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.
AstraZeneca has completed a deal to pay $520 million to settle federal investigations into marketing practices for its blockbuster schizophrenia drug, Seroquel. AstraZeneca becomes the fourth pharmaceutical giant in the last three years to admit to federal charges of illegal marketing of antipsychotic drugs, a lucrative category of medications that have quickly risen to the top of United States sales charts. Aggressive sales and promotional practices have helped expand the use of powerful new antipsychotic drugs for children and the elderly. The company, based in London, has been accused of misleading doctors and patients by playing up favorable research and not adequately disclosing studies that show Seroquel increases the risk of diabetes. AstraZeneca still faces more than 25,000 civil lawsuits filed on behalf of patients contending that the company did not disclose the drugďż˝s risks. As a result of aggressive marketing, Seroquel has been increasingly used for children and elderly people for indications not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The drugs have caused rapid weight gain in children, and side effects including deaths have prompted warnings against giving the drugs to elderly patients for dementia.
Note: For more on corporate corruption, click here.
If you eat meat, the odds are high that you've enjoyed a meal made from an animal raised on a factory farm. The government designation is CAFO, which stands for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation. Basically, it's any farm that has 1,000 animal units or more. A beef cow is an animal unit. These animals are kept in pens their entire lives. They're never outside. They never breathe fresh air. They never see the sun. According to the USDA, 2% of U.S. livestock facilities raise an estimated 40% of all farm animals. This means that pigs, chickens and cows are concentrated in a small number of very large farms. There are simply too many animals in too small of a place. CAFO cows eat a diet of milled grains, corn and soybeans, when they are supposed to eat grass. The food isn't natural because they very often put growth hormones and antibiotics in it. When you have 2,000 cows per acre instead of two, you have a problem. You can't fit them in a pasture — you fit them in a building. You don't have enough land to absorb their waste. The manure is liquefied. It gets flushed out into an open lagoon [and] sprayed into waterways and creeks. This stuff is untreated, by the way.
Note: For two excellent and fun short videos showing both the problem and solutions for cruel factory farming, click here and here. For lots more little-known, excellent information to promote your health, click here.
A former Army microbiologist who worked for years with Bruce E. Ivins, whom the F.B.I. has blamed for the anthrax letter attacks that killed five people in 2001, told a National Academy of Sciences panel on [April 22] that he believed it was impossible that the deadly spores had been produced undetected in Dr. Ivinsďż˝s laboratory, as the F.B.I. asserts. Asked by reporters after his testimony whether he believed that there was any chance that Dr. Ivins, who committed suicide in 2008, had carried out the attacks, the microbiologist, Henry S. Heine, replied, ďż˝Absolutely not.ďż˝ At the Armyďż˝s biodefense laboratory in Maryland, where Dr. Ivins and Dr. Heine worked, he said, ďż˝among the senior scientists, no one believes it.ďż˝ Dr. Heine told the 16-member panel, which is reviewing the F.B.I.ďż˝s scientific work on the investigation, that producing the quantity of spores in the letters would have taken at least a year of intensive work using the equipment at the army lab. Such an effort would not have escaped colleaguesďż˝ notice, he added later, and lab technicians who worked closely with Dr. Ivins have told him they saw no such work. ďż˝Whoever did this is still running around out there,ďż˝ Dr. Heine said. ďż˝I truly believe that.ďż˝
Note: For more on the still-unsolved anthrax attacks, click here.
Cancer patients reeling from metastasis may be on the verge of a major victory. Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College say new anti-cancer agents may stop metastasis -- or the migration of cancer cells from a tumor to other parts of the body -- dead in its tracks. “More than 90 percent of cancer patients die from tumors spreading,” Dr. Xin-Yun Huang, a professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at Weill Cornell Medical College, [said]. “In turn,” he continued “[this] may increase the survival rate." Researchers found mice implanted with cancer cells and treated with the small molecule macroketone lived a full life without any cancer spread, compared to control animals -- which all died from metastasis. Dr. Huang and his team have been focusing on macroketone since 2003, and he admits to being extremely excited about the future possibilities for his research. While information-gathering is still in its early stages, Dr. Huang says it’s possible his team could get the green light for clinical trials in the near future.
