Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.

Archive for April, 2008

30 Apr

The Heparin Controversy

heparinThis morning’s New York Times reports that the FDA is now echoing what many scientists and industry experts have been saying for weeks: the contaminated stores of heparin that have been associated with 81 deaths and 785 severe allergic reactions in the U.S. was likely adulterated on purpose. In March, the FDA issued a major recall of heparin following increasing reports of adverse reactions and deaths connected with the drug.

Tests have shown that heparin components made by a company in China (Changzhou SPL) were contaminated by a manipulated form of a dietary supplement, oversulfated chondroitin sulfate. Because the cheaper additive resembles heparin, routine screening didn’t reveal the contamination. Contaminants comprised up to a third of some heparin samples that were tested. Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s drug center explained, “[I]t does strain one’s credulity to suggest that might have been done accidentally.”

29 Apr

News on the Seedling Front

childA report out this week offered some of the latest news on children’s health in the United States. Researchers from Duke University and the Foundation for Child Development studied trends in the health of children up to eleven years of age. We always want the good news first, right?

Researchers found some (very) positive trends, including “dramatic improvements” in mortality rates. The mortality rate for children one to four years of age in 2005 was 29.4 per 100,000 births compared with 42.9 per 100,000 just eleven years earlier in 1994. Death rates in middle childhood fell by 27% during the same time period. Finally, lead poisoning levels have fallen by 84%. Now that’s news worth celebrating.

29 Apr

10 Ways to “Get Primal”

Here at Mark’s Daily Apple, we advocate the Primal Blueprint Lifestyle, that is, a health philosophy that in large part acts to mimic the diet and physical activity of our pre-agricultural ancestors.

And, while we’ve explained in the past what it means to “Get Primal,” we figured what’s not to love about a bulleted list that reminds us how to incorporate these methods into our everyday lives.

28 Apr

Dear Mark: Gene Expression

gene1 1I received tons of emails from last week’s Gene Expression: Location, Location, Location post. Thanks to everybody for their feedback and questions. In the comment section of last week’s post, Ed was interested in other concrete examples of gene expression (the ability of a gene to produce a biologically active protein). In personal emails, others asked for more explanation of the difference between genes and gene expression. Still others wanted to hear more about the interaction between their gene expression and lifestyle choices. Given the range of reader questions this week, I thought I’d reframe this week’s Dear Mark to include more of an overview of this recurring MDA theme. There’s a lot to be said on the subject, and I promise this post won’t be the last word on it. Nonetheless, there’s no time like the present to give a proper introduction and dive right in.

Let me just say that gene expression is one of my favorite areas of interest, and it’s truly at the heart of the Primal Blueprint. In fact, it’s the real beauty of it as well. It confirms that the day-to-day choices we make have incredible impact. And we can influence gene expression to a far greater degree than anyone ever thought possible.

27 Apr

Urban Areas Becoming Supermarket “Deserts”

market1A study published in the International Journal of Health Geographics suggests that as more and more supermarkets leave cities to set up shop (literally!) in the suburbs, urban areas are increasingly at risk of becoming “food deserts.”

For the study, researchers at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, used geographic mapping techniques to map the locations of supermarkets in 1961 and 2005 and then analyzed the results based on neighborhood location, socioeconomic characteristics and access to public transportation.

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