Stomach pump- new FDA approved weight loss device. #isthisforreal

No, this is NOT an onion article… the FDA has just approved a weight loss device called Aspire Assist which is essentially a stomach pump that can directly remove food from your stomach after it has been consumed. Glad we’re doing something to battle the obesity problem in this country, however, what happened to good old fashioned diet and exercise?

The Food and Drug Administration approved a weight loss device on Tuesday that pumps food out of a person’s stomach after they eat a meal.

While some have criticized the device as “assisted bulimia,” the FDA stressed in a statement, that the AspireAssist device is not meant for anyone with an eating disorder, and should only be used by adults 22-and-older who are obese and have failed to lose weight through non-surgical methods.

To place the device, a surgeon makes a tiny incision and endoscopically puts a tube in the patient’s stomach, which is attached to a “disk-shaped port that lies outside the body,” according to the statement.  To drain the contents of the stomach, a person should wait twenty or thirty minutes after they eat, and then attach an external connector to the port and open the valve.

According to the statement, 30 percent of the calories consumed during a meal can be removed by the device, which takes five-to-ten minutes to drain the food from the stomach into the toilet. Continue reading

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Measles and Pertussis outbreaks tied to vaccine refusal @NIHDirector #science

Parents have a responsibility not only to their own children, but to their communities—it’s only by achieving a very high level of population immunity that outbreaks can be prevented. Vaccination is particularly crucial for children with cancer and other diseases that cause immunosuppression. They cannot be vaccinated safely, but are at high risk of severe consequences if they are infected—and, thus, they depend on the community’s so-called “herd immunity” for protection against a potentially fatal illness.

While some parents continue to express concern about a possible link between vaccines and autism spectrum disorders, the original report claiming this connection has been debunked and retracted.  A large number of carefully designed follow up studies have been carried out, and the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence shows no evidence for such a link. That’s why it continues to be so important to get the word out to parents: Have your kids vaccinated.

Harold Varmus knows what makes America great! #SCIENCE #RAawards16 @ResearchAmerica

Research America hosted its annual Advocacy Awards this week, which included honoring Dr. Harold Varmus with its Legacy Award.

Dr. Harold Varmus received the Legacy award for his lifetime commitment to advancing research.  In the 20 years we have hosted advocacy awards evenings, this is only the 4th time we have bestowed the Legacy Award.  I hope you will take a moment to consider the timely challenge Dr. Varmus delivered to us all via his acceptance remarks, in which he refers to science as representing the best of what we have been and must continue to be as a nation.

Dr. Varmus made an amazing speech during his acceptance of the award promoting science and research in America. Can Varmus run for President? He actually knows what makes America great!

Renee Cramer explains where presidential candidates stand on contraception-@Smilla1972 @ConversationUS

Where do the 2016 candidates stand on contraception?

Renee Cramer, Drake University

Access to safe and effective birth control is part of health care for tens of millions of Americans. The vast majority of Americans view birth control as “morally acceptable,” and make sharp distinctions between approval for methods of preventing pregnancy, and methods of terminating it.

Despite this, access to birth control has become politicized. Employee health care plans can be exempt from covering it. Organizations that provide affordable access are under threat. And while Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton support access to contraception, the top three candidates from the Republican Party favor policies that could severely restrict access to contraception.

What the Democratic candidates think about reproductive health

A 2015 Pew Poll indicates that the positions Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton take on birth control and family planning track more closely with public opinion than do the positions articulated by Republican candidates, and by a wide margin.

Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have strong records in support of access to contraception. In fact, their positions on these issues are nearly identical.

  • Both have stated that they view birth control as a right, and as essential health care.
  • Both see birth control and access to family planning information as keys to achieving gender equality.
  • Both of their campaigns focus on access to birth control via increased funding for Planned Parenthood, expansion of the Affordable Care Act and their early and sustained support for family planning initiatives like “Prevention First.”
  • Clinton and Sanders have both decried the Supreme Court’s ruling in Hobby Lobby, which enables employers to refuse to cover birth control in their employee health plans.
  • Both favor bills that would make it illegal for pharmacists to refuse to provide access to emergency contraception.
  • Both support global family planning initiatives through international partnerships.

