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CRN publishes commentary criticizing latest omega-3 research in Natural Medicine Journal

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The limitations within a recent study linking omega-3 fish oil and increased prostate cancer risk ought to be taken in consideration, according to a commentary published in the August issue of Natural Medicine Journal

Published July 11 in the online edition of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, the report in question suggested that high concentrations of EPA, DPA and DHA — the three anti-inflammatory and metabolically related fatty acids derived from fatty fish and fish-oil supplements — are associated with a 71% increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer. The study also found a 44% increase in the risk of low-grade prostate cancer and an overall 43% increase in risk for all prostate cancers.

According to co-authors Duffy MacKay, the Council for Responsible Nutrition’s VP scientific and regulatory affairs, and Barry Ritz, CRN senior scientific advisory council vice chair, the study was an epidemiological study — meant to generate a hypothesis, not establish a cause-and-effect relationship. However, the study’s researchers intended to look at the relation between selenium and vitamin E supplementation on prostate cancer risk. At no point during the study were the subjects given fish or fish oil supplements. Also, dietary intake of fish or fish oil supplements was not documented, creating no data to back the conclusion that supplemental omega-3 fats are correlated to an increase risk of prostate cancer.

Additionally, MacKay and Ritz noted that the conclusion of the study contradicts the recommendations of reputable health organizations as well as the greater body of scientific evidence which demonstrates the established benefits of both fish and fish oil, saying this study “should not change clinicians’ dietary recommendations or prescribing patterns.”

“With nearly a fifth of all U.S. adults taking omega-3 fish oil supplements each year, it’s not only essential to counter balance the consumer headlines that often make sweeping conclusions,” MacKay said. "But it’s equally important to engage the scientific and clinician communities in a dialogue so that the science is critically interpreted. Part of our role at CRN is to make sure the science is interpreted fairly.”


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The U.S. Veterans Magazine publishes list of veteran-friendly employers

BY Michael Johnsen

IRVINE, Calif. — The Exchange, Safeway and Walmart were among the companies identified as the nation’s top veteran-friendly companies by the U.S. Veterans Magazine last week. The publication released the results of its 2013 evaluation of the nation’s top veteran-friendly companies, which also included 3M, the Coca-Cola Company, Kellogg Co., Novartis, Sears Holdings and Target, following a poll of Fortune 1000 companies.  

“It is our firm belief that veterans possess the character, discipline and skills that every business can profit from,” stated Mona Lisa Faris, president and publisher of the U.S. Veterans Magazine. “This magazine was created to support our troops, and we at USVM are proud to recognize other businesses that are also making veterans a priority.”

The annual review is an evaluation of the nation’s employers, initiatives, government agencies and educational institutions. The goal of the annual evaluations is to not only bring the latest information and guidance to readers, the publication stated, but also to encourage active outreach and diversity policies among corporations and government agencies. 

The lists were compiled from market research, independent research, diversity conference participation and survey responses that were performed by DiversityComm’s agents and/or affiliates. This year, more than 250 companies and institutions participated.

The results are published in the summer issue of the U.S. Veterans Magazine, featuring Bill Cosby as the cover story and available on newsstands on Aug. 15.


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FDA approves GSK’s four-strain Flulaval vaccine

BY Alaric DeArment

LONDON — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a vaccine made by GlaxoSmithKline that protects against four strains of the flu, the drug maker said.

GSK announced the approval of Flulaval Quadrivalent (influenza virus vaccine) in patients aged 3 years and older for protecting against two strains of the A and B strains of the virus; quadrivalent refers to the four strains the vaccines protect against, as opposed to three-strain trivalent vaccines. The FDA also approved GSK’s Fluarix Quadrivalent in December 2012, and the company received FDA approval for shipment of that vaccine earlier this month.

"Since the late 1980s, public health authorities have known that four primary influenza strains circulate each year, causing the majority of influenza illness, but the influenza vaccines used for the past 30 years only covered against three strains," GSK Vaccines North America director of scientific affairs and public health Leonard Friedland said. "With this limitation, global influenza experts have had to make a difficult determination around the strains each season to cover, and in six of the past 11 influenza seasons, one of the predominant strains was not included in the season’s influenza vaccines."


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