A quarter century after women in France were first given access to it, the abortion drug known as RU-486 is finally going to be available in Canada. Health Canada confirmed late Wednesday that it had approved the drug for use here, 2 1/2 years after the manufacturer's application was submitted. Women will need to obtain a prescription from a doctor to purchase the drug. "The application has been before Health Canada since December 2012, so it is long overdue that they approve this very safe and effective method of early abortion care that millions of women around the world have been able to access since 1988," said Vicki Saporta, president and CEO of the National Abortion Federation and its Canadian offshoot, NAF Canada. "No one can claim that they fast-tracked the approval process and didn't very thoroughly and completely review the application.' NAF Canada represents the health-care professionals who provide most of the abortion care in this country. The group spearheaded efforts to bring the drug to Canada. The drug has been available since 1988 in France and nearly as long in Britain. The drug was approved for use in the United States in 2000. Saporta said women in 60 countries have access to the drug, which is used to safely terminate a pregnancy. Federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose had little to say Wednesday night about her department's decision. "Drug approval decisions are arms-length decisions made by Health Canada officials based on analysis by Health Canada scientists," a spokesperson for Ambrose said in an email. The drug will be sold under the brand name Mifegymiso in Canada. It is made by Linepharma International Limited. It is often called mifepristone. But in fact Mifegymiso is two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol. The former blocks production of the hormone progesterone, needed to sustain a pregnancy. The latter prompts the uterus to contract and expel the placenta and the fetus. Studies have shown the drug can be used safely as late as 70 days into a pregnancy, although it is thought Health Canada may have set an earlier limit on the use of the drug. Reproductive medicine experts have called the drug the best known option for abortion and have been advocating for its approval in Canada. While some countries allow the drug to be dispensed by pharmacists, Health Canada has opted not to go that route.
It looks like a trinket a tourist might pick up as a quaint souvenir, but this fish has the power to cure anemia. Called the Lucky Iron Fish, the three-inch-long piece of metal functions like a nutritional supplement, only instead of swallowing it, you add it to a simmering pot of food for ten minutes. Doing that can increase the iron content in the diets of users in places like Cambodia, where roughly half of the population suffered from iron-deficiency anemia before Lucky Iron Fish was introduced. The fish just won this year’s Cannes Lion Grand Prix in product design. That an analog device could top out a product design category filled with future-facing technology—like a DNA-sequencing food testing kit and a gamified studio cycling bike—speaks to both its effectiveness and its genius. The designers not only managed to make the treatment foolproof but increased compliance by hacking a local superstition, that fish are auspicious. Christopher Charles, an epidemiologist, was living in Cambodia in 2008 when he witnessed firsthand the societal effects of anemia. The condition, in which the blood stream doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells to pump oxygen throughout the body, can lead to extreme lethargy, dizziness, and birthing complications. It’s caused by insufficient amounts of iron in the body. Iron is easy enough to get through certain foods or supplements, but neither were an option in rural Cambodia, where the local diet consists primarily of fish and rice. Charles happened to know of a simple, cheap solution: adding a chunk of iron metal to food while it cooks. The heat causes the blocks to release between 60 and 300 milligrams of bioavailable iron, which then gets absorbed into the food or water. That’s substantially more than is recommended for one person a day, so you can imagine the iron’s effectiveness at improving an entire family’s diet at once. Problem was, nobody wanted to use it. It was ugly and unappetizing. It looked like it would ruin a meal. When Charles and his newly formed Lucky Iron Fish partners started troubleshooting, they came across a funny insight into Cambodian culture: the kantrop fish, a staple in the local diet, was also a good-luck symbol. So they started carving the small bricks of iron into little kantrop fish instead. It worked: Women—who do most of the cooking—started slipping them into pots and skillets. There are currently 5,000 of them being used in kitchens across the country. Lucky Iron Fish is in its third round of trials now, and so far, has found evidence linking adoption of the fish to a 50 percent decline in iron-deficiency anemia in the areas they’re being used. It’s also a fairly long-term, easily scalable solution: The fish, which are mostly made from recycled car parts, work for up to five years. And the Lucky Iron Fish Project is only getting bigger: The organization has 12,000 fish in the pipeline to be distributed, and is looking into expanding to other Southeast Asian countries, India, and East Africa. In those parts of the world, the fish could take on other culturally relevant forms.
