From O’S News Service

Is Miralax Safe for Children?

The laxative Miralax and its generic versions contain an active ingredient, polyethylene glycol (PEG 3350), that may be associated with behavioral changes in children. “For years the FDA has received occasional reports of tremors, tics and obsessive-compulsive behavior in children given laxatives containing PEG 3350,” according to Catherine Saint Louis of the NY Times. 

The Empire State Consumer Project petitioned the FDA in 2012 to investigate the safety of PEG 3350 and the rate at which it is absorbed in the intestines of infants and children. The agency has now made a small grant to researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to study the question. 

A sickening side note: “Buried in the agency’s brief to researchers… was some disquieting news. The FDA said that it had texted eight batches of Miralax and found tiny amounts of ethylene glycol (EG) and diethtylene glycol (DEG), ingredients in anti-freeze, in all of them. The agency said the toxins were impurities resulting from the manufacturing process.”

Saint Louis quotes a tummy doc saying, “Every pediatric GI physician, I would guarantee you, has told a family this is a safe product.”  She seems surprised, herself, to learn that “As it turns out, extremely small amounts of DEG and EG are permitted in finished drug products… No detectable amount of either chemical should be present in food or medication, said Jon Clark, the vice president for chemical medicines and external development at U.S. Pharmacopeia, a non-profit that sets quality standards for medicines and other products.

“Psychiatric illnesses like those reported in children taking the laxatives have also been observed in cases in which a child took substantial amounts of ethylene glycol…”

Merck acquired Schering Plough, the makers of Miralax, in 2008. “Officials at Merck declined to comment on the impurities discovered by the FDA.”  But the impurities are only a sidebar —the question is whether the product is inherently unsafe when given to chronically constipated children.  Get the straight poop here. 


Avoiding regulations by ‘editing’ genes

From the New York Times January 1, 2015:

Scotts and several other companies are developing genetically modified crops using techniques that either are outside the jurisdiction of the Agriculture Department or use new methods — like “genome editing” — that were not envisioned when the regulations were created.

The department has said, for example, that it has no authority over a new herbicide-resistant canola, a corn that would create less pollution from livestock waste, switch grass tailored for biofuel production, and even an ornamental plant that glows in the dark.

The trend alarms critics of biotech crops, who say genetic modification can have unintended effects, regardless of the process.

Read the whole ominous story here.

“Skip Your Annual Physical” says Dr. Emanuel 

One brother, Rahm, is the mayor of Chicago. Another is a powerful Hollywood agent. And Ezekiel Emanual is an oncologist and vice prost at the University of Pennsylvania. This January 9 op-ed in the NY Times states that 45 million Americans have a routine physical exam every year, but “From a health perspective, the annual physical exam is basically worthless.”  He challenges advocates of the tradition to confirm its usefulness with data. 

Skip the Office Visit Entirely, says Dr. Topol

A doctor named Eric Topol, who is on Dr. Emanuel’s wavelength, has written a book called “The Patient Will See You Now.” According to a caustic review in the Times by Abigail Zuger, MD, “Soon there will be no more demeaning, time-wasting visits to a doctor’s office. A smartphone outfitted with the right apps and attachments will easily substitute, analyzing, explaining and transmitting relevant physiological data to the doctor, generally without the need for the patient’s corporeal presence.”