Health Media Articles
Excerpts of Key Health Media Articles from Major Media
Below are many highly revealing excerpts of important health articles reported in the mainstream media suggesting a cover-up.
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For an index to revealing excerpts of media articles on several dozen engaging topics, click here
Companies look to Swine Flu to drive profits
2009-04-29, ABC News
Pharmaceutical stocks are skyrocketing on fears that a swine flu outbreak could go global. Manufacturers of antiviral drugs [and] companies gearing up to produce a vaccine ... are turning profits in an otherwise skittish and down market. Companies gearing up for swine flu, including Roche, Gilead Sciences and GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturers of the leading antiviral flu medications, are best positioned to see a boost in profits if the disease escalates to epidemic proportions, analysts said. Tamiflu ... was developed by Gilead and manufactured by Roche. Both companies' share prices spiked soon after the U.S. government allowed for its stockpiles of the drug to be made publicly available. Gilead stock surged to $47.53 at the end of the day Monday, up 3.78 percent. Roche rose to $31.72, up 4.34 percent. The other major flu drug currently on the market is Relenza, also stockpiled and released by the government, and manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline. Shares of Glaxo closed surged Monday to $31.56, up 7.57 percent. Both Tamiflu and Relenza are stockpiled by governments and in the case of an outbreak the companies are often required to sell the drugs directly to the government at a discount. "Government stockpiling is viewed as boon for profits. Though the government gets a discount and the margins sold to the government are lower than those if they sold to Walgreens, from a stock perspective it's an unexpected positive surprise," he said.
Note: Pharmaceutical companies make big bucks from scares like the avian flu and swine flu. Yet are the recommended drugs really effective? Many studies say they are not. For analysis of profiteering by the pharmaceutical industry during a previous flu scare, click here. See this link for lots more.
Paying a Price for Loving Red Meat
2009-04-28, New York Times
There was a time when red meat was a luxury for ordinary Americans, or was at least something special: cooking a roast for Sunday dinner, ordering a steak at a restaurant. Not anymore. Meat consumption has more than doubled in the United States in the last 50 years. Now a new study of more than 500,000 Americans has provided the best evidence yet that our affinity for red meat has exacted a hefty price on our health and limited our longevity. The study found that, other things being equal, the men and women who consumed the most red and processed meat were likely to die sooner, especially from one of our two leading killers, heart disease and cancer, than people who consumed much smaller amounts of these foods. The number of excess deaths that could be attributed to high meat consumption is quite large given the size of the American population. Extrapolated to all Americans in the age group studied, the new findings suggest that over the course of a decade, the deaths of one million men and perhaps half a million women could be prevented just by eating less red and processed meats, according to estimates prepared by Dr. Barry Popkin, who wrote an editorial accompanying the report. In place of red meat, nonvegetarians might consider poultry and fish. In the study, the largest consumers of “white” meat from poultry and fish had a slight survival advantage. Likewise, those who ate the most fruits and vegetables also tended to live longer.
Note: For many excellent reports on health issues, click here.
How to Deal with Swine Flu: Heeding the Mistakes of 1976
2009-04-27, Time Magazine
In February 1976, an outbreak of swine flu struck Fort Dix Army base in New Jersey, killing a 19-year-old private and infecting hundreds of soldiers. Concerned that the U.S. was on the verge of a devastating epidemic, President Gerald Ford ordered a nationwide vaccination program at a cost of $135 million (some $500 million in today's money). Within weeks, reports surfaced of people developing Guillain-Barré syndrome, a paralyzing nerve disease that can be caused by the vaccine. By April, more than 30 people had died of the condition. Facing protests, federal officials abruptly canceled the program on Dec. 16. The epidemic failed to materialize. Medical historians and epidemiologists say ... the decisions made in the wake of the '76 outbreak — and the public's response to them — provide a cautionary tale for public health officials, who may soon have to consider whether to institute draconian measures to combat the disease. "I think 1976 provides an example of how not to handle a flu outbreak," says Hugh Pennington, an emeritus professor of virology at Britain's University of Aberdeen. Despite modern advances in microbiology, today's health officials still make decisions in a "cloud of uncertainty," Pennington says. "At the moment, our understanding of the current outbreak is similarly limited. For example, we don't yet understand why people are dying in Mexico but not elsewhere." Howard Markel, director of the Center for the History of Medicine at the University of Michigan and a historical consultant to the CDC on flu pandemics, says the most vexing decision facing health officials is when to institute mass vaccination programs.
