GMO pesticides linked to birth defects, disruption of male hormones, cancer

NaturalNews) Numerous studies in recent months have tied agricultural pesticides to reproductive and other serious health problems (http://www.naturalnews.com/pesticid…). And a new study out of Argentina adds even more evidence to the fact that such chemicals are a widespread public health pandemic.

Andres Carrasco, head of the molecular Embryology Lab at the University of Buenos Aires, recently presented a report explaining that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, is responsible for causing birth defects, infertility, sperm destruction, and cancer.

For the study, Carrasco and his team tested the effects of glyphosate on animal embryos and found that the chemical alters and impairs proper embryonic development. The paper also explains that “glyphosate itself was responsible” for causing the birth defects, and that the results of the study suggest similar outcomes for humans as well (http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021…).

Shortly after Carrasco released his report, The Ecologist, a British environmental magazine, released its own report about the devastating effects of glyphosate both on the environment and on human and animal life, also citing Carrasco’s experience of being “assaulted by a mob” when arriving in the town where he was to present his findings (http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_a…).

“I didn’t discover anything new,” said Carrasco in an interview with GMWatch.org. “I just confirmed what other scientists discovered. In spite of the evidence, they tried to run down 30 years of my reputation as a scientist … They know they can’t cover up the sun with one hand. There is scientific proof and, above all, there are hundreds of affected towns [that] are a living evidence of this public health emergency.”

Besides glyphosate, the whole slew of other toxic chemicals applied to conventional and genetically-modified (GM) crops are also a severe threat to human health. A report published in the magazine Scientific American back in February explains that the vast majority of pesticides are endocrine disruptors. The chemicals affect male hormones in particular, blocking or mimicking them, and ultimately leading to all sorts of very severe health problems (http://www.scientificamerican.com/a…).

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/032201_pesticides_birth_defects.html#ixzz1KpLDBzWr

Armed agents invade Maxam Nutraceutics and steal natural health products in shocking FDA raid

NaturalNews) Amidst all the destructive activities taking place in our world today that deserve attention, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has decided instead to make it a personal mission to destroy the businesses and livelihoods of those trying to help people through natural medicine.

On Thursday, April 14, 2011, dozens of agents from the FDA, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) conducted an unprovoked, full-scale raid on Hood River, Ore.-based Maxam Nutraceutics, a company that produces and sells nutritional supplements primarily for autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and Alzheimer’s disease.

Back in October 12, 2010, the FDA sent a warning letter to Jim Cole, Founder and CEO of Maxam, notifying him that several of his company’s products were not labeled in accordance with the US Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. The letter also stated that Maxam had fifteen days from the receipt of the letter to notify the FDA compliance officer of the specific steps it planned to take in order to correct the violations.

You can view a copy of the FDA warning letter here, complete with the name of the FDA compliance officer to whom Jim and his company were instructed to respond, and the FDA district director who sent the letter:
http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/Enforcemen…

Oddly enough, the vast majority of the “unapproved labels” in question were not actually labels at all. They were merely customer testimonials about the products that had been accumulated over the years from satisfied customers, and posted online alongside product descriptions on Maxam’s website. Nevertheless, the FDA considered the testimonials to be marketing violations that automatically rendered the products as drugs.

According to Jim, his company immediately responded to the FDA letter by calling the compliance officer and telling her “it was [the company’s] intention to come into full compliance as quickly as possible.” This included removing all the offending testimonials from the company website after being told by the FDA compliance officer that they were not permitted.

“I contacted a patent and copyright attorney, and he had written [the compliance officer] a letter that it was our intention to come into full compliance,” said Jim, noting that his company responded within two days of receiving the FDA warning letter, long before the 15-day deadline period. “So we took down the testimonials, and we thought that was good. And I hired an FDA copyright person [who] went over all the offending verbiage through the website.”

Jim cooperated with every demand that the FDA made of him, and was convinced that all was well. But apparently the FDA had different ideas when out of nowhere, the agency, along with the IRS and the FBI, sent as many as 80 armed, SWAT-style agents to both Maxam headquarters, the company’s “Big Gym” training center, and even Jim’s daughter’s house, to confiscate all the products, company documents, and even personal files and computers.