Note: For more on this exciting development, click here. And why isn't this getting fast-track approval for studies? To learn how cancer cures which threaten billions in pharmaceutical losses are supressed, click here.
There isn't much attention paid to prescription drug abuse, except perhaps when a Hollywood star dies from an overdose. However, it is estimated that nearly one in five Americans has used prescription drugs for nonmedicinal reasons, and 15 percent may be abusing prescription drugs. This silent epidemic has become the leading cause of addiction. The dangers of prescription drug abuse are growing at an exponential rate. Between 1992 and 2002, the number of prescriptions written increased by 61 percent, but the number of prescriptions written for opiates increased by almost 400 percent. Opiates reflect three-quarters of all prescription drugs abused. According to a report this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hospitalizations for poisoning by prescription opioids, sedatives and tranquilizers jumped 65 percent from 1999 to 2006. One-third of new addicts report that their first drug experience was with prescription drugs. More and more teenagers are turning away from street drugs and using prescription drugs to get high.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on important health issues, click here.
When it comes to fluoridating drinking water, Ontario and Quebec couldn't be further apart. Ontario has the country's highest rate of adding the tooth-enamel-strengthening chemical into municipal supplies, while Quebec has one of the lowest, with practically no one drinking fluoridated water. But surprisingly, the two provinces have very little difference in tooth-decay rates, a finding that is likely to intensify the ongoing controversy over the practice of adding fluoride to water as a public health measure. Quebeckers have more cavities than people in Ontario, but the difference is slight. Among children 6 to 19, considered the most decay-prone part of the population, the rate in Ontario was lower by less than half a cavity per child. In the 6-11 age group, Ontario kids have 3.5 per cent fewer cavities than those in Quebec: 1.7 cavities compared to 1.76.
Note: For key reports on health issues from reliable sources, click here.
A federal jury has awarded $1.37 million in damages to a former Pfizer scientist who claimed she was sickened by a genetically engineered virus at a company laboratory and then fired for raising safety concerns. The case ... has raised questions about the safety of workers in the biotechnology industry and about regulations to protect them. The jury ruled that Pfizer had violated laws protecting free speech and whistle-blowers by retaliating against Ms. McClain. The case has attracted the attention of some worker advocates, who say it shows the risks workers in biological labs encounter and the lack of rules to protect them. Ms. McClain, for example, claimed she encountered many difficulties in her attempts to learn the genetic content of the virus she suspected had infected her because it was protected as a trade secret. [She] had complained about what she saw as safety problems, including desks next to where biological experiments were done. Jeremy Gruber, president of the Council for Responsible Genetics, an advocacy group urging discussion of the ethical implications of biotechnology, applauded the award. ďż˝I personally believe that Becky McClain is really the canary in the coal mine,ďż˝ he said. Regulations ďż˝have not kept pace with the explosion of research.ďż˝
Note: Why are they creating genetically engineered viruses that can sicken people? Could there be some credence to those who claim the AIDS virus was manufactured?
Imagine being charged with a crime, but an imaginary friend takes the rap for you. That is essentially what happened when Pfizer, the world's largest pharmaceutical company, was caught illegally marketing Bextra, a painkiller that was taken off the market in 2005 because of safety concerns. It's a story about the power major pharmaceutical companies have even when they break the laws intended to protect patients. The story begins in 2001, when Bextra was about to hit the market. The drug was part of a revolutionary class of painkillers known as Cox-2 inhibitors that were supposed to be safer than generic drugs, but at 20 times the price of ibuprofen. Pfizer and its marketing partner, Pharmacia, planned to sell Bextra as a treatment for acute pain, the kind you have after surgery. But in November 2001, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Bextra was not safe for patients at high risk of heart attacks and strokes. The FDA approved Bextra only for arthritis and menstrual cramps. It rejected the drug in higher doses for acute, surgical pain. Promoting drugs for unapproved uses can put patients at risk by circumventing the FDA's judgment over which products are safe and effective. For that reason, "off-label" promotion is against the law. Internal company documents show that Pfizer and Pharmacia (which Pfizer later bought) used a multimillion-dollar medical education budget to pay hundreds of doctors as speakers and consultants to tout Bextra.
