Drugged driving surpasses drunken driving among drivers killed in crashes, report finds

(CNN)Driving under the influence of drugs was deadlier in 2015 than driving while drunk, a new report found. Still, some safety experts caution that drunken driving remains a bigger problem and say that drugged driving needs more research.

Positive drug tests were more common than the presence of alcohol among the fatally injured drivers who were tested in 2015, according to the report (PDF)released Wednesday by the Governors Highway Safety Association and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, a nonprofit funded by alcohol distillers.
Of those tested, 43% of motorists who died were under the influence of drugs, the report said. This number surpassed the 37% of motorists who died who tested positive for alcohol in the same year.
“Data in the report showed that for the first time, there are more dead drivers for which we have test results that are positive for drugs than there are who were positive for alcohol,” said James Hedlund, an independent safety expert with Highway Safety North in Ithaca, New York. The new report adds to earlier research conducted by Hedlund that addressed behavioral highway safety issues, including drug-impaired driving.
“As states across the country continue to struggle with drug-impaired driving, it’s critical that we help them understand the current landscape and provide examples of best practices so they can craft the most effective countermeasures” to combat the issue of drug-impaired driving, governors association Executive Director Jonathan Adkins said.

‘Drug impairment is a complicated topic’

Driving while impaired is illegal in all 50 states. However, laws and interpretations vary about the definition of drug impairment. Testing practices can also vary amongst states, and there are no uniform laws to determine how often testing is used and what drugs are screened for.
Of the more than 400 drugs that the federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tracks, marijuana accounted for 35% of positive tests reported, the new research said. Although usage laws vary — marijuana for medical purposes is legal in 29 states and the District of Columbia, and laws permit recreational use in eight states and DC — driving while impaired at any level is illegal anywhere in the United States.
Amphetamines accounted for 9% of substances detected, and more than half of the positive tests in the report were caused by “other drugs.” These figures reveal the wide range of known and unknown substances that can contribute to drug impairment.
Currently, there are no drug field tests comparable to a preliminary alcohol screening using a breathalyzer. Law enforcement officials are trained to recognize signs of drug impairment and can make the decision to take a driver into custody for further testing.
“Drug impairment is a complicated topic,” Hedlund said. “Drugs can affect people in different ways. Some things make you super excited, and some things slow you down.”
The report acknowledged that “many officers are not trained to identify the signs and symptoms of drivers impaired by drugs other than alcohol.” The International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offer specialized training courses to teach law enforcement officials how to recognize the behavioral signs of drug impairment, but the courses are not required. Often, a full evaluation cannot be done during a roadside stop.
Officials hope that this report will bring more attention to the need for more training and resources to combat this problem. For drivers, Hedlund said, “it’s illegal to drive while impaired by drugs in the same way that it’s illegal to drive while impaired by alcohol. And you just plain shouldn’t do it.”

Alcohol: ‘Our biggest highway safety problem’

Russ Rader, spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, is skeptical of the report’s findings and said alcohol remains the bigger concern.
“There’s no question that alcohol remains our biggest highway safety problem,” Rader said.
Although the impact of alcohol has been studied for decades, drug impairment and driving has only recently been studied, he said, and the current evidence is weak.
The report cautions that these data do not paint the whole picture. The authors note that only 57% of drivers who were killed in car accidents were tested for drugs. That figure, critics say, is reason enough to be wary of taking this conclusion too seriously.
“There are a couple of problems with drawing the conclusion that drugged driving is now somehow a bigger problem with alcohol,” Rader said. “For one, there isn’t very consistent testing for drivers who are killed in crashes with regard to drugs.”
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He’s concerned that the new report could detract from efforts to curb alcohol-impaired driving and shift funding instead toward driving under the influence of drugs. Nobody knows how to address the problem of drug-impaired drivers, he said.
“We don’t have a good handle on what to do about it, but we do know how to address alcohol impairment,” which remains a major problem, he said. “Another problem, particularly with marijuana, is that people often combine the two, so how do you separate them?”
Although critical of the report’s findings, Rader said there is no denying that drug-impaired driving is an issue, but “we need research.”
“If somebody’s impaired,” he said, “they are impaired.”

5 more cases of measles in Minnesota include first outside Hennepin County

Somali leaders met Wednesday night in Minneapolis with public-health officials to talk about the current measles outbreak in the metro area. Among those presenting information was Asli Ashkir (at podium), a nurse and consultant with the Minnesota Department of Health.

