Thursday, October 26, 2006

Is George W. Bush a Lying Sack of Crap?

An interesting take on Bush's behavior the morning of 9/11 and the possible implications. Can you say "conspiracy theory"...?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Counterfeit One Touch Test Strips!

Yes, I do browse the FDA website once in a while...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - October 13, 2006
Media Inquiries: Heidi Valetkevitch, 301-827-6242
Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA

FDA Issues Nationwide Alert on Counterfeit One Touch Basic/Profile and One Touch Ultra Blood Glucose Test Strips

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is alerting the public to counterfeit blood glucose test strips being sold in the United States for use with various models of LifeScan, Inc., One Touch Brand Blood Glucose Monitors used by people with diabetes to measure their blood glucose.

The counterfeit test strips potentially could give incorrect blood glucose values--either too high or too low--which might result in a patient taking either too much or too little insulin and lead to serious injury or death. No injuries have been reported to FDA to date.

The counterfeit test strips are:

One Touch Basic®/Profile® (lot #272894A, 2619932 or 2606340) test strips; and,
One Touch Ultra® (lot #2691191) test strips.
Consumers who have the counterfeit test strips should stop using them, replace them immediately and contact their physician. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-866-621-4855.

The counterfeit test strips were distributed to pharmacies and stores nationwide--but primarily in Ohio, New York, Florida, Maryland and Missouri--by Medical Plastic Devices, Inc., Quebec, Canada and Champion Sales, Inc., Brooklyn, N.Y.

The counterfeit test strips can be identified by the following characteristics:

Counterfeit One Touch Basic/Profile Test Strips

Lot Numbers 272894A, 2619932 or 2606340
Multiple Languages- English, Greek and Portuguese text on the outer carton
Limited to 50-Count One Touch (Basic/Profile) Test Strip packages
Counterfeit One Touch Ultra Test Strips

Lot Number 2691191
Multiple Languages- English and French text on the outer carton
Limited to 50-Count One Touch Ultra Test Strip packages
LifeScan alerted FDA of the counterfeit test strips. The agency is investigating the matter.

LifeScan is alerting the public via a press release and is notifying pharmacists, distributors, and wholesalers through a letter. In its letter, the company is advising customers to contact their original source of supply for restitution. For more information, visit:

FDA is alerting its Counterfeit Alert Network partners, a coalition of healthcare professional, consumer and trade associations, who have agreed to further disseminate this important information in a timely and effective manner.

Any adverse reactions experienced with the use of this product, and/or quality problems should also be reported to the FDA’s MedWatch Program by phone at 1-800-FDA-1088, by fax at 1-800-FDA-0178, by mail at MedWatch, HF-2, FDA, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD, 20852-9787, or through the MedWatch Web site at

Januvia Approved for Type 2 Diabetes Treatment

The news is in. Januvia, a DPP-4 inhibitor, has gained FDA approval for treatment of type 2 diabetes in the US.

This from MarketWatch (or you can read the pop-up free version below:

Merck's diabetes drug Januvia gets FDA approval

The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that it approved Merck & Co.'s
(MRK) drug Januvia to treat type 2 diabetes.

Januvia is the first in a new class of diabetes medicine known as DPP-4 inhibitor. The drug works by enhancing the body's own ability to lower blood sugar, or glucose, when it is elevated.

Swiss-based Novartis AG (NVS) has a similar drug, Galvus, which is also awaiting FDA approval.

Analysts have predicted both drugs could easily reach blockbuster status of more than $1 billion in annual sales by 2010 as long as no major safety issues emerge.
About 21 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, a disease that is characterized by high blood glucose levels that result from the body's inability to use insulin.

Type 2 diabetes is the more common form of the disease and most often occurs in people who are older than 45 and overweight, although there's been an increase in younger patients in recent years. Type 1 diabetes, often diagnosed in childhood, requires people to use insulin to manage their blood sugar levels. Many diabetics also have poor lipid profiles, which also puts them at risk for cardiovascular disease. Diabetes can also lead to blindness, kidney disease and amputations.

DPP-4 inhibitors work in a different manner than blood-glucose lowering drugs currently on the market, including sulfonylurea drugs, which stimulate the pancreas to release insulin, and metformin, which works on the liver to reduce blood sugar.
Two other drugs on the market, Actos by Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America Inc. and Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY) and Avandia by GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK), make the body more sensitive to insulin.

Because of the drugs' differing effects to lower blood sugar, many of them are combined in treatments.

The FDA approved Januvia for use in addition to diet and exercise, alone or in combination with metformin or a PPAR (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma) agonist, when either of these drugs alone, along with diet and exercise, don't provide adequate blood sugar control.

