HEALTH

Study shows cutting back on insulin leads to shorter life span

BY Drew Buono

BOSTON Women with Type 1 diabetes who cut back on insulin to prevent weight gain are three times more likely of dying early in life, a study reports, according to USA Today.

Ann Goebel-Fabbri, a psychologist at the Joslin Diabetes Center and her colleagues studied 234 women and teens with Type 1 diabetes.

At the beginning of the study, the researchers found that 30 percent of the women were restricting the amount of insulin they took at least some of the time. The team kept track of the women for 11 years and noted any deaths or complications from their disease.

The team found that women who reported cutting back on insulin had higher rates of complications such as foot problems or kidney disease. The team also noted that women who cut down on insulin were more likely to die young: Women who restricted insulin died on average at age 45. Women who used insulin appropriately lived to an average age of 58, says the study in the March issue of Diabetes Care.

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HEALTH

Airborne to pay $23.3 million over false advertising claims

BY Adam Kraemer

NEW YORK Airborne, the herbal supplement company that once called itself a “miracle cold buster,” will pay $23.3 million to settle a class action lawsuit over false advertising, according to published reports.

Legal battles beginning in 2006 called into question the product’s claims to be able to stop the common cold. A February 2006 investigation by ABC’s “Good Morning America” found that Airborne’s clinical trial was conducted by just two people in the absence of a clinic or scientists.

Airborne changed their advertising campaign when a plaintiff filed suit against the company in March 2006. The company now claims that its product “boosts the immune system with seven herbal extracts and a proprietary blend of vitamins, electrolytes, amino acids and antioxidants.”

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non-profit advocacy group and co-counsel for the class action, said the company will refund money to consumers who bought Airborne’s product. It will pay for advertisements in major publications instructing consumers on how to get their money refunded.

“There’s no credible evidence that what’s in Airborne can prevent colds or protect you from a germy environment,” said CSPI Senior nutritionist David Schardt. “Airborne is basically an overpriced, run-of-the-mill vitamin pill that’s been cleverly, but deceptively, marketed.”

A recorded message at the toll-free number of the class-action settlement administrator currently reports that Airborne Health Inc. has admitted no wrongdoing. “Defendants deny any wrongdoing or illegal conduct,” the message says, “but have agreed to settle the litigation.”

According to the settlement agreement, consumers with valid claims and receipts will be reimbursed for the amount they spent on Airborne from May 2001 through November 2007. Those without receipts are eligible to receive money back for as many as six packages each, based on average retail prices of the products—from $2.75 per box of gummi lozenges to $10.50 per box for Airborne Seasonal.

A hearing to consider final approval of the settlement is scheduled for June 16. Customers interested in more information about how to receive a refund can visit www.airbornehealthsettlement.com or call 1-888-952-9080.

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FDA releases draft guidance on diabetes care and prevention

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON The Food and Drug Administration is making a new draft guidance available for the pharmaceutical industry called, “Diabetes Mellitus: Developing Drugs and Therapeutic Biologics for Treatment and Prevention.”

Draft guidances provide recommendations for developing drugs and therapeutic biologics. Because the FDA recognizes the scope of the diabetes mellitus problem, the agency has recognized the need for new products that can be used as part of a comprehensive treatment strategy in the treatment and prevention of diabetes.

According to the FDA, the draft guidance provides recommendations on the following topics related to the treatment of type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus:

  • Diabetes-specific preclinical studies;
  • Different study designs in different phases of drug development for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes
  • Study population considerations in different phases of development;
  • Specific statistical issues related to development of drugs and biologics intended for the treatment of diabetes.

In addition to the draft guidance, FDA plans to convene a public advisory committee meeting to discuss new approaches for the development of products for the treatment of diabetes.

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