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Fri, 05 Jun 2020
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Ambulance

Diabetes drug side effect reports triple

In the month after a surprising analysis revealed possible heart risks from the blockbuster diabetes drug Avandia, reports of side effects to federal regulators tripled.

Gear

Doctor Says He Was Assailed for Challenging Drug's Safety

WASHINGTON - The business of developing and selling new drugs is fraught with peril and setbacks. Billions of dollars are at stake. Nerves are on edge. Tempers flare.

Just ask Dr. John B. Buse, a medical researcher who testified at a House hearing on Wednesday about the safety of the popular diabetes drug, Avandia.

Attention

Heart Attack Risk Seen in Drug for Diabetes

An article in a leading medical journal yesterday raised serious safety questions about the widely used diabetes pill Avandia and renewed skepticism about the vigilance of federal drug regulators.

The analysis, based on a review of more than 40 existing clinical studies involving nearly 28,000 patients, showed that Avandia significantly increased the risk of heart attacks, compared with other diabetes drugs or a placebo.

Both the study's lead author and the editors of The New England Journal of Medicine, in which the article appeared, cautioned that the research method used left the findings open to interpretation. But they said the study nevertheless raised important concerns.

And the publication of the study on the journal's Web site prompted the Food and Drug Administration to issue a public safety alert and advise users of the drug - an estimated million people in this country and two million worldwide - to consult their doctors about the potential cardiovascular risks.

Question

Creating Psychopaths! You can forget the unhappy past sez study

Researchers have confirmed what common wisdom has long held -- that people can suppress emotionally troubling memories -- and said on Thursday they have sketched out how the brain accomplishes this.

Comment: Rather than shutting down memories, another method is to consciously face the terror of the memories of the past. One that Martha Stout writes about in her inspiring book " The myth of Sanity". It is not an easy journey but it is one that is very rewarding and life affirming.


Better Earth

Making Too Much Sense! Study: Organic Farming Can Feed the World

Organic farming can yield up to three times as much food as conventional farming in developing countries, and holds its own against standard methods in rich countries, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday.
They said their findings contradict arguments that organic farming -- which excludes the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides -- is not as efficient as conventional techniques.

"My hope is that we can finally put a nail in the coffin of the idea that you can't produce enough food through organic agriculture," Ivette Perfecto, a professor at the University of Michigan's school of Natural Resources and Environment, said in a statement.

She and colleagues analyzed published studies on yields from organic farming. They looked at 293 different examples.

Magic Wand

'Shoulda, woulda, coulda...' New study sheds light on how we would have done things differently

If you're like most people, you've probably experienced a shoulda-woulda-coulda moment; a time when we lament our missteps, saying that we should have invested in a certain stock, should have become a doctor instead of a lawyer and so on.

Psychologists refer to this process, in which we evaluate how we would do things differently, as "counterfactual thinking" and while it can have a positive spin, more often than not it is a psychological mechanism that causes us to harbor feelings of disappointment and regret.

In order to study counterfactual thinking, researchers are fond of having participants read stories in which the main character makes decisions that will ultimately doom him or her to failure and then ask these same participants how they would have done things differently.

But this method may not provide a complete picture of this mental process. New research published in the June issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, shows that our counterfactual thinking may be markedly different when we are actually experiencing failure rather than reading about someone else's.

In a series of experiments, Vittorio Girotto of the University IUAV of Venice, Italy and his colleagues attempted to demonstrate and explain the differences in counterfactual thinking between actors (those actually experiencing the problem) and readers (those who merely read about the problem).

Ambulance

Six-year-old Indonesian boy succumbs to bird flu

An Indonesian boy died of bird flu, bringing the death toll to 81 in the only country regularly logging human fatalities from the virus, a health official said yesterday.


Bomb

The Bush administration's abuse of science

Today we are facing a full-fledged national crisis over the role of scientific information in public policy-making. It's a subtle crisis in some ways, often obscured by the complexities of scientific disputation. But it is a crisis nonetheless, one that threatens every one of us because it affects not only public health and the environment, but the way we treat knowledge itself in American society.

©Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh, Pa

Health

TB Patient Flees Ark. Quarantine

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - A man placed in isolation after he was diagnosed with contagious tuberculosis broke a hospital window and fled, health officials said.

Attention

Taunting may affect health of obese youths

Remember that time in third grade when you called the pudgy boy in gym class "fatso?"

It wasn't just mean. It might have inflicted lasting wounds, according to a Yale University study released yesterday that found that overweight and obese children who are subjected to verbal taunts and physical bullying are substantially more prone during childhood to suicidal thoughts, eating disorders, and high blood pressure than their peers.

Yale clinical psychologist Rebecca M. Puhl and a colleague from the University of Hawaii at Manoa reviewed four decades' worth of psychological, social and medical research on childhood obesity -- more than 100 studies. They discovered that taunts, shoves, and social isolation can wreak emotional and physical harm in childhood and possibly beyond that is distinct from the health consequences of being overweight.