State health officials reported five more cases of measles Thursday, including one in Stearns County that marked the first time the current outbreak has spread beyond Hennepin County.

A total of 29 children have now been sickened since the end of March, making it the largest measles outbreak in Minnesota since 1990.

Like others reported so far, the Stearns County case involves a Somali-American child. Public health investigators are trying to determine how the child became infected, and if the family made trips to the Twin Cities area and came in contact with the highly infectious disease.

“We are going to have to do more sleuthing to understand what the connection is with this child,” said Kris Ehresmann, infectious disease director at the Minnesota Health Department.

Ehresmann said the department had considered it “highly possible that we would see cases spreading” beyond the metro area, particularly to areas such as Stearns County and Olmsted County, that have relatively large Somali-American populations. Low measles vaccination rates within the Somali community make them more vulnerable to catching the virus.

As recently as 2004, vaccination rates for young Somali-Minnesotan children matched those of the general population, but they plummeted starting a few years later, when an apparent rash of autism cases among Somali children triggered a scare over the vaccine. By 2016, measles vaccination rates for Somali 2-year-olds in Minnesota had fallen to just 42 percent.

In the Stearns County case, however, the child had been vaccinated for measles — but had received only one of the two recommended shots. One dose is 93 percent effective against the disease, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while two shots provide 97 percent protection.

It is possible that even with just one shot the child will be less likely to infect others, said Ehresmann.

But the Stearns County case will require health officials to open up a whole new investigative arena, as investigators will need to catalog who came into contact with the child in Stearns County, including people at child care centers, homes and medical facilities.

Finding unvaccinated people is important, because even a brief exposure can cause sickness. The measles virus can linger in the air after an infected person has a left a room and still infect someone who does not have measles immunity protection.

That’s one reason why it is difficult to predict how many cases this outbreak will produce, though officials have said they expect the case count to continue rising in the near future. It has already outpaced a 2011 outbreak that sickened 26.

11 hospitalized

So far, the outbreak has been generally been confined to Somali-American children aged 5 and younger. Public health investigators have determined that 25 were unvaccinated. They are seeking immunization records for another three cases and are trying to pin down the race and ethnicity for four of the latest cases.

In Hennepin County, investigators have identified at least five child care centers where exposures might have occurred. Families of children attending those centers have been contacted, and if anyone is found to be unvaccinated, they are being asked to stay at home so they do not infect others.

Of the 29 current cases, 11 have required hospitalization.

The original source of the outbreak remains a mystery, but state health officials suspect it was imported by a traveler from a foreign country. Measles was declared eradicated in the United States in 2000 and no longer occurs naturally here.

Measles often starts with coldlike symptoms of cough, fever, runny nose and watery eyes, and eventually a rash spreads over the entire body. But it can produce severe symptoms in young children, and in extreme cases can produce lasting lung and brain damage, and even death.

Company recalls organic dog food that may contain euthanasia drug

The recall affects Party Animal’s Cocolicious Beef & Turkey dog food as well as its Cocolicious Chicken & Beef dog food.

The recall affects Party Animal’s Cocolicious Beef & Turkey dog food as well as its Cocolicious Chicken & Beef dog food.  (iStock)

An organic pet food company was forced to issue a recall after samples of its product tested positive for a drug commonly used for euthanasia. The recall affects Party Animal’s Cocolicious Beef & Turkey dog food as well as its Cocolicious Chicken & Beef dog food.

A statement on the Food and Drug Administration’s website said the company was notified after a customer in Texas presented samples to a testing lab that came back positive for pentobarbital. Exposure to pentobarbital, a barbiturate, could prove fatal for a pet. It is routinely used by veterinarians for the euthanasia of dogs, cats and horses.


The post on the FDA’s website said the beef and turkey variety can be identified by product number 0136E15204 04 with a best by date of July 2019, and the chicken and beef variety is labeled with a 0134E15237 13 product number and has a best by date of August 2019.

Whether you’re polished pastels or a pop of refreshing red, we have color ideas and inspiration for every room. Plus, our curat…

The products are sold in 13-ounce cans and were distributed nationwide.


“Party Animal wishes to emphasize that we have submitted many recent lots of our beef flavors for testing and all have tested negative for any pentobarbital,” the company said on the FDA website. “We have also had extensive discussions with our manufacturer regarding the potential cause of the reported contamination of the 2015 lots, and we will continue with such discussions even as we await testing results for the 2015 lots. In order to ensure adherence to our commitment to the safety of pets, we are also actively re-examining our manufacturing processes.”

