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.
This country hasn't used land mines in nearly 20 years. It no longer makes the indiscriminate killers nor provides them to allies. Why then is President Obama - off to Oslo this week to collect a Nobel Peace Prize - refusing to sign an international treaty to ban the shrapnel-spewing buried bombs? His refusal is ... shameful. The devices, which maim and kill for years after a conflict ends, caused more than 5,000 casualties last year in the world's poorest places such as Cambodia, Angola and Central America. Obama's stance puts him in line with Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, who both ducked a chance to put this country in line with more than 150 nations that have signed the treaty. Other notable non-signers: China, Russia, India, Pakistan and Cuba. Is this the company we want to keep? Sticking with land mines is a puzzler. The United States has a reported stockpile of 10 million devices, though it hasn't deployed any since the 1991 Gulf War. By signing the agreement, the Pentagon would hardly be giving up a mainstay weapon. It's time for Obama to go in a new direction. He should sign, not equivocate, on a treaty that Washington has avoided for over a decade. Here's a thought while typing up your Peace Prize acceptance speech, Mr. President: It's time to ban land mines.
Note: The refusal to sign the worldwide landmine ban treaty seems to be a puzzler, until you realize the US government is protecting the rights to profit of US arms corporations. For a retired Marine general's analysis of the profiteering that is the principal purpose for war, "War is a Racket,"click here.
This is the 25th anniversary of the Bhopal gas disaster. [It] started one night when a pesticide plant owned by the American chemical giant Union Carbide leaked a cloud of poisonous gas. Before the sun rose, almost 4,000 human beings capable of love and anguish sank to their knees and did not get up. Half a million more fell ill, many with severely damaged lungs and eyes. An additional 15,000 people have since died from the aftereffects, and 10 to 30 people are said to die every month from exposure to the hundreds of tons of toxic waste left over in the former factory. But amazingly, the site still has not been cleaned up, because Dow Chemical, which since acquired Union Carbide, refuses to accept any responsibility. In 2001, the maker of napalm married the bane of Bhopal: Dow Chemical bought Union Carbide for $11.6 billion and promptly distanced itself from the disaster. Union Carbide and Dow were allowed to get away with it because of the international legal structures that protect multinationals from liability. Union Carbide sold its Indian subsidiary and pulled out of India. Warren Anderson, the Union Carbide chief executive at the time of the gas leak, lives in luxurious exile in the Hamptons, even though there’s an international arrest warrant out for him for culpable homicide. The Indian government has yet to pursue an extradition request. Imagine if an Indian chief executive had jumped bail for causing an industrial disaster that killed tens of thousands of Americans. What are the chances he’d be sunning himself in Goa?
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on corporate corruption, click here.
Critics point to Canada and Britain as the poster children of what could happen here with a "government takeover" of health coverage. But three other wealthy nations - the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany - offer much closer parallels, as well as lessons. Health care systems in the three nations more closely resemble the U.S. system of insurance-based coverage. Holland and Switzerland rely exclusively on private insurance, and all three rely on private doctors. The three European nations deliver universal coverage and world-class quality at a fraction of what Americans spend. All of them require that everyone purchase insurance, make sure everyone can afford it and ban insurers from such practices as refusing to cover the sick that are common in the United States. European health care is universal, but contrary to popular perception, it is not all nationalized. Most of Europe spends about 10 percent of its national income on health care and covers everyone. The United States will spend 18 percent this year and leave 47 million people uninsured. Europe has more doctors, more hospital beds and more patient visits than the United States. Take Switzerland: 4.9 doctors per thousand residents compared with 2.4 in the United States. And cost? The average cost for a hospital stay is $9,398 in relatively high-cost Switzerland and $17,206 in the United States.
Note: Maybe it boils down to whether we want our health controlled more by profit motive or by government bureaucracies One thing is for sure, the average U.S. citizen is getting much less for a greater cost than those in other developed countries.
With food stamp use at record highs and climbing every month, a program once scorned as a failed welfare scheme now helps feed one in eight Americans and one in four children. It has grown so rapidly in places so diverse that it is becoming nearly as ordinary as the groceries it buys. More than 36 million people use inconspicuous plastic cards for staples like milk, bread and cheese, swiping them at counters in blighted cities and in suburbs pocked with foreclosure signs. Virtually all have incomes near or below the federal poverty line, but their eclectic ranks testify to the range of people struggling with basic needs. They include single mothers and married couples, the newly jobless and the chronically poor, longtime recipients of welfare checks and workers whose reduced hours or slender wages leave pantries bare. There are 239 counties in the United States where at least a quarter of the population receives food stamps, according to an analysis of local data collected by The New York Times. In more than 750 counties, the program helps feed one in three blacks. In more than 800 counties, it helps feed one in three children. In the Mississippi River cities of St. Louis, Memphis and New Orleans, half of the children or more receive food stamps. Even in Peoria, Ill. — Everytown, U.S.A. — nearly 40 percent of children receive aid. While use is greatest where poverty runs deep, the growth has been especially swift in once-prosperous places hit by the housing bust.
