Health Capsules - 01/19/2020

 

Vidcast:  https://youtu.be/ZzOaKDpdNuw

 

Reporting from NYC, here are this weeks health news capsules as of January 19, 2020.

 

They include medical, health, and wellness news and urgent bulletins as well as recalls of drugs, medical devices.

 

Many thanks to the health news aggregators: ScienceDaily, Reuters, Medical News Today, Medical News Bulletin, MedScape, NewsMax Health, Medical Express, Insider Health, the FDA, and the CDC.

 

RECALLS: Yes To Inc. Issues a voluntary recall of GRAPEFRUIT VITAMIN C GLOW BOOSTING UNICORN PAPER MASK due to skin irritation; -Lipari Foods has a voluntary recall on Premo and Fresh Grab Sandwiches due to Listeria contamination. 

 

Here’s the NEWS:

Weight Loss Drug Belviq (Lorcaserin) Linked to Cancer

US Coronavirus Screening

Women’s Blood Vessels Age Faster Than Men’s

Clinical Trial Sponsors Failing To Report Negative Results

Teen Heavy Marijuana Use Predicts Poor Driving

Your Fitbit Can Predict Flu Epidemics

Fish Oil Supplements Help Male Fertility

Supreme Court To Review Obamacare Contraceptive Provision

Telling A Cold From The Flu

From the CDC: Latest on the E-cigarette/Vaping Lung Injury Epidemic

Risks of Weed During Pregnancy

Sugar Messes With Your Brain In Less Than 2 Weeks

 

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First the RECALLS:

From the FDA:

—-Yes To Inc. Issues a voluntary recall of GRAPEFRUIT VITAMIN C GLOW BOOSTING UNICORN PAPER MASK due to skin irritation complaints in children.  Return the product to the retailer or contact Yes To In at customercare@yesto.com or 888-929-3786.

—-Lipari Foods has a voluntary recall on Premo and Fresh Grab Sandwiches due to Listeria contamination.  This includes Fresh Grab Breakfast Muffins, Chicken-Swiss Sandwiches, Turkey-Swiss Sandwiches as well as Premo Meat Lovers Sub, Pub Burger, Turkey-Cheese on Pretzel Sub, Turkey-Swiss Sandwich, and Turkey-GarlicMay Sandwich.  Return product to retailer or call Lipari at 800-729-3354.

 

 

Here’s the NEWS.

 

Weight Loss Drug Belviq (Lorcaserin) Linked to Cancer

The FDA reports that post-marketing studies of this drug show an increased cancer risk in those taking it.  The reason why isn’t yet clear, but studies continue and are being expanded.  This drug, approved in 2012 as adjunct weight loss therapy for the obese,  had its first and second applications rejected due to FDA safety concerns about heart valve issues.  Some rat studies suggested the drug may trigger breast cancers in males as well as females.

 

The FDA has not yet recalled Belviq-Lorcaserin.  No surprise to me, since there is so much political and financial pressure on govt agencies to do nothing.  If you’re taking it, I’d look for alternative with your providers.

 

US Coronavirus Screening

—New coronavirus, RNA single stranded virus,  found in central Chinese city of Wuhan.

—2 deaths, 45 infections.

—CDC: Airport screening to begin: LAX, San Francisco International, JFK.

—Travelers from Wuhan: isolated, checked for fever, given questionnaire.

—Coronavirus: large family of viruses; spread animals to humans; cause of cold-like disease to SARS or severe acute respiratory syndrome and MERS or Middle East respiratory syndrome

 

 

Women’s Blood Vessels Age Faster Than Men’s

—Study from LA’s Cedars-Sinai Hospital just published in JAMA-Cardiology.

—Nearly 33,000 participants 5-98 years followed longitudinally.

—Average blood pressures rise with age, but the rise occurs faster in women than men.

—Women require closer blood pressure monitoring.

 

Clinical Trial Sponsors Failing To Report Negative Results

Fewer than half of US researchers are reporting their clinical trial results to the US govt registry according to a study from Britain’s University of Oxford.  Under a 2007 FDA Amendments act all US clinical trial sponsors are required to report their study results within a year of completion under penalty of $10,000 a day.  Only 41% did in a recent tabulation.  

 

This isn’t new: going on for 30 years.  Drug companies 3 times more likely than universities to comply.  The FDA rarely enforces and a researcher at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital admits to a lack of enforcement and leadership at many academic institutions.

 

Negative results are as important as positive ones.  We taxpayers pay for these studies and FDA enforcement, and we aren’t getting our moneys worth.  Complain to your congresspersons.

 

 

Teen Heavy Marijuana Use Predicts Poor Driving

Drivers who were frequent cannabis users before even getting their learner’s permits turn out to be the worst drivers later.  Even if they aren’t high.  This comes from Harvard’s McLean Hospital after researchers there compared the driving skills on a simulator of 28 chronic weed users with 17 non-users.

