FDA launches pilot program to help reduce and replace animal testing in drug development

This week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launched Innovative Science and Technology Approaches for New Drugs (ISTAND), a pilot program that will help reduce and replace animal testing as part of drug development. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has worked toward this goal for several years by meeting with the FDA and Congress and providing expert input, hosting Congressional briefings, and leading drug development stakeholders in advocating for a pathway for the approval of nonanimal, human-biology based drug testing methods.

The FDA launched ISTAND to expand its ability to qualify drug development tools that are outside the scope of the FDA’s existing Drug Development Tools Qualification Program (DDT). The DDT program excluded the vast majority of nonanimal in vitro and computational approaches. Before ISTAND, if a drug developer wanted to use a human biology-based approach, it would only be reviewed and accepted on a case-by-case basis. The

Read More

Glucosamine may reduce overall death rates as effectively as regular exercise, study suggests — ScienceDaily

Glucosamine supplements may reduce overall mortality about as well as regular exercise does, according to a new epidemiological study from West Virginia University.

“Does this mean that if you get off work at five o’clock one day, you should just skip the gym, take a glucosamine pill and go home instead?” said Dana King, professor and chair of the Department of Family Medicine, who led the study. “That’s not what we suggest. Keep exercising, but the thought that taking a pill would also be beneficial is intriguing.”

He and his research partner, Jun Xiang — a WVU health data analyst — assessed data from 16,686 adults who completed the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999 to 2010. All of the participants were at least 40 years old. King and Xiang merged these data with 2015 mortality figures.

After controlling for various factors — such as participants’ age, sex,

Read More

Use technology to reduce spread of secondhand smoke

Imagine a world free from secondhand smoke. San Francisco can make it a reality, but it is missing its opportunity.

On Dec. 1, the Board of Supervisors will vote on whether to outlaw smoking and vaping in apartment buildings of three or more units. Board President Norman Yee, who authored the legislation, said, “We are discussing the right of our residents to breathe clean air.” Yee is correct that breathing clean air is a human right; the National Institutes of Health and the United Nations affirm this, and we all should support his mission to secure that right.

The problem with Yee’s proposal, though, is that it misses the mark: Rather than a ban on smoking and vaping — which has proved ineffective — we should direct our sights on eliminating their harmful byproduct, secondhand smoke. San Francisco has a golden opportunity to be the first jurisdiction in the country

Read More

Trees and green roofs can help reduce the urban heat island effect — ScienceDaily

Air pollution experts from the University of Surrey have found that green infrastructure (GI), such as trees, can help reduce temperatures in many of Europe’s cities and towns.

An urban heat island is an urban area that is significantly warmer than its surrounding rural areas. The temperature difference is typically larger at night than during the day.

With the UK government pledging to build 300,000 new homes every year, it is feared that many of the country’s towns and cities will experience an increase in temperature brought about by more vehicles and building activity.

In a paper published by Environmental Pollution, experts from Surrey’s Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE) modelled how a UK town would be affected if its urban landscape included different types of GI.

The study focused on simulating temperature increases in the town of Guildford, UK, under different GI cover (trees, grassland and green

Read More

Existing UV light technology has potential to reduce Covid-19 transmission indoors

A recent study has shown that a UV light technology already used to prevent the spread of other airborne diseases in buildings has the potential to be effective against Covid-19.

The research, published in the journal PeerJ, found that upper room UV germicidal irradiation (UVGI) can kill SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, which can be transmitted by aerosolised droplets that float in the air.

UVC is known to be very effective at ‘killing’, or inactivating, microorganisms however this type of UV light is harmful to humans. Upper room UVGI cleverly uses UVC light to create an irradiation field above the heads of room occupants so it can disinfect the air whilst keeping people within the room safe.

