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Monday, September 30, 2013

Sharing Bed With Infant is Dangerous

Roughly 14 percent of infants share bed with adult or child. NIH-funded study shows physician advice can reduce potentially life-threatening practice
The percentage of nighttime caregivers who reported that an infant usually shares a bed with a parent, another adult, or a child more than doubled between 1993 and 2010, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.
Over the 17 years of the study, researchers recorded increases in bed-sharing among all racial and ethnic groups; however, the increases were most notable among African American and Hispanic families. Bed-sharing can increase the risk of unexpected infant death, including SIDS, which is also more common among African American infants, the researchers said.
The researchers also found that advice from physicians could significantly reduce the potentially life threatening practice. Caregivers who perceived physicians’ attitude as against sharing a bed were about 34 percent less likely to report that the infant usually shared a bed than were caregivers who received no advice.
Based on responses from nearly 20,000 caregivers, the researchers reported that the proportion of infants sharing a bed with another person rose from 6.5 percent to 13.5 percent over the 17-year period of the study. The majority of bed sharing, 85 percent, was with parents.
Sharing a bed, with an adult or another child, increases an infant’s risk of death from sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS or other sleep-related causes. To reduce infants’ risk of sleep-related deaths, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends  that infants sleep in the same room, but not in the same bed, as caregivers. Cribs, portable cribs bassinets, or playpens that meet safety standards can be placed next to the caregiver’s bed. Infants should not be placed to sleep on an adult bed at any time.
Caregivers were much less likely to report that the infant shared a bed if they perceived that their physicians were against the practice. The researchers also found that if physicians gave advice that caregivers perceived as neutral regarding bed sharing, their infants were more likely to bed-share than were infants of caregivers whose physicians didn’t give them any advice at all.
“It’s important for doctors to discuss sleeptime habits with new parents in order to convey the risks of bed sharing clearly,” said Marian Willinger, Ph.D., study co-author and special assistant for SIDS at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).
SIDS is the unexplained death of a child within the first year of life. In 1992, the AAP issued its recommendation that infants be put to sleep on their backs. Two years later, the NICHD and its partners launched the Back to Sleep campaign. The rate of SIDS in the United States has fallen 50 percent since. However, in that time, researchers have reported an increase in other unexpected infant deaths, resulting, for example, from accidental suffocation, entrapment in bedding material or other causes.
Based on new recommendations from the AAP, in 2011 the NICHD and its partners expanded the Back to Sleep campaign to include information that parents and caregivers can use to reduce the risk of other unexpected sleep-related causes of infant death, in addition to SIDS. These include entrapment and suffocation. The expanded campaign is known as Safe to Sleep.
Each year from 1993 to 2010, researchers with the National Infant Sleep Position Study surveyed more than 1,000 caregivers about their infant sleep practices. About 85 percent of respondents were the infant’s mother.
The researchers found that over the course of the17-year study, bed-sharing became more common among all ethnic and racial groups. Using a three-year moving average calculation, they found that among white infants, the proportion of those usually bed-sharing increased from 4.9 percent in 1993 to 9.1 percent in 2010. For Hispanic infants, the percent usually bed-sharing rose from 12.5 percent in 1993 to 20.5 percent in 2010. With African-American infants, the percentage of those usually bed-sharing increased from 21.2 percent to 38.7 percent during the same time period.
“The disparity in nighttime habits has increased in recent years,” said Dr. Colson. “Because African-American infants are already at increased risk for SIDS, this trend is a cause for concern.”
More than half of the caregivers surveyed since 2006 reported that they had not received advice from their doctor about bed sharing.

China Finds Rot in Apples From New Zealand

Apple rot causing an export ban to China was probably due to heavy rain during harvest, says Pipfruit New Zealand technical manager Mike Butcher. He said Pacific Queen and Pacific Rose were the varieties particularly affected.
"These organisms manifest in storage and are more prevalent in extremely wet harvest periods," "It requires rain to be released from its capsule and then water running down the tree spreads it to other apples
The rot, caused by the fungus Neofabraea alba, was not a food safety risk. "China undertake a sub-sampling of each consignment and they found evidence on only a few apples, so it is not in every apple, it is not in every box," Dr Butcher said.
Pipfruit New Zealand chief executive Alan Pollard said because China took only 2 per cent of the New Zealand harvest the industry was unaffected at season-end. Shipments bound for China had been diverted.
"The rot may be a market access problem for China but not in other markets," Mr Pollard said. He said two pack houses had been identified as being the source of three shipments with the surface rot.
The Ministry for Primary Industries had a team in China and they notified New Zealand of the rotten find, he said. Talks with China about market access for next season will start in February-March.

