IT’S A NO BRAINER! Action needed to stop children being exposed to chemicals that harm their brain development!

A report published today by CHEM Trust highlights how chemicals in food and consumer products used in homes, schools and offices could harm brain development in children.

The impacts – which may include ADHD and lower IQ – are avoidable and can prevent children reaching their full potential says CHEM Trust, in No Brainer: The impact of chemicals on children’s brain development: a cause for concern and a need for action.

Researchers have shown that many thousands of people have been exposed to now largely-banned chemicals such as lead and PCBs at high enough levels to have harmed their brain function. Now there is growing concern about the impacts of exposures to many of the ‘new’ chemicals in our 21st century lifestyles.

Chemicals of concern include brominated flame retardants (BFRs), a group of chemicals added to furniture, electronics and building materials, per- and poly- fluorocarbons (PFCs), used for non-stick coatings or breathable coatings in everyday products including packaging and clothes. Some chemicals in these groups are being phased out, but similar chemicals remain in everyday use.

The study also points out the unpleasant reality that children are constantly exposed to a cocktail of chemicals, which can act together, something which is still largely ignored by chemical safety laws.

CHEM Trust proposes a range of policies that could help address this challenge, for example faster regulatory action on groups of similar chemicals, and development of new methods for identifying chemicals of concern. They also include advice for consumers on how to reduce their exposure.

Dr Michael Warhurst, Executive Director of CHEM Trust, said:

“The brain development of future generations is at stake. We need EU regulators to phase out groups of chemicals of concern, rather than slowly restricting one chemical at a time. We cannot continue to gamble with our children’s health.”

The report has been peer reviewed by two eminent scientists in the field, Professor Philippe Grandjean and Professor Barbara Demeneix.

Prof Barbara Demeneix (Laboratory of Evolution of Endocrine Regulations, CNRS, Paris) said:

Chemical exposure is now at unprecedented levels, is multiple, ubiquitous, and present from conception onwards

Prof. Philippe Grandjean (Department of Environmental Medicine, University of Southern Denmark), added:

The current generation has the responsibility to safeguard the brains of the future
“I would insist that the Precautionary Principle must be applied in order to protect the next generation’s brains.”

 

Read More: http://snip.ly/maoou#http://www.chemtrust.org/brain/

 

Putting an effective complaint and recall management system in place

Putting an effective complaint and recall management system in place1

Complaints very strongly show a company how its products or services are perceived where it matters the most -in the customer’s mind. Complaint handling is one of the key indicators of how seriously a business takes its customers’ point of view. Complaints are to be expected from about any product; but their importance is all the more felt in an area like medical devices, because these products can affect the very life of their users.

In the context of medical devices; complaints are any communication made in writing, electronically or in verbal form about any of these aspects of a medical device after its release for the purpose of distribution: identity, quality, durability, reliability, safety, effectiveness, or performance

FDA and ISO standards

Shared medical knowledge benefits his coworkers and patients

The FDA has a very clear and well-defined set of regulatory guidelines on complaint handling in the field of medical devices. These are set out in FDA 21 CFR 820.198. The FDA requires medical device companies to also comply with ISO 13485:2016 Section 8.2.2., which suggests what document procedures to put in place to ensure timely handling of complaints in a compliant manner. Just how seriously the FDA takes complaint handling can be gauged from the fact that deficiency in complaint handling is one of the top reasons quoted for issuance of 483’s by the FDA.

Although complying with these regulations is a part of regulatory requirements; these regulations only mention what needs to be done in order to maintain a complaint and recall management system; how to do it is left to the individual medical device company. These regulations specify the exact elements of a complaint handling system, such as maintaining complaint files, proceeding about the complaints in a timely manner, documenting verbal complaints, and so on. However, it is up to the medical device manufacturer to implement the complaint handling and recall system in such a manner that it is perfectly streamlined and organized to the point where the complaint is handled exactly in the manner prescribed.

