Recalled, drug-tainted dietary supplements still available for purchase years later

Dietary supplements continue to contain illegal drugs even after recalls

Reuters Top News
Doctors are urging the FDA to be more proactive in regulating supplement manufacturers that fail to follow the agency’s own guidelines.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) bans the use of class I drugs in dietary supplements when products have the reasonable possibility of causing serious adverse health consequences or death. Recently, the FDA has used class I drug recalls in an effort to remove dietary supplements adulterated with pharmaceutical ingredients from US markets.

A recent study found this ruling is largely ignored by drug manufacturers ; many dietary supplements that have been recalled can still be purchased years later, and they often contain the same banned ingredients that led to their recall in the first place…

Sources and more information:
  • Presence of Banned Drugs in Dietary Supplements Following FDA Recalls, JAMA, 1917421 2014;312(16):1691-1693. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.10308.
  • Recalled, drug-tainted supplements still available for purchase, Reuters, Oct 21, 2014.
  • Dietary supplements continue to contain illegal drugs even after recalls, MNN, Oct 22, 2014.
  • FDA’s Dietary Supplement Recall Continues To Be Ignored: What Dangers Do Banned Ingredients Pose?, Medical Daily, Oct 22, 2014.

Six things You need to know about Egg Freezing

High failure rates still associated across all age groups

The announcement that egg freezing becomes a no-cost, free option for Apple and Facebook female employees has many people talking about the risks and benefits of the procedure…

Live Science logo image
Live Science news covering top stories of the day in health, environment, animals, technology and space.
  • Egg freezing is better now than it used to be
  • Egg freezing is still not recommended for delaying childbearing
  • Egg freezing means a lot of trips to the doctor
  • Egg freezing at younger ages is best
  • Egg freezing is not a guarantee for pregnancy
  • Egg freezing poses health risks to women and possibly to children too

Read

  • Egg Freezing: 5 Things You Need to Know,
    LiveScience, October 22, 2014.
  • 5 Surprising Facts About Egg Freezing, LiveScience, June 17, 2016.
Related press releases:
  • The tough truth about egg freezing perks, fortune, October 22, 2014.
  • The facts don’t lie: We haven’t cracked egg freezing. Not even close, TheTelegraph, 17 Oct 2014.
  • Can I freeze my eggs to use later if I’m not sick?, asrm, 2014.

Bisphenol A: FDA Analysis Mistakes and Redesign Opportunities

Wonder how FDA concluded BPA levels in people were too low to matter? False assumptions and circular logic…

  • Where the FDA went wrong
  • Risks of using existing substitutes
  • Designing endocrine disruption out of new chemicals
More information

New analysis methodology may revolutionise breast cancer therapy

Successful cooperation between chemists, medics and pharmacologists

Universität Wien twitter logo
Bioanalyst Christopher Gerner and an interdisciplinary team from the University of Vienna and the MedUni of Vienna have developed a novel methodology for investigation.

Stroma cells are derived from connective tissue and may critically influence tumour growth. This knowledge is not new. However, bioanalyst Christopher Gerner and an interdisciplinary team from the University of Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna have developed a novel methodology for investigation. Using modern mass spectrometry, tumour-promoting activities from breast fibroblasts were directly determined from needle biopsy samples. Recently this experimental break-through is published in the renowned “Journal of Proteome Research”.

The potential contribution of stroma cells to tumour growth has been widely recognised. It is not easy to understand whether a diseased stroma state supports tumour initiation or, alternatively, tumour- stroma cells are responsible for the formation of such diseased stroma. “We successfully identified relevant players as such and analysed these molecules out of human tissue samples for the very first time”, says Christopher Gerner, head of the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the University of Vienna. Together with Georg Pfeiler from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the Medical University of Vienna and an interdisciplinary research team, he has developed the new analysis methodology.

Experimental determination of undesirable tumour promotion by stroma cells

Tissue is made of various cell types, which fulfil different biological tasks. Main components of breast tissue are epithelial cells and fibroblasts. In case of breast cancer, the epithelial cell may transform while the fibroblasts, remaining genetically unaltered, may change their activation state. The typical activity of cancer associated fibroblasts (CAFs) is similar to wound healing activities. The secreted growth- and survival factors, biologically active at extremely low concentrations, are not only supporting wound healing, but may as well be exploited in case of cancer for further promotion of the disease. The significance of such cell activities has been fully acknowledged only during the last few years, the current study also presents a relevant in vitro model for more detailed investigations.