Born on May 23, 1899, Talley climbed to the top of a list kept by the Gerontology Research Group, which validates the ages of the world's longest-living people, after Gertrude Weaver died at 116 in Arkansas in April. Talley died on Wednesday night in her home in Inkster, a Detroit suburb, which she shared with her daughter, Thelma Holloway, 77, said Christonna Campbell, a family spokeswoman. "She was just a beautiful woman," Campbell said. "We enjoyed her words of wisdom." Talley was born in Georgia and moved to Michigan in 1935 with her husband, Alfred Talley, for his job at a Ford plant. He died in 1988. Jeralean Talley, the world's oldest-known living person, addresses the congregation during a church service and her 116th birthday celebration in Inkster, Michigan May 24, 2015. Reuters​ Jeralean Talley, the world's oldest-known living person, addresses the congregation during a church service and her 116th birthday celebration in Inkster, Michigan May 24, 2015. Reuters​ Robert Young, director of the Gerontology Research Group's Supercentenarian Research and Database Division, said Talley's death came as a surprise as she lived an active lifestyle. "She was walking around as of a few weeks ago," Young said. The next person who could possibly claim status as the oldest in the world is Susannah Mushatt Jones, who is 115, Young said. Born in Alabama, she is living at the Vandalia Senior Center in Brooklyn, New York, a representative for the centre confirmed on Thursday. Talley was an active member in the New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church in Inkster. Services for Talley will be held on June 27 at the church.
A few nuts a day could keep the doctor away. In a new study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, men and women who ate a minimum of 10 grams of peanuts and/or tree nuts daily were found to be at lower risk for dying from major causes of death including cancer, diabetes and diseases that effect the brain, heart and the lungs. Researchers from Maastricht University looked at the Netherlands Cohort Study, a study that's been running for nearly 30 years, to reach their conclusions. They tracked the nut-eating habits of more than 120,000 Dutch people between the ages of 55 and 69, analyzing portion size and how often nuts were ingested. The participants self-reported their daily consumption of nuts, peanuts and peanut butter. The study found that eating this small serving of nuts every day reduced mortality by as much as 23 percent. Before you go overboard on the peanut butter and jellies, know that the study did not find the nutty spread to have the same effect as the nuts in their whole form (though peanut butter does offer some other health benefits, like adding nutritious fats, fiber and protein into your diet). Previous studies have highlighted nuts' heart-healthy powers, but this is the first to link the food to lowering mortality related to other conditions. Ten grams seems to be the ideal portion size for reaping these newly unearthed benefits: The researchers did not find that eating more than 10 grams a day increased any of the health benefits. For reference, this photo depicts the equivalent of about 10 grams of almonds, which amounts to around 7 pieces.
The Food Safety and Drug Administration (FDA) in Uttar Pradesh said high lead content was found during routine tests on two dozen packets of instant noodles, manufactured by Nestle in India Two FDA officials said all the packets of instant noodles tested in the state-run laboratory were contaminated. They found a lead concentration of 17.2 parts per million (ppm), nearly seven times the permissible limit. The FDA officials said the acceptable limit of lead ranges between 0.01 ppm and 2.5 ppm. The scientists also found high levels of added monosodium glutamate (MSG), a taste enhancer, in the noodles. "Maggi instant noodles contained dangerous amount of lead and MSG. We had to immediately issue orders against the company," DG Srivastava, deputy inspector general of the FDA in Lucknow, capital of Uttar Pradesh, told Reuters. Nestle India, a subsidiary of Swiss-based Nestle SA, said it had strict safety and quality controls in place for all raw materials used to make Maggi noodles. "We do not add MSG to Maggi Noodles, and glutamate, if present, may come from naturally occurring sources. We are surprised with the content supposedly found in the sample as we monitor the lead content regularly as a part of the regulatory requirements," it said. A company spokesman confirmed Uttar Pradesh had ordered it to withdraw the batch dating back to March 2014, but added the items concerned had either already been consumed or were beyond the sell-by date, making the recall difficult. Srivastava said his team collected more than two dozen packs of instant noodles from stores across the state and tested each pack separately before making the findings public. "Our experts conducted several tests and each time the results were shocking," he told Reuters, adding they had approached federal food inspectors in New Delhi to launch a wider investigation of the noodles.
