The Politics, Public Health and Environmental Concerns of Genetically Engineered Salmon

So-called “Frankenfood” — genetically-modified organisms meant for human consumption or use as animal feed — has been making headlines again. This time, the buzz is over the FDA’s recent completion of their evaluation of the first genetically-engineered (GE) salmon meant for human consumption, the AquAdvantage salmon. The White House’s Office of Management and Budget is now reviewing the evaluation, which puts the AquAdvantage salmon one critical step closer to finding its way into farms and onto plates. While the GE salmon would be the first genetically-modified animal approved for human consumption, it’s not the first genetically-modified organism (GMO) used for food; data from 2009 indicate that 93% of soy and cotton, and 86% of corn grown in the U.S. are GMO [1]. There are a number of other common GMO crops, and GMO rice will likely become available soon.

Alaskan King Salmon

Activation of the Immune System and the Nobel Prize for Medicine

nobel medal in medicineThe 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was announced on Monday. The prize was awarded to three scientists for their work on the body’s immune system.

The prize of 10-million-Swedish-krona (US$1.5-million) was divided, one half jointly to Bruce A. Beutler, age 54, at The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California, and Jules A. Hoffmann, age 70, at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) Institute of Cell and Molecular Biology in Strasbourg, for their discovery of receptor proteins that can recognize bacteria and other microorganisms and activate innate immunity, and the other half to Ralph M. Steinman, age 68, at Rockefeller University in New York, for his discovery of dendritic cells of the immune system and their unique capacity to activate and regulate adaptive immunity, the later stage of the immune response during which microorganisms are cleared from the body.

FDA Removing Over-the-counter Asthma Drug From Shelves for Environment

Users of Primatene Mist, the only over-the-counter treatment for acute symptoms of asthma, will need to find an alternative as of December 31, 2011. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced that the medication will no longer be available because it uses chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as a propellant agent [1], and CFCs have long been known to deplete Earth’s ozone layer.

Primatine Mist spray

AAP Corrects Statements on HPV Vaccine Safety

The American Academy of Pediatrics released this statement today in response to statements made during the Republican Tea Party debate [1]:

HPV vaccine

CVS Caremark MinuteClinic, Indiana University Health Announce Clinical Affiliation

MinuteClinic, the retail healthcare division of CVS Caremark and Indiana University Health (IU Health), the largest and most comprehensive health system in Indiana, announced yesterday that they have entered into a clinical affiliation to enhance access to the high quality, affordable healthcare services they provide in communities throughout the state of Indiana [1]. The affiliation allows the organizations to work together in a more coordinated and integrated fashion to provide better care of patients with chronic diseases.

CVS Minute Clinic and IU Health