FDA, Researchers Still in the Weeds on Cannabis, CBD, and Gender


The acceptance of medical marijuana and cannabidiol (CBD) products is picking up momentum across the United States. Case in point, last month an additional five states voted to legalize medicinal or recreational cannabis, putting more pressure on the medical, research, and regulatory communities to provide some guidance.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took a step in that direction recently with a day-long virtual symposium held by its Office of Women’s Health. The session focused on gender differences in the use of CBD and cannabis-based products, potential sex and gender interactions with regard to anxiety, pain, and pregnancy, and other outcomes.

In a keynote delivered to more than 600 healthcare practitioners, policymakers, patients, and other stakeholders, Douglas Throckmorton, MD, deputy director for regulatory programs at the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, underscored the complexities of cannabinoid therapeutics and the logistical and regulatory challenges the agency faces.

“Not

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Researchers describe cellular mediator that makes muscle adaptation to exercise possible


The onset of any physical exercise program causes muscle pain that can hinder movements as simple as getting up from a sofa. With time and a little persistence, the muscles become accustomed to the effort, developing more strength and endurance. Researchers affiliated with Harvard University in the United States and the University of São Paulo (USP) in Brazil describe the cellular mediator that makes this adaptation to exercise possible in the journal Cell.

The mediator is succinate, a metabolite hitherto known only for its participation in mitochondrial respiration. The authors of the article include Julio Cesar Batista Ferreira, a professor at USP’s Biomedical Sciences Institute (ICB) and a member of the Center for Research on Redox Processes in Biomedicine (Redoxome), one of the Research, Innovation and Dissemination Centers (RIDCs) funded by FAPESP (São Paulo Research Foundation), and postdoctoral fellow Luiz Henrique Bozi, who conducted the investigation while he was

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Researchers urge Arizona shutdown, mask mandate


PHOENIX — University of Arizona researchers say the current surge in the coronavirus outbreak will present the state with a hospital crisis that could become a disaster unless the state takes steps such as ordering a three-week stay-home shutdown and implementing a statewide mask mandate.

Members of the university’s COVID Modeling Team said failing to take such steps would be like facing a major forest fire without evacuation orders. It also recommends providing economic aid to affected small businesses and families and preventing evictions and foreclosures.

The team has tracked the outbreak since last spring and made its recommendations in a letter Friday to the state Department of Health Services.


Many local governments have imposed mask mandates since Gov. Doug Ducey last summer lifted a prohibition on such orders. The local mandates cover an estimated 90% of the state’s population but enforcement is lax or nonexistent in some places.

Arizona

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Researchers link specific gut bacteria to irritable bowel syndrome


Nov. 25 (UPI) — Researchers have discovered a connection between Brachyspira, a specific intestinal bacterium, and the incidence of irritable bowel syndrome, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Gut.

The discovery could lead to new medication and remedy for the illness, which affects the large intestine with cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas and diarrhea or constipation, said researchers at Sweden’s University of Gothenburg.

The syndrome affects between 25 and 45 million people in the United States, the majority of them female, and between 5% and 10% of the world population, according to the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders.

The researchers used biopsies of intestines to determine a link between the Brachispira bacteria, which typically hide in mucus layers and are not generally noticed in sampling, a Wednesday press release said.

“Unlike most other gut bacteria, Brachyspira is in direct contact with the cells [of the intestines] and

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Researchers assess consequences of decades of global nutrition transition


Just a handful of rice and beans – a part of our world is starved. Hawaiian Pizza and ice-cream – another part of our world is stuffed, throwing away food every day.

This gap is likely to worsen, while food waste will increase and pressure on the environment will go up, a new study shows.

Researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) assessed the consequences if the current nutrition transition, from scarce starch-based diets towards processed foods and animal products, continues – the calculations combine, for the first time, estimates for under- and overweight, food composition and waste.

Their findings provide a startling look ahead: By 2050, more than 4 billion people could be overweight, 1.5 billion of them obese, while 500 million people continue to be underweight.

If the observed nutrition transition continues, we will not achieve the United Nations goal of

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Childhood lead exposure linked to lower IQ, reduced brain development in midlife, researchers find


Nov. 17 (UPI) — People exposed to lead during childhood shows signs of reduced brain development — and lower IQs — well into adulthood, a study published Tuesday by JAMA found.

The analysis of 564 adults with documented lead exposure at age 11 revealed that their IQ scores declined two points for every 5 micrograms per deciliter — a little over 3 ounces — of the substance in their blood, the data showed.

Study participants at age 11 years had an average of roughly 11 mcg. per deciliter of lead in their bloodstream, the researchers said. Lead levels of above 5 mcg. per deciliter are considered above normal, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The lower IQ was attributed to lessened brain development caused by lead exposure, the researchers said.

“By now we know quite well that children exposed to lead experience disrupted brain development —

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Researchers find coronavirus was circulating in Italy earlier than thought


ROME (Reuters) – The new coronavirus was circulating in Italy in September 2019, a study by the National Cancer Institute (INT) of the Italian city of Milan shows, signaling that it might have spread beyond China earlier than thought.

The World Health Organization has said the new coronavirus and COVID-19, the respiratory disease it causes, were unknown before the outbreak was reported in Wuhan, central China, late last year. But it has said “the possibility that the virus may have silently circulated elsewhere cannot be ruled out.”

The WHO said on Monday it was reviewing the results from Italy and additional information published there at the weekend and was seeking clarification.

Italy’s first COVID-19 patient was detected on Feb. 21 in a small town near Milan, in the northern region of Lombardy.

The Italian researchers’ findings, published by the INT’s scientific magazine Tumori Journal, show 11.6% of 959 healthy volunteers

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These Researchers Tested Positive. But the Virus Wasn’t the Cause.


Some at Roger Williams, however, were left angry and confused. A few faculty members in the marine sciences building were embittered by the event, which they said had disrupted classes, hampered productivity and eroded emotional well-being, according to an individual who worked in the building, who requested anonymity to avoid repercussions from the university. Others worried that faculty members and students would see the event as an excuse to forgo testing and gather in close quarters, the individual said.

Brian Williams, the university’s chief of staff, acknowledged that the events had seeded some tension. He could not provide further details, he said, because the university was still reviewing the matter.

Although labs that specialize in diagnostics have long had protocols in place to ward off such events, “we’ve never had a situation where so many labs work on a pathogen” amid a pandemic and so much asymptomatic testing, said Dr.

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Researchers examine FOP nutrition labels to improve packaged foods


Researchers from Illinois State University, North Carolina State University, University of South Carolina, and University of Maryland published a new paper in the Journal of Marketing that examines the impact of moving nutrition labels, typically placed on the back of product packages, to the front.

The study, forthcoming in the Journal of Marketing, is titled “Competitive Effects of Front-of-Package Nutrition Labeling Adoption on Nutritional Quality: Evidence from Facts Up Front Style Labels” and is authored by Joon Ho Lim, Rishika Rishika, Ramkumar Janakiraman, and P.K. Kannan.

Can changing food packaging improve product nutrition quality? While this change may be simple, there’s a lot at stake.

Diet-related chronic diseases impose a growing burden on the United States economy by increasing costs of health care and widening diet-related health disparities. Since the 1970s, the American diet has shifted considerably towards foods higher in

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