Wednesday Reads: Have it God’s way…Posted: July 18, 2012
Good Wednesday Morning
I have a variety of links for you today, no shared theme or clever connections this morning…let’s just say that my energy level and lack of ambition is at an all time low. (I don’t even think ambition is the correct word. It is like my mind has forgotten how to think.)
Anyway, first a few articles on the new FDA’s approved list of pharmaceuticals…and banned list of plastics.
Plastics. (I bet a few of you will key in on that word…I know I did.) So, I’ve got one word for you…Plastics.
The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that baby bottles and children’s drinking cups could no longer contain bisphenol A, or BPA, an estrogen-mimicking industrial chemical used in some plastic bottles and food packaging.
Manufacturers have already stopped using the chemical in baby bottles and sippy cups, and the F.D.A. said that its decision was a response to a request by the American Chemistry Council, the chemical industry’s main trade association, that rules allowing BPA in those products be phased out, in part to boost consumer confidence.
But the new prohibition does not apply more broadly to the use of BPA in other containers, said an F.D.A. spokesman, Steven Immergut. He said the decision did not amount to a reversal of the agency’s position on the chemical. The F.D.A. declared BPA safe in 2008, but began expressing concerns about possible health risks in 2010.
Did you know there was a way to tell if the plastic bottle you are using has BPA?
BPA has been used since the 1960s to make hard plastic bottles, cups for toddlers and the linings of food and beverage cans, including those that hold infant formula and soda. Until recently, it was used in baby bottles, but major manufacturers are now making bottles without it. Plastic items containing BPA are generally marked with a 7 on the bottom for recycling purposes.
Fancy that…well, it is a move in the right direction, but there is still no ban on BPA use in baby formula containers.
Next on our list is the anticipated approval of a new diet drug. FDA Approves Diet Drug Qsymia
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the diet drug Qsymia, the agency’s latest move to give doctors and their patients more tools to fight excessive weight gain as obesity rates continue to bulge in the U.S. and around the world.
An advisory panel voted 20 to two to approve the drug in February, the first time the FDA voted to approve a weight-loss drug in more than a decade. Originally known as Qnexa, the FDA required Vivus, the manufacturer of the drug, to change its name in order to prevent its confusion with other drugs with similar-sounding names. Data presented by the company showed that it helped patients lose about 10 percent of their body weight.
How the hell do you pronounce that name? Qsymia…sounds like a deaf hunchback or something you get after eating a whole box of Ho Ho’s and Ding Dong’s. That queasy, nausea sort of feeling.
Well, what do you know, FDA approves first pill to help prevent HIV
The Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved the first drug shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection, a milestone in the 30-year battle against the virus that causes AIDS.
The agency approved Gilead Sciences’ pill Truvada as a preventive measure for people who are at high risk of acquiring HIV through sexual activity, such as those who have HIV-infected partners.
Public health advocates say the approval could help slow the spread of HIV, which has held steady at about 50,000 new infections per year for the last 15 years. An estimated 1.2 million Americans have HIV, which develops into AIDS unless treated with antiviral drugs. With an estimated 240,000 HIV carriers unaware of their status, doctors and patients say new methods are needed to fight the spread of the virus.
Finally, maybe this new prevention method is signalling the beginning of the end of AIDS.
There was some new information on a drug for Alzheimer patients: Trial Hints Baxter’s Gammagard Can Slow Alzheimer’s
A drug already on the market that treats immune disorders may help stabilize patients with Alzheimer’s disease for up to three years, according to the results of a tiny study presented at a conference on Tuesday.
All four patients who received the optimal dose of the drug, Gammagard from Baxter International, had no decline in several measures of cognition and daily function for three years, researchers said.
Dr. Norman Relkin of Weill Cornell Medical College, the lead investigator of the study, said the results were “remarkable” because patients with Alzheimer’s disease typically worsen within 12 months.
“If we have a patient who goes 18 months without changing we begin to doubt they have Alzheimer’s,” Dr. Relkin said in a news conference at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, where the results were presented.
The doctors warned that it was an extremely small trial, but they are encouraged by their findings.
Whether the results are a fluke or not could be known by the first half of next year, when the results of a Phase 3 trial are expected.
The results presented Tuesday were from an extension of a 24-patient trial begun a few years ago. In the first six months of the study, those who received the drug did better than those who received a placebo. After that, patients could continue on the study, with all of them receiving the drug.
Sixteen patients completed three years of treatment. Five of those who originally received a placebo declined less rapidly once they shifted to the drug. Of the 11 who received the drug for the entire 36 months, those who got the optimal dose — which was a high dose — for the whole time fared the best.
That evidence “really suggests this is a drug effect and not just an accident,” said Bill Thies, chief medical and scientific officer of the Alzheimer’s Association.
Of course, the Baxter stock rose with the news…almost a whole dollar to $55.68 a share.
I guess I was wrong about this post not having a theme or connection.
In my home state of Georgia, announces switch to single-drug method for executions even as a death penalty case looms
(Your may remember that the death penalty drug of choice was no longer available, and they had to use the same drug veterinarians use on animals to carry out the sentence. )
Georgia announced Tuesday that it is switching immediately to single-drug executions from a three-drug combination, following the lead of several other states even as a death row case loomed.
The Georgia Department of Corrections said it will begin using a single dose of the sedative pentobarbital to carry out court-ordered death sentences. It had been using pentobarbital to sedate inmates before injecting pancuronium bromide to paralyze them and then potassium chloride to stop their hearts.
