Weekly Roundup 11/11/11

Our first snow fall is behind us.  The palette of vivid colors that hung on the trees has begun to fade.  The clock has fallen backward, meaning many of us are waking up earlier and tiring more quickly.  It is dark when we leave the house and dark when we get home and already some of us are anticipating the time when the clock springs forward even as the shortest day of the year still lies nearly six weeks away.

And in addition, here is a bit of what happened this week that I thought was interesting:

  • FDA Plans for Tobacco Packaging Blocked by Court – Back in June the FDA unveiled its proposed highly graphic warnings for cigarette packaging, seeking to put it into place some time in 2012.  This week a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order against the FDA’s implementation of the packaging stating that the tobacco companies that had brought suit based on First Amendment grounds demonstrated that they would likely prevail.
  • FDA Sends Out a LOT of Warning Letters – And speaking of smoking, the agency said this week that it sent out Warning Letters to more than 1,200 retailers regarding violations involving the sale of tobacco to minors.  The agency also said that FDA-commissioned officials conducted more than 27,500 checks but did not say over what course of time.  The agency published the entire list and also provides the means to search the list for a retailer near you.  And you can read the actual letters here.
  • FDA Approves First Cord Blood Product – Yesterday the FDA announced the approval of HEMACORD the first licensed hematopoietic progenitor cells-cord (HPC-C) cell therapy.  According to the agency’s release on the approval, the product will be used to treat patients with certain blood cancers and some inherited metabolic and immune system disorders.  There are three sources of HPCs used in transplants – bone marrow, peripheral blood and cord blood.  When infused into the patient, according to the FDA, “the cells migrate to the bone marrow where they divide and mature.  When the mature cells move into the bloodstream they can partially or fully restore the number and function f many blood cells, including immune function.”  The approval came with a boxed warning.
  • FDA Study Shows Difference in Immune Response to 2009 H1N1 PandemicThe agency released information on a study that showed for the first time that people 65 and older mounted a more effective antibody response to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic flu outbreak meaning that they had less illness and death than younger ages.  The study also showed a difference in the response between men and women, perhaps explaining why infection rates were higher in 2009 for young women.

That’s it for me this week.  Today is Veteran’s Day.  Accordingly, to all the men and women who are veterans and to their families and loved ones out there, a heartfelt thanks to you all for all of you effort, bravery and sacrifice.

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