Health supplements, complementary medicines will soon no longer be regulated

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Posted 29 October 2020

The headline of this IOL piece is somewhat misleading.

By Zelda Venter

IOL

Pretoria – Health supplements and complementary medicines – which are not scheduled medicines as defined by the Medicine’s Act – will soon no longer be regulated by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority, which regulates all medicines, including scheduled medicines.

But, while the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, did strike down the current regulations over these substances, it made it clear that alternative medicines still had to be regulated.

Judge Elizabeth Kubushi gave the minister of health and the regulatory authority 12 months to determine how best to regulate these alternative medicines.

“I am loath to leave the regulation of complementary medicines without a time frame.”

She said 12 months should give the health authorities ample time to decide how best to regulate this popular industry.

The order was sparked by the Alliance Read the rest

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Free science literacy course launched

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Posted 27 October 2020

The University of Alberta is offering a free online course in Science Literacy intended to enable learners to “understand and use scientific evidence to challenge claims based on misinformation, and engage the process of science to ask questions to build our knowledge.” The course has no prerequisites, features a variety of guest lecturers, and can be completed at the learner’s own pace—roughly five weeks with five to seven hours per week of study.

Reference: Lyle A. UAlberta launches free online Science Literacy course. University of Alberta Faculty of Science, Oct 13, 2020

The modules of the course are: Introduction to Science; Pseudoscience; Critical Thinking; Scientific Methods; and Interpreting Evidence

About the Course

We are often told not to believe everything we read online or see on TV—but how do we tell the difference between sensationalized statistics and a real scientific study? Learn how to spot

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CBD Is Talked About as a Cure-All Online, Study Finds. But The Evidence Is Lacking

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Posted 19 October 2020

“CBD is this generation’s snake oil,” argues lead author Eric Leas, who studies public health at UC San Diego, “as millions believing to have discovered a new medical breakthrough are actually taking a product without evidence of a benefit.”

Carly Cassella 19 October 2020

ScienceAlert

Cannabis-derived compounds like cannabidiol, better known as CBD, are often marketed as over-the-counter cure-alls, said to fix pretty much anything that ails you, from acne and chronic pain, to depression and sleep disorders.

Despite the lack of evidence to support any of these claims, new research suggests more and more people are buying into the supplement, even when other substantiated treatments exist.

With few available surveys on CBD use among the American public, researchers turned to the internet for answers.

Analysing hundreds of randomly selected testimonials from Reddit’s r/CBD forum between January 2014 and August 2019, the team found Read the rest

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Consumer Watch: Killer gym supplements (DNP (2,4-Dinitrophenol)) widely available in SA

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Posted 30 September 2020

By Georgina Crouth  Sep 28, 2020

Cape Town – Marketed as a miracle weight-loss supplement targeting the bodybuilding community, the illegal drug DNP (2,4-Dinitrophenol) is widely available on the black market and doctors are warning that users often pay for their rapid weight loss with their lives.

It’s illegal and potentially lethal, yet unscrupulous sellers are promoting it as a “miracle fat burner”. DNP is said to accelerate the basal metabolic rate, thereby raising the internal body temperature, which can lead to rapid weight loss.

DNP is an industrial chemical, first used during World War I by the French in explosives production. It’s been used as a pesticide, a wood preserver and even a dye.

In 1933, scientists from Stanford University discovered the compound had some fat-shredding properties. It was then marketed as a miracle over-the-counter weight loss drug until reports of adverse effects such

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Lawsuit against top Herbalife distributors can proceed

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Posted 30 September 2020

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit has ruled that Patricia Rodgers and fellow plaintiffs can proceed with a federal lawsuit that is seeking class-action status against 44 top-level Herbalife distributors. The Court’s ruling overturned lower court rulings that Herbalife could compel arbitration.
Reference: Alpert B. Herbalife faces a fresh legal hurdle. Barron’s, Sept 25, 2020

The Appeals Court order summarized Rodgers’ situation this way:

Patricia Rodgers filled out the paperwork to become an Herbalife member in June 2010. Some six months later, she claims, she traveled over a hundred miles to Orlando, Florida, to attend her first large Herbalife recruiting event, the “January Spectacular.” According to Patricia, the keynote speaker at this event was a highly successful distributor who told the attendees that if they simply put in enough time, money, and effort, then they, too, could achieve life-changing financial success. . Read the rest

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“Brain boosting” supplements found to be adulterated

