Homeopathy has been a controversial subject for years, as it gathered followers among patients who say its remedies are effective and safe, while also being criticized by most researchers who explain its treatments offer no more aid than a placebo.
After issues within the industry in recent years, the Food and Drug Administration announced it wants to reexamine how it oversees homeopathic products. According to the current law, these products can be produced and marketed without approval from regulators.
Should the FDA be the regulator of homeopathic cures such as Cold-Eeze the same way it does with regular drugs such as Advil?
Thousands of public comments have been sent to the FDA before of two days of hearings that start on Monday. The agency announced it wants more research and data to “better assess the risks and benefits” of homeopathic remedies, which have gained a permanent spot on modern pharmacy shelves, often being sold alongside regular pharmaceutical drugs.
The FDA has not decided yet about whether to modify how it judges homeopathic products, said Cynthia Schnedar, director of the Office of Compliance at the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
The FDA has emitted almost 40 warning letters since 2009 to firms which produce homeopathic products, Schnedar explained. Last month, the agency issued a warning to consumers not to purchase over-the-counter asthma products which are labeled as homeopathic, explaining they have not been revised for safety and effectiveness.
In 2009, the FDA advised consumers to stop taking several types of Zicam cold treatments after news of more than 130 cases of people losing their sense of smell; the company recalled its products.
In 2010, Hyland’s Teething Tablets were called back after reports of negative reactions in some children; the tablets were reintroduced on the market with a new formulation.
Homeopathic remedies have had the same legal status as regular drugs since 1938, when then-New York Sen. Royal Copeland, who was a homeopathy enthusiast, helped promote a landmark drug law through Congress.
In the 1970s, lawmakers offered the FDA the right to review the safety and effectiveness of over-the-counter remedies. But the agency refused reviewing homeopathic treatments, while its last evaluation of policies was back in 1988. It has permitted most prescription but also nonprescription homeopathic remedies to go to market without prior approval.
Homeopathic products, which are derived from minerals, plants and other substances, often are designated to individual patients.
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According to a new research, 160 deaths could be prevented every day with affordable and simple canine rabies vaccinations. Scientists insist it is the time to stop ignoring the problems posed by the deadly virus.
Health experts are pleading with the general public to do something the tens of thousands of people who are losing their life to rabies each year, which in most cases could have been prevented with simple vaccinations. Scientists believe that canine rabies could have been eliminated long before now. Many nations who spent time and money on vaccination programs have in most cases destroyed the disease completely.
A report published just a few days ago confirmed that while millions continue to ignore the problem of canine vaccinations, around 160 people are losing their lives from rabies every day. When the disease is transmitted from a dog to a human being by biting, the virus which infects the body proves fatal in almost 100% of occasions. The Global Alliance for Rabies Control analyzed the virus on a global scale and concluded that if the public in general and more government offices were to have a more serious approach on the matter, rabies need never cost the life of another human being.
“No one should die of rabies. An understanding of the actual burden helps us determine and advocate for the resources needed,” said the group’s director, Professor Louis Nel.
Rabies infection cases are quite rare in the United States and in most western countries, though rabies remains an important and constant threat in Africa, India and large parts of the third-world. Most nations where rabies is still a threat have access to the rabies vaccines, even though the large majority of their populations cannot afford them.
According to the new report, the total global cost which is needed to treat rabies goes far beyond the $8.6 billion level, which is making the cost of a global vaccination scheme very small in comparison.
“At the moment, our best estimate from this recent study is that about 59,000 people across the world are dying of rabies every year. And that’s just the burden from canine rabies transmitted by dogs,” said Dr. Louise Taylor is with the Global Alliance for Rabies Control and is coordinator of the Partners for Rabies Prevention Group.
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Public health officials are piling up the pressure on the U.S. government to hastily regulate and bar access to e-cigarettes after new research data showed use tripled among high school and middle school teens last year.
The data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday raised worries among health authorities who warn e-cigarettes will build a new generation of nicotine addicts who will eventually turn to smoking conventional cigarettes.
Cigarette use fell more than a quarter over the same period. E-cigarette advocates explained the data could indicate e-cigarettes are steering young people away from traditional cigarettes, a theory denied by tobacco control advocates.
The Food and Drug Administration is the regulatory body of cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and roll-your-own tobacco. It proposed to expand its authority to e-cigarettes, among other products, in 2014.
FDA spokesman Michael Felberbaum announced on Friday the agency is “moving forward to finalize the rule.” Its purpose is to release it in June, but a delay is very probable. The agency was sent more than 135,000 public comments on the move and must review them all, in accordance to the law.
