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.
The astounding revelation that U.S. medical researchers intentionally gave Guatemalans gonorrhea and syphilis more than 60 years ago is so horrifying that we want to believe that what happened then could never happen today. A report from the United States Department of Health and Human Services noted that roughly 80 percent of drug approvals in 2008 were based in part on data from outside the U.S. Susan Reverby, a distinguished historian at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, has ... long researched the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study, the experiment where poor, black men in rural Alabama were deliberately left untreated for syphilis by government researchers. The study, somehow, was allowed to run from 1932 to 1972. More recently, Reverby came across documents that showed that Dr. John C. Cutler, a physician who would later be one of the researchers involved in the Tuskegee study, was involved in a completely unethical research study much earlier in Guatemala. Cutler, who went to his grave defending the Tuskegee experiment, directly inoculated unknowing prisoners in Guatemala with syphilis and also encouraged them to have sex with diseased prostitutes for his research from 1946-48. His work was sponsored by lauded organizations such as the United States Public Health Service, the National Institutes of Health with collaboration of the Pan American Health Sanitary Bureau (now the Pan American Health Organization), and the Guatemalan government.
Note: The author of this commentary is Arthur Caplan, director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania. For many other examples of government-sponsored experimentation on human guinea pigs, click here.
UC Davis just announced a seminar for the public on "men's health." That title notwithstanding, the program appears to be entirely about prostate cancer and in particular about the prostate specific antigen screening test. Many possible screening programs turn out not to do any good - and in fact some tests like PSA cause harm. That's why virtually all expert public health panels do not recommend the PSA test. A blood test that isn't accurate can fail to find disease that's present, leading to false reassurance. It can also report disease when it's not really there, leading to unnecessary use of other tests (like biopsy) that are not so benign. Perhaps most concerning, the PSA test frequently identifies something that qualifies as cancer under a microscope but acts nothing like cancer in real life. That is to say, the large majority of PSA-discovered "cancers" would never cause any problem whatsoever if they went undetected. Finding something through screening invariably leads to treating it. Most of the men so treated would have been just fine if they never knew about the cancer. But when they're treated ... the majority suffer really life-affecting effects, such as impotence and/or incontinence. That's why both of the two very large trials of PSA screening published in 2009 found no (or at most a tiny) benefit, but a great deal of harm.
Note: This article was written by Michael Wilkes, a professor of medicine at UC Davis, and Jerome Hoffman, a professor of emergency medicine at the University of Southern California. Both are researchers/consultants for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A federal court yesterday struck down an Ohio ban on dairy products whose labels say they're made from milk that's free of hormones that increase cows' milk production. That means companies that want to say their products are "rbGH free" and "rbST free" and "artificial hormone free" are now free to do so. The ruling challenges the FDA's 17-year-old finding that there's "no significant difference" between the milk of cows given growth hormone and those that aren't. Just that sort of distinction ... is part of the ongoing debate about how to label genetically engineered salmon. The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit said there is a "compositional difference" between milk from cows given growth hormones and those without. The court gave three reasons they're different: * Increased levels of the hormone IGF-1; * A period of milk with lower nutritional quality during each lactation; and * Increased somatic cell counts (i.e. more pus in the milk). But the FDA concluded in 1993 when it approved the growth hormone that the milk shows "no significant difference" in milk from untreated cows.
Johnson & Johnson CEO William Weldon delivered both a mea culpa and clear admission to [the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform] that his company let the public down through numerous recent drug recalls. He also admitted that the company secretly bought up defective drugs without informing regulators and consumers of its actions. The committee has been investigating circumstances that have led to more than half a dozen recalls this year of non-prescription cold and pain drugs such as Tylenol, Benadryl and Motrin made by Johnson & Johnson's McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit. Weldon's [pledge] to never let this happen again was met with some skepticism. [Committee Chairman Edolphus Towns (D-NY)] said [the] testimony indicates some very serious problems in "the way Johnson & Johnson viewed its responsibility to the public and its day-to-day relationship with the FDA." There is often a thin line between "working cooperatively" and having a "cozy relationship," he said. "The documents we have seen in this case indicate this line may have been crossed early and often."
