FDA’s plan to cut excess salt draws sharp criticism, unlikely supporters

On Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration released a draft voluntary guidance for the food industry aimed at phasing out excess salt in processed and commercially prepared food over a span of 10 years. The move, which health experts say could save thousands of lives, has drawn mixed reactions from the food industry.

Source: FDA’s plan to cut excess salt draws sharp criticism, unlikely supporters

I think the Salt Institute’s opinion should be taken …with a grain of salt. 😉

FDA Moves to Ban Shock Devices Used to Treat Behavioral Problems

The Food and Drug Administration wants to ban electrical stimulation devices used to treat behavioral problems, saying they pose an “unreasonable and substantial” risk to public health. Uh, you think?

Source: FDA Moves to Ban Shock Devices Used to Treat Behavioral Problems

As a person that works with this population (developmentally disabled combined with a mental disorder) and also works in the facility that generally inherits JRC clients once they age out at 21, I can tell you that it’s quite a dilemma. One the one hand hurting someone to control behavior is wrong and also is prone to abuse as this population can be very frustrating. On the other hand these individuals haven’t responded well to medication and are generally highly self abusive. Would you rather see someone smash their head off the wall or rip their own teeth out or apply a small shock instead? After seeing the paper work on several individuals it appears highly effective. Honestly I don’t know the answer. I’m just glad my facility doesn’t use it. Currently there are several lawsuit against JRC by individuals who used to live there as well as counter suits to keep it open.

Don’t Feed Babies a Ton of Rice Cereal, Says FDA

It’s a cereal killer. 🙂

Rice cereal is a popular first food for babies. It’s also kind of high in arsenic, says the Food and Drug Administration, so if your kid gets a steady rice cereal diet, it’s time to diversify.

Source: Don’t Feed Babies a Ton of Rice Cereal, Says FDA

Boiling it and discarding the water (like how you make pasta) reduces the arsenic content, so that might help. The FDA’s fact sheet has some more info.  I’ve covered arsenic in rice in the past.

Don’t Donate Blood for a Month if You’ve Been Exposed to Zika

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is urging people who’ve returned from places where the Zika virus is active to refrain from donating blood for at least a month, while also recommending against the collection of blood from any region with active transmission.

Source: Don’t Donate Blood for a Month if You’ve Been Exposed to Zika

Delay for at least 4 weeks, but if in doubt – take more time rather than less.

Why the Calorie is Broken

I’m kind of pissed at the scientific community for not coming up with something better.

Source: Why the calorie is broken

The problem with many weight loss attempts is that people ‘go on diets’ instead of ‘changing their diet’.  You have to change your diet for weight loss to be effective and stick.

The Man Who Wants to Beat Back Aging

On a blazingly hot morning this past June, a half-dozen scientists convened in a hotel conference room in suburban Maryland for the dress rehearsal of what they saw as a landmark event in the history of aging research. In a few hours, the group would meet with officials at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a few kilometers away, to pitch an unprecedented clinical trial—nothing less than the first test of a drug to specifically target the process of human aging.

Source: The man who wants to beat back aging

Metformin is a standard medication for diabetics, taken by millions since 1957.  One would think its anti-ageing powers would have been revealed by now…  They give no logic behind how they arrived at the 120 year lifespan.  I can only assume they extrapolated from worm and certain mice strain models – this methodology has been shown to be extremely flawed.

FDA Approves Salmon the First GM Animal Safe to Eat, Doesn’t Require Labels

After decades of indecision, the Food and Drug Administration has finally approved its first genetically modified animal as safe to eat. Welcome a fast-growing GM Atlantic Salmon to your plate.

Source: FDA Approves Salmon the First GM Animal Safe to Eat, Doesn’t Require Labels

Time to star an artisan fish market! 😉

Reminder: “Natural” Food Means Literally Nothing

The presence of the word “natural “on your food has long guaranteed you one thing: Someone at that food company wanted to write it there. Despite being an extremely evocative bit of ad copy, “natural” is a meaningless designation—and one that the FDA has declined to define. Yesterday, though, something interesting happened; the agency posted a short notice on its website asking people to send in their own definition of just what “natural” might mean.

Source: Reminder: “Natural” Food Means Literally Nothing

True, but I myself use it to refer to foods that are made with as few (if any) preservatives.

Cancer-Killing Viruses Have Finally Arrived

Viruses normally seem like evil little germs; they often invade our bodies’ cells and hijack their inner machinery to mass produce viral invaders, which eventually destroy their host cells as they bust out to besiege more cells. The process repeats ad nauseam. But what if that wicked master plan could be twisted to do our bidding? What if viruses only invaded cells we wanted them to kill—like cancer cells?

…the Food and Drug Administration approved the first viral-based cancer therapy.

Source: Cancer-killing viruses have finally arrived

There’s some interesting combination therapies in the works for a variety of different tumor sites that are suggesting substantially improved response rates compared to using just one of the therapies alone. Expect to see initial read outs of these new trials in the next 2 years or so.

Left in the Brain: The Potentially Toxic Residue from MRI Drugs

Researchers raise alarms about unknown health risks of GE’s Omniscan and Bayer’s Magnevist, drugs injected to get better MRI pictures that contain the heavy metal gadolinium.

Source: Left in the Brain: The Potentially Toxic Residue from MRI Drugs

Sorry for the scare, but it raises a good point: If you are getting an MRI, ask:

  1. If a contrast agent is being used?
  2. If yes to #1, what contrast agent is being used?