Thursday, December 08, 2016

Using Adverse Event Reports to Monitor Cosmetic Safety

Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition

Using Adverse Event Reports to Monitor Cosmetic Safety

December 8, 2016

It’s not an exaggeration to say that everyone uses cosmetics, be it shampoo, mouthwash, a moisturizer or deodorant. The FDA monitors cosmetics on the market to ensure that they are safe for consumers.

One way in which FDA finds out about a safety issue is when an adverse event report (AER) is filed by a consumer, manufacturer, or health care professional. An adverse event could be any problem experienced when using a cosmetic product. On Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016, FDA announced that it is making public certain data that the agency’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) receives about adverse events associated with the use of its regulated products, which include cosmetics.

Why FDA Is Making Data Extracted from Reports of Adverse Events for Foods and Cosmetics Available to the Public

A Brighter Outlook Could Translate To A Longer Life

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/12/07/504709736/a-brighter-outlook-could-translate-to-a-longer-life

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Vitamin D Eases Depression, Fatigue in Spinal Cord Patients

For patients with spinal cord injury who have insufficient levels of vitamin D, supplements can improve symptoms of depression and fatigue, according to a report presented to the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2016 Annual Assembly.

And in these patients, pain severity scores were significantly better with high-dose supplements than with low-dose supplements.

"We need to screen everyone with spinal cord injury for vitamin D," said the lead author.

In the study, all patients had levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D were below 30, even those that hailed from "sunny California".

Patients randomly allocated to the low-dose group received 800 IU of vitamin D daily for 6 months. Those randomly assigned to the high-dose group received 2000 IU daily for 6 months if their baseline blood levels were 20 to 30. They received 4000 IU daily for 1 month and 2000 IU daily for 5 months if their baseline blood levels were lower than 20.

During the study period, all patients experienced a significant increase in average 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels. High-dose supplementation was associated with a significant decrease in depression and fatigue.

Study Calls Into Question Sunscreen in Melanoma Prevention

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/871438

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Why Stop at Sugary Drinks?

Tax sugary drinks to fight obesity and diabetes, World Health Organization says.
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-sugar-idUSKCN12B0ZB

Coke and Pepsi Give Millions to Public Health, Then Lobby Against It.
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/10/well/eat/coke-and-pepsi-give-millions-to-public-health-then-lobby-against-it.html?_r=0

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Monsanto Bought Out

Monsanto has accepted Bayer AG’s $66 billion takeover offer, which will make the new entity the largest seed and pesticide company in the world.

If the merger goes through, we’ll be left with just four companies providing 59 percent of the global seeds and 64 percent of the world’s pesticides, which some predict will be a disaster for the global food system.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Friday, September 16, 2016

Splenda Naturals: Here We Go!

Due to declining sales of their flagship artificial sweetener, Splenda has produced a rival to Truvia and PureVia.

It has the same ingredients as the other two: stevia extract and erythritol.

They market it as a natural non-caloric sweetener, but as you know now, erythritol is anything but natural.

https://www.splenda.com/naturals

Don't buy into the hype! 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Huge Lancet Review on Statins Littered With Conflict of Interest

There was a ton of press on statins a few weeks ago. Take any of it with a grain of salt. Look at the conflict of interest with the authors of the study!