The proposal must be reviewed by the Department of Health and Human Services. The next step is the approval of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, which studies the potential economic consequences of the new regulation.
OMB has not yet obtained the rule, and when it does, it has at least 90 days to approve it.
The proposal would prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes to people who are under the age of 18. Also, approval of new products will require FDA approval. Public health officials have also demanded a ban on flavored tobacco products, but also on internet sales and television advertising, which they claim attract children.
The agency has announced the rule would be the first step in a series of potential future rulings.
Some states are moving to set restrictions of their own. Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer pushed forward a proposed legislation that would offer the Federal Trade Commission the right to determine what constitutes marketing to children, a step which would allow the FTC to collaborate with states’ attorneys general to impose bans.
At least 43 states have laws that restrict e-cigarettes sales to minors and some are targeting to incorporate e-cigarettes into clean air acts that ban smoking in public places.
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As is the case for most tumors, the treatment for prostate cancer can take its toll on a patient’s health. However, according to new study, walking three hours every week can prove to be very good for the health.
Examining which types of exercises were most helpful to prostate cancer survivors, specialists at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine managed to find the relationship between simple walking and improved health results.
The information was gathered from a massive research which looked at the health and behavior of 51,529 men from the health care industry. The study was conducted by researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and relied on data on respondents’ exercise routines, smoking habits, diets, doctor visits and more.
As part of the research, participants filled out health-related quality of life questionnaires, in which they gave details on sexual function issues, urinary and bowel problems, depression, fatigue, body weight and erectile dysfunction. Respondents also categorized cardio-related activities, like running, jogging, swimming, cycling, and playing sports. At last, the men offered data on the amount of time they spent walking each week, and also filled out if their walking pace was easy, average, brisk or very brisk.
For the latest research, scientists at Northwestern obtained the data on men who had move forward after a non-advanced stage of prostate cancer.
When checking for more high-intensity exercise and disruptive health factors, the doctors discovered these men were more likely to obtain a higher quality of life if they walked at a normal pace for at least three hours every week.
Walking was only shown to be beneficial to hormone-related symptoms like depression, fatigue and body weight. Walking did not appear to have any influence on urinary, bowel, or sexual functioning. The study was published recently in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship.
“This study shows that you don’t have to engage in high-impact, vigorous activities to improve your quality of life after a prostate cancer diagnosis. Since many prostate cancer survivors might find vigorous activities hard to stick with, the good news is that simply focusing on walking more may be enough to make them feel better,” lead study author Siobhan Phillips, a kinesiologist at Northwestern Medicine, said in a news statement.
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There may be a connection between high blood pressure and meals eaten away from home, a recent study suggests.
Scientists from the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore have discovered that eating out has been linked with a higher saturated fat intake, but also with a higher caloric intake and higher salt intake. These patterns are usually associated with high blood pressure.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is one of the leading risk factors for death caused by cardiovascular disease and illnesses worldwide. Previous research have discovered that young adults with a condition called pre-hypertension, a slightly elevated blood pressure, could be moving into hypertension very quickly if they eat away from home regularly.
For the research, scientists observed 501 university-going young adults from Singapore, with ages from 18 to 40 years old. Information on blood pressure, lifestyle and body mass index, but also data about meals eaten away from home and physical activities, were also collected. After analyzing the results, the researchers established a link between eating out and high blood pressure.
With the help of statistical analysis, the scientists discovered that pre-hypertension was present in 27.4 percent of the total focus group, and that 38 percent consumed more than 12 meals away from home every week. After performing a gender breakdown, the team revealed that pre-hypertension was affecting 49 percent of men, a much larger amount than in women, which stood at just 9 percent. Those who suffered from pre-hypertension or hypertension were eating more meals away from home per week, but also had a higher mean body mass index, while showing lower physical activity levels. Most of them were also current smokers.
The team of researchers from Singapore found that even eating one extra meal out increased the odds of pre-hypertension by around 6 percent.
“While there have been studies conducted in the United States and Japan to find behaviors associated with hypertension, very few have surveyed a Southeast Asian population. Our research plugs that gap and highlights lifestyle factors associated with pre-hypertension and hypertension that are potentially modifiable, and would be applicable to young adults globally, especially those of Asian descent,” said Tazeen Jafar, who authored the study, in a statement.
The report was published in the American Journal of Hypertension. Its detailed findings can be very helpful in the quest to change behavior trough clinical and policy recommendations.
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According to a study recently published in the journal Diabetologia, serious life events in childhood, such as illness or death in the family, a new child or adult in the family, divorce or separation, and constant domestic conflicts and fights in the family can triple the risk of developing Type-1 diabetes (T1D)
Even if the causes of T1D are unknown, a new research has found that both genetic and environmental factors are involved in the development of the disease. This form of diabetes is usually contacted after the body’s own immune system has attacked and destroyed most beta cells in the pancreas, the organ that is responsible with the production of insulin.
