Cancer Overtakes Heart Disease as #1 Killer of Middle-Aged in Wealthy Nations

TUESDAY, Sept. 3, 2019 — Heart disease still claims the lives of more people globally, but in more affluent nations it has now ceded its place as the leading killer to cancer, a major new report finds.

Around the world, 40% of all deaths are caused by heart disease, making it the number one global killer. That means that of the estimated 55 million people who died around the world in 2017, approximately 17.7 million succumbed to heart disease.

Cancer was the second leading killer globally, accounting for 26% of all deaths, the study authors said.

However, when middle- and lower-income countries were taken out of the calculation, a different picture emerged, according to a report published online Sept. 3 in The Lancet.

For people living in “high-income” countries such as Canada, Sweden and Saudi Arabia, heart disease represented just 23% of deaths, while cancer was to blame for 55% of deaths, the researchers said.

The findings come from a global study of more than 162,500 middle-aged people living in four high-income countries, 12 countries considered middle-income, and five low-income countries. The study was led by Dr. Gilles Dagenais, emeritus professor at Laval University in Quebec, Canada.

Speaking in a journal news release, Dagenais said that the world is undergoing a “transition” in terms of causes of death, “with cardiovascular disease no longer the leading cause of death in high-income countries.”

But as better prevention and treatment of heart disease becomes more common, and cases of the disease “continue to fall, cancer could likely become the leading cause of death worldwide, within just a few decades,” Dagenais said.

Study principal investigator Dr. Salim Yusuf, a professor of medicine at McMaster University in Canada, agreed that “long-term cardiovascular disease prevention and management strategies have proved successful in reducing the burden in high-income countries.”

But poorer nations often lack either the resources or leadership to tackle high rates of heart disease, he added, so “governments in these countries need to start by investing a greater portion of their gross domestic product in preventing and managing non-communicable diseases, including cardiovascular disease, rather than focusing largely on infectious diseases.”

A second report focused on why people around the world continue to die in great numbers from heart disease. The same team of researchers used data on almost 156,000 middle-aged people to look at the role played by 14 heart disease risk factors.

The good news: 70% of the factors driving heart disease and heart disease death are “modifiable,” meaning changes to lifestyle and environment can greatly lessen people’s risk. Some of those factors include “metabolic” ones — overweight, diabetes and the like — or high blood pressure. In poorer countries, environmental factors, such as air pollution or poor diets, play a greater role.

The study was also presented Tuesday at the annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology, in Paris.

More information

The American Heart Association has more on heart disease.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: September 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Nation’s Largest Hemp Processing Plant Opens in Colorado

Colorado City, a town of fewer than 2,500 in southern Colorado, will soon be home to up to 50 million pounds of hemp, now that a massive hemp-processing facility is open for business.

Paragon Processing opened a 250,000-square-foot hemp-processing facility on Wednesday, August 29. Not only does the company say that the new facility is the largest of its kind in the country, but it could help bring 250 new jobs to Colorado before the end of the year, with a number of them located in Colorado City.

According to Paragon co-president Matt Evans, the facility will produce a variety of hemp extractions through isolation and distillation techniques, and soon will be processing around one million pounds of the plant each month. By the end of the 2019 harvest season, he wants to see that total hit two million pounds.

“With the legalization of the 2018 Farm Bill, the production and interstate transfer of hemp has increased the demand for both hemp and cannabidiol (CBD) products, and we aim to propel the industrial hemp manufacturing efforts in order to confidently answer this call,” Evans says in a statement announcing the new facility.

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Colorado legalized hemp in 2012, when the state’s voters approved recreational marijuana, but the federal government didn’t come around on hemp until late 2018, when Congress passed the Farm Bill. With a six-year head start on the majority of the nation, Colorado quickly jumped to the top of the list of states farming industrial hemp. However, hemp business groups have continued to call for more testing and processing facilities in the state. Paragon’s operation, located in a former Columbia House Records space and a Kroger distribution center, does both.

Now that more states are focusing on hemp, Colorado lawmakers point to the southern part of this state as a key destination for new hemp farmers and businesses. Rural areas with agricultural experience, such as Pueblo County, have welcomed both the marijuana and hemp industries, using them to help climb out of the steel and housing recessions, with moderate success.

