Monday, 18 November 2013

No posts

I have been moved and will not be making new posts for some time. All the best, Cheryl

Friday, 15 November 2013

Type 2 Diabetes and Dietary Supplements


Type 2 Diabetes and Dietary Supplements

Millions of people have diabetes which can lead to serious health problems if not managed well. Many widely marketed dietary supplement products claim to provide health benefits for people with diabetes. Researchers have studied several dietary supplements to see if they can help people manage type 2 diabetes or lower their risk of developing the disease, but currently there is not enough evidence to suggest that any dietary supplement can help prevent or manage type 2 diabetes. Conventional medical treatments and following a healthy lifestyle, including watching weight, can help your patients prevent, manage, and control many complications of diabetes.
This issue of the digest addresses some of the many supplements studied for diabetes—such as alpha-lipoic acid, chromium, herbal supplements, magnesium, and omega-3s—with a focus on those that have undergone clinical trials.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Wikileaks Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)

Today, 13 November 2013, WikiLeaks released the secret negotiated draft text for the entire TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) Intellectual Property Rights Chapter. The TPP is the largest-ever economic treaty, encompassing nations representing more than 40 per cent of the world’s GDP. The WikiLeaks release of the text comes ahead of the decisive TPP Chief Negotiators summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 19-24 November 2013. The chapter published by WikiLeaks is perhaps the most controversial chapter of the TPP due to its wide-ranging effects on medicines, publishers, internet services, civil liberties and biological patents. Significantly, the released text includes the negotiation positions and disagreements between all 12 prospective member states.
The TPP is the forerunner to the equally secret US-EU pact TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), for which President Obama initiated US-EU negotiations in January 2013. Together, the TPP and TTIP will cover more than 60 per cent of global GDP. Read full press release here

Type 2 Diabetes and Dietary Supplements

Type 2 Diabetes and Dietary Supplements

Millions of people have diabetes, which, as you know, can lead to serious health problems if not managed well. Many widely marketed dietary supplement products claim to provide health benefits for people with diabetes. You may encounter patients in your practice who ask about dietary supplements for diabetes. Researchers have studied several dietary supplements to see if they can help people manage type 2 diabetes or lower their risk of developing the disease, but currently there is not enough evidence to suggest that any dietary supplement can help prevent or manage type 2 diabetes. As you know, conventional medical treatments and following a healthy lifestyle, including watching weight, can help your patients prevent, manage, and control many complications of diabetes.
This issue of the digest addresses some of the many supplements studied for diabetes—such as alpha-lipoic acid, chromium, herbal supplements, magnesium, and omega-3s—with a focus on those that have undergone clinical trials.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Ixoreal Biomed "Adopts" Ashwagandha through the American Botanical Council

Ixoreal Biomed "Adopts" Ashwagandha through the American Botanical Council

The adaptogenic herb has many traditional and modern uses

(AUSTIN, Texas, Nov. 11, 2013) The American Botanical Council (ABC) is pleased to announce that Ixoreal Biomed, an herbal extracts and medicines company based in Los Angeles, CA, and Hyderabad, India, has adopted the highly revered traditional herb ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) through ABC’s Adopt-an-Herb Program.

Ixoreal Biomed’s three-year commitment helps ABC keep its HerbMedPro™ database up-to-date with the latest scientific and clinical research on ashwagandha. HerbMedPro is an interactive and comprehensive database available on ABC’s website that provides access to important scientific and clinical research data underlying the use of nearly 250 herbs and their effects on human health.

"ABC is deeply grateful for Ixoreal Biomed’s support, which is crucial to continuing our nonprofit educational mission," said ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal. "Numerous health benefits of ashwagandha have been documented for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. It is well-known in Ayurveda and other systems of traditional medicine in India. The plant’s traditional reputation as a tonic has led to a growing body of modern research. ABC is looking forward to partnering with Ixoreal Biomed to take stewardship of abstracts on current and forthcoming scientific publications on this valuable herb."

