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Today’s theme is government agencies

Covid-19   Infection Prevention   Patient Safety   Fitness   Policy

Today’s Read: 2.5 minutes

A tale of a memory supplement and the FDA, the CDC redefines close contact, Americans like the ACA, and what you need to know about working out with YouTube.

Plus, pets that look like their people—or is it the other way around?


The problem with Prevagen

You may have seen the commercials on late-night television for Prevagen, a memory supplement made from jellyfish protein. You may have considered taking it or did. And you wouldn’t be alone. Since 2007, an estimated 3 million people have bought Prevagen made by Quincy Bioscience. But the product may not be GRAS, generally regarded as safe, as the company claims.

It turns out thousands of Americans have reported experiencing “adverse events” while taking Prevagen, including seizures, strokes, heart arrhythmias, chest pain, and dizziness. While the existence of adverse event reports alone don’t prove a product is the cause, the nature and pattern of complaints about Prevagen have worried FDA officials. One internal report from 2015 stated that the “numerous adverse events reported” indicated “a serious safety hazard.”

Aside from a warning letter sent to Quincy in 2012, the FDA has not publicly indicated it had any concerns about Prevagen. The agency determined in 2018 that Quincy addressed the violations cited in the warning letter. There is no indication in the records that the agency took additional enforcement action.

Earlier this year, Quincy reached a class-action settlement to resolve seven lawsuits brought by customers over false advertising allegations. Anyone who purchased Prevagen in the US before July 21, 2020, is eligible to receive refunds of up to $70; the deadline to file a claim is October 26. Prevagen is a case-study in how the FDA regulates supplements—very loosely. Read WIRED’s investigative piece here.

What’s a close Covid-19 contact

The CDC yesterday expanded its definition of a “close contact” of someone with Covid-19. Previously, the agency defined “close contact” as someone who spent 15 minutes or more within six feet of someone who was infectious. Now, the agency sees those minutes as cumulative, even if the time isn’t consecutive. 

The expanded definition comes as the agency released a new study describing how a correctional officer in Vermont appeared to have been infected with the coronavirus after multiple brief encounters with six incarcerated individuals with Covid-19.

5 things to look for in a YouTube workout video

Want a quick workout? YouTube has a plethora of choices, not just for types of exercises (e.g., barre, interval training, 20 minutes) but also instructors, but exercise safety and quality of the workout should be a concern. 

The American Council of Exercise has released a checklist to determine whether a YouTube video is a good and safe one to follow. Watch for:

  • Warm-up: Heart rate gradually increases
  • Main workout: Logical sequence of exercises; gradually move from up to down or down to up over the course of the video; not up/down/up/down for each exercise; enjoyable
  • Cooldown: Heart rate gradually decreases
  • Stretch: Muscles used in the exercises are stretched; range of motion is addressed
  • Instructor: Uses positive/motivating language; provides exercise modifications



The percentage of Americans who do not want to see the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) protections for people with pre-existing conditions overturned by the Supreme Court, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation Poll. In addition, 58% of Americans do not want to see the Court overturn the ACA. These numbers are up 10 points from a year ago.


You know how dogs sometimes look like their owners? Turns out the same can be true for cats, too.

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