HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Akron Univ. School of Law

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Friday, October 29, 2010

SSRN Top Ten Public Health Law Downloads Between August 30 and October 29, 2010

The following are the top ten SSRN downloads for Public Health Law for the period between August 30 and October 29, 2010:

Rank

Downloads

Paper Title

1

1345

Commandeering the People: Why the Individual Health Insurance Mandate is Unconstitutional
Randy E. Barnett,
Georgetown University Law Center,
Date posted to database: September 22, 2010
Last Revised: September 24, 2010

2

122

Taking Stock of Comstock: The Necessary and Proper Clause and the Limits of Federal Power
Ilya Somin,
George Mason University - School of Law, Faculty,
Date posted to database: September 29, 2010
Last Revised: September 29, 2010

3

113

Adverse Reactions: Structure, Philosophy, and Outcomes of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Michael Lee,
Yale University - Law School,
Date posted to database: July 15, 2010
Last Revised: October 8, 2010

4

106

The Individual Mandate and the Taxing Power
Erik M. Jensen,
Case Western Reserve University School of Law,
Date posted to database: September 27, 2010
Last Revised: September 27, 2010

5

78

Regulating Tobacco Flavours: Implications of WTO Law
Tania S. Voon, Andrew D. Mitchell,
Melbourne Law School, Melbourne Law School,
Date posted to database: October 8, 2010
Last Revised: October 8, 2010

6

76

Waiving Your Privacy Goodbye: Privacy Waivers and the HITECH Act’s Regulated Price for Sale of Health Data to Researchers
Barbara J. Evans,
University of Houston - Law Center,
Date posted to database: August 24, 2010
Last Revised: August 24, 2010

7

67

Environmental and Health Regulation: Assessing Liabilities Under Investment Treaties
Rahim Moloo,
Vale Center at Columbia University,
Date posted to database: August 22, 2010
Last Revised: August 27, 2010

8

53

Mental Illness in Prison: Inmate Rehabilitation & Correctional Officers in Crisis
SpearIt,
Saint Louis University School of Law,
Date posted to database: July 23, 2010
Last Revised: October 6, 2010

October 29, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Newly Created ACA Litigation Blog Follows the Progress of the States' Constitutional Challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Sure to be of great interest to readers of this blog is the new ACA Litigation Blog run by Professor Bradley W. Joondeph of the Santa Clara University School of Law. The ACA Litigation Blog is a place to find news updates, legal analysis, and all of the official documents related to the states' constitutional challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010). Hat tip to Professor Michelle Oberman.

 

October 27, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Non-GMO Month and the Roll-Out of the Non-GMO Verification Seal

This coming month is Non-GMO month which coincides with the launch of the new non-GMO verification seal by the Non-GMO Project.  About 580 natural food stores plan to participate in the event which celebrates the qualification of approximately 900 products for the Non-GMO seal. In order to qualify, product manufacturers and producers must participate in a verification program that includes on-site audits, genetic testing of ingredients and a document-based review to confirm that the product does not contain GMOs. Whole Foods' entire 365 Every Day Value product range is going through the verification process.

According to FOODnavigator-usa.com

Whole Foods Market senior global vice president of purchasing, distribution and marketing Michael Besancon said: 'Shoppers want more information about what’s happening to their food. The Non-GMO Project’s program helps us stay true to our mission of offering food in its most natural and unadulterated state. We’re committed to this program because it gives us and our suppliers a way to label non-GMO verified products and to educate consumers so they can make informed choices.'

Although the USDA requires that certified organic produce must also be GM-free, there is no government requirement for labeling of foods containing GM ingredients in the non-organic sector. And for some crops, it is becoming increasingly difficult for manufacturers to source non-GM versions. GM soy, for example – the most widely grown GM crop – now accounts for 90 percent of soy produced in the US.

CEO of the Independent Natural Food Retailers Association Corinne Shindelar said: 'Retailers started the Non-GMO Project because of consumer concern and requests for non-GMO foods.'

October 24, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Conference Announcement: Should Congress Repeal the McCarran-Ferguson Act?

Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics at Harvard Law School will be hosting a one-day meeting on Friday, November 12, 2010 on the subject of whether Congress should repeal the McCarran-Ferguson Act. There are a limited number of spaces available for specialists in the field who would like to attend. Requests for attendance will be accepted on the basis of availability. If you would like to attend or have any questions, please email [email protected]. Please note that, unfortunately, funding for travel to Cambridge is not available and must be provided by attendee’s home institution.