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(16)31357-5/fulltext

"Declaration of interests from the authors

JA, CB, LB, RC, JE, RP, DP, and CR work in the Clinical Trial Service Unit & Epidemiological Studies Unit (CTSU) at the University of Oxford. The CTSU has received research grants from Abbott, AstraZeneca, Bayer, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, Roche, Schering, and Solvay that are governed by University of Oxford contracts that protect its independence, and it has a staff policy of not taking personal payments from industry (with reimbursement sought only for the costs of travel and accommodation to attend scientific meetings). RC is co-inventor of a genetic test for statin-related myopathy risk, but receives no income from it. DP has participated in advisory meetings for Sanofi related to PCSK9 inhibitor therapy in his previous employment. The CTT Collaboration, which is coordinated by CTSU with colleagues from the University of Sydney, does not receive industry funding. JD has received research grants from, and served as a consultant to, Merck and Pfizer. GDS has twice received travel and accommodation funding and honoraria from Merck; DD receives compensation for serving on data monitoring committees for clinical trials (including of statins) funded by Abbvie, Actelion, Amgen, AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Sanofi, and Teva. NW and ML are inventors of a combination formulation for the prevention of cardiovascular disease that includes a statin, covered by patents licensed to Polypill in which they both hold shares and which owns the website polypill.com. SMac has received research grants for research on statins and polypill development from Bristol-Myers Squibb and BUPA. SMar is co-inventor on a pending patent for a LDL cholesterol estimation method, and has served as an advisor to Sanofi, Regeneron, Quest Diagnostics, Pressed Juicery, and Abbott Nutrition. NP has received research grants and honoraria for participating in advisory meetings and giving lectures from Amgen, Lilly, Menorini, and Merck. PR has received investigator-initiated research grants from Amgen, AstraZeneca, Kowa, Novartis, and Pfizer. PSe has received research grants and honoraria for consultancies from Amgen and Pfizer. LS has undertaken advisory work unrelated to statins for AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline. SY has received a research grant from AstraZeneca through Hamilton Health Sciences. AR declares that George Health Enterprises, the social enterprise arm of The George Institute, has received investment to develop combination products containing statin, aspirin, and blood-pressure-lowering drugs. JS has received grants from the National Health and Medical Research Council, Australia; Bayer Pharmaceuticals; Roche; and Merck Serono. RB, SE, BN, IR, and PSa declare no competing interests."

Prostate Cancer: Watchful Waiting Does Not Up Death Risk in Older men

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/15/health/prostate-cancer.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fhealth

Yucky Federal GMO Bill Becomes Law

Aside from overriding state and local laws, what are some of the DARK Act’s other fundamental deficiencies?

  • There is no requirement for on-package labeling of GMO foods.
  • As many as 100 million Americans lack the ability to find out product specifics by not being able to access QR codes.
  • The biotech-friendly USDA – not the FDA – is charged with creating the law’s actual labeling rules over the next two years.
  • The bill leaves totally unclear what will be considered a GMO food and/or ingredient. According to the FDA, most foods typically thought of as being produced or made with GMO ingredients will not be covered by the bill’s narrow definition of genetic engineering. The USDA might raise the threshold for incidental GMO contamination from the currently accepted .09% to as high as 30% while still calling that non-GMO!
  • The bill suggests that the USDA harmonize its ultimate definition of genetic engineering with the organic law’s definitions – something that could create a huge loophole into organic’s current strict prohibitions on GMO technology.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Sugar, Artificial Sweetener Addiction Treatment

Neuroscientists said in a study in PLOS ONE, drugs used to treat nicotine addiction could be used to treat sugar addiction in animals. The study coincides with another paper by the same neuroscientists in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience.

Once and for all, we can admit that long chronic sugar intake can cause eating disorders and impact on behavior.

Excess sugar consumption elevate dopamine levels which control the brain's reward and pleasure centers in a way that is similar to many drugs of abuse including tobacco, cocaine and morphine. After long-term consumption, this leads to the opposite, a reduction in dopamine levels. This leads to higher consumption of sugar to get the same level of reward.

The found that FDA approved drugs like varenicline, a prescription medication trading as Champix which treats nicotine addiction, can work the same way when it comes to sugar cravings.

To the researcher's surprise, the study also found that artificial sweeteners could produce effects similar to those obtained with table sugar.

Vitamin C Lowers Cataract Risk

A diet rich in vitamin C could cut risk of cataract progression by a third, suggests a study published in a recent issue of Ophthalmology. The research is also the first to show that diet and lifestyle may play a greater role than genetics in cataract development and severity.

From more than 1,000 pairs of female twins analyzed, diets rich in vitamin C were associated with a 20 percent risk reduction for cataract. After 10 years, there was a 33 percent risk reduction of cataract progression.

Genetic factors accounted for 35 percent of the difference in cataract progression. Environmental factors, such as diet, accounted for 65 percent.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Extra safety for female joggers

Due to the recent tragic slayings of two NY joggers, it is more important than ever that runners take the necessary safety precautions when running/walking/hiking outdoors or on campus. These horrific events have people asking themselves "are we really safe when we run?"

SABRE, the world's number one pepper spray has released an athletic line of safety products to help deter danger. They have a Runner Personal Alarm with Adjustable Wrist Strap and their Runner Pepper Gel

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Poison control centers are getting a surge of calls about ‘natural’ painkiller kratom

The herbal supplement seemed like a miracle. Trying to kick an opioid addiction, the middle-aged man found he could soothe his cravings with a tea made from an Asian plant called kratom. It relieved his pain and made him more alert.