For some Americans, milk has become a test of their freedom. And they're not paranoid kooks either; the government really is out to get them, authorizing seizures of bottles and jugs of unpasteurized milk and, in one recent case, a full-on, agents-brandishing-guns raid. Currently, under federal law, it's illegal to sell consumers unpasteurized milk that has been transported across state lines. Raw milk cannot be sold at all in 10 states. In 30 states, it can be sold only by certain farms under certain conditions. And in the remaining states, retail sales are allowed but are greatly hindered by technicalities. An underground railroad has emerged to get milk from cows to consumers without any high-tech processing in between. Now comes the proposed Food Safety Modernization Act, federal legislation that would improve the FDA's ability to trace [illness] outbreaks and give the agency — which can already fine companies that knowingly sell contaminated foods — the power to order recalls. Supporters say they know the milk may contain pathogens; the most ardent say they welcome the bugs, many of which have peacefully resided in our guts for thousands of years. All agree that they should be able to drink raw milk if they want to.
Note: For many key reports from reliable sources on important health issues, click here.
The Food and Drug Administration has wrapped up three days of hearings and public comment on the effort by AquaBounty Technologies, a Massachusetts company, to sell salmon genetically engineered to grow twice as fast as normal salmon. But the meetings ended without an FDA decision on whether the company can move ahead with sales. USA TODAY's Elizabeth Weise [answers questions about the issue]: Q: What are the issues? A: There are really two: Are these fish safe to eat, and are they safe for the environment? FDA staff, in a report released earlier this month, found the genetically engineered (or GE) salmon to be as safe to eat as normal salmon. But several members of the agency's Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee felt that the tests for food safety could have included more data and encouraged the agency to request more from the company. Q: What's the environmental issue? A: Some scientists and environmental groups worry that if these fast-growing salmon escaped into the ocean, they might out-compete native salmon populations for both food and mates. As almost all wild Atlantic salmon are endangered, anything that could harm them is of concern.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on corporate and government corruption, click here and here. For a highly-informative overview of the threats posesd to health and the environment by genetically modified foods, click here.
Public health experts have called for an independent body to monitor drug safety after it emerged that young children were more likely to end up in hospital because of side effects from a flu vaccine than they were from the disease itself. More than 1000 adverse responses in children under five were reported ... by June this year, including nearly 100 instances of febrile convulsions, a seizure which in a small number of cases has been associated with long-term adverse health outcomes. The side effects were linked to one of the three seasonal flu vaccines, Fluvax and Fluvax junior, from the drug company CSL, but the [Therapeutic Goods Administration] maintained despite that, that "the overall risk-benefit balance of both products remains positive". Research published yesterday in the journal Eurosurveillance showed Fluvax might have caused two to three hospital admissions due to seizure for every admission from flu it prevented. The chief executive of the Public Health Association of Australia, Michael Moore, said further examination of risks was needed, at arm's length from the TGA. The government should consider creating an independent centre. "There is a concern … that the TGA is the body that approves vaccines and is also the body that determines what the risks and benefits are when concerns are raised," he said.
Note: For lots more from reliable souces on the dangers of many types of vaccines, click here.
As the Food and Drug Administration considers whether to approve genetically modified salmon, one thing seems certain: Shoppers staring at fillets in the seafood department will find it tough to pick out the conventional fish from the one created with genes from another species. Despite a growing public demand for more information about how food is produced, that won't happen with the salmon because of idiosyncracies embedded in federal regulations. The FDA says it cannot require a label on the genetically modified food once it determines that the altered fish is not "materially" different from other salmon - something agency scientists have said is true. Perhaps more surprising, conventional food makers say the FDA has made it difficult for them to boast that their products do not contain genetically modified ingredients. The decision carries great weight because, while genetically modified agriculture has been permitted for years and engineered crops are widely used in processed foods, this would be the first modified animal allowed for human consumption in the United States. The AquAdvantage salmon has been given a gene from the ocean pout, an eel-like fish, and a growth hormone from a Chinook salmon. Consumer advocates say they worry about labeling for genetically engineered beef, pork and other fish, which are lining up behind the salmon for federal approval.
Note: For an excellent overview of the dangers of genetically modified foods, click here.
The first court award in a vaccine-autism claim is a big one. CBS News has learned the family of Hannah Poling will receive more than $1.5 million dollars for her life care, lost earnings, and pain and suffering for the first year alone. In addition to the first year, the family will receive more than $500,000 per year to pay for Hannah's care. Those familiar with the case believe the compensation could easily amount to $20 million over the child's lifetime. Hannah was described as normal, happy and precocious in her first 18 months. Then, in July 2000, she was vaccinated against nine diseases in one doctor's visit: measles, mumps, rubella, polio, varicella, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, and Haemophilus influenzae. Afterward, her health declined rapidly. She developed high fevers, stopped eating, didn't respond when spoken to, began showing signs of autism, and began having screaming fits. In acknowledging Hannah's injuries, the government said vaccines aggravated an unknown mitochondrial disorder Hannah had which didn't "cause" her autism, but "resulted" in it. It's unknown how many other children have similar undiagnosed mitochondrial disorder. All other autism "test cases" have been defeated at trial. Approximately 4,800 are awaiting disposition in federal vaccine court.