Note: To watch two short commercials made in 1976 showing clear scare tactics, click here. Only one person died from the actual flu in this 1976 "epidemic," yet more than 30 died of the flu vaccine. To explore the serious risks of vaccines reported in the media, click here. For lots more on bird and swine flu scares, click here.
Vioxx maker Merck and Co drew up doctor hit list
2009-04-01, The Australian (One of Australia's leading newspapers)
An international drug company made a hit list of doctors who had to be "neutralised" or discredited because they criticised the anti-arthritis drug the pharmaceutical giant produced. Staff at US company Merck &Co emailed each other about the list of doctors - mainly researchers and academics - who had been negative about the drug Vioxx or Merck and a recommended course of action. The email, which came out in the Federal Court in Melbourne yesterday as part of a class action against the drug company, included the words "neutralise", "neutralised" or "discredit" against some of the doctors' names. It is also alleged the company used intimidation tactics against critical researchers, including dropping hints it would stop funding to institutions and claims it interfered with academic appointments. "We may need to seek them out and destroy them where they live," a Merck employee wrote, according to an email excerpt read to the court by Julian Burnside QC, acting for the plaintiff. Merck & Co and its Australian subsidiary, Merck, Sharpe and Dohme, are being sued for compensation by more than 1000 Australians, who claim they suffered heart attacks or strokes as a result of Vioxx. The drug was launched in 1999 and at its height of popularity was used by 80 million people worldwide because it did not cause stomach problems as did traditional anti-inflammatory drugs. It was voluntarily withdrawn from sale in 2004 after concerns were raised that it caused heart attacks and strokes and a clinical trial testing these potential side affects was aborted for safety reasons. Merck last year settled thousands of lawsuits in the US over the effects of Vioxx for $US 4.85 billion, but made no admission of guilt.
Note: For lots more on corporate corruption from reliable sources, click here.
Powerful proponent of psychiatric drugs for children primed for a fall
2009-03-27, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Dr. Joseph Biederman, chief of the Massachusetts General Pediatric Psychopharmacology Clinic, is already under investigation by Harvard University and the National Institutes of Health for failing to report income received from drug companies. Biederman has strongly pushed treating children's mental illnesses with powerful antipsychotic medicines. Diagnoses like ADHD and pediatric bipolar disorder, along with psychiatric drug use in American children, have soared in the last 15 years. No other country medicates children as frequently. Now, in newly released court documents, Biederman appears to be promising drugmaker Johnson & Johnson in advance that his studies on the antipsychotic drug risperidone will prove the drug to be effective when used on preschool age children. Biederman's status at Harvard and his research have arguably made him, until recently, America's most powerful doctor in child psychiatry. Reports from court actions, along with an ongoing investigation of conflict of interest charges led by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, threaten to topple Biederman from his heretofore untouchable Olympian heights. Biederman's conflict of interest problems have exposed his strong pro-drug views to the public for scrutiny. Until now, fear of the Biederman team has operated quietly on the small club of child psychiatric researchers. Only when 2-year-olds started taking three psychiatric drugs simultaneously under a Biederman protocol for bipolar disorder did the emperor's clothes become so invisible as to begin the naming of names. Biederman's personal travails tragically inform us about a crisis in academic medicine that must be resolved.
Note: For a powerful overview of corruption in the pharmaceutical industry, click here.
