Sunday, July 17, 2011

American Council on Science and Health, 2011: Week 27

The presence of linked articles here are merely a way of showing what is going on, whether I agree or disagree with the positions presented. Rich Kozlovich

Of fenugreek, organics, and E. coli outbreaks: A reader writes in
Dr. Rosemary Stanton, a nutritionist based in Australia, writes in response to our (June 16) coverage of the E. coli outbreak in Europe.

Obesity

Will a new nutritional database fortify consumer awareness?
In a co-authored commentary for the Archives of Internal Medicine, New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley and Dr. Lynn Silver, director of the Office of Science and Policy, call on the FDA to provide consumers with a public, product-specific national nutritional database containing information similar to what can now be found on individual products in the grocery or supermarket.

Access to healthy groceries in food deserts a fruitless effort
How do you combat obesity in low-income neighborhoods?

A “ModestProposal: JAMA calls for removing obese children from their homes
Should a child's morbid obesity be classified as "abuse and neglect" on the part of the parents, and thus grounds for state interventions like moving a child to foster care?

Report cards with kids’ BMIs get a big fat F
ACSH has been skeptical about the recent move by various school districts (about 30 percent nationwide since 2006) to reduce the toll of childhood obesity by sending overweight or obese children home with letters reporting their body-mass index (BMI), which is a crude measure of weight relative to height.

In a nutshell: Replacing carbs with nuts may improve diabetes control
New research suggests that diabetics struggling to control their blood sugar (glucose) and cholesterol levels should try replacing carbohydrate-rich snacks with nuts.

Regulations

EPA’s agenda outranks scientific concerns
One need not look any further than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to realize that "science often kowtows to politics in today's policy debates."

99.99% lead-free: 100% unnecessary
Despite repeated requests for sensible modifications to the stringent restrictions on lead in products that might be used by children, as mandated by the 2008 Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), no such easing is forthcoming.

New contraceptive guidelines for some new moms
Women who have just given birth and are older than 34 or have had a Cesarean section are now advised to avoid contraceptives containing estrogen, say new government guidelines.

Studies

A possible new approach to cardiovascular screening
Who exactly should be screened for cardiovascular disease? New research indicates that a computerized tomography (CT) scan of the coronary arteries can uncover risks of heart disease even in patients without clinical symptoms or even risk factors.

Study alleging link between non-stick surfaces and arthritis does not pan out
Researchers at the School of Medicine at West Virginia University have violated every tenet of sound epidemiology, says ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross, in their attempt to link levels of a chemical used to make teflon-like surfaces to "arthritis" among a population of people exposed to "tainted" water.

Diabetics’ Hearing Also Needs Monitoring
While physicians may be used to screening their diabetic patients for numerous complications associated with the disease, up until now they've had few reasons to expect to see hearing loss in these patients.

This and That

Called the "July Effect," this phenomenon refers to the medical trainee
changeovers that occur in teaching hospitals during the month of July and which have long been associated with an increase in mortality rates and medical errors.

“Eight glasses of water a day” myth doesn’t float
The only ones still urging consumers to strive to drink eight eight-ounce glasses of water a day are the bottled water companies, argues Dr. Margaret McCartney in a British Medical Journal commentary.

Sudden death on the field
The media have reported on a number of high profile cases of professional athletes who have died suddenly on the field - most prominently, that of NFL player Korey Stinger, who died in 2001 from exertional heat stroke.

Vaccines and Pharmaceuticals

Get the shot. You do NOT want to get shingles
Anyone who's had chicken pox (varicella zoster, a member of the herpes family of viruses) has a one-in-three chance of developing shingles many years later, and the risk only increases with age.

Vaccines save lives and $$
As any regular Dispatch reader knows, vaccines save millions of lives worldwide. Now, a recent report published in the the CDC's Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report makes it clear that they also save billions of dollars - and that's in the U.S. alone.

Preventing HIV: From how? to who?
In May, the world marveled at news that early anti-retroviral treatment of those who are HIV-positive reduced the chance of one partner infecting another by over 96 percent. Now, in a new study...

Are generic pills “trade dressed” for success?
Generic drugs should be manufactured to look exactly like their name brand counterparts, write Dr. Jeremy Greene and Dr. Aaron Kesselheim in an editorial for the New England Journal of Medicine.


Congressional conflicts about FDA “conflicts-of-interest” slow drug research

As Congress sets to work on a five-year FDA reauthorization bill, Republicans are proposing to ease recent conflict-of-interest rules they believe are depriving the agency of much needed pharmaceutical expertise.


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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