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WHO EU chief: Number of people sick from unsafe food is unacceptable



A regional director for the World Health Organization said the number of people who get sick or die from unsafe food is “staggering” and “unacceptable”.

Foodborne diseases affect more than 23 million people in Europe and Central Asia each year, affecting the poor and the young in particular. Such a disease is responsible for 5,000 preventable deaths annually, according to WHO statistics from 2015.

Hans Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, said the region can and must get better.

“The staggering number of people who get sick or die after eating unsafe food in our region is unacceptable. Food safety is a highly complex health issue in which several national and international actors are involved. Over 200 diseases are caused by the consumption of food contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances, ”he said during a webinar on World Food Day.

“In recent years, food safety in the region has been influenced by new developments that have changed the conditions in which food is produced, processed, traded and consumed. The globalization of the food chain has changed consumer habits and international trade in food and agricultural products is greater than before. This complexity increases the risk of unsafe food spreading across borders and affects the way we deal with food safety risks.

“COVID-19 has presented manufacturers and food safety authorities with additional challenges. This includes the need to implement measures to control and reduce the risk of transmission in food companies. The WHO EU supports its 53 member states in strengthening food safety. Today should encourage action at all levels to prevent, detect and manage food safety risks in the region. “

Growing interest in the region
More than 200 participants attended the virtual event organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and WHO, which can be seen here.

Vladimir Rakhmanin, FAO deputy director general and regional representative for Europe and Central Asia, said food safety has always been a priority for the region.

“We recognize the continuing efforts of member countries to continuously improve their regulatory framework, scientific and technological capacities for official controls in order to protect consumers and enable farmers and businesses to comply with food safety requirements and to have access to local, regional and international standards Markets, ”he said.

“Food safety is growing in importance across the region as more activities and projects are implemented. As we seek more investment and awareness of food safety, we reaffirm support and commitment to working with partners and governments to step up efforts, including strengthening resilient, well-functioning and safe food value chains.

“Among the many lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, the last 15 months’ experience has raised awareness of the importance of demonstrating compliance with food safety requirements as a prerequisite for market access. Food safety risks and threats can easily be transferred from one country to another, and unsafe food can quickly spread to many countries. “

Real threats vs. perceived concerns
Delia Grace, professor of food safety systems at the University of Greenwich, said food safety was once not a priority for low and middle income countries.

“The 2015 WHO report found that the health burden from food safety was equivalent to that of HIV, tuberculosis or AIDS, making food safety high on the list of concerns about people in developing countries. This has always been a priority in high-income countries, also because we have more or less got rid of most infectious diseases, ”she said.

Delia Grace

Grace, a contributing scientist at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), said there can be many dangers in the informal sector, such as aflatoxins in milk from Nairobi, Bacillus cereus in boiled milk in Abidjan, Staphylococcus aureus in farmed fish in Egypt, trichinella in Pork in Uganda and Listeria in milk and fish in Ghana.

“This is a saying we have in food safety. What you worry about and what kills you are not the same thing. I bet maybe half of the participants are more worried about GMOs, pesticides, antibiotic residues and are less worried about germs than they think they can handle germs, ”she said.

“When we did this in Vietnam, we asked people what their concerns were and they were very concerned about chemicals and not very concerned about germs. We knew this was wrong as we are food safety specialists, but they didn’t believe us so we had to do the tests. We found that only 1 percent of 366 kidney, liver, and pork samples were above legal limits, and they had little effect because they were so low, but when we looked at the germs, 13 percent of people got sick each year of salmonellosis. “

Experts can be wrong too, Grace said, citing an upcoming World Bank study comparing expert statements with the WHO estimated exposure.

“Experts were very concerned about anthrax and brucella, but if you looked at the levels, it was much more likely E. coli and salmonella,” she said.

Impact of COVID on food safety and the EU on WFSD
Food safety expert Leon Gorris presented a study commissioned by the WHO and FAO to investigate whether COVID-19 has changed the way people deal with food safety risks in Europe and Central Asia.

Leon Gorris

The research involved 22 countries, 18 government agencies, 13 private companies and six consumer groups on the effects of COVID-19 on food safety and food fraud.

“Of the 18 agencies, many of them were affected in terms of resources and the way they were able to conduct their food safety processes. Some employees have had to deal with other activities that support public health measures in food companies, such as measures to contain COVID-19. Quite a few authorities had fewer people available for food safety. The way they responded to this challenge was to focus on essential food safety operations, high risk companies that normally handle food of animal origin. People couldn’t visit the premises to do an inspection so they had to use new virtual platforms to interact with food companies, ”said Gorris.