“They took all our products, all our paperwork, all our files — we’ve been doing this since 1992 and they pulled everything,” said Jim. “They brought in three big moving vans, they had their guns on, their bullet-proof vests — they came prepared for war.”

The armed agents also stole 27 TurboSonic machines, which is a sound-actuated vibration plate device that Jim invented to stimulate growth plates in the body, improve circulation, energize the lymphatic system, and improve muscle strength. The TurboSonic machines were not even mentioned in the FDA warning letter.

“We also have a big Olympic training center up here called the ‘Big Gym’ — they went into the gym, they took all the paperwork, all the computer, hard drives, downloaded all of our servers, and trashed a couple of our servers going out,” added Jim. “They took products that were not on the list. I had an old bodybuilding line that went back to 1992, they took all of that. They pretty much just had a free-for-all.”

According to Jim, the agents stole “hundreds of thousands of dollars in products” as part of the raid, as well as personal files, insurance policies, non-printed checks, and even unopened packages of manila filing folders from an office supply store. Clearly, the FDA’s intent was to terrorize and intimidate this small company that, from all available accounts, did absolutely nothing wrong.

Maxam is currently “waiting for the dust to settle” as it pursues legal action against the offending agencies. Until then, the world must know about this terrible injustice and crime against humanity. The FDA has clearly shown itself to be a terrorist organization that has no respect for the rule of law, or for common decency. To perform a SWAT-style raid against a company that was doing everything it could to follow the law and conduct business honestly and legally is a travesty in this supposed “land of the free.”

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/032203_Maxam_Nutraceutics_FDA_raid.html#ixzz1KpKoY0cb

Nutrigenomics is key to next generation of anti-inflammatories, says Frost & Sullivan

There is “definitely a market niche” for products tackling chronic inflammation based on a growing understanding of the interaction between diet and genetics, according to Frost & Sullivan.

Speaking to NutraIngredients-USA.com as part of our special edition on inflammation, F&S research analyst Cecilia Van Cauwenberghe said: “There is definitely a market niche for anti-inflammatory products, particularly those based on novel technology platforms.

“There is increasing attention on the association of a variety of diseases with chronic inflammatory processes. And novel approaches to treatment and prevention need to be presented as the result of a new concept of medicine based on genomics, also enabling the projection toward personalized medicine.”

Inflammatory process and gene expression

One company adopting this approach was life sciences firm WellGen, which claims to “target the inflammatory cascade through modulation of multiple genes through nutrigenomics”, Van Cauwenberghe said.

Wellgen has developed a screening platform enabling it to evaluate the impact of natural extracts on the inflammatory process and gene expression.

The first human clinical trial of its theaflavin-enriched black tea extract showed a reduction in the expression of pro-inflammatory mRNA and cytokines/chemokines proteins, a reduction in inflammatory biomarker levels and a rise in the anti-inflammatory immuno-modulatory cytokine IL-10, noted Van Cauwenberghe.

Later trials testing the effects of the extract on delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), oxidative stress and cortisol response in subjects doing high intensity anaerobic exercise also showed promising results, she said.

Cardiovascular disease and chronic inflammation

Meanwhile, “novel and more personalized therapies based on nutrigenomic and metabolomic approaches” to cardiovascular disease and its relationship to chronic inflammation also had potential, she said.

Examples of products exploiting an understanding of nutrigentics (how a person’s genetic make-up affects a response to diet) already on the market included the Nutrilite IL-1 heart health supplement, which was formulated to address the nutritional needs of individuals with an over expression of the IL-1 gene, she said.

Supplementation with Nutrilite IL-1 led to a 20% reduction in C-Reactive Protein, a biomarker of cardiovascular disease risk, in almost half of individuals testing positive for IL-1, she said.

Starting young…

Finally, scientists were devoting increasing resources to detecting biomarkers for deviations from healthy metabolism in young children and then attempting to compensate “by applying nutrigenomic and metabolomic technologies”, she added.

