Herbs under attack stateside

The US herbal supplements industry has taken yet another hit as New York Attorney General (AG), Eric Schneiderman, and 13 other AGs have sent a letter to members of Congress asking for an investigation into the industry. The letter asks them to consider giving the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) broadened enforcement powers over the industry. It outlines the concerns of the AGs that the FDA has failed to act saying, “The FDA has long been aware of problems in the dietary and herbal supplement supply chain, from dubious ingredient sourcing to a failure to carry out proper testing on finished products.”  However CEO of the Natural Products Alliance, Daniel Fabricant, believes it “is just harassment at this point.” He and Loren Israelsen, president of the United Natural Products Alliance, both said that, although a plea for more regulation will disappear into Congress, the supplement industry can’t let its guard down. Despite using poorly designed and completely discredited tests the AGs aren’t backing down. Without a shred of scientific evidence or any adverse reactions it would seem to be a lone crusade driven by Eric Schneiderman and one can only wonder at the agenda behind these unfounded attacks.

Vaccine induces psychosis but no financial incentive to investigate

Despite possible serious psychotic and/or neurological reactions, the drug company that produces the Yellow Fever vaccine, Sanofi Pasteur, has said that the vaccine has low take up and therefore too little financial incentive to be reviewed. Following BBC reporter, Malcolm Brabant’s book exposing his 2-year battle back from psychosis following his yellow fever jab, others have come forward to tell their similar stories. It would seem the vaccine has caused fevers, psychosis, loss of vision, hearing impairment, vertigo, and a range of serious neurological symptoms, but yet hasn’t been reviewed in many years. The vaccine carries warnings of possible side effects such as dizzy spells and headaches but the more serious effects experienced by people have been shrugged off by Sanofi as not “biologically plausibly linked to the natural history of the disease, nor the mode of action of the vaccine.” Those looking for compensation following serious reactions are being told that, “the observation of an event after vaccination does not automatically mean that vaccination has caused this event.”

New study worries about prescription drug abuse amongst teens

A new study entitled, “The Legal High: Factors Affecting Young Consumers' Risk Perceptions and Abuse of Prescription Drugs” has made a link between high levels of anxiety and at least moderate use of prescription drugs. The study asked over 1,000 US teens in shopping malls to complete a web-based questionnaire on their use of substances including alcohol, tobacco, and both legal and illegal drugs. They were also asked whether they struggled with anxiety, felt a desire to be popular, sought out exciting activities, and what level of risk they associated with prescription drugs. Adolescent prescription drug abuse (PDA) has become a serious public health problem over the past decade, and this problem is now classified as an epidemic.

Expectant mothers failing to supplement with omega-3

A new study funded by Alberta Innovates Health Solutions concludes that too many pregnant women are neglecting the importance of omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3 LCPUFA) during pregnancy and lactation. As they are not synthesised by the human body, Omega-3 fatty acid supplements are recommended for every expecting mother. Another study, the Alberta Pregnancy Outcomes and Nutrition (APrON), looked at 600 women and, although the majority of these women were educated and had high incomes, they also failed to meet omega-3 LCPUFA recommendations. The study suggests that nutrition education during the first trimester of pregnancy improved omega-3 LCPUFA status during pregnancy, but that the benefits of omega-3 supplementation should continue after pregnancy as 44% of the women taking supplements during pregnancy were no longer doing so when breast feeding at 3 months postpartum.

Common antidepressant increases risk of heart attack

A recent study, “Effects of Long-Term Sertraline Treatment and Depression on Coronary Artery Atherosclerosis in Premenopausal Female Primates”, has shown that a commonly prescribed antidepressant caused up to a six-fold increase in atherosclerosis plaque in the coronary arteries of non-human primates. Coronary artery atherosclerosis (CAA) is the primary cause of heart attacks so the objective of the study was to clarify the association between depression and CAA. The researchers used a widely prescribed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), sertraline, and concluded that long-term treatment with sertraline promotes CAA. Lead author, Carol Shively, Ph.D., said, "The medical community has known for years that depression is closely associated with heart disease, but we didn't know if treating it would reduce the heart disease risk."

Low vitamin D levels linked to depression

A Finnish population study published in the British Journal of Nutrition has found that those with higher vitamin D levels have a lower risk of depression. The study looked at individuals aged 30-79 but found a weaker association with participants over 59 years of age. This was attributed to a greater prevalence of both depression and low vitamin D in the younger individuals. Meanwhile the link between higher vitamin D and lower depression was seen in particular for those who were divorced, had an unhealthier diet or lifestyle, or had a metabolic syndrome. The authors believe that if this causal relationship were to be established, vitamins D’s protection against depression would be pertinent for those individuals with poor socio-economic status, lifestyle choices and metabolic health.

Parents remove kids from school due to Wi-Fi

A family in Australia has removed their children from school as they believe the Wi-Fi is making them sick. Wi-fi is classified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as “possibly carcinogenic” and can cause illnesses such as depression, anxiety, headaches and hormonal problems — all of which the Spencer’s children suffer from. Parents Oliver Spencer and Danielle Sykes-Spencer are looking into options for them to be educated at home even though they feel that the children are missing out on the school experience. Mrs Sykes-Spencer said that they’d like “the school to address it” as there are “thousands of studies showing the facts.”


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