Innovative assay based on mass spectrometric analyses of needle biopsies

It was a real analytical challenge to identify the most relevant molecular players out of tissue homogenates which consist of a complex mixture of different kinds of cells together with countless blood constituents. By the use of modern mass spectrometry several thousand distinct proteins were identified in a first step. Referring to the in vitro model systems mentioned above, it was finally possible to investigate the functional cell state of fibroblasts out of tissue homogenates. This successfully proved that in case of cancer, the fibroblasts display a strong wound healing activity and thus directly promote tumour growth. “This was only possible due to the modern instrumentation I got together with the chair in Bioanalysis”, remarks Christopher Gerner referring to the top instruments in the Mass Spectrometry Center of the University of Vienna.

Novel approaches for breast cancer therapy

The results of the current study may have several consequences. Based on needle biopsies, it is now possible to assess functional states of stroma cells. “It is therefore feasible for us to determine to which extent such activities are present and relevant in individual patient samples. This is a first step which may allow us to plan pharmacological interference. However, these are future hopes when referring to clinical practice”, says Georg Pfeiler of the Medical University of Vienna. “For that aim we are currently developing an assay using blood serum only”, adds Christopher Gerner. Furthermore, it is now possible to use the in vitro model system to test drug candidates interfering with these undesirable cell activities in a targeted fashion. Clinical application of such an additional therapeutic strategy could substantially improve current therapies with respect to life quality parameters and prognosis.

Currently a team consisting of several PhD-students are working on the realisation of these research projects. Indeed this may typically represent a cross-over project involving experts from bioanalytics, medicine and pharmacology.

Sources and more information:
  • New analysis methodology may revolutionise breast cancer therapy,
    Universität Wien, Aktuelle Pressemeldungen, October 21, 2014.
  • Proteome Profiling of Breast Cancer Biopsies Reveals a Wound Healing Signature of Cancer-Associated Fibroblasts, American Chemical Society, DOI: 10.1021/pr500727h, September 19, 2014.

Screening and PinkWashing

Pink ribbon culture distracts from meaningful progress on breast cancer

Screening and PinkWashing poster
Join the #ThinkBeforeYouPink campaign by @BCAction.
Read #RethinkThePink: dealing with #PinkWashing during Breast Cancer awareness

What have all these pink ribbon products and promotions done for women living with and at risk of breast cancer?

Sources:

BC Action, Think Before You Pink website and Facebook page. PDF.

On Flickr®

Are You this Brave?

We are very excited to share ASD Project Brave in celebration of Autism Awareness Month in Canada

Children and adults with autism spectrum disorder face challenges with communication, social interaction, anxiety, sensory processing, the simple uncertainties of daily living, bullying, rejection and lack of supports for their needs.
They also laugh, dance, learn, give, share, teach, feel and love.
They are brave.

We challenge you to:
  • Make our world a place where their gifts, talents and unique qualities are appreciated and accepted.
  • Encourage governments, healthcare providers and school boards to find better ways to support them.
  • Be brave.
More information

Effects of Prenatal Exposures to EDCs on Childhood Development

By the Collaborative on Health and the Environment

Dr. Frederica Perera on the Effects of Prenatal Exposures to EDCs on Childhood Development.

The call featured Dr. Frederica Perera who reviewed data from a longitudinal cohort study following mothers and children from pregnancy into adolescence. In this study, prenatal exposure to the combustion related air pollutants, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, is associated with adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes as well as other disease endpoints. Prevention strategies were also discussed.

Sources:

Additional resources of interest:
    • Effect of prenatal exposure to airborne polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons on neurodevelopment in the first 3 years of life among inner-city children  PDF.
    • Prenatal airborne polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon exposure and child IQ at age 5 years PDF.
    • Prenatal Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) Exposure and Child Behavior at age 6-7 PDF.
    • Prenatal Exposure to Air Pollution, Maternal Psychological Distress, and Child Behavior PDF.
    • Prenatal Exposure to Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, Benzo[a]Pyrene-DNA Adducts and Genomic DNA Methylation in Cord Blood PDF.
    • Children’s environmental health: a critical challenge of our time PDF. PDF.