And this created opportunities for industry: “There is growing evidence that nutrition during early life can program the development of diseases later in life. Such a discovery is well-known as ‘metabolic programming or imprinting’ and reveals the importance of optimal nutrition during early stages of life.”

But will consumers get it?

As to whether consumers grasped the concept of chronic inflammation and the need to tackle it through nutrigenomics or anything else, it would all depend on how the next generation of dietary supplements or medical foods were marketed, said EuroPharma’s chief of scientific affairs and education Cheryl Myers.

In reality, many consumers buying anti-inflammatories were trying to tackle chronic pain, rather than address an underlying problem they didn’t even know they had, she added.

“I think people buy products claiming to target inflammation because they are in pain. If they work, they buy them again. I am not sure they know or necessarily care precisely how they work.”

New Technique Extends Cancer-Fighting Cells’ Potency in Melanoma Patients

ScienceDaily (Apr. 27, 2011) — Like brainy bookworms unprepared for the rough and tumble of post-graduation life, white blood cells trained by scientists to attack tumors tend to fade away quickly when injected into cancer patients. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists, however, have developed a technique that can cause such cells to survive in patients’ bloodstreams for well over a year, in some cases, without the need of other, highly toxic treatments, a new study shows.

In a paper published in the Apr. 27 issue of Science Translational Medicine, the researchers report the results of a small, Phase I study in which the technique — a form of “adoptive immunotherapy” — was tested in nine patients with advanced melanoma. Ten weeks after starting the therapy, seven of the nine patients had more of the specially trained, tumor-hunting cells than they had started with. Three of the patients had stable disease — neither advancing nor retreating — and one had shrinkage of a tumor that had spread to the lung. Another patient experienced a complete remission, with no tumors visible on CT or PET scans. Today, 25 months after receiving the one-time therapy, he has no evidence of cancer.

The results represent the longest that the injected cells — known as anti-tumor T cells — have ever endured in cancer patients without the use of supplemental treatments — treatments that, while effective, often have harsh side effects. “The study demonstrates it is possible to maintain high levels of anti-tumor T cells in patients over a long period of time while avoiding the complications of conventional approaches,” says the study’s lead author, Marcus Butler, MD, of Dana-Farber’s Early Drug Development Center. “Our technique opens the way to therapies that produce less-toxic, long-lasting immune system attacks on cancer cells.”

The technique’s promise was further illustrated when researchers combined it with another treatment. Five patients whose disease had progressed after T cell infusions were treated with ipilimumab, a drug that boosts the cells’ anti-tumor response. Three of the patients had long-term shrinkage of their tumors, and two others had their disease stabilize. Patients who received the drug after the completing clinical trial had sizable increases in the number of anti-tumor T cells in their blood.

Melanoma skin cancers were diagnosed in more than 68,000 Americans in 2010, according to the American Cancer Society, and the numbers have been rising for more than 30 years. If detected and removed at an early stage, melanomas can usually be cured, but once the disease has spread to distant sites, the median survival time for patients is less than a year. Scientists are developing an array of novel treatment approaches to improve those odds.

Adoptive immunotherapy involves collecting T cells — natural infection- and cancer-fighters of the immune system — from a patient and exposing them to protein “antigens” found only on tumor cells. The T cells learn to recognize the antigens and to attack tumor cells that carry them. Technicians treat these “educated” T cells with a growth stimulator to increase their number and then inject them back into the patient, where they fan out to obliterate tumor cells.

Under normal conditions, the reinjected T cells die off in a matter of days. Doctors can increase their staying power by depleting patients’ blood of certain regulatory T cells that dampen the anti-tumor T cells’ response to cancer or using Interleukin 2, which spurs the growth of T cells. Both techniques can cause a host of health problems, including nausea, fever, muscle weakness, a drop in certain kinds of white blood cells, as well as other, more severe ones.