Note: A CBS affiliate reports that "since the late 1980s, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) has paid money for 83 cases involving autism." The article also mentions this has been kept quiet. For a powerful report by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. showing blatant deception and cover up on the part of government and industry around a link between vaccines and autism, click here. For numerous revealing reports from major media sources on the link between vaccines and autism, click here.
The psychedelic drug psilocybin, the active ingredient in "magic mushrooms," can improve mood and reduce anxiety and depression in terminal cancer patients, Los Angeles researchers reported [on September 6]. A single modest dose of the hallucinogen ... can improve patients' functioning for as long as six months, allowing them to spend their last days with more peace, researchers said. Dr. Charles Grob, a psychiatrist at Harbor- UCLA Medical Center and the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute ... and his colleagues studied 12 patients, ages 36 to 58, with advanced-stage cancer and anxiety resulting from their diagnoses. The patients were given a relatively low dose of psilocybin, 0.2 milligram per kilogram of body weight. Nonetheless, the team reported in the Archives of General Psychiatry, all patients reported a significant improvement in mood for at least two weeks after the psilocybin treatment and up to a six-month improvement on a scale that measures depression and anxiety. Most also reported a decreased need for narcotic pain relievers. No adverse reactions were observed. These types of patients normally do not respond well to psychological therapy, Grob said, but his study showed that the drug has "great promise for alleviating anxiety and other psychiatric symptoms."
Note: For many hope-inspiring reports from reliable sources on new cancer coping strategies and possible cures, click here.
A world-renowned Texas scientist specializing in infectious diseases who was once charged with smuggling dangerous samples of plague bacteria into the U.S. was questioned by authorities after a suspicious item found in his luggage caused a massive evacuation at Miami International Airport [on September 2]. Dr. Thomas C. Butler, 70, was questioned by agents with the FBI and Miami-Dade police [on September 3]. Initial tests on the item have come back negative. Butler was released from questioning and won't be charged in the incident. Sources told NBC Miami that Butler had been coming from Saudi Arabia when the suspicious item was spotted in his luggage as it went through customs. Butler had been on the faculty at Texas Tech since the late 80s until his arrest in 2003 on charges of smuggling and improperly transporting the plague samples, as well as theft, embezzlement and fraud. He was eventually found guilty of exporting the vials of plague and stealing research money. Butler spent nearly two years behind bars and lost his Texas Tech job, despite the protests of several in the scientific community who denounced his prosecution. His controversial story was even featured in a "60 Minutes" piece titled "The Case Against Dr. Butler." He's currently listed as a faculty member at Alfaisal University in Saudi Arabia.
Note: There is likely much more to this story than meets the eye. Why is a world-renowned Texas scientist specializing in infectious diseases who is on faculty at a university in Saudi Arabia carrying deadly biological materials around the world?
It is a multimillion-dollar business started by a mom who began to see her daughter's brightly colored, juice-filled sippy cups as nothing more than insidious sugar-delivery mechanisms. In late 2004, Kara Goldin put a stop to the juice for her kids - juice from cups, bottles, boxes and pouches - and began experimenting by dropping bits of fresh fruit into glasses of water. "We had always put lemon or lime in our water, so I started putting different types of fruit in the water, and the kids loved it," said Goldin, a mother of four in San Francisco. "Our kids would have playdates, and I'd put a fresh raspberry in the kids' water and later the moms would call me and say, 'What is this raspberry drink you're giving my child?' " Today, Hint - bottled water with a hint of fruit, and not a trace of sugar, calories or preservatives - has retail sales of about $25 million, according to Goldin. The top-selling flavors include watermelon, blackberry, raspberry-lime, strawberry-kiwi, pomegranate-tangerine and mango-grapefruit. "This whole thing began when my daughter was reaching for some more apple juice," Goldin said. "I was noticing how kids were in the habit of moving from milk in a sippy cup to juice in a sippy cup that they'd have throughout the day. That's a lot more sugar than kids should have."
