Posts Categorized: News & Information

What The FDA’s New “Gluten-Free” Label Really Means


[8/9/14] If you’ve been buying foods labeled “gluten-free,” there is some good news and some bad news for you. The bad news: Nothing you’ve bought up until this point has had to adhere to a uniform standard of what it actually means to be “gluten-free.” The good news? As of August 2, 2014, there’s finally a definition to go along with the label. Late last week, the FDA published a new regulation defining the term. To be considered “gluten-free,” a product now must contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten. Products bearing the labels “free of gluten,” “no gluten,” and “without gluten” are also now required to meet this standard. “Adherence to a gluten-free diet is the key to… Read more..

Juvenile Arthritis: New Discoveries Lead to New Treatments


(7/17.14) Juvenile arthritis is one of the most common chronic illnesses affecting children. In fact, nearly 300,000 youngsters nationwide have been diagnosed with the disease. The most common symptoms include joint pain, inflammation (swelling), tenderness and stiffness. One early sign may be limping in the morning. Nikolay Nikolov, a rheumatologist and clinical team leader at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), says that children with juvenile arthritis and their parents have reason to be optimistic. In the last several years, new therapies have been developed by drug companies and approved by the FDA that moderate the effects and control the disease, likely preventing significant disability in later years. While no one knows exactly what causes juvenile arthritis, scientists do know… Read more..

Does “body-stressing” help relieve symptoms?


[7/15/14] A video of young Dutch adults lying barefoot and bare chested in the snow, swimming in frozen ponds, and purposely hyperventilating looks more silly than legitimate biomedical research. But the findings emerging from their efforts may suggest new treatments for millions of Americans suffering from autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and multiple sclerosis. If you place the human body under enough stress, this new study finds, the immune system will stand down. And that, in turn, may calm the systemic inflammation and relieve the pain and disability that comes with a chronically overactive immune response. If the odd training that Dutch subjects undertook can be translated into a safe behavioral regimen for patients with autoimmune… Read more..

Does intestinal bacteria influence autoimmune diseases?

gut batcteria

[7/2/14] Animal models have long suggested that intestinal bacteria can influence the development of some autoimmune diseases. This may also be the case with rheumatoid arthritis, according to emerging research, a finding that could lead to novel treatments and diagnostic methods. Though long ignored by researchers, “these bacteria clearly exert a great deal of influence on many physiological processes in the body, including metabolism, digestion and the nutrients we take in,” said Dan Littman, professor of pathology and microbiology at the New York University School of Medicine and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. “The part that’s less appreciated is the profound influence the microbiota can have on the immune system.” Bacteria and other microbes, such as viruses… Read more..

Pills For Celiac Disease Almost Here ?


[6/18/14] Going completely gluten-free is socially restrictive, expensive and time-consuming. Yet the diet is the only treatment out there for people with celiac disease, an autoimmune condition that damages the lining of the small intestines when triggered by gluten. What’s more, gluten-free eating might not be totally effective. It turns out that even celiacs who are very strict with their diet can still significantly injure their small intestines simply from incidental gluten contamination. Gluten lurks in a lot of unexpected foods, and even explicitly labeled gluten-free foods could still be contaminated, mislabeled or just plain misleading. With this in mind, a new pill may work to reduce incidental damage and complement a special diet. The ALV003, as it is known, is made… Read more..

Chia Powder used as Gluten-free Flour Recalled


[6/16/14] More than 70 people in the United States and Canada have been sickened in two so-called “sproutbreaks” involving foods made from either sprouted chia seeds or clover, federal investigators say. More than 10 of them have been hospitalized. In the chia outbreak, the illnesses have been traced to two products: a powder made from sprouted, ground chia seeds and a separate product made from sprouted chia and flax seeds, sold by Health Matters America. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reports of 21 people in 12 states falling ill from the chia products. An additional 34 infections have been reported to the Public Health Agency of Canada. The ground chia powder was also distributed to and sold by Navitas… Read more..

Stem Cells May Be Key to Multiple Sclerosis Treatment


[6/10/14] New research released in the journal Stem Cell Reports suggests that stem cell therapy may be the key to treating patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Currently, there are few medically-accepted treatments for MS, and these only help with symptoms in the early stages of the progressive neurological disorder. The new research, however, shows that stem cells may actually help in reversing the progression of this disease. Multiple sclerosis is thought to be an auto-immune disease in which the bodies immune system attacks the myelin sheath around nerve fibres. This myelin, a fatty substance that is vital for proper nerve function, also protects the nerves, but does not readily grow back following loss. As a result of this progressive demyelination… Read more..

New T-Cell Study Leads to Better Understanding

T cell receptors shown in bright red

[5/27/14] A study led by researchers at Stanford’s School of Medicine reveals how T cells, the immune system’s foot soldiers, respond to an enormous number of potential health threats. X-ray studies at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, combined with Stanford biological studies and computational analysis, revealed remarkable similarities in the structure of binding sites, which allow a given T cell to recognize many different invaders that provoke an immune response. The research demonstrates a faster, more reliable way to identify large numbers of antigens, the targets of the immune response, which could speed the discovery of disease treatments. It also may lead to a better understanding of what T cells recognize when fighting cancers and why they… Read more..

Promising Results for First Pharmacologic Treatment for Celiac Disease


[5/9/14] Larazotide acetate 0.5 mg has the potential to be the first pharmacologic treatment for celiac disease. Treatment with larazotide acetate 0.5 mg three times a day reduced GI and non-GI symptoms in a study of more than 800 patients while also reducing the number of symptomatic days (the days on which patients reported significant symptoms) by 26% through the duration of the study, an effect not seen at higher doses. Conversely, treatment with larazotide acetate 0.5 mg increased by 31% the number of days patients reported few to no symptoms. The safety and tolerability profile of Larazotide acetate was comparable to placebo. No treatment-related serious adverse events were reported. “This study represents the first large therapeutic trial in celiac… Read more..

Children with IBS should be screened for celiac disease


[5/5/14] The researchers, who publish their results in JAMA Pediatrics, say their findings suggest all children with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) should be screened for celiac disease. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, around 2.5 million Americans are undiagnosed and at risk for long-term health obstacles due to celiac disease. The condition is hereditary, and individuals with a parent, child or sibling with celiac disease have a 1 in 10 risk of developing it. If left untreated, it can lead to type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, dermatitis herpetiformis, anemia, osteoporosis, infertility, miscarriage, neurological conditions and intestinal cancer. Though previous studies have shown an increased prevalence of celiac disease in adult patients with IBS, the researchers from this latest study say this link… Read more..