayman) reports that Chrysler announced yesterday that it was initiating a recall of around 780,477 minivans for problems relating to overheating and potential fire risk. In a statement, Chrysler spokesperson Eric Mayne noted that not all of the incidents about overheating reported to the company resulted in fires, although in all the cases there was damage to the driver’s-side door, where power-window vent switches are. Chrysler investigated warranty claims related to problems with these switches, which can short circuit if they come in contact with moisture, either from the weather, car washes, or beverages.

Ford recalls nearly 1.4 million vehicles.

The New York Times (5/10, Jensen, Subscription Publication, 9.65M) reports that Ford has put out a recall on “nearly 1.4 million” Escape and C-Max vehicles “from the 2013-14 model years” for problems related to the air bags and door handles. On the one hand, Ford said that some of the computer software in the safety canopy airbags of these vehicles may be defective, thus delaying the airbags “in certain rollover circumstances, potentially increasing the risk of injury.” Meanwhile, the door handle issue also relates to possible malfunction where the handles may not latch correctly, “allowing the doors to open when the vehicle was in motion.”
        Bloomberg News (5/10, Plungis, 2.76M) reports, Ford spokesperson Kelli Felker stated, “Ford is committed to providing our customers with top quality vehicles,” adding that “We are equally committed to addressing potential issues and responding quickly for our customers.” The article notes other large recalls “over air-bag defects,” pointing out GM’s recall of 2.59 million vehicles, as well as Nissan’s recall of nearly 1 million vehicles. While Ford has not been made aware of any injuries related to either of its recall defects, the article does mention that the company settled with NHTSA last August for “a record $17.4 million civil penalty” over allegations of delaying the recall of its Escape vehicles for unintended acceleration.

        The AP (5/10) has similar coverage, as does the website of Automotive News (5/9, Bunkley, 199K). 

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