Forbes Blasts FDA for Unconstitutional “Regulation by Intimidation”

In a recent groundbreaking editorial, Forbes magazine called the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to account for playing into the hands of politicians seeking publicity and attorneys trying to win judgements.  Forbes specifically accuses the FDA of levying threats and intimidation against companies using caffeine in their products.  According to the editorial, this bullying is not only morally wrong, it is actually unconstitutional.

FDA Corrupted by Money and Powerful Interests

The editorial lampoons the FDA for making partisan condemnations of companies that sell products containing small to moderate amounts of caffeine, while ignoring coffee companies selling products with far larger amounts of caffeine:

Hey you!  Yes you, food company (no, not you,
coffee proprietor). We’re not happy that your product has caffeine in it. Um, you know, you really might want to reconsider that particular ingredient.

The editorial explains that the FDA is marshaling “unsubtle threats and heavy-handed persuasion.”   However, because Forbes is a firm believer “in due process, fair notice, consistency, and transparency from our Fourth Branch of government,” it cannot approve the FDA’s high-handed “saber-rattling.”

“The FDA frequently takes its cues on caffeine from professional activists and publicity-seeking politicians,” Forbes charges.  U.S. Senators and state attorneys general have been busily besmirching (and subpoenaing) energy drink makers, and the FDA seems to have jumped on board for the bumpy ride of controlling behavior by using threats.   Then, last November, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a nutty activist group invested with paranoia about caffeine, dispatched a two-page letter to FDA on the “new craze” of adding caffeine to processed foods.  True to form, the FDA responded by raising a club to intimidate the companies involved.

An example of FDA “regulation by intimidation” surfaced on May 3,  when Michael Taylor, the FDA Deputy Commissioner, called out gum maker Wrigley on a new product, stating that, while formal regulation might be forthcoming, “we hope this can be a turning point for all to prevent the irresponsible addition of caffeine to food and beverages. Together, we should be immediately looking at what voluntary restraint can be used by industry.”  Wrigley got the message and on May 8 announced a halt in production of the gum.

“The agency’s approach circumvents every constitutional and statutory check and balance purposefully placed on bureaucratic action,”  the editorial states.  The intellectual bankruptcy of the FDA stance is luridly proven by the facts that, “Coffee is a much more widely available source of caffeine, and an equal-sized portion of it can contain twice as much caffeine as one demonized energy drink.  But no one at FDA is looking to seize your or even your children’s cup (or two, or three or four cups) of Joe.”

Furthermore, Forbes says that, “as long as FDA’s actions aren’t tethered to standards or science, they threaten to sweep in products that don’t merit any concern or scrutiny.”  An example is the successful FDA effort ”to drive some caffeine-infused alcoholic beverages, like Four Loko” out of business, even though Ivy League studies have proven that caffeine poses no danger when combined with alcohol, and Irish coffee, a common bar drink, contains far more caffeine and alcohol than any Four Loko product.

Of course, we might well wonder why adult citizens of a free country should be forced to submit to FDA politicos sitting behind desks in Washington who presume to tell us what medicines we can take and what medical treatments we can receive.

Perhaps the next step by the FDA will be to actually deprecate and attack beverages that get their caffeine from natural products like coffee, chocolate, or tea.  Where will all of this abuse come to and end?  Asks Forbes, “Where indeed?”

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The DSM-5: American Psychiatric Association Goes Berserk over Caffeine!

In the new fifth edition of the American  Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5), “caffeine intoxication” and “caffeine withdrawal” have been lumped in with heroin and alcohol addiction in the APA’s official list of mental disorders.  As a result of such dubious notions, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has nixed the DSM and decided to ignore the DSM categorizations in the future.

Created by Psychiatrists Afflicted with "Classifcation Mania"

According to Keith Ablow, MD, an experienced psychiatrist, the APA is simply continuing its campaign “to pathologize every American and make all of us ripe for psychiatric medications covered by insurance.”

The members of the APA are also using factitious mental disorders to increase their status as innovative leaders in psychiatry.  By “discovering” new mental illnesses, these psychiatrists attempt to join the likes of genuinely ground-breaking thinkers like Sigmund Freud.

Caffeine is consumed without ill effects by well over two hundred million Americans each day.  ”Focusing on caffeine as a drug, like heroin, is just a  land grab for more patients,” comments Dr. Ablow. “Will sugar excitement syndrome be next?   How about post-food fatigue syndrome?  Spring water obsession  disorder?”

Finally, Dr. Ablow concludes,

“But there’s this little fact to deal with:  I am 51-years-old and have  practiced psychiatry for almost 20 years.  I have met with thousands of  daily caffeine users, and it has been a significant problem in the lives of  precisely none of them.  Not one.  Zero.  Zilch.  No one reading this blog will know anyone who needed to go into a detox facility to  deal with caffeine addiction.  No lives have been laid low by caffeine.   People aren’t stealing coffee and tea from grocery stores to get high, or buying caffeine pills on inner city streets.”

In creating its bloated and fictionalized list of so-called “mental problems,” the APA seems to demonstrate a classification mania, itself perhaps a mental disorder, and also makes an attempt to broaden the group of people who would become paying patients of psychiatrists.

Dr. Ablow warns that Medicare and Medicaid should “beware.”  These insurers “should refuse payment for  any psychiatric service supposedly delivered for caffeine intoxication and  caffeine withdrawal – and other insurers should, too.”

The good news is that the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has disavowed the new DSM-5.  The institute recently announced that it would no longer fund research based on the manual’s categorizations, because the DSM has no value in determining the causes and treatments of psychological problems.  All we can say is, “Bravo!”

