Health Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Health Media Articles in Major Media
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The introduction of a genetically modified potato in Europe risks the development of human diseases that fail to respond to antibiotics, it [has been claimed]. German chemical giant BASF this week won approval from the European Commission for commercial growing of a starchy potato with a gene that could resist antibiotics – useful in the fight against illnesses such as tuberculosis. Farms in Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic may plant the potato for industrial use, with part of the tuber fed to cattle, according to BASF, which fought a 13-year battle to win approval for Amflora. But other EU member states, including Italy and Austria and anti-GM campaigners angrily attacked the move, claiming it could result in a health disaster. During the regulatory tussle over the potato, the EU's pharmaceutical regulator had expressed concern about its potential to interfere with the efficacy of antibiotics on infections that develop multiple resistance to other antibiotics, a growing problem in human and veterinary medicine. Drug resistance is part of the explanation for the resurgence of TB, which infects eight million people worldwide every year.
Note: For an excellent summary of the threats to health from genetically-modified foods, click here.
An herbicide that contaminates the tap water consumed by millions of Americans has been found to produce gender-bending effects in male frogs, "chemically castrating" some and turning others into females, a study shows. Frogs in the experiment were exposed to amounts of the weedkiller atrazine that are comparable to the levels allowed in drinking water by the Environmental Protection Agency, says lead researcher Tyrone Hayes of the University of California-Berkeley. In Hayes' earlier studies, atrazine caused male frogs to begin growing eggs in their testes. In this experiment, 10% of the males exposed to atrazine — one of the most commonly used herbicide in the world — actually changed sex; some were able to breed and lay eggs. Nearly all of the other males had low testosterone and sperm levels, which made them unable to reproduce, Hayes says. The experiment [raises] new questions about the safety of atrazine, which other studies have linked to human birth defects, low birth weight, prematurity and low sperm count. About 75% of stream water samples and 40% of groundwater samples contain atrazine, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy group, detected atrazine in 90% of tap water samples from 139 water systems. The European Union has banned the chemical.
Note: For many key reports from reliable sources on important health issues, click here.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has issued a report that is supposed to clinch the case that a lone scientist mailed anthrax-laced letters in 2001, terrorizing a country already traumatized by the 9/11 attacks. The agency cites voluminous circumstantial evidence ... but its report leaves too many loose ends to be taken as a definitive verdict. The scientist — Dr. Bruce Ivins, an Army biodefense expert — killed himself in 2008 as the investigation moved ever closer to an indictment. That means the evidence and the F.B.I.’s conclusion that he was the culprit and acted alone will never be tested in court. Problematic is the investigative work that led the F.B.I. to conclude that only Dr. Ivins, among perhaps 100 scientists who had access to the same flask, could have sent the letters. The case has always been hobbled by a lack of direct evidence tying Dr. Ivins to the letters. No witnesses who saw him prepare the powdered anthrax or mail the letters. No anthrax spores in his house or car. No incriminating fingerprints, fibers or DNA. No confession to a colleague or in a suicide note, just opaque ramblings in e-mail that the F.B.I. interprets as evidence of guilt. The F.B.I. has a troubling history of building a circumstantial case against suspects who are later exonerated. We ... agree with Representative Rush Holt of New Jersey, who is calling for an independent assessment to validate the findings.
Note: For a recent Wall Street Journal report on the unsolved anthrax attacks, click here.
Doctors have known that low levels of vitamin D are linked to certain kinds of cancers as well as to diabetes and asthma, but new research also shows that the vitamin can kill human cancer cells. The results fall short of an immediate cancer cure, but they are encouraging, medical professionals say. JoEllen Welsh, a researcher with the State University of New York at Albany, has studied the effects of vitamin D for 25 years. Part of her research involves taking human breast cancer cells and treating them with a potent form of vitamin D. Within a few days, half the cancer cells shriveled up and died. Welsh said the vitamin has the same effect as a drug used for breast cancer treatment. "Vitamin D enters the cells and triggers the cell death process," she [said]. "It's similar to what we see when we treat cells with Tamoxifen," a drug used to treat breast cancer. The vitamin's effects were even more dramatic on breast cancer cells injected into mice. After several weeks of treatment, the cancer tumors in the mice shrank by an average of more than 50 percent. Some tumors disappeared. Similar results have been achieved on colon and prostate cancer tumors in mice.