The 3 cancers Jews need to worry about most

This story is sponsored by the Israel Cancer Research Fund.

NEW YORK — As if Jews don’t have enough to worry about.

Geopolitical threats to the Jewish people may wax and wane, but there’s another lethal danger particular to the Jewish people that shows no signs of disappearing anytime soon: cancer.

Specifically, Jews are at elevated risk for three types of the disease: melanoma, breast cancer and ovarian cancer. The perils are particularly acute for Jewish women.

The higher prevalence of these illnesses isn’t spread evenly among all Jews. The genetic mutations that result in higher incidence of cancer are concentrated among Ashkenazim — Jews of European descent.

“Ashkenazim are a more homogenous population from a genetic point of view, whereas the Sephardim are much more diverse,” said Dr. Ephrat Levy-Lahad, director of the Medical Genetics Institute at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.

But there is some hope. Susceptible populations can take certain precautions to reduce their risks. Recent medical advances have made early detection easier, significantly lowering the fatality rates from some cancers. Cheaper genetic testing is making it much easier for researchers to discover the risk factors associated with certain cancers. And scientists are working on new approaches to fight these pernicious diseases – especially in Israel, where Ashkenazi Jews make up a larger proportion of the population than in any other country.

Understanding risk factors and learning about preventative measures are key to improving cancer survival rates. Here’s what you need to know.


Melanoma is the deadliest type of skin cancer, representing some 80 percent of skin cancer deaths, and U.S. melanoma rates are on the rise. It’s also one of the most common forms of cancer in younger people, especially among women.

Just a decade ago, Israel had the second-highest rate of skin cancer in the world, behind Australia. One reason is that Israel has a lot of sun. Some credit better education about the dangers of sun exposure for helping reduce Israel’s per capita skin cancer rate, now 18th in the world.

But the sun isn’t the whole story. Jews in Israel have a higher incidence of melanoma than the country’s Arab, non-Jewish citizens.

What makes Jews more likely to get skin cancer than others?

It’s a combination of genetics and behavior, according to Dr. Harriet Kluger, a cancer researcher at Yale University. On the genetics side, Ashkenazi Jews — who comprise about half of Israel’s Jewish population — are significantly more likely to have the BRCA-2 genetic mutation that some studies have linked to higher rates of melanoma.

The other factor, Israel’s abundant sunshine, exacerbates the problems for sun-sensitive Jews of European origin. That’s why Arabs and Israeli Orthodox Jews, whose more conservative dress leaves less skin exposed than does typical secular attire, have a lower incidence of the cancer.

“There are epidemiological studies from Israel showing that secular Jews have more melanoma than Orthodox Jews,” Kluger said.

So what’s to be done?

“Other than staying out of the sun, people should get their skin screened once a year,” Kluger said. “In Australia, getting your skin screened is part of the culture, like getting your teeth cleaned in America.”

You can spot worrisome moles on your own using an alphabetic mnemonic device for letters A-F: See a doctor if you spot moles that exhibit Asymmetry, Border irregularities, dark or multiple Colors, have a large Diameter, are Evolving (e.g. changing), or are just plain Funny looking. Light-skinned people and redheads should be most vigilant, as well as those who live in sunny locales like California, Florida or the Rocky Mountain states.

If you insist on being in the sun, sunscreen can help mitigate the risk, but only up to a point.

“It decreases the chances of getting melanoma, but it doesn’t eliminate the chances,” Kluger warned.

As with other cancers, early detection can dramatically increase survival rates.

In the meantime, scientists in Israel – a world leader in melanoma research – hold high hopes for immunotherapy, which corrals the body’s immune mechanisms to attack or disable cancer. At Bar-Ilan University, Dr. Cyrille Cohen is using a research grant from the Israel Cancer Research Fund to implant human melanoma cells in mice to study whether human white blood cells can be genetically modified to act as a “switch” that turns on the human immune system’s cancer‐fighting properties.

Breast cancer

Breast cancer is already more common in developed, Western countries than elsewhere — likely because women who delay childbirth until later in life and have fewer children do not enjoy as much of the positive, cancer risk-reducing effects of the hormonal changes associated with childbirth.

Ashkenazi Jews in particular have a significantly higher risk for breast cancer: They are about three times as likely as non-Ashkenazim to carry mutations in the BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 genes that lead to a very high chance of developing cancer. One of the BRCA-1 mutations is associated with a 65 percent chance of developing breast cancer. Based on family history, including on the father’s side, the chances could be even higher.