When hope heals
2009-03-20, Ode Magazine
Ten years after he was diagnosed HIV-positive, Paul was still alive. This was long before tri-therapy—the remarkably effective treatment that keeps AIDS patients alive—and everyone asked what he was doing to stave off the illness. He replied that he was taking natural supplements, watching his diet carefully and exercising regularly. One day at a press conference, a professor of medicine told him, "I'm sorry to say I've had a lot of patients who were doing the same thing and they all died. Unfortunately, I expect that within a year, or at most two, your disease will have gotten the upper hand." Indeed, Paul died within two years, his hopes struck down by that terrible omen. It takes 24 hours for certain voodoo priests to bring about the death of a person on whom they've cast an "evil spell." The grand priests of modern medicine aren't so quick but can sometimes be as deadly. Cancer seems to develop faster and more aggressively in patients who have less control over the inevitable stress of existence, which seems to be one of the reasons support groups prolong survival. Now what could be more stressful than being told there's no hope of a cure? At the University of California, Los Angeles, Assistant Professor Steve Cole demonstrated that among AIDS patients on tri-therapy, the treatment benefits those who remain calm facing life's difficulties far more than those who have trouble controlling their stress. To guard against this Western-style voodoo, patients often need to know more than their doctors about what they can do to help themselves—beginning by placing more hope in their bodies than medicine is prepared to give them.
Note: For many hopeful reports on health issues from major media sources, click here.
Risky therapy may cream peanut allergy
2009-03-15, MSNBC/Associated Press
Scientists have the first evidence that life-threatening peanut allergies may be cured one day. A few kids now are allergy-free thanks to a scary treatment — tiny amounts of the very food that endangered them. Don’t try this at home. Doctors monitored the youngsters closely in case they needed rescue, and there’s no way to dice a peanut as small as the treatment doses required. But over several years, the children’s bodies learned to tolerate peanuts. Immune-system tests show no sign of remaining allergy in five youngsters, and others can withstand amounts that once would have left them wheezing or worse. “We’re optimistic that they have lost their peanut allergy,” said the lead researcher, Dr. Wesley Burks, Duke’s allergy chief. Rhonda Cassada['s] 7-year-old son, Ryan, has been labeled allergy-free for two years and counting. It’s a big change for a child who couldn’t tolerate one-sixth of a peanut when he entered the study at age 2 1/2. By 5, Ryan could eat a whopping 15 peanuts at a time with no sign of a reaction. More rigorous research is under way to confirm the pilot study, released Sunday at a meeting of the American Academy of Asthma and Immunology. If it pans out, the approach could mark a major advance for an allergy that afflicts 1.8 million people in the United States. Millions of people have food allergies and peanut allergy is considered the most dangerous, with life-threatening reactions possible from trace amounts. It accounts for most of the 30,000 emergency-room visits and up to 200 deaths attributed to food allergies each year. Although some children outgrow peanut allergy, that’s rare among the severely affected. There’s no way to avoid a reaction other than avoiding peanuts.
Note: For many hopeful reports on health issues from major media sources, click here.
Surviving Recession: Medical research seen as lure in hard times
2009-03-13, Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, CA's leading newspaper)
Retirement slammed Carole Jacko. Raising two grandchildren, she's too young for Medicare and too strapped to pay $600 a month for health insurance. So when a trip to the emergency room ended with a diagnosis of diabetes, Jacko found a creative solution. She became a medical guinea pig, offering herself to science in exchange for free medication, free doctor's visits and even a modest payment. With the economy careening and millions uninsured, some doctors and researchers believe the lure of volunteering for medical research is growing – and so are potential ethical pitfalls. "Sometimes desperation leads people to be poor shoppers," to gloss over risks or grasp at imagined benefits, said Kevin Weinfurt, a Duke University professor who focuses on medical decision-making and ethics. No regulations limit how much a person can be paid to take part in medical research. Researchers do not agree on how much money it takes to cross the line and exert "undue influence" or coercion to get someone to enroll in a study. That's something federal regulations do forbid. "This is the most complicated issue in research ethics, and it's still an unsettled question," Weinfurt said. It has lingered for more than 100 years, since an Army surgeon named Walter Reed paid volunteers at a Cuban outpost $100 in gold to risk being infected with yellow fever. The men got another $100 if they contracted the disease, payable to themselves – or any designated survivor.