But when he combined it with a stimulant, it also gave him a seizure that landed him in a Boston-area emergency room.

Those kinds of stories are on the rise, according to a study published Thursday in a weekly report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of calls to poison centers about problems stemming from kratom ingestion have increased tenfold over five years, from 26 in 2010 to 263 in 2015.

In many cases called into the poison control centers, the side effects of kratom were relatively mild: nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, and agitation. But there was one death, of a patient who took other drugs along with kratom. Other patients who took multiple substances suffered serious side effects — like the middle-aged Massachusetts man whose story was reported as a case study in the journal Addiction.

Kratom comes from the glossy leaves of a tree grown in the jungles of Southeast Asia. Traditionally, in countries like Thailand, the leaves have been crushed or brewed into tea and used as a painkiller or a replacement for opioids. That’s because a few of the chemicals in the leaf stimulate the same brain receptors as drugs like oxycodone and morphine.

Kratom is marketed as a natural herbal supplement, but it can be highly addictive. And clinicians and researchers worry about opioid users who try to wean themselves off drugs using kratom rather than seeking professional help.

“They want to turn their lives around, they want to get back on track, they turn to kratom,” said Oliver Grundmann, a pharmacologist at the University of Florida who was not involved in the report on poison control calls. “They take more and more and more, but it doesn’t do the job, and then they turn to heroin.”

Little is known about the exact workings of kratom on the brain, but it seems to function as a stimulant at low doses and a depressant at high doses, said Royal Law, an epidemiologist at the CDC and a coauthor of the study in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The new tally of poison center calls comes as kratom has emerged as a significant public health concern.

Six states have banned kratom, and others are considering restrictions, according to the website of the American Kratom Association. The Food and Drug Administration has banned its importation. But it is still widely available online, in tea or capsule form. Some researchers have even found packets of it sold in gas stations.

The Drug Enforcement Administration has classified kratom as a drug of concern, but that does not prevent its sale or use.

Detection of Poly- and Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs) in U.S. Drinking Water Linked to Industrial Sites, Military Fire Training Areas, and Wastewater Treatment Plants

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.estlett.6b00260

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Carrageenan not toxic to intestinal cells: study

Carrageenan is a common food additive used for its gelling and thickening properties. It has become a controversial ingredient over the last five years.

A study in the upcoming October issue of Food and Chemical Toxicity examined the effects of carrageenan on cell permeability, cytotoxicity, and cytokine gene expression in human intestinal and hepatic cell lines.

Three common forms of the food additive carrageenan were tested in vitro.

The carrageenan tested were subjected to advanced identity and purity testing.

Carrageenan was evaluated in three human intestinal cell lines.

Endpoints included permeability, cytotoxicity, and induction of cytokines.

Carrageenan was negative in all endpoints evaluated.

In conclusion, carrageenan was not absorbed, and was not cytotoxic. It did not induce oxidative stress, and did not induce proinflammatory proteins.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Dangerous Drug Combo

Thyroid Hormone and Proton Pump Inhibitors

Thyroid supplementation is extremely common. Some frequently used drugs, including proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), can interfere with thyroid hormone absorption, causing patients whose disease was previously well-controlled on a thyroid hormone to develop hypothyroidism.

The interaction between levothyroxine and omeprazole in patients with impaired gastric acid secretion requires an increased dose of oral thyroxine, which suggests that normal acid secretion is necessary for effective oral absorption of thyroxine. Patients with hypothyroidism who are euthyroid and on levothyroxine may need thyroid function testing after initiation of a PPI, especially if symptoms of hypothyroidism emerge. And those with impaired gastric acid secretion may require an increased dose of levothyroxine to keep the thyroid-stimulating hormone level within range.

The product labeling for levothyroxine recommends that it not be administered simultaneously. If concurrent use is necessary, administration of the agents should be separated by 4 hours.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Diet Inextricably Linked to Rheumatoid Arthritis

Your diet greatly influences your chances of developing rheumatoid arthritis. Two studies presented recently at the American College of Rheumatology annual meeting found those who ate a diet high in red and processed meat, refined grains, fried food, high-fat dairy and sweets were more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than those who ate a diet high in fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, poultry and fish.