“Every Ashkenazi Jewish woman should be tested for these mutations,” said Levy-Lahad, who has done significant research work on the genetics of both breast and ovarian cancer. Iraqi Jews also have increased prevalence of one of the BRCA mutations, she said.

Levy-Lahad is collaborating on a long-term project with the University of Washington’s Dr. Mary-Claire King — the breast cancer research pioneer who discovered the BCRA-1 gene mutation that causes cancer — on a genome sequencing study of Israeli women with inherited breast and ovarian cancer genes. The two women are using a grant from the Israel Cancer Research Fund to apply genomic technology to study BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 mutations and their implications for breast cancer risk in non-Ashkenazi women in Israel, who are similar to populations in Europe and the United States.

In a project that is testing thousands of women for deadly cancer mutations, they are also studying how mutations in genes other than BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 impact inherited breast cancer in non-Ashkenazi Jews.

The earlier breast cancer mutations are discovered, the sooner women can decide on a course of action. Some choose to have bilateral mastectomies, which reduce the chances of breast cancer by 90-95 percent. Actress Angelina Jolie famously put a Hollywood spotlight on the issue when she wrote a 2013 op-ed in The New York Times about her decision to have the procedure.

But mastectomies are not the only option. Some women instead choose a very rigorous screening regimen, including more frequent mammograms and breast MRIs.

Early detection is the cornerstone of improving breast cancer survival rates.

“Breast cancer is not nearly as deadly as it once was,” Levy-Lahad said.

Ovarian cancer

Of the three “Jewish” cancers, ovarian cancer is the deadliest.

Linked to the two BRCA mutations common among Jews, ovarian cancer is both stubbornly difficult to detect early and has a very high late-stage mortality rate. Women should be screened for the mutations by age 30, so they know their risks.

In its early stages, ovarian cancer usually has no obvious symptoms, or appears as bloating, abdominal pain or frequent urination that can be explained away by less serious causes. By the time it’s discovered, ovarian cancer is usually much more advanced than most other cancers and may have spread to surrounding organs. If that has occurred, the five-year survival rate drops considerably.

Women with the BRCA mutations have about a 50 percent chance of getting ovarian cancer. The best option is usually to remove the ovaries.

“We put a lot of pressure on women to have their ovaries removed because it’s a life-saving procedure,” Levy-Lahad said.

That doesn’t mean these women can’t have children. The recommendation is that women wait to have the procedure until after they complete child-bearing, usually around the age of 35-40.

Much work still needs to be done on prevention, early detection and treatment of ovarian cancer, but new research shows some promise.

“The exciting thing is that we live in a genomic age, and we have unprecedented abilities to understand the causes of cancer,” Levy-Lahad said. “There’s a whole field that, if you become affected, can look at the genetic makeup of the tumor you have.”

The study of these three “Jewish cancers” are a major component of the work of the Israel Cancer Research Fund, which raises money in North America for cancer research in Israel. Of the $3.85 million in grants distributed in Israel last year by the fund, roughly one-quarter were focused on breast cancer, ovarian cancer or melanoma, according to Ellen T. Rubin, the ICRF’s director of research grants. The organization’s Rachel’s Society focuses specifically on supporting women’s cancer awareness and research.

A significant amount of the organization’s grants is focused on basic research that may be applicable to a broad spectrum of cancers. For example, the group is supporting research by Dr. Varda Rotter of the Weizmann Institute of Science into the role played by the p53 gene in ovarian cancer. P53 is a tumor suppressor that when mutated is involved in the majority of human cancers.

Likewise, Dr. Yehudit Bergman of the Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School is using an ICRF grant to study how the biological mechanisms that switch genes on and off – called epigenetic regulation – operate in stem cells and cancer.

“Only through basic research at the molecular level will cancer be conquered,” said Dr. Howard Cedar of the Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School.

“Hopefully, one day there will be easier and better ways to detect and destroy the cancerous cells that lead to these diseases. But until those research breakthroughs, medical experts say that Jews, as members of a special high-risk category, should make sure they get genetic screenings and regular testing necessary for early detection and prevention.

(This article was sponsored by and produced in partnership with the Israel Cancer Research Fund, which is committed to finding and funding breakthrough treatments and cures for all forms of cancer, leveraging the unique talent, expertise and benefits that Israel and its scientists have to offer. This article was not produced by JTA’s staff reporters or editors.)

Scientists Create Artificial Womb That Could Help Prematurely Born Babies

An illustration of a fetal lamb inside the “artificial womb” device, which mimics the conditions inside a pregnant animal.