Full learning on how to implement an effective and compliant complaint and recall management system

The ways by which medical device companies can do this to optimize their complaint handling mechanism will be the teaching from a two-day seminar that GlobalCompliancePanel, a leading provider of professional trainings for all the areas of regulatory compliance, is organizing. At this seminar, John Kasoff, Director of Regulatory Affairs, Life-Tech, Inc. and Principal Consultant at Lean to Quality, LLC, who brings more than three decades of experience in Quality and Regulatory management, during which he has implemented and overseen quality system operations and assured compliance, at all companies of all sizes, from start-up to more than $100 million in revenue; will be the Director.

Putting an effective complaint and recall management system in place3

Please visit Putting an effective complaint and recall management system in place to enroll for this seminar and gain thorough understanding of how to put an effective complaint and recall management system in place. This seminar has been pre-approved by RAPS as eligible for up to 12 credits towards a participant’s RAC recertification upon full completion.

An activity that cuts across many cross functions

Jeff will emphasize the point that complaint handling is a highly coordinated, cross functional area for a medical device company’s Quality System. Almost all niche areas of the medical device company, such as customer service, sales and marketing, Regulatory Affairs, QA, R and D, and Quality Engineering, are involved in complaint handling. This makes the need for orchestrated coordination and synchrony between these departments a must, for if the complaint handling mechanism is not well lubricated; it is bound to make the complaint handling act a failure, inviting all the undesirable penal actions from the regulatory and enforcement agencies.

John will highlight the role and importance of each of these functions in complaint handling. In these, activities relating to defining, documenting, and implementing a complaint-handling system, the requirements for complaint review, investigation, and corrective action, as well as ISO-specific implications, will be discussed in detail.

Distinguishing between complaints and “non-complaints”

He will also explain what constitutes a complaint, and will suggest recommended practice on the ways of handling “non-complaint” feedback. He will also show how to apply risk management to a complaint handling system, and explain a specific risk management system to drive home this point.

A substantial part of this seminar will be spent on making a streamlined review of the regulations, at which the critical process requirements for compliance with the regulations will be examined in detail. Jeff will offer straightforward and compliant recommendations for the methods of documentation relating to complaint records, root cause investigations, and corrective actions, and show how to apply risk management principles to complaint investigation.

To join us for more information, get in touch

The science of Sad: understanding the causes of ‘winter depression’

The science of Sad

For many of us in the UK, the annual ritual of putting the clocks back for daylight saving time can be accompanied by a distinct feeling of winter blues as autumn well and truly beds in. This might be felt as a lack of energy, reduced enjoyment in activities and a need for more sleep than normal. But for around 6% of the UK population and between 2-8% of people in other higher latitude countries such as Canada, Denmark and Sweden, these symptoms are so severe that these people are unable to work or function normally. They suffer from a particular form of major depression, triggered by changes in the seasons, called seasonal affective disorder or Sad.

In addition to depressive episodes, Sad is characterised by various symptoms including chronic oversleeping and extreme carbohydrate cravings that lead to weight gain. As this is the opposite to major depressive disorder where patients suffer from disrupted sleep and loss of appetite, Sad has sometimes been mistakenly thought of as a “lighter” version of depression, but in reality it is simply a different version of the same illness. “People who truly have Sad are just as ill as people with major depressive disorder,” says Brenda McMahon, a psychiatry researcher at the University of Copenhagen. “They will have non-seasonal depressive episodes, but the seasonal trigger is the most common. However it’s important to remember that this condition is a spectrum and there are a lot more people who have what we call sub-syndromal Sad.”

Around 10-15% of the population has sub-syndromal Sad. These individuals struggle through autumn and winter and suffer from many of the same symptoms but they do not have clinical depression. And in the northern hemisphere, as many as one in three of us may suffer from “winter blues” where we feel flat or disinterested in things and regularly fatigued.