Conference Description
In 1944, the U.S. Supreme Court, in United States v. South-Eastern Underwriters Association, held that the Commerce Clause authorized the federal government to regulate insurance companies. The next year, in direct response, Congress passed the McCarran-Ferguson Act, effectively shielding the business of insurance from federal antitrust regulation, except the regulation of boycott, coercion and intimidation, so long as state law regulates anticompetitive conduct. Shortly thereafter, a debate arose as to whether the federal antitrust law exemption should be repealed. With the recent flurry of federal reform of health care insurance markets, the current debate has centered on whether Congress should repeal the McCarran-Ferguson Act's antitrust exemption for health care insurers. The one-day conference will bring together regulators, industry actors and academics working in the fields of business, law and economics to discuss the pros and cons of repealing the McCarran-Ferguson Act’s federal antitrust exemption for health care insurers. For information on presenters and paper topics see here.

October 21, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Could Coffee And Green Tea Protect Against DNA Damage?

According to a pan-European study, a daily cup of coffee might reduce the oxidative damage to DNA by 12 percent and a daily cup of green tea every day might protect against damage at a genetic levels, both because of antioxidant content according to researchers from the University of Vienna, Nestlé, and the University of Belgrade and the British Journal of Nutrition. Both stories are reported on Nutraingredients.com/research.

 A recent review by Mario Ferruzzi from Purdue University noted that coffee is one of the richest sources of polyphenols in the Western diet, with one cup of the stuff providing 350 milligrams of phenolics. Of these, the most abundant compounds coffee are chlorogenic acids, making up to 12 per cent of the green coffee bean. The most abundant of these compounds is caffeic acid.

The beverage, and its constituent ingredients, has come under increasing study with research linking it to reduced risk of diabetes, and improved liver health.

Coffee, one of the world's largest traded commodities produced in more than 60 countries and generating more than $70bn in retail sales a year, continues to spawn research and interest, and has been linked to reduced risks of certain diseases, especially of the liver and diabetes. 

“Overall, the results indicate that coffee consumption prevents endogenous formation of oxidative  DNA-damage in human, this observation may be causally related to beneficial health effects of coffee seen in earlier studies,” concluded the researchers.

At the start of this year, scientists from the Chinese University of Hong Kong reported that the cells of regular tea drinkers may have a younger biological age than cells from non-drinkers.

By looking at the length of telomeres, DNA sequences at the end of chromosomes that shorten as cells replicate and age, the Chinese researchers reported that the telomeres of people who drank an average of three cups of tea per day were about 4.6 kilobases longer than people who drank an average of a quarter of a cup a day.

 “The results indicate that green tea has significant genoprotective effects and provide evidence for green tea as a ‘functional food’,” wrote researchers from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

The study adds to an ever-growing body of science supporting the potential benefits of green tea and the polyphenolic compounds it contains. Hundreds of studies report that the beverage may reduce the risk of certain cancers, aid weight management, and protection against Alzheimer's.

October 21, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Psychological Interventions For Post Disaster Trauma

The world sighed a collective breath of relief when all 33 of the miners trapped in a Chilean mine for over two months were rescued this week. But the health risks for some of these minors may not be over. As I blogged previously here in the context of the serious emotional distress suffered by children affected by Hurricane Katrina, those who survive disasters are at significant risk of psychological problems such as post-traumatic-stress-disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.

It is imperative for those in the public health community to recognize that this risk can vary among individuals and that currently popular interventions may be ineffective and, more importantly, can actually cause harm in some cases. In a press release this week, The Association for Psychological Science cautions that post disaster interventions that attempt to deal with emotional distress should carefully focus on techniques with strong scientific evidence of effectiveness.

In an upcoming report on the psychological effects of disasters in Psychological Science in the Public Interest, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, George A. Bonanno and colleagues note that …  [f]ollowing disasters, the most common form of immediate psychological intervention is a single session known as critical incident stress debriefing (CISD). However, following a review of studies on the effectiveness of CISD, Bonanno and co-authors conclude that “multiple studies have shown that CISD is not only ineffective but, as suggested earlier, in some cases can actually be psychologically harmful.” 

In a 2007 report in Perspectives on Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, Scott O. Lilienfeld shows that a number of psychological therapies, including CISD, especially if forced upon survivors, may actually be harmful. 

“The data on crisis debriefing suggest that imposing such interventions on individuals doesn’t work and may, paradoxically, increase risk for PTSD,” Lilienfeld says. “If any of the miners want to talk to somebody to express their feelings, then by all means mental health professionals should be there to listen to them and support them. But for miners who would prefer not to talk much about the experience, it’s best to leave them alone and respect their own coping mechanisms.” 

According to Bonanno and his co-authors, there are therapies that may be effective in helping survivors recover from disasters. Psychological first aid (PFA)—which, among other things, provides practical assistance and helps promote a sense of safety and calmness among survivors—is a promising approach. In addition, community-centered interventions—those that help maintain a sense of continuity, connectedness, and quality of community life—may be beneficial to survivors of disasters. 