Note: For lots more from major media sources on corporate corruption, click here.
Despite months of dire warnings and millions in taxpayer dollars, less than half of the 229 million doses of H1N1 vaccine the government bought to fight the pandemic have been administered -- leaving an estimated 71.5 million doses that must be discarded if they are not used before they expire. Between 81 million and 91 million doses of swine flu vaccine were injected into peoples' arms or squirted up their noses through the end of February, according to federal officials, leaving about 138 million doses unused. An estimated 60 million of those will be donated to poor countries or saved for possible future use. But doses already in vials and syringes will be thrown away if not used before their expiration dates pass. The prospect of millions of doses of the once-precious vaccine being discarded is the latest twist in the $1.6 billion program -- the most ambitious immunization campaign in U.S. history. The government-led effort produced a vaccine in record time, but unexpected production problems delayed delivery of the bulk of supplies until after the second wave of infections had peaked.
Note: Yet the pharmaceutical companies get to keep the huge profits from the vaccines, paid for by the taxpayers. For key reports from major media sources on the government and pharmaceutical corporation corruption involving bird and swine flu vaccines, click here.
In "Food, Inc.", filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that's been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government's regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation's food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, insecticide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won't go bad, but we also have new strains of E. coli — the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults. Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser Fast Food Nation, Michael Pollan The Omnivore's Dilemma along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield Farms' Gary Hirschberg and Polyface Farms' Joel Salatin, "Food, Inc." reveals surprising — and often shocking truths — about what we eat, how it's produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here.
Note: For reviews of this important documentary, click here.
Researchers at the University of Florida have combined RFID, microchips and printed nano-particle antennas to make pills that communicate with cell phones or laptops to tell doctors whether patients are taking their medicine. Still a prototype, the inventors hope their tattletale technology can be applied commercially to a range of medications in clinical trials and in treatment of patients with chronic diseases in which it is essential that the doses are taken and taken on time. The pill is a white capsule with a microchip embedded and with an antenna printed on the outside with ink containing silver nanoparticles. A device worn by the patient energizes the microchip via bursts of low-voltage electricity. The chip signal confirms the pill is in the stomach and the device sends a signal that the pill has been swallowed. The messages can go to cell phones or laptops to inform doctors or family members.
Note: For lots more on microchips from reliable sources, click here.
A former Food and Drug Administration scientist said [on March 30 that] his job was eliminated after he raised concerns about the risks of radiation exposure from high-grade medical scanning. Dr. Julian Nicholas said at a public hearing that he and other FDA staffers "were pressured to change their scientific opinion," after they opposed the approval of a CT scanner for routine colon cancer screening. Nicholas said that he objected to exposing otherwise healthy patients to the cancer risks of radiation. After FDA officials pushed ahead with plans to clear the device, Nicholas, now a physician at the Scripps Clinic in San Diego, said he and eight other staffers raised their concerns with the division's top director Dr. Jeffrey Shuren last September. "Scientific and regulatory review process for medical devices was being distorted by managers who were not following the laws," Nicholas said. A month later Nicholas' position was terminated, he said.
Note: For lots more on government corruption from reliable sources, click here.