The technique developed at Dana-Farber aims to reduce those problems while giving anti-tumor T cells the stamina to persevere in the body. It involves an artificial version of cells known as antigen-presenting cells. Such cells act like tiny “FBI Most Wanted” posters: by displaying tumor cell antigens, they inform the immune system that cancer is present and needs to be eliminated. Dana-Farber scientists engineered antigen-presenting cells to produce a key molecule, known as CD83, which ensures that T cells persist for a long period of time. They also used Interleukin 15 to educate the T cells to be survivors. These educated T cells, known as memory cells, use their “knowledge” of tumor antigens to prepare them to launch a swift, powerful attack on tumor cells.

Follow-up exams of study participants showed that blood levels of educated anti-tumor T cells remained elevated many months after treatment and congregated inside the melanoma tumors. By observing how the cells function, investigators confirmed that they were indeed memory cells — and therefore the descendants of the ones that had been educated in the lab — not untrained T cells that had yet to encounter cancer cell antigens.

The researchers found that patients with the highest post-treatment levels of anti-tumor T cells did not necessarily fare better than those with lower levels. This wasn’t surprising, they say, because many tumors have developed an ability to blunt a T cell attack.

As a phase I trial, the study was primarily concerned with the safety of the technique and with its ability to produce long-lasting anti-tumor T cells in patients. The striking results in the patient who is cancer-free two years after completing therapy were unexpected, the authors say, but offer a glimpse of the technique’s effectiveness when refined and combined with other agents.

“Our next step will be to study this technique in conjunction with other therapies that can boost the numbers and effectiveness of these memory T cells,” says the study’s senior author, Naoto Hirano, MD, PhD, of Dana-Farber and the Ontario Cancer Institute in Toronto. “We will be beginning a series of clinical trials to learn which combinations work best in which patients.”

The study was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, Immunotherapy Fund 1, the S. Craig Lindner Fund for Cancer Research, the Rudolf E. Rupert Foundation for Cancer Research, the Cancer Research Institute/Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research Cancer Vaccine Collaborative, Friends of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Dunkin’ Donuts Rising Stars Program, and the American Society of Hematology Scholar.

The T cells were generated in Dana-Farber’s Connell and O’Reilly Families Cell Manipulation Core Facility. The study and scientific analysis was conducted in the laboratory of Lee Nadler, MD, senior vice president of Experimental Medicine at Dana-Farber.

The co-authors of the study are Matthew Milstein, Mary Mooney, Genita Metzler, Andrew Murray, Alla Berezovskaya, Linda Drury, Lisa Brennan, RN, BSN, Marisa Flavin, Donna Neuberg, ScD, and Kristen Stevenson, Dana-Farber; Philip Friedlander, MD, Makito Tanaka, PhD, Osamu Imataki, PhD, Stephen Hodi, MD, Martin Mihm, MD, and Lee Nadler, MD, Dana-Farber and Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Elsa Velazquez, MD, Brigham and Women’s and Tufts University School of Medicine; Michael Jaklitsch, MD, and Sara Russell, MD, Brigham and Women’s; and Donald Lawrence, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital.

Protective T-Cells, Which Are Used in Stem-Cell Treatment, Can Cause the Body to Attack Itself

ScienceDaily (Apr. 27, 2011) — Researchers in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Alberta have made an important discovery that provides a new understanding of how our immune system “learns” not to attack our own body, and this could affect the way doctors treat patients with autoimmune diseases and cancer.

When patients undergo chemotherapy for cancer or as part of experimental therapies to treat autoimmune diseases such as diabetes and lupus, the treatment kills the patients’ white blood cells. What can be done afterwards, is to give these patients blood stem cells through transplantation. Stem cells are taken from patients then injected back into them — with the theory being that the patients’ immune system won’t attack their own cells, and the stem cells can get to work healing their bodies.

But U of A medical researchers Govindarajan Thangavelu, Colin Anderson and their collaborators discovered that if a particular molecule is not working properly in T-cells, the body will attack itself. This is significant for stem-cell transplantation treatment because it means the immune systems of the patients could consider their own cells “foreign” and initiate an attack.

