Health Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Health Media Articles in Major Media
Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
An engineered virus, injected into the blood, can selectively target cancer cells throughout the body in what researchers have labelled a medical first. The virus attacked only tumours, leaving the healthy tissue alone, in a small trial on 23 patients, according to the journal Nature. Researchers said the findings could one day "truly transform" therapies. Cancer specialists said using viruses showed "real promise". Using viruses to attack cancers is not a new concept, but they have needed to be injected directly into tumours in order to evade the immune system. The virus, named JX-594 ... was injected at different doses into the blood of 23 patients with cancers which had spread to multiple organs in the body. Prof John Bell, lead researcher and from the University of Ottawa, said: "We are very excited because this is the first time in medical history that a viral therapy has been shown to consistently and selectively replicate in cancer tissue after intravenous infusion in humans. Intravenous delivery is crucial for cancer treatment because it allows us to target tumours throughout the body as opposed to just those that we can directly inject."
Note: With millions of people dying of cancer every year, why isn't this being fast tracked like the AIDS drugs were? For exciting information from reliable sources on promising new cancer cure possibilities, click here.
Sitting in front of the television may be a relaxing way to pass an evening, but spending too much time in front of the tube may take years off your life. That's what Australian researchers found when they generated life-expectancy tables for people based on mortality information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics as well as participants' survey responses about how much TV they had watched in the past week. The TV-viewing data from more than 11,000 participants older than 25 years showed that Australian adults watched an estimated 9.8 billion hours of television in 2008. People who watched an average six hours of TV a day lived an average 4.8 years fewer than those who didn't watch any television, the study found. Even more humbling: every hour of TV that participants watched after age 25 was associated with a 22-minute reduction in their life expectancy. The findings suggest that watching too much TV is as detrimental to longevity as smoking and lack of exercise.
Note: How about the health impacts of hours daily online or working at a computer screen? Might they be similar to the health effects of watching TV? For lots more on important health issues from reliable sources, click here.
Doctors have treated only three leukemia patients, but the sensational results from a single shot could be one of the most significant advances in cancer research in decades. Doctors at the University of Pennsylvania say the treatment made the most common type of leukemia completely disappear in two of the patients and reduced it by 70 percent in the third. In each of the patients as much as five pounds of cancerous tissue completely melted away in a few weeks, and a year later it is still gone. The results of the preliminary test “exceeded our wildest expectations,” says immunologist Dr. Carl June a member of the Abramson Cancer Center's research team. Chemotherapy and radiation can hold this form of leukemia at bay for years, but until now the only cure has been a bone marrow transplant. A bone marrow transplant requires a suitable match, works only about half the time, and often brings on severe, life-threatening side effects such as pain and infection. So why has this remarkable treatment been tried so far on only three patients? Both the National Cancer Institute and several pharmaceutical companies declined to pay for the research. Neither applicants nor funders discuss the reasons an application is turned down.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on hopeful new cancer treatments, click here.
It was the kind of study that made doctors around the world sit up and take notice: Two popular high-blood-pressure drugs were found to be much better in combination than either alone. Unfortunately, it wasn't true. Six and a half years later, the prestigious medical journal the Lancet retracted the paper, citing "serious concerns" about the findings. The damage was done. Doctors by then had given the drug combination to well over 100,000 patients. Instead of protecting them from kidney problems, as the study said the drug combo could do, it left them more vulnerable to potentially life-threatening side effects, later studies showed. Today, "tens of thousands" of patients are still on the dual therapy, according to research firm SDI. When a study is retracted, "it can be hard to make its effects go away," says Sheldon Tobe, a kidney-disease specialist at the University of Toronto. And that's more important today than ever because retractions of scientific studies are surging. Since 2001, while the number of papers published in research journals has risen 44%, the number retracted has leapt more than 15-fold, data compiled for The Wall Street Journal by Thomson Reuters reveal. Just 22 retraction notices appeared in 2001, but 139 in 2006 and 339 last year
Note: To learn lots more of how the medical industry puts profit above public health, click here.