Ixoreal Biomed joins 21 additional herb- and plant-based ingredient companies that support ongoing efforts through ABC’s Adopt-an-Herb Program to collect, organize, and disseminate reliable, traditional, science-based, and clinical information on herbs, medicinal plants, and other botanical- and fungal-based ingredients. Adopt-an-Herb encourages companies and individuals to "adopt" one or more specific herbs for inclusion and ongoing maintenance in the HerbMedPro database. To date, 24 herbs have been adopted. Each adopted herb is continuously researched for new articles and studies, ensuring that its HerbMedPro record stays current and robust. The result is an unparalleled resource — not only for researchers, health professionals, industry, and consumers, but for all members of the herbal and dietary supplements community, and others — available via ABC’s information-rich website. In keeping with ABC's position as an independent nonprofit organization, herb adopters do not influence the scientific information that is compiled for their respective adopted herbs.

HerbMedPro is available to ABC members at the Academic level and higher; its "sister" site HerbMed®, however, is free and available to the general public. HerbMed features 20-to-30 herbs from HerbMedPro that are rotated on a regular basis. Making this unique resource free to the public increases the number of people who benefit from updated information on herbs, in accordance with ABC’s nonprofit educational mission.

About Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha, a much-revered plant in traditional Ayurvedic medicine, is cultivated throughout India and parts of Asia and grows to three-to-five feet tall. The root is used as an adaptogen, meaning it helps the body to cope with stress. Ashwagandha has a wide variety of traditional uses, including as a hypnotic, laxative, and tonic. In fact, the name "ashwagandha" comes from the Sanskrit word for "smells like a horse" or "horse essence," a reference to the traditional belief that the root provides the strength, character, essence, or stamina of a horse. Modern medicinal uses of ashwagandha preparations include treatment of inflammation, wasting diseases, and arthritis. Within the last few years, several clinical trials have been conducted to test the herb’s efficacy in treating infertility, tuberculosis, and anxiety, among other conditions; some trials have produced positive outcomes. In 2008, India’s Department of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH) chose to promote ashwagandha preparations as part of a global strategy for brand-building of Ayurvedic medicine in Western countries. Ashwagandha preparations can be found in dozens of dietary supplements and related products throughout Australia, Canada, the United States, and other countries. More information on ashwagandha can be found in this profile from HerbalGram issue 99.

About Ixoreal Biomed

Ixoreal Biomed is an herbal extracts and pharmaceuticals company based in Los Angeles, CA, and Hyderabad, India. Ixoreal is focused solely on producing a high-quality extract of ashwagandha called KSM-66®. Ixoreal has developed a proprietary process that integrates modern scientific technologies with traditional Ayurvedic concepts to produce a highly concentrated full-spectrum ashwagandha root extract. Ixoreal has invested heavily in basic research and development and in building a modern scientific repository of efficacy data on ashwagandha. To this end, Ixoreal has conducted seven human clinical trials and two animal studies on the effectiveness of ashwagandha in several important functional areas. Ixoreal describes itself as the only ashwagandha manufacturer in the world that is entirely vertically integrated with its own farms, production facilities, testing laboratories, research center, and distribution division. More information is available at

About the American Botanical Council

Founded in 1988, the American Botanical Council is a leading international nonprofit organization that addresses research and educational issues regarding botanicals, teas, medicinal plants, essential oils, and other beneficial plant-derived materials. ABC’s members include individuals, companies, and organizations in the herb, dietary supplement, and cosmetic industries; journalists; consumers; and others in more than 80 countries. The organization occupies a historic 2.5-acre site in Austin, Texas, where it publishes the peer-reviewed quarterly journal HerbalGram, the monthly e-publication HerbalEGram, the weekly e-newsletter Herbal News & Events, HerbClips (summaries of scientific and clinical publications), reference books, and other educational materials. ABC also hosts HerbMedPro, a powerful herbal database, covering scientific and clinical publications on more than 250 herbs. ABC also co-produces the “Herbal Insights” segment for Healing Quest, a television series on PBS

Monday, 11 November 2013

Fashion magazines are heavy

Dumped my magazines, after wanting to take them with me a few months ago. Reminded how heavy they are. Some were better than others. I actually hurt my hands fixing them because the tape stuck to the scissors and the glue made it hard to cut the paper. Sept 2012, what a bad one that one is. I never saw March 2013, I wonder what was in it.