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Scientists have created an “artificial womb” in the hopes of someday using the device to save babies born extremely prematurely.

So far the device has only been tested on fetal lambs. A study published Tuesday involving eight animals found the device appears effective at enabling very premature fetuses to develop normally for about a month.

“We’ve been extremely successful in replacing the conditions in the womb in our lamb model,” says Alan Flake, a fetal surgeon at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who led the study published in the journal Nature Communications.

“They’ve had normal growth. They’ve had normal lung maturation. They’ve had normal brain maturation. They’ve had normal development in every way that we can measure it,” Flake says.

Flake says the group hopes to test the device on very premature human babies within three to five years.

“What we tried to do is develop a system that mimics the environment of the womb as closely as possible,” Flake says. “It’s basically an artificial womb.”

Inside an artificial womb

The device consists of a clear plastic bag filled with synthetic amniotic fluid. A machine outside the bag is attached to the umbilical cord to function like a placenta, providing nutrition and oxygen to the blood and removing carbon dioxide.

“The whole idea is to support normal development; to re-create everything that the mother does in every way that we can to support normal fetal development and maturation,” Flake says.

Other researchers praised the advance, saying it could help thousands of babies born very prematurely each year, if tests in humans were to prove successful.

Jay Greenspan, a pediatrician at Thomas Jefferson University, called the device a “technological miracle” that marks “a huge step to try to do something that we’ve been trying to do for many years.”

The device could also help scientists learn more about normal fetal development, says Thomas Shaffer a professor of physiology and pediatrics at Temple University.

Enlarge this image

Alan Flake, a fetal surgeon at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, led the study published in the journal Nature Communications.

/Ed Cunicelli/The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

“I think this is a major breakthrough,” Shaffer says.

The device in the fetal lamb experiment is kept in a dark, warm room where researchers can play the sounds of the mother’s heart for the lamb fetus and monitor the fetus with ultrasounds.

Previous research has shown that lamb fetuses are good models for human fetal development.

“If you can just use this device as a bridge for the fetus then you can have a dramatic impact on the outcomes of extremely premature infants,” Flake says. “This would be a huge deal.”

But others say the device raises ethical issues, including many questions about whether it would ever be acceptable to test it on humans.

“There are all kinds of possibilities for stress and pain with not, at the beginning, a whole lot of likelihood for success,” says Dena Davis, a bioethicist at Lehigh University.

Flake says ethical concerns need to be balanced against the risk of death and severe disabilities babies often suffer when they are born very prematurely. A normal pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks. A human device would be designed for those born 23 or 24 weeks into pregnancy.

Only about half of such babies survive and, of those that do, about 90 percent suffer severe complications, such as cerebral palsy, mental retardation, seizures, paralysis, blindness and deafness, Flake says.

About 30,000 babies are born earlier than 26 weeks into pregnancy each year in the United States, according to the researchers.

Potential ethical concerns

Davis worries that the device is not necessarily a good solution for human fetuses.

“If it’s a difference between a baby dying rather peacefully and a baby dying under conditions of great stress and discomfort then, no, I don’t think it’s better,” Davis says.

“If it’s a question of a baby dying versus a baby being born who then needs to live its entire life in an institution, then I don’t think that’s better. Some parents might think that’s better, but many would not,” she says.

And even if it works, Davis also worries about whether this could blur the line between a fetus and a baby.

“Up to now, we’ve been either born or not born. This would be halfway born, or something like that. Think about that in terms of our abortion politics,” she says.

Some worry that others could take this technology further. Other scientists are already keeping embryos alive in their labs longer then ever before, and trying to create human sperm, eggs and even embryo-like entities out of stem cells. One group recently created an artificial version of the female reproductive system in the lab.

“I could imagine a time, you know sort of [a] ‘Brave New World,’ where we’re growing embryos from the beginning to the end outside of our bodies. It would be a very Gattaca-like world,” says Davis, referring to the 1997 science-fiction film.

There’s also a danger such devices might be used coercively. States could theoretically require women getting abortions to put their fetuses into artificial wombs, says Scott Gelfand, a bioethicist at Oklahoma State University.

Employers could also require female employees to use artificial wombs to avoid maternity leave, he says. Insurers could require use of the device to avoid costly complicated pregnancies and deliveries.

“The ethical implications are just so far-reaching,” Gelfand says.

Barbara Katz Rothman, a sociologist at the City University of New York, says more should be done to prevent premature births. She worries about the technological transformation of pregnancy.