French Wines Contain Pesticides

Consumer organization UFC-Que Choisir did lab tests on 92 French Wines. They found that all the wines, even the organic wines had traces of pesticides in them. Que Choisir tested wines ranging from a 1.63-euro ($2.20) bottle of generic red to a 15-euro Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
There are no limits on how much pesticides can be in a bottle of wine in the EU. Wine producers in France account for 3.7 percent of farmland and 20 percent of the country’s pesticide use, Que Choisir said.
“By drinking a glass of wine, you have every chance of unknowingly swallowing a few micrograms of these pesticide residues,” Que Choisir wrote. “No wine today escapes the pollution by plant-protection products applied to the vines.”
The findings included an insecticide and a fungicide not allowed in the EU, the group said. Wines produced from grapes from “conventional” agriculture on average contained four pesticides, mainly fungicides, while for wine from organic grapes residues mostly consisted of one to two pesticides, wrote Que Choisir.
Health-risk assessments for pesticides are generally based on toxicology studies for a single product, without taking into account cumulative effects, Que Choisir said.
The biggest pesticide count was found in a bottle of Bordeaux from 2010 priced at 10.44 euros, with 14 chemicals detected, followed by a 3.75-euro 2012 Bordeaux with traces of 13 products, according to the report.
“Weather conditions, particularly rainfall, have a direct impact on diseases of vines and attacks by parasites,” Que Choisir wrote. “The warm and dry weather of Provence and the Rhone valley partly explains why the wines from these regions have significantly less pesticides than their cousins from Champagne and particularly Bordeaux.” The group also found wines with residues close to zero in Bordeaux, as well as in the Rhone Valley, Loire Valley, Provence and Languedoc-Roussillon regions.
For wine made using organic grapes, pesticide traces may have originated in the environment, for example from spraying by neighboring wine makers, according to Que Choisir. Of 10 wines from organic grapes tested, six had residues close to zero, the group said.

Study Evaluates HIV Prevention by Population-wide Testing and Early Treatment

A study in South Africa and Zambia will assess whether house-to-house voluntary HIV testing and prompt treatment of HIV infection, along with other proven HIV prevention measures, can substantially reduce the number of new HIV infections across communities.
The trial, Population Effects of Antiretroviral Therapy to Reduce HIV Transmission (PopART)  is sponsored and co-funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.
The PopART study will build on the results of the landmark of another study which found that HIV-infected individuals who start treatment early, when their immune systems are relatively healthy, dramatically reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to their heterosexual partners.
“Through this new study, we aim to learn whether the treatment of HIV-infected individuals as a form of HIV prevention, an approach previously tested in roughly 1,800 heterosexual couples where one partner was infected, will be just as effective when implemented across an entire adult population,” said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. “The study also will tell us whether this method of delivering population-wide HIV treatment as prevention is feasible and cost-effective.”
The trial is being conducted in South Africa and Zambia because the HIV prevalence in those countries is among the highest in the world. An estimated 12.5 percent of adults in Zambia and 17.3 percent of adults in South Africa are infected.
“Mathematical models indicate that if a high proportion of a population can be tested for HIV, and those found to be infected are offered treatment right away, then the rate of new HIV infections could decrease substantially over time,” said Dr. Hayes. “The PopART study is assessing whether this approach works and whether the benefits outweigh the costs — information that could help guide public health policy.”
The PopART study investigators have designed an HIV prevention package that includes
  • Door-to-door, voluntary HIV testing offered at annual intervals
  • Linkage of those who test positive for the virus to care at local health centers
  • Promotion of voluntary medical circumcision to men who are not HIV-infected
  • Promotion of steps to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission
  • Referral of individuals with other sexually transmitted infections to treatment
  • Provision of condoms
The PopART trial will involve 21 communities in South Africa and Zambia with a total population of 1.2 million. The study team has randomly assigned each community to one of three groups. One group of communities will receive the HIV prevention package along with the opportunity for HIV-infected individuals to begin treatment as soon as they test positive for the virus. The second group will receive the same HIV prevention package, and infected individuals will be offered treatment at the stage of infection recommended by their country’s HIV treatment guidelines. The third group will serve as a control and will receive existing HIV prevention and testing services along with HIV care and treatment according to current national guidelines for their country.
The study team will measure the impact of the two HIV prevention packages by determining the number of new HIV infections among a representative sample of 52,500 adults drawn from the 21 study communities and followed for three years. The study is expected to end in 2019.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Italy:Manufacturer Disputes Recall of Frozen Berries