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Posted 30 September 2020

Researchers who tested ten products marketed online for cognitive enhancement found that all contained significant doses of unapproved drugs, some of which were listed on their label and others were not. Eight were claimed to enhance mental function, one product was marketed to “outlast, endure, overcome,” and one was described as “workout explosives.”
Reference: Cohen P. and others. Five unapproved drugs found in cognitive enhancement supplements. Neurology Clinical Practice, Sept 23, 2020

The researchers concluded:

Use of these cognitive enhancement supplements poses potentially serious health risks given the unpredictable dosing and lack of clinician supervision. The risks of using specific products is not known, although these drugs have been associated with adverse effects including increased and decreased blood pressure, insomnia, agitation, dependence, sedation, hospitalization and intubation.

Source: Consumer Health Digest #20-38, September 27, 2020

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The dangers of 2,4-Dinitrophenol (DNP)

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Posted 18 September 2020

DNP (2,4-dinitrophenol) is an industrial chemical used in making explosives, but sold with the claim that it is an effective fat burning drug. In South Africa, dinitrophenol is listed in Schedule 4, so is a prescription-only substance. Is that sufficient to prevent unauthorised access, as described in this Guardian story. And why is https://www.anabolics-sa.co.za/product/dnp/ flagrantly selling this product, in spite of bizarrely warning: “beyond dangerous is almost an understatement.’

‘Knowing it could kill you isn’t a deterrent’: the deadly trade in diet pills

DNP is an industrial chemical used in making explosives. If swallowed, it can cause a horrible death – and yet it is still being aggressively marketed to vulnerable people online.

By Susan McKay The Guardian

Published on Tue 21 Jul 2020 06.00 BST

On 11 April 2015, Ella Parry stood beside her small pink car, outside her council flat in Shrewsbury, watching the Read the rest

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Blue light blocking glasses: How much of the hype is science-based?

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Posted 14 September 2020

Blue light from our electronics is said to be harmful, and “blue blocking” glasses are touted as a panacea to numerous health issues. Is there any evidence to substantiate these claims?

Scott Gavura on June 25, 2020

Like a lot of people, I’ve been spending a lot more time staring at a computer screen lately. I have been working from home since March, and what used to be face-to-face meetings are now Zoom/Teams/GoToMeeting video calls. With videoconferences and related work, I’m easily spending several more hours per week staring at a computer screen. Afternoon headaches became a common occurrence shortly after this started, which I attributed to screen time and poor ergonomics. School for both of my kids has been transformed to an online environment too, with even more hours per day (above the baseline) spent staring at electronic devices. Recently my daughter told me she

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There’s No Evidence ‘Blue-Light Blocking’ Glasses Help You Sleep, Says Neurologist

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Posted 14 September 2020

TAREQ YOUSEF, THE CONVERSATION
13 SEPTEMBER 2020

Health products, like detox teas and mood-boosting waters, rely on a lack of neuroscientific knowledge to make their claims. Some of these claims are unsubstantiated, while others are completely made up.

My doctoral research investigates visual processing, but when I look at the big picture, I realize that what I’m really studying are fundamental aspects of brain anatomy, connectivity and communication.

One specific function of the visual system that I have studied during my degree is the blue-light detecting molecule, melanopsin. In humans, melanopsin is seemingly restricted to a group of neurons in the eye, which preferentially target a structure in the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus — the body’s clock.

Circadian rhythms

This is where the (true) idea that blue light affects our sleep-wake cycle or circadian rhythm originates from. And also why many corrective lens

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Genesis II operators arrested and ordered to stop selling MMS

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Posted 10 September 2020

Colombian officials say they have arrested Mark Grenon and his son Joseph Grenon who are wanted in the United States on charges they illegally sold chloride dioxide-releasing “Miracle Mineral Solution” (MMS) as a miracle cure for COVID-19 and other diseases under the guise of Genesis II Church of Health and Healing. The Colombian prosecutor’s office said the Grenons were shipping their products from the beach town of Santa Marta to clients in the United States, Colombia, and Africa.
[Associated Press. Floridians who promoted bleach cocktail as a COVID-19 cure arrested in Colombia. CBC, Aug 13, 2020]

In July, Mark and his sons Jonathan, Jordan, and Joseph, all of Brandenton, Florida, were charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States; conspiracy to violate the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act; and criminal contempt.
[Father and sons charged in Miami federal court with selling toxic bleach
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