“So your own cells would be killing you,” says Thangavelu, a PhD student specializing in immunology, who was the first author in the research study, which was recently published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Autoimmunity. “What we found is if this molecule is absent in T-cells, if the pathway isn’t intact, it will cause severe autoimmunity to the subject’s own body. In essence, subjects become allergic to their own cells.”

Anderson, an associate professor with the Alberta Diabetes Institute and Principal Investigator added: “The ability of our immune system to attack dangerous microbes while not attacking our own cells or tissues is a delicate balance. Restarting the immune system after wiping it out in patients with autoimmune diseases or cancer requires re-establishing this appropriate balance. We discovered that a particular immune system molecule is critical to prevent the immune system from attacking our own cells or tissues when the immune system is restarted. If that molecule is missing, the immune system will wreak havoc on the body.”

T-cells are supposed to protect people and animals from things invading their bodies. But this research demonstrates if these cells become unregulated because they are missing a molecule, it can lead to autoimmunity — particularly dangerous in scenarios where patients have lost white blood cells when they are being treated for autoimmune diseases or cancer.

Thangavelu has won awards for this research. He was invited to present his work at an international conference of immunology in Japan last year. He has also travelled to the United Kingdom to talk about his findings with the medical community.

This research was funded by: the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Alberta Innovates-Health Solutions and the Alberta Diabetes Institute.

New Technique Extends Cancer-Fighting Cells’ Potency in Melanoma Patients

NaturalNews) (NaturalNews) The human body doesn’t exist in separate, unconnected parts. Simply put, if you take a drug directed at one particular organ or problem, it doesn’t mean that medication will only zero in on one symptom or function. It may impact other processes, cells and organs or even the immune system.

A case in point: new research reveals a disturbing connection between widely prescribed ACE inhibitors (commonly used to control high blood pressure and heart failure in women) and breast cancer.

According to a new study by researchers at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, ACE inhibitors appear to be linked with an increased risk of recurrence in women who have had breast cancer. Dr. Patricia Ganz, director of cancer prevention and control research at UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center and first author of the study, used data from the Life After Cancer Epidemiology (LACE) study, which included Kaiser patients diagnosed with early stage breast cancer, as the basis for the research. And while she is calling for additional studies based on larger clinical data bases to further corroborate her team’s findings, Dr. Ganz stated the surprising negative effect of the ACE inhibitors on chances for recurrence is, at the very least, cause for caution.

“The message from this is we have to be aware of other chronic health problems and medications that patients take after their diagnosis of breast cancer,” said Ganz, an international expert in the fields of quality of life after cancer and cancer survivorship, in a statement to the media. “We are learning that some medications, while they may be very helpful for treating cardiovascular disease and hypertension, may have an adverse effect on breast cancer survivors.”

Recently published online in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, the study suggests that ACE inhibitors and a different class of hypertension drugs known as beta blockers may work differently in the breast cancer microenvironment. In fact, a September 2010 Jonsson Cancer Center study concluded that chronic stress works as a “fertilizer” to feed breast cancer progression through inflammatory signaling, significantly spiking the spread of disease in animal models.

Bottom line: inflammation appears to play an important role in breast cancer and different classes of drugs may influence different pathways of inflammation

Working with researchers at Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Dr. Ganz investigated whether exposure to drugs known as beta blockers could reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence. There were 1,779 women in the study, and 292 experienced a breast cancer recurrence. Dr. Ganz found that 23 percent of the women in the study had taken either a beta blocker or an ACE inhibitor. The women taking these Big Pharma meds were generally older, post-menopausal and had other health problems, including obesity, high blood pressure or diabetes.

After controlling for these differences in health issues, Dr. Ganz found that women exposed to ACE inhibitors had a significantly increased risk for a recurrence, of breast cancer. However, the woman only taking beta blockers had a lower risk of recurrence. Women taking both beta blockers and ACE inhibitors had a medium risk for recurrence.

“There is an increasing interest in the relationship between host lifestyle factors and the outcomes of cancer treatment,” the study states. “Behavioral factors, comorbid conditions and non-cancer-related pharmaceutical exposures may affect breast cancer outcomes.”