Italy:Manufacturer Disputes Recall of Frozen Berries.
Over 400 people have been infected by Hepatitis A in Italy. A new brand , Nestlé Buiton, of mixed berries, "The Valley of the Gardens" batch number 3144088803, dated 24 May 2013 with a date of minimum durability May 2015, has been recalled.
The company, Parma, who produced the berries for Nestlé Buiton has asked the authorities competent repeat testing. The Companies testing shows no hepatitis A virus in their berries.
They tested the berries twice by an independent laboratory without finding the virus. They also pointed out that they have been regularly inspected by health authorities which revealed no problems. They also point out that all other "The Valley of the Gardens" products are safe.
The analysis on samples of berries were conducted by the Institute zooprofilattico of Piedmont and the results were sent to the Ministry of Health, which since June has set up a task force to better address the epidemic. The paradoxical aspect of the story is that the ministry has never published the photos of the products and demonstrates a certain anxiety in dealing with the matter. Not yet been determined what caused the contamination. Some believe it was caused by raw material, while others focus their attention on the supply chain.
The Ministry of Health of health has recommended that all frozen berries be boiled for two minutes because there may be more brands that will be recalled.

Mixed berries "Royal Forest" 200 g
Asiago Food Spa
TMC 02/2015
Frozen mixed berries "Bosco good" 450 g
Green Ice Spa
TMC 31/12/2014
Frozen berries 1 kg
Erica Spa
TMC End of August 2014
Frozen mixed berries "Bosco good" 300 g
Green Ice Spa
TMC 02/2015
Frozen mixed berries "Bosco good"
Green Ice Spa

Cocktail of berries bio
Berries "The valley of the gardens"
List of supermarkets and shops that sold lots of berries suspected of containing the hepatitis A virus

Friday, September 27, 2013

Second Produce Companies Executives Face Criminal Charges

The Jensen Brothers were brought to court on federal charges of shipping six lots of contaminated cantaloupe. Thirty three people were killed, one woman miscarried and 164 people were hospitalized after eating their cantaloupe.
Cantaloupe are supposed to be washed in a chlorine solution to kill any bacteria..The Jensen brothers bought a used washing machine which was made for potatoes. Because potatoes are cooked they are allowed to have more bacteria on them. Even so their was an opening so that the chlorine could be added. They knew about this and did nothing.
Executives from Peanut Corp. of America were previously charged. The Justice Department on Stewart Parnell charged the former owner of Peanut Corp. of America, and other employees engaged in a multiyear conspiracy to hide the fact that many of the company's products were tainted with salmonella.
The U.S. government charged owners of a plant blamed for a 2008 peanut butter salmonella outbreak that killed nine people and sickened about 700. Peanut Corp. of America went out of business after the outbreak.
Prosecutors said the company failed to notify its customers—including several national food companies—when independent lab tests revealed the presence of salmonella. In some cases, company officials fabricated lab results, stating peanut products were salmonella-free even when tests showed otherwise, or when no tests had been conducted at all, the Justice Department said.
The 76-count indictment against Mr. Parnell and ex-employees includes charges of conspiracy, wire fraud, obstruction of justice and introducing adulterated food into the market.
When I was a restaurant manager if a health inspector he found something wrong, the inspector came back to make sure that we had corrected it.. For several years both of these companies recievedt bad reports with numerous violations but  the FDA never inspected to make sure that things had been corrected.
In both of these cases the criminal charges were warranted. But Criminal charges are a two edge sword. In France a grocery store manager can be jailed for selling food contaminated with bacteria, you find some groceries not telling customers when their has been a recall. In some cases food companies are reluctant to mention that their food is contaminated. They don’t want to go to jail.
In the past we rarely brought criminal charges against food company executives. It is wise to use criminal charges only in the most extreme cases. It is also wise for the FDA to start reinspecting when they find conditions that are likely to cause disease.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cancer Causing Dioxins in Meat and Dairy Foods