Surprisingly, the same research team found that even following the Dietary Guidelines for Americans can lower the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder, is characterized by pain, stiffness and swelling in multiple joints. The cause is unknown, and it can lead to joint damage and deformity. More women develop it than men.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

House Passes Chemical Safety Law Reform

https://www.environmentalleader.com/2016/05/24/house-passes-chemical-safety-law-reform/

FDA rules on evaporated cane juice

We completely agree with this ruling. Sugar is sugar no mater how you spin it label-wise.

FDA: "This guidance is intended to help consumers make informed choices among sweeteners by promoting accurate and consistent labeling.  To that end, we are advising the regulated industry of our view that the term “evaporated cane juice” is not the common or usual name of any type of sweetener and that this ingredient should instead be declared on food labels as “sugar,” preceded by one or more truthful, non-misleading descriptors if the manufacturer so chooses  (e.g., “cane sugar”)."

http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/ucm181491.htm?source=govdelivery&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Meditation + Running a Great Combo

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/03/16/meditation-plus-running-as-a-treatment-for-depression/?ref=health&_r=0

Sitting...yikes

Sitting for more than 3 hours per day is responsible for 3.8% of all-cause mortality, according to an analysis of behavioral surveys from 54 countries.

Importantly, reducing sitting time to less than 3 hours daily could increase life expectancy by an average of 0.20 years, as reported in an article published in the March issue of American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Although previous research has linked excessive sitting time with a number of health concerns, including obesity and metabolic syndrome, and with an increased risk for death from cardiovascular disease and cancer, even among people who exercise regularly, other findings have not supported this conclusion.

Excessive sitting is common in modern culture and is determined by multiple social and environmental factors, all of which are "strongly influenced by the current economic system, including a greater number of labor-saving devices for commuting, at home and work, and urban environment inequalities that force people to travel longer distances and live in areas that lack support for active lifestyles," the authors state. In this regard, "only interventions aimed at tackling the macro determinants of sedentary behavior will be able to achieve the bolder scenarios assumed in the analysis."

Here's a tip: Stand up every 20 minutes!!

How to test your water

http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20160404/news/160409669/

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Researchers reveal Zika virus structure, a critical advance in the development of treatments

A team led by Purdue University researchers is the first to determine the structure of the Zika virus, which reveals insights critical to the development of effective antiviral treatments and vaccines.

The team also identified regions within the Zika virus structure where it differs from other flaviviruses, the family of viruses to which Zika belongs that includes dengue, West Nile, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis and tick-borne encephalitic viruses.

A paper detailing the findings was published Thursday (March 31) in the journal Science and is available online.

Any regions within the virus structure unique to Zika have the potential to explain differences in how a virus is transmitted and how it manifests as a disease, said Richard Kuhn, director of the Purdue Institute for Inflammation, Immunology and Infectious Diseases (PI4D) who led the research team with Michael Rossmann, Purdue’s Hanley Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences.

“The structure of the virus provides a map that shows potential regions of the virus that could be targeted by a therapeutic treatment, used to create an effective vaccine or to improve our ability to diagnose and distinguish Zika infection from that of other related viruses,” said Kuhn, who also is head of Purdue’s Department of Biological Sciences. “Determining the structure greatly advances our understanding of Zika - a virus about which little is known. It illuminates the most promising areas for further testing and research to combat infection.”

The Zika virus, a mosquito-borne disease, has recently been associated with a birth defect called microcephaly that causes brain damage and an abnormally small head in babies born to mothers infected during pregnancy. It also has been associated with the autoimmune disease Guillain-Barré syndrome, which can lead to temporary paralysis. In the majority of infected individuals symptoms are mild and include fever, skin rashes and flulike illness, according to the World Health Organization.

Zika virus transmission has been reported in 33 countries. Of the countries where Zika virus is circulating 12 have reported an increased incidence of Guillain-Barré syndrome, and Brazil and French Polynesia have reported an increase in microcephaly, according to WHO. In February WHO declared the Zika virus to be “a public health emergency of international concern.”

“This breakthrough illustrates not only the importance of basic research to the betterment of human health, but also its nimbleness in quickly addressing a pressing global concern,” said Purdue President Mitch Daniels. “This talented team of researchers solved a very difficult puzzle in a remarkably short period of time, and have provided those working on developing vaccines and treatments to stop this virus a map to guide their way.”