According to Dr. John Amatruda, vice president of clinical research for Merck, the drug's label will also reflect that its side-effect profile is similar to placebo, or fake pill.

Those side effects include runny nose, sore throat, upper respiratory tract infection and diarrhea. Unlike current diabetes drugs on the market, DPP-4 inhibitors don't cause weight gain, which is seen as a major benefit, as the majority of diabetes type 2 patients are already overweight or obese.

"We now have an option for physicians of a new and novel drug which has powerful glucose lowering efficacy without causing many of the side effects of current agents," Amatruda said. "And it can be used both alone and in combination."

Merck, however, will likely have to share the market of DPP-4 inhibitors with Novartis, which is set to hear from the FDA on Galvus next month.
Representatives for both Merck and Novartis declined to draw comparisons between the two drugs, saying they haven't been studied head-to-head.

"If there are other products that get approved at some point in the future, that only reinforces the fact that we believe that this class of drugs, DPP-4 inhibitors, is a major advance for the treatment of this disease," said Jay Galeota, general manager of Merck's global diabetes franchise.

Januvia is already approved in Mexico. "With the U.S., and other
countries soon to follow, we expect to have a rollout globally over the near
future," Galeota said.

Shares of Merck closed Monday at $43.76 each, up 56 cents, while Novartis stock closed at $57.54, up 45 cents.

Forbes had the following snipit in their highlights for today:

FDA Approves New Diabetes Drug

A new drug to treat type 2 diabetes was
approved Tuesday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The drug
Januvia (sitagliptin phosphate) is unlike any other oral drug for people with
type 2 diabetes. It's designed to enhance the body's own ability to lower blood
sugar levels. Clinical trials found that the drug works as well as older
diabetes drugs, but causes fewer side effects such as weight gain, the
Associated Press reported.

Januvia, which is made by Merck & Co., is
expected to cost between $3 and $6 a day. Some older diabetes drugs cost 50
cents a day.

The new drug works by increasing levels of a hormone that
tells the pancreas to produce more insulin to process blood sugar and also
instructs the liver to stop making glucose. Januvia does this by blocking
production of an enzyme (DPP-4) that inactivates this hormone, the AP reported.

"For the millions of Americans with type 2 diabetes, who continue to
have inadequate blood sugar control, the approval of Januvia marks an important
advance in the fight against diabetes," said Dr. Steven Galson, director of the
FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

"We now have another new
option that treats the disease in an entirely new way that can be added to
existing treatment regimens to help patients gain more control over their blood
sugar levels," Galson said.

About 20 million Americans have type 2

In any case, it sounds like good news for type 2 sufferers.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Your Assignment...

Should you choose to accept it, is what exactly?

Oh yes, join Captain Cook and rediscover the East Coast of Australia as part of your Teacher of English as a Second Language curriculum.

Huh? What? You're not sure what the hell I'm talking about? Well that's okay. Neither am I...

I just stumbled upon this assignment at the Queensland University of Technology website earlier today and decided to assign it to anyone who stopped by my blog. Makes sense, no?

Basically, the assignment is to write an illustrated journal based on the discovery of the Eastern Coast of Australia in 1770 by Cook and the crew of the Endeavor using Internet resources. I want it on my desk first thing Monday morning (next Monday, whenever it happens to be for you).

Now the real question is; will anyone, I mean anyone actually submit said journal, not to QUT, but to little ol' me?

Do it!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Hiccups? Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid...

Termination of intractable hiccups with digital rectal massage.

Odeh M, Bassan H, Oliven A.

Department of Inernal Medicine, Bnai Zion Medical Center, Haifa, Israel.

A 60-year-old man with acute pancreatitis developed persistent hiccups after insertion of a nasogastric tube. Removal of the latter did not terminate the hiccups which had also been treated with different drugs, and several manoeuvres were attempted, but with no success. Digital rectal massage was then performed resulting in abrupt cessation of the hiccups. Recurrence of the hiccups occurred several hours later, and again, they were terminated immediately with digital rectal massage. No other recurrences were observed. This is the second reported case associating cessation of intractable hiccups with digital rectal massage. We suggest that this manoeuvre should be considered in cases of intractable hiccups before proceeding with pharmacological agents.

PMID: 2299306 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Original Source

Hey Fatso, Buy My Stuff

The weight loss industry loves to hype new products. The world, particularly America, is getting heavier and there's HUGE money in selling the hope of a skinnier future.

Ephedra and Phenfen were monster sellers before they were finally banned, caffeine has been popular since the '50s and fad diets come and go like some kind of a cash cow meteor shower. It's estimated that $40 Billion dollars, yes with a big B, is spent each year on slimming down. $40 Billion!

It's no wonder everyone wants to cash in. For perspective, even 1% of that market is worth $400 million annually. That's too many damn zeros.

