Saturday, October 1, 2011

The American Council on Science and Health, 2011: Week 39

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

CORRECTION
We incorrectly referred to Dr. Mehmet Oz as a "former physician" in yesterday's Dispatch.

ALL NATURAL

Yet another supplement bites the dust
New research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that saw palmetto, which was widely believed to relieve symptoms of prostate enlargement called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is no more effective than a placebo pill.

ASTHMA

Smarter ER treatment of asthma needed
Emergency room doctors need to prescribe preventive medication for kids on Medicaid who show up with an asthma attack, concludes a new study in the Journal of Pediatrics.

CANCER

Low tech but high benefit cervical cancer treatment
Household vinegar. Liquified carbon dioxide. Rural clinics. In Thailand, a successful procedure to screen for and treat cervical cancer demonstrates that innovative medicine need not always be at the cutting edge of technology.

COLONOSCOPIES

Good news for women: Fewer colonoscopies may be needed
If you're a woman approaching age 50, the conventionally recommended age to begin regular screening colonoscopies, it may be okay for you to wait another 15 years.

HORMONES

HRT may leave some women breathless
For some women on hormone replacement therapy (HRT), the risk of severe asthma attacks may increase, according to a new study led by Dr. Klaus Bonnelykke from the Danish Paediatric Asthma Centre in Copenhagen.

MENTAL

Depression meds and antiplatelet drugs not a good mix for heart patients
A new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal finds that heart patients on antiplatelet agents (such as Plavix and aspirin) who are prescribed a class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are at a greater risk of internal bleeding.

OBEISITY

A call for more commonsense dietary guidelines
At this week's annual American Dietetic Association conference in San Diego, ACSH advisor Dr. Adam Drewnowski, director of the Center for Public Health Nutrition at the University of Washington in Seattle, presented his latest research on the government's misguided dietary guidelines.

A surprising disconnect between sugar consumption and obesity
A study just published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found that American consumption of added sugars dipped from 2000 to 2008. We wonder how that information can be correlated with the conventional mantra that "added sugar," especially in soda, is the main cause of rampant obesity in America.

PHARMA

Sharing is caring for big pharma
In an effort to streamline drug development while saving time and costs, major pharmaceutical companies have joined and invested in the international Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC), which in return provides drug makers with open access to three-dimensional protein structures - the initial building block of drug discovery.

A lifesaving (but underused) drug for narcotic ODs
In 2009, nearly 37,500 people died from drug overdoses in the US. That number, writes Maia Szalavitz in The New York Times, could be significantly lowered if Naloxone (Narcan), a drug used to counter the effects of opiate overdose, were available over-the-counter and placed in every first aid kit.

SCARE MONGERING

Can we please stop worrying about apple juice? Please?
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) is calling on the FDA to set arsenic standards for imported juice concentrates and to increase inspection of concentrates from countries such as China that have been known to use inorganic arsenic in their pesticides.

TOBACCO

Dr. Benowitz stops short of advocating smokeless tobacco, yet again
Dr. Neal Benowitz, a professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and a member of the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee, acknowledges that use of smokeless tobacco (ST) could reduce harm to smokers if they switched to the products entirely.

Tobacco industry’s infamous past shouldn’t dictate smokeless tobacco’s hopeful future
In a letter to the FDA on modified risk tobacco products (MRTP), a coalition of public health non-profits, including the American Cancer Society, The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and the American Heart Association, cites the tobacco industry's long history of misleading the public.

NEJM drops the ball on smoking cessation
A lengthy article in this week's New England Journal of Medicine catalogues a variety of approaches to helping smokers quit within the healthcare setting, including counseling, smoking cessation medications such as bupropion and varenicline, as well as conventional nicotine replacement modalities like gum, inhalers, and patches.

VACCINES

Eradicating smallpox was no small feat
In an article in today's New York Times' Science Times, Dr. Lawrence K. Altman reminds readers that, to this day, smallpox is still the only disease to have been eradicated from the planet.

Ignorance is infectious
Washington state has one of the lowest childhood vaccination rates in the US: Currently, 6 percent of kids receive exemptions from a state law requiring that children be vaccinated before attending school.

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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