Governor Jared Polis’s administration has pushed for looser regulations on hemp farmers and businesses in order for this state to maintain its top spot in the hemp industry. During a recent speech at a hemp and CBD industry conference, Polis said that hemp farming was part of his rural economic initiative, and that he’d like to raise Colorado’s current 62,000 acres allotted for hemp farming by 20 percent.


Toke of the Town

What Maureen West Learned From Running the Nation’s Leading Hemp Program

As with many emerging industries, getting ahead in the industrial-hemp industry often involves hiring the people who created the original regulations. In legal marijuana, for example, everyone from former state legislators to past Marijuana Enforcement Division officials have moved to the business side, helping companies and clients stay on top of Colorado’s strict cannabis laws.

One of the largest moves from government to the hemp industry (so far, at least) came last month, when Maureen West jumped from managing the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Industrial Hemp Program to take a job as compliance officer for hemp-oil company Functional Remedies.

As head of the CDA’s hemp program from 2016 to 2019, West witnessed the recent hemp and CBD booms in Colorado and had to deal with such issues as hot hemp with too much THC and lack of guidance from the Food and Drug Administration. Those challenges didn’t prevent Colorado from leading the nation in hemp farming acreage during that span, however.

We recently caught up with West to learn more about the future of the plant now that it’s legal at the federal level.

Westword: How would you compare Colorado’s hemp industry and regulations with those of other states? I hear some are relatively friendly, like Oregon, while others, like South Dakota, aren’t so much.

Maureen West: Over the course of my career as the head of the CDA Industrial Hemp Program, we built one of the most robust state-level industrial-hemp programs in the country. We worked closely with farmers across the state and listened to their needs and concerns. Hemp could be the next big cash crop that saves small farmers across America, and we are proving that to be true right here in Colorado at Functional Remedies.

What have you learned about hemp since you started at the CDA, and how did that help you with your new job?

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Hemp has been a product in America’s history since the founding fathers; George Washington famously grew hemp. But today’s hemp landscape, because of stigma and prohibition, is confusing without clear guidelines at the state and federal levels. The work we did at the CDA was to put those guidelines in place to not only help legitimate businesses bring good jobs to Colorado, but also to protect consumers from products that they shouldn’t be ingesting. We did this all when there was no real blueprint. So my role will be to help Functional Remedies navigate, influence and stay within those guidelines, even as they are being created.

What challenges are hemp farmers and product makers facing today that the public might not know about?

One of the biggest challenges right now is that we aren’t getting any clear guidance from the FDA. This is leaving a huge gap for illegitimate companies to compete with legitimate companies, all while consumers lose trust with hemp or CBD products. The saying goes, ‘A bad apple spoils the bunch.’ With tighter regulations, it’s much easier to find and toss those bad apples.

Is the 0.3 THC limit a looming problem for hemp farmers as it becomes legal nationwide?

The 0.3 percent THC limit has already presented problems for companies shipping hemp across state borders. The hemp industry doesn’t have standard testing protocols across the United States. In part, we need the FDA or Congress to help set those standards. Another solution would be to allow an acceptable range. Plants are plants; the top of the plant can test differently than the bottom, and two plants of the same strain could test differently.

How ethical do you think the CBD industry really is? We hear a lot of snake-oil stories, but a lot of companies are operating in unregulated markets.

The problem is that we don’t have any real consistent regulations across the board, and many people and companies are happy to jump on what they see is a trend or act within that gray area. This is why it’s so incredibly important that we put them in place to protect consumers and help legitimate businesses thrive.

How far behind is America’s hemp industry from Europe’s or Canada’s?

America is just starting to overcome the decades of stigma against hemp because of its ties with cannabis. However, we are moving incredibly quickly as we see states enacting their own hemp laws across the U.S. The faster we can build this momentum and gain additional clarity from the FDA and Congress, the faster we can create a globally competitive hemp industry.


Toke of the Town

Among Rich Nations, U.S. Has Highest Rate of Fatal Drug ODs