“The problem is a baby raised in a machine is denied a human connection,” Rothman says. “I think that’s a scary, tragic thing.”

Flake says his team has no interest in trying to gestate a fetus any earlier than about 23 weeks into pregnancy.

“I want to make this very clear: We have no intention and we’ve never had any intention with this technology of extending the limits of viability further back,” Flake says. “I think when you do that you open a whole new can of worms.

Flake doubts anything like that would ever be possible.

“That’s a pipe dream at this point,” Flake says.

FDA cracks down on ‘illegal’ cancer treatments

(CNN) The US Food and Drug Administration calls it “cruel deception”: companies promising desperate consumers that their products can cure cancer.

On Tuesday, the agency responsible for policing the American food and drug market issued warning letters to 14 companies that it says are “illegally selling more than 65 products that fraudulently claim to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure cancer.”
“There’s a couple of issues here,” Jason Humbert, a regulatory operations officer in the FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs, told CNN. “The FDA’s role is to review and evaluate products for safety and effectiveness, particularly products that are intended for the treatment of a disease like cancer. Cancer requires the supervision of a licensed health care provider.”
The companies that received the warning letters are required by law to respond in a timely fashion, indicating whether they intend to pull the products under scrutiny from the market or alter the advertising and packaging to comply with the agency’s rules and regulations.
“Failure to correct the violations promptly may result in legal action, including product seizure, injunction and/or criminal prosecution,” the FDA said in a statement.

What products were targeted?

Products included in this crackdown include pills, creams, ointments, oils, drops, syrups and teas. The FDA says they are most commonly marketed and sold online, especially on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
The companies that received warning letters from the FDA are AIE Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Amazing Sour Sop Inc.; BioStar Technology International LLC; Caudill Seed & Warehouse Inc.;; Everything Herbs; Hawk Dok Natural Salve LLC; Healing Within Products & Services Inc.; LifeVantage Corp.; Nature’s Treasure Inc.; Oxygen Health Systems LLC; Sunstone Inc.; The Vibrant Health Store LLC dba Dr. Christopher’s Herbs; and The Vitamin C Foundation. The entire list of product names (as well as the letters that were sent to each of the companies) can be found on the FDA’s website.
Amazing Sour Sop said it is working to address the issues. said it is updating product descriptions. In its statement to the FDA, AIE Pharmaceuticals, Inc. enumerated all the changes and deletions to its website and added that its Facebook pages “have been deleted which include all products.” Darren Jensen, CEO of LifeVantage replied that “We will respond to the FDA in a timely fashion and make any changes needed to further ensure our compliance.”
Hawk Dok Natural Salve said it is changing its labels and maintains that it “has found the natural way to fight off cancer and the HPV virus.”
A statement from The Vitamin C Foundation founder Owen Fonorow read, in part, “This is not the first time the FDA has attacked vitamin C trying to create the impression that vitamin C is an illegal drug. In my opinion, these attacks by the Government on vitamin C have little or nothing to do with the public interest or public health.”
Nature’s Treasure declined to comment. The other companies have yet to respond to a request for comment.
“Consumers should not use these or similar unproven products because they may be unsafe and could prevent a person from seeking an appropriate and potentially life-saving cancer diagnosis or treatment,” said Douglas W. Stearn, director of the FDA’s Office of Enforcement and Import Operations, in a written statement. “We encourage people to remain vigilant whether online or in a store, and avoid purchasing products marketed to treat cancer without any proof they will work. Patients should consult a health care professional about proper prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.”
Humbert said that beyond postponing vital treatment, some of the products targeted in this crackdown contain ingredients that themselves could cause consumer harm. “There’s also concern that some of the products could interact with any medications or any other underlying conditions that consumers may have.”

What should consumers look out for?