Three years ago, at the age of 48, Camilla Rees had to leave her apartment in downtown San Francisco. Not because of the rent, she says, but because of the radiation. Her personal radiation meter -- yes, such things exist -- spiked after a lawyer couple moved in next door. Rees says she quickly lost her ability to think clearly. "I was unfocused, as if I had suddenly come down with ADHD. I would wake up dizzy in the morning. I'd collapse to the floor. I had to leave to escape that nightmare." Rees asked the neighbors if they had installed a new Wi-Fi router, and sure enough they had, on the wall near Rees' bed. Since then, Rees, a former investment banker, has been on a crusade against low-level electromagnetic fields, or EMFs, of all types, including the microwave radiation that flows from cellphones and cellphone towers. She co-wrote the 2009 book Public Health SOS: The Shadow Side of the Wireless Revolution, one of many recent books to warn against the dangers of EMFs, and founded the website electromagnetichealth.org.
Note: For many key reports from major media sources on health issues, click here.
More than 1,000 people in New Jersey and New York, many of them adolescent Orthodox Jews, have been sickened with mumps since August, health authorities said Monday. Almost all of those infected with the virus are of the Orthodox or Hasidic Jewish population, and their average age is 14. The mumps outbreak began at a summer camp for Orthodox Jewish boys in Sullivan County, New York, according to the CDC. Health officials have linked the outbreak to an 11-year-old boy at the camp. He had recently returned from the United Kingdom, where a mumps outbreak had spread to 4,000 people. Rabbi Yehunda Pirutinsky was surprised when his 14-year-old son was diagnosed with mumps a week ago. "He was completely vaccinated," Pirutinsky said. "So it was a surprise to us he came down with mumps." Of the New Jersey cases, 77 percent were vaccinated, Terjesen said. But the vaccine is not 100 percent effective, according to the CDC. At two doses, the vaccine is 76 to 95 percent effective, the CDC says on its Web site.
Note: 77 percent of the over 1,000 who came down with mumps had been vaccinated against the disease, yet the CDC claims it is 76 to 95 percent effective. Hmmmm... For many reports from reliable sources that highlight serious problems with vaccines, click here.
Drug companies manipulated the World Health Organisation into downgrading its definition of a pandemic so they could cash in on a swine flu outbreak, it is claimed. An inquiry heard yesterday that the WHO allegedly softened its criteria for declaring a H1N1 flu pandemic last spring - just weeks before announcing there was a worldwide outbreak. Critics said the decision was driven by pharmaceutical companies desperate to recoup the billions of pounds they had invested in researching and developing pandemic vaccines after the bird flu scares in 2006 and 2007. As a result, millions of people have been vaccinated against a mild illness, and money that could have been used to prevent and treat major killers such as heart disease has been squandered. The claims, which emerged during the first of several Council of Europe hearings into the handling of the swine flu pandemic, were strongly rejected by the WHO. Following the organisation's declaration of a pandemic, the Department of Health warned of 65,000 deaths, set up a special advice line and website, and suspended normal rules so anti-flu drugs could be given without prescription. But with just 250 or so deaths in Britain and 14,000 worldwide, the WHO is being asked to account for its actions.
Note: For lots more on the swine flu "false pandemic" from reliable sources, click here.
Is there life after death? Radiation oncologist Dr. Jeffrey Long says if you look at the scientific evidence, the answer is unequivocally yes. He makes the case for that controversial conclusion in a new book, Evidence of the Afterlife. He talked to TIME about the nature of near-death experience. [TIME:] How do you respond to skeptics who say there must be some biological or physiological basis for that kind of experience, which you say in the book is medically inexplicable? [Dr. Long:] There have been over 20 alternative, skeptical "explanations" for near-death experience. The reason is very clear: no one or several skeptical explanations make sense, even to the skeptics themselves. Or [else] there wouldn't be so many. [TIME:] You say this research has affected you a lot on a personal level. How? [Dr. Long:] I'm a physician who fights cancer. My absolute understanding that there is an afterlife for all of us — and a wonderful afterlife — helps me face cancer, this terribly frightening and threatening disease, with more courage than I've ever faced it with before. I can be a better physician for my patients.
