Probiotics are touted as good for the gut. They may be trouble for the immune system

Posted 12 April 2019

By Meghana Keshavan

StatNews April 2, 2019

Probiotics are wildly popular. After all, the microbial cocktails are available over the counter and have been shown to be helpful in the treatment of gastrointestinal illnesses for some people.

But some scientists worry probiotics aren’t as innocuous as they seem – and might be affecting the way other medicines work in the body.

The latest cautionary note comes in the form of a preliminary study released Tuesday, in which researchers found that melanoma patients were 70 percent less likely to respond to cancer immunotherapy if they were also taking probiotic supplements. The study group was small – just 46 patients – but the findings support broader suggestions that probiotics might actually upset the balance of so-called “good” bacteria in the gut and interfere with the immune response.

The research was conducted by MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston Read the rest

Cannabidiol promoters warned

Posted 10 April 2019

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have jointly sent warning letters to Nutra Pure LLC, PotNetwork Holdings, Inc., and Advanced Spine and Pain, LLC (d/b/a Relievus) because they believe the companies are illegally marketing products containing cannabidiol (CBD) to treat a variety of serious diseases and conditions.

[FTC joins FDA in sending warning letters to companies advertising and selling products containing cannabidiol (CBD) claiming to treat Alzheimer’s, cancer, and other diseases. FTC Press Release. April 2, 2019]

CBD is a chemical compound found in marijuana and hemp that does not produce a high. In 2018, the FDA approved a cannabidiol preparation (brand name Epidiolex) to treat two rare, severe forms of epilepsy. But since 2015, the FDA has ordered many companies to stop making unapproved claims.

The market for unapproved CBD products is nevertheless burgeoning, as consumer Read the rest

WHO blasted for legitimizing non-evidence-based Chinese medicine

Posted 10 April 2019

The editors of Scientific American have harshly criticized the World Health Organization for including in the 11th edition of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) disorders described in ancient Chinese medicine (ICD-11).

Editors. The World Health Organization gives the nod to Traditional Chinese Medicine. Bad Idea. Scientific American. April 2019

Their key points include:

  • Including traditional Chinese medicine in the ICD is an egregious lapse in evidence-based thinking and practice. Data supporting the effectiveness of most traditional remedies are scant, at best.
  • In China, traditional medicines are unregulated, and they frequently make people sick rather than curing them.
  • Analyses of Chinese remedies have revealed hidden ingredients including banned Western drugs, toxic chemicals, and DNA from endangered species.
  • The proliferation of traditional medicines contributes to destruction of ecosystems and increases the illegal trade of wildlife.
  • Until they undergo rigorous testing for
Read the rest