Daily Rounds: Energy Drink Deaths; Scramble For Meds; Smoking (Pot) In Seattle; Alzheimer’s InflammationGene

Caffeinated Drink Cited In Reports Of 13 Deaths (The New York Times) — “Federal officials have received reports of 13 deaths over the last four years that cited the possible involvement of 5-Hour Energy, a highly caffeinated energy shot, according to Food and Drug Administration records and an interview with an agency official. The disclosure of the reports is the second time in recent weeks that F.D.A. filings citing energy drinks and deaths have emerged. Last month, the agency acknowledged it had received five fatality filings mentioning another popular energy drink, Monster Energy. Since 2009, 5-Hour Energy has been mentioned in some 90 filings with the F.D.A., including more than 30 that involved serious or life-threatening injuries like heart attacks, convulsions and, in one case, a spontaneous abortion, a summary of F.D.A. records reviewed by The New York Times showed.”

Shutdown Spurs Hunt For Medication Sources (The Boston Globe) — “Hospitals and the government are devising plans to ensure an uninterrupted supply of critical medications after the disclosure of numerous problems with sterility procedures at Ameridose LLC, a major drug supplier that suspended operations after the national meningitis outbreak. Ameridose — a sister company of the Framingham phamacy that produced contaminated steroids blamed for hundreds of cases of meningitis and more than 30 deaths — is slated to remain closed until Monday, but its reopening date is now in question. A spokesman for the state Department of Public Health said in an e-mail the date is “under review.”

What Are They Smoking In Seattle? (NPR) — “We love when police departments put some personality and pizzazz into their public statements. So the Seattle Police Department’s blog post headlined “Marijwhatnow? A Guide to Legal Marijuana Use In Seattle,” definitely got our attention. Written to help explain what happens now that Washington State voters have approved Initiative 502, which decriminalizes possession of small amounts of marijuana (effective on Dec. 6), the post has a bit of attitude. Some of the Q&As: “Can I legally carry around an ounce of marijuana? “According to the recently passed initiative, beginning December 6th, adults over the age of 21 will be able to carry up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use. Please note that the initiative says it “is unlawful to open a package containing marijuana…in view of the general public,” so there’s that. Also, you probably shouldn’t bring pot with you to the federal courthouse (or any other federal property).”

Inflammation Gene Defect Linked To Alzheimer’s In Study (Bloomberg) — “A newly discovered gene variant may point to another route Alzheimer’s disease takes to ravage the brain: through the immune system. The variant, found in less than 1 percent of the population, almost triples the odds of Alzheimer’s disease among its carriers, according to papers published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The findings may provide clues to how the aging brain functions. The gene helps regulate inflammation, the process by which the body protects itself from invaders. The results released yesterday are encouraging for researchers targeting the immune system as playing a role in the mind-wasting disease, said Norman Relkin, the director of the Memory Disorders Program and a neurologist at New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.”

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