Note: For many reports on corruption in the pharmaceutical and medical industries from major media sources, click here.
Placebo Effect: A Cure in the Mind
2009-02-25, Scientific American
“Mr. Wright” was dying from cancer of the lymph nodes ... and his doctors had exhausted all available treatments. Nevertheless, Mr. Wright was confident that a new anticancer drug called Krebiozen would cure him. [He] was bedridden and fighting for each breath when he received his first injection. But three days later [his] tumors had shrunk by half, and after 10 more days of treatment he was discharged from the hospital. Over the next two months, however, Mr. Wright became troubled by press reports questioning the efficacy of Krebiozen and suffered a relapse. His doctors decided to lie to him: an improved, doubly effective version of the drug was due to arrive the next day, they told him. Mr. Wright was ecstatic. The doctors then gave him an injection that contained not one molecule of the drug—and he improved even more than he had the last time. Soon he walked out of the hospital symptom-free. He remained healthy until two months later, when, after reading reports that exposed Krebiozen as worthless, he died within days. As Mr. Wright’s experience illustrates, a patient’s expectations and beliefs can greatly affect the course of an illness. When psychological factors tied to an inactive substance such as Krebiozen lead to recovery, doctors call the improvement a placebo effect. In recent decades reports have confirmed the efficacy of [these] treatments in nearly all areas of medicine. Placebos can help not only to alleviate illnesses with an obvious psychological component, such as pain, depression and anxiety, but also to lessen the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and inflammatory disorders. Occasionally, as in Mr. Wright’s case, placebos have shrunk tumors.
Note: To view this article in full, click here. With such dramatic results, why isn't more money being poured into research on the power of the mind and our beliefs to affect our health?
2009-02-11, Forbes magazine
Spontaneous tumor regressions are among the rarest and most mysterious events in medicine, with only several hundred cases in the literature that can be considered well documented. Regressions have most often been reported in melanoma and in kidney cancer. But the phenomenon may, in fact, be an everyday one, taking place beyond doctors' eyes. A recent study suggests that as many as 1 in 3 breast tumors may vanish on their own before being detected by a doctor. Why do some patients get lucky? Scientists are finding tantalizing evidence that the immune system, the body's defense against disease-causing microbes, kicks in to play a critical role in combating cancer. The evidence includes the fact that some unexplained remissions have occurred after infections, which may propel the immune system into high gear--possibly attacking the cancer tumor as well as the infection. The role of the immune system in controlling cancer has been hotly debated for decades--and indeed many scientists remain unconvinced. But Jedd D. Wolchok, an oncologist at New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, thinks there is a connection. A spontaneous remission, he says, is "either divine intervention or the immune system." While few researchers directly study such cases--they are far too rare--they provide hints of what the immune system might be able to do if we could harness it.
Note: The number of these cancer miracles are likely far more than suggested in this article. The problem is that most doctors ignore or consider them insignificant. For a most fascinating example of this, click here. For many exciting reports from major media sources describing potentially promising new cancer treatments, click here.
Reporter's notebook: TED 2009
2009-02-07, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Some ... favorite gee-whiz moments from this year's TED conference: -- UC Berkeley biologist Robert Full blew everyone's mind by outlining his efforts to create the perfect robotic "distributed foot." He studies the feet and legs of geckos and cockroaches and transfers their design to robots, enabling them to scale walls. One such machine, the Spinybot, can climb glass walls. -- P.W. Singer, an academic who studies war, terrified the crowd with a detailed look at modern, robotic warfare. Something I didn't know: You can sit in a room in New Mexico and pilot armed drone airplanes in Iraq and kill people. Then you go home and have dinner with your kids. Somewhere, Aldous Huxley weeps. -- Stanford's Catherine Mohr displayed the robotic surgical arm she's working on that could change medicine. Among the amazing possibilities are surgeons in the United States performing advanced surgeries in remote parts of the world. These are just a handful of the amazing innovations and disclosures made at TED this year. In the coming weeks and months, videos of all of these talks will be made available to the public at www.ted.com. TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, is a 25-year-old annual conference attended by many of the world's leading scientists, academics and business leaders. The agenda consists of a series of talks, during which big thinkers discuss big ideas.