Check out LOUIS VUITTON Vintage Monogram Weekender Canvas leather Suitcase  on @eBay

Friday, 8 November 2013

Call for Applications: Foundation for Physical Therapy Promotion of Doctoral Studies (PODS) I & II Scholarships

Posted: 07 Nov 2013 06:01 AM PST
Call for Applications: Foundation for Physical Therapy Promotion of Doctoral Studies (PODS) I & II Scholarships
PODS I & II Scholarships, part of the Foundation’s Doctoral Opportunities for Clinicians and Scholars (DOCS) Program, are to fund post-professional doctoral students, who, having completed one full year of coursework, wish to continue their studies or have entered the dissertation phase of their post-professional doctoral program.
Scholarship categories within the PODS program have been established for the two distinct phases of education and training:
PODS I – Up to $7,500 per year in support of the coursework phase of post-professional doctoral studies prior to candidacy (as defined by the applicant’s institution). Special consideration for one award will be given to applications with a Health Services Research focus.
PODS II – Up to $15,000 in support of the post-candidacy phase of post-professional doctoral studies (as defined by the applicant’s institution). Special consideration for one award will be given to applications with a Health Services Research focus.
Successful PODS I and PODS II candidates may receive up to three PODS I and two PODS II awards totaling $52,500. A new application is required for each year.
Application Deadline: January 15, 2014, noon, ET
Award Notification: June 2014

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Stand Up for Science! Video Contest

Posted: 06 Nov 2013 08:24 AM PST
Stand Up for Science! Video Contest
From the creation of flu vaccines and new cancer therapies to enhancing agriculture and developing biofuels, bioscience breakthroughs are transforming our world and our health at a rapid pace. However, many Americans are not aware of the critical role the US federal government plays in supporting biological research and discovery.

We are looking for you to create an exciting, yet informative video to help educate Americans on how science is funded!
The contest is open to individual entrants residing in the U.S. who are at least 13 years of age at the time of entry.
The video should be between 1-4 minutes in length.
$5,000 Grand Prize
All submissions must be received by November 30, 2013
Submission Topic
The second annual Stand up for Science competition is aimed at increasing awareness of federal funding support for biological and biomedical science. Video submissions must address at least one of the five federal agencies listed below:
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
National Science Foundation (NSF), Directorate for Biological Sciences
Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Science
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agriculture and Food  Research Initiative
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Medical and Prosthetic Research Program
Questions to Consider
What is the mission of the agency(ies)?
What type(s) of research is supported by the agency(ies)?
Who performs the research supported by the agency(ies)?
Where do the researchers perform the science that is supported by the agency(ies)? Is any research conducted in your state supported by the agency(ies)?
What are some of the major discoveries that were supported through that agency(ies)?
How does the research funded by the agency(ies) benefit Americans?
How does the agency(ies) get the funds to distribute to the researchers?
What is the process by which researchers obtain funds through the agency(ies)?
What fiscal challenges does this agency(ies) face in the future?
Submission Criteria
Must describe at least one of the five listed agencies.
Must address at least three of the listed “questions to consider”.
Must be appropriate for a non-technical audience.
Must be between one and four minutes.
Videos can be any genre (for example, but not limited to, an interview, a music video, a dance video, an animated video).
Files must be in one of the following formats: .wmv, .flv, .zip, .mp3. Videos must be 95MB or less.
Entries that do not meet the submission criteria will be disqualified!
The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) is the nation’s largest coalition of biomedical researchers, representing 27 scientific societies and over 110,000 researchers from around the world. FASEB’s mission is to advance health and welfare by promoting progress and education in biological and biomedical sciences through service to our member societies and collaborative advocacy.
Please direct all questions to

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Science Group Says Article on DNA Barcode Analysis of Herbs Is Flawed

ABC Registered User Advisory

Science Group Says Article on DNA Barcode Analysis of Herbs Is Flawed, Contains Errors, Creates Confusion, and Should Be Retracted

Methodological Flaws, Statistical Inconsistencies, Taxonomic Confusion, and Unreliable Conclusions Require Paper in BMC Medicine to be Corrected, Revised, and Re-peer-reviewed

(AUSTIN, Texas, Nov. 5, 2013)
A recently published article that presents research conducted using DNA barcode technology to analyze various herbal products in North America contains numerous flaws, calculation errors, taxonomic anomalies, and unreliable conclusions, and should be retracted by the journal and appropriately corrected before it is republished.1 So says the American Botanical Council (ABC), an independent nonprofit research and education organization that recently published a critique of the paper co-authored by five herb quality control experts.2

