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FDA Issues Early Communication About Ongoing Safety Review Of Weight Loss Drug Orlistat

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that it is reviewing adverse event reports of liver injury in patients taking the weight loss drug orlistat, marketed as the prescription drug Xenical and the over-the-counter medication Alli. Between 1999 and 2008, the FDA received 32 reports of serious liver injury in patients taking orlistat. Of those cases, 27 reported hospitalization and six resulted in liver failure. Thirty of the adverse events occurred outside the United States. The most commonly reported adverse events included yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes (jaundice), weakness, and stomach pain. The FDA is reviewing additional data submitted by orlistat manufacturers on suspected cases of liver injury, and the issue has been discussed at the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research Drug Safety Oversight Board.

Today's Selection Of Opinions And Editorials

Lifting A Burden Of Worry The Washington Post As the political debate about how to pay for and pass health reform grows louder and more contentious, we shouldn't lose sight of the reason we're even having this conversation: We have a huge, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to improve the lives of all Americans, insured and uninsured alike (Sebelius, 8/4). U.S. Psyche Bedevils Health Efforts The Wall Street Journal I hate the health-care system -- but don't you dare mess with it. That's a pretty apt summary of the American mind-set about health care -- and not just now, but for decades. Something about health care calls forth from the national psyche a deep, almost inexplicable schizophrenia, as the latest, delayed effort to "reform" health care is showing President Barack Obama and the rest of Washington (Seib, 8/4).

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Practice Guidelines For Nutrition Care For Patients With Spinal Cord Injury Published By ADA

The American Dietetic Association has published new evidence-based nutrition practice guidelines for registered dietitians on nutrition care for patients with spinal cord injury. The guidelines contain systematically developed recommendations to assist practitioners in appropriate nutrition care, with specific recommendations on: Energy needs in the acute phase Nutrition assessment for prevention and treatment of overweight and obesity Nutrition assessment of lipid abnormalities Cranberry extract supplements Nutrition intervention to prevent development of pressure ulcers. ADA members, including an expert workgroup and trained analysts, extensively examined the research to develop a series of recommendations and treatment algorithms which accurately summarize this body of evidence.

Glucose Intolerance In Animals Reversed By Carnitine Supplements

Supplementing obese rats with the nutrient carnitine helps the animals to clear the extra sugar in their blood, something they had trouble doing on their own, researchers at Duke University Medical Center report. A team led by Deborah Muoio (Moo-ee-oo), Ph.D., of the Duke Sarah W. Stedman Nutrition and Metabolism Center, also performed tests on human muscle cells that showed supplementing with carnitine might help older people with prediabetes, diabetes, and other disorders that make glucose (sugar) metabolism difficult. Carnitine is made in the liver and recycled by the kidney, but in some cases when this is insufficient, dietary carnitine from red meat and other animal foods can compensate for the shortfall.

Workplace Obesity Interventions Must Be Inexpensive To Generate A Return On Investment

At work, obesity interventions must focus on low-cost policy or environmental changes to generate a return on investment, according to a new study by researchers at RTI International and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Because many employers require information about costs saved by interventions, this study, published in the July issue of Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, calculated return on investment from workplace obesity interventions. "Although the cost of obesity is high, the potential savings associated with moderate weight loss is relatively modest, " said Justin Trogdon, Ph.D., a health economist at RTI and the paper's lead author.

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Daylight Could Help Control Our Weight

Exciting research into Brown adipose tissue (BAT) brown fat, which is found in abundance in hibernating animals and newborn babies could lead to new ways of preventing obesity. Studies have already shown that BAT activity in adults is reduced with obesity. Therefore, promoting BAT function could prevent or reduce obesity in some people. New research, led by Michael Symonds, Professor of Developmental Physiology in the School of Clincal Sciences at The University of Nottingham, has shown for the first time that daylight is a major factor in controlling BAT activity. Professor Symonds said: "Our research has suggested a previously unknown mechanism for controlling BAT function in humans and this could potentially lead to new treatments for the prevention or reversal of obesity.

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