FDA approves controversial testosterone drug

Drugmaker Endo Pharmaceuticals announced Thursday that it received U.S. approval for its long-acting testosterone injection Aveed, which joins a crowded field of hormone-boosting drugs aimed at aging American men.

The Irish drugmaker said the Food and Drug Administration approved Aveed for men with low testosterone, a condition sometimes associated with fatigue, weight gain and low libido. Endo’s injection is to be taken once every 10 weeks, versus weekly or biweekly dosing for currently available products. The company said in a statement it expects to launch the drug this month. The Dublin-based company already markets Fortesta, a prescription gel form of testosterone, the male hormone that begins to decline after age 40.

FDA chief defends controversial Zohydra painkiller as criticism intensifies

Debate over a powerful new painkiller ratcheted up Thursday as the head of the Food and Drug Administration defended the drug’s approval and a West Virginia Senator responded with a bill to force it off the market.

FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg told Senate lawmakers that the recently-launched Zohydro fills an “important and unique niche” for treating chronic pain. Her agency has been under fire for clearing the drug since December, amid concerns from lawmakers, addiction specialists and others that the drug will exacerbate the national epidemic of prescription drug abuse.

FDA finds some dark chocolate includes undeclared milk

A new study revealing that a significant portion of dark chocolate products sold in the U.S. may contain undeclared milk could shake some consumers’ confidence in the industry in the week leading up to Valentine’s Day – one of the category’s most significant sales events.

Fecal Transplants Made (Somewhat) More Palatable

Two years ago, Catherine Duff, then 57, tearfully described eight debilitating bouts of antibiotic-resistant Clostridium difficile infection to a government panel in Washington. She grew better, she said, only after treating the gastrointestinal infection at home with her husband’s feces, a blender and an enema bag.

Mark B. Smith, a young doctoral student in microbiology, was in the audience, almost as teary as Ms. Duff. Resolving to help patients like her, he started a nonprofit called OpenBiome, the first stool bank in the country, which distributes fecal samples from healthy donors to help cure people with tenacious C. difficile infections.

Flame Retardants Do More Harm Than Good, Research Shows

Common household items such as couch cushions, carpeting, mattresses, and electronics can be a source of exposure to toxic flame retardant chemicals in your day-to-day life.

Many of these chemicals have been linked to serious health risks, including infertility, birth defects, neurodevelopmental delays,1 reduced IQ and behavioral problems in children, hormone disruptions,2 and cancer.

In fact, flame retardant chemicals have been identified as one of 17 “high priority” chemical groups that should be avoided to reduce breast cancer.3,4 These chemicals are also poisoning both pets and wildlife, according to recent tests.

Food in the sky? Highrise farming idea gains ground

Imagine stepping out of your highrise apartment into a sunny, plant-lined corridor, biting into an apple grown in the orchard on the fourth floor as you bid “good morning” to the farmer off to milk his cows on the fifth.

You take the lift to your office, passing the rice paddy and one of the many gardens housed in the glass edifice that not only heats and cools itself, but also captures rainwater and recirculates domestic waste as plant food.

Gene variant associated with better aging, cognitive function, study finds

People who carry a gene variation associated with longevity have better brain cognition and are more resilient to aging, new research has found, paving the way for future treatments for brain aging and disease.

“As we move into the world of personalized medicine, it will be really important and useful to know how one’s genetics, lifestyle and environment affect their trajectory for healthy or unhealthy brain aging,” she added.

GlassesOff app claims to eliminate need for reading glasses

Like death and taxes, reading glasses can seem almost inevitable — perhaps until now.

A new app called GlassesOff claims to be able to improve your vision, eliminating the need for reading glasses for sufferers of the near universal condition called presbyopia (from the Greek for aging eyes). The condition hits nearly everyone — an estimated 1.2 billion sufferers are predicted by 2020, according to one study.

The GlassesOff app also claims it may even give you “super-vision” beyond the 20/20 standard your optometrist shoots for.