Though their positions are stunningly similar, Planned Parenthood opted to endorse Hillary Clinton, citing her record of sponsoring bills that expand access in the United States and abroad, and her early and vocal support of the organization.

Trump’s positions aren’t clear

Donald Trump is the front-runner for the Republican nomination. Though he has proclaimed that he “cherishes women” and “will protect them,” he has also been widely criticized for misogynist statements and behaviors.

Trump’s anti-woman rhetoric may rightfully concern those who advocate for women’s rights. However, it is not clear that Trump’s personal opinions about the value and worth of women translate into any coherent policy regarding birth control and family planning.

In fact, it is impossible to know Donald Trump’s position on contraception. His campaign website does not have an “Issues” tab for birth control. It does not have a “Position” tab for anything related to contraception, family planning or reproductive health. Trump’s campaign website also lacks a search function.

Recently, Trump stated that he is pro-life and would defund “those parts” of Planned Parenthood that perform abortion (in fact no federal funding currently goes to to elective abortion at Planned Parenthood). However, he has acknowledged that Planned Parenthood provides valuable medical help and reproductive care to women who need it, especially in terms of cancer screening.

Though leaders of Planned Parenthood do not believe he would be a friend to their organization, it is unclear that, as president, he would act aggressively to end the organization’s existence.

Trump has also stated, repeatedly, that as president he would repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with an unspecified plan that will be “terrific,” and “much much better.“ His newly announced seven point plan would rely on market forces across state lines to spur competition among health care providers and insurance companies with an eye to increasing access.

Reducing funding to Planned Parenthood (even if not defunding it completely) and replacing the ACA both have the potential to gravely disrupt access to birth control for millions of women. However, it is absolutely unclear what a Trump presidency would mean for access to contraception.

Cruz and Rubio

Trump’s lack of clarity on the issue is disturbing. And it stands in contrast to the rather clear stances held by the the other two Republican candidates still viable in the presidential race: Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.

Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have both said in several forums that that they do not support a ban on contraceptives. But the policies that they do support, if enacted, would place significant barriers around access to them.

They have both supported “personhood” amendments to state constitutions as well as the federal constitution. These amendments variously state that life begins at fertilization, or conception, and in some cases define the fertilized egg as a person.

Such language could have the effect of banning the intrauterine device (IUD) due to the false belief that it causes abortion, rather than provides contraception – because IUDs in some instances prevent fertilized eggs from implanting. This is troubling because IUDs are the most effective long-term, reversible form of birth control on the market. These “Personhood Amendments” could also limit access to emergency contraception via the Plan B pill.

If access to birth control via state-funded health care, private insurance and Planned Parenthood are dramatically constrained by policies made during a Cruz or Rubio presidency, laws banning contraception would not be necessary.

By creating insurmountable burdens on access, Americans could find themselves living with a de facto ban on access to contraception.

The Conversation

Renee Cramer, Professor of Law, Politics and Society, Drake University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

WHO update on Zika Virus – Focus on neurological disorders

whoCheck out the latest on Zika virus from the World Health Organization – including new information on the potential association of Zika with neurological disorders. WHO has called for intensified research into these associations. See the link for the full report.

The second meeting of the Emergency Committee (EC) convened by the Director-General under the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR 2005) regarding clusters of microcephaly cases and other neurological disorders in some areas affected by Zika virus was held by teleconference on 8 March 2016, from 13:00 to 16:45 Central European Time.

The WHO Secretariat briefed the Committee on action in implementing the Temporary Recommendations issued by the Director-General on 1 February 2016, and on clusters of microcephaly and Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) that have had a temporal association with Zika virus transmission. The Committee was provided with additional data from observational, comparative and experimental studies on the possible causal association between Zika virus infection, microcephaly and GBS.

Obama asks congress for $$$ to fight Zika

President Barack Obama will ask the U.S. Congress for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funds to fight Zika at home and abroad and pursue a vaccine, the White House said on Monday, but he added there is no reason to panic over the mosquito-borne virus.

Zika, spreading rapidly in South and Central America and the Caribbean, has been linked to severe birth defects in Brazil, and public health officials’ concern is focused on pregnant women and women who may become pregnant.

Obama’s request to Congress includes $200 million for research, development and commercialization of new vaccines and diagnostic tests for the virus.

Read more from Reuters here.