Putting the clocks back for daylight saving time can be accompanied by a distinct feeling of winter blues.

One theory for why this condition exists is related to evolution. Around 80% of Sad sufferers are women, particularly those in early adulthood. In older women, the prevalence of Sad goes down and some researchers believe that this pattern is linked to the behavioural cycles of our ancient ancestors. “Because it affects such a large proportion of the population in a mild to moderate form, a lot of people in the field do feel that Sad is a remnant from our past, relating to energy conservation,” says Robert Levitan, a professor at the University of Toronto. “Ten thousand years ago, during the ice age, this biological tendency to slow down during the wintertime was useful, especially for women of reproductive age because pregnancy is very energy-intensive. But now we have a 24-hour society, we’re expected to be active all the time and it’s a nuisance. However, as to why a small proportion of people experience it so severely that it’s completely disabling, we don’t know.”

There are a variety of biological systems thought to be involved, including some of the major neurotransmitter systems in the brain that are associated with motivation, energy and the organisation of our 24-hour circadian rhythms. “We know that dopamine and norepinephrine play critical roles in terms of how we wake up in the morning and how we energise the brain,” Levitan says. One particular hormone, melatonin, which controls our sleep and wake cycles, is thought to be “phase delayed” in people with severe Sad, meaning it is secreted at the wrong times of the day.

Another system of particular interest relates to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates anxiety, happiness and mood. Increasing evidence from various imaging and rodent studies suggests that the serotonin system may be directly modulated by light. Natural sunlight comes in a variety of wavelengths, and it is particularly rich in light at the blue end of the spectrum. When cells in the retina, at the back of our eye, are hit by this blue light, they transmit a signal to a little hub in the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus that integrates different sensory inputs, controls our circadian rhythms, and is connected to another hub called the raphe nuclei in the brain stem, which is the origin of all serotonin neurons throughout the brain. When there is less light in the wintertime, this network is not activated enough. In especially susceptible individuals, levels of serotonin in the brain are reduced to such an extent that it increases the likelihood of a depressive episode.

The most popular treatments for Sad is bright-light therapy.

Read More: http://snip.ly/25gi4#https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/oct/30/sad-winter-depression-seasonal-affective-disorder

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The use of Applied Statistics for FDA Process Validation

Why you Should be Worried about HIPAAThe use of Applied Statistics for FDA Process Validation is considered a matter of very high importance in the pharmaceutical industry. The FDA’s guidance for the industry, which it called “Process Validation: General Principles and Practices”, was set up in 2011. This guideline sets the framework for Process Validation in the pharmaceutical industry. The FDA prescribes a three-stage process that any organization in the pharmaceutical industry has to set up:

  1. Process Design
  2. Process Qualification
  • Continued Process Verification.

The Process Design stage, which is called Stage 1, is when the organization defines the commercial manufacturing process. The knowledge that the organization has gained through development and scale-up activities serves as the basis for the development of this definition.

The Process Qualification, or Stage 2, involves evaluating the process design for the purpose of determining if the process defined in Stage I has the capability for reproducible commercial manufacturing.

The next stage of the FDA process validation stage is to determine if the Process Design stage and the Process Qualification stage give the ongoing assurance that the process remains in a state of control during routine production. This is what Stage 3, the Continued Process Verification, does.

Thorough understanding of how to implement Applied Statistics for FDA Process Validation

GMPs for Combination Products and 505(b)(2) Products

The ways of using Applied Statistics for FDA Process Validation will be the topic of a two-day seminar that GlobalCompliancePanel, a leading provider of professional trainings for the regulatory compliance areas, will be organizing. At this seminar, Richard Burdick, Emeritus Professor of Statistics, Arizona State University (ASU) and former Quality Engineering Director for Amgen, Inc., will be the Director.

Please visit http://www.globalcompliancepanel.com/control/globalseminars/~product_id=901132SEMINAR?wordpress-SEO to register for this meaningful and highly valuable seminar on applied statistics for process validation. This course has been pre-approved by RAPS as eligible for up to 12 credits towards a participant’s RAC recertification upon full completion.