“I think the biggest red flag would be that any product that hasn’t undergone FDA review is making a claim that it can treat or cure cancer,” Humbert said. “Only products that have been evaluated — approved FDA drugs — can make those claims. So if a consumer happens upon a website or a social media site and they see that this product is marketed as a natural cure for cancer or a natural treatment for cancer, they should be very skeptical, because unless that product has been evaluated by FDA, there’s no reason to believe it’s safe or effective for that use.”
Although claims vary from product to product, the FDA says fraudulent cancer products “often use a particular vocabulary.” The agency identified these phrases as the most common red flags:
  • Treats all forms of cancer
  • Miraculously kills cancer cells and tumors
  • Shrinks malignant tumors
  • Selectively kills cancer cells
  • More effective than chemotherapy
  • Attacks cancer cells, leaving healthy cells intact
  • Cures cancer
“The overarching point is that these products are untested, and some of the ingredients may present direct risk to the consumer’s health or interact with any medications they might be taking,” Humbert said. “They’re not a substitute for appropriate treatment, and using these products can not only endanger consumers’ health but waste their money and waste their time, as well.”
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Nicole Kornspan, a consumer safety officer at the FDA, said in a written statement that “Anyone who suffers from cancer, or knows someone who does, understands the fear and desperation that can set in. There can be a great temptation to jump at anything that appears to offer a chance for a cure.”
Just remember the old saying: If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Scientists Find That Babies Who Are Given DTP Vaccine Are up to 10 Times More Likely to Die


Research conducted by a team of Scandinavian scientists came to a startling conclusion regarding the DTP vaccine, which is supposed to protect children from diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus. Though they found that the vaccine can prevent those diseases, it does so at a terrible cost.

The research, which was partly funded by the Danish government, derived its data from a vaccination campaign conducted in the African nation of Guinea Bissau during the 1980’s. Initially, the campaign offered parents the opportunity to have their babies weighed every 3 months, and in 1981 they started giving out DTP vaccines during these sessions. Because the babies were only allowed to be vaccinated at a certain age, some were not vaccinated, which created the perfect control group.

It turns out that the babies who were vaccinated had a mortality rate that was on average, five times higher than the unvaccinated infants. The vaccinated girls were 9.98 times more likely to die after being vaccinated, and the boys were 3.93 time more likely to die.

These numbers were derived from kids who also had a polio vaccine. Strangely, they had a much lower mortality rate. The kids who only received the DTP vaccine had on average, a mortality rate that was 10 times higher than the control group. The researchers believe that the vaccine must have stifled the immune systems of these children, opening them up to mutliple infections.

The researchers wrote that It should be of concern that the effect of routine vaccinations on all-cause mortality was not tested in randomized trials.  All currently available evidence suggests that DTP vaccine may kill more children from other causes than it saves from diphtheria, tetanus or pertussis.  Though a vaccine protects children against the target disease it may simultaneously increase susceptibility to unrelated infections.”

The study only looked at children who were healthy before being vaccinated. Because of that, the researchers noted “The estimate from the natural experiment may therefore still be conservative.”

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Man denied double-lung transplant over marijuana use in Utah dies after procedure in Pennsylvania

A Utah man who was denied a double-lung transplant in his home state after doctors found a trace of marijuana in his system has died, his family said.

Riley Hancey, 20, was surrounded by family including his father, his mother and two aunts when he died from complications of a double lung transplant around 4 p.m. in Pennsylvania on Saturday, his father Mark Hancey told The Salt Lake Tribune.

“This death is unbelievable,” the father told the newspaper. “If you could talk about angels, (the University of Pennsylvania) medical staff they are a group of angels. From the physicians down, I just couldn’t believe it.”

Riley was admitted to the University of Utah Hospital in December and was put on life support two weeks later. He was denied a transplant in early April after doctors found traces of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC.

Teen denied double-lung transplant after smoking pot once: family

Riley Hancey, 20, was an outdoor enthusiast who was denied a transplant in Utah after traces of marijuana was found in his system.


His father said his son had smoked marijuana on Thanksgiving with friends but was clean for a year before he became sick with pneumonia.

A hospital spokeswoman said in a statement to the newspaper that “we do not transplant organs in patients with active alcohol, tobacco or illicit drug use or dependencies until these issues are addressed, as these substances are contraindicated for a transplant.”

The family searched for other hospitals for almost two months before ending up in Philadelphia. The Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania performed Riley’s procedure on March 29.

Riley Hancey, 20, was battling a rare form of pneumonia in November before his death.


“It has been a long battle to save Riley’s life. We know that in our hearts we gave him every opportunity to survive,” the family said in a YouCaring page previously set up to pay for his medical expenses.

Mom of boy killed meets woman who lived with his lung

“He will live in our hearts forever. Riley is now free to climb every mountain, ski the backcountry, go fishing, and run every river. He will continue to do so with his family in spirit,” the page read.

Men removing condoms during sex in disturbing online trend ‘stealthing’


Civil and criminal justice experts are expressing concern over “stealthing,” in which straight and gay men are removing their condoms during sex without their partners’ consent.