Allergan Inc., the maker of wrinkle-smoothing Botox, has agreed to pay $600 million to settle a yearslong federal investigation into its marketing of the top-selling, botulin-based drug. The Justice Department and the company said Wednesday in a statement it will plead guilty to one misdemeanor charge of "misbranding," in which the company's marketing led physicians to use Botox for unapproved uses. Those included the treatment of headache, pain, spasticity and cerebral palsy in children. Companies are prohibited from promoting drugs for unapproved, or "off-label," uses. Allergan said it will pay $375 million in connection with the plea, which includes the forfeiture of $25 million in assets. Additionally, the company will pay $225 million in civil fines — $210 million to the federal governments and the rest to several states — related to the investigation, although the company denies liability for the civil claims. Allergan "paid kickbacks to induce [physicians] to inject Botox for off-label uses and Allergan also taught doctors how to bill for off-label uses, including coaching doctors how to miscode Botox claims leading to millions of dollars of false claims being to submitted to federal and state programs," Assistant Attorney General Tony West said.
Note: $600 million is nothing to sneeze at, yet this kind of find is becoming almost commonplace in the pharmaceutical industry. Could it be that industry chieftains are more interested in profit that public health? For more powerful information along these lines, see our two-page health summary.
While the world was focused on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a BP refinery [in Texas City, Texas] released huge amounts of toxic chemicals into the air that went unnoticed by residents until many saw their children come down with respiratory problems. For 40 days after a piece of equipment critical to the refinery’s operation broke down, a total of 538,000 pounds of toxic chemicals, including the carcinogen benzene, poured out of the refinery. Rather than taking the costly step of shutting down the refinery to make repairs, the engineers at the plant diverted gases to a smokestack and tried to burn them off, but hundreds of thousands of pounds still escaped into the air, according to state environmental officials. Neither the state nor the oil company informed neighbors or local officials about the pollutants until two weeks after the release ended, and angry residents of Texas City have signed up in droves to join a $10 billion class-action lawsuit against BP. The state attorney general, Greg Abbott, has also sued the company, seeking fines of about $600,000. Scores of Texas City residents said they experienced respiratory problems this spring, and environmentalists said the release of toxic gases ranked as one of the largest in the state’s history. Neil Carman of the Lone Star Sierra Club said the release was probably even larger than BP had acknowledged.
The mother of a Cheshire teenager who was left severely brain damaged by the MMR vaccine has won a compensation award from the government. Robert Fletcher, 18, from Warrington, suffered a fit 10 days after he had the vaccination when he was 13 months old. His mother Jackie received the Ł90,000 payout from a medical assessment panel last week. The family successfully appealed after their application for compensation was originally turned down in 1997. Robert has frequent epileptic fits, is unable to talk, stand unaided or feed himself, but is not autistic. Mrs Fletcher always believed that her son's epilepsy was triggered by the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. Dr Andrew Wakefield was the lead author of the controversial study, published in The Lancet in 1998, which suggested there may be a link between MMR and autism and bowel disease. His comments and the subsequent media furore led to a sharp drop in the number of children vaccinated against these diseases. The study has since been discredited and The Lancet has said it should not have run it. Mrs Fletcher has campaigned for justice for her son for the past 16 years. She said: "I feel vindicated by it because over the years I've been labelled anti-vaccine and a scaremonger and all sorts of things, when all I've been trying to do is highlight what's happened to my son, to help safeguard other parents' children."
Note: For lots more from major media sources on the dangers to children from vaccines, click here.
A recall of a half-billion eggs from two mega-farms in Iowa is stoking a fierce controversy over whether factory farming is inherently unsafe - and a battle in California over a 2008 voter initiative banning the standard industry practice of packing hens so tightly in battery cages that they cannot spread their wings. Voters passed Proposition 2 overwhelmingly in 2008 after animal welfare activists released horrific undercover videos of strangled, deformed and mummified hens in battery cages. Animal welfare activists are linking battery cages to the Iowa salmonella outbreak, saying they are not just cruel to animals but a threat to food safety." Proposition 2 requires cage-free treatment of laying hens, and the evidence is very clear that caging laying hens increases the risk of salmonella," said Paul Shapiro, head of the Humane Society of the United States' Factory Farming Campaign. Animal rights activists and egg farmers, usually arch enemies, came together behind a law signed by Gov. Schwarzenegger last month that will ban all eggs coming from outside the state that fail to comply with the battery-cage ban. The new law could save the state's egg farmers and spread Prop. 2 nationally.
Note: To read the Humane Society's report on the negative impacts of factory farming, click here.