The paper, based on DNA technology, was published in October in the journal BMC Medicine. It has been cited by various media outlets, including the November 5 “Science Times” section of the New York Times in an article that raises questions about the quality of dietary supplements.3

ABC emphasizes that DNA technology, in general, is reliable when used appropriately. “We have published two articles in our peer-reviewed journal HerbalGram discussing the merits and benefits of DNA-based analytical methods for establishing the accurate identity of plant material, including botanical materials found in herbal teas, as well as dried powders in numerous capsules and tablets found in herbal dietary supplements and related products,” said Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of ABC, and a co-author of ABC’s critique.

“However,” added Blumenthal, “DNA-based analysis is not appropriate when used in some of the ways that the authors appear to have done so, i.e., when trying to use DNA to determine the identity of commercial herb products that may contain plant extracts. It is not clear from the DNA paper whether some of the commercial herb capsules analyzed by the Canadian researchers contained dried powdered herb extracts or not. If they did, then DNA sequencing would not reveal the identity of the labeled plant extract, and might provide confusing results based on other excipient and ‘filler’ ingredients, or contamination with other DNA that also may be in the capsule.”

ABC Chief Science Officer Stefan Gafner, PhD, was interviewed by New York Times reporter Anahad O’Connor for the Times article. During the approximately 15-minute interview, Dr. Gafner enumerated many of the paper’s inconsistencies, errors, and potential flaws, none of which were reported by the Times, except for the writer’s not confusing Latin names for the herb feverfew, unlike the authors of the DNA paper.

“The article published today in the New York Times, as well as other media stories on this subject, appears to have totally overlooked many of this paper’s problems and inconsistencies that we have enumerated in our critique,” said Dr. Gafner. The ABC critique lists 10 problems, errors, and areas of confusion in the DNA paper.

The ABC critique also is co-authored by Danica Harbaugh Reynaud, PhD — president and CEO of AuthenTechologies in Richmond, California — and Natascha Techen, PhD, of the National Center for Natural Products Research (NCNPR) at the University of Mississippi. Both Drs. Reynaud and Techen are experienced in using DNA technology to identify botanical materials, particularly those in herbal teas and dietary supplements.

ABC’s Blumenthal added that ABC and some of its nonprofit herb expert associates have taken leadership in the United States in the past three years in helping to bring to the herb and dietary supplement industry’s attention the problem of accidental and intentional adulteration of herbal raw materials. ABC is the managing partner in an international consortium of independent analytical laboratories, nonprofit organizations, industry companies, trade associations, and others who are supporting the ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program, which ABC is conducting with the nonprofit American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP) and the NCNPR at the University of Mississippi. The NCNPR is a Center of Excellence with the US Food and Drug Administration. It analyzes botanical ingredients on contract for the FDA and develops laboratory analytical methods for determining proper identity and the possible presence of contaminants and/or adulterants in botanical raw materials and extracts.

Dr. Gafner, lead author of the ABC critique, is the technical manager of the Botanical Adulterants Program. Botanist Steven Foster, another critique co-author, is Chair of the ABC Board of Trustees and the author or co-author of four of the five extensive, highly peer-reviewed papers on adulteration of herbs published in HerbalGram by the Botanical Adulterants Program.

The ABC paper ends with the following statement, calling for revision of the DNA paper:

“[I]n our view, and in the opinion of expert reviewers of this critique, and with all due respect to the authors and BMC Medicine, the journal should retract this paper, and require that the authors address various errors and ambiguities by appropriately rewriting, correcting, and resubmitting it to the journal. The editors of the journal should then submit the corrected revision to an appropriate peer-review process that employs numerous expert reviewers (not just the two who presumably reviewed the initial paper) who are knowledgeable not only in the fields of DNA testing, but also botanical analytics, and related disciplines. Only then, if the paper passes such appropriately expanded peer review, should the paper be republished. Until then, despite the good intentions of its authors, this paper creates confusion, promotes false conclusions, and, unfortunately, may constitute a disservice to scientific researchers and other responsible members of the botanical products community."


1.  Newmaster SG, Grguric M, Shanmughanandhan D, Ramalingam S, Ragupathy S. DNA barcoding detects contamination and substitution. BMC Medicine. 2013:11:222 doi:10.1186/1741-7015-11-222.

