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.
Links are provided to the full articles on major media websites. If any link fails to function, read this webpage
. These health articles are listed by article date. You can also explore the articles listed by order of importance
or by date posted
. By choosing to educate ourselves on these important issues and to spread the word
, we can and will build a brighter future
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.
The danger of drugs … and data
2009-05-09, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
A fascinating court case in Australia has been playing out around some people who had heart attacks after taking the Merck drug, Vioxx. This medication turned out to increase the risk of heart attacks in people taking it, although that finding was arguably buried in their research, and Merck has paid out more than £2bn to 44,000 people in America. The first ... thing to emerge in the Australian case is email documentation showing staff at Merck made a "hit list" of doctors who were critical of the company, or of the drug. This list contained words such as "neutralise", "neutralised" and "discredit" next to the names of various doctors. "We may need to seek them out and destroy them where they live," said one email, from a Merck employee. Staff are also alleged to have used other tactics, such as trying to interfere with academic appointments, and dropping hints about how funding to institutions might dry up. Worse still, is the revelation that Merck paid the publisher Elsevier to produce a publication. This time Elsevier Australia went the whole hog, giving Merck an entire publication which resembled an academic journal, although in fact it only contained reprinted articles, or summaries, of other articles.
Note: For a superb overview of corruption in the pharmaceutical industry by a leading MD and former medical journal editor, click here.
American Academy of Environmental Medicine Calls for Moratorium on Genetically Modified Foods
2009-05-08, American Academy of Environmental Medicine
There is more than a casual association between GM [Genetically Modified] foods and adverse health effects. There is causation [as] confirmed in several animal studies. Specificity of the association of GM foods and specific disease processes is also supported. In spite of this risk, the biotechnology industry claims that GM foods can feed the world through production of higher crop yields. However, a recent report by the Union of Concerned Scientists reviewed 12 academic studies and indicates otherwise: "The several thousand field trials over the last 20 years ... indicate a significant undertaking. Yet none of these field trials have resulted in increased yield ... with the exception of Bt corn." Therefore, because GM foods pose a serious health risk in the areas of toxicology, allergy and immune function, reproductive health, and metabolic, physiologic and genetic health and are without benefit, ... because GM foods have not been properly tested for human consumption, and because there is ample evidence of probable harm, the AAEM asks:  Physicians to educate their patients, the medical community, and the public to avoid GM foods when possible and provide educational materials concerning GM foods and health risks.  Physicians to consider the possible role of GM foods in the disease process.  Our members, the medical community, and the independent scientific community to gather case studies potentially related to GM food consumption and health effects.  For a moratorium on GM food, implementation of immediate long term independent safety testing, and labeling of GM foods, which is necessary for the health and safety of consumers.
Note: Why was this not reported in the mainstream media? A top academy of physicians states our health is being endangered by GM foods, yet no one is reporting this. For how our media is bought off in matters like this, click here. For a powerful essay showing blatant corruption of the science around GMOs and FDA complicity, click here. For key media articles on this vital topic, click here.
Some see media flu coverage as overblown
2009-05-03, San Francisco Chronicle
After a few days of breathless H1N1 flu coverage - some of it on his own network - CNN commentator Jack Cafferty noted that 13,000 people have died from the "regular ol' flu" this year in the United States, compared with just one confirmed H1N1 flu death. Cafferty then asked his audience to respond to his online poll asking "if swine flu coverage was overblown." He waited a moment, then said, "Hint: Yes." For a week, the flu story has whet cable TV's bloodlust with what the 24-hour cable news vacuum craves: mystery, death and great visuals that inspire fear. "Frankly, I've been a little horrified by how sensationalist and scare-mongering it is," said Vivian Schiller, chief executive officer of National Public Radio. No detail about the flu - often delivered without context - has been too tiny to go unreported, which means that cable TV viewers are getting coverage that is moment-to-moment but often not terribly useful. Conservative talk radio hosts have used fear about the flu to segue to anti-immigrant remarks and calls to close the U.S.-Mexico border.Just when the coverage appeared to be calming a bit Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden helped rekindle fears by saying on the "Today'" show that he "would tell members of my family - and I have - I wouldn't go anywhere in confined places now." Health stories always attract huge audiences, said Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center. But viewers shouldn't expect as much breathless coverage when Congress begins debating an overhaul of the U.S. health care system over the next few months.
Note: For an excellent article showing how media fear-mongering of this and past flu emergencies have brought unprecedented profits to the pharmaceutical companies, click here.
Life-threatening disease is the price we pay for cheap meat
2009-05-01, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
A swelling number of scientists believe swine flu has not happened by accident. No: they argue that [it] is the direct result of our demand for cheap meat. So is the way we produce our food really making us sick as a pig? The scientific evidence increasingly suggests that we have unwittingly invented an artificial way to accelerate the evolution of these deadly viruses – and pump them out across the world. They are called factory farms. They manufacture low-cost flesh, with a side-dish of viruses to go. In most swine farms today, 6,000 pigs are crammed snout-to-snout in tiny cages where they can barely move, and are fed for life on an artificial pulp, while living on top of cess-pools of their own stale faeces. The virus ... has a pool of thousands [of pigs], constantly infecting and reinfecting each other. The virus can combine and recombine again and again. The ammonium from the waste they live above burns the pigs' respiratory tracts, making it easier yet for viruses to enter them. Better still, the pigs' immune systems are in free-fall. They are stressed, depressed, and permanently in panic, making them far easier to infect. There is no fresh air or sunlight to bolster their natural powers of resistance. They live in air thick with viral loads, and they are exposed every time they breathe in. As Dr Michael Greger, director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States, explains: "Put all this together, and you have a perfect storm environment for these super-strains. If you wanted to create global pandemics, you'd build as many of these factory farms as possible."
Note: For many important reports on health issues from reliable sources, click here.
Scientists see this flu strain as relatively mild
2009-04-30, Los Angeles Times
As the World Health Organization raised its infectious disease alert level Wednesday and health officials confirmed the first death linked to swine flu inside U.S. borders, scientists studying the virus are coming to the consensus that this hybrid strain of influenza -- at least in its current form -- isn't shaping up to be as fatal as the strains that caused some previous pandemics. In fact, the current outbreak of the H1N1 virus, which emerged in San Diego and southern Mexico late last month, may not even do as much damage as the run-of-the-mill flu outbreaks that occur each winter without much fanfare. "Let's not lose track of the fact that the normal seasonal influenza is a huge public health problem that kills tens of thousands of people in the U.S. alone and hundreds of thousands around the world," said Dr. Christopher Olsen, a molecular virologist who studies swine flu at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine in Madison. Flu viruses are known to be notoriously unpredictable, and this strain could mutate at any point -- becoming either more benign or dangerously severe. But mounting preliminary evidence from genetics labs, epidemiology models and simple mathematics suggests that the worst-case scenarios are likely to be avoided in the current outbreak. "This virus doesn't have anywhere near the capacity to kill like the 1918 virus," which claimed an estimated 50 million victims worldwide, said Richard Webby, a leading influenza virologist at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.
Note: For lots more on bird and swine flu scares, 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.
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.