[Editor`s Note: NaturalNews is strongly against the use of all forms of animal testing. We fully support implementation of humane medical experimentation that promotes the health and wellbeing of all living creatures.]

For more information:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/…

About the author

Sherry Baker is a widely published writer whose work has appeared in Newsweek, Health, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Yoga Journal, Optometry, Atlanta, Arthritis Today, Natural Healing Newsletter, OMNI, UCLA’s “Healthy Years” newsletter, Mount Sinai School of Medicine’s “Focus on Health Aging” newsletter, the Cleveland Clinic’s “Men’s Health Advisor” newsletter and many others.

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/032210_blood_pressure_drugs_breast_cancer.html#ixzz1KpJh9qZD

Pioneering Animal Diabetes Treatment: Researchers Adapt Human Continuous Glucose Monitors for Pets

ScienceDaily (Apr. 25, 2011) — Studies show the incidence of diabetes in dogs has increased 200 percent over the past 30 years. Now, University of Missouri veterinarians have changed the way veterinarians treat diabetes in animals by adapting a device used to monitor glucose in humans.

Dogs are susceptible to type 1, insulin-dependent diabetes. Affected animals are unable to utilize sugar in their bloodstream because their bodies do not produce enough insulin, a hormone that helps cells turn sugar into energy. Veterinarians treat animals with this type of diabetes similarly to the way humans are treated, with insulin injections and a low-carbohydrate diet.

Amy DeClue, assistant professor of veterinary internal medicine, and Charles Wiedmeyer, assistant professor of veterinary clinical pathology, have been studying the use of a “continuous glucose monitor” (CGM) on animals since 2003. A CGM is a small flexible device that is inserted about an inch into the skin, to constantly monitor glucose concentrations.

“Continuous glucose monitoring is much more effective and accurate than previous glucose monitoring techniques and has revolutionized how veterinarians manage diabetes in dogs,” said DeClue. “The CGM gives us a complete view of what is happening in the animal in their natural setting. For example, it can show us if a pet’s blood glucose changes when an owner gives treats, when the animal exercises or in response to insulin therapy.”

CGMs have become more commonly used in dogs with diabetes that are not responding well to conventional treatment. The monitor provides detailed data for glucose concentrations throughout the course of three days in a dog’s usual environment, so veterinarians can make better treatment decisions. Previously, veterinarians would have created an insulin regimen based on a glucose curve by taking blood from the animal in the veterinary hospital every two hours over the course of a single day. The glucose curve was often inaccurate due to increased stress from the animals being in an unnatural environment.

Dogs show clinical signs of diabetes similar to humans. Clinical signs include increased urination, thirst, hunger and weight loss. Typically, no direct cause is found for diabetes in dogs, but genetic disposition and obesity are thought to play a role in causing diabetes, according to DeClue. Just like people, dogs suffering with diabetes must be medically managed or complications can arise.

“Typically, dogs that are treated properly for diabetes go on to live a long, full life,” said Wiedmeyer. “Actually, dogs with diabetes are similar to young children with diabetes but somewhat easier to manage. Dogs will eat what their owners give them at the same time each day and they won’t ask for a cupcake at a friend’s birthday party. With tools like the continuous glucose monitor to assist with disease management, the outlook is very good for a dog with diabetes.”

In the future Wiedmeyer projects that the device will become smaller and less invasive. In addition, he hopes device manufacturers develop a device that would monitor blood sugar levels remotely.

DeClue and Wiedmeyer’s most recent article on methods for monitoring and treating diabetes in dogs was published in the journal Clinic in Laboratory Medicine.

MEPs slam EFSA’s handling of botanical & supplement health claims

1 commentBy Mike Stones, 22-Apr-2011

Related topics: Regulation, Phytochemicals, plant extracts

The European Food Safety Authority’s evaluation of Article 13.1 health claims, particularly concerning botanicals and food supplements, contravenes consumer choice and damages small and medium-sized businesses, warns an influential group of MEPs.