Rossmann and Kuhn collaborated with Theodore Pierson, chief of the viral pathogenesis section of the Laboratory of Viral Diseases at the National Institutes of Health National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Additional research team members include Purdue graduate student Devika Sirohi and postdoctoral research associates Zhenguo Chen, Lei Sun and Thomas Klose.

The team’s paper marks the first published success of the new Purdue Institute for Inflammation, Immunology and Infectious Diseases in Purdue’s Discovery Park.

The university’s recently announced $250 million investment in the life sciences funded the purchase of advanced equipment that allowed the team to do in a couple of months what otherwise would have taken years, Rossmann said.

 “We were able to determine through cryo-electron microscopy the virus structure at a resolution that previously would only have been possible through X-ray crystallography,” he said. “Since the 1950s X-ray crystallography has been the standard method for determining the structure of viruses, but it requires a relatively large amount of virus, which isn’t always available; it can be very difficult to do, especially for viruses like Zika that have a lipid membrane and don’t organize accurately in a crystal; and it takes a long time. Now, we can do it through electron microscopy and view the virus in a more native state. This was unthinkable only a few years ago.”

The team studied a strain of Zika virus isolated from a patient infected during the French Polynesia epidemic and determined the structure to 3.8Å. At this near-atomic resolution key features of the virus structure can be seen and groups of atoms that form specific chemical entities, such as those that represent one of 20 naturally occurring amino acids, can be recognized, Rossmann said.

The team found the structure to be very similar to that of other flaviviruses with an RNA genome surrounded by a lipid, or fatty, membrane inside an icosahedral protein shell.

The strong similarity with other flaviviruses was not surprising and is perhaps reassuring in terms of vaccine development already underway, but the subtle structural differences are possibly key, Sirohi said.

“Most viruses don’t invade the nervous system or the developing fetus due to blood-brain and placental barriers, but the association with improper brain development in fetuses suggest Zika does,” Sirohi said. “It is not clear how Zika gains access to these cells and infects them, but these areas of structural difference may be involved. These unique areas may be crucial and warrant further investigation.”

The team found that all of the known flavivirus structures differ in the amino acids that surround a glycosylation site in the virus shell. The shell is made up of 180 copies of two different proteins. These, like all proteins, are long chains of amino acids folded into particular structures to create a protein molecule, Rossmann said.

The glycosylation site where Zika virus differs from other flaviviruses protrudes from the surface of the virus. A carbohydrate molecule consisting of various sugars is attached to the viral protein surface at this site.

In many other viruses it has been shown that as the virus projects a glycosylation site outward, an attachment receptor molecule on the surface of a human cell recognizes the sugars and binds to them, Kuhn said.

The virus is like a menacing stranger luring an unsuspecting victim with the offer of sweet candy. The human cell gladly reaches out for the treat and then is caught by the virus, which, once attached, may initiate infection of that cell.

The glycosylation site and surrounding residues on Zika virus may also be involved in attachment to human cells, and the differences in the amino acids between different flaviviruses could signify differences in the kinds of molecules to which the virus can attach and the different human cells it can infect, Rossmann said.

“If this site functions as it does in dengue and is involved in attachment to human cells, it could be a good spot to target an antiviral compound,” Rossmann said. “If this is the case, perhaps an inhibitor could be designed to block this function and keep the virus from attaching to and infecting human cells.”

The team plans to pursue further testing to evaluate the different regions as targets for treatment and to develop potential therapeutic molecules, Kuhn said.

Kuhn and Rossmann have studied flaviviruses, the family of viruses to which Zika belongs, for more than 14 years. They were the first to map the structure of any flavivirus when they determined the dengue virus structure in 2002. In 2003 they were first to determine the structure of West Nile virus and now they are the first to do so with the Zika virus.

Trader Joe’s to Close All Stores by 2017, Plans to Discontinue Products

https://www.yahoo.com/style/trader-joe-close-stores-2017-104416372.html

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Thirdhand smoke is real

Thirdhand smoke (THS) results when exhaled smoke gets on surfaces -- clothing, hair, homes and cars. THS has been shown, in mice, to damage the liver and lungs, complicate wound-healing and cause hyperactivity. Add to this list now type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease.

