Saturday, January 9, 2010
The FDA has posted a new set of interesting and informative videos on the FDA YouTube channel that present key experts within the agency talking on specific topics. Hat tip to Mark Sinak of the Eye on FDA blog who points out that the videos provide some rare insight into the FDA's thinking on a range of topics.
The series is called "FDA Basics" and the topics of the videos posted so far are:
- Dietary Supplements - Vasillos H. Frankos, Ph.D.
- Personalized Medicine and New Diagnostic Tools - Alberto Gutierrez, Ph.D.
- Development, Testing and Monitoring of New Drugs - John Jenkins, M.D.
- Office of Women's Health - Kathleen Uhl, M.D.
- Vaccines - Norman Baylor, Ph.D.
- Helping People Get the Help They Need - Tracey Toigo, RPh, MBA
- Human-Animal Bond and Public Health - Tracey Forfa, J.D.
Friday, January 8, 2010
Mental health professionals have shown that there are serious emotional disturbances (SED) among children as a result of Hurricane Katrina. The Category 3 storm ravaged the Gulf Coast in August 2005. Characteristics of SED include inappropriate behavior, depression, hyperactivity, eating disorders, fears and phobias, and learning difficulties.
According to Virginia Tech News
A team made up of mental health professionals, emergency response experts, and researchers from several universities, including Virginia Tech, has published the results of a study that shows serious emotional disturbances among children who were affected by Hurricane Katrina. The Category 3 storm ravaged the Gulf Coast in August 2005.
The study, published in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, showed the estimated prevalence of serious emotional disturbances (SED) among residents of the affected areas was 14.9 percent. Of those, 9.3 percent of youths were believed to have SED that was directly attributable to Hurricane Katrina.
"Stress exposure was associated strongly with serious emotional disturbances," said Russell Jones, professor of psychology in the College of Science at Virginia Tech and member of the research team. "More than 20 percent of the youths with high stress exposure had hurricane-related SED."
The study found that youth who experienced death of loved one during the storm had the strongest association with SED. Exposure to physical adversity was the next strongest.
"The prevalence of SED among youths exposed to Hurricane Katrina remains high 18 to 27 months after the storm," Jones said. "This suggests a substantial need for mental health treatment resources in the hurricane-affected areas."
Katrina was the costliest hurricane in United States history as well as one of the five deadliest. Four years after the storm, nearly thousands of residents of Mississippi and Louisiana are still displaced from their homes.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
The worldwide misuse of drugs is contributing to drug resistant diseases according to a series of articles written by the Associated Press as a result of a six-month investigation.
• The AP examines growing resistance to HIV drugs: "Ten years ago, between 1 percent and 5 percent of HIV patients worldwide had drug resistant strains. Now, between 5 percent and 30 percent of new patients are already resistant to the drugs. … The story of HIV mirrors the rise worldwide of new and more deadly forms of killer infections, such as tuberculosis and malaria." The article includes information about the rising rates of resistance in sub-Saharan Africa, and the challenges in treating drug resistance in developing countries. The news service adds, "The United Nations estimates $25 billion will be needed to fight AIDS worldwide in 2010, but probably only half that sum will be available. That estimate doesn't account for drug-resistant strains, which could cost $44 billion by 2010" (Mason/Mendoza, 12/29).
• In a second story, the AP examines growing concerns among public health experts over drug-resistant malaria on the Thai-Cambodian border. According to the AP, too little medicine, substandard medicine and counterfeit medicines lead patients to develop drug-resistant forms of the virus, which is then spread to others by mosquitoes. The article details the problems with counterfeit and outdated drugs in Asia and Africa, and the efforts of public health officials to contain the drug-resistant forms of the virus (Mason/Mendoza, 12/28).
• A third AP story examines how antibiotic use in animals is contributing to drug resistance. "Researchers say the overuse of antibiotics in humans and animals has led to a plague of drug-resistant infections that killed more than 65,000 people in the U.S. last year – more than prostate and breast cancer combined," according to the news service. "And in a nation that used about 35 million pounds of antibiotics last year, 70 percent of the drugs – 28 million pounds – went to pigs, chickens and cows. Worldwide, it's 50 percent." The article explores why farmers give antibiotics to their animals and growing pressure by some U.S. lawmakers to regulate such practices (Mason/Mendoza, 12/28).
• In a fourth story, the AP examines how the efforts by Norway's public health system to scale back prescriptions for antibiotics has helped decrease the number of drug-resistant staph infections in the country. The article details how increased access to antibiotics in developed countries over time led to the development of more resistant bacteria and why public health experts believe Norway's model can be replicated around the world (Mason/Mendoza, 12/23).