вторник, 14 декабря 2010 г.

Consumers Often a Target for Miracle Health Claims

Part of the US Federal Trade Commission’s responsibility is to protect America’s consumers from fraudulent “miracle” health claims. This week, as part of a settlement with the FTC, Nestle, the world’s largest food and nutrition company, has agreed to drop “deceptive” health claims it made in advertisements for its “BOOST Kid Essentials” beverage.
The FTC stressed that their complaint against Nestlé "was not a finding or ruling that the respondent has actually violated the law", and that the company's agreement to settle does not constitute an admission of such and they did not have to pay a fine.
The ads, which appeared on television, in newspapers, magazines and other print media, claimed that BOOST Kid Essentials “prevents upper respiratory tract infections in children, protects against cold and flu by strengthening the immune system, and reduces absences from daycare or school due to illness.”
David Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection said that the commission is dedicated to stopping deceptive advertising.
Karen Mandel, staff lawyer for the trade commission agrees. “Food companies are marketing more of what they call functional foods. If the claims are not substantiated, that’s what we’re looking for, to make sure the claims are truthful.”
Functional foods are those with added nutrients that companies claim can bring health benefits to those who eat or drink them.
Consumers spend billions of dollars each year on unproven, fraudulently marketed health-related products. Officials at the FTC say that health fraud promoters often target people who have serious conditions for which there are no cures, such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, HIV and AIDS, and arthritis. Last year’s Nestle ad was timed with the H1N1 flu epidemic.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates health claims and federal law allows certain claims to be used on food and dietary supplements, but only if they show a strong link between the disease state and the nutrient based on scientific evidence. Two examples of approved claims include “The vitamin folic acid may reduce the risk of neural tube defect-affected pregnancies” and “Calcium may reduce the risk of the bone disease osteoporosis.”
The FTC and the FDA offer this advice to consumers on how to spot false claims:
• Statements that the product is a quick and effective cure-all or diagnostic tool for a wide variety of ailments. For example: "Extremely beneficial in the treatment of rheumatism, arthritis, infections, prostate problems, ulcers, cancer, heart trouble, hardening of the arteries and more."
• Statements that suggest the product can treat or cure diseases. For example: "shrinks tumors" or "cures impotency."
• Promotions that use words like "scientific breakthrough," "miraculous cure," "exclusive product," "secret ingredient" or "ancient remedy." For example: "A revolutionary innovation formulated by using proven principles of natural health-based medical science."
• Text that uses impressive-sounding terms like these for a weight-loss product: "hunger stimulation point" and "thermogenesis."
• Undocumented case histories or personal testimonials by consumers or doctors claiming amazing results. For example: "My husband has Alzheimer['s disease]. He began eating a teaspoonful of this product each day. And now in just 22 days he mowed the grass, cleaned out the garage, weeded the flower beds and we take our morning walk again."
• Limited availability and advance payment requirements. For example: "Hurry. This offer will not last. Send us a check now to reserve your supply."
• Promises of no-risk "money-back guarantees." For example: "If after 30 days you have not lost at least 4 pounds each week, your uncashed check will be returned to you."

среда, 8 декабря 2010 г.

Montana Children's Health Insurance Plan Income Guidelines Increase

Montana Children's Health Insurance
Montana Department of Health announced new higher income guidelines for the state's Children's Health Insurance Plan.
The new guidelines are effective July 1.
CHIP provides free or low-cost health insurance for children up to age 19 who are not eligible for Medicaid and whose families cannot afford other health insurance.
The 2007 Legislature and Governor Brian Schweitzer approved the increase from 150 percent to 175 percent of the federal poverty guideline. Under the new guidelines, children from a family of four with an annual income of $36,138 may be eligible for CHIP. That means a family can earn $5,163 more than under the previous guidelines and still qualify.

"We know the need is there, because many families applied for CHIP in the past only to find out they're above the income limit," said Jackie Forba, CHIP Bureau Chief.
DPHHS estimates an additional 3,000 children may be eligible for CHIP under the new guidelines.
Families who earn more than the guidelines should still consider applying for CHIP because additional income adjustments are made based on the number of family members working and if they pay for child care.
"Now is a great time to apply for CHIP," Forba said. "We have no waiting list so coverage can begin as soon as the first of the month after a child is determined eligible."

According to DPHHS, 16 percent, or approximately 37,000 Montana children do not have health insurance. It is estimated about half of those children may be eligible for CHIP or Medicaid.
CHIP applications are available at participating doctors' offices and hospitals, as well as local public health departments, Offices of Public Assistance, community health centers, Head Start locations, Indian Health Services and Tribal Clinics.

четверг, 2 декабря 2010 г.