Research published in PLOS ONE shows, in mice, that THS exposure causes insulin resistance, a precursor to type 2 diabetes.

If confirmed in humans, our study could greatly impact how people view exposure to environmental tobacco toxins. Children and the elderly are especially vulnerable to THS and its impact on health. Because infants frequently crawl on carpets and touch objects exposed to exhaled smoke, they are at high risk for THS exposure. The elderly are at high risk simply because older organs are more susceptible to disease.

THS consists of tobacco smoke toxins that linger on surfaces and in dust after tobacco has been smoked. This includes toxins that become increasingly toxic with age and are re-emitted into the air or react with other chemicals in the environment to produce new pollutants. Some of these pollutants are carcinogenic.

To rid a house of THS, you have to strip the home of everything -- furniture, appliances, paint, clothes, ducts, ventilation -- that could have THS. It would be more effective to simply move. There are cleaners we can use, but that would mean exposure to other strong chemicals.

Little was known about the specific health implications of human exposure to THS until this study.

Spouse Can Harm, Help Health

From the March 2016 issue of American Journal of Epidemiology

Low physical activity levels are a public health concern. Few studies have assessed the concordance of physical activity change among spouses. We studied this concordance during a 6-year period (baseline: 1987–1989; follow-up: 1993–1995) in 3,261 spousal pairs from the US-based Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study. Linear regression was used to examine the association between change in individuals' sport/exercise and leisure physical activity indices (ranging from 1 (low) to 5 (high)) and change in his or her spouse's indices. The association between individual and spousal changes in meeting physical activity recommendations was assessed with logistic regression. Individual changes in the sport/exercise and leisure indices were positively associated with spousal changes. For every standard deviation increase in their wives' sport/exercise index, men's exercise index increased by 0.09 (95% confidence interval: 0.05, 0.12) standard deviation; for every standard deviation increase in their wives’ leisure index, men's leisure index increased by 0.08 standard deviation. Results were similar for women. Individuals had higher odds of meeting physical activity recommendations if their spouse met recommendations at both visits or just follow-up. In conclusion, changes in an individual's physical activity are positively associated with changes in his or her spouse's physical activity. Physical activity promotion efforts should consider targeting couples.

Married couples might be an appropriate target for obesity prevention interventions. In the present study, we aimed to evaluate whether an individual's risk of obesity is associated with spousal risk of obesity and whether an individual's change in body mass index (BMI; weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared) is associated with spousal BMI change. We analyzed data from 3,889 spouse pairs in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study cohort who were sampled at ages 45–65 years from 1986 to 1989 and followed for up to 25 years. We estimated hazard ratios for incident obesity by whether spouses remained nonobese, became obese, remained obese, or became nonobese. We estimated the association of participants' BMI changes with concurrent spousal BMI changes using linear mixed models. Analyses were stratified by sex. At baseline, 22.6% of men and 24.7% of women were obese. Nonobese participants whose spouses became obese were more likely to become obese themselves (for men, hazard ratio = 1.78, 95% confidence interval: 1.30, 2.43; for women, hazard ratio = 1.89, 95% confidence interval: 1.39, 2.57). With each 1-unit increase in spousal BMI change, women's BMI change increased by 0.15 (95% confidence interval: 0.13, 0.18) and men's BMI change increased by 0.10 (95% confidence interval: 0.09, 0.12). Having a spouse become obese nearly doubles one's risk of becoming obese. Future research should consider exploring the efficacy of obesity prevention interventions in couples.


Thursday, March 03, 2016

Metformin's Issues

Metformin-related vitamin B12 deficiency might contribute to clinically significant peripheral neuropathy in diabetes patients, new research suggests from the European Association for the Study of Diabetes Meeting.

"The consequences of vitamin B12 deficiency, like neuropathy or mental changes, may be profound. Even more, they may be difficult to diagnose, because they may be ascribed to old age or diabetes itself and may be or become irreversible. On the other hand, vitamin B12 deficiency is relatively easy to diagnose, and treatment is easy, cheap, and effective," the lead researcher commented.

Corroborating with previous research raises concern that the drug may be contributing to peripheral neuropathy separate from the effect of the diabetes itself.

Neurologists Use Mindfulness Protocols

From Practical Neurology 12/2015

Mindfulness training—mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and mindfulness-based stress reduction—is an evidence-based group program for reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression and building long-term capacity for emotion regulation, stress coping and enhancing quality of life.

