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How much vitamin D is enough? Report sets new levels


For the past few years vitamin D has been the "it" vitamin, with studies wildly trumpeting the supplement's role in strengthening bones, reducing the risk of some cancers, heart disease, along with fighting autoimmune diseases and diabetes. But long-awaited new dietary guidelines say there's no proof that megadoses of the "sunshine vitamin" prevent cancer, diabetes or other conditions.

While some people will need a bit more vitamin D than they're already getting, some studies suggest that too much could actually cause some kinds of cancer, according to the panel of experts at the prestigious Institute of Medicine, the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences.

A National Cancer Institute study last summer was the latest to report no cancer protection from vitamin D and the possibility of an increased risk of pancreatic cancer in people with the very highest D levels. Super-high doses — above 10,000 IUs a day — are known to cause kidney damage.

Posted: 11/30/2010 12:24:00 PM

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DEA Moves to Emergency Control Synthetic Marijuana

From the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency:

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is using its emergency scheduling authority to temporarily control five chemicals (JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47,497, and cannabicyclohexanol) used to make “fake pot” products. Except as authorized by law, this action will make possessing and selling these chemicals or the products that contain them illegal in the U.S. for at least one year while the DEA and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) further study whether these chemicals and products should be permanently controlled.

Posted: 11/24/2010 2:07:00 PM

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Synthetic Marijuana: 'Legal' High a Dangerous Thrill for Young Americans

From ABC News:

Young people across the country are getting a new high from a powerful substance that isn't sold by drug dealers and is perfectly legal -- synthetic marijuana.

Also known as K2 or Spice, synthetic marijuana is available in states across the country, and it has the Drug Enforcement Administration deeply troubled.

When ABC News sent the type of Spice sold in Minnesota to a Pennsylvania laboratory (NMS Labs), reports showed the drug contained chemicals that the Drug Enforcement Administration believes could be five times more powerful than marijuana.

(Watch the video from "World News with Diane Sawyer" for more on this story.)

Posted: 11/23/2010 9:08:00 AM

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Prescription-based DUIs draw attention from police

From The Sierra Vista Herald:

When police officer James Boubelik pulls someone over for reckless driving, he looks for clues of impairment like dilated pupils, slurred speech or the smell of alcohol.

But it’s more than just alcohol and illegal drugs that Boubelik and other officers are looking for these days. They’re also looking for drivers impaired by legal, prescription drugs — harder to recognize than drunken driving and sometimes harder to prosecute.

Posted: 11/18/2010 1:56:00 PM

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Investigation sought of lead in reusable grocery bags

From the Courier-Post:

Sen. Charles Schumer of New York is seeking a federal investigation after a newspaper's report of lead content in some reusable grocery bags.

There is less concern that the lead would easily rub off on food when the bags are new, but there is a concern that as bags wear down lead could accumulate in landfills, creating a potential environmental hazard.

Posted: 11/16/2010 3:10:00 PM

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Deadly fentanyl makes its way to Mercer Island

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

Drug-related fatalities are now at the top of the accidental-death list in a growing number of states, according to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

And in the case of one of those drugs, fentanyl, the growth of abuse and increase of deaths from the drug is alarming health officials and families. Fentanyl, an opiate, is much more potent than heroin and results in frequent overdoses that can lead to respiratory depression and death.

Posted: 11/12/2010 9:04:00 AM

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High BPA levels affect male fertility by hurting sperm quality

From Healthy Living:

A recent human study published in Fertility and Sterility showed the effect of BPA levels on sperm quality in men, which could affect their ability to conceive a child.

The study was conducted on 218 Chinese workers for five years. Researchers tested urine and measured semen quality by examining factors like concentration, vitality, motility (movement), total sperm count and morphology (size and shape). The results showed that:
  • Men exposed to BPA at work had more than three times the risk of lower sperm concentration and vitality than men with no detectable urine BPA.
  • Men exposed to BPA showed more than four times the risk of poor sperm quality, including low sperm count and motility.
  • Men are more sensitive to BPA and small amount of exposure can cause drastic side effects.
Posted: 11/5/2010 8:19:00 AM

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In Quest for 'Legal High,' Chemists Outfox Law

From The Wall Street Journal:

When the housing market crashed in 2008, David Llewellyn's construction business went with it. Casting around for a new gig, he decided to commercialize something he'd long done as a hobby: making drugs.

But the 49-year-old Scotsman didn't go into the illegal drug trade. Instead, he entered the so-called "legal high" business—a burgeoning industry producing new psychoactive powders and pills that are marketed as "not for human consumption."

Mr. Llewellyn, a self-described former crack addict, started out making mephedrone, a stimulant also known as Meow Meow that was already popular with the European clubbing set. Once governments began banning it earlier this year, Mr. Llewellyn and a chemistry-savvy partner started selling something they dubbed Nopaine—a stimulant they concocted by tweaking the molecular structure of the attention-deficit drug Ritalin.

Mr. Llewellyn is part of a wave of laboratory-adept European entrepreneurs who see gold in the gray zone between legal and illegal drugs. They pose a stiff challenge for European law-enforcement, which is struggling to keep up with all the new concoctions. Last year, 24 new "psychoactive substances" were identified in Europe, almost double the number reported in 2008, according to the Lisbon-based European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, or EMCDDA.

The problem is also touching U.S. shores. A new synthetic drug similar to marijuana is increasingly popular, for instance. Some states have started banning it. But many of the other substances and stimulants vexing Europe are less of an issue in the U.S., according to a spokeswoman for the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Posted: 11/1/2010 10:49:00 AM

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