Note: For more from reliable sources on the impacts and realities of the Wall Street financial crisis, click here.
Drug company GlaxoSmithKline has told Canadian doctors to stop using one lot of its H1N1 vaccine until an investigation into a higher-than-expected number of severe allergic reactions is completed. The U.S. vaccine will not be identical to Arepanrix, the GSK H1N1 vaccine used in Canada. Arepanrix contains an adjuvant, a substance designed to boost the immune response, but adjuvants have never been approved for use in U.S. flu vaccines. Almost all of the 172,000 doses in question, distributed the week of Nov. 2 to six Canadian provinces, already have been administered, said Geoffrey Matthews, a spokeswoman for the Public Health Agency of Canada, which, with GSK and Health Canada, is investigating cases of anaphylaxis. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include trouble breathing, chest tightness and swelling of the mouth and throat. Six cases have been reported, Matthews says. In the USA, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System said that as of Nov. 13 it had received 116 reports of serious health events related to the vaccine, including eight deaths – similar to the number in previous years after a similar number of seasonal flu vaccine doses had been shipped.
Note: For lots more on the risks of swine flu vaccines, click here.
As the pandemic H1N1 influenza surges with the onset of winter, the nations of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union appear particularly vulnerable to the deadly virus. Burdened with weak health-care systems, relatively inexperienced news media outlets and shaky governments that have little public trust, the region also seems ripe for panic and political strife over the flu. The potential for trouble is already on display in Ukraine, where 1.5 million of its 46 million people have had diagnoses of flu and respiratory illnesses since the start of the outbreak and 356 have died, according to the government. More telling than the numbers, however, has been the widespread fear the virus has caused in Ukraine, and the outsize impact it has had on the nation's political landscape. Anxious residents have overwhelmed hospitals and pharmacies, buying up supplies of medicine, gauze masks and home remedies such as lemons and garlic. Rumors have proliferated that people are dying of a new, more lethal strain of the virus. Semyon Gluzman, a psychiatrist and Soviet-era dissident in Kiev, said the fear was a rational response in a nation with a dysfunctional health-care system and a corrupt, ineffective government. "What we're seeing is a normal, psychological reaction to the complete incompetence of the state authorities," he said. "People are scared, and they don't know who to trust anymore."
Although federal health officials decline to use the word â€śpeaked,â€ť the current wave of swine flu appears to have done so in the United States. Flu activity is coming down in all regions of the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday, though it is still rising in Hawaii, Maine and some isolated areas. The World Health Organization said Friday that there were â€śearly signs of a peakâ€ť in much of the United States. On Wednesday, the American College Health Association, which surveys over 250 colleges with more than three million students, said new cases of flu had dropped in the week ending Nov. 13. It was the first drop since school resumed in the fall, and it was significant â€” new cases were down 27 percent from the week before. And on Friday, Quest Diagnostics, the countryâ€™s largest laboratory, said its tests of 142,000 suspected flu specimens since May showed that the flu peaked in late October. Nonetheless, Dr. Anne Schuchat, the director of immunization and respiratory diseases at the C.D.C., chose her words carefully, saying: â€śI wish I knew if we had hit the peak. Even if a peak has occurred, half the people who are going to get sick havenâ€™t gotten sick yet.â€ť The drop was clearly not caused by the swine flu vaccine drive, which has not gone as fast as the authorities had hoped.
Note: Just like the avian flu scare a few years ago, the swine flu hype has turned out to be largely a whimper, yet the pharmaceutical companies are happy, as again they have made billions of dollars from the massive amonts of vaccines and drugs purchased by the government with your tax dollars. For more, click here and here.
Patients who lack health insurance are more likely to die from car accidents and other traumatic injuries than people who belong to a health plan -- even though emergency rooms are required to care for all comers regardless of ability to pay. An analysis of 687,091 patients who visited trauma centers nationwide from 2002 to 2006 found that the odds of dying from injuries were almost twice as high for the uninsured than for patients with private insurance, researchers reported in Archives of Surgery. The research team from Harvard University and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston used information from 1,154 U.S. hospitals that contribute to the National Trauma Data Bank. The risk of death was 80% higher for patients without any insurance, the report said. The researchers also did a separate analysis of 209,702 trauma patients ages 18 to 30 because they were less likely to have chronic health conditions that might complicate recovery. Among these younger patients, the risk of death was 89% higher for the uninsured, the study found.
