Lap-Band ads for weight loss are misleading, FDA says (Morning Read)

Current medical news from today, including FDA sends warning letters over billboard ad for Lap-Band weight-loss surgery, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos gives $15 million for brain research, and Johnson & Johnson promises another batch of cancer drug Doxil, which is in short supply.

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FDA says Lap-Band ads are misleading. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration sent warning letters to eight surgical centers and a marketing firm regarding billboards for Lap-Band surgery that the regulatory watchdog calls misleading because they don’t include the mandatory information about the side effects and risks of the surgery. The ads, by marketing firm 1-800-GET-THIN, include phrases like “Let your new life begin,” but the warning information about the procedure is illegible, the FDA says. Just this February the FDA expanded approval for the device, made by Allergan Inc., to make eligible American patients with a BMI between 30 and 40 and one weight-related medical condition.

A gift from Bezos. Amazon Inc. CEO and Founder Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie — both alumni of Princeton University — are giving $15 million to their alma mater for the creation of a center in the Princeton Neuroscience Institute. Research at the new Bezos Center will focus on exploring how neural circuits in the brain determine behavior.

J&J promises another batch of Doxil — but then what happens? As many as 1,000 cancer patients could be helped as Johnson & Johnson prepares to release new batches of Doxil, a cancer drug that’s been in short supply due to troubles with manufacturer Ben Venue Laboratories. Despite the good news, there’s no guarantee that more of the drug will be available in the immediate future, and doctors say there are few good alternatives.

Mickey D’s stocks are flying high. Yikes. Shares of McDonald’s stocks are up more than 63 percent over the last three years. Whether it’s because the company has modernized its restaurants, extended hours or expanded the menu, the fast-food chain traded at a new 52-week high on Tuesday.

Dana-Farber’s new blog. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is taking its expertise online with the start of a new blog that it says will provide the latest news in cancer research and insight on topics important to cancer patients and their families. Insight will include multimedia and coverage from medical conferences, among other news-related posts.

Best health apps of 2011. It’s that time of the year when news organizations love to compile “best of 2011” and “here’s what’s coming in 2012” stories, so let’s kick it off talking about healthcare mobile apps. Apple’s choices for the top 10 fitness and medical apps in 2011 include Mobile MIM, P90X and Sprout.