It's fraudulent for academics to give their names to medical articles ghostwritten by pharmaceutical industry writers, say two Canadian law professors who call for potential legal sanctions. Studies suggest that industry-driven drug trials and industry-sponsored publications are more likely to downplay a drug's harms and exaggerate a drug's virtues, said Trudo Lemmens, a law professor at the University of Toronto. The integrity of medical research is also harmed by ghostwritten articles, he said. Ghostwriting is part of marketing that can distort the evidence on a drug, Lemmens said. Industry authors are concealed to insert marketing messages and academic experts are recruited as "guest" authors to lend credibility despite not fulfilling criteria for authorship, such as participating in the design of the study, gathering data, analyzing the results and writing up of the findings. Lemmens and his colleague Prof. Simon Stern argue that legal remedies are needed for medical ghostwriting since medical journals, academic institutions and professional disciplinary bodies haven't succeeded in enforcing sanctions against the practice. Ghostwritten publications are used in court to support a manufacturer's arguments about a drug's safety and effectiveness, and academic experts who appear as witnesses for pharmaceutical and medical device companies also boost their credibility with the publications on their CV, Lemmens said.
The food and advertising industries have launched a multi-pronged campaign to squash government efforts to create voluntary nutritional guidelines for foods marketed to children. Calling themselves the Sensible Food Policy Coalition, the nation’s biggest foodmakers, fast-food chains and media companies, including Viacom and Time Warner, are trying to derail standards proposed by four federal agencies. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has also lent its lobbying muscle to the effort. The guidelines are designed to encourage foodmakers to reduce salt, added sugars and fats in foods and drinks targeted to children. Public-health experts say children, many of whom may lack the critical-thinking skills to understand advertising, are bombarded daily by television ads, Web sites, toy giveaways and cartoon characters promoting junk food. The food and beverage industry spends about $2 billion a year marketing directly to children. The business community has portrayed the government’s guidelines as job-killing government overreach. “We allow companies into our homes to manipulate children to want food that will make them sick,” said Margo Wootan of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
Note: The "Sensible Food Policy Coalition" is arguing against voluntary guidelines designed to help our children eat more nutritious food. Is that Orwellian doublespeak or what?
An international study which debunks research linking cellphones to cancer risks received major funding from wireless manufacturers. The World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer classified [the] radio frequency emitted by wireless devices as possibly carcinogenic, but a panel of international scientists recently published a study challenging these findings. But in the study's conflict of interest disclaimer, the panel acknowledged it received support from the wireless industry to conduct the research. A number of organizations, including the Mobile Manufacturers' Forum, were cited as sources of funding. Dr. Devra Davis, an American scientist who runs the non-profit education group [Environmental Health Trust] says the new study is "misleading" and "wrong." "It is propaganda," said Davis, who also founded the world's first Center for Environmental Oncology. Davis says cellphone safety is a major public health issue and governments need to move away from the idea of taking action after there are "enough sick people or dead bodies." "The fact that we don't have an epidemic right now is of course what we expect," she said. "It is actually preposterous to imply or they really say that because don't have any increase now, there's no problem. It's really very sad."
Note: For more on the health threats posed by cell phones, click here.
What causes autism? Scientists still don't have an answer, but two new studies suggest that conditions in a mom's womb may trigger the developmental disorder. Heredity is considered a major factor that triggers autism spectrum disorders, but scientists have long wondered what roles - if any - environmental factors play. Scientists used California health records to identify 192 pairs of twins - fraternal or identical - where at least one was affected by autism. Using diagnostic techniques that included directly observing the children, the scientists found 77 percent of male identical twins and 50 percent of female identical pairs both had autism. Those findings weren't too surprising, considering identical twins share the same genes. But what surprised researchers were the high rates of autism spectrum disorders they found in pairs of fraternal twins: 31 percent rate for males and 36 percent for females. Fraternal twins, from two fertilized eggs, share no more genetic material than any other siblings. But since they share the same womb, that could play a role, said Dr. John Constantino, professor of psychiatry at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, who wasn't involved in the new research. Constantino calls the research a "key finding that puts a spotlight on pregnancy as a time when environmental factors might exert their effects."
