So today we have the bizarre situation in which use of mind-altering substances is simultaneously prohibited and promoted. Taking heroin to numb the pain of life is demonised, but taking an ‘antidepressant’ or ‘mood stabiliser’ to combat your depressive tendencies or manage your mood swings is encouraged, and not just by the pharmaceutical industry, but by professional and governmental anti-stigma campaigns.
Image sources: ‘Angels and demons’: the politics of psychoactive drugs, joannamoncrieff, April 22, 2014.
Chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) classified as toxic, Health&Environment, 23 February 2016.
Chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) is considered by many scientists to be a hormone disrupting chemical, and there is long list of adverse effects thought to be caused by this chemical, mainly linked with hormonal, fertility and developmental disorders. These include potential effects on the brain, mammary glands, kidneys, liver functioning and prostate glands. These effects may occur as a result of exposures that happen during biologically vulnerable phases of life. This is particularly relevant for people such as pregnant women, foetuses, infants, and young children.
At EU level, BPA was examined in order to be given a ‘harmonised’ (EU level) classification for its properties that are toxic to reproduction. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) Risk Assessment Committee is responsible for the EU harmonised classification process. After the ECHA Risk Assessment Committee gave its recommendation, the EU Commission and Member States agreed on the 1B reprotox classification, which will now be sent, along with any other updates to the Classification law to the European Parliament for ‘scrutiny’. Subsequent to Parliament agreement, and publication in the EU’s Official Journal, its new classification will apply approximately after November 2017.
“This will bring on some consequences for how BPA can be used in Europe, but it is still taking too long to get measures that will significantly reduce people’s exposures across all sorts of product areas, including from food. For example, we call on the European Commission to eliminate BPA completely in food contact materials, instead of ushering in a ‘safe limit’ that doesn’t change current practices of the food contact plastics and canning industries.”
A number of EU laws contain specific measures to control chemicals classified as reproductive toxicants, such as the REACH chemicals law, the Cosmetics Regulation, the Pesticides Regulation, etc. The classification notably opens the way for BPA to be easily adopted as a Substance of Very High Concern in the REACH chemicals system.
Lisette van Vliet, Senior Policy Advisor on Chemicals for HEAL, said
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Depuis de nombreuses années, je mesure la difficulté, malgré l’urgence et les enjeux pour notre avenir, de mobiliser le plus grand nombre sur la perte de biodiversité, la pollution ou encore le changement climatique. Ce sujet en est probablement l’un des meilleurs exemples : les sommets internationaux se sont succédés sans que nous ayons suffisamment pu mobiliser l’ensemble des concitoyens et responsables politiques sur le long terme.
Pourtant je veux croire que la conférence climat de Paris fin 2015 saura briser ce cercle vicieux et permettra de démontrer qu’une large majorité perçoit l’importance des enjeux, comprend que son avenir est directement concerné et peut se mobiliser en conséquence. Je veux le croire également pour le sujet des pesticides pour lequel la mobilisation du grand public, des décideurs et de la communauté scientifique est essentielle. En France, depuis le Grenelle de l’environnement et le lancement du plan Ecophyto en 2008, de nombreuses études sont venu confirmer les impacts des produits phytosanitaires sur la santé des consommateurs, des agriculteurs, des abeilles et des écosystèmes. Pourtant les résultats sont loin des espérances et de l’urgence d’agir…
Sommes-nous devenus sourds ou inconscients ? J’ai repris à mon compte cette formule, tant je pense qu’elle est cruciale : « le XXe siècle fut le siècle de l’hygiène bactériologique, le XXIe doit immédiatement devenir celui de l’hygiène chimique ». La 10e semaine des alternatives aux pesticides est un évènement de mobilisation clé permettant de rappeler que la transition est possible et que tous – agriculteurs, consommateurs, politiques, associations, médecins – avons notre rôle à jouer. D’autant que les alternatives sont là, partout, depuis longtemps et à même d’être démultipliées.
A nous de les mettre en valeur et de leur donner une place dans la société de demain.
To describe trends in benzodiazepine prescriptions and overdose mortality involving benzodiazepines among US adults.