“We have heard from the government that they are confident that essential food safety supply chains will continue to operate without impact. Some organizations, such as the European Union, allowed regulatory flexibility to focus on high-risk operations. We do not yet know whether there has been an increase in disease or food fraud.

“Food companies had to cope with implementing new measures against COVID and economic downturns, but by and large they felt confident that food safety was not affected and they did not need to change their food safety management systems. The new virtual way of working was something they had in mind. They experienced online audits and certifications, and some of those simplifications could remain in the post-pandemic. We heard from consumers that they believed in the safety of food but were initially very concerned and not well informed. Consumer awareness of hygiene as part of food safety to which they can contribute has increased. “

In a separate statement, EU Health and Food Safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said the safety of food produced and consumed around the world is the starting point of the European farm-to-table strategy.

“Our food policy is based on the highest food safety standards to protect consumers. We have strict laws and a solid control and traceability system that covers all stages of food production, processing and distribution. For over 40 years, the EU’s rapid alert system for food and feed has ensured that urgent food and feed risk warnings are responded to immediately, ”she said.

“The safety of our food is more important than ever and I look forward to the UN Food Systems Summit this September and my strong support for transformative changes in the way the world produces and consumes food.”

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)


Mayo unveils mobile health clinic | News, Sports, Jobs



Photo courtesy Amanda Dyslin (bold above 🙂 Above: Dr. James Hebl (left), regional vice president, and Dr. Gokhan Anil, regional chairman of clinical practice, spoke to community members at the Mayo Clinic Health System in Fairmont Monday morning about the mobile health clinic that will serve communities in southeast and southwest Minnesota, including Sherburn. Photo courtesy Amanda Dyslin Above: Dr. James Hebl (left), regional vice president, and Dr. Gokhan Anil, regional chair of clinical practice, spoke to community members Monday morning at the Mayo Clinic Health System in Fairmont about the mobile health clinic that will serve the communities in southeast and southwest Minnesota, including Sherburn.

FAIRMONT – According to Amanda Dyslin of Mayo Clinic Health System, MCHS is launching a new mobile health clinic that will expand services by increasing reach and providing direct access to health care for patients in rural communities in southern Minnesota.

Dr. James Hebl Regional Vice President and Dr. Gokhan Anil, regional chairman of clinical practice, spoke to community members Monday at MCHS in Fairmont about the mobile health clinic that will serve communities in southeast and southwest Minnesota, including Sherburn. In addition, guided tours through the mobile health station were offered.

“It was great to finally be able to show the device to the public in southwest Minnesota and just get a feel for what it will be like when it’s up and running.” said Dyslin. “The only town identified as a rest stop so far is Sherburn, but that will change in the future.”

The mobile health clinic will be housed in a large utility vehicle and will include two examination rooms, an on-site laboratory and pharmacy services. Patient visits will begin later this summer and specific locations and dates will be shared with patients.

“The mobile health clinic is part of Mayo Clinic’s commitment to innovation and creative solutions that serve local communities.” said Dr. Anil. “The mobile health clinic provides enhanced quality health services to people in communities that do not have inpatient clinic facilities.”

Patients will be able to receive medical checkups and treat chronic diseases.

The mobile health clinic also has the technology and equipment to virtually connect patients through video appointments with experts at the Mayo Clinic.

“The mobile health clinic is an extension of the virtual care options of the Mayo Clinic Health System.” said Dr. Anil. “In addition to the mobile health clinic, patients can access their care team through Patient Online Services, Mayo Clinic Health System’s patient portal. Find real-time primary care services through Express Care Online; and get expert medical advice from nurses by calling the Nurse Care Line. “

The services include:

– Acute illness / infection.

– Vaccinations, including COVID-19 vaccinations.

– Preventive services and medical check-ups.

– Medication refills and controls.

– Chronic disease controls.

– Warfarin management.

– Pacemaker checks (virtual).

– Special consultations and follow-ups (virtual).

– Prenatal visits (virtual).

– Wellness visits.

– pediatrics.

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Individuals with internalizing disorders have increased mortality risk



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Individuals with internalizing mental disorders had a significantly higher mortality rate than those without these disorders.

This discovery underscores the utility of using a transdiagnostic internalizing factor in predicting mortality risk, according to Hyunsik Kim, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Sogang University in South Korea and colleagues.

The researchers found that the significantly predicted mortality risk was internalized in participants who reported excellent health themselves, which was inconsistent in those who reported poorer physical health. The data was provided by Kim H, et al. World Psychiatry. 2021; doi: 10.1002 / wps.20859.

“The significant interaction between internalization and physical health suggests that the former dimension has more of an impact on early death in currently physically healthy individuals,” wrote Kim and colleagues.

