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CRN cites HHS and FDA recommendations in defending virtue of vitamin D, calcium

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The Council for Responsible Nutrition on Thursday issued a response to a Preventive Services Task Force draft recommendation around the ineffectiveness of vitamin D and calcium to prevent cancer or fractures. The draft guidance also suggested vitamin D and calcium could equate to a greater risk of kidney stones in older women.

“This week’s draft recommendations by the USPSTF do a great disservice to Americans, especially postmenopausal women and the elderly, for whom the benefits of calcium and vitamin D have been well established," stated Taylor Wallace, senior director, scientific and regulatory affairs at CRN. "The Task Force calls into question the Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Agriculture’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines and the established recommendations by the Institute of Medicine that support calcium and vitamin D for reducing the risk of fracture, bone loss and falls," he said. "Consumers and their doctors should scrutinize sweeping draft recommendations like the ones reported this week and educate themselves on how they were generated. The entire body of scientific evidence should be considered."

In fact, the Institute of Medicine increased the recommended dietary intake for adults to 600-800 IU of vitamin D and 1000-1300 mg of calcium daily in 2010 and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans highlight four nutrients of public health concern in which Americans should strive to increase their intake: potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin D and calcium.

In addition, the guidelines state supplement containing combinations of certain nutrients, such as calcium and vitamin D, may be useful in postmenopausal women who have low levels of these nutrients in their diets to reduce the risk of osteoporosis, CRN noted.

And the Food and Drug Administration has an approved health claim for calcium, vitamin D and osteoporosis.

"Outside of these three government cornerstones of science-based nutrition information, the Task Force ignores a great deal of scientific evidence that demonstrates the benefits of calcium and vitamin D," Wallace said. According to CRN, in its initial December 2011 meta-analysis, the Task Force reviewed 19 randomized controlled trials and 28 observational studies and concluded that vitamin D was effective in reducing the risk of cancer and in reducing the risk of fractures among older adults. The recently released draft recommendations, however, eliminate all observational data and only take into account 16 of the RCTs, the largest and by far most influential of these being the Women’s Health Initiative.

"The WHI in particular has been criticized for its numerous weaknesses, but perhaps, most importantly, many of the women in the control group (i.e., the study subjects who were not supposed to be receiving calcium) were actually supplementing with calcium or receiving high doses of calcium from their diets outside the study protocol," Wallace noted. "The researchers made a conscious decision not to advise those women in the control group to avoid calcium from the diet or supplementation because such advice would be unethical."


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Doctoral program extended at St. Louis College of Pharmacy

BY Allison Cerra

ST. LOUIS — St. Louis College of Pharmacy is extending its doctor of pharmacy program to span seven years.

Beginning in the 2014 academic year, the program — which currently is six years for students — will allow students to achieve a bachelor of science degree after four academic years and also will provide opportunities for electives and time for patient-centered and interprofessional initiatives, according to the St. Louis Business Journal.

In June 2011, St. Louis College of Pharmacy launched a strategic plan called STLCOP 20/20, which is designed to help the school "strive to diversify [our] academic offerings; advance a community-centered research and scholarship agenda; establish economically sustainable pharmacy practice models; ensure that personal and professional growth is a hallmark of the STLCOP community; and reach beyond [our] campus to impact [our] communities in innovative ways."

Click here for the full report.


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Mead Johnson sets succession plan in motion as CEO announces retirement

BY Michael Johnsen

GLENVIEW, Ill. — Mead Johnson Nutrition on Friday announced that the company’s president and CEO, Steve Golsby, will retire by the 2013 annual meeting of stockholders. Mead Johnson’s board selected Kasper Jakobsen, EVP and COO, to serve as CEO-elect.

Jakobsen is expected to succeed Golsby as Mead Johnson Nutrition president and CEO upon Golsby’s retirement, the company said. Jakobsen will continue in his role as COO, and the current senior leadership structure and reporting relationships will remain in effect.

"As Steve’s replacement, Kasper Jakobsen has the confidence of the full Board, reflecting his experience as a 14-year veteran of Mead Johnson, including operational leadership responsibility for the businesses in Asia, North America and Latin America prior to becoming executive vice president and chief operating officer earlier this year," Mead Johnson chairman Jim Cornelius said.


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