Spring Issue April 2015
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Better Living Through Well Being

Feed a Bee is a major new initiative aimed at increasing forage acreage for honey bees and other pollinators. This collaboration between private enterprise, government, and nonprofit organizations aims to grow 50 million flowers in 2015. Thousands of acres of flower-producing crops will be grown for bees between regular crop production. The world population is expected to grow to over 9 billion people, requiring 70 percent more food by 2050. Now bees must work harder than ever before and they need more food. This program will provide pollinators with access to crucial pollen and nectar sources that they need to live and pollinate crops. People can request a free packet of wildflower seeds from www.FeedABee.com to either plant on their own or request the Feed a Bee initiative to plant on their behalf. Each packet contains about 200 seeds.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer has released its finding that glyphosate, the country’s most popular herbicide, causes cancer in humans. National public health and environmental groups are now calling on the EPA and the USDA to stop its use. For years, glyphosate has been claimed to have “low toxicity” and be “safer” than other chemicals, and it is widely used in food production and on lawns, gardens, parks, and children’s fields. The new findings note that glyphosate caused DNA and chromosomal damage in human cells. Epidemiologic studies have also found that exposure to gylphosate is associated with an increased risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Ecological data also reports that glyphosate and glyphosate formulated products are toxic to aquatic organisms and extremely lethal to amphibians. Given there are effective organic management system alternatives available that do not use glyphosate, it is time for the EPA and the USDA to take responsible action to cease the use of this hazardous and unnecessary pesticide.

Recognizing there is a need to break the silence for those who suffer from mental health issues, engage people to talk about mental health and learn how to help each other, Congress has passed the Mental Health First Aid Act. The National Council for Behavioral Health will be training three million people in Mental Health First Aid. These one or two day courses use role-play and simulation to demonstrate how to assess a mental health crisis, select interventions, provide initial help, and connect persons to professional, peer and social supports as well as self-help resources. Find out more at www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org .


Other articles of interest in this Spring 2015 TMIS eNewsletter:

* Consumer Reports, “Eat the Peach, Not the Pesticide: A Shopper’s Guide,” presents a risk guide to consumers for 48 fruits and vegetables from 14 countries and says although choosing organic is always the safest choice, in many cases conventional can be as low risk.

* A study released by 23 states that have legalized marijuana evaluates those state laws governing pesticide use, and finds the use of pesticides in the cultivation of cannabis has health implications for those growing the crop, and for users who are exposed to toxic residues through inhalation, ingestion, and absorption through the skin.

* A newly proposed bi-partisan bill would end the Federal ban on medical marijuana and allow patients, doctors and businesses in states that have already passed medical marijuana laws to participate in those programs without fear of Federal prosecution.

* A celebration of the benefits of organic to the environment, to our health, and of all those who make such work possible in the labs, the fields, and in the orchards brings a sold-out crowd to the annual fundraising event for The Organic Center.

* A national survey shows that Americans think Health Information Exchange should be free, and that personal medical data should be openly shared with their health care providers.

* A research organization examines issues associated with secondhand exposure to e-cigarette emissions and product marketing.

* The Sync Project maps music characteristics to real-time biometrics and objective measurements of physiology to enable the study of the therapeutic effect of music.


I am grateful to be in a collaborative business with many talented and skilled professionals. Additional feedback and recommendations for our products and services at TM Information Services are always welcome.

- Mary Michele McLaughlin

From the Front Page of TMIS News
Click on links below to view Full Stories.

Feed a Bee Commits to Grow 50 Million Flowers and Acreage for Bee Forage in 2015; Initiative Will Provide Pollinators with Needed Food as They Work Harder to Help Feed a Growing World Population
Triangle Park, North Carolina

Bayer CropScience is launching Feed a Bee., a major initiative to increase forage for honey bees and other pollinators, including growing 50 million flowers and providing additional forage acreage in 2015. By collaborating with organizations and individuals throughout the United States, Feed a Bee will help to provide pollinators with the food they need not only to survive, but to thrive. This is particularly important as the world population is expected to grow to over 9 billion people requiring 70 percent more food by 2050. As the world's most heavily traveled livestock, bees are transported to pollinate crops where resources are challenged to sustain large bee populations. Bees are working harder and need more food and more food diversity. Lack of adequate food is a significant stressor on honey bee health.

"Reduced bee habitat has decreased food options for bees at a time when agriculture and apiculture must work together to feed more people than ever," said Jim Blome, president and CEO of Bayer CropScience LP North America. "The Feed a Bee initiative provides opportunities for everyone to be a part of creating more forage for these amazing creatures."