Dioxins is one of the most toxic chemicals known to science. A draft report released for public comment in September 1994 by the US Environmental Protection Agency clearly describes dioxin as a serious public health threat. The public health impact of dioxin may rival the impact that DDT had on public health in the 1960's. According to the EPA report, not only does there appear to be no "safe" level of exposure to dioxin, but levels of dioxin and dioxin-like chemicals have been found in the general US population that are "at or near levels associated with adverse health effects."
Dioxin was the primary toxic component of Agent Orange, was found at Love Canal in Niagara Falls, NY and was the basis for evacuations at Times Beach, MO and Seveso, Italy.
Dioxin is formed by burning chlorine-based chemical compounds with hydrocarbons. The major source of dioxin in the environment comes from waste-burning incinerators of various sorts and also from backyard burn-barrels. Dioxin pollution is also affiliated with paper mills which use chlorine bleaching in their process and with the production of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) plastics and with the production of certain chlorinated chemicals (like many pesticides).
The EPA report confirmed that dioxin is a cancer hazard to people. In 1997 ,It is a now considered a Group 1 carcinogen, meaning that it's a known human carcinogen.
Finally, a 2003 reanalysis of the cancer risk from dioxin reaffirmed that there is no known "safe dose" or "threshold" below which dioxin will not cause cancer. A July 2002 study shows dioxin to be related to increased incidence of breast cancer.
In addition to cancer, exposure to dioxin can also cause severe reproductive and developmental problems (at levels 100 times lower than those associated with its cancer causing effects). Dioxin is well-known for its ability to damage the immune system and interfere with hormonal systems.
Dioxin exposure has been linked to birth defects, inability to maintain pregnancy, decreased fertility, reduced sperm counts, endometriosis, diabetes, learning disabilities, immune system suppression, lung problems, skin disorders, lowered testosterone levels and much more. For an detailed list of health problems related to dioxin, read the People's Report on Dioxin.
How are we exposed to dioxin?
The major sources of dioxin are in our diet. Since dioxin is fat-soluble, it bioaccumulates, climbing up the food chain. A North American eating a typical North American diet will receive 93% of their dioxin exposure from meat and dairy products (23% is from milk and dairy alone; the other large sources of exposure are beef, fish, pork, poultry and eggs). In fish, these toxins accumulate up the food chain so that dioxin levels in fish are 100,000 times that of the surrounding environment. The best way to avoid dioxin exposure is to reduce or eliminate your consumption of meat and dairy products by adopting a vegan diet. According to a May 2001 study of dioxin in foods, "The category with the lowest [dioxin] level was a simulated vegan diet, with 0.09 ppt.... Blood dioxin levels in pure vegans have also been found to be very low in comparison with the general population, indicating a lower contribution of these foods to human dioxin body burden."
In EPA's dioxin report, they refer to dioxin as hydrophobic (water-fearing) and lipophilic (fat-loving). This means that dioxin, when it settles on water bodies, will rapidly accumulate in fish rather than remain in the water. The same goes for other wildlife. Dioxin works its way to the top of the food chain.
Men have no ways to get rid of dioxin other than letting it break down according to its chemical half-lives. Women, on the other hand, have two ways which it can exit their bodies:
  • It crosses the placenta... into the growing infant;
  • It is present in the fatty breast milk, which is also a route of exposure which doses the infant, making breast-feeding for non-vegan/vegetarian mothers quite hazardous.
If you're eating the typical North American diet, this is where you are getting your dioxin from:

9/26/2013 Weekly Health News - Pathogens, Heart Disease, Cancer, HIV, Diabetes etc.