Note: For many highly informative reports on important health issues, click here.
Even as drug makers promise to support Washingtonâ€™s health care overhaul by shaving $8 billion a year off the nationâ€™s drug costs after the legislation takes effect, the industry has been raising its prices at the fastest rate in years. In the last year, the industry has raised the wholesale prices of brand-name prescription drugs by about 9 percent, according to industry analysts. That will add more than $10 billion to the nationâ€™s drug bill, which is on track to exceed $300 billion this year. By at least one analysis, it is the highest annual rate of inflation for drug prices since 1992. The drug trend is distinctly at odds with the direction of the Consumer Price Index, which has fallen by 1.3 percent in the last year. Critics say the industry is trying to establish a higher price base before Congress passes legislation that tries to curb drug spending in coming years. â€śWhen we have major legislation anticipated, we see a run-up in price increases,â€ť says Stephen W. Schondelmeyer, a professor of pharmaceutical economics at the University of Minnesota. A Harvard health economist, Joseph P. Newhouse, said he found a similar pattern of unusual price increases after Congress added drug benefits to Medicare a few years ago, giving tens of millions of older Americans federally subsidized drug insurance. Just as the program was taking effect in 2006, the drug industry raised prices by the widest margin in a half-dozen years. â€śThey try to maximize their profits,â€ť Mr. Newhouse said.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on corporate corruption, click here.
For the first time in 20 years, a government panel is telling women in their [forties] to stop getting routine mammograms and recommending that a host of other breast cancer screenings slow down. The United States Preventive Service Task Force announced ... that it recommends against annual mammograms for women age 40 to 49 because, they say, the benefits of testing do not outweigh the "harms" and risks. USPSTF still recommends doctors start screening all women over age 50, but with a mammogram once every two years instead of annually. The task force also ... said evidence was insufficient to recommend mammograms for women older than 74. The recommendations announced today, which contradict the American Cancer Society, have already pitted doctors, women, insurers and radiology groups in a fierce debate about who should get a mammogram and when. Many patient advocates wonder if money fueled the decision. However, Dr. Diana Petitti, vice chair of USPSTF, said the task force never looked at costs in their research or their recommendations. Instead, the task force reviewed a number of studies to compile the benefits of mammograms, such as how many cancers were detected and how many lives were saved, and the harms of mammograms, such as how many false positives popped up, how many unnecessary tests were done and how much extra radiation women were exposed to during the false positive testing.
Note: For a powerful article compiling important information and key quotes of doctors and researchers revealing the dangers of mammograms, click here.
In the official record of the historic House debate on overhauling health care, the speeches of many lawmakers echo with similarities. Often, that was no accident. Statements by more than a dozen lawmakers were ghostwritten, in whole or in part, by Washington lobbyists working for Genentech, one of the worldâ€™s largest biotechnology companies. E-mail messages obtained by The New York Times show that the lobbyists drafted one statement for Democrats and another for Republicans. The lobbyists ... were remarkably successful in getting the statements printed in the Congressional Record under the names of different members of Congress. Genentech, a subsidiary of the Swiss drug giant Roche, estimates that 42 House members picked up some of its talking points â€” 22 Republicans and 20 Democrats, an unusual bipartisan coup for lobbyists. In an interview, Representative Bill Pascrell Jr., Democrat of New Jersey, said: â€śI regret that the language was the same. I did not know it was.â€ť He said he got his statement from his staff and â€śdid not know where they got the information from.â€ť In recent years, Genentechâ€™s political action committee and lobbyists for Roche and Genentech have made campaign contributions to many House members. And company employees have been among the hosts at fund-raisers for some of those lawmakers.
Note: For revealing reports from major media sources on government corruption, click here.
European scientists and health authorities are facing angry questions about why H1N1 flu has not caused death and destruction on the scale first feared, and they need to respond deftly to ensure public support. Accusations are flying in British and French media that the pandemic has been "hyped" by medical researchers to further their own cause, boost research grants and line the pockets of drug companies. Britain's Independent newspaper this week asked "Pandemic? What Pandemic?." France's Le Parisien newspaper ran the headline: "Swine flu: why the French distrust the vaccine" and noted a gap between the predicted impact of H1N1 and the less dramatic reality. "Dangerous liaisons between certain experts, the labs and the government, the obscurity of the contracts between the state and the pharma firms have added to the doubt." In Britain, health authorities' original worst-case scenario -- which said as many as 65,000 could die from H1N1 -- has twice been revised down and the prediction is now for around 1,000 deaths, way below the average annual toll of 4,000 to 8,000 deaths from seasonal winter flu.