Note: For a deeply inspiring online lesson presenting incredibly powerful near-death experiences, click here.
Our federal and state governments have dragged their feet in addressing the risks of BPA exposure - due mainly to relentless lobbying by the chemical industry. The chemical industry has used every weapon at its disposal - including lawsuits, in the case of San Francisco - to keep BPA on the shelves and in our bodies. So the Food and Drug Administration deserves mild applause for reversing its position on BPA, calling it a "concern" and offering ways in which the public can reduce its exposure to the chemical. It would have been far better for the FDA to ban the chemical, or at least require manufacturers to label products that contain it. Instead, it offered the familiar "more study is needed" defense and said that it doesn't have enough data to support a legal crackdown.
Note: The Department of Health and Human Services has released a list of ways to reduce your exposure. It can be found at www.hhs.gov/safety/bpa.
Remember the warnings of 65,000 dead? Health chiefs should admit they were wrong – yet again – about a global pandemic. Let me recap. Six months ago [the] BBC was intoning nightly statistics on what "could" happen as "the deadly virus" took hold. The happy-go-lucky virologist, John Oxford, said half the population could be infected, and that his lowest estimate was 6,000 dead. The chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, bandied about any figure that came into his head, settling on "65,000 could die", peaking at 350 corpses a day. The media went berserk. The World Health Organisation declared a "six-level alert" so as to "prepare the world for an imminent attack". If anyone dared question this drivel, they were dismissed by Donaldson as "extremists". When people started reporting swine flu to be even milder than ordinary flu, he accused them of complacency and told them to "wait for next winter". He was already buying 32m masks and spending more than Ł1bn on Tamiflu and vaccines. It was pure, systematic government-induced panic – in which I accept that the media played its joyful part.
Note: For lots more on the gross profiteering and fear mongering of swine flu scare, click here.
More than half the scientists on the swine flu taskforce advising the [UK] Government have ties to drug companies. Eleven of the 20 members of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) have done work for the pharmaceutical industry or are linked to it through their universities. Many have declared interests in GlaxoSmithKline, the vaccine maker expected to be the biggest beneficiary of the pandemic. The disclosure of the register of interests comes just days after a health expert branded the swine flu outbreak a 'false pandemic' driven by the drug companies which stood to profit. The Government is now trying to offload up to Ł1billion worth of unwanted swine flu vaccine. Last July, the Department of Health warned of up 65,000 deaths, with 350 a day at the pandemic's peak. But the death toll now stands at just 251. SAGE was created to give Ministers recommendations on how to control and treat the virus. Official documents show some members are linked to vaccine manufacturer Baxter and to Roche, which makes Tamiflu. GSK, Baxter and Roche stand to make up to Ł1.5billion between them from Government contracts related to swine flu.
Note: For lots more on the Swine Flu "false pandemic," click here.
The World Health Organization said it plans to conduct a review of its response to swine flu as policymakers in Europe prepare for an “urgent debate” on the influenza pandemic. Yesterday, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe said “false pandemics, a threat to health” will be a major theme of its next plenary session. Health authorities worldwide are assessing whether their response to swine flu is justified by its threat as cases retreat in the U.S. and Western Europe. The new H1N1 virus, which has targeted children and younger adults, has so far resulted in fewer deaths than attributed to seasonal strains, which kills mostly the frail elderly. Council of Europe parliamentarian Wolfgang Wodarg said last week he and several colleagues had called for a commission of inquiry into a “false pandemic” and the way it was handled at national and European levels, claiming pressure from pharmaceutical firms. The WHO moved to the top level of its six-step pandemic alert in June after the discovery of swine flu in Mexico and the U.S. in April.
