EMEA to review ARBs and cancer, infuriating experts, who point to missing data and adverse consequences
A few days ago, I posted a piece on blood pressure pills angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs) being associated to increased risk of getting cancer based on a paper recently published in Lancet Oncology. The European regulatory body European Medicines Agency (EMEA) just announced today that it plans to conduct a review of the safety of ARBs as a response to the said report. However, not all health experts are convinced about the data presented in the paper, even some declaring the paper to be “deeply flawed.” However, there are also those who believe the authors have the right to publish their data and that the risks should be investigated further. So far, EMEA is the first regulatory agency to react to the paper and the authors are also asking the FDA to respond.
Uninsured Americans have 50 percent higher odds of dying in hospital from heart attack or stroke
Another report points out the health disparities and thus highlights the importance of the much-needed health care reform in the US. The paper looked at more than 150,000 patients discharged from hospitals and came to the conclusion that there are disparities in terms of hospital mortality, length of hospital stay and costs which can be attributed to differences in health insurance coverage. The uninsured are more likely to die from acute myocardial infarction and stroke than those who are privately insured. Patients on Medicaid are more likely to stay longer at the hospital with higher hospital costs for stroke and pneumonia. According to lead author Dr. Omar Hasan of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston:
“The new healthcare bill will bring vast changes to the insurance status of millions of Americans, and we hope that our work will provoke policymakers, healthcare administrators, and practicing physicians to consider devising policies to address potential insurance related gaps in the quality of inpatient care.”
Cholesterol Recommendations: US/International Guidelines at Odds
Guidelines are meant to help standardize healthcare. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always work, especially at the international level. The Life Science Research Organization, Inc. (LSRO) recently published a review paper that shows that the US daily dietary recommendations for cholesterol are not consistent with current international guidelines. International guidelines recommend “reducing total fat intake and shifting to unsaturated fats from saturated and trans fats.” The US recommendations focus more on cholesterol intake (<300 mg/d for the general population and <200 mg/d for those with elevated LDL) as a risk factor for coronary heart disease. Although both sets of guidelines do not necessarily contradict each other, the paper points out that dietary recommendations stated in technical language are confusing, and that “numerical recommendations can cause undue focus on one food or nutrient over another with potentially adverse, unintended consequences.”