A new study published this month in the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law explores the disturbing new trend, which involves online communities of men — straight and gay — encouraging one another to carry out the “rape-adjacent” act.


For the study, author Alexandra Brodsky interviewed victims of stealthing, as well as those online communities, where men promote their peers to “spread their seed” and “root their support [for the practice] in an ideology of male supremacy in which violence is a man’s natural right,” Brodsky told The Huffington Post. Brodsky is a legal fellow for National Women’s Law Center but wrote the paper independently from her job.

The Huffington Post reported that Brodsky’s study cites comment strings from such forums, in which men exchange tips, best practices, advice and support for tactfully removing a condom during sex without a partner’s knowledge.


Though stealthing hasn’t been legally defined as rape in the United States, Switzerland’s high court recently saw such a case, and a man who carried out this very act was convicted of rape, Broadly reported.

Indeed, Brodsky writes in her paper, stealthing can expose victims to similar consequences as rape, including feelings of shame, violation, loss of dignity and autonomy after the act, as well as an increased risk of pregnancy, and exposure to sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV and AIDS.

In her study, she encourages victims of stealthing to come forward and seek justice in the absence of a legal statute that officially defines stealthing as sexual assault. Yet, she argued to the Huffington Post that there’s still room for improvement in the justice system, as “many of the myths and assumptions and forms of skepticism that we see from judges approaching rape victims and other kinds of sexual assault victims are likely to be present in stealthing cases.”

“The law isn’t the answer for everyone, and it can’t fix every problem every time,” Brodsky continued. “One of my goals with the article, and in proposing a new statute, is to provide a vocabulary and create ways for people to talk about what is a really common experience that just is too often dismissed as just ‘bad sex’ instead of ‘violence.’”

First malaria vaccine to be widely tested in Africa next year

(CNN) The World Health Organization announced Monday that it has the go-ahead to try the first malaria vaccine in the field in real-world settings next year. The organization made the announcement on the eve of World Malaria Day.

More than 429,000 people lost their lives to the mosquito-borne illness in 2015, and hundreds of millions get sick with a malaria infection every year. Some never fully recover.
There has been enormous progress in fighting the disease. From 2000 to 2015, there was a 62% reduction in malaria deaths, according to the WHO, and a 21% reduction in the number of cases. There have been fewer deaths in large part because of better mosquito control and disease awareness, as well as sustained effort to get the right medicine to the right populations, experts said.
But there are gaps in prevention coverage, particularly in regions such as sub-Saharan Africa, where about 43% of people at risk for the disease don’t have access to mosquito protection like bed nets or bug spray, according to the WHO.
Africa is the continent that sees the highest number of malaria cases. The new vaccine will be tested in Kenya, Ghana and Malawi starting in 2018.
Adding a vaccine to the disease-fighting mix could make a significant dent.
“This is great news, actually,” said Dr. Photini Sinnis, a deputy director at the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute and professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She trained with the GSK scientists who did much of the original research to develop the vaccine in its early days. “At the time, no one thought this would really work. Scientists are skeptical people.”
But it has shown enormous success. “This is a vaccine that has the capability to make a real difference,” Sinnis said. In phase 3, it was tried in 11,000 children in sub-Saharan Africa, and it decreased mortality by almost 50%: That’s thousands of lives saved. “You can’t argue with that success.”
Sinnis was meeting with other malaria researchers to talk about the latest scientific advances in vaccine development. Because of the biological complexity of the malaria parasite, developing a vaccine has been difficult.
The vaccine, RTS,S, also known as Mosquirix, was created by scientists at GSK in 1987. It was developed in a public-private partnership with the PATH Malaria Initiative and with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation along with local health organizations from seven African countries. Among the potential malaria vaccines, it is the furthest along.
The hope is that the vaccine will protect children from the deadliest form of malaria, known as Plasmodium falciparum. The pilot project will test whether the vaccine can work under real-world circumstances. It has to be delivered in four doses and given through an intramuscular injection.
Other preventative malaria treatment is available for infants, but uptake is “slow,” according to the WHO, and it is being implemented only in Sierra Leone. The hope is that if the vaccine works, it would become a part of the regular vaccine schedule for children in areas with high potential for malaria. In this case, it will be tested in children between the ages of 5 and 17.
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“The prospect of a malaria vaccine is great news. Information gathered in the pilot program will help us make decisions on the wider use of this vaccine,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s regional director for Africa, in a statement. “Combined with existing malaria interventions, such a vaccine would have the potential to save tens of thousands of lives in Africa.”
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