Note: For powerful information on bizarre "non-lethal" weapons developed by the military, click here. For an enlightening NPR interview on artificial war, click here. And for one of the most powerful TED presentations ever, see neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor's description of her experience having a stroke, available here.
Study Finds High-Fructose Corn Syrup Contains Mercury
2009-01-29, Washington Post
Almost half of tested samples of commercial high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contained mercury, which was also found in nearly a third of 55 popular brand-name food and beverage products where HFCS is the first- or second-highest labeled ingredient, according to two new U.S. studies. HFCS has replaced sugar as the sweetener in many beverages and foods such as breads, cereals, breakfast bars, lunch meats, yogurts, soups and condiments. On average, Americans consume about 12 teaspoons per day of HFCS, but teens and other high consumers can take in 80 percent more. "Mercury is toxic in all its forms. Given how much high-fructose corn syrup is consumed by children, it could be a significant additional source of mercury never before considered. We are calling for immediate changes by industry and the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] to help stop this avoidable mercury contamination of the food supply," the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy's Dr. David Wallinga, a co-author of both studies, said in a prepared statement.
Note: For a treasure trove of key reports on important health issues, click here.
Babies Know: A Little Dirt Is Good for You
2009-01-27, New York Times
Ask mothers why babies are constantly picking things up from the floor or ground and putting them in their mouths, and chances are they’ll say that it’s instinctive — that that’s how babies explore the world. But why the mouth, when sight, hearing, touch and even scent are far better at identifying things? Accumulating evidence strongly suggests that eating dirt is good for you. In studies of what is called the hygiene hypothesis, researchers are concluding that organisms like the millions of bacteria, viruses and especially worms that enter the body along with “dirt” spur the development of a healthy immune system. Several continuing studies suggest that worms may help to redirect an immune system that has gone awry and resulted in autoimmune disorders, allergies and asthma. These studies, along with epidemiological observations, seem to explain why immune system disorders like multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma and allergies have risen significantly in the United States and other developed countries. “What a child is doing when he puts things in his mouth is allowing his immune response to explore his environment,” Mary Ruebush, a microbiology and immunology instructor, wrote in her new book, Why Dirt Is Good. “Not only does this allow for ‘practice’ of immune responses, which will be necessary for protection, but it also plays a critical role in teaching the immature immune response what is best ignored.”
Note: For many key reports on new health research from reliable sources, click here.
Fighting a cold? Every bit of sleep counts
2009-01-17, Los Angeles Times
People who sleep less than seven hours a night appear to be almost three times as likely to catch a cold as those who sleep eight hours or more, a new study has found. Quality of sleep may count even more than quantity. Those who spend as little as 25 minutes a night tossing and turning face more than five times the risk of sniffing and sneezing. The age-old advice to get a good night's sleep is well-supported by medical research. Sleeping less than seven hours a night has been shown to increase the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, weight gain and hardening of the arteries. Studies have also found that serious sleep deprivation disrupts the immune system. But those were experimental studies that kept subjects up for most of the night, then measured their immune responses. One of the surprising findings from the new study, published Monday in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, was just how little it took to knock down defenses against the common cold. "Very small disruptions in sleep, very small losses in terms of duration of sleep, were associated with pretty big increases in your probability of getting sick if you're exposed to a virus," said Sheldon Cohen, a professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University and the first author of the study. "It's not just insomniacs or people being deprived of sleep." Controlling for numerous factors that can influence health -- including age, race, income, education, smoking, exercise and depression -- the study found that the longer and better participants slept, the better they were able to resist or fight off infection, Cohen said.
Note: For another fascinating article on colds, see the Wall Street Journal article available here.