Note: For major media articles presenting evidence of a link between autism and vaccines, click here.
The number of American children diagnosed with bipolar disorder increased 40-fold in a recent 10-year span, one study found. In Minnesota, spending on powerful antipsychotic drugs to treat bipolar and other disorders in children has risen 17-fold since 2000 and exceeds $6 million annually -- just in one state-funded health program. Now, in a medical reversal with few parallels, psychiatrists are backing away from the diagnosis. While some feel bipolar was once under-diagnosed in children, they worry that thousands of kids have since received the diagnosis in error, due to overzealous doctors, desperate parents, quirks in the health insurance system and aggressive marketing by drug companies. This summer, in a sign of the profession's second thoughts, the manual that psychiatrists use to make diagnoses is being rewritten and field-tested with a new disorder that would replace bipolar in many cases. The profession's about-face could help the next generation of troubled children, but it also raises questions about the harm done to children who shouldn't have received either the diagnosis or the potent drugs used to treat it. While antipsychotics can be lifesavers for patients who truly are bipolar, they come with increased risks of obesity, diabetes, muscle spasms and other serious side effects.
There is nothing the state of North Carolina can do, Elaine Riddick says, to make up for forcing her to be sterilized when she was 14 years old. "They cut me open like I was a hog," [she said]. About 7,600 people were sterilized under North Carolina's eugenics program. Roughly 85 percent of the victims were women or girls. Unlike most states, North Carolina ramped up its sterilizations after World War II, despite associations between eugenics and Nazi Germany, which took eugenics to even more horrifying lengths. Around 70 percent of all North Carolina's sterilizations were performed after the war, peaking in the 1950s, according to state records. Nationwide, there were more than 60,000 known victims of sterilization programs, with perhaps another 40,000 sterilized through "unofficial" channels like hospitals or local health departments working on their own initiative. Eugenics was aimed at creating a better society by filtering out people considered undesirable, ranging from criminals to those imprecisely designated as "feeble-minded." People as young as 10 in North Carolina were sterilized for not getting along with schoolmates, being promiscuous or running afoul of local social workers or doctors. "Where did all this come from? This came from doctors, medical practitioners, professors, not guys in pickup trucks wearing white sheets," said Edwin Black, author of the eugenics history War Against the Weak.
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein renewed a decadelong push [on June 17] to phase out the routine use of antibiotics in livestock, hogs and poultry. Government officials have warned that increasing antibiotic resistance in humans poses a serious public health threat. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has confirmed that 80 percent of all antibiotics are given to farm animals in low doses intended to stave off disease in large livestock operations. Many of the antibiotics are the same ones used to treat human diseases. Scientists have linked the practice to rising antibiotic resistance in humans, along with the overprescription of antibiotics by doctors. Feinstein's legislation, opposed by the National Pork Producers Council, would phase out the use of antibiotics considered "medically important" to humans and require new applications for animal antibiotics to prove that they do not endanger human health. The bill would permit antibiotics to treat sick animals. The California Democrat's bill is an identical version of a House bill, HR965, the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act, by Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., a microbiologist on a crusade to eliminate low-dose antibiotic use in livestock.
Note: For key reports on health issues from reliable sources, click here.
Physician Janette Sherman, M.D. and epidemiologist Joseph Mangano published a report Monday highlighting a 35% spike in northwest infant mortality after Japan's nuclear meltdown. The report spotlighted data from the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on infant mortality rates in eight northwest cities, including Seattle, in the 10 weeks after Fukushima's nuclear meltdown. The average number of infant deaths for the region moved from an average of 9.25 in the four weeks before Fukushima' nuclear meltdown, to an average of 12.5 per week in the 10 weeks after. The change represents a 35% increase in the northwest's infant mortality rates. In comparison, the average rates for the entire U.S. rose only 2.3%.