U.S. Army specialist Ethan McCord was one of the first on the scene when a group of suspected insurgents was blown up on a Baghdad street in 2007, hit by 30-mm bursts from an Apache helicopter. "The top of one guy's head was completely off," he recalls. "Another guy was ripped open from groin to neck. A third had lost a leg ... Their insides were out and exposed. I'd never seen anything like this before." Then McCord heard a child crying from a black minivan caught in the barrage. Inside, he found a frightened and wounded girl, perhaps 4. Next to her was a boy of 7 or so, soaked in blood. Their father, McCord says, "was slumped over on his side, like he was trying to protect the children, but he was just destroyed." McCord couldn't look away from the kids. "I started seeing images of my own two children back home in Kansas." McCord Pulled the two kids out of the minivan--the boy was still alive--and helped get them to a hospital. The Apache gunship killed a dozen men, including a pair working for the Reuters news agency; the episode became a video sensation after WikiLeaks released footage of it in April. Back at his base, McCord washed the children's blood off his uniform and body armor. That night, he told his staff sergeant he needed help. "Get the sand out of your vagina," McCord says his sergeant responded. "He told me I was being a homo and needed to suck it up." McCord says he never spoke to anyone about it after that because he didn't want to get in trouble and instead did what soldiers have done forever. "I decided to try to push it down and bottle it up," he says.
A growing body of evidence is suggesting that exposure to organophosphate pesticides is a prime cause of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, ADHD. The findings are considered plausible to many experts because the pesticides are designed to attack the nervous systems of insects. It is not surprising, then, that they should also impinge on the nervous systems of humans who are exposed to them. Forty organophosphate pesticides are registered in the United States, with at least 73 million pounds used each year in agricultural and residential settings. ADHD is thought to affect 3% to 7% of American children, with boys affected more heavily than girls. The newest study, reported [on August 19] in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, examines the effects of both prenatal and childhood exposure to the pesticides. Epidemiologist Brenda Eskenazi of UC Berkeley and her colleagues have been studying more than 300 Mexican American children living in the heavily agricultural Salinas Valley. After correcting the data to account for lead exposure and other confounders, they found that each tenfold increase in pesticide levels in the mothers' urine was associated with a fivefold increase in attention problems as measured by the assays.
Note: For important reports on health from reliable sources, click here.
Our diet is indeed killing us, and it's killing the planet too. Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta released a study revealing that nearly 27% of Americans are now considered obese (that is, more than 20% above their ideal weight), and in nine states, the obesity rate tops 30%. We eat way too much meat — up to 220 lb. per year for every man, woman and child in the U.S. — and only 14% of us consume our recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Our processed food is dense with salt and swimming in high-fructose corn syrup, two flavors we can't resist. Currently, enough food is manufactured in the U.S. for every American to consume 3,800 calories per day — we need only 2,350 in a healthy diet. Keeping the food flowing — and the prices low enough for people to continue buying it — requires a lot of industrial-engineering tricks, and those have knock-on effects of their own. Up to 10 million tons of chemical fertilizer per year are poured onto fields to cultivate corn alone, for example, which has increased yields 23% from 1990 to 2009 but has led to toxic runoffs that are poisoning the beleaguered Gulf of Mexico.
Recalls of prescription and over the counter drugs are surging, raising questions about the quality of drug manufacturing in the United States. The Food and Drug Administration reported more than 1,742 recalls last year, skyrocketing from 426 in 2008, according to the Gold Sheet, a trade publication on drug quality that analyzes FDA data. One company, drug repackager Advantage Dose, accounted for more than 1,000 of those recalls. Even excluding Advantage Dose, which has shut down, recalls jumped 50% last year. "We've seen a trend where the last four years are among the top five for the most number of drug recalls since we began tallying recalls in 1988," said Bowman Cox, managing editor of the Gold Sheet. "That's a meaningful development." The fast pace of drug recalls seems to be continuing in 2010. Drug recalls totaled 296 from January through June of this year, said Cox. "If we continue at this same rate, we could get 600 or more recalls by the end of the year," he said. "That's still a very high rate of recalls." High-profile recalls of Tylenol and other products by McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a unit of Johnson & Johnson, have drawn attention to quality concerns in manufacturing. The spike in recalls, especially of generic and over-the-counter drugs, is being driven by manufacturing lapses, experts say. Some of the biggest culprits: the quality of raw materials, faulty labeling and packaging and contamination.
Note: For lots more on corporate corruption from major media sources, click here.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.