Major Flu Strain Found Resistant to Leading Drug, Puzzling Scientists
2009-01-09, New York Times
Virtually all the dominant strain of flu in the United States this season is resistant to the leading antiviral drug Tamiflu, and scientists and health officials are trying to figure out why. The problem is not yet a public health crisis because this has been a below-average flu season so far, and because the Tamiflu-resistant strain, one of three circulating, is still susceptible to other drugs. But infectious disease specialists are worried nonetheless. Last winter, about 11 percent of the throat swabs from patients with the most common type of flu that were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for genetic typing showed a Tamiflu-resistant strain. This season, 99 percent do. “It’s quite shocking,” said Dr. Kent A. Sepkowitz, director of infection control at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. “We’ve never lost an antimicrobial this fast. It blew me away.” The single mutation that creates Tamiflu resistance appears to be spontaneous, and not a reaction to overuse of the drug. Complicating the problem, antiviral drugs work only if taken within the first 48 hours of infection.
Note: Isn't Tamiflu the same drug that was, according the the U.K.'s respected Independent, "bought in massive amounts by Governments to treat a possible human pandemic of the disease [avian flu]," and from which Donald Rumsfeld "made more than $5m in capital gains from selling shares"? What ever happened to all the panic about the avian flu? Could it be that it was only fear mongering? For reliable information on this key topic, click here.
FDA Will Continue To Study Chemical: No Action Planned on Bisphenol A
2008-12-16, Washington Post
The Food and Drug Administration, criticized by its own scientific advisers for ignoring available data about health risks posed by a chemical found in everyday plastic, said yesterday it has no plans to amend its position on the substance but will continue to study it. The agency has been reviewing its risk assessments for bisphenol A, a chemical used to harden plastic that is found in a wide variety of products, from baby bottles to compact discs to the lining of canned goods. The chemical, commonly called BPA, mimics estrogen and may disrupt the body's carefully calibrated endocrine system. Over the past decade, more than 130 studies have linked BPA to breast cancer, obesity, diabetes, neurological problems and other disorders. Much of the new research suggests that BPA has an effect at very low doses -- lower than the current safety standard set by the FDA. The most prominent finding was by the National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institutes of Health, which reported that there is "some concern" that BPA may affect the brain and behavioral development of fetuses, infants and young children. In October, the FDA was faulted by its own panel of independent science advisers, who said the agency's position on BPA was scientifically flawed. Yesterday, Laura Tarantino, director of the FDA's Office of Food Additive Safety, said the FDA will respond to that recommendation by performing additional analysis. She said she did not know if it would last months or years. "I can't tell you when we will finalize this," she said.
Note: For important new results in health research from reliable sources, click here.
UCSF says reports on drug trials skew positive
2008-12-15, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
What are the pills in your medicine cabinet, and how do you know they're best for you? When drug companies seek approval to market new medicines, they must show the U.S. Food and Drug Administration the results of all the tests they've run on volunteer patients - at first on only a few, then on dozens, and finally on hundreds or sometimes thousands. After winning approval, the companies typically sponsor reports of those tests in medical journal publications, which many doctors often rely on to determine whether to prescribe new drugs for their patients. Now a skeptical team of medical investigators at UCSF has accused the major drug companies of bias by distorting the results of their trials in those publications, making it hard for doctors to judge for themselves the pros and cons of prescribing the new drugs. As a result, the researchers say, patients may sometimes be taking medicines they don't need - or with unwanted side effects - that their doctors have prescribed on the basis of inadequate information. The UCSF team, led by Lisa A. Bero of the medical center's Institute for Health Policy Studies, probed the details of 164 drug trials involving as many as 1,500 patients over a two-year period and then examined reports on those trials that were published in medical journals, as well as those that remained unpublished. "We found really important information from the official trial reports that were either not published at all or that stressed mostly the positive results of trials in the published versions," said Kristin Rising, a physician at the institute who did the major investigation.
Note: For lots more on corporate corruption from reliable sources, click here.