The psychedelic drug in magic mushrooms may have lasting medical and spiritual benefits, according to new research from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. The mushroom-derived hallucinogen, called psilocybin, is known to trigger transformative spiritual states, but at high doses it can also result in "bad trips" marked by terror and panic. "The important point here is that we found the sweet spot where we can optimize the positive persistent effects and avoid some of the fear and anxiety that can occur and can be quite disruptive," says lead author Roland Griffiths, professor of behavioral biology at Hopkins. Giffiths' study involved 18 healthy adults, average age 46. Nearly all the volunteers were college graduates and 78% participated regularly in religious activities; all were interested in spiritual experience. Fourteen months after participating in the study, 94% of those who received the drug said the experiment was one of the top five most meaningful experiences of their lives; 39% said it was the single most meaningful experience. The participants themselves were not the only ones who saw the benefit from the insights they gained: their friends, family member and colleagues also reported that the psilocybin experience had made the participants calmer, happier and kinder.
Cellphones are “possibly carcinogenic” to humans, according to [an international panel of experts] organized by the World Health Organization. But an exhaustive, eight-day review of hundreds of studies concluded that the existing evidence is insufficient to know for sure. And because cellphones are so popular, further research is urgently needed, the experts said. “Possibly carcinogenic” is the WHO’s third-highest rating, falling below “carcinogenic” and “probably carcinogenic”. Other substances that the group has categorized as “possibly carcinogenic” include talcum powder, which has been possibly linked to ovarian cancer, and low-frequency magnetic fields, which are emitted by power lines and appliances and have been possibly associated with childhood leukemia. The cellphone classification marks a departure for the WHO, which previously said there were no risks from exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields emitted by the devices. “The conclusion means that there could be some risk, and, therefore, we need to keep a close watch for a link between cellphones and cancer risk,” said Jonathan M. Samet of the University of Southern California, who chaired the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer panel.
Note: Remember how long it took for the evidence to surface that smoking causes cancer. Consider using a wired headset with your cellphone to decrease any cancer risk. Watch a Senate committee meeting on the risks and dangers of cell phones, including greatly increased brain cancer rates. For other safety suggestions, click here. For key articles on health issues from reliable sources, click here.
The government is conducting armed raids on dairies that sell raw milk, [yet it allows us] to buy food that is so toxic ... it has to carry "safe handling instructions." Factory farms that knowingly produce chicken and eggs teeming with salmonella are not considered a threat to public health, but an impeccably clean organic raw milk dairy is treated like a meth lab. I used to think the "food freedom" activists were being paranoid about this stuff. Not anymore. The federal government is broke, but we're hiring 18,000 food police, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. How does this happen? The former CEO of genetically modified organism powerhouse Monsanto is now our secretary of agriculture and head of food safety. Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse. Tell your representatives to defund the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010, and buy organic and local. While you still can.
Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin ... signed into law a bill establishing a single-payer health care plan for the state, making Vermont the first state to do so. Shumlin lauded the legislation as an "economic and fiscal imperative" -- as well as a moral one. "This law recognizes an economic and fiscal imperative - that we must control the growth in health care costs that are putting families at economic risk and making it harder for small employers to do business," he said. "We have a moral imperative to fix this problem, with 47,000 Vermonters uninsured and another 150,000 underinsured and worried about how to afford keeping their families healthy." Vermont lawmakers passed the legislation in March by a 92-49 margin. At the time of its passage, Shumlin lauded the legislature for becoming "the first state in the country to make the first substantive step to deliver a health care system where health care will be a right and not a privilege." The legislation, when fully enacted, will guarantee every Vermont resident the right to enroll in a state-sponsored insurance plan, Green Mountain Care. The law is set to become operational in 2014.
Note: The huge medical and pharmaceutical industries in the U.S. have a vested interest in keeping health care private in order to maintain their massive profits. This may be why the important news above was hardly reported in the media. The rest of the industrialized world already knows that it is much cheaper for government to provide medical care than for the private sector. Yet the media, a major source of whose income comes from advertising by these industries, is quite biased against providing health care for all, unless it is done through a profitable private system.