A methodical approach to implementing statistical methodologies

Top 20 Costly Mistakes

The focus of this two-day course on Applied Statistics for FDA Process Validation is the various ways by which a systematic approach to implementing statistical methodologies into a process validation program consistent with the FDA guidance can be established.

Dr. Burdick will begin with a primer on statistics, where he will explain how the methods of Applied Statistics for FDA Process Validation seminar can be applied in each remaining chapter.

The two fundamental requirements for Process Validation, namely the application of statistics for setting specifications and assessing measurement systems (assays), will be taken up next.

The next aspect of applied statistics Dr. Burdick will move on to is how to apply statistics through the three stages of process validation as defined by requirements in the process validation regulatory guidance documents.

Since the methods taught through all these three stages are recommended by regulatory guidance documents; this seminar on Applied Statistics for FDA Process Validation will provide references to the specific citations in the guidance documents.

The aim of this learning on Applied Statistics for FDA Process Validation is to lead participants into ways of establishing a systematic approach to implementing statistical methodologies into a process development and validation program that is consistent with the FDA guidance.

Complete learning on Applied Statistics for FDA Process Validation

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Over the two days of this seminar, the participants will learn how to:

  • Apply statistics for setting specifications
  • Assess measurement systems (assays)
  • Use Design of Experiments (DOE)
  • Develop a control plan as part of a risk management strategy, and
  • Ensure process control/capability.

All concepts at this Applied Statistics for FDA Process Validation seminar are taught within the three-stage product cycle framework defined by requirements in the process validation regulatory guidance documents.

Although aimed at the pharmaceutical industry, this seminar on Applied Statistics for FDA Process Validation provides a useful framework for other related industries, as well.

In this important learning on Applied Statistics for FDA Process Validation; Dr. Burdick will cover the following areas:

  • Apply statistics to set specifications and validate measurement systems (assays)
  • Develop appropriate sample plans based on confidence and power
  • Implement suitable statistical methods into a process validation program for each of the three stages
  • Stage 1, Process Design: utilize risk management tools to identify and prioritize potential critical process parameters; and define critical process parameters and operating spaces for the commercial manufacturing process using design of experiments (DOE)
  • Stage 2, Process Qualification: assess scale effects while incorporating large (pilot and/or commercial) scale data; develop process performance qualification (PPQ) acceptance criteria by characterizing intra and inter-batch variability using process design data and batch homogeneity studies; and develop an appropriate sampling plan for PPQ
  • Stage 3, Continued Process Verification: develop a control plan as part of a risk management strategy; collect and analyze product and process data; and ensure your process is in (statistical) control and capable.

keep enhancing FDA Process Validation

Second Death From Flesh-Eating-Bacteria Infection After Hurricane Harvey Is Reported

 

A 31-year-old man who helped to repair homes in Galveston, Texas after flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey was recently diagnosed with flesh-eating bacteria and died on October 16th after being admitted to a hospital on October 10th, according to a statement released by health officials in Galveston on Monday.

He is the second person to die from flesh-eating bacteria since Hurricane Harvey struck the Gulf Coast. Two weeks ago, a 77 year old woman died after a fall inside her flooded home in which she cut her arm and subsequently contracted the flesh-eating bacteria.

When the man initially presented to the hospital on October 10th, officials described an infected wound affecting the upper portion of his left arm.

The aggressive and deadly soft tissue infection is formally referred to as necrotizing fasciitis . It’s a rare infection under normal circumstances, but if promptly recognized, diagnosed and treated with the appropriate antibiotics and surgery to remove dead or dying tissue, the majority of patients recover without any serious consequences.