“This study concludes that the experience of a serious life event, which reasonably indicates psychological stress, during the first 14 years of life may be a risk factor for developing Type-1 diabetes,” was mentioned in the statement which accompanied the research carried out by specialists from Linkoping University in Sweden.
The study performed on 10,495 participants. At least one of four data gatherings were performed when the children were aged 2 to 14 years. From the entire sample, 58 were later diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. The researchers obtained the age at diagnosis from the national register SweDiabKids.
The scientists measured family psychological stress using forms filled out by parents assessing important life events, parental worries, parenting stress and parent’s social support.
The team noted that this increase in risk for type 1 diabetes was in close relationship with serious life events in early years of life was as important as birth weight, enterovirus infection or infant nutrition factors.
Genetic predisposition remains the most important of all factors after comparing each one individually. Type 1 diabetes risk increased 12-fold, within the study, for those with a first-degree family member whom has already suffered from type 1 diabetes, which was approximately four times higher than the boost associated with serious life events.
The researchers added that “psychological stress should be treated as a potential risk factor, and should be examined further in future epidemiological studies, for instance in relation to genetic risk.”
The team identified the beta cell stress hypothesis. It suggests that the child’s experience of an important life event may contribute to beta cell stress which causes both increased insulin resistance and increased insulin demands. This is due to the physiological stress response.
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Is hair loss giving you headaches? A study issues in the journal Cell reveals a rather strange, maybe a bit painful, method to cure your baldness: pluck out even the ones you still have standing.
According to the researchers conducting the experiments, the mice which had their hairs yanked in specific concentration and patterns benefited from significant fur regeneration. Besides the fact that plucked hairs grew back, new hairs appeared in close proximity.
Chief study author, Cheng-Ming Chuong, an esteemed stem cell researcher at USC, explained how this could lead to new strategies in reversing alopecia, a common form of hair loss.
However, you’d better read some more before you pluck all your hair out. During their experiments, researchers discovered that, in order for regrowth to occur, the area that needed to be cleared of hairs should not be bigger than the diameter of a pencil eraser.
By experimenting with different arrangements, shapes and spacing of the plucked regions, researchers reached the conclusion that correct distribution of 200 plucked hairs could trigger a massive regeneration of more than 1,200 hairs.
After their discovery, Chuong and his team tried to find out what causes this unexpected hair growth, and agreed that it might be the action of “quorum sensing,” the phenomenon in which cells follow chemical pathways to communicate; therefore, they are aware of the “damage” (the plucking of the hairs), and so they alert others and send requests for help.
Quorum sensing principle might be more extensive than just in the hair plucking case, many more application yet to be found. Regeneration of organs and tissue might also respond to collective cellular behaviors due to pathological or physiological stimuli.
The findings of the studies were made possible by the help of molecular and genetic analysis, which basically shows what happened when mouse hairs were plucked. Firstly, the follicles start producing inflammatory proteins, in order to alert the immune system about a wound.
The immune system then reacts by delivering macrophages (white blood cells that can trigger proliferation, among other natural responses) to the inflamed area. In our case, the role of the macrophages was to generate signaling molecules, which will prompt, in the specified conditions, both plucked and unplucked follicles to grow hair.
According to the experiments, the measure of the regenerative response could be connected to the robustness of signaling behaviors. It mattered if the hairs were plucked in a diffuse pattern or in a dense concentration; the latter proved efficient in triggering solid regeneration.
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A team of international researchers announced that shorter stature increases the risk of heart disease. The scientists gathered genetic data from almost 200,000 men and women worldwide and, after compiling the results, estimated that each extra 2.5 inches of height offers a 13.5 percent reduction in heart disease risk, throughout the entire range of adult heights.
Sir Nilesh Samani, a professor of cardiology at the University of Leicester in England and lead author of the new study, said that someone who is 5-foot-6 has a 30 percent smaller chance of developing cardiac diseases than a person who is 5 feet tall.
The study was published Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine and researchers hope it could lead to other discoveries about the relationships between our native characteristics and heart disease.
The scientists were trying to prove the opposite, that height doesn’t have an impact on heart disease risk. The first person who suggested the two could be linked was Dr. Paul Dudley White, a cardiologist who was President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s physician, in 1951.
He conducted a research at the Massachusetts General Hospital, where he observed that 97 men who had suffered heart attacks before age 40 were 2 inches shorter on average than other 146 healthy men.
