I’d like to tell you about a little utopian community nestled in some faraway mountains where caffeine is heavily regulated. Everyone is 20 percent prettier than average and owns a modest home outright. There is no divorce or attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder. But such a place does not exist to serve as either a model or cautionary tale. A few European countries have moved toward regulation — in Sweden, for example, many grocery stores do not sell energy drinks to people under 15. The United States is not likely to lead the charge into federal regulation tomorrow or next year, but when Michael Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine at the Food and Drug Administration, was asked last week, “Is it possible that FDA would set age restrictions for purchase?” he responded:
We have to be practical; enforcing age restrictions would be challenging. For me, the more fundamental questions are whether it is appropriate to use foods that may be inherently attractive and accessible to children as the vehicles to deliver the stimulant caffeine, and whether we should place limits on the amount of caffeine in certain products.
Taylor’s comment came in the context of the FDA’s announcement that, as the organization put it, “in response to a trend in which caffeine is being added to a growing number of products, the agency will investigate the safety of caffeine in food products, particularly its effects on children and adolescents.” It’s a kind of nonchalant way to say that the organization in charge of making sure everything we eat and drink is safe for us is, decades into the mass marketing and sale of heavily caffeinated products without regulation to all U.S. markets, going to look into their safety.
In a conference call this afternoon with clinicians, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has officially asked hospitals and doctors to begin looking for signs of human infection with H7N9 avian flu.
Some takeaways from the 2PM EDT conference call:
Persons exhibiting influenza-like illness and/or severe respiratory distress, and who have either traveled to China or have had close contact with someone who has traveled to China, need to be considered in a separate category and closely monitored.
Any Influenza-Like Illness within this subset that cannot be conclusively diagnosed as seasonal influenza needs to be considered suspected H7N9, and samples are to be sent to the CDC immediately.
Suspected patients should be put into isolation, preferably in an appropriate environment, negative-air-pressure room (AIIR).
It is unknown whether rapid office tests could detect avian influenza. Therefore, all commercially available influenza tests should be disregarded when testing for H7N9. It should be assumed they are inaccurate.
The CDC is currently the only testing facility in the United States that can test reliably for H7N9. This will change as the CDC certifies states with the ability to detect H7N9.
A chemical found in red meat helps explain why eating too much steak, mince and bacon is bad for the heart say US scientists.
A study in the journal Nature Medicine showed that carnitine in red meat was broken down by bacteria in the gut.
This kicked off a chain of events which resulted in higher levels of cholesterol and an increased risk of heart disease.
Dieticians warned there may be a risk to people taking carnitine supplements.
There has been a wealth of studies suggesting that regularly eating red meat may be damaging to health.
In the UK, the government recommends eating no more than 70g of red or processed meat a day – the equivalent of two slices of bacon.
Saturated fat and the way processed meat is preserved are thought to contribute to heart problems. However, this was not thought to be the whole story.
Mississippi passes ‘anti-Bloomberg bill,’ banning local limits on portion sizes and requirements to post calorie counts
Lawmakers in Mississippi — the most obese state in the nation — have overwhelmingly approved what they’re calling the “anti-Bloomberg bill.”
It would ban communities from requiring restaurants to post calorie counts on menus or limit portion sizes, as Mayor Bloomberg tried to do with his proposed ban on large sodas. Also forbidden: any local rule banning toys from being distributed with kids’ meals.
The governor is expected to sign it.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/passes-anti-bloomberg-bill-bans-limits-portions-posting-calorie-counts-article-1.1286804#ixzz2NSlgLH3r
After killing five people in the Middle East last year, a mysterious new SARS-related virus – dubbed a coronavirus – has infected its first victim of the year in the U.K., country officials confirmed Monday, according to CBS News. The new coronavirus case is the 10th such infection since the virus was first discovered last year.