Cancer is not one disease. It is many. Yet oncologists have long used the same blunt weapons to fight different types of cancer: cut the tumour out, zap it with radiation or blast it with chemotherapy that kills good cells as well as bad ones. New cancer drugs are changing this. Scientists are now attacking specific mutations that drive specific forms of cancer. A breakthrough came more than a decade ago when Genentech, a Californian biotech firm, launched a drug that attacks breast-cancer cells with too much of a certain protein, HER2. In 2001 Novartis, a Swiss drugmaker, won approval for Gleevec, which treats chronic myeloid leukaemia by attacking another abnormal protein. Other drugs take different tacks. Avastin, introduced in America in 2004 by Genentech, starves tumours by striking the blood vessels that feed them. These new drugs sell well. Last year Gleevec grossed $4.3 billion. Roche’s Herceptin (the HER2 drug) and Avastin did even better: $6 billion and $7.4 billion respectively. The snag, from society’s point of view, is that all these drugs are horribly expensive. Last year biotech drugs accounted for 70% of the increase in pharmaceutical costs in America, according to Medco, a drug-plan manager. Cancer plays a huge role in raising costs.
The Iceman's students look wary as they watch him dump bag after bag of ice into the tub of water where they will soon be taking a dip. Under the direction of "Iceman" Wim Hof, the group of athletes is going to stay in the water for minutes practising his meditation techniques. Hof, 52, earned his nickname from feats such as remaining in a tank of ice in Hong Kong for almost 2 hours [and] swimming half the length of a football field under a sheet of ice in the Arctic. Hof tells his students meditation in the cold strengthens mind and body. For most people, hypothermia begins shortly after exposure to freezing temperatures without adequate clothing, and it can quickly lead to death. Hof says he can endure cold so well because he has learned to activate parts of his mind beyond the reach of most people's conscious control, and crank up what he calls his "inner thermostat." "I never had a teacher, and I never had lessons, other than hard Nature itself," he says in an interview at his apartment in Amsterdam. "If you do it wrong, it hurts and you take some knocks, and if you do it right, then you really learn." Hof may be able to exercise some influence over other body functions considered involuntary, [and] tells his students at the Rotterdam workshop that viewing mental and physical training as separate may hinder their performance. Hof describes the three main elements in his method as controlled breathing, paying close mental attention to signals coming from the body, and crucially, keeping an open mind.
Pennsylvania Amish farmer Dan Allgyer has become a cause celebre for raw milk drinkers as the target of a Food and Drug Administration campaign - using sting operations and guns-drawn raids usually reserved for terrorists and drug lords - to eliminate unpasteurized milk. Such milk, also known as raw or fresh milk, is legal in California and considered essential to Europe's finest cheeses, creams and butters. Allgyer is the latest to feel the force of a yearslong Food and Drug Administration campaign against raw milk that has focused on tiny farms and consumer co-ops. Raw milk drinkers say cooking milk diminishes its flavor and nutrients. They said similar sterilization standards, if applied across the American diet, would ban sushi, medium-rare steaks, oysters on the shell and most raw fruits and vegetables. The Food Safety and Modernization Act approved by Congress last year and signed by President Obama in January has vastly enhanced the agency's powers. Starting July 3, the agency can confiscate any food at any farm that it deems unsafe or mislabeled. Throughout Europe, uncooked milk is the norm, dispensed in vending machines in Switzerland, Austria, France, Italy, Slovenia and the Netherlands. It is healthy, adherents say, because it contains fat that is not broken down by homogenization and is free of antibiotics and hormones, because cows are raised in small herds on pastures.
Mobile phones and computers with wireless internet connections pose a risk to human health and should be banned from schools, a powerful European body has ruled. A Council of Europe committee examined evidence that the technologies have "potentially harmful" effects on humans, and concluded that immediate action was required to protect children. In a report, the committee said it was crucial to avoid repeating the mistakes made when public health officials were slow to recognise the dangers of asbestos, tobacco smoking and lead in petrol. The report also highlighted the potential health risks of cordless telephones and baby monitors, which rely on similar technology and are widely used. Fears have been raised that electromagnetic radiation emitted by wireless devices can cause cancers and affect the developing brain.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.