 

Of the 28 users, the half that started early had more collisions, missed stop signs and red lights, and speeding violations than users who began marijuana when older.  The study suggests that early week use impairs the developing brain.  It cries out “wait till y9u’re older.”

 

 

Your Fitbit Can Predict Flu Epidemics

A study of 47,000 US Fitbit users suggests that the device can yield early warning signs of a flu outbreak.  A computer analysis showed that populations with an elevated weekly average heart rate while enjoying a normal weekly average sleep duration were likely to have a flu scourge.  

Stay tuned as this pattern recognition may help public health officials.

 

Fish Oil Supplements Help Male Fertility

Men chugging supplements fortified with omega-3 fatty acids have more sperm, larger testes, and higher hormone levels. The Danish researchers add that the supplements would help the most for men known to have poor sperm quality as they try to become fathers.   Sperm only work when their cell membranes have enough fatty acids, and the omega-3s needed must come from your food.  Eating real fish is probably healthier.

 

Supreme Court To Review Obamacare Contraceptive Provision

The high court will be referring a fight between the states of PA and NJ who are upholding the rights of women to receive birth control as part of their health benefits as guaranteed by Obama and Pelosi’s Affordable Care Act.  The Trump administration in 2018 issued a rule that permits broad religious and moral exemptions that permit insurance companies and employer sponsored insurance plans to weasel out of their responsibilities to women who wish birth control medications, devices, and counsel. Stay tuned.  

 

The ACLU had this to say: “The Trump administration’s attempt to take away people’s insurance coverage for contraception is one of the administration’s many attacks on access to abortion and contraception, and we hope the Supreme Court will uphold the lower court’s ruling blocking this awful law,”

 

 

Telling A Cold From The Flu

The CDA provides a handy chart to help you tell a cold that you can treat yourself from the flu that might require professional care. 

Symptom onset: gradual for a cold, precipitous for the flu.

Fever: rare or low grade for a cold, frequent for the flu.

Aches: slight for colds, common for flu.

Chills: uncommon for colds, common for flu.

Fatigue & weakness: sometimes for colds, usual for flu.

Sneezing: common for cold, occasional for flu.

Cough & chest discomfort: mild-moderate for colds, common for flu.

Nasal congestion and throat soreness: common for cold, sometimes for flu.

Headache: rarer for cold, common for flu.

 

Hopefully you’ve had the flu vaccine.  Influenza type B is spreading like wildfire, and the vaccine may prevent it or make it milder.  If you think you have the flu, consult your doctor or nurse.

 

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/coldflu.htm

 

From the CDC: Latest on the E-cigarette/Vaping Lung Injury Epidemic

82% of those hospitalized for EVALI (that’s e-cig, vaping, associated, lung, injury) inhaled THC containing products.  Good news: epidemic peaked week of 9/15/19.  Again the FDA recommends against using vaping cartridges from so-called informal or street sources.

 

Stats: as of 1/14/2020: 2668 hospitalized EVAL cases, median age 24 years, 2/3s male. 82% used some THC, 57% used some nicotine.  Data implicates Vitamin E acetate in the mix as the likely most toxic agent but others may be involved.

 

The FDA recommends only vaping, if you vape at all, materials from legit manufacturers.  Beware of counterfeits.  If using e-cigarettes to stop smoking, don’t return to cigarettes but rather use other cessation products including diminishing amounts of nicotine gum or the use of the nicotine patch.

 

Risks of Weed During Pregnancy

Regular exposure to THC has  significant negative impacts on placental and fetal developments according to a just published Canadian study.  Marijuana is legal in our neighbor to the north and is freely used.

 

Although done in a rat model, regular, low-dose THC exposures reduced birth weights by 8% and fetal brain and liver growth by more than 20%.  This confirms human studies that associates weed use during pregnancy with low birth weights.   

 

This is first study to pinpoint THC as a likely culprit.  It prevents placental transfer of glucose, sugar, from mom to fetus. THC is also associated with a placental vascular reduction.

 

 

Sugar Messes With Your Brain In Less Than 2 Weeks

Twelve days of sugar intake hijacks the reward centers of your brain in a manner similar to addicting drugs according to a just published Danish study in pigs.  After 12 days during which the piggies had access to a sugar solution for only one hour, half a movie, PET brain scans showed major changes in the reward neurotransmitter dopamine and other brain circuitry triggered by opioids.  The latter was even activated at the first exposure to sugar.

 

Americans consume 2-3 times the recommended amounts of sugar.  Moderation folks.

 

Those are this weeks Health News Capsules.

 

I’m Dr. Howard Smith