Necrotizing fasciitis, or “nec fasc”, is most commonly caused by Group A Strep , but a mixed infection with anaerobic bacteria including Clostridium may also develop, leading to what is commonly known as gas gangrene. Necrotizing fasciitis causes pain out of proportion in the affected area, relative to the degree of injury.

A cut, scrape, puncture or any break in the skin may serve as a portal of entry for the dangerous bacteria, which then leads to destruction of blood vessels, fat, nerves and a white fibrous covering of the muscle known as the fascia. The infection then proceeds to enter the muscle, compromising blood flow and leading to death of the tissue.

Its important to realize that bacteria don’t actually digest the tissue, but instead produce a deadly toxin that is responsible for the extensive tissue damage.

As the bacteria enter the bloodstream, fever, chills and vomiting may rapidly develop, leading to a dangerous condition known as sepsis which is characterized by low blood pressure, rapid and difficult breathing and confusion.

Early warning signs include severe pain and tenderness in the infected area, spreading redness and warmth and blue to purple skin discoloration, with darkened tissue in the later stages. The presence of gas or air in the soft tissue known as “crepitus” produces a crackling sound or crunching sensation if the area of skin is palpated. An abscess containing pus may also form as the infection becomes more organized.

Necrotizing fasciitis is a surgical emergency. Aggressive fluid resuscitation along with broad spectrum antibiotics must be started promptly with emergent preparation for surgery to remove or debride the affected area in order to contain the infection.

Persons with diabetes, chronic kidney disease and cancer who are receiving chemotherapy are most at risk for complications, due to poor blood supply to skin, muscle and soft tissue from having such chronic conditions.

Flood waters harboring bacteria (from sewage), along with dirty surfaces or debris contacting the victim’s initial cut or injury, likely led to the onset of this aggressive and deadly infection. As a general rule, it’s best to keep all cuts or blisters covered with a dry gauze and waterproof type dressing if there is any potential to come in contact with floodwater or dirty surfaces or debris.

The CDC describes about 700-1,110 cases annually in the U.S., the result of an active surveillance and reporting network that is set up to monitor such aggressive infections.

Cases of typhoid and cholera, invasive and aggressive diarrheal illnesses typically associated with floods in developing countries, never materialized after the hurricane, according to data from the CDC. In addition, cases of tetanus, which can develop from heavily contaminated wounds after soil exposure, have generally not been a concern with such flooding in the U.S., as supported by data from the CDC.

“Necrotizing fasciitis is caused by strep group A (flesh-eating bacteria) or anaerobic bacteria which thrive in areas without oxygen,” said Debra Spicehandler, MD, Co-Chief of Infectious Diseases, Northern Westchester Hospital.  ”Antibiotics are important but swift surgical debridement is necessary. The cases caused by strep release a toxin which can also cause systemic effects and organ failure leading to mortality.”

Read More: http://snip.ly/rjcse#https://www.forbes.com/forbes/welcome/?toURL=https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertglatter/2017/10/25/second-victim-of-flesh-eating-bacteria-after-hurricane-harvey-dies/&refURL=&referrer=

Heart surgery survival chances ‘better in the afternoon’

Heart surgery.jpg

Open heart surgery appears to be safer in the afternoon because of the body’s internal clock, scientists have said.

The body clock – or circadian rhythm – is the reason we want to sleep at night, but it also drives huge changes in the way our bodies work.

The research, published in the Lancet, suggests the heart is stronger and better able to withstand surgery in the afternoon than the morning.

And it says the difference is not down to surgeons being tired in the morning.

Doctors need to stop the heart to perform operations including heart valve replacements. This puts the organ under stress as the flow of oxygen to the heart tissue is reduced.

The doctors and researchers looked for complications including heart attacks, heart failure or death after surgery. They found:

  • 54 out of 298 morning patients had adverse events
  • 28 out of 298 afternoon patients had adverse events
  • Afternoon patients had around half the risk of complications
  • One major event would be avoided for every 11 patients operated on in the afternoon

One of those involved in the research, Prof Bart Staels, from the Institut Pasteur de Lille, told the BBC News website: “We don’t want to frighten people from having surgery – it’s life saving.”

