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Wrong Pieter Cohen?

Dr. Pieter A. Cohen


Harvard Medical School

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Harvard Medical School

Background Information

Employment History

Assistant Professor

Harvard Medical School

Assistant Professor of Medicine

Harvard Medical School


Cambridge Health Alliance

General Internist

Cambridge Health Alliance

Internist and Researcher

Cambridge Health Alliance



medical degree

Yale School of Medicine

Web References (200 Total References)

The presence of picamilon in supplements ... [cached]

The presence of picamilon in supplements was concerning as its effects were "entirely unpredictable", said Harvard scientist Pieter Cohen.

"Why this drug would be used in a pre-workout supplement is hard to fathom, unless it's to give a pleasing sensation to the consumer that leads them to purchase more," said Dr Cohen, one of an international group of scientists that produced a research paper on picamilon published in the journal Drug Testing and Analysis.
Dr Cohen's research found doses of the drug in US products - where it is legal - often deviated from what was stated.

"This is the most important study ... [cached]

"This is the most important study done on dietary supplements since DSHEA was passed," said Dr. Pieter Cohen, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School who studies supplement safety.

Cohen was referring to the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, a 1994 law that defined supplements as food rather than drugs.
Cohen, who wasn't involved in the study, agreed.
"It's well known that doctors don't ask people about their supplement use," Cohen said. "And it's well known that patients don't bring it up."
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has limited authority over dietary supplements. It can take action if a product on the market is found to be unsafe, for example.
But that system, Cohen said, relies on doctors and consumers to submit reports of harm from supplements.
Also, supplement labels don't have to carry information about side effects. Nor is there any guarantee that the product contains the ingredients listed on the label -- and only those ingredients, Cohen added.
In a study published this year, he and his colleagues found that nearly a dozen supplements marketed for weight loss were "spiked" with an amphetamine-like substance called BMPEA.
Cohen said he was "not surprised at all" that supplements marketed for weight loss and energy were commonly tied to ER visits in this study.
For now, Cohen suggested that consumers avoid such combination supplements. "If you want echinacea, buy echinacea," he said, referring to the herb that many people believe fights colds.
To find information on the science behind a product, Cohen recommended the U.S. National Institutes of Health website on dietary supplements.
More information
The U.S. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health talks about using supplements wisely.
SOURCES: Andrew Geller, M.D., medical officer, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta; Pieter Cohen, M.D., assistant professor, medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, and internist, Cambridge Health Alliance, Cambridge, Mass.; Oct. 15, 2015, New England Journal of Medicine

Natural Wellness Center [cached]

Pieter Cohen, a Harvard Medical School researcher whose area of expertise is tracking down dangerous supplements, said "there is so much wrong with the quality of supplements today that it's a shame the New York attorney general is not using sound science to focus on the most important problems,"

"The companies think they have complete ... [cached]

"The companies think they have complete impunity," said study author Pieter Cohen.

"It's mind-boggling," lead study author Pieter Cohen, a physician with the Cambridge Health Alliance and researcher at Harvard Medical School, told Consumer Reports. "The companies think they have complete impunity. They assume the FDA will do nothing about it. And they're right."
"The fact that they haven't done anything two years after their own research team sorted this out is completely inexplicable," Cohen told Buzzfeed.

"They make an outrageous statement, which ... [cached]

"They make an outrageous statement, which is that this testing and supplement regimen, this process, are a necessity for anyone who wants to stay healthy," said Dr. Pieter Cohen, a general internist at Cambridge Health Alliance and an expert on dietary supplement safety who reviewed some of The Trump Network's marketing materials at the request of STAT. "That's quite insane."

Cohen, one of several scientists who reviewed materials from Ideal Health and The Trump Network, said that the tests were marketed too broadly and seemed to be "pathologizing normal human life."
The website, for example, recommended its "AllerTest" to anyone who had dark circles under their eyes, occasional digestive problems, fluctuating blood sugar, sinus and respiratory problems, or tiredness after eating.
"Does your blood sugar fluctuate? Cohen said, laughing.

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