They announced this change the day before a man was sentenced to die…can you believe it?
Georgia inmate Warren Lee Hill had been set to be executed Wednesday evening, but authorities said that execution has now been rescheduled for Monday.
Hill’s attorney, Brian Kammer, expressed concern about the switch to a single-drug procedure even as he waged legal efforts to spare the inmate. “I think it is troubling to be confronted with a significant change in the execution protocol a day before the scheduled execution of my client,” Kammer said in an email.
Georgia began using pentobarbital as part of its three-drug combination last year after another drug, sodium thiopental, became unavailable when its European supplier bowed to pressure from death penalty opponents and stopped making it. But pentobarbital is now in short supply after its manufacturer said it would try to prevent its use in executions.
The article gives some statistics on how many people have been put to death using the pentobarbital alone. You can read the rest if you like…but the parts that I have quoted above give you the main part of the story I wanted to share with you this morning.
I have three more articles that are full of numbers…and since my mind is a bit off lately, we will just post quick links and no commentary.
Brent crude slipped below $104 a barrel on Wednesday, snapping five days of gains as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke offered no signs of further monetary stimulus to boost growth in the world’s top oil consumer.
Oil also slipped as a 16 percent increase in prices from the the lows for the year touched last month prompted some investors to book profits. Broader markets, from Asian shares to the euro, edged higher as Bernanke in his testimony to the Senate Banking Committee left the door open for more stimulus.
Brent crude slipped 67 cents to $103.33 a barrel by 0258 GMT, after settling 63 cents higher. U.S. oil slipped 40 cents to $88.82 a barrel after ending 79 cents higher.
“Bernanke’s comments were in line with the last set of minutes – examining ways of doing more should that be necessary,” said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney. “Oil has recovered from its June lows pretty close to its medium-term equilibrium and that is why we are seeing a bit of softening. There is some profit-taking.”
The Federal Housing Finance Agency engaged in a little back-patting yesterday for improved HARP figures, which they say are a direct result of their changes to the system to allow for more underwater borrowers to take advantage of low refinancing rates. The truth is a little murkier.
Be sure you read this FDL article by David Dayen. There are some links to charts and statements that even in my diminished capacity, I can understand.
This next link is something Dakinikat and MABlue may find interesting. Chart of the Day: Germany in breach of Maastricht Treaty in 8 of 10 years since 2002 | Credit Writedowns
A recent story in German magazine Der Spiegel highlights the efforts in 2005 of German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to relax the penalties for deficits in breach of the euro zone’s stability and growth pact. It is a good review of the contemporaneous actions of the German government within a wider EU political context. However, I feel there is a lot missing to the article in giving the German context to the present European sovereign debt crisis. Therefore, I am giving you a few tidbits here.
And finally, just one quick observation. With the RNC being held in Tampa, FL…the place I was born and raised, this next link made me laugh…why? Because the restaurants that are mentioned are the big expensive places that your average person would not be able to afford. Ha, go figure. Locals Dish About Tampa’s Secret Eats | Heard on the Hill
The Republican National Convention has offered up its version of the culinary frontrunners it’s supporting during next month’s nominating soiree. But Tampa food scribes assure HOH there are certain off-menu specials conventioneers won’t want to miss.
Tampa Tribune food writer Jeff Houck eats his way around the local dining scene like it’s his job (it is) for “The Stew” blog. Which makes it all the more impressive that, come quitting time, he’s still inclined to darken Pelagia Trattoria’s door.
“My favorite thing is to go to Pelagia Trattoria and ask the chef to make whatever he wants. That place is amazing,” Houck tells HOH, adding that he demanded just such a spontaneous tasting menu for an anniversary celebration.
And this is considered “gossip” according to The Hill website…
The open-ended invitations have spawned all manner of gustatory whimsy, including Kumato tomatoes showered with goat cheese “snow” (frozen and hand grated), tripe fritters partnered with pizzaiola sauce, juniper-marinated squab escorted by pickled white cherries and sweet corn polenta and a “coffee and cigars” closer featuring espresso panna cotta and chocolate tuiles inundated with Bailey’s Irish Cream.
According to Bern’s chef de cuisine, Habteab Hamde, the sandwich weaves together 4.5 ounces of chargrilled tenderloin served plain, fully loaded (cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, apple-smoked bacon, sauteed mushrooms and caramelized onions) or anywhere in between, all on a whole-wheat bun. He described the burger as an 8-ounce patty forged from freshly ground 80/20 USDA Prime flap meat, which is then cooked to order and dressed accordingly.
Hamde confirmed that neither item appears on any menu, while noting that bar patrons have been savoring both for years.
Houck certainly has.
“The Bern’s sandwich tastes like God intended beef to taste,” he raves. “And in a setting where you don’t expect to get a burger, which always makes it fun.”
Ah, so this is what Romney probably is used to when it comes to that all American burger? No pink slime for you people…they leave that crap for the serfs.
You know, there are many good, no strike that, fabulous restaurants in Tampa that aren’t reserved for the rich and GOP millionaire class. And I can bet the owners of these “dives” are part of that group of people who would appreciate some business thrown their way.
Yeah…I know that Romney and the rest of them are rich, but it is attitudes like this link above that makes their obvious lack of understanding even more apparent when it comes to us real folks out there. Wish I could afford beef the way “God” intended it to taste, unfortunately I am one of the little people who don’t get to experience life the way “God” intended it to be…by that I mean the way these 1%ers do. Anyone up for a 99 cent Whopper, made the way you like it? I’ll have my the way God likes it…all the way, with everything!