Note: BusinessWeek deleted this article days after posting it. Could someone have pressured them to do this? If you click the above link, the article is gone, though you can still see a promo here and read it on BusinessWeek in the Google cache available here. For a link to the article on the Bloomberg website, click here. For revealing reports of the corruption surrounding the swine flu and previous health scares, click here.
At a microscopic level [Aker University Hospital] is pristine. There is no sign of a dangerous and contagious staph infection that killed tens of thousands of patients in the most sophisticated hospitals of Europe, North America and Asia last year, soaring virtually unchecked. The reason: Norwegians stopped taking so many drugs. Twenty-five years ago, Norwegians were also losing their lives to this bacteria. But Norway's public health system fought back with an aggressive program that made it the most infection-free country in the world. A key part of that program was cutting back severely on the use of antibiotics. Now a spate of new studies from around the world prove that Norway's model can be replicated with extraordinary success, and public health experts are saying these deaths -- 19,000 in the U.S. each year alone, more than from AIDS -- are unnecessary. The World Health Organization says antibiotic resistance is one of the leading public health threats on the planet. A six-month investigation by The Associated Press found overuse and misuse of medicines has led to mutations in once curable diseases like tuberculosis and malaria, making them harder and in some cases impossible to treat. Now, in Norway's simple solution, there's a glimmer of hope.'
Note: For many key reports from reliable sources on important health issues, click here.
A leading health expert says the swine flu scare was a "false pandemic" led by drugs companies that stood to make billions from vaccines. Wolfgang Wodarg, head of health at the Council of Europe, claims major [drug] firms organised a "campaign of panic" to put pressure on the World Health Organisation to declare a pandemic. He believes it is "one of the greatest medicine scandals of the century" — and has called for an inquiry. Dr Wodarg said: "It's just a normal kind of flu. It does not cause a tenth of deaths caused by the classic seasonal flu. The great campaign of panic we have seen provided a golden opportunity for representatives from labs who knew they would hit the jackpot in the case of a pandemic being declared. We want to clarify everything that brought about this massive operation of disinformation. We want to know who made decisions, on the basis of what evidence, and precisely how the influence of the pharmaceutical industry came to bear on the decision-making." He added: "A group of people in the WHO is associated very closely with the pharmaceutical industry."
Note: For powerfully revealing reports of the corruption regarding swine flu and previous health scares, click here.
Men who have sex at least twice a week can almost halve their risk of heart disease, according to new research. It shows men who indulge in regular lovemaking are up to 45 per cent less likely to develop life-threatening heart conditions than men who have sex once a month or less. The study, of over 1,000 men, shows sex appears to have a protective effect on the male heart but did not examine whether women benefit too. Now the American researchers who carried out the investigation are calling for doctors to screen men for sexual activity when assessing their risk of heart disease. Although sex has long been regarded as good for physical and mental health, there has been little scientific evidence to show the full benefits that frequent intercourse can have on major illnesses such as heart disease. An earlier study at the National Cancer Institute in the US showed men who ejaculated through sex or masturbation at least five times a week were much less likely to get prostate cancer.
Note: For a treasure trove of key reports on important health issues, click here.
Antidepressants ... may be no better than dummy pills for people with mild or moderate depression, according to a study that suggests 70 percent of patients wouldn’t benefit from the drugs. In a review of six trials of antidepressants involving more than 700 patients published yesterday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers led by Jay Fournier at the University of Pennsylvania found the drugs helped only those patients with the most severe depression. Doctors, policy makers and sufferers should be made aware that there’s little evidence to show the treatments will benefit patients with less severe symptoms, the authors said. “This important feature of the evidence base is not reflected in the implicit messages present in the marketing of these medications to clinicians and the public,” they said. The researchers combined data from six trials. The drugs had a “nonexistent to negligible” effect on patients with mild, moderate and severe symptoms, compared with those who took a placebo, according to a commonly used scale used to measure the disorder. The pills had a large effect on patients with very severe symptoms, the study found.
Note: For a treasure trove of important reports on corruption regarding major health issues, click here.
