Saturday, April 9, 2011

American Council on Science and Health: Week 13

Posted By Rich Kozlovich


Cancer epidemic? Not
Last week ACSH reported on the recent finding that beginning in 2003, lung cancer death rates in women decreased for the first time. But another aspect to this good-news story, which we did not address, is that with few exceptions, overall cancer incidence (and death) rates have also been declining over the period from 2003 to 2007.

Does candy make you slimmer? Or, how to confuse cause and effect If you read the recent headline on msnbc.com, "Sweet! Candy eaters surprisingly slimmer," you might think that candy is the next diet food.

Heart disease risk: Poor exercise tolerance carries more weight than pounds A new Mayo Clinic study suggests that when assessing heart disease risk, looks can be deceiving.

A few midwives can save many lives In the developing world, more than 1,000 mothers and 2,000 newborn babies die each day from preventable birth complications.

Don’t work your heart to death Need a good medical excuse to shave off some extra hours from your work week?

Elegant study shows that heart drug digoxin may prevent prostate cancer Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health combined in vitro cell culture laboratory studies with a large epidemiologic cohort study to determine that digoxin - a cardiac drug derived from the foxglove plant used to treat congestive heart failure and heart rhythm abnormalities - may also lower a patient's risk for prostate cancer by 24 percent.

Sobering statistics on adolescent substance abuse According to a new report issued yesterday by the Partnership at Drugfree.org, a trend in substance abuse has been on the rise for the past three years among adolescents, following a decade of continuous declines in drug abuse.

Harm reduction: Keep science in and “morality” out to save more lives
The 22nd International Harm Reduction Conference is underway this week in Beirut, Lebanon, and an article published yesterday in The Lancet underscores the goals of the "Beirut Declaration on HIV and Injecting Drug Use: A Global Call for Action," a new document released at the annual meeting.

On the Loose-ie in New York Unemployed and looking for a lucrative job in New York City? Don't mind long walks and occasional arrests? This may be a job for you: According to an article in The New York Times, smuggling and reselling cigarettes on the streets is a profitable practice.

Safer cigarette alternatives in the works While U.S. tobacco regulations prevent marketers from truthfully informing smokers about lower-risk products, the U.K. appears to be fostering more harm reduction-oriented tobacco laws.

E-cigs allowed under the Bridges of Madison County but not indoors The Madison County Board of Health has added electronic cigarettes to their list of indoor smoking restrictions, perhaps due to an FDA warning in 2009 cautioning that the nicotine-delivery devices supposedly contain "toxic" ingredients.

Hospital errors under a microscope loom larger than ever A new study would have you believe that hospital errors are ten times the rate that was once reported.

When ignorance isn’t bliss: Fatal flu season ignored by media It seems this year that the influenza virus has mostly been out of sight and out of mind - especially in the media.

No toys for you, New York tykes An ill wind must have blown an idea from the crackpot Board of Supervisors in San Francisco to the East coast because a fast food toy ban in New York City has been proposed by several City Council members.

More junk: Colorless food Last week we pointed out how the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), hungry for attention once again, petitioned the FDA to ban artificial dyes from food because they assert it exacerbates hyperactivity in some children (thankfully, the FDA denied their petition citing no evidence of this claim). Now, The New York Times' Gardiner Harris has responded with an article highlighting the importance of food coloring in the sensory aspects of eating.

FDA panel recommends important new antibiotic In a unanimous vote Tuesday, an FDA advisory panel recommended the approval of Optimer Pharmaceuticals' fidaxomycin (Difficid) as a safe and effective treatment for diarrhea caused by the bacterium C. dificile.
Bypassing bypass surgery? Drug regimen may be just as effective for heart failure patients

A new study presented this week at the American College of Cardiology A conference in New Orleans and published online in the New England Journal of Medicine has some rather surprising results: bypass surgery does not improve survival for heart failure patients already on optimal drug therapy.

PFC “study” rears its ugly head again — but why? Recent evidence indicates that the mass media is not too quick on the uptake when it comes to "studies" purporting to link some environmental "toxin" to health effects in rodents or humans.

Progesterone gel may prevent preterm births in some women A new vaginal gel, containing the hormone progesterone and manufactured by Columbia Laboratories Inc. and Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc., reduces the rate of premature delivery in women with a short cervix by 45 percent.

If there is a health scare today, the American Council on Science and Health will most likely have the answer by tomorrow; and for members it will appear in your e-mail. No effort on your part, except to read the answer. All that the ACSH is interested in are the facts and they are prepared to follow them wherever they lead. Who can ask for more?  Please Donate Now!

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