The Feed a Bee initiative will work with people across the country to grow 50 million flowers and to increase bee forage areas. People can join this initiative by visiting www.FeedABee.com and requesting a free packet of wildflower seeds to plant on their own or by asking the Feed a Bee initiative to plant on their behalf, or by committing to grow bee-attractant plants. Each campaign packet contains about 200 seeds. As a result, for either seed packet planting action, a supporter will help provide honey bees with 200 additional flowers for forage. Visitors to the site can also commit to growing their own bee-attractant plants. The site features a ticker so supporters can view campaign progress and a collection of shareable facts about bee health and gardening tips.
Full Story

Glyphosate Classified Carcinogenic by International Cancer Agency, Group Calls on U.S. to End Herbicide's Use and Advance Alternatives
Washington, DC

A national public health and environmental group, Beyond Pesticides, is calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to stop the use of the country's most popular herbicide, glyphosate, in the wake of an international ruling that it causes cancer in humans. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) released its finding, concluding that there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity based on laboratory studies.

Glyphosate is touted as a "low toxicity" chemical and "safer" than other chemicals by EPA and industry and is widely used in food production and on lawns, gardens, parks, and children's playing fields. However, IARC's new classification of glyphosate as a Group 2A "probable" carcinogen finds that glyphosate is anything but safe. According to IARC, Group 2A means that the substance is probably carcinogenic to human based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. The agency considered the findings from an EPA Scientific Advisory Panel report, along with several recent studies in making its conclusion. The agency also notes that glyphosate caused DNA and chromosomal damage in human cells. Further, epidemiologic studies have found that exposure to glyphosate is significantly associated with an increased risk of non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma (NHL).

"With the cancer classification on top of the documented weed resistance to glyphosate and water contamination resulting from its use, continued reliance on glyphosate is irresponsible from a public health and environmental perspective," said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. "We have effective sustainable organic management systems that do not utilize glyphosate and it's time that EPA and USDA recognized its responsibility to move away from hazardous and unnecessary pesticides," he continued.
Full Story

First Lady: Mental Health First Aid "Really Gives You The Skills You Need to Identify - And Ultimately Help - Someone In Need."
Washington, DC

As First Lady Michelle Obama said today, "The National Council for Behavioral Health will be training three million people in Mental Health First Aid. I went through some of this training a few weeks ago and I saw just how useful it is. It really gives you the skills you need to identify, and ultimately help, someone in need. Because you never know when these kinds of skills might be useful."

We have to change the conversation around mental health. Addressing an audience of government, business and nonprofit leaders, First Lady Michelle Obama spoke about how we must flip the script in how we support and care for people with mental health and substance use needs, and exemplified Mental Health First Aid as a strategy to do just that.

Mental Health First Aid introduces people to risk factors and warning signs of mental health and substance use problems, and teaches them a five-step action plan to help people get the care they need in their community. This pioneering program gives people a tangible way to help others. It recognizes the resilience and strength of all of us fosters understanding, compassion and engagement in the community.
Full Story

Consumer Reports Examines Pesticide Use On Produce To Help Consumers Reduce Exposure Risk Guide for 48 Fruits and Vegetables from 14 Countries: Choosing Organic Always the Safest Choice but in Many Cases Conventional Can Be As Low Risk
Yonkers, New York

Fresh produce is an important part of a healthy diet. A new study by Consumer Reports looks at the risks of pesticide residues for 48 fruits and vegetables from around the globe to come up with guidelines to help consumers reduce their exposure to these toxic chemicals.

The full article, "Eat the Peach, Not the Pesticide: A Shopper's Guide," is featured in the May 2015 issue of Consumer Reports and at ConsumerReports.org. An accompanying 40-page report, "Pesticide Use in Produce," from Consumer Reports' Food Safety and Sustainability Center provides a closer look at the consequences of pesticide use for those who produce food, wildlife, and the environment.

Related to the study are results from two recent surveys each of more than 1,000 people by Consumer Reports National Research Center. In the survey conducted in April 2014, 89 percent of Americans noted that protecting the environment from chemicals such as pesticides is critical when purchasing food. In a related survey from November 2014, 85 percent of Americans said they are concerned about pesticides exposure in food; and a third of respondents to this same survey believe there is a legal limit on the number of different pesticides in food. But there isn't a legal limit on the number of different pesticides allowed on food. Consumer Reports analyzed data from United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and found that a third of the produce the agency tested had residues from two or more pesticides. And while for the most part these levels fell within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tolerance levels, these tolerance levels are calculated for individual pesticides. The effects of these pesticide combinations are untested and unknown notes Consumer Reports. The report by the Food Safety and Sustainability Center discusses the health effects from the use of pesticides that have been documented in farmworkers.
Full Story

