November 11, 2013

The compound aegelin may be the culprit in this case of dietary supplement adulteration.     Photo: monticelllo/Thinkstock

OxyElite Pro Supplements Recalled

The FDA warns of liver illnesses

USPLabs LLC has recalled some of its OxyElite Pro dietary supplement products after the FDA threatened to forcibly halt distribution of all suspect products. Recalled items include OxyElite Pro Super Thermo capsules, OxyElite Pro Ultra-Intense Thermo capsules, and OxyElite Pro Super Thermo Powder—as disclosed in a list released by the FDA.

The FDA's suspicion was prompted by the Hawaii Department of Health revealing in September that 58 percent of their patients with liver illnesses had reportedly been taking an OxyElite Pro supplement. As of the end of last month, the number of liver illnesses in the U.S. linked to OxyElite Pro has risen from 27 to 56.

Professionals are not sure which compound in the product might be the cause of the outbreak, although speculation points to aegeline, an ingredient found in an Asian tree, about which little is known. 

“We will continue to work with our state, industry and regulatory partners to prevent such products from reaching the public,” said Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine Michael R. Taylor.

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Time to trade in your crossword for CrossFit.     Photo: A Health Blog/Flickr

Exercise is Good for Your Brain

We’ve heard it before, but here it is again

The evidence that physical activity benefits mental health just keeps piling up, most recently at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting, currently underway in San Diego.

Researchers at universities around the world have found that physical exercise can alleviate depression, slow age-related memory loss and thwart Parkinson-like symptoms, NPR reports.

“I think people underestimate how much the brain is involved in physical activity,” says Robin Callister of the University of Newcastle, who put people with major depressive disorder on an exercise program. After 12 weeks, 83 percent of participants were no longer categorized as depressed.

Similar findings have been found in rats: rodents that ran on a treadmill for four months scored higher on memory tests as they aged. They also had improved mobility, as well as more blood vessels and white matter in their brains.

If that’s not enough motivation to trade in your crossword for CrossFit, The New York Times reported Saturday that people who negotiate while moving get better results. Of course it helps to be confident going into a negotiation, say researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who advise channeling anxiety into excitement.

“Get on the treadmill, get your heart racing, and once it’s racing, appraise the feeling as excitement,” says Alison Wood Brooks, a scholar at Harvard Business School. “And then go forth and prosper.” 

Or try the Nature Cure...

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Commuters travel through Prospect Mira station in Moscow.     Photo: Stephen Kasica

30 Squats for a Subway Ticket

Moscow subway to reward good health

The Moscow subway system will begin to reward good health with free subway tickets. For just 30 squats, any subway user will be allowed to ride the Moscow subway for free. The squats will be judged and regulated by a new machine that will print a ticket after you complete the mini workout. The first machine was installed in the Vystavochnaya station on Friday, reports Russian news source Pravda.

Russian Olympic champions Alexei Nemov and Elena Zamolodchikova are supporting this squat-to-ride idea to promote better health—and crack down on fare dodgers. Moscow subways have been struggling for years to decrease the number of free-riders by implementing strict tactics and installing gates to prevent jumping, reports Pravda.

The first squat machine was installed on Friday, which will hopefully entice free-riders to stop for a workout. More machines will be installed throughout the Moscow subway by early December.

Video: Introduction of new squat machine at Vystavochnaya station. Please note: video is entirely in Russian


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A stretch of rainforest surrounded by area cut to farm cotton in Mato Grosso, Brazil. This kind of deforestation in the Amazon can affect precipitation in the United States, researchers recently concluded.     Photo: Pedro Biondi/Wikimedia

Amazon Logging Could Hurt Snowfall in U.S.

Sierra Nevada snowpack possibly reduced 50 percent

Clearcutting, logging, and burning in the Amazon may affect snowfall in the U.S., according to a report in the Journal of Climate.

Researchers estimate that deforestation in the Amazon could reduce snowpack in the Sierra Nevadas by 50 percent, affecting skiing at Heavenly, Mammoth Mountain, Lake Tahoe, and other resorts in the area. While the connection between deforestation and dry air has already been establish, this study finds that the El-Nino-like would ripple into the Western United States from December to February.

“The big point is that Amazon deforestation will not only affect the Amazon,” lead author David Medvigy, an assistant profession of geosciences at Princeton, said in a press release. “It will not be contained.”

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