Posts tagged FDA
Miracle berries: the artificial sweetener that never was

The small, red berries of the _Richadella dulcifica_ plant are not very sweet. In fact, miraculin, the main chemical found in the berry's flesh tastes like, well, nothing. But after eating these berries, people's taste buds embark on an hour-long wild ride, so that any sour foods they eat -- even lemons -- will taste sweeter than candy. Quite trippy

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Finding the FDA's Drug Safety Information Online

A smart post by The Sunlight Foundation's Nancy Watzman has me thinking about what it really means to have access to all of our personal health data. In the past, I've myopically viewed personal health data as anything that my body produced, in one way or another, and now sits in my shadowy file at the doctor's office. Things like X-rays, MRIs, and blood test results. No doubt, I should have access to all of this information. What about prescription medication? Sure, I can easily make a list of the meds I'm currently taking, or get my doctor to hand this list over if memory fails me. But how much do I really know about these drugs? Most people, myself included, take our doctor's word when he or she decides to put us on a commonly prescribed medications. For example, let's say a patient has blood-work that shows elevated LDL cholesterol on two consecutive screenings, comes from a family where cardiovascular disease runs rampant, and was previously unable to regulate cholesterol levels with strict diet and exercise regimes. If the doctor prescribed Lipitor to treat the problem, a patient may not even think twice about taking it. After all, we see commercials for such drugs on our TV, and we flip past their ads in our magazines. Direct-to-consumer marketing by pharmaceutical companies makes drugs familiar and, presumably, safe.

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