The infected patient is a resident of the U.K. who had been traveling recently to the Middle East and Pakistant, according to the Christian Post. Victims of the new coronavirus typically exhibit symptoms like “acute breathing problems and kidney failure.”
Has Capitol Hill suddenly gone green?
Just a day after Democratic Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado introduced legislation to decriminalize marijuana, Republican Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky introduced another bill Thursday in support of industrial hemp, currently illegal in the U.S. because it comes from the same plant as marijuana.
And now, Sen. Rand Paul’s office tells Whispers it could introduce companion legislation in the Senate “as soon as next week.”
In late January, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he’d throw his support behind industrial hemp, a surprise endorsement from the long-time opponent of marijuana. McConnell cited conversations he’d had with Paul, and the Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim points out the change came after the Kentucky senator hired Jesse Benton to run his 2014 re-election campaign. Benton is the former campaign manager of Paul’s father, former Texas congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul.
Big brother to log your drinking habits and waist size as GPs are forced to hand over confidential records
GPs are to be forced to hand over confidential records on all their patients’ drinking habits, waist sizes and illnesses.
The files will be stored in a giant information bank that privacy campaigners say represents the ‘biggest data grab in NHS history’.
They warned the move would end patient confidentiality and hand personal information to third parties.
The data includes weight, cholesterol levels, body mass index, pulse rate, family health history, alcohol consumption and smoking status.
Diagnosis of everything from cancer to heart disease to mental illness would be covered. Family doctors will have to pass on dates of birth, postcodes and NHS numbers.
Officials insisted the personal information would be made anonymous and deleted after analysis.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2272166/Big-brother-log-drinking-habits-waist-size.html#ixzz2JlSGvuMw
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Louisiana Will Eliminate Health Benefits For HIV Patients, Poor Children, And First Time Moms This Week
Last week, Louisiana’s poor and terminally ill residents won a surprising victory when Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) announced that his state would not stop providing hospice care to its Medicaid beneficiaries. Unfortunately, that’s about the only piece of good news for low-income Louisianans’ health coverage, as the state is still set to implement massive cuts for Medicaid programs that “provide behavioral health services for at-risk children, offer case management visits for low-income HIV patients and pay for at-home visits by nurses who teach poor, first-time mothers how to care for their newborns” this Friday.
Keeping up New Year’s resolutions to get in shape might get tougher thanks to Santa Monica City Council’s proposition to ramp up regulations on outdoor fitness classes this spring.
The council is considering banning all classes with more than two participants in the city’s most popular workout spot, Palisades Park.
“Palisades park is a public park and doing commercial enterprise in a public park or a public facility really should have regulations around it,” says Santa Monica’s Director of Community and Cultural Services Karen Ginsberg. “The recommendation is to limit private trainers for compensation.”
Additionally, the council could impose a 15 percent fee on all trainers’ profits over and above the already required business license, permit, insurance, and city tax.
ReasonTV’s Kennedy tried out one of the outdoor classes, Sonki Fitness’ Bootcamp, to see what all the fuss was about.
“It’s a park, it’s not a museum,” says Kennedy, “this is what people should be doing with their outdoor spaces.”
Founder Sonki Hong has been training his students in Palisades Park for over a decade.
“They should try to really work with small businesses like me instead of making it harder for me to survive,” says Sonki.
Written, produced and shot by Tracy Oppenheimer. Additional camera by Paul Detrick.
About 4 minutes.
Research shows there was a 12.3% fall in admissions in the first year after the law came into place in July 2007, and these have continued to drop in subsequent years, suggesting that the benefits of the legislation were sustained over time.
NHS statistics analysed by researchers at Imperial College London showed the fall was equivalent to 6,802 fewer hospital admissions in the first three years of the law coming into effect.
The findings have been published in the journal Pediatrics.
Asthma affects one in every 11 children in the UK.
Before the ban was implemented, hospital admissions for children suffering a severe asthma attack were increasing by 2.2% per year, peaking at 26,969 admissions in 2006/07.