By Sleeping Late, Are You Risking Your Health?
There is growing evidence that people who stay up late have an increased risk of poor health as they are more likely to have erratic eating patterns and consume unhealthy foods. According to a new review of studies, sleeping habits could have a very real impact on one’s health, by increasing the risk of conditions like heart disease and type-2 diabetes. 
 
The study, published in...
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Johnson & Johnson: A History of Defective Products
US pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson has been in the limelight recently for the wrong reasons. A jury in the US state of Missouri has recently awarded $4.7 billion in damages to 22 women, who alleged that its talc products caused them to develop ovarian cancer. What has been traditionally a name associated with excellence in medical products has been tarnished in the US by this landmark judgement. 
 
This verdict came during a time when the company was battling over 9,000 cases involving its baby powder across US. During the trial, it came to light that several women and their families had developed ovarian cancer after using baby powder and other talc products for decades. Shockingly, of the 22 women represented in this case, six have died from ovarian cancer. The lawyers representing these women in the lawsuit, claimed that Johnson & Johnson was aware its talc was contaminated with asbestos since 1970s but had failed to warn consumers of the risks. 
 
Talc is a mineral-based product, which in its natural form contains asbestos and causes cancer, however trials done with asbestos-free talc has given contradictory results. There have been studies linking the mineral to cancer, but there are also studies that have argued there is no link whatsoever. 
 
Regardless, the fact that there is no conclusive evidence of talcum powder’s carcinogenic properties, should not be enough to rule it as safe. It should be obvious, that the Indian government should make efforts to further investigate the details of this case, in order to determine whether sanctions should be put against the product in India. But to date, it has yet to take any action. 
 
This is not the only product offered by Johnson & Johnson that is under the scanner. The company is known to offer hip implants ‘ASR’ and ‘Pinnacle’ to patients in the country. In a massive investigation appropriately titled the ‘Implant Files’, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has exposed how medical devices are advertised, sold and surgically implanted across the world under regulatory systems that are riddled with holes. 
 
In their report, records show that Johnson & Johnson subsidiary DePuy waived the US clearance for Pinnacle and ASR to push both products through. Furthermore, records also show that Indian regulators approved both products based on the US clearance without conducting any clinical trials of their own. 
 
Both implants are metal-on-metal, comprising a metal ball in a metal socket implanted at the hip. The result of bypassing the requisite clinical trials in India has been disastrous. There have been reports of toxic fluid seepage of cobalt and chromium in both implants. In a case related to these defective implants, a federal jury in the US had ordered the company to pay $247 million in reparations to six patients. During the proceedings of this case, the patients claimed that after implantation the devices led to tissue death, bone erosion and several other negative side effects. Few months later, in another case the court awarded $245 million to six other complaints when the jury found Johnson & Johnson liable for defects and fraud. 
 
In India, ASR has been in the centre of a series of investigations, including findings of a committee set up by the Union Health Ministry to probe complaints from hospitals and patients. The committee had indicted Johnson & Johnson and put forth recommendations that it be liable to pay Rs20 lakh to each affected patient.
 
However, this does not help those patients who have been implanted with defective Pinnacle units. 
 
ASR was officially recalled from Indian markets in 2010 and the company “commercially withdrew” Pinnacle only three years later. The question still remains on why the implants were passed through in Indian markets without any clinical trials. 
 
Maharashtra’s Food & Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Mahesh Zagade, who was the first one to initiate investigations into the company for the faulty implants, has recently accused the office of Drug Controller General of India (DGI) of intentionally delaying taking any action against the company. 
 
Whether these actions are a result of some sort of collusion between Indian regulators and the company remains to be seen. In any case, there is sufficient reason to scrutinise the business of Johnson & Johnson in India.
 
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Study: Artificial Sweeteners Like Sucralose Harmful in Healthy People
Artificial sweeteners and artificially sweetened foods are often used by dieters as a way to cut sugar consumption without eliminating that sweet taste. Today, artificial sweeteners are found in a variety of foods like beverages, ice-creams, baked foods, etc. The allure of artificial sweeteners is the lack of sugar and its accompanying calories. 
 
However, evidence that consuming artificially sweetened products leads to weight loss or better blood sugar control is weak. In fact, recent studies have shown that regular consumption of such sweeteners may actually contribute to weight gain and type-2 diabetes. In one such study, researchers have concluded that consumption of Sucralose might lead to glucose intolerance or insulin resistance. Researchers at Mahidol University (Thailand) aimed to study the effects of chronic exposure to Sucralose on glycemic response and insulin secretion and sensitivity in healthy subjects.
 
Our body’s normal response to rise in blood sugar levels is to secrete the hormone insulin which attaches to cells, acting as a key that allows absorption of sugar from the blood into cells. Thus, insulin plays an important role in maintaining a proper level of blood sugar in our body. Patients with type-2 diabetes do not respond well to insulin or are resistant to it. Insulin resistance, generally, occurs when cells grow tired of responding to the hormone; this, in turn, allows for build up of glucose or sugar in blood. Decreased sensitivity to insulin, or increased resistance to it, is considered the first symptom of type-2 diabetes in adults. 
 
For this particular study, researchers selected 15 healthy volunteers who did not consume artificial sweeteners after asking them to undergo an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). OGTT is normally conducted to measure how well the cells in our body absorb glucose (sugar) after consumption of a specific amount of sugar. During a four-week period in a blind test, participants were asked to consume pills that either contained 200mg of Sucralose or a placebo. After a certain period of consumption, participants again underwent an OGTT to record their body’s response. Researchers also gathered data on levels of plasma glucose and insulin by asking participants to ingest tablets of 75mg glucose. The day after ingestion of said pills, an intravenous glucose tolerance test (IGTT) was conducted to evaluate acute insulin response (AIR).
 
Results from these tests showed that AIR was lower after exposure to Sucralose than after the placebo. Furthermore, whole body insulin sensitivity was also lower in participants who consumed Sucralose compared to those who ingested the placebo. This led the researchers to conclude that Sucralose may affect blood sugar control by activating sweet taste receptors and falsely triggering release of insulin. The fact that insulin sensitivity was lowered, just after four weeks of trial, shows that Sucralose has detrimental effects on a healthy body, by inducing conditions of a type-2 diabetic patient. The alarming results of this study should caution people who are accustomed to sprinkling a packet of artificial sweetener into coffee or tea. Although such sweeteners have been traditionally considered to help reduce blood sugar levels, they are actually inducing dangerous conditions in our bodies. 
 
This is not the first study to point out the harmful effects of such sweeteners and researchers are confident that more supporting studies in the future are bound to change our views on the so-called benefits of these sweeteners. They did, however, agree that the significant results of this study need to be examined in greater detail by conducting larger and more long-term clinical trials. They are also considering the possibility of examining the body’s response to artificial sweeteners other than Sucralose.

 

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COMMENTS

Ramesh Poapt

1 month ago

what about Stivia? It is natural equivalent.will experts give views on this Please?

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