UPI NewsTrack Health and Science News

FDA: Not ready to regulate salt content

WASHINGTON, April 20 (UPI) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says while today’s average salt intake is too high, it is not ready to regulate the amount of sodium contained in foods.


“Today’s average sodium intake is several times what the body requires and its long-term effect on our health is very serious,” the agency said in a statement. “A new report from the Institute of Medicine this week concludes national action is imperative to reduce the sodium content of foods if we are to make significant progress toward reducing the risk of hypertension and major cardiovascular events for Americans.”

But the FDA said a story Tuesday in The Washington Post “leaves a mistaken impression that the FDA has begun the process of regulating the amount of sodium in foods.”

FDA officials said they are not currently working on such regulations, nor have they yet made a decision to regulate sodium content in foods.

“Over the coming weeks, the FDA will more thoroughly review the recommendations of the IOM report and build plans for how the FDA can continue to work with other federal agencies, public health and consumer groups and the food industry to support the reduction of sodium levels in the food supply,” the agency said.

“We are encouraged by the fact that some food manufacturers have already begun or announced their commitment to reduce sodium levels in their products,” officials said.

Study: Some may be addicted to tanning

NEW YORK, April 20 (UPI) — A U.S. study involving 421 college students found about a third who use tanning beds may become addicted, researchers said.

Dr. Catherine Mosher of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and Dr. Sharon Danoff-Burg of University at Albany recruited study participants from September through December 2006 from a large northeastern U.S. university.

The researchers modified two screening instrument — one to screen for alcoholism and another to screen for substance-related disorders — to evaluate study participants for addiction to indoor tanning.

In addition, the researchers measured for of anxiety and depression.

The study, published in the Archives of Dermatology, found among 229 study participants who had used indoor tanning facilities, 39.3 percent met the criteria for tanning addiction using one measurement instrument and 30.6 percent met the criteria for addiction to indoor tanning using the other measurement instrument. In addition, the study participants also showed symptoms of anxiety and depression.

“The findings suggest that interventions to reduce skin cancer risk should address the addictive qualities of indoor tanning for a minority of individuals and the relationship of this behavior to other addictions and affective disturbance,” the study said.

Possible nano treatment for acne created

SAN DIEGO, April 20 (UPI) — A U.S. bioengineer says she has created a possible new acne treatment that uses nanotechnology to deliver the therapy directly to skin-dwelling bacteria.

University of California-San Diego graduate student Dissaya Pornpattananangkul said she, along with Professor Liangfang Zhang, developed a “smart delivery system” that uses nanotechnology to deliver lauric acid — a natural product found in both coconut oil and human breast milk — directly to the bacterium propionibacterium, which causes common acne.

“It’s a good feeling to know that I have a chance to develop a drug that could help people with acne,” Pornpattananangkul said.

The new delivery system includes gold nanoparticles attached to surfaces of lauric-acid-filled “nano-bombs.” The scientists said the gold nanoparticles keep the nano-bombs — artificially made microscopic sacs into which the lauric acid can be packaged — from fusing together. The nanoparticles also help the liposomes locate acne-causing bacteria based on the skin’s microenvironment, including pH.

Once the liposomes reach the bacterial membranes, the acidic microenvironment causes the gold nanoparticles to drop off, allowing the lauric acid to kill the bacteria.

The research appeared in the March edition of the journal Nano.

Discovery and crew return to Earth

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., April 20 (UPI) — Space shuttle Discovery touched down safely and on schedule Tuesday at the Kennedy Space Center, ending its 15-day mission to the International Space Station.

The shuttle landed about 9:08 a.m. EDT traveling at slightly more than 200 mph after flying southeastward over a large portion of the United States, crossing over or near Vancouver, Canada, before overflying Helena, Mont., Casper, Wyo., Tulsa, Okla., Montgomery, Ala., and Gainesville, Fla., en route to Cape Canaveral.

Monday’s landing attempts in Florida were foiled by unacceptable cloudiness over the space center, but Entry Flight Director Bryan Lunney and his team cleared the shuttle for landing as conditions improved early Tuesday.

The STS-131 crew was awakened at 10:21 p.m. Monday as mission controllers in Houston played “On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson for astronauts Alan Poindexter, James Dutton Jr. Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, Rick Mastracchio, Stephanie Wilson, Clayton Anderson and Japanese Space Agency astronaut Naoko Yamazaki.

The landing marked the end of Discovery’s next-to-last mission to the International Space Station, with only three scheduled missions remaining before the space shuttle program ends. Discovery will make the final flight Sept. 16, with space shuttle Atlantis to make its final flight May 14 and Endeavour making its last trip into s space July 28.

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Categorized | Food Industry, Other
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