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Lab-Meat. Soon in a Store Near You.

Synthetic meat is certainly one of the latest innovations in food technology that has certainly gained a lot of attention. Basically, what this involves is culturing animal cells in the laboratory and supplying nutrients until they grow into large enough pieces that they can be used as food. So far, the technology has been used to produce “beef,” “duck,” and even “chicken.” Continue reading

Acid Blocking Drugs for One and All?

The term proton-pump inhibitor (PPI) may sound like a complex and compelling bit of science, but in reality, the term describes a type of drug that is among the most commonly used medications, both by prescription, and over-the-counter, in America today. Basically, these drugs act by reducing gastric acid production, and they are very capable in accomplishing this task.

PPIs are generally prescribed for people who have gastroesophageal reflux disease, more commonly known as GERD.

But when you watch the television commercials for these medications it looks as if we should be taking them in order to eat any food that might disagree with us.

Despite the fact that, according to FDA guidelines, these drugs should only be taken for no more than 14 days in a given year, I have to admit that I see patients every day who insist on taking Pepcid or Prilosec day in and day out without any indication that they plan to stop.  Continue reading

Scientists Question Safety of ADHD Drugs

Currently in America about 6.5 million children have been given the diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) for which pharmacotherapy is the mainstay of treatment. In fact, about two thirds of those children with this diagnosis are currently taking medication.

Obviously, parents who ultimately choose to medicate their children assume that prior to allowing these medications to become available for prescription they have been studied extensively. After all, parents should certainly have a high level of confidence in the safety of these drugs.

But in this study published by researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital, the Department of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, and several other institutions raises some important concerns about how these drugs were tested to validate their safety. The study, published in the journal, PLOS ONE in July of this year looked at all currently available ADHD medications that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and specifically evaluated the clinical trials performed by the sponsor that the FDA used to evaluate each drug’s efficacy as well as safety. Continue reading

The 5 Keys to Buying Frozen Food

By: Austin Perlmutter, MD, Medical Student, Miller School of Medicine

When it comes to mealtime, most of us prefer a meal made from fresh produce to its frozen equivalent. But in today’s whirlwind of obligations and timetables, that’s not always a viable option. Luckily, frozen food has come a long way in taste and practicality, contributing to the 224.74 billion dollar annual global market for the products. Supermarkets highlight rows and rows of attractive ready-to-heat appetizers, side dishes, entrees and desserts, and for many of us, this can be an excellent way to stock up on healthful foods. However, the frozen food department may also be a dangerous place for the health-conscious. Here are the 5 things you need to know to navigate frozen foods successfully:

  1. Buy real foods: The easiest way to successfully buy healthy frozen food is to ensure that you know what you’re buying. For example, if you’re buying strawberries, read the label to make sure the only ingredient is strawberry. The healthiest options in the frozen food section, like the fresh food section, will always be whole, unadulterated foods. Continue reading

FDA’s Nutrition Facts Are Changing

By: Austin Perlmutter, MD, Medical Student, Miller School of Medicine

After 20 years, the FDA has plans for a major overhaul of the Nutrition Facts label. This is a big deal, as the sticker is required on the majority of American packaged foods. In reality, the Nutrition Facts label represents one of the best sources of information on our groceries. The FDA claims its changes reflect a “greater understanding of nutrition science,” and will lead to a label that will “[address] current public health concerns.” These are important changes, and here’s what’s actually happening.   Continue reading

Alzheimer's Prevention is the best Treatment

Why We Shouldn’t Focus on Developing Alzheimer’s Treatments

Recently, The New York Times announced the creation of a partnership between the National Institutes of Health, 10 pharmaceutical companies and seven nonprofit organizations dedicated to the development of drugs to treat, among other things, Alzheimer’s disease. While at first blush, this five-year, $230 million effort may seem noble, the ultimate motivation for this seemingly ecumenical event is suspect.

Alzheimer’s disease affects some 5.4 million Americans, and according to a recent report from the RAND Corporation, costs Americans in the neighborhood of $200 billion each year to care for those afflicted. To contextualize this figure, it represents about twice what is spent on caring for heart disease patients. But it doesn’t factor in the emotional expense borne by the family members of Alzheimer’s patients whose lives are irreparably compromised by this disease.

Drug companies, as the Times article reported, “… have invested staggering amounts of money in developing drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease, for example, but again and again the medications have failed in testing.” Just last month the New England Journal of Medicine reported that two of the latest candidates for treating Alzheimer’s disease had failed, miserably, to provide any meaningful benefit.

Continue reading