As Bangladesh celebrates the day on Tuesday with various programmes, including rally and discussion, the government has acknowledged food safety as a critical public health concern. Health Minister Mohammed Nasim on the eve of the day on Monday called for “concerted effort” to ensure ‘safe food from farm to plate,’ theme of this year’s health day. This highlights the fact that food can become unsafe for consumption at any level from farmers to food handlers, families and individuals who prepare and serve food. But scientists suggest steps based on evidence, not perceptions. Senior Scientific Officer of Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute (BARI) Dr M Sultan Ahmed told  that they found vegetables getting contaminated with pesticides in the hands of farmers. “But that does not mean farmers will not use pesticides. Farmers in Japan use seven times more pesticides than Bangladesh, but Japanese people are eating safe food,” he said. “The fact is knowledge gap,” he said. “Farmers must use pesticide to keep crops safe from pests, insects, but they don’t know when to harvest the crop after using pesticides and that’s why when they harvest it the pesticides residue remain in the produce”. Deputy FAO Representative in Dhaka David Doolan reciprocated Dr Ahmed’s views while talking to  on Monday. He said pesticides have withholding period or pre-harvest interval and it varies from pesticides group to group. For example, if farmers spray pesticides of Organochlorin group on any crop, they have to wait 30 to 50 days for harvesting the crop, but the waiting period will be only 4 to 7 days from the day of spray for any pesticides of the Synthetic Pyrethroid group. “It’s a process of education (for farmers) and also a process of regulation” that the FAO deputy representative said could ensure proper use of pesticides. He said to ensure food safety a country must have legislation, regulatory authority, and laboratory to generate scientific evidence. Bangladesh has passed a National Food Safety Act 2013 while National Food Safety Policy is in the pipeline. WHO says the food safety policies need to be “multi-sectoral” since food passes through multiple hands to reach plates. The approach needs to be preventive - to improve food safety and quality through application of good farming practices by using agro-chemicals or prescribed veterinary drugs. Good storage, transportation, retail and restaurant practices must be implemented to make food safe. The UN agencies also suggest some simple daily measures to keep food safe for consumption that include maintenance of cleanliness and hygiene during food preparation, using safe water, cooking food very well, and not to keep raw and cook food together for preservation.
Pop superstar Elton John, leading the chorus of criticism, called for a boycott of the brand on Sunday. Victoria Beckham, a former Dolce and Gabbana ambassador, offered John sympathy on Monday, sending a "message of love" to the singer, his husband partner David Furnish and their two sons Zachary and Elijah, and to "all the beautiful IVF babies". Rock star Courtney Love accused the Italian pair of "senseless bigotry". But Gabbana dug his heels in, saying they were entitled to their opinion and calling John a fascist. An industry expert doubted any boycott call would have any effect. Concetta Lanciaux, a luxury industry consultant and former adviser to Bernard Arnault, CEO and founder of luxury group LVMH, said she did not think John's boycott demand would have an impact on D&G’s sales. “Consumers understand the humour of Domenico and Stefano, who are known for their wit. In addition, new consumers, even if they do not agree with the statement, like to think we live in a free world where people still can express their feelings and opinions,” she said. The furore erupted after Italian magazine Panorama quoted Sicilian-born Dolce as criticising fertility treatment and same parenting. "You are born and you have a father and a mother. Or at least it should be like this, that's why I am not convinced by chemical children, synthetic babies, wombs for rent," Dolce said. John responded angrily, vowing to never wear Dolce and Gabbana clothes again. "How dare you refer to my beautiful children as 'synthetic'. And shame on you for wagging your judgmental little fingers at IVF ... Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions," John said. Friends and celebrities from the acting, fashion and music world rallied to the cause. Love said in her tweet: "Just round up all my Dolce & Gabbana pieces, I want to burn them ... boycott senseless bigotry!" ‘Wake up, it's 2015’ Singer Ricky Martin, who is gay and has twin sons by a surrogate mother, wrote: "Your voices are too powerful to be spreading too much hate. Wake up, it's 2015. Love yourself guys ." Screenwriter Ryan Murphy, who created the TV show Glee and also has a child via a surrogate with his husband, said: "These designers' horrifying views are never in fashion. Their clothes are as ugly as their hate. " Dolce and Gabbana, whose clients have ranged from Madonna to the Italian soccer team, have marketed one of their new collections around the theme of family. Their fashion show featured models clutching babies on the catwalk and one male sweater sported a photo print of a traditional family. The pair once had a romantic relationship but have remained business partners after it ended. Dolce said his Sicilian upbringing made him pretty traditional. Gabbana said in a statement on Sunday they did not intend to express judgment of other people's choices but he believed in freedom of expression. However, as the storm raged on Monday, Gabbana took a harder line. "I wasn't expecting it from a person like Elton John whom I considered -- I underline considered -- intelligent. You preach understanding, you preach tolerance and then you attack? Just because someone thinks differently to you?" he told Corriere della Sera newspaper. Asked if he had spoken to John, he said: "It's useless, this is just an authoritarian way of seeing things: if you agree with me, good, otherwise I'll attack. And I wrote to him, in the comments on Instagram: fascist." Dolce had said he felt he could not have a child because he was gay. "Domenico said he would prefer a classical family, that's his opinion. He doesn't feel at ease with assisted fertility, that's his traditional Sicilian imprinting," Gabbana said. The furore has echoes of the John Galliano affair. The head designer for Christian Dior was dismissed after an anti-Semitic rant in a Paris bar in 2011. He was also convicted in a French court of making racist comments. However, Gabbana seemed not to be worried about the possible business impact on the firm, which is not publicly listed. "Maybe we'll lose some Elton John fans, maybe we'll get some mothers, who knows?" Gabbana told Corriere della Sera.