It combines training of attention to moment-by-moment experience with practising a self-caring attitude and insight into self-defeating patterns of thought and behaviour.

It has been applied effectively in diverse clinical groups, including neurological patients and a variety of physical and mental health conditions.

It may be particularly relevant for people with long-term or deteriorating conditions.

It is best learned in a formal 8-week course. It is worth suggesting self-help and online formats to those who are sufficiently motivated.

Anxiety Takes Its Toll on the Heart

Anxiety has emerged as perhaps the most important risk factor for cardiovascular disease, according to a new study in Current Opinion in Psychiatry. Anxiety increases the risk of major cardiac events in coronary heart disease. There is also a need for elucidating the influence of anxiety in cardiomyopathy and hypertension.

Moreover, the researchers suggest that anxiety is an antecedent risk factor, so it influences the prognosis in patients with cardiovascular disease, and needs to be recognized and managed at every step. Anxiety drives other risk factors, such as depression, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, substance use, and overweight.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

DGA Call to Action: Supplemental Nutrients Needed

The 2015/2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans identified potassium, dietary fiber, choline, magnesium, calcium, and vitamins A, D, E, and C as shortfall nutrients. That is, nutrients that are consumed by many individuals in amounts below the Estimated Average Requirement or Adequate Intake levels. More specifically, the guidelines identified calcium, potassium, dietary fiber, and vitamin D as “nutrients of public health concern because low intakes are associated with health concerns,” and suggested supplementing with vitamin D, “especially when sunshine exposure is limited due to climate or the use of sunscreen.”

While the current formulation of the guidelines is big step up for the official recognition of the importance of dietary supplements, especially those supplying significant levels of essential nutrients. The issue for other important nutrients, specifically the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA is a little less clear cut. The guidelines addressed EPA and DHA specifically in a section discussing targets for the consumption of seafood. Americans in general fall woefully short of what is considered healthful intake levels.

Friday, February 05, 2016

One horrific, one great decision for kids

Great Decision
Decreasing the amount of caloric beverages consumed and simultaneously increasing water consumption is important to promoting child health and decreasing the prevalence of childhood obesity.

New York public schools installed filtered water jets and found an association in decreased student weight. Reduced milk and chocolate milk purchases purchases were one of the reasons why. The research appeared in last month's JAMA Pediatrics.

Horrific Decision
EFSA, which is the FDA of Europe, approved the artificial sweetener sucralose for infant medical foods, as well as for foods and beverages in children aged one to three.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

My Ordeal

I have wanted to share something with you for four months. Unfortunately, for legal reasons, I could not speak about it until now. Many of you know what I am talking about. I appreciate your willingness to indulge me as I feel it critically important to clear my name.

On a mid-September evening after meeting my husband for dinner after work, I was driving home in a violent rainstorm. All of a sudden, I was pulled over by police, arrested, and charged with multiple violations, including a hit and run accident and driving under the influence.

Of course, I was stunned because I did not hit any car and was not inebriated. Regrettably, I was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time.

I have dedicated my life to helping people. I would never jeopardize that ideal through such an act of cowardice.

Many of you read about my situation in the local media or heard it through the grapevine. I am speaking of it now because my reputation as a wife, mother, and health professional was tarnished. I felt embarrassed, humiliated, and every other emotion you can imagine. Publicizing my arrest in the media before innocence or guilt was determined took its toll on me.

I am truly humbled by those of you who reached out to me in support.

I vehemently defended my innocence every step of the way and am elated to say that the truth won out. Every charge against me was dropped, my case was thrown out of court, and any record of the unfortunate incident was totally expunged from public record.

In addition, the judge admonished law enforcement for their poor judgement, lying under oath, and overly aggressive treatment.

I now understand more than most that every day, people end up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Please come away from this knowing that, at least in my case, if you fight for what you believe in, the truth can win out in the end.

Sincerely, Bonnie

Elite Athletes Try a New Training Tactic: More Vitamin D

http://www.wsj.com/articles/elite-athletes-try-a-new-training-tactic-more-vitamin-d-1453745154

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Navigate the Yogurt Culture War

We are reposting this now that yogurt makers are suing each other left and right over marketing claims. Cornucopia came up with a great piece and yogurt scorecard in late 2014.

http://www.cornucopia.org/Yogurt