Urgent warnings by government experts about the risks of routinely using powerful CT scans to screen patients for colon cancer were brushed aside by the Food and Drug Administration, according to agency documents and interviews with agency scientists. Such scans can deliver the radiation equivalent of 400 chest X-rays. An estimated 70 million CT scans are performed in the United States every year, up from three million in the early 1980s. As many as 14,000 people may die every year of radiation-induced cancers as a result, researchers estimate. The use of CT scans to screen healthy patients for cancer is particularly controversial. The internal dispute [at the FDA] has grown so heated that a group of agency scientists who are concerned about the risks of CT scans say they will testify ... that F.D.A. managers ignored or suppressed their concerns, and that the resulting delay in making these concerns public may have led hundreds of patients to be endangered needlessly. Scores of internal agency documents made available to The New York Times show that agency managers sought to approve an application by General Electric to allow the use of CT scans for colon cancer screenings over the repeated objections of agency scientists, who wanted the application rejected.
Note: For lots more on government corruption from reliable sources, click here.
For almost two years, molecular biologist Bénédicte Trouiller doused the drinking water of scores of lab mice with nano-titanium dioxide, the most common nanomaterial used in consumer products today. Halfway through, Trouiller became alarmed: Consuming the nano-titanium dioxide was damaging or destroying the animals' DNA and chromosomes. The biological havoc continued as she repeated the studies again and again. It was a significant finding: The degrees of DNA damage and genetic instability that [she] documented can be "linked to all the big killers of man, namely cancer, heart disease, neurological disease and aging," says Professor Robert Schiestl, a genetic toxicologist who ran the lab at UCLA's School of Public Health where Trouiller did her research. Nano-titanium dioxide is so pervasive that the Environmental Working Group says it has calculated that close to 10,000 over-the-counter products use it in one form or another. Other public health specialists put the number even higher. It's "in everything from medicine capsules and nutritional supplements, to food icing and additives, to skin creams, oils and toothpaste," Schiestl says.
Note: For a treasure trove of key reports on health issues, click here.
American psychiatrists need to break away from a "culture of influence" created by their financial dealings with the drug industry, the head of the National Institute of Mental Health said in a leading medical journal. Dr. Thomas Insel stops short of calling researchers corrupt or asking them to stop taking money from drug companies. But he highlights a "bias in prescribing practices" that favors brand names drugs over cheaper generics and non-drug treatments. And he says the situation must change with new standards for transparency and full disclosure of psychiatry's collaborations with industry. "We can show the rest of medicine how to clean up our act," Insel told The Associated Press. Current National Institutes of Health rules on financial disclosure are confusing, Insel said. They allow researchers seeking federal funds to make their own judgments about what constitutes a significant financial interest, which they must report to their academic or research institutions. The rules also exempt disclosures of anything below $10,000 annually or 5 percent equity interest in a company.
Note: For a top-notch overview of medical corruption, click here.
Federal health authorities recommended [on March 22] that doctors suspend using Rotarix, one of two vaccines licensed in the United States against rotavirus, saying the vaccine is contaminated with material from a pig virus. Rotarix, made by GlaxoSmithKline, was approved by the FDA in 2008. The contaminant material is DNA from porcine circovirus 1, a virus from pigs that is not known to cause disease in humans or animals. About 1 million children in the United States and about 30 million worldwide have gotten Rotarix vaccine. Rotavirus disease kills more than 500,000 infants around the world each year, primarily in low- and middle-income countries. Before rotavirus vaccine became available, the disease was blamed for more than 50,000 hospitalizations and several dozen deaths per year in the United States. "We're not pulling it from the market, we're just suspending its use during this period while we're collecting more information," [Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg] said.
Note: If you explore the vaccine approval process, you may be shocked to find how potentially dangerous materials added to vaccines are not tested for safety. A mercury-based derivative called Thimerosal is still allowed in many vaccines, including the recent swine flu vaccine that was given massively to populations around the world. For more reliable information on this, click here.
