Saturday, April 23, 2011

American Council on Science and Health, 2011: Week 15

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Taken to heart: Calcium supplements may lead to cardiac problems A new meta-analysis warns that when assessing whether to take calcium supplements, you may need to consider that the risks to heart health could outweigh the benefits.

Forty years later NEJM reflects on DES, an actual endocrine disruptor Forty years after publishing the groundbreaking study linking in utero diethylsilbestrol (DES) exposure to a rare vaginal cancer - clear-cell adenocarcinoma (CCA) - the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) has come out with a historical perspective piece on this incredible story.

2010: Smallest increase in drug spending The seemingly immutable rise of prescription drug spending in America is slowing, according to a new report released Tuesday by the consulting firm IMS Health.

Controlling painkilling drug abuse: A double-edged sword The fact that generic vicodin has topped the list of most commonly prescribed drugs reflects a growing national drug abuse problem. To combat this worrisome public health trend, President Obama has proposed an "unprecedented" initiative, instituting a government-wide approach to counter prescription drug abuse.

Obama blames coal for kids’ asthma President Obama claimed Tuesday that air pollution from coal can cause asthma in children.

New Alzheimer’s guidelines focus on much earlier detection The National Institute on Aging and the Alzheimer's Association are issuing new medical guidelines today that divide Alzheimer's disease into three stages.

Good and bad plastic news In a comprehensive review of bisphenol A (BPA) published in the journal Critical Reviews in Toxicology, the German Society of Toxicology (GST) analyzed about 5,000 studies and concluded that, "[BPA] exposure represents no noteworthy risk to the health of the human population, including newborns and babies."

Organ donors should not face insurance hurdles — yet they do! ACSH staffers were taken aback this morning when we read that certain insurance companies have been denying applications or offering coverage with steep premiums to healthy organ donors.

Smoking ill effects know no gender — and no boundaries for harm Two new studies should give you two more reasons to quit smoking or even better, never to start in the first place.

Chemophobia might fracture natural gas initiatives As an unscientific follow-up to last week's interminable "toxic sugar" story is another chemophobic rant from The New York Times. This time it's about chemicals involved in the hydraulic fracturing (hydrofracking) process used to release natural gas from shale deposits deep underground.

Overkill: Radioactive iodine for early, low-risk thyroid cancer According to a new study published in the journal Cancer, patients with early stage, low-risk thyroid cancers should think twice before allowing their doctors to prescribe standard radioactive iodine-131 (RAI) treatment.

“Get up and shake that thing!” Prolonged sitting poses health threat New studies supply some confirmation that whether you're overweight or in shape, a sedentary lifestyle can cut years off your life, even if you work out multiple times a week, and whether you're overweight or trim.

Vancouver clean needle program: Another plus for harm reduction In February, ACSH commended the efforts of North America's only "safe injection site" - Insite - for successfully reducing the number of new HIV infections in Vancouver, B.C. by 52 percent since 1996. Now a new study published in The Lancet shows that Insite is also contributing another form of harm reduction: decreasing the number of deaths from drug overdoses.

Big pharma backs flu data-sharing deal for developing countries Diplomats from the World Health Organization (WHO) announced Saturday that the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) has officially committed to providing sufficient and affordable supplies of flu vaccine to developing countries in exchange for the global sharing of virus samples with WHO's laboratories in order to make the most effective, targeted vaccine possible.

There’s beef over new skewed study on staph bacteria in meat and poultry The results of a study released last week conducted by researchers at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in Phoenix found that 47 percent of beef, chicken, pork and turkey samples were contaminated withStaphylcoccus aureus (S. aureus), a bacteria linked to illnesses ranging from mild skin infections to life-threatening diseases.

More of the same: EWG and Sen. Lautenberg promote precautionary principle  Much to the delight of the Environmental Working Group (EWG), Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) continues to trumpet scientifically senseless and burdensome regulation to "protect" children from so-called toxic chemicals.

TNF Blockers get an added warning The FDA is requiring drug makers of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers to include an additional warning to their product label, cautioning of an increased risk for Hepatosplenic T-Cell Lymphoma (HSTCL), a type of blood cancer primarily reported in adolescents and young adults on TNF blockers.

Drink up: Diet soda consumption not linked to diabetes In a classic example of mixing up cause and effect, Harvard University researchers exonerated diet sodas and other artificially-sweetened beverages from previous studies linking their consumption to diabetes.

Dr. Wolfe’s message: Stay fat America Dr. Sidney Wolfe, director of Public Citizens' Health Research Group, has never met a drug he didn't hate.


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