Note: It's quite interesting and telling that a thorough Internet seach showed that no major media picked up this article from Reuters News Agency
A spate of recent deaths of New York police and fire officers who took part in the emergency operation at Ground Zero after the 9/11 attacks has heightened fears that it could be the start of a delayed epidemic of cancer-related illness. Five firefighters and police officers, all of whom were involved in the rescue and clear-up at the site of the collapsed Twin Towers, have died of cancer in the past three months, the oldest being 44. Three died last month within a four-day period. Up to 70,000 people took part in the massive operation at Ground Zero, including police, firefighters and construction workers who came to New York voluntarily from all over the US. Many worked for months amid a toxic soup of dust and chemicals. Amid the pollutants within the giant pile of 1.8m tons of debris and the surrounding air were ... about 1,000 tons of asbestos that was used in the construction of the Twin Towers, pulverised lead from computers, mercury and highly carcinogenic by-products from the burning of plastics and chlorinated chemicals. No official tally is available for the number of those who have died as a result of the 9/11 clear-up. The New York state health department has recorded 817 deaths of emergency workers. Claire Calladine, a campaigner who runs the organisation 9/11 Health Now, said the fear was that the recent rise in cancer cases was just the start. "We have only seen the tip of the iceberg. How bad will it get – that is the big question."
Your body is probably home to a chemical called bisphenol A, or BPA. It’s a synthetic estrogen that United States factories now use in everything from plastics to epoxies — to the tune of six pounds per American per year. More than 92 percent of Americans have BPA in their urine, and scientists have linked it ... to everything from breast cancer to obesity, from attention deficit disorder to genital abnormalities in boys and girls alike. Now it turns out it’s in our food. Consumer Reports magazine tested an array of brand-name canned foods for a report in its December issue and found BPA in almost all of them. The magazine says that relatively high levels turned up, for example, in Progresso vegetable soup, Campbell’s condensed chicken noodle soup, and Del Monte Blue Lake cut green beans. The magazine also says it found BPA in the canned liquid version of Similac Advance infant formula ... and in canned Nestlé Juicy Juice. The BPA in the food probably came from an interior coating used in many cans. More than 200 other studies have shown links between low doses of BPA and adverse health effects, according to the Breast Cancer Fund, which is trying to ban the chemical from food and beverage containers. “The vast majority of independent scientists — those not working for industry — are concerned about early-life low-dose exposures to BPA,” said Janet Gray, a Vassar College professor who is science adviser to the Breast Cancer Fund.
Note: For more on BPA and other health issues, click here.
Advice about soft drinks and health from one of the nation's largest doctors groups will soon be brought to you by Coke. The American Academy of Family Physicians has prompted outcry and lost members over its new six-figure alliance with the Coca-Cola Co. The deal will fund educational materials about soft drinks for the academy's consumer health and wellness Web site, www.FamilyDoctor.org. "Coca-Cola, like other sodas, causes enormous suffering and premature death by increasing the risks of obesity, diabetes, heart attacks, gout, and cavities," Harvard University nutrition expert Dr. Walter Willett said in an e-mail. He said the academy "should be a loud critic of these products and practices, but by signing with Coke their voice has almost surely been muzzled." Dr. Henry Blackburn, a University of Minnesota public health specialist, said the deal "will inevitably have a chilling effect on the focus of their message in regards to sweet drinks."
Note: For more on corruption in the medical/corporate complex, click here.
A $112 million settlement involving alleged drug kickbacks that the Justice Dept. announced with the nation's largest nursing home pharmacy and a generic drug manufacturer on Nov. 3 is part of a wide-ranging investigation of suspected Medicaid fraud by the pharmaceutical industry. Critics say the continuing probe, which involves ... major drugmakers, highlights what they describe as an industry practice of paying money to outfits that provide drugs to consumers, in return for preferential treatment. Because those alleged payoffs have the effect of compromising patient care and driving up costs for government and private health insurers, cases like the settlement unsealed with Omnicare (OCR) in Covington, Ky., and IVAX Pharmaceuticals in Weston, Fla., could bolster opposition to the controversial deal the Obama Administration reached with the pharmaceutical industry to win its support for health-reform legislation. Many Democrats say the Administration should have asked for much bigger cost savings from drugmakers. Patrick Burns, a spokesman for Taxpayers Against Fraud, a nonprofit Washington group that promotes whistleblower suits, says the Justice Dept. is backed up with pharmaceutical fraud cases. Since drugmakers offer so many similar products, he contends, they rely on kickbacks to give their products a market edge. "In the pharmaceutical industry, the business isn't selling the best drug, it's the best scheme of kickbacks to the prescriber."