It is not only height that increases the risk of heart disease, but also your ethnic background and other risk factors, such as obesity, smoking, diabetes or cholesterol.
Samani and his fellow specialists followed a different path than previous researchers, studying genetic variations that resulted in short stature and linking them to greater risk of heart disease.
Previous studies had classified 180 genetic variations that control height. Samani and his colleagues examined the genetic profiles of more than 200,000 people in order to find out if those variants also affected heart disease risk. The team found only small links: a slightly higher level of LDL, a form of cholesterol that increases heart disease risk, and to slightly higher levels of triglycerides, which are blood fats that are also constitute a risk.
Not everyone is very impressed by the new study. Dr. Kari Stefansson, chief executive of deCODE Genetics, explained the increase in heart disease risk was real but so small, that it could not be very meaningful.
Studies of huge DNA databases, like the new research, are offering scientists the answers to questions that seemed unanswerable.
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A 17 year old girl from Mapleton, Utah has been suffering from a rare form of allergy, allergy to water.
According to Alexandra Allen, she had her first allergic reaction to water when she was 12. Alexandra recalled that she was on a family vacation when it happened. She went swimming in the hotel pool and after a few hours, at night, she woke up and her entire body was covered in hives and was itching.
The 17 year old girl said that her initial reaction was she had an allergic reaction to the chlorine or other chemicals from the swimming pool’s water. But when she suffered the same allergic reaction after swimming in a lake, she realized that the problem was much serious than she originally thought.
According to the girl, when she was 15 she found a medical website that was talking about aquagenic urticarial, a rare allergic condition defined by an extreme reaction when the skin came in contact with water.
When the teenager showed what she had found to her dermatologist, he agreed with her.
Since she discovered the condition she suffers from, the avoided any interaction with water like swimming and changed her diet, becoming a vegetarian in order to reduce the amount of oil produced by her skin.
The teenager also needs to avoid sweating and can only shower two or three times a week.
The medical experts believe that her rare water allergy is degenerative, meaning that it gets worse with age and repeated exposure to water.
Allen said she fears that at some point even drinking water could cause severe allergic reactions. According to the girl, last year she spoke to a woman from UK who was diagnosed with the same condition and she told her that she can only drink Diet Coke.
According to the medical experts, aquagenic urticarial is a very rare condition which causes burning itches and painful rashes on the skin when it comes in contact with water.
The disease is so rare that only 50 cases have been reported.
According to a medical article written in the Journal of Allergy Immunological Practice, which is one of the few studies that describes this rare condition, aquagenic urticarial is not really an allergy but it causes similar allergic reactions that are very severe.
The article also says that aquagenic urticarial tends to affect more women than men and it usually appears during the first stages of puberty.
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According to a new research, fish oil supplements may reduce the effectiveness of cancer chemotherapy, while a new survey found that many people with cancer were taking these pills.
Researchers tested six fish oil supplements and discovered they contained a specific fatty acid which has reduced the efficiency of chemotherapy in mice, according to a study published in JAMA Oncology.
Dr. Emile Voest, the study’s lead author from the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam said people who are undergoing chemotherapy should stop taking fish oil supplements and debate any supplement with their doctors.
Voegst and his colleagues estimate omega-3 fatty acids are utilized by about a fifth of Americans with cancer. Fish oil, which is often sold in capsules for about $10 for 100 pills, is the most common source.
The scientists had previously discovered that even a very small quantity of two fatty acids diminished the effectiveness of chemotherapy in mice with cancer. The fatty acids could enable cancer cells to regenerate themselves at a faster pace after chemotherapy.
The experts analyzed 400 people who were receiving treatment for cancer in November 2011. Of 118 people who completed the surveys, 35 percent said they were using nutritional supplements, while 11 percent said they were taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements.
The researchers had also given 10 or 50 milliliters (mL) of fish oil supplements to 30 volunteers without cancer. Levels of the ubiquitous fatty acid reached the peak after four hours, in the case of those taking 10 mL, while in the case of those taking 50 mL they remained elevated longer.
Eating herring or mackerel also increased the levels of the fatty acids in their blood. However, eating tuna or salmon had no effect.
The scientists recommend that people on chemotherapy should avoid fish oil, and also mackerel and herring, before undergoing their treatments.
the Dutch National Working Group for Oncologic Dieticians and the Dutch Cancer Society also urge people receiving chemotherapy to avoid fish oil before the time of treatment.
However, according to Stacy Kennedy, an expert on oncology nutrition at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, people should be careful about going too far with avoiding all omega-3 fatty acids. These compounds are an essential component of the diet that the body cannot produce on its own,
Other sources of omega-3 fatty acids are walnuts, flaxseed and chia seeds.
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