Do I really need this test, procedure, meds?

Choose wisely when it comes to taking more screening tests

Choosing Wisely header image
Choosing Wisely® aims to promote conversations between providers and patients by helping patients choose care that is: Supported by evidence, Not duplicative of other tests or procedures already received, Free from harm, Truly necessary.

Choosing Wisely®, a national campaign led by the ABIM Foundation and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is aimed at sparking conversation between doctors and patients about the overuse of medical testing, treatments and procedures. This can mean overuse in the areas of prescription drugs, such as antibiotics for a runny nose or sinus infection. It can also mean overuse in the area of imaging tests, like an unneeded CT scan for a headache or an MRI for most low-back pain. And it can also mean overuse in terms of procedures, like a C-section for a healthy pregnant woman, just because it’s more convenient.

Choosing Wisely® encourages patients to engage in conversation with their doctors, perhaps by starting with the following five questions before getting most tests, treatments, and procedures:

  • Do I really need this test or procedure?
  • What are the risks?
  • Are there simpler, safer options?
  • What happens if I don’t do anything?
  • How much does it cost?
Sources and more information:

Comparative effects of neonatal DES on external genitalia development in adult male mice

Many of the effects of DES, including the induction of hypospadias, are due to impaired growth and tissue fusion events during development

Highlights:

Elsevier logo image
This 2014 study suggests that many of the effects of DES, including the induction of hypospadias, are due to impaired growth and tissue fusion events during development.
  • Prenatal DES treatment of C57BL/6 and CD-1 mice elicited a broad spectrum of penile and preputial malformations that were consistently more severed in C57BL/6 mice having enhanced estrogen sensitivity.
  • Adverse effects of DES correlated with the expression of estrogen receptors within the affected tissues.
  • The developmental basis of several adult DES-induced malformations was presented.

Abstract:

Neonatally DES-induced penile and preputial hypospadias are suggested to be due to impaired growth and tissue fusion events during development.

The effect of neonatal exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES), a potent synthetic estrogen, was examined to evaluate whether the CD-1 (estrogen insensitive, outbred) and C57 (estrogen sensitive, inbred) mouse strains differ in their response to estrogen disruption of male ExG differentiation.

CD-1 and C57BL/6 litters were injected with sesame oil or DES (200ng/g/5μl in sesame oil vehicle) every other day from birth to day 10. Animals were sacrificed at the following time points: birth, 5, 10 and 60 days postnatal.

Neonatally DES-treated mice from both strains had many ExG abnormalities that included the following:

  • severe truncation of the prepuce and glans penis,
  • an abnormal urethral meatus,
  • ventral tethering of the penis,
  • reduced os penis length and glans width,
  • impaired differentiation of cartilage,
  • absence of urethral flaps,
  • impaired differentiation of erectile bodies.

Adverse effects of DES correlated with the expression of estrogen receptors within the affected tissues. While the effects of DES were similar in the more estrogen-sensitive C57BL/6 mice versus the less estrogen-sensitive CD-1 mice, the severity of DES effects was consistently greater in C57BL/6 mice.

We suggest that many of the effects of DES, including the induction of hypospadias, are due to impaired growth and tissue fusion events during development.

Sources

  • Comparative effects of neonatal diethylstilbestrol on external genitalia development in adult males of two mouse strains with differential estrogen sensitivity,
    ScienceDirect, stories/4607851, 18 Oct 2014.
  • Full text: Elsevier, article/pii/S0301468114000541, DOI: 10.1016/j.diff.2014.09.004.
More DES DiEthylStilbestrol Resources

Plastic Water Bottles, BPA and PinkWashing

Pink ribbon culture distracts from meaningful progress on breast cancer

BPA and PinkWashing poster
Join the #ThinkBeforeYouPink campaign by @BCAction
Read #RethinkThePink: dealing with #PinkWashing during Breast Cancer awareness

What have all these pink ribbon products and promotions done for women living with and at risk of breast cancer?

Sources:

BC Action, Think Before You Pink website and Facebook page. PDF.

On Flickr®