- MHRA Brexit no-deal consultation - Nutrition science on the ropes - Agroecology and climate change - Cancer greedy for sugar - Eliminating cervical cancer in Australia - NHS, sugary drinks and GP groups
UK medicines regulator launches Brexit no-deal consultation
The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has launched a consultation seeking the views of interested parties on how their legislation and regulatory processes, “…would have to be modified in the event of the UK not securing a deal with the EU” after Brexit. The MHRA aren’t known for their love of natural approaches to healthcare and in particular have in the past taken a very hard line when it comes to the perception of risk from botanical food supplements. For those of us — individuals and businesses — involved in the promotion and protection of the natural health sector, this is our opportunity to have our say to ensure legislation is relevant, valid and appropriate according to not only risk, but benefit too. It may be the last chance we have given that a no-deal Brexit would lose us any seat at the table in Europe to lobby against unfair and inappropriate legislation, yet we’d be forced to live with any new EU laws. The consultation closes at 11:45pm on 1 November 2018.
Nutrition science on the ropes
Nutrition research holds a powerful position with the media and public alike, but is unfortunately consistently harmed by shoddy science and scientific conduct from researchers who should know better. The point is patently illustrated by the resignation of prominent nutrition scientist, Prof Brian Wansink, last week following multiple paper retractions. Wansink was best known for his theories on the way our environment shapes the way we think about food. The main reason for the retractions is not because his ideas are necessarily wrong, but the evidence he provided in support of his theories is not credible. However, of most concern is his influence on US government dietary guidelines and the fact remains to be seen if policy will change in light of the paper retractions. To quote acclaimed investigative journalist, Nina Teicholz, “When imperfect data shapes headlines and the entire Dietary Guidelines, the losers are science itself and quite clearly, the public health”. It is clearly time for the scientific community to pull itself up by the bootstraps to honestly support citizens looking for a healthier, more sustainable, drug-free approach to health regeneration and creation.
Climate change drive changes in agricultural practice
A day after scientists issued stark warnings about the global threat of climate change to communities worldwide, appeal court judges in The Hague have ruled that the Dutch government must accelerate efforts to cut emissions. Although likely to appeal the ruling, this does put other governments on notice to increase efforts to reduce emissions. There is a glimmer of hope though – in Puerto Rico, amidst recovering from Hurricane Maria, a local food revolution is taking place. Realising changes in agricultural practices are needed, farmers are adopting agroecological practices to improve the island’s food security. At ANH-Intl we have long supported the adoption of both sustainable agricultural and health systems based on ecological models to promote health creation.
Cancer greedy for sugar
There aren’t many people around who haven’t had some kind of brush with cancer, be it themselves, friends or loved ones. In the developed world, cancer rates are sitting at a stunning 2:3 ratio. Looking at the prevalence of diets high in ultra-processed foods and sugar, alongside the increase in obesity and metabolic disorders, it’s easy to see why cancer has become so prevalent so fast. However, despite an abundance of scientific proof that sugar is cancer’s fuel of choice, there appears to be no decline in the amount of sweet foods consumed. Researchers writing in the journal Cancer Cell show how leukaemia ‘steals’ glucose from normal cells to feed its own growth. The cancer has a range of strategies to achieve this, which researchers believe is modulated in the gut. The mouse study found a lack of the genus bacteroides in the guts of mice with leukaemia – creating a gut milieu that aided the cancer growth. For this reason, and because of the risk to metabolic regulation, the ANH-Intl Food4Health guidelines excludes refined sugar and limit fructose from fruit.
Will Australia eliminate cervical cancer?
A new study predicts Australia could become the first country to eliminate cervical cancer within the next 20 years, assuming high-coverage vaccination and screening is maintained. Researchers suggest annual cases could drop to four in 100,000, giving potential for elimination. Australia was one of the first countries to introduce an HPV vaccination programme for girls, which was later extended to boys. Marketed as preventing cervical cancer, in reality they are, at best, protective against a few of the many strains of HPV. However, there is currently no way of knowing whether the HPV vaccine could actually trigger the development of more pathogenic strains of the human papilloma virus.
Despite evidence that HPV vaccination in women over the age of 18 is significantly less effective, the US Food and Drug Agency has approved the use of Gardasil for women aged 27-45. However, for women who had an abnormal pap smear prior to vaccination there was no reduction in risk.
UK NHS looks for solutions to chronic disease – and GP – crisis
All UK NHS hospitals are to cut sales of sugary drinks in their facilities. The decision to reduce sugary drink sales to 10% or less of total drinks sales comes as health authorities struggle to deal with the increasing tide of chronic disease threatening to overwhelm NHS services. This doesn’t remove fizzy drinks from sale entirely however, with sugar sweetened drinks being replaced by artificially sweetened drinks – all of which come with a different health risk. In a bid to find a solution to solve the GP supply and demand crisis, plans for group consultations for patients suffering the same condition have been put forward. Pilot schemes around the country have been deemed both fun and efficient, despite dissenters who feel that it’s an invasion of privacy. Unfortunately it’s now or never for radical change to enable patients to take control of their own health and reduce the burden on a crippled and buckling NHS. Watch this space for the release of our Blueprint for health system sustainability that focuses on health creation and regeneration, not disease and symptom management.