Normally I look at these fads, diets, supplements and so on like pure marketing schlock, but something has caught the world's attention - a plant extract from the South African Hoodia gordonii plant. I'm still skeptical, but this actually sounds interesting, and the story is worth understanding.

Back in the '60s the South African National Laboratory was doing a study on indigenous foods and included Hoodia, a succulent (sorta' like a cactus) eaten by the Bushmen of the Kalahari. Apparently lab animals started losing weight during the study and they investigated.

After a good 30 years they discovered the specific ingredient that affected appetite and applied for a patent which they then licensed to a UK company called Phytopharm. Others, of course, immediately started marketing supplements in violation of that patent, and things have started to mushroom.

What I find particularly interesting about Hoodia is that the Bushmen sued for bio-piracy and finally settled for a share of profits. Their knowledge lead to the discovery and they're now going to share in the profit. We may see Bushmen clicking around the Kalahari with gold plated Coke bottles and Yves St Lauren loin cloths in the very near future.

You caught that reference did you? Good for you. Now pat yourself on the back and move on.

The second thing I find intriguing about Hoodia is the supply and demand issue. Hoodia is a wild plant. Stripping the Kalahari bare would not produce near enough to meet the demand of even one fat state in the US, and synthesis, while possible, has not been achieved at anywhere near production levels.

The answer is Hoodia plantations, and South African coffee plantations are already being converted to meet anticipated demand. Being a new crop, they'll be facing unknown pests, disease and a host of other concerns, but that $40 Billion is a pretty big carrot. No, they can't just grow big carrots, smart guy...

The lack of supply means a lot of supplements are being sold with very little actual Hoodia in them, less than is supposed to be effective. And as far as effective is concerned, very few clinical trials have been done and the FDA has still not said one way or the other whether Hoodia is even safe - but then the Bushmen have been eating it for how many 1000s of years...? I trust them more than the FDA anyway.

So where does this leave us? I'm not sure I'm 100% confident, but Lesley Stahl burned some off her booty on the stuff and the couple studies that have been done over here sound promising, even if industry funded. Still though, the idea that the only reason Americans aren't as skinny as the Bushmen is because they eat Hoodia is a pretty ridiculous notion.

Long story short, it probably won't hurt you and may actually suppress your appetite without making you jumpy, jittery, anxious, etc. Buy some Hoodia gordonii if you like.

I have no idea if this stuff really works, so please don't come crying to me if you're still a chunk when all is said and done. My advice, get a treadmill, bump up the gradient and walk for 45 minutes a day...


Thursday, October 05, 2006

The US Government Thinks YOU Are a Moron

Yes, it's sad but true. The people who are supposed to represent you, think you're a moron, a tool, a dullard, a thicky, 6%, etc.

How do I know this to be true?

Well, there's the whole war on terror thing that they assume you will continue to swallow like a sack full of Jelly Bellies, but I won't go there today. Today we're talking the need to protect you from yourself.

See, they think YOU are so daft that given the chance you'd cock up your life beyond all hope of redemption, that you'd ruin the lives of those you care about and that you'd eventually face eternal damnation. Well, at least that you might lose five bucks playing online poker.

Yep, this post is about the recent vote to ban internet gambling in the US of government A-holes. Were you aware they recently took away your right to play?

Yep, as further evidence that they consider you (and the rest of Congress) well shy of Mensa membership, they didn't even pass this outright. They slipped a little piece of rider legislation into a bill to increase port security. We all love port security. War on terror, yada yada yada. They all voted for it and the attached ban on online gambling, because they figured the six of you that will actually vote in next November's elections would be lulled by that warm port security blanket and miss the fact another of your rights was just taken away - to protect you from yourself of course - ya daft moron.

Now I personally do not think YOU are a moron. I think you are one clever clogs savvy camper so and so, ready to do what's needed, ready to cast your vote and get these bums out of office.

It's time for our government to stop protecting us from ourselves and time we started protecting our rights from our government...


Monday, October 02, 2006

Junior Diabetes Research Foundation Walk to Cure Diabetes

Okay, it's rather unfortunate that nobody actually reads my blog, because this is a worthy cause...

The JDRF has walks going on all over the country in an effort to raise $90 million towards finding a cure for diabetes. Diabetes affects millions upon millions upon millions of people worldwide.

Today I donated to a walker who moderates a diabetes group on Myspace. I don't know him personally, but he seems pretty driven to help the cause, so I'm glad he got my donation.

Donating to the walk for the cure is pretty easy - they take credit cards right online. You can also search for walkers in your area, start your own team, etc. They make it very easy to get involved, so don't be shy. Help find a cure for diabetes and make a tax deductible donation today.