Researchers examined the usefulness of a transdiagnostic internalizing factor versus disorder-specific variance, the factor’s ability to predict mortality risk, and the impact of self-reported physical health on internalization and early mortality. They analyzed the data from 6,329 participants recruited through the Midlife in the United States study. Participants completed a telephone interview and self-administered questionnaire, and the researchers followed the cohort through October 31, 2015, or until death. They measured symptom scores for major depressive disorder (MDD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and panic disorder symptoms and rated neuroticism.

The mean age of the participants was 46.77 years; 88.04% of the participants identified as white and 52.64% were women. During the study period, 1,234 participants died with an average survival time of 11.5 years. However, the mean survival time for the entire study cohort was 19.23 years. Kim and colleagues found that MDD, GAD, and neuroticism have significant predictions of moral risk using hierarchical regression models. Using the Cox regression analysis, the internalizing factor predicted the mortality risk after adjustments to be significant and positive (HR = 1.12, 95% CI: 1.05-1.16, P <0.01). However, when their combined variance in internalization was taken into account, the degree to which MDD, GAD, and neuroticism predicted mortality risk were attenuated by 67.2%, 86.9% and 87.1%, respectively, according to the researchers. The internalization of the significantly predicted mortality risk in participants who reported excellent health was inconsistent among those who reported poor physical health. Analysis at the level of the internalization factor showed an increase in the mortality rate of 12.3% for each unit step size of 1 standard deviation. Disorder-specific variances had no significant influence on the prediction of mortality risk. However, internalization accounted for 34.93% of MDD, 24.21% of GAD, 25.81% of panic disorder, and 23.91% of neuroticism variance.

Kim and colleagues speculated that the higher death rate among those who internalize may be explained by improper coping, physical inactivity, or a greater likelihood of experiencing adverse life outcomes.

“These results underscore the clinical utility of using the transdiagnostic internalizing factor to predict an important future outcome, and support the argument that internalizing psychopathology can be a useful task to incorporate into intervention and prevention research and into public health practice explore, ”she wrote.


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Tiny capsules containing cannabinoids could help treat neurological disorders



A team of researchers led by Curtin University has discovered a new way to improve the rate of oral absorption of medical cannabis, which could potentially be used in the future to treat neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and traumatic brain injuries.

Photo credit: Curtin University

Published in the journal PLOS ONE and financed by industrial partner Zelira Therapeutics, the researchers were able to produce tiny capsules with cannabinoids that were absorbed faster by the body when taken orally and penetrated the brain more quickly in mouse models with neurological diseases than when it was supplied in liquid form .

Lead researcher, Associate Professor Ryu Takechi of the Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute (CHIRI) and Curtin University’s School of Population Health, said there is growing interest in the use of cannabidiol to treat various neurological disorders, but there are limitations due to it its poor absorption and sensitivity to light and gastric acid when taken orally.

“Cannabidiol occurs in medical cannabis and is a popular natural remedy for people with neurological and metabolic diseases. Due to limitations in absorption, we wanted to develop and test a new method of drug delivery, ”said Professor Takechi.

“Our team was able to significantly improve the absorption and release of cannabidiol in the brain by administering it in a novel microcapsule form in combination with a naturally occurring bile acid.

“With this new capsule shape, we were able to remarkably improve the release of cannabidiol in the brain in animal models by 40 times and we were also able to protect the drug from oxidation and degradation by light, which extends the shelf life of the product.”

Associate Professor Takechi said the results could be helpful to support the clinical use of medicinal cannabis in the treatment of neurological disorders.

“In this study we were able to show for the first time that a bile acid actually increases the absorption and retention of cannabidiol in the brain. This shows that bile acids could be used to improve the intake of cannabidiol when taken orally, particularly in the treatment of neurological disorders, ”said Professor Takechi.

“More research is needed to test whether this type of drug delivery could be successful in human studies, but our results are very promising.”

Dr. Oludare Odumosu, CEO of Zelira, said he was very pleased with the outcome of working with Associate Professor Takechi and his team.

The new encapsulation technology appears to significantly improve the efficiency with which cannabinoid-based drugs can be transported into the brain. This could improve the effectiveness of cannabinoid therapies in treating neurological disorders while reducing costs and increasing safety. “

Dr. Oludare Odumosu, CEO, Zelira

This research was a joint effort by researchers from CHIRI, Curtin Medical School, and the School of Population Health at Curtin University, the University of Newcastle and the University of Otago.

The full paper entitled “Sodium Alginate Microencapsulation Improves Short-Term Oral Bioavailability of Cannabidiol When Administered with Deoxycholic Acid” can be found online here.


Journal reference:

Majimbi, M., et al. (2021) Sodium alginate microencapsulation improves the short-term oral bioavailability of cannabidiol when administered with deoxycholic acid. PLUS ONE.

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