HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Cholesterol Epiphany: 'Myrrh' May Have Cholesterol-Lowering Properties

The "myrrh" of the Christmas story may have cholesteral lowering properties. "Myrrh" is a resin that comes from certain trees in the middle east. According to a recent ScienceDaily story "research published in the Journal Food Safety, Nutrition and Public Health discusses the hypocholesterolemic effects of myrrh and other plant products."

Myrrh is a rust-coloured resin obtained from several species of Commiphora and Balsamodendron tree, native to the Middle East and Ethiopia. It is perhaps best known as one of the gifts of the Magi offered to the infant Jesus, along with gold and frankincense. At the time, myrrh was revered as an embalming ointment and is also an ingredient in incense. Nadia Saleh Al-Amoudi of the Department of Nutrition and Food Science, at the King Abd Al-Aziz University, in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, explains that myrrh is known to have medicinal properties, including antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects.

Al-Amoudi also points out that myrrh has been used in a wide range of traditional remedies over the centuries as a mouthwash, for treating sore threats, bronchial congestion, as well as an antiseptic astringent, for soothing cuts and burns, and for various other less well-convincing purposes, such as calming emotions.

Al-Amoudi has now investigated the potential of myrrh together with other plant materials to see whether they have any demonstrable hypocholesterolemic effect. Esparto grass leaves, halfa, fenugreek seed powder, myrrh resin (from Commiphara myrrh) and various blends of each were tested on laboratory rodents with high cholesterol. She fed the animals various combinations of the plants as part of their normal daily diet and measured blood concentrations of total cholesterol, LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and VLDL (very-low-density lipoprotein), together with TG (triglycerides). She also recorded HDL (high-density lipoprotein).

The concentrations of LDL (known colloquially as "bad cholesterol"), VLDL, and TG all decreased on this diet, while the HDL levels, so-called "good cholesterol" fell.

December 25, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Senate Passes H.R. 3590, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, by a 60-39 Vote

As reported by Joe Hodnicki over at Law Librarian Blog:

The health care reform bill was passed in the Senate [yesterday] and sent to conference with the House. All 39 Republicans who were present voted "no." See Donny Shaw's report on OpenCongress and for more information including the full text of the bill, news and blog coverage visit the OpenCongress H.R. 3590, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act page.

December 25, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

American Health Lawyers Association Launches New Web Site Covering Health Care Reform

Hat tip to Ed Richards for calling attention to the launch by the American Health Lawyers Association (“AHLA”) of a new web page called Health Care Reform Essentials. The goal of this new web site is to provide a “one-stop” source for the latest news on health care reform with analysis and comment from its members. The AHLA has a mission to serve as an educational resource and foster dialogue on key issues affecting the health law community. 

December 24, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Surveys Show More Pandemic Flu Vacccine Available But Fewer Takers

In spite of the growing amount of H1N1 vaccine becoming available, two surveys indicate that over one-half of American adults report that they are not interested in becoming vaccinated. In addition, many parents will not be getting their children vaccinated. According to a Washington Post story by David Brown

[a]s of this week, 111 million doses of vaccine against the pandemic strain of H1N1 flu have been released to states and cities. Not all of it has been used. There have been no unusual or unexpected vaccine side effects reported.

As of Dec. 12, 11 states reported "widespread" flu activity (as measured by office visits, hospitalizations and other indicators), down from 14 the week before. During the last two weeks of October, in comparison, 48 states reported widespread activity. Speaking to reporters, Anne Schuchat, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, urged people to get vaccinated even though the flu outbreak is waning in many places. "There are a lot of unknowns, but the one thing we do know is that getting vaccinated will reduce the chance of you getting sick, and reduce the chance of the country going through a third wave" of H1N1 spread, she said.

A survey done a week ago by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health found that 38 percent of children and 22 percent of adults who are pregnant, chronically ill or caring for young infants had gotten the vaccine. Both groups are in the "high priority" category established by the CDC. About 44 percent of high-priority adults, and 55 percent of all adults, said they did not intend to get the vaccine. About 35 percent of parents said they would not get it for their children. About 60 percent of parents cited the vaccine's safety as their main concern. Among high-priority adults, 38 percent mentioned safety as the reason they would pass on flu shots, with the belief they were not at risk or that the infection was less serious than anticipated as the main reason.

People who wanted the vaccine, however, were having an easier time finding it. In a survey taken at the start of November, only one-third of parents seeking vaccine for a child found it. In mid-December, three-quarters of parents who sought vaccine found it. As of last week, slightly more than half of adults seeking vaccination got it.

December 23, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)