 

Article 13.1 of the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation aims to harmonise the use of claims across the EU after EFSA assesses their scientific validity. But too often those assessments are flawed, claimed MEPs.

Negative opinion

Michele Rivasi, MEP Greens/European Political Alliance (EPA), said: “How is it that over 95% of cases of health claims filed for natural or herbal substances received a negative opinion?”

“EFSA’s approach is too stringent and based on procedures derived from the drug industry. It takes into account very little scientific evidence and dismisses claims that have been approved in several European countries.

“In doing so, EFSA assessments are also in contradiction to the European Medicines Agency, which, through the directive on traditional herbal remedies, recognises the healing properties of dozens of plants.”

EFSA should review its assessment methodology given the impact on industry and consumers, he added.

Bogusław Sonik, MEP European People’s Party (EPP) said: “It is vital that the Commission takes into consideration the economic impact that this approach will have on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). SMEs are the backbone of our economy and it is important that their rights are not unnecessarily infringed.”

Marian Harkin, MEP Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) said: “The effect of banning all claims, other than those few that are allowed, risks putting consumers into an information void which will make it difficult for them to understand what the product was intended for. This situation works to contravene consumer choice“.

Weaknesses and limitations

MEPs voiced their criticisms at the workshop in Brussels entitled Botanicals & Food supplements in the EU: Impacts, weaknesses and limitations of Article 13.1 of the EU’s claims regulation held on Tuesday 20 April .

No one from EFSA was available to respond to the MEPs’ criticisms.

Meanwhile, earlier this week, a spokesman for the Czech Special Foods Association (CSFA) told NutraIngredients that “EFSA wants platinum, not gold science.”

Vaclav Bazata, CSFA vice president and SVUS Pharma business development manager, made the comment after EFSA’s Panel on Nutrition, Allergies and Dietetic Products (NDA) rejected article 14 disease risk reduction flu, cold and sore throat claims submitted by SVUS Pharma, for its OTC product, ProteQuine.

Higher Levels of Social Activity Decrease the Risk of Cognitive Decline

ScienceDaily (Apr. 25, 2011) — If you want to keep your brain healthy, it turns out that visiting friends, attending parties, and even going to church might be just as good for you as crossword puzzles.

According to research conducted at Rush University Medical Center, frequent social activity may help to prevent or delay cognitive decline in old age. The study has just been posted online in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society.

The researchers were especially careful in their analysis to try to rule out the possibility that cognitive decline precedes, or causes, social isolation, and not the reverse.

“It’s logical to think that when someone’s cognitive abilities break down, they are less likely to go out and meet friends, enjoy a camping trip, or participate in community clubs. If memory and thinking capabilities fail, socializing becomes difficult,” said lead researcher Bryan James, PhD, postdoctoral fellow in the epidemiology of aging and dementia in the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center. “But our findings suggest that social inactivity itself leads to cognitive impairments.”

The study included 1,138 older adults with a mean age of 80 who are participating in the Rush Memory and Aging Project, an ongoing longitudinal study of common chronic conditions of aging. They each underwent yearly evaluations that included a medical history and neuropsychological tests.

Social activity was measured based on a questionnaire that asked participants whether, and how often, in the previous year they had engaged in activities that involve social interaction — for example, whether they went to restaurants, sporting events or the teletract (off-track betting) or played bingo; went on day trips or overnight trips; did volunteer work; visited relatives or friends; participated in groups such as the Knights of Columbus; or attended religious services.

Cognitive function was assessed using a battery of 19 tests for various types of memory (episodic, semantic and working memory), as well as perceptual speed and visuospatial ability.

At the start of the investigation, all participants were free of any signs of cognitive impairment. Over an average of five years, however, those who were more socially active showed reduced rates of cognitive decline. On average, those who had the highest levels of social activity (the 90th percentile) experienced only one quarter of the rate of cognitive decline experienced by the least socially active individuals. Other variables that might have accounted for the increase in cognitive decline — such as age, physical exercise, and health — were all ruled out in the analysis.