He also said it would be impossible for hospitals to conduct surgery only after lunch.

But Prof Staels added: “If we can identify patients at highest risk, they will definitely benefit from being pushed into the afternoon and that would be reasonable.”

Obesity and type 2 diabetes have been shown to increase the risk of complications after surgery.

Heart health is already known to fluctuate over the course of a day.

The risk of a heart attack or stroke is highest first thing in the morning, while the heart and lungs work at their peak in the afternoon.

 The risk of a heart attac.jpg

Dr John O’Neill, from the UK Medical Research Council’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology, said: “Scientifically it is not hugely surprising, because just like every other cell in the body, heart cells have circadian rhythms that orchestrate their activity.

“Our cardiovascular system has the greatest output around mid/late-afternoon, which explains why professional athletes usually record their best performances around this time.”

Other possible explanations for the findings included surgeons being tired in the morning or their own body clock affecting their surgical skill, particularly if they are not “morning people”.

Read More: http://snip.ly/lr9h9#http://www.bbc.com/news/health-41763958

Gaining The Upper Hand In The New Healthcare Marketing Landscape

Corey Quinn is the CMO at Scorpion, an internet marketing company with offices located across the U.S.

Patient behaviors and expectations are changing rapidly — and as a result, so is the world of healthcare marketing.

With the rise of urgent care centers, retail clinics and telemedicine in recent years, consumers now have access to a more diverse array of healthcare options. They are also more involved with their care decisions due to higher health insurance premiums and co-pays. Furthermore, they have grown accustomed to finding answers to their healthcare-related questions in a matter of moments thanks to the internet.

https://d-33668301202314900860.ampproject.net/1508794187431/frame.html

Unfortunately, there are still many healthcare organizations that have failed to adapt. Is yours one of them? If so, this has placed you at a significant disadvantage in your industry, which is only becoming increasingly competitive. Today, healthcare providers need to stay 10 steps ahead with healthcare marketing strategies or risk becoming irrelevant — or at least less visible — to prospective patients.

Let’s explore three key strategies your organization can implement to gain the upper hand in the new healthcare marketing landscape.

1. Be present where the attention is: online.

There’s no doubt about it — attention has shifted to the internet. Consider the fact that 88% of U.S. adults use the internet today, compared to just 52% in 2000, according to data from Pew Research Center. And this trend isn’t limited to younger generations: Americans age 65 and older have been identified as the demographic with the fastest internet usage adoption rate since 2000.

Prospective patients are now more inclined to use the internet to look up information related to their healthcare. Google reported that one in every 20 Google searches are for health-related information, and a Pew Research Center survey found that 62% of smartphone owners have looked up health information on their phones within the past year.

https://d-33668301202314900860.ampproject.net/1508794187431/frame.html

With the upswing in popularity of mobile devices, accessing the internet has become easier than ever — making it inevitable that patients will continue to rely more heavily on digital media.

The best way for healthcare organizations to reach their ideal audiences and increase brand awareness is to go where patients are already dedicating their attention. They need to invest in more online marketing efforts and claim a presence across various digital channels, from their websites to search engines to social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

2. Think about the patient’s online experience.

Remember, online user experience matters — just like patient satisfaction matters in the treatment room. In many cases, prospective patients will research your healthcare services and facilities online before scheduling an appointment. If their first experience interacting with your organization is a negative one (even if it’s online), they may be left with a poor impression and choose another provider.

Here are a few questions to consider:

Does my website have a modern and mobile-friendly design?

https://d-33668301202314900860.ampproject.net/1508794187431/frame.html

Is it easy and intuitive to navigate?

Does it immediately answer the visitor’s most important questions?

Are my social media posts and ads relevant to my target audience?

Are my posts and ads actually driving engagement?

Forbes Communications Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?