Saturday, January 15, 2011

American Council on Science and Health, 2011: Week Two

By Rich Kozlovich

This is week two in my effort to present enlightening information disseminated by the ACSH.  Information presented without a financial or philosophical ax to grind, other than to follow the facts wherever they lead. Dr Elizabeth Whelan (President and guiding light of the ACSH) was once charged with being a shill for her contributors by an environmental scare mongering group. Her response was that if they really believed that then they should write a check and see what happens. She never did get that check and the conversation ended.

As an FYI; each Friday I will post the information from the previous week and then link it in Green Notes on the next Friday, so that the Green Notes will always be a week behind.

Enjoy this week's contributions.

Calming Irritable Bowel Syndrome with an antibiotic
Affecting up to one in five Americans, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common gastrointestinal ailment that may cause abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea and constipation, particularly in women.

Experimental drug for triple-negative breast cancer may be a triple threat
Triple-negative breast cancer is typically difficult to treat because these cancer cells lack estrogen and progesterone receptors as well as large quantities of HER-2/neu protein, all of which are targets of existing drugs.

Chinese tobacco a veritable “fifth column” against anti-smoking efforts
Many people may find it surprising to learn that China's 300 million smokers consume a third of the world's cigarettes.

New indication for RA drug helps tackle disease
Based on phase III data from a recent study, the FDA has expanded the indication for Actemra, the rheumatoid arthritis (RA) drug tocilizumab.

Too much of a good thing? Fluoride water levels to be lowered
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the EPA have announced that they want the maximum allowable fluoride levels in municipal water supplies as recent data showed that more than one in three U.S. children have fluorosis, a condition caused by an excess of fluoride that can lead to tooth enamel mottling and discoloration.

Circumcision provides partial HPV protection
Recent findings suggest that male circumcision may offer some protection for the female partners of HPV-infected men.

Newer anti-psychotics may be over-prescribed
Newer antipsychotic drugs currently approved to treat schizophrenia are being increasingly prescribed for off-label indications, according to a study published in Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety.

A vegetarian food pyramid?
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is calling for a vegetarian alternative to the food pyramid, claiming that adherence to the current food pyramid is not adequately combating obesity and diabetes, and is thus illegal.

Menthol isn’t harmful — smoking is
In our nation's capital today, hearings are taking place on whether the FDA should ban menthol flavoring in cigarettes. In an especially timely editorial on the subject in The Daily Caller, ACSH Medical Director Dr. Gilbert Ross notes that "no toxicity is specifically attributed to menthol." It's not the smoking of menthol cigarettes, he says, that is the problem, but the smoking of cigarettes per se.

Not so depressing: Prozac for stroke patients?
Yesterday brought news, first reported in the medical journal Lancet Neurology, that patients suffering a stroke recovered better when they were prescribed fluoxetine, the anti-depressant medication more commonly known by its trade name Prozac, than if they were prescribed a placebo.

Antibodies from H1N1 survivors may be useful
The Journal of Experimental Medicine has just published a study with a striking and unexpected finding: antibodies from the blood of recovered victims of the 2009 epidemic of H1N1 flu virus ("swine" flu) protect against many other forms of the flu, including nearly all H1N1 strains from the past and Avian flu.

Letters on smokeless tobacco and fluorosis
ACSH takes great pride in the distinction won by our remarkable roster of friends and advisors. Their knowledge and insight informs our work. Today we take delight in offering the perspectives of two men who contacted us about recent subjects of our Dispatch.

Pregnant women lie about smoking while smoking parents put children at risk for high blood pressure
Pregnant women who smoke are ashamed to admit it.

BPA, phthalates falsely incriminated in junk science studies
In a confusing study from the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, researchers compared 71 women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal disorder affecting up to ten percent of women of reproductive age, to 100 healthy women of the same age and weight and found that women with PCOS had higher levels of bisphenol A (BPA) in their blood.

Trust Us: if you’re over 60, get your shingles vaccine
Shingles is an often painful and blistering skin rash caused by the varicella-zoster virus - the same virus responsible for chickenpox - and is most common in people over 50.

New study pregnant with anti-chemical quackery
An outlandish study from professors at the University of California, San Francisco, published today in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, reports that almost pregnant women harbor at least one out of 163 different "potentially harmful" chemicals in their blood, urine or serum.

Can you see me now? Incidence of AMD declines
The incidence of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 50 - a result of damage to the center of the retina – has decreased in the last 15 years.

Trials for new malaria vaccine instill hope
After reporting yesterday on the looming threat of the spread of a drug-resistant form of falciparum malaria, we now bring brighter news of two phase II trials indicating that a leading candidate malaria vaccine (RTS,S/AS01E) provides protection against the parasitic disease for at least 15 months after inoculation.

Prescription drugs face acetaminophen restrictions
Acetaminophen, the key ingredient used in over-the-counter (OTC) drugs like Tylenol and Nyquil, will be limited to only 325 milligrams per dose in prescription painkillers such as Vicodin and Percocet, the FDA announced yesterday.

Another u-turn in the controversy over antibiotics for ear infections in children
To prescribe or not prescribe? That is the question that pediatricians have been grappling with over many years as they debate whether to use antibiotics to treat acute otitis media, or ear infections, in toddlers or whether to adhere to the "watch and wait" approach.

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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