Across the United States, pharmaceutical companies have pleaded guilty to criminal charges or paid penalties in civil cases when the Justice Department finds that they deceptively marketed drugs for unapproved uses, putting millions of people at risk of chest infections, heart attacks, suicidal impulses or death. "Marketing departments of many drug companies don't respect any boundaries of professionalism or the law," says Jerry Avorn, a professor at Harvard Medical School. The widespread off-label promotion of drugs is yet another manifestation of a health-care system that has become dysfunctional. About 15 percent of all U.S. drug sales are for unapproved uses without adequate evidence the medicines work, according to a study by Randall Stafford, a medical professor at Stanford University. As large as the penalties are for drug companies caught breaking the off-label law, the fines are tiny compared with the firms' annual revenue. The $2.3 billion in fines and penalties Pfizer paid for marketing Bextra and three other drugs cited in the Sept. 2 plea agreement for off-label uses amount to just 14 percent of its $16.8 billion in revenue from selling those medicines from 2001 to 2008.
Up to 20 million people in Bangladesh are at risk of suffering early deaths because of arsenic poisoning – the legacy of a well-intentioned but ill-planned water project that created a devastating public health catastrophe. Four decades after an internationally funded move to dig tube wells across the country massively backfired, huge numbers of people still remain at higher risk of contracting cancer and heart disease. The move, spearheaded by the UN and the World Bank, was fatally flawed. Although checks were carried out for certain contaminants in the newly sourced water, it was not tested for arsenic, which occurs naturally in the Ganges and Brahmaputra deltas. By the early 1990s, when it was found that up to half of 10 million tube wells were contaminated with arsenic, Bangladesh was confronting a huge problem. The World Health Organisation called it "the largest mass poisoning of a population in history. The scale of the environmental disaster is greater than any seen before; it is beyond the accidents in Bhopal, India, in 1984, and Chernobyl, Ukraine, in 1986". Some subsequent studies predicted that, ultimately, one person in 10 who drinks water from the arsenical wells would go on to die from lung, bladder or skin cancer. Even though some of these conditions take decades to develop, by 2004, about 3,000 people a year were dying from arsenic-related cancers.
Note: What do you think might have occurred had the same thing happened in the US or Europe?
A vegetarian diet may help to protect against cancer, a UK study suggests. Analysis of data from 52,700 men and women shows that those who did not eat meat had significantly fewer cancers overall than those who did. Writing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition the team said the findings were worth looking into. Although it is widely recommended that people eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day to reduce their risk of cancer and other diseases, there is very little evidence looking specifically at a vegetarian diet. In the latest study, researchers looked at men and women aged 20 to 89 recruited in the UK in the 1990s. They divided participants into meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans. During follow-up there were fewer cancers than would be expected in the general population - probably because they were a healthier than average group of people. But there was a significantly lower incidence of all cancers among the fish-eaters and vegetarians compared with the meat eaters. For colorectal cancer, however that trend was reversed with vegetarians having a significantly higher incidence of the condition than the other groups.
Note: For many promising reports from major media sources on potential cancer cures, click here.
A former Pfizer scientist is suing the pharmaceuticals giant after alleging she contracted an artificial, HIV-like, virus created by a colleague. In her lawsuit, Becky McClain claims Pfizer unlawfully dismissed her while she suffered bouts of paralysis brought on by the man-made virus. Pfizer denies these accusations, and says McClain simply didn't come to work, and only linked her problems to engineered-disease exposure after she was fired. According to McClain, researchers in her lab genetically engineered an artificial lentivirus, a class of viruses that also includes HIV. McClain believes that she became infected by the virus due to faulty safety measures, resulting in complete body paralysis as often as 12 times every month. Most likely, we will never know if it is Pfizer's virus that caused McClain's health problems. The court case will focus mostly on safety procedures in the laboratory, not on what exactly from the lab caused the illness. Also, Pfizer refuses to release the genome of the suspected virus, preventing both identification of the disease, as well as the development of a possible cure.
Note: Isn't it interesting that Pfizer is involved in creating HIV-like viruses? How long has this been going on?
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.