Panel Criticizes U.S. Effort on Nanomaterial Risks
2008-12-11, New York Times
In a sweeping critique ... an expert panel of the National Research Council said the federal government was not doing enough to identify potential health and environmental risks from engineered nanomaterials. Nanomaterials are engineered on the scale of a billionth of a meter, perhaps 1/10,000 the width of a human hair. They are turning up in a range of items including consumer products like toothpaste and tennis rackets and industrial products like degreasers or adhesives. But some experts say they may pose health or environmental risks. For example, researchers in Scotland reported this year that carbon nanotubes may pose the same health risks as asbestos. “Industry wants to run with it,” said Andrew D. Maynard, chief science adviser to the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies at the Woodrow Wilson Institute, who was the chairman of the panel. But he added, “one of the big barriers at the moment is understanding how to use it safely.” The panel analyzed the risk research strategy of the National Nanotechnology Initiative, the program to coordinate federal efforts in nanotechnology research and development. Its report concluded that the initiative’s strategy “does not present a vision, contain a clear set of goals, have a plan of action for how the goals are to be achieved, or describe mechanisms to review and evaluate funded research and assess whether progress has been achieved.” An informal coalition of environmental and business organizations praised the report, saying that for three years they had been urging the federal government to do more to assess potential health and environmental effects of nanomaterials.
Note: For many important articles on health issues from reliable sources, click here.
New approach counters diabetes in mice trials
2008-12-11, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
When he was just 7 years old, Sacramento native Nate DeFelice was told he had Type 1 diabetes. So when he joined a diabetes research project at Ben-Gurion University [in Israel] two years ago, he hoped it would be a meaningful experience. As it turns out, the project could change his life and those of millions of other diabetics. DeFelice, 27, never dreamed that he would help discover a potential cure for his disease, see the beginning of a Federal Drug Administration-approved clinical trial in the United States, and co-author a scientific paper along with seven other researchers published in October by the National Academy of Sciences. Type 1 diabetes, usually diagnosed in childhood, is caused by a failure of the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas called "islets." They require daily injections of insulin, which helps break down glucose in the blood. When Ben-Gurion University biochemistry Professor Dr. Eli Lewis asked for volunteers to participate in new research on diabetes, DeFelice jumped at the chance. Lewis, DeFelice and the other researchers have focused their investigations on islet transplantation. The Israeli team then opted for a new approach, ... focusing ... on inflammation caused by the transplant itself. Lewis grafted healthy islets into diabetic mice and treated them with an anti-inflammatory drug called alpha-1-antitrypsin, or AAT. Within months, they discovered three encouraging results: AAT enabled the newly grafted islets to survive indefinitely, successfully secreting insulin. The researchers stopped administering AAT and the islets continued to function. The mice's immune systems remained intact and were able to reject additional grafts while the original transplant continued to function.
Note: For many reports on health issues from major media sources, click here.
Fingerprints Can Reveal Drug Use, Medical History
2008-12-10, Discovery Channel
A careless touch could be all police or insurance companies need to determine not only your identity, but also your past drug use, if you've fired a gun or handled explosives, even specific medical conditions. "A fingerprint is only good to identify a criminal if you already have their fingerprint on file," said David Russell, a professor at the University of East Anglia, who, along with Pompi Hazarika, helped developed [a new analytical] technique. "This will give police new tools to help discover that identity." For decades forensic scientists have dusted fingerprints with magnetic particles to reveal the hidden swirls and curls that differentiate each person on the planet. The iron oxide particles attach themselves to the tiny bits of water, minerals, and oils that accumulate on the fingers as they touch various objects and other parts of the body. The new technique attaches the iron oxide particles to antibodies and suspends them both in a liquid solution, which is then drizzled over a fingerprint. If the chemical that a specific antibody targets is present, the molecules latch onto it and glow. So far the scientists can detect five different drugs: THC (marijuana), cocaine, nicotine, methadone and a derivative of methadone. Other drugs, particularly opium-based drugs like heroine or morphine, should also be detectable, since antibodies already exist for them as well. Drugs aren't the only chemicals the new tests could detect. Cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other medical conditions produce specific chemicals also secreted in sweat and oil. By tweaking the antibodies on the particles, forensic scientists could test for a variety of medical conditions.