This is a new weekly feature of the blog It will cover the latest in health research.from around the web.  If you like it please let me know
EMERGING PATHOGENS: VIBRIO CASES IN OYSTERS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE INCREASING With a nearly 50-percent mortality rate, Vibrio vulnificus is the most deadly foodborne pathogen in the world, according to University of North Carolina at Charlotte Biology Professor Jim Oliver. And instances of infection in the U.S., however rare, are rapidly rising. Fifteen years ago, there were 21 confirmed cases of Vibrio vulnificus and parahaemolyticus infections... Continue Reading
Reporting of Pathology Errors in Canada not done in the United States
Errors in anatomic pathology testing in the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan made media headlines this summer. In each case, it was just a limited number of cases where errors at pathology labs resulted in inaccurate diagnoses and, in at least one case, a needless mastectomy for a patient.
Understanding Environmental Causes of Cancer With Advance in Using Biopsy Samples
In an advance in determining the role of environmental agents in causing cancer, scientists described development of a long-sought way to use biopsy samples from cancer patients to check on human exposure to substances that damage the genetic material DNA in ways that can cause cancer.
The Simple Test That Saved My Baby
The pregnancy was without complications. The delivery itself lasted all of 12 minutes. After a couple of days at Greenwich Hospital in Connecticut, we were packing up when a pediatric cardiologist came into the room. We would not be going home, she told us. Our son had a narrowing of the aorta and would have to be transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital at Columbia, where he would need heart surgery. It turned out that our son was among the first in Connecticut whose lives may have been saved by a new state law that requires all newborns to be screened for congenital heart defects.
Testing Child’s Urine may Help Doctors Identify Risk for High Blood Pressure
Measuring sodium in a child’s urine may help doctors identify those at risk for having high blood pressure later in life.

New Test Rapidly Distinguishes Viral, Bacterial Infections
A new test that analyzes patients' immune responses, rather than the pathogens themselves, can rapidly distinguish viral infections from bacterial infections.
Note: This could reduce the over prescribing of Antibiotics as well as save lives

New Test Enables Early Diagnosis of Liver Cancer
They have developed a test that will help pathologists clearly distinguish early liver cancer cells from nearly identical normal liver cells by giving them a distinctive red-brown hue. The inability to definitively tell the difference often means the disease is detected late when treatment options are less effective.
Screening Test Evaluated for Early Detection of Ovarian Cancer
A protein that has long been recognized for predicting ovarian cancer recurrence now shows promise as a screening tool for the initial phases of the disease. The simple blood test could offer a much-needed screening tool to detect ovarian cancer in its early stages..
New Test Can Help Detect Breast Cancer a Decade Before it Develops
Imagine being able to detect breast cancer a decade before it develops. Doctors are saying that dream may soon become a reality with a new test called ForeCYTE. that off to get to the lab."

High Serum Calcium Linked to Developing Diabetes
High concentrations of serum calcium—but not necessarily calcium intake—are associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Russian Mushrooms Kill HIV, Institute Says
A treatment for HIV may be found in Siberian mushrooms that have been used in Russia since the 16th century as a folk remedy, a group of Russian scientists says. The scientists from the Vector research institute in southwestern Siberia say they have identified three types of mushroom found in that region that can be developed into antiviral medicines, the institute said in a statement on its website.“Strains of these mushrooms demonstrated low toxicity and a strong antiviral effect” against influenza, smallpox and HIV,
Scientists Take Big Step Towards Universal Flu Vaccine
Scientists say they have made a significant leap towards creating a vaccine that would protect against every form of flu. The influenza virus is a constantly shifting target so seasonal flu vaccines rapidly become useless and new ones are needed each year. A team at Imperial College London say they have made a "blueprint" for a universal flu vaccine.
CDC Sets Threat Levels for Drug-resistant 'Superbugs'
Health officials have been warning us about antibiotic overuse and drug-resistant "superbugs" for a long time. But now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is sounding the alarm in a new way. For the first time, the CDC is categorizing drug-resistant superbugs by threat level.