The study, led by researchers from Queen Mary University of London and Leeds Beckett University, tested the feasibility of upper room UVGI to reduce Covid-19 transmission by analysing historical published data examining the effect

Read More

STRENGTH trial finds new fish oil medication did not reduce the risk of cardiac events — ScienceDaily

The fish oil-based medication known as omega-3 carboxylic acids or omega-3 CA did not decrease the risk of cardiac events compared to a placebo, according to late-breaking research presented today at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2020. The virtual meeting is Friday, November 13-Tuesday, November 17, 2020, and is a premier global exchange of the latest scientific advancements, research and evidence-based clinical practice updates in cardiovascular science for health care worldwide.

Fish oil supplements containing the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) or docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are commonly taken to prevent or reduce complications of heart disease.

A 2017 American Heart Association Science Advisory noted that omega-3 fish oil supplements prescribed by a health care professional may help prevent death from heart disease in patients who recently had a heart attack and may prevent death and hospitalizations in patients with heart failure. However, there is a lack of scientific

Read More

More green spaces can help boost air quality, reduce heart disease deaths — ScienceDaily

Green spaces — trees, shrubs and grasses — can improve air quality and may lower heart disease deaths, according to preliminary research to be presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2020. The meeting will be held virtually, Friday, November 13 — Tuesday, November 17, 2020, and is a premier global exchange of the latest scientific advancements, research and evidence-based clinical practice updates in cardiovascular science for health care worldwide.

“We found that both increased greenness and increased air quality were associated with fewer deaths from heart disease,” said William Aitken, M.D., a cardiology fellow with the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and UM/Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida.

Greenness is a measure of vegetative presence (trees, shrubs, grass) often assessed by NASA imaging of the Earth and other methods. Here, researchers used the Normalized Difference Vegetative Index (NDVI), which measures wavelengths of visible and near-infrared sunlight

Read More

New method could potentially reduce dioxide emission into the atmosphere and slash costs of chemical manufacturing — ScienceDaily

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and their colleagues have demonstrated a room-temperature method that could significantly reduce carbon dioxide levels in fossil-fuel power plant exhaust, one of the main sources of carbon emissions in the atmosphere.

Although the researchers demonstrated this method in a small-scale, highly controlled environment with dimensions of just nanometers (billionths of a meter), they have already come up with concepts for scaling up the method and making it practical for real-world applications.

In addition to offering a potential new way of mitigating the effects of climate change, the chemical process employed by the scientists also could reduce costs and energy requirements for producing liquid hydrocarbons and other chemicals used by industry. That’s because the method’s byproducts include the building blocks for synthesizing methane, ethanol and other carbon-based compounds used in industrial processing.

The team tapped a novel energy source from the

Read More

State commission agrees to reduce solar energy credits

The Utah Public Service Commission agreed Friday to let Rocky Mountain Power reduce the amount of energy credits that people receive in exchange for solar power — a move that environmental advocates say will cripple the solar industry.

Electricity generated by panels that is not used by a customer is exported into the grid. Until Friday, customers with solar panels received export credit based on two different grandfathering systems. Friday’s ruling means those signing up for solar systems going forward will receive a discounted rate of 6 cents, or slightly less in winter, per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for that energy.

Most customers who have already invested in solar panels will continue to receive 9.2 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Rocky Mountain Power — the state’s largest power company — applied to have that rate reduced to an average of 1.5 cents per kWh. They argued that nonsolar customers are forced to pay more

Read More

Compression garments reduce strength loss after training — ScienceDaily

Regular training enhances your strength, but recovery is equally important. Elastic bandages and compression garments are widely used in sports to facilitate recovery and prevent injuries. Now, a research team from Tohoku University has determined that compression garments also reduce strength loss after strenuous exercise.

Their research findings were published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology.

The team — led by assistant professor János Négyesi and professor Ryoichi Nagatomi from the Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering — used a computerized dynamometer to train healthy subjects until they became fatigued. The same equipment was used to detect changes in the maximal strength and knee joint position sense straight after, 24 hours after and one week after the training.

Their results revealed that using a below-knee compression garment during training compensates for fatigue effects on maximal strength immediately following the exercise and once 24 hours has elapsed. In other words,

Read More