As States Legalize Marijuana, Study Finds Uneven Pesticide Use Restrictions on Growing Practices, Safety Concerns, and Ecological Options
Washington, DC

Marijuana may be legal in your state for medicinal and recreational use, but are toxic pesticides used in its production? A study released today of the 23 states and the District of Columbia that have legalized marijuana finds a patchwork of state laws and evolving policy that define allowed pesticide use and management practices in cannabis production. This variety of state law is occurring in the absence of federal registration of pesticide use for cannabis production because of its classification as a narcotic under federal law. The investigation, Pesticide Use in Marijuana Production: Safety Issues and Sustainable Options, evaluates the state laws governing pesticide use in cannabis production where it is legalized.

"The use of pesticides in the cultivation of cannabis has health implications for those growing the crop, and for users who are exposed to toxic residues through inhalation, ingestion, and absorption through the skin," said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. "The good news is that five states and DC have adopted rules that require marijuana to be grown with practices that prevent the use of pesticides. State officials have an opportunity to restrict all pesticide use at the front end of a growing market, require the adoption of an organic system plan, and set a course to protect health and the environment," Mr. Feldman continued. The USDA certified organic seal will not be found on marijuana products because of their federal status.
Full Story

Cannabis Science (CBIS) Applauds 'Historic Step Forward For Nation's Suffering Patients As U.S. Senate Introduces A Medical Marijuana Bill To End Federal Prohibition
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Cannabis Science, Inc., a U.S. company specializing in the development of cannabis-based medicine, called today's introduction of a United States Senate bill that would end the federal ban on medical marijuana "a science-based blessing for patients across the United States" and a "common sense move that will contribute to significant new science-based research."

The bi-partisan bill was introduced at a press conference by Senators Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). It would also downgrade medical marijuana's Drug Enforcement Agency classification from Schedule 1 to Schedule 2, allowing doctors to recommend its use to some patients like veterans in need, enable more research, and ease banking issues in providing services to the industry. "The emotion of this tugs at your heart," said Sen. Paul.

"This is a medical treatment that has a medical effect," Sen. Gillibrand said of one cannabinoid medicine used to relieve a girl's seizures, hundreds each day. "And we should not have parents fearing that Child Services is going to be knocking on their door for trying to help their suffering children."

"This is history," said Raymond C. Dabney, Director, President & CEO and Co-Founder of Cannabis Science. "This is our best chance yet to get on with the work of relieving the suffering of children and veterans and patients across the United States. This legislation needs to see the light of day to encourage research, to bring investment into the field and to help beneficial medicines to get to the people who need them as quickly as possible."
Full Story

Sold-out crowd gathers to celebrate work of The Organic Center Annual fundraising event raises nearly $450,000 to support organic research projects
Washington, DC

It was a celebration of organic: of the benefits to the environment and to our health that organic provides, of the scientists and researchers whose dedicated work advances the organic sector, and of the generous sponsors who make that work possible in the labs, in the fields and in the orchards.

More than 500 supporters gathered for The Organic Center's Annual Benefit Dinner March 5 in Anaheim, California. The sold-out fundraiser, held in conjunction with Natural Products Expo West, this year raised nearly $450,000 for the work of the non-profit research and education organization. Additionally, almost a million people outside the gala ballroom had the chance to share in the event through social media.

Dinner speakers stressed the importance of the work of The Organic Center in educating the public about organic and the broad and real impact of organic on the environment, on ecosystems, and on human health. The Center now has several critical research projects underway: comparing soil health on organic and conventional farms, outlining antibiotic-free alternatives for controlling fire blight in organic apple and pear orchards, exploring decreasing arsenic uptake in organic rice systems, seeking organic solutions to citrus greening, and discerning the benefits of organic to pollinator populations.

"When we fight for organic food, it connects us to every living creature on the planet, from birds to frogs and pollinators, all those harmed by toxic pesticides," keynote speaker Anna Lappe, widely respected author and educator, food systems expert and sustainable foods activist, told dinner attendees. Lappe added, "You make history: with every company you build, every farmer you help, every study you commission to prove the power of organic farming." Chef Susan Feniger, a 30-year restaurant industry veteran, celebrity chef, and cookbook author who designed the all-organic menu for what was the largest dinner event of the five-day Expo, said she chose specific dishes related to The Center's research, including exotic citrus-inspired dishes in honor of citrus greening research and organic rice-based offerings in recognition of efforts to reduce arsenic uptake in organic rice.
Full Story

Americans Believe Personal Medical Data Should Be Openly Shared with Their Health Care Providers and National Survey Also Shows Americans Think Health Information Exchange Should be Free
Newburyport, Massachusetts

Nearly 75 percent of American adults surveyed believe it is very important that their critical health information should be easily shared between physicians, hospitals and other health care providers, according to a survey released today by the Society of Participatory Medicine and conducted by ORC International.