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on corporate corruption, click here.
Eating a diet high in processed food increases the risk of depression, research suggests. What is more, people who ate plenty of vegetables, fruit and fish actually had a lower risk of depression, the University College London team found. Data on diet among 3,500 middle-aged civil servants was compared with depression five years later, the British Journal of Psychiatry reported. They split the participants into two types of diet - those who ate a diet largely based on whole foods, which includes lots of fruit, vegetables and fish, and those who ate a mainly processed food diet, such as sweetened desserts, fried food, processed meat, refined grains and high-fat dairy products. After accounting for factors such as gender, age, education, physical activity, smoking habits and chronic diseases, they found a significant difference in future depression risk with the different diets. Those who ate the most whole foods had a 26% lower risk of future depression than those who at the least whole foods. By contrast people with a diet high in processed food had a 58% higher risk of depression than those who ate very few processed foods.
Note: For an excellent article revealing dramatic improvements in the behavior of children at a school which transformed the children's diet in a major experiment being modeled by other schools, click here. For key reports from major media sources on important health issues, click here.
In August 2009, CBS News made a simple request of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for public documents, e-mails and other materials CDC used to communicate to states the decision to stop testing individual cases of Novel H1N1, or "swine flu." When the public affairs folks at CDC refused to produce the documents and quit responding to my queries altogether, I filed a formal Freedom of Information (FOI) request for the materials. Two months after my FOI request, the CDC has yet to produce any of these easily retrievable materials. This has become standard operating procedure in Washington. Today, I received a letter from the CDC Freedom of Information office ... to inform me that my request for "expedited" treatment of my FOI request has been denied because CDC has determined the request is "not a matter of widespread and exceptional media and public interest." The CDC may be the only agency on the planet to argue that testing and counting of swine flu cases is "not of widespread and exceptional media and public interest." CBS News reporting on the topic has been quoted and reproduced internationally by news organizations such as California NPR, radio talk shows and others. The Freedom of Information Act ... was supposed to stop federal agencies from using their power and control to withhold public information from the people who own it. Many federal agencies use it to obstruct the delay or release of obviously public information.
Note: See powerful media reports suggesting that both the Avian Flu and Swine Flu were manipulated to promote fear and boost pharmaceutical sales. For other verifiable information on health corruption, see the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Health Information Center.
As Germany launched its mass-vaccination program against the H1N1 flu virus on Monday, the government found itself fending off accusations of favoritism because it was offering one vaccine believed to have fewer side effects to civil servants, politicians and soldiers, and another, potentially riskier vaccine to everyone else. The German government prepared for its mass-vaccination campaign earlier this year by ordering 50 million doses of the Pandemrix vaccine. The vaccine, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, contains an immunity-enhancing chemical compound, known as an adjuvant, whose side effects are not yet entirely known. The Interior Ministry confirmed that it had ordered a different vaccine, Celvapan, for government officials and the military. Celvapan, which is made by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Baxter, does not contain an adjuvant and is believed to have fewer side effects.
Reinhold Vieth, [a] professor at the University of Toronto’s Department of Laboratory Medicine and Patho-biology, ... is among the most knowledgeable people in the world on the subject of vitamin D. In the US and Canada, official vitamin D policy is set by the Institute of Medicine. And in the opinion of Vieth, the current recommendations – 200 International Units per day for people under 50, 400 for people aged 51-70, and 600 for those 71 and older – are outrageously low. Vieth and other vitamin D advocates have good reason to think there will be minimal changes made to dietary guidelines. Last December, the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer issued a 465-page report that concluded there was no need to raise vitamin D recommendations. “The evidence favouring vitamin D is probably as good as the evidence that shows smoking is bad for you,” Vieth says, explaining that just as smoking is correlated with certain cancers, so are low vitamin D levels. “But when these government officials see the same kind of evidence that deals with vitamin D as they see with smoking they go, ‘Oh wait a minute. We can’t really trust this.’” Vieth pauses, as though he can barely stand to talk about such a miserable state of affairs. “It’s easy to say ‘don’t do something – don’t smoke’. It’s very hard to say ‘take this. Take vitamin D.’”
Note: For many key reports from reliable sources on important health issues, click here.
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.