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ICAPO Wins Prize for Nonanimal Policymaking
The International Council for Animal Protection in OECD Programmes (ICAPO) won a $64,000 Lush Prize in November for outstanding contributions to replacing animal testing—specifically recommending policy reform that includes nonanimal test methods.
Since 2006, the Physicians Committee has served as the Secretariat of ICAPO, which works for the widest possible implementation of measures to replace, reduce, and refine animal tests within Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) guidelines and programs. The OECD is an intergovernmental organization headquartered in Paris that sets chemical testing guidelines worldwide. ICAPO is made up of groups from most OECD member countries, including in Europe, North America, and Asia.
“Body-on-a-Chip” Made on 3-D Printer
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine is developing a “body-on-a-chip” that will use 3-D printer technology to build a miniaturized system of human organs that can mimic the body’s response to chemicals.
Human cells will be used to create tiny organ-like structures that function like the heart, liver, lungs, and blood vessels. A 3-D printer will be used to place the structures onto 2-inch chips. The chips will be connected by a system of channels that guide the chemicals being tested from one tissue to the next, modeling the human organ system and its response to the chemicals.
Animal Testing Ending for Some Chinese Cosmetics
The Chinese government announced in November that domestically manufactured cosmetic products with “ordinary” purposes, such as soap and shampoo, will no longer be required to undergo animal tests. Companies will have the option to use nonanimal methods to prove safety. Cosmetic ingredients will continue to be animal tested, as will “special-use cosmetics” such as sunscreen, hair dye, and antiperspirant deodorants. In addition, imported cosmetics will continue to undergo required animal testing. Scientists from the Physicians Committee continue to work with U.S. and international regulators to show how cheaper and faster nonanimal methods produce more accurate information.
Harvard and AstraZeneca Collaborate on Organs-on-Chips
The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca are collaborating on new organs-on-chips to better predict drug safety in humans and reduce animal testing.
Human organs-on-chips are created from human cells and allow researchers to measure of the safety of potential new drugs in humans. The new Harvard-AstraZeneca collaboration will develop animal versions. These organs-on-chips could replace some animal experiments that regulators currently require before giving approval to test a new medicine in humans. AstraZeneca says the technology could play a critical role in both improving patient safety and reducing the need for animal testing.
No, Milk Products Don’t Actually “Build Strong Bones”
Drinking milk as a teenager does not prevent hip fractures later in life, according to a new Harvard study published in JAMA Pediatrics. Researchers analyzed diet and hip fracture risk for 96,000 postmenopausal women from the Nurses’ Health Study and men aged 50 years and older from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. While women saw no protective effect from consuming dairy products, men who consumed dairy products, including low-fat, skim, and whole milk and cheese products, had a 9 percent increased risk for hip fractures later in life from each additional serving beyond one serving consumed per day as a teen.
Feskanich D, Bischoff-Ferrari HA, Frazier L, Willett WE. Milk consumption during teenage years and risk of hip fractures in older adults. JAMA Pediatr. Published online November 18, 2013.
Consumption of red meat and processed meat products, like bacon, ham, and sausage, is associated with increased risk of death, according to a review published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Researchers looked at nine studies with years of follow-up ranging from 5.5 to 28 years to calculate a 23 percent increase in mortality risk for those consuming the most processed meat and a 29 percent increased risk for those consuming the most red meat, compared with those who consumed the least.
Larsson SC, Orsini N. Red Meat and processed meat consumption and all-cause mortality: a meta-analysis. Am J Epidemiol. Published online October 22, 2013.
Vegan Diets Keep You Slim and Healthy
People who follow vegan diets weigh less and have healthier diets overall, according to a recent study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Researchers collected data from 71,751 participants enrolled in the Adventist Health Study 2 for five years. Participants were categorized into five dietary patterns: vegan, lacto-ovo vegetarian, semi-vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian, and nonvegetarian. Those who followed nonvegetarian diets ate the most saturated fat and the least fiber, compared with the vegan group. The vegan group consumed the most beta-carotene, fiber, potassium, and magnesium, compared with all other dietary groups. The vegan group also had the healthiest body weight and the lowest prevalence of obesity.
Rizzo NS, Jaceldo-Siegl K, Sabate J, Fraser GE. Nutrient profiles of vegetarian and nonvegetarian dietary patterns continuing professional education (CPE) information. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2013;113:1610-1619.
Vegan Diets Improve Thyroid Function
Vegan diets protect against hypothyroidism, according to a new study published in the journal Nutrients. As part of the Adventist Health Study 2, 65,981 men and women completed diet questionnaires and reported whether they had been diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Compared with the omnivorous group, the vegan group had fewer diagnoses of hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland fails to produce enough of the hormones that are essential for a wide variety of functions in the body, including proper cardiac, nerve, gastrointestinal, and psychologic function.
Tonstad S, Nathan E, Oda K, Fraser G. Vegan diets and hypothyroidism. Nutrients. 2013;5:4642-4652.
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