"What this survey points out is that when critical health information can't be shared across medical practices and hospitals, patients are put at risk," said Daniel Z. Sands, MD, MPH, co-founder and co-chair of the Society of Participatory Medicine and a practicing physician.

The survey also revealed that 87 percent of respondents are overwhelmingly against any fees being charged to either healthcare providers or patients for the transfer of critical health information.

Several independent sources have noted that doctors are forced to pay between $5,000 to $50,000 to set up connections allowing them to transmit information to blood and pathology laboratories, health information exchanges or governments. Sometimes additional fees are charged each time a doctor sends or receives data.

In addition, nearly 20% of Americans surveyed felt that they, or a family member, experienced a problem receiving medical care because their health records could not be shared between different healthcare providers. Yet according to a survey conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, 60% of providers face delays accessing current patient data and cited these limitations as a major barrier to effective use of health care information.

Dr. Sands went on to say, "We have the technology. What we need is for health care providers and systems developers to put patient interests ahead of business needs. None of them would exist were it not for the patients."
Full Story

Study shows electronic cigarette vapors contain toxins and have the potential to be a public health concern RTI International examines issues associated with secondhand exposure to e-cigarette emissions and product marketing
Triangle Park, North Carolina

On the heels of the Federal Drug Administration's (FDA) second public workshop to explore the public health considerations associated with e-cigarettes, nonprofit research organization RTI International released a new research paper "Exhaled Electronic Cigarette Emissions: What's Your Secondhand Exposure?," that explores the composition of e-cigarette vapor and the potential health impacts of secondhand exposure.

"As proliferation of e-cigarettes surges, understanding the health effects of e-cigarette use and exposure to vapors is essential," said Jonathan Thornburg, Ph.D., author of the study published by RTI Press, and director of Exposure and Aerosol Technology at RTI. "We need to be aggressively investing in and conducting research that answers lingering questions about the potential health impacts of secondhand exposure to e-cigarettes, while taking the necessary action to protect public health now."

The study finds e-cigarette emissions contain enough nicotine, and numerous other chemicals to cause concern. A non-user may be exposed to secondhand aerosol particles similar in size to tobacco smoke and diesel engine smoke. Meanwhile, e-cigarettes are a rapidly growing business with annual sales doubling yearly to $1 billion in 2013, and a current lack of regulation has allowed for a surge in marketing.

Because e-cigarette products are not yet regulated, the chemicals and devices involved vary widely, as may the potential health impacts. Many factors, including the specific device used, influence the chemical makeup and toxicity of e-cigarette emissions. The full scope of health impacts of e-cigarette smoke, as well as secondhand exposure's impacts on children, is still unknown.
Full Story

Introducing The Sync Project, a Global Collaboration Harnessing the Scientific Potential of Music for Health
Boston, Massachusetts

The Sync Project has announced the launch of its platform to scientifically measure and harness music to improve health. The platform maps music characteristics to real-time biometrics and objective measurements of physiology, enabling the study of the therapeutic effect of music at scale in large populations. It is designed for medical and health research, helping scientists, technologists and clinicians perform rigorous studies and accelerate the discovery of the clinical applications of music via solid scientific validation.

"People have always responded to music. Not just emotionally, but biologically," said Alexis Kopikis, Co-founder and CEO of The Sync Project. "Research has shown that music has a profound effect on the human brain. What scientists, engineers and clinicians want to understand is: how? How does music do that? If music can reach us physically, and we could find a way of decoding what music does, could we use music to improve health? We believe we can. And that's why we started The Sync Project."

"PureTech has several neuroscience related initiatives, in areas such as memory, cognition, and psychiatric disorders," said PureTech CEO and Sync Project Co-founder, Daphne Zohar. "There was intriguing research from McGill and other universities that showed that music can modulate neural systems like the dopamine response, autonomic nervous system, and others that are related to emotional processing and stress, for example."

The PureTech team did an extensive review of the scientific literature to support therapeutic use of music for different populations, and found that there was a mountain of research showing beneficial effects of music in specific conditions like pain and fatigue. While the overall evidence generally pointed toward positive effects of music across other conditions, some of the studies were not as well designed and lacked important controls.

"We realized there was a need for more rigorous studies in multiple contexts and populations," said Zohar. "Researchers lacked the tools necessary to conduct studies at scale. The Sync Project provides a platform that could enable a whole community of researchers and clinicians to run better studies and to discover the therapeutic characteristics of music in their conditions of interest."
Full Story

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