Author Archive: LDC

Two Blogs Become One

ID-100296022Dear Friends,

For the past 3 years we kept two separate blogs and social media platforms to share the news coming from our Center for Drug Information and Natural Products.

We have made a decision to merge the posts from our Drug Information and Natural Products divisions to provide you with more comprehensive news and updates.

To continue getting our posts, please follow us on Thank you and warmest wishes to you from snow-covered Boston!

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Last Class Spring 2014 – Herb Walk

As a tradition for our Final Exam week, students go on a nice herb walk in this area.  This year our herb walk was scheduled for Wednesday, April 29th and Stephanie Zabel from Herbstalk was our lovely guide.  It was uncharacteristically cold, but thankfully the rain ended earlier in the morning. For those who were not able to join us, one of our graduating students took amazing pictures.  Enjoy the spirit of the Spring!

Images courtesy Danh Nguyen 2014





A Longitudinal Analysis of Electronic Cigarette Use and Smoking Cessation

dstockzlaja-i-pedjaset2pedja-no-2stock-4-100229272The latest Journal of American Medical Association published a longitudinal analysis evaluating the smoking cessation rates in close to 1600 current smokers using electronic cigarettes. The authors stated that the study did not achieve statistical power, but contributed to the building evidence that e-cigarettes do not increase smoking cessation rates, as often suggested by manufacturers. What is your experience with e-cigarettes – personally or with your patients? Would your current recommendations change after reading this survey?

For additional information, please see JAMA.

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Steep Increase in ADHD Diagnoses

stressed-out-primary-girl-child-holding-her-head-100155111The Journal of American Medical Association published recent findings from the National Survey of Children’s Health.  When the data was compared between 2003 and 2011, a significant increase in diagnosis of Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder and medication use among children and teenagers were reported.  Some potential reasons include – physicians are more comfortable with the diagnosis and treatment and there is an increased awareness of this condition.  How often do you talk to parents of these patients about potential alternatives for their ADHD medications?

For additional information please see JAMA.

Image courtesy of [stockimages]/

Red light, green light: Food choice made easier

woman-buying-salad-10039141A new study was just published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine describing a system called “Green Light, Red Light, Eat Right.”   Massachusetts General Hospital researchers implemented the system in the hospital cafeteria where healthy foods were marked with green stickers, while less nutritious items carried red stickers on them.  The experiment was performed over a period of 2 years with researchers monitoring the patterns of food consumption.  Overall sales of green foods went up by 5% and sales of red foods went down by 3%, however employees’ consumption of “red” items went down by 20%.  Authors invite readers to implement a similar system even in their households creating “green” and “red” shelves in their refrigerators. How often do you speak with your patients about healthier food selection?  What are your typical recommendations for your patients?

For additional information, please see CNN.

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FDA Targets Trans Fat in Processed Foods

>Last week the Food and Drug Administration has announced its plan to ban trans fat in processed foods.  The decision comes based on the research and evidence related to increased morbidity and mortality (additional 7,000 deaths related to cardiovascular events and 20,000 heart attacks per year.)  Trans fats are found in foods such as donuts, frozen pizza, frosting, microwaveable popcorn and other. It is important to remind patients that the removal of trans fats from these products does not produce foods that are superior to healthier, plant-based choices. How do you typically educate your patients on how to read and understand nutrition labels?

For additional information, please click here.

New federal rules require healthier school snacks

The USDA’s new nutrition standards “Smart Snacks in School”, set limits for fat, salt and  sugar in food and beverages sold in schools.  Foods must contain  at least 50% whole grains or have a fruit, vegetable, dairy or protein as the first ingredient or at least ¼ cup of fruit/vegetables.  Beverages allowed include low calorie sport drinks, low-fat and fat-free milk, 100% fruit and vegetable juice, and no-calorie flavored waters.   This is the first nutritional overhaul of school snacks in more than 30 years and school and food and beverage companies must be in compliance by July 1, 2014. How do you feel about this new public policy?  When do you expect to see its outcomes?

For more information, see the article on CNN.

Environmental Working Group (EWG) Publishes 2013 Guide to Sunscreens

Just in time for summer, the EWG lists ingredients to avoid and best products available.  Take a look at the link to help your patients select the best product for their needs. How familiar are you with hazardous ingredients commonly found in your typical sunscreens?

To learn more about Environmental Working Group, please click here.

Congratulations to MCPHS Doctor of Pharmacy Graduates Class 2013!

We send our best wishes to the Doctor of Pharmacy Graduates Class 2013, and hope that you and your families enjoy the Hooding and Awards and Commencement ceremonies.  Congratulations on your achievement!!!

NIH study provides clarity on supplements for protection against blinding eye disease

The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) 2 was just published.  The initial AREDS research looked at the daily doses of vitamins E and C, along with beta-carotene, zinc and cooper to diminish progression to advanced Acute Macular Degeneration.  Safety of some ingredients of the combination was later questioned based on other research.  AREDS2 evaluated if addition of fish oil, lutein, zeaxanthin, as well as removal of beta-carotene, zinc and copper will improve the combination. More than 4000 patients ages 50-85 participated.  Combination of AREDS supplements appeared to be protective against advanced AMD. Omega-3 fatty acids and beta-carotene did not reduce the risk of progression to advanced AMD, but substitution of lutein and zeaxanthin for beta-carotene was a positive move.  None of the groups with new formulations had reduced risk of progression to cataract surgery, but those taking lutein and zeaxanthin had some protection. What are your thoughts about the results of this research?  What other recommendations do you make to your patients?

To learn more about this research, please see National Institutes of Health.