 

October 15, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

SSRN Top Ten Health Law Downloads Between August 8 and October 7, 2010

The following are the top ten SSRN downloads for Health Law for the period between August 8 and October 7, 2010:

Rank Downloads Paper Title
1 78 Adverse Reactions: Structure, Philosophy, and Outcomes of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Michael Lee,
Yale University - Law School,
Date posted to database: July 15, 2010
Last Revised: July 15, 2010
2 70 A Sobering Conflict: A Call for Consistency in the Messages Colleges Send About Alcohol
Marc Edelman, David Rosenthal,
Barry Law School, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - School of Law-Camden,
Date posted to database: April 5, 2010
Last Revised: April 5, 2010
3 68 Kidneys, Cash & Kashrut: A Legal, Economic, and Religious Analysis of Selling Kidneys
Robert Steinbuch,
University of Arkansas at Little Rock,
Date posted to database: August 23, 2010
Last Revised: August 23, 2010
4 67 Waiving Your Privacy Goodbye: Privacy Waivers and the HITECH Act’s Regulated Price for Sale of Health Data to Researchers
Barbara J. Evans,
University of Houston - Law Center,
Date posted to database: August 24, 2010
Last Revised: August 24, 2010
5 66 When Do Generics Challenge Drug Patents?
C. Scott Hemphill, Bhaven N. Sampat,
Columbia University - Law School, Columbia University - Mailman School of Public Health,
Date posted to database: July 15, 2010
Last Revised: September 1, 2010
6 65 The Hollow Promise of Freedom of Conscience
Nadia N. Sawicki,
Loyola-Chicago School of Law, Beazley Institute for Health Law & Policy,
Date posted to database: August 28, 2010
Last Revised: October 6, 2010
7 64 Factual Causation and Asbestos Cancers
Jane Stapleton, Jane Stapleton,
Australian National University (ANU) - College of Law, University of Texas at Austin School of Law,
Date posted to database: July 31, 2010
Last Revised: July 31, 2010
8 60 Trading-Off Reproductive Technology and Adoption: Does Subsidizing in Vitro Fertilization Decrease Adoption Rates and Should it Matter?
I. Glenn Cohen, Daniel L. Chen,
Harvard Law School, Duke University - School of Law,
Date posted to database: August 24, 2010
Last Revised: August 24, 2010
9 56 Disability Rights and the Law of Welfare
Mark C. Weber,
DePaul University College of Law,
Date posted to database: August 19, 2010
Last Revised: August 19, 2010
10 51 New Horizons: Incorporating Socio-Economic Rights in a British Bill of Rights
Sandra Fredman,
University of Oxford Faculty of Law,
Date posted to database: June 28, 2010
Last Revised: July 4, 2010

October 7, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Scientists Discover Genes Related to Body Mass

Johns Hopkins scientists specializing in genetic information have discovered 13 genes linked to human body mass. The genes were identified by screening the epigenome and could provide information that can be used to prevent and treat obesity. The authors of the study explained how they discovered the genes and the implications of their discovery to Science Daily:

"Some of the genes we found are in regions of the genome previously suspected but not confirmed for a link to body mass index and obesity," says co-lead investigator Andrew Feinberg, M.D., M.P.H., King Fahd Professor of Molecular Medicine and director of the Center for Epigenetics at Johns Hopkins' Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences. "Meanwhile, others were a surprise, such as one known to be associated with foraging behavior in hungry worms."

Starting with DNA samples extracted from Icelanders' white blood cells banked in 1991 and 2002 by scientists there as part of the AGES-Reykjavik study of individuals in the general population, the Hopkins team used a customized, genome-wide profiling method dubbed CHARM (comprehensive high-throughput arrays for relative methylation) to look for regions that were the most variable, all chemically marked by DNA methylation.

"Epigenetics has given us 13 exciting new leads to variability in body mass and obesity," says co-lead investigator M. Daniele Fallin, Ph.D., associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "The team's success suggests a new epigenetic strategy for identifying those at risk for many common diseases, and for possible new prevention methods and therapies."

Curious to know if these signatures were linked to obesity-related disease, the researchers analyzed them in relation to each person's body mass index -- a measure of one's weight relative to height. BMI was chosen, Feinberg says, because a high BMI predicts risk for many common diseases in the general population.

"What we accomplished is a small proof-of-principle study that we think is just the tip of the iceberg in using epigenetics to expand our knowledge of new markers for many common diseases and opening the door for personalized epigenetic medicine," Feinberg says.

"BMI is just a starting point for us," agrees Rafael Irizarry, Ph.D., a professor of biostatistics and co-author of the report. "We want to use the same method to look for genes associated with autism, bipolar disease and variations in aging."

 

 

October 3, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)