The massive U.S. Senate healthcare reform measure passed ... with support from the multibillion drug industry, but makers of cheaper generic rivals are feeling left out in the cold. Generic drugmakers face several obstacles in the bill backed by Democrats that they worry will dampen a potential increase in use even as more people gain access to health insurance and prescription medicines. The hurdles include extensive protections against generic versions of pricey biotech medicines, an incentive for Medicare recipients to use more brand-name drugs, and a possible end to payments from brandname makers to delay the launch of copy-cat medicines. "The bill passed by the Senate unfortunately amounts to a treasure trove to brand drug companies," said Generic Pharmaceutical Association President Kathleen Jaeger. Bill Marth, chief executive of Teva's North American operations, said Democrats missed a chance to further boost [generics] use: "It's frustrating," he said. "Maybe some people have just lost sight of what the bill is supposed to do."
Note: For a powerful analysis by Dr. Marcia Angell, former editor in chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, of the corrupt relationship between the biggest pharmaceutical companies and the federal government, click here. Drug company lobbyists who contribute millions of dollars to the elections campaigns of Congress members have a huge influence which is often detrimental to public health.
Dr. Julie Gerberding, former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was named president of Merck & Co Inc's vaccine division. Gerberding, who led the CDC from 2002 to 2009 and stepped down when President Barack Obama took office, will head up the company's $5 billion global vaccine business that includes shots to prevent chickenpox, cervical cancer and pneumonia. She had led CDC from one crisis to another, including the investigation into the anthrax attacks that killed five people in 2001, the H5N1 avian influenza, the global outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, and various outbreaks of food poisoning. She may be charged with reigniting flagging sales of Merck's Gardasil vaccine to prevent cervical cancer by protecting against human papillomavirus or HPV. After an encouraging launch Gardasil sales have been falling and were down 22 percent in the third quarter at $311 million.
Note: So the head of the CDC now is in charge of vaccines at one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world. Could this be considered conflict of interest? Could this possibly be payback for supporting the vaccine agenda so strongly for years? For more on the risks and dangers of vaccines, click here.
A healthcare firm is seeking to silence a Danish academic from expressing doubts about one of its products by using England’s draconian libel laws. Two years ago in a conference room in the Randolph hotel in Oxford, Henrik Thomsen ... one of Europe’s leading radiologists, revealed how patients treated at his hospital had subsequently contracted a rare and potentially fatal disease. Thomsen and other doctors at his Copenhagen University hospital were baffled as to why 20 kidney patients who had been given routine scans were afflicted by a disorder — nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) — in which the skin gradually swells, thickens and tightens. Some sufferers were confined to wheelchairs. At least one died. There was no known cure. It was confirmed that all those who had fallen ill with NSF had been given the same drug in advance of a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. Omniscan was used to enhance the images produced by the scan. The product was sold around the world and was manufactured by GE Healthcare, a subsidiary of General Electric, one of the world’s largest corporations. Thomsen ... now refuses to speak anywhere in England on the possible risks of Omniscan. The reason is that he faces another kind of storm: GE Healthcare is suing him in the High Court for libel. GE has already racked up costs of more than Ł380,000 pursuing the respected academic. Thomsen will have to pay the firm’s costs if he loses the case.
Note: For lots more on corporate corruption from reliable sources, click here.
A new report finds that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did a poor job of screening medical experts for financial conflicts when it hired them to advise the agency on vaccine safety. Most of the experts who served on advisory panels in 2007 to evaluate vaccines for flu and cervical cancer had potential conflicts that were never resolved, the report said. Some were legally barred from considering the issues but did so anyway. In the report ... Daniel R. Levinson, the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services, found that the centers failed nearly every time to ensure that the experts adequately filled out forms confirming they were not being paid by companies with an interest in their decisions. The report found that 64 percent of the advisers had potential conflicts of interest that were never identified or were left unresolved by the centers. Thirteen percent failed to have an appropriate conflicts form on file at the agency at all, which should have barred their participation in the meetings entirely, Mr. Levinson found. And 3 percent voted on matters that ethics officers had already barred them from considering.
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.