2.  Gafner S, Blumenthal M, Reynaud DH, Foster S, Techen N. ABC Review and Critique of the Research Article “DNA Barcoding Detects Contamination and Substitution in North American Herbal Products” by Newmaster et al. HerbalEGram, November 2013. Available at:

3.  O’Connor A. Herbal Supplements Are Often Not What They Seem. Science Times, p. 1. New York Times, Nov. 5, 2013. Originally published online Nov. 3, 2013:  Available at:

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Herbal Supplements Are Often Not What They Seem

Herbal Supplements Are Often Not What They Seem
A study using DNA testing offers perhaps the most credible evidence to date of adulteration, contamination and mislabeling in the herbal supplement industry.

Monday, 4 November 2013

$5,000 award: United Way Challenge: Engaging the Public

$5,000 award: United Way Challenge: Engaging the Public via @InnoCentive

would like to draw your attention to the United Way Challenge: Engaging the Public. The Challenge is to create a system for accessing on-demand training, verifying online learning, and reviewing funding applications. Take a look at the details on our website. We look forward to your continued participation in the InnoCentive community.

United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley (UWMBMV) provides funding to approximately 190 non-profit agencies in more than 135 cities and towns in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Every three years, a complete and extensive funding review is completed by United Way staff members and trained volunteers. The organization wishes to engage additional volunteers to allow for more diverse input from the residents of this region and expand the opportunity for residents to participate without sacrificing the integrity of the process or the time frame. United Way desires a system that incorporates on-demand training with online learning and is easily integrated into the existing application review process. This is an Ideation Challenge with a guaranteed award for at least one submitted solution.

Challenge 9933447
Deadline: November 09, 2013
Reward: $5,000

Sunday, 3 November 2013

The Repurposed Ph.D.

The Repurposed Ph.D.
The past few years have seen a surge in efforts to connect Ph.D.’s with gratifying employment outside the ivory tower, and even to rethink doctoral education itself.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Science, Technology and Gender: Challenges and Opportunities FEMMSS5/CSWIP 2014

Science, Technology and Gender: Challenges and Opportunities
FEMMSS5/CSWIP 2014: Call for Proposals
Submission deadline February 15, 2014

Submissions are invited for the fifth meeting of The Association for Feminist Epistemologies, Methodologies, Metaphysics, and Science Studies (FEMMSS) to be held at the University of Waterloo, August 10 to 13, 2014.  FEMMSS is a multidisciplinary organization. We welcome feminist papers, posters, panels, and workshops related to Science, Technology and Gender.  Conference presentations are eligible for submission for consideration and review in a resulting anthology or special journal issue. Topics can include but need not be limited to:

1.    Challenges to and challenging scientific literacy
2.    Implicit bias and stereotype threat
3.    Creating equitable Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics organizations and institutions
4.    Gender, oppression, and the public understanding of science
5.    Rhetoric, argumentation, and gendered communication
6.    Epistemologies of ignorance
7.    Policy of/for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
8.    Intersectionality in practice and study of science and technology
9.    The ethics and politics of science and technology
10. Science, technology and global justice
11. Feminist methodologies in the humanities, social and natural sciences
12. Production of biological “differences”
13. Feminist scholarship of teaching and learning
14. Professional development (ex. interdisciplinary communication/ teaching/ research)

Submission instructions
You are permitted one submission, unless you are submitting a poster.  If you are submitting a poster, you can additionally submit an abstract for a paper, panel, or workshop.

To submit please go to and sign up for an account.  If you have questions, email
·      Individual papers and posters:  Please provide a title, 300-word abstract, and 3-10 keywords. At the beginning of the abstract please indicate if your submission is a poster.  There is no need to upload anything, so please tick the box that says, "abstract only."
·      Panels:  Please provide a title, 300-word abstract, and 3-10 keywords for the panel as a whole.  Also, upload a single document that includes the title and 300-word abstract for each paper. Please take care not to identify authors.
·      Workshops:  Please provide a title, 300-word abstract describing the workshop rationale, and 3-10 keywords.  Also, upload a 300-word description of the activities in which your audience will engage. Please take care not to identify authors.

This conference will be held in conjunction with CSWIP 2014.