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Caffeine Gives Cells Boost Needed to Create New Tissues

By adding caffeine to egg cells, scientists have finally succeeded in using cloning to create human embryonic stem cells, a step toward creating replacement tissue to treat diseases.

Cloning Stem Cells with Caffeine

Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, in a study led by Dr. Shoukhrat Mitalipov and reported in the journal Cell,  created embryonic stem cells using somatic cell nuclear transfer, which involves taking DNA from skin cells and inserting it into donated human egg cells.  The resulting stem cells thrived and could then be turned into a variety of cell and tissue types, including heart cells and pancreatic tissue.  The implications for the repair of tissue damage and treatment of disease entities, for example, repairing heart damage and overcoming the causes of diabetes, are truly astonishing.

According to the published report, caffeine was the added factor that gave the cells the boost they needed to remodel the donor DNA into embryonic cells!

Dr. Mitalipov explained that the stem cells his team created were able to convert themselves “into several different cell types, including nerve cells, liver cells and heart cells,” just like normal stem cells.

“If embryonic stem cells can be made from adults like us, that would mean we could make replacements for any type of cells we would need,” said Dieter Egli, senior research fellow at the New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute.

The limitation of earlier efforts involved the difficulty in removing the egg cell’s nucleus.  Incredibly, adding caffeine turned out to be an important step in solving the problem this time around.

As we have said before, caffeine is the closest thing to a panacea, offering protections from and treatments for a remarkable number of disease entities.  Opening up the possibility of cloning tissue is just the latest of these virtually miraculous health benefits.  This new development underscores the so-far neglected avenue of studying how caffeine might be modified to multiply the health benefits of the drug as it occurs in nature.

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Caffeine Boosts Driver Safety

Long-haul truck drivers who use coffee and other caffeine sources are significantly less likely to have an accident than drivers who don’t indulge in caffeine.

Caffeine Boosts Truck Driver Safety

Australian researchers looked at data on over 500 truck drivers who were recently involved in a crash, comparing them another group of over 500 truck drivers who had not had an accident within the past year.  All of these drivers were driving tractor units with one, two, or three trailers.

The researchers interviewed all the drivers, gathering information about various health and lifestyle factors, including caffeine consumption over the past month.  Their study was published online in BMJ (British Medical Journal).

After adjusting for age, driver experience, distance driven, hours of sleep, naps, night driving, and other factors, they found that drivers who consumed caffeine were almost 65 percent less likely to have been involved in a crash.

The conclusion?  According to the lead author, Lisa N. Sharwood, a research fellow at the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney, Australia, caffeine is obviously useful as part of a strategy to greatly reduce the occurrence of accidents on the road.


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Caffeine Buzz: Bringing Back the Bees!

A study has shown that the caffeine-laced nectar of some plants improves the learning process for bees by enhancing their memory.  As a result, the bees are more likely to keep returning to pollinate the flowers providing caffeine.

In effect, these plants use caffeine to alter the pollinating bees’ behavior, said Geraldine Wright, a honeybee brain specialist at Newcastle University in England, who, with her colleagues, reported these findings in Science this week.

Bee and Coffee Blossom

Flowers demonstrating this effect include coffee plant blossoms.  According to researchers, the nectar from these blossoms delivers about as much caffeine concentration as a cup of instant coffee.  In addition, we are now being told that the nectar of orange and grapefruit blossoms is also a source of caffeine, although in lower concentrations.  Supposedly, these researchers discovered that, as a result of caffeinated pollination, some kinds of honey contain caffeine as well.

Caffeine helps bees remember that the flower’s scent will give them what they are looking for, so the bees will seek out the caffeinated flowers, and, as a result, will transfer their pollen.

How did researchers determine that caffeine improves a bee’s memory? The scientists trained individual bees to expect a sugary drink when they smelled a certain floral scent.  Some bees received nectar-like concentrations of caffeine in their drink, while others did not.  After a day or two passed, the bees were exposed to the same scent and researchers watched to see if they extended their feeding tubes in response, a sign they were ready to sip.  Incredibly, after 24 hours, three times as many bees remembered the connection between odor and reward if the reward contained caffeine.  Researchers then tested the effect of caffeine on neurons in the bee brain and found that its action could lead to more sensitivity in neurons called “Kenyon cells” that are involved in learning and memory.

The amount of caffeine occurring in the leaves of many plants is toxic to insects, and, in fact, caffeine is used by plants to ward off predatory insects and microbes.  But the lower concentration found in nectar attracts some insects and boosts their memories by affecting certain brain cells.

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Caffeine Increases Recognition of Positive Words

A recent study finds that people recognize words associated with positive thoughts more quickly after they have consumed caffeine.

Many people do not feel “like themselves” before they enjoy a morning cup of coffee. Now this study finds that the enhanced sense of well-being that caffeine creates is reflected in our perception of words.  As reported in the journal PLoS One, caffeine increases the recognition of words associated with positive thoughts, but it does not increase the recognition of words with negative or even neutral associations.

Scientists assigned 66 subjects to one of two groups.  Half were given a 200 mg. caffeine tablet, a dose equal to about a cup and a half of filter-drip coffee.  The other half received a sugar tablet.  Thirty minutes later the volunteers were shown strings of letters and had to decide as quickly as they could if a string formed a word or was just gibberish.

The result?  Both groups of participants recognized words with positive associations much faster than either negative or neutral words.  However, the group that took caffeine recognized the positive words decidedly faster than the group that had taken the sugar pill.

So, if you are trying to say something nice to someone, your comments might be more appreciated more if your listener has had a cup of coffee before hearing them.

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