Why social activity plays a role in the development of cognitive problems is not clear. According to James, one possibility is that “social activity challenges older adults to participate in complex interpersonal exchanges, which could promote or main efficient neural networks in a case of ‘use it or lose it.'”

Future research is needed to determine whether interventions aimed at increasing late-life social activity can play a part in delaying or preventing cognitive decline, James said.

Other researchers at Rush involved in the study were Robert Wilson, PhD, Lisa Barnes, PhD, and David Bennett, MD.

Resveratrol shows anti-diabetes potential: Study

1 commentBy Stephen Daniells, 21-Apr-2011

Related topics: Research, Antioxidants, carotenoids, Phytochemicals, plant extracts, Diabetes

Daily supplements of resveratrol may improve how the human body responds to insulin, the hormone responsible for sugar and fat metabolism, Hungarian researchers report for the first time.

 

According to findings published in the British Journal of Nutrition, a daily 10 milligram dose of resveratrol was associated with reductions in insulin resistance in type-2 diabetics.

 

“Whether resveratrol (or some of its future derivatives) becomes a useful tool in combating type 2 diabetes is difficult to tell, although the fact that recent studies (including the present study) have demonstrated that the efficacy of resveratrol at low doses might increase the possibility for its medicinal application,” report researchers from the University of Pécs.

 

“On the other hand, the present study definitely suggests that resveratrol could become a useful tool in gaining a deeper understanding of the mechanisms underlying the development of insulin resistance and oxidative stress.”

 

Resveratrol’s rosy potential

 

Resveratrol, a powerful polyphenol and anti-fungal chemical, is often touted as the bioactive compound in grapes and red wine, and has particularly been associated with the so-called ‘French Paradox’. The phrase, coined in 1992 by Dr Serge Renaud from Bordeaux University, describes the low incidence of heart disease and obesity among the French, despite their relatively high-fat diet and levels of wine consumption.

 

Interest in the compound exploded in 2003 when research from David Sinclair and his team from Harvard reported that resveratrol was able to increase the lifespan of yeast cells. The research, published in Nature, was greeted with international media fanfare and ignited flames of hope for an anti-ageing pill.

 

According to Sinclair’s findings, resveratrol could activate a gene called sirtuin1 (Sirt1 – the yeast equivalent was Sir2), which is also activated during calorie restriction in various species, including monkeys.

 

Since then studies in nematode worms, fruit flies, fish, and mice have linked resveratrol to longer lives. Other studies with only resveratrol have reported anti-cancer effects, anti-inflammatory effects, cardiovascular benefits, anti-diabetes potential, energy endurance enhancement, and protection against Alzheimer’s.

 

New data

 

The Hungarian researchers recruited 19 people type-2 diabetics and randomly assigned them to receive either resveratrol supplements (two 5 milligram doses from Argina Nutraceuticals, Hungary) or placebo for four weeks.

 

Results showed that after four weeks of resveratrol supplementation, the participants showed a significant decrease in insulin resistance, compared to the placebo group.

 

In terms of a potential mode of action for the polyphenol, the researchers noted that this may be related to its antioxidant activity, because oxidative stress is “widely accepted” as a key driver in the onset of insulin resistance.

 

There is also the possibility that resveratrol’s potential benefits are linked to its ability to activate Akt phosphorylation – an intracellular insulin dependent protein that facilitates the uptake of glucose into cells. Indeed, an increase in the levels of phosphorylated Akt (activated) to Akt was observed.

 

“The present study shows for the first time that resveratrol improves insulin sensitivity in humans, which might be due to a resveratrol-induced decrease in oxidative stress that leads to a more efficient insulin signalling via the Akt pathway,” concluded the researchers.

 

Source: British Journal of Nutrition
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1017/S0007114511000316
“Resveratrol improves insulin sensitivity, reduces oxidative stress and activates the Akt pathway in type 2 diabetic patients”
Authors: P Brasnyo, G.A. Molnar, M. Mohas, L. Marko, B. Laczy, J. Cseh, E. Mikolas, I. Andras Szijarto, A. Merei, R. Halmai, L.G. Meszaros, B. Sumegi, I. Wittmann