We examined data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and multiple-cause-of-death data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Between 1996 and 2013, the percentage of adults filling a benzodiazepine prescription increased from 4.1% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 3.8%, 4.5%) to 5.6% (95% CI = 5.2%, 6.1%), with an annual percent change of 2.5% (95% CI = 2.1%, 3.0%). The quantity of benzodiazepines filled increased from 1.1 (95% CI = 0.9, 1.2) to 3.6 (95% CI = 3.0, 4.2) kilogram lorazepam equivalents per 100 000 adults (annual percent change = 9.0%; 95% CI = 7.6%, 10.3%). The overdose death rate increased from 0.58 (95% CI = 0.55, 0.62) to 3.07 (95% CI = 2.99, 3.14) per 100 000 adults, with a plateau seen after 2010.
Benzodiazepine-Related Overdose Deaths Soar, Forbes, FEB 18, 2016.
Benzodiazepine prescriptions and overdose mortality have increased considerably. Fatal overdoses involving benzodiazepines have plateaued overall; however, no evidence of decreases was found in any group. Interventions to reduce the use of benzodiazepines or improve their safety are needed.
Scientists discover secret to promising new cancer drug
Therapeutic Response to Non-genotoxic Activation of p53 by Nutlin3a Is Driven by PUMA-Mediated Apoptosis in Lymphoma Cells, cell, March 1, 2016.
Nutlin3a is a small-molecule antagonist of MDM2 that promotes non-genotoxic activation of p53 through p53 protein stabilization and transactivation of p53 target genes. Nutlin3a is the forerunner of a class of cancer therapeutics that have reached clinical trials.
Scientists discover secret to promising new cancer drug, sciencedaily, February 19, 2016.
Using transgenic and gene-targeted mouse models lacking the critical p53 target genes, p21, Puma, and Noxa, we found that only loss of PUMA conferred profound protection against Nutlin3a-induced killing in both non-transformed lymphoid cells and Eμ-Myc lymphomas in vitro and in vivo. CRISPR/Cas9-mediated targeting of the PUMA gene rendered human hematopoietic cancer cell lines markedly resistant to Nutlin3a-induced cell death. These results demonstrate that PUMA-mediated apoptosis, but not p21-mediated cell-cycle arrest or senescence, is a critical determinant of the therapeutic response to non-genotoxic p53 activation by Nutlin3a.
Importantly, in human cancer, PUMA expression may predict patient responses to treatment with MDM2 antagonists.
Drug trials not reported in line with ethical and legal demands
Publication and reporting of clinical trial results: cross sectional analysis across academic medical centers, The BMJ 2016;352:i637, 17 February 2016.
To determine rates of publication and reporting of results within two years for all completed clinical trials registered in ClinicalTrials.gov across leading academic medical centers in the United States.
Cross sectional analysis.
Academic medical centers in the United States.
Academic medical centers with 40 or more completed interventional trials registered on ClinicalTrials.gov.
Using the Aggregate Analysis of ClinicalTrials.gov database and manual review, we identified all interventional clinical trials registered on ClinicalTrials.gov with a primary completion date between October 2007 and September 2010 and with a lead investigator affiliated with an academic medical center.
Main outcome measures
The proportion of trials that disseminated results, defined as publication or reporting of results on ClinicalTrials.gov, overall and within 24 months of study completion.
We identified 4347 interventional clinical trials across 51 academic medical centers. Among the trials, 1005 (23%) enrolled more than 100 patients, 1216 (28%) were double blind, and 2169 (50%) were phase II through IV. Overall, academic medical centers disseminated results for 2892 (66%) trials, with 1560 (35.9%) achieving this within 24 months of study completion. The proportion of clinical trials with results disseminated within 24 months of study completion ranged from 16.2% (6/37) to 55.3% (57/103) across academic medical centers. The proportion of clinical trials published within 24 months of study completion ranged from 10.8% (4/37) to 40.3% (31/77) across academic medical centers, whereas results reporting on ClinicalTrials.gov ranged from 1.6% (2/122) to 40.7% (72/177).
Drug trials not reported in line with ethical and legal demands, independent, 17 February 2016.
Despite the ethical mandate and expressed values and mission of academic institutions, there is poor performance and noticeable variation in the dissemination of clinical trial results across leading academic medical centers.