Skin Health Help at Target's Black Friday 2010

Target’s Black Friday 2010 special for Christmas in July savings has offerings on women’s health products. These products include the wildly popular Soap and Glory brand products and others.
Target’s Black Friday sale is being done because, as the site states, “Why wait for December to save?” One product available at special price includes Soap and Glory’s Sugar Crush body scrub, a 15.2 ounce jar for $15.88, an almost $3 savings.
Target’s Black Friday sale also is offering Soap and Glory savings on its SlimWear body cream, a 6.4 oz tube for $7.48, an almost $5 savings. Soap and Glory also has a Fab Pore facial peel for $12.00, another fabulous special.
Skin care is an important aspect for women’s health. Not only does it feel good to look good but poor skin health can lead to other complications, such as a staph infection. If you get an ingrown hair and develop an abscess, that could lead to a staph infection which can lead to death if left untreated. Also, skin health is important if exposed to the sun leading to illnesses such as skin cancer.
Also important to women's health is finding a way to relax. Many women cannot afford the time away from home and so Target is offering special deals on in-home products for relaxation as well. Consider this: A HoMedics Sound SPA Relaxation Sound Machine for just over $20. The machine plays soft and relaxing music which you can use in the bedroom during meditation or in the bathroom during a bubble bath. It's easy to let the stress of the day melt away with this now incredibly affordable machine thanks to Target's Black Friday deals.
For more information on other health and beauty products on sale for Target’s Black Friday special, click here
Target’s Black Friday sale also includes other products such as sandals, clothing, etc. The sale is only online and so consumers should act fast and visit here

четверг, 25 ноября 2010 г.

Naturopathic Doctors Call For Real Health Care Reform

More than 100 naturopathic doctors and supporters will descend on Capitol Hill Monday to advocate for an overhaul of the nation’s health care system. Advocates from across the country will ask their Members of Congress to support H.Con.Res.58, a resolution that would transform the health care system from one that manages disease to one rooted in prevention, health promotion, and wellness.
“The health care system must address the underlying factors that lead to chronic disease,” says Karen Howard, Executive Director of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. “Nearly forty percent of all U.S. deaths are from heart disease, and more than two thirds of Americans are overweight. Clearly, the current system doesn’t do enough to prevent these costly health conditions. We need to move past this broken model and create a system that focuses on overall health, wellness, and enabling the body’s natural healing process.”
Naturopathic medicine is based on the belief that the human body has an innate healing ability. Naturopathic doctors teach their patients to use lifestyle changes and cutting-edge natural therapies to enhance the body’s ability to ward off and combat disease. Naturopathic doctors craft comprehensive treatment plans that blend the best of modern medical science and traditional natural medical approaches to not only treat disease, but also to restore health.
“Today, our definition of ‘wellness’ is limited to drug screening, vaccinations, and other preventative strategies such as drug therapy,” continues Howard. “But we drastically undervalue how changing behavior can prevent disease. If the nation is to move past the current health care crisis, we must adopt a patient-centered health care model that will restore and maintain optimal health.”
Currently, 15 states, the District of Columbia, and the United States territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have licensing laws for naturopathic doctors. In these states, naturopathic doctors are required to graduate from a four-year, postgraduate naturopathic medical school and to pass an extensive postdoctoral board examination (NPLEX) in order to receive a license.

четверг, 18 ноября 2010 г.

Structure of a protein related to heart and nervous system health revealed

University of Michigan researchers have solved the structure of a protein that is integral to processes responsible for maintaining a healthy heart and nervous system. The protein structure in question is cystathionine beta-synthase, known as CBS. CBS uses vitamin B6 to make hydrogen sulfide (H2S), a gaseous signaling molecule that helps maintain a healthy heart and nervous system. H2S also induces a state of suspended animation or hibernation in animals by decreasing body temperature and lowering metabolic rate.
The work to decode the structure was led by Ruma Banerjee, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Biological Chemistry at the U-M Medical Schoool, Janet Smith, Ph.D., a research professor at the U-M Life Sciences Institute, and their colleagues. Their findings are published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"The structure of full-length CBS, which has eluded the science community for more than a decade, provides a wealth of new information about gas generation by CBS, which is especially important in the brain," says Banerjee, the study's senior author and the Vincent Massey Collegiate Professor of Biological Chemistry and associate chair of biological chemistry . "It also provides a framework for understanding homocystinuria-causing mutations."
Mutations in the gene for CBS cause homocystinuria, an inherited disorder that affects the central nervous system, ocular, skeletal, and cardiovascular systems.
The structure of the full-length CBS, seen here for the first time, provides a molecular explanation for homocystinuria due to CBS defects.
The activity of CBS is increased by SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine), a dietary supplement that is used for its anti-depressant and anti-inflammatory activities. SAMe also increases production of H2S by binding to CBS.
"Molecular insights into the architecture of the CBS domain to which SAMe binds open doors to rational drug design for fine-tuning H2S production for pharmaceutical purposes," says colleague Markos Koutmos, Ph.D., a research investigator in Smith's research group .
"We captured the CBS enzyme at two points in its complex chemical reaction by trapping two highly reactive chemical intermediates in the active site of the enzyme," says researcher Omer Kabil, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in Banerjee's lab. The structures of these trapped species reveal details of how vitamin B6 helps CBS perform the complex chemical reactions leading to H2S production.
"The important chemical details we see in CBS can be applied to understanding the other human enzymes that depend on vitamin B6, of which there are more than 50," says Smith, who in addition to her LSI position is also the Martha L. Ludwig Professor of Protein Structure & Function in the Department of Biological Chemistry of the Medical School.