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.
Drinking lots of soda may increase the risk of violent behavior in teens, a new study suggests. Teens in the study who drank more than five cans of non-diet soda per day were significantly more likely to report behaving violently towards others, and more likely to report having carried a gun or knife in the past year, the researchers said. The results held even after the researchers took into account other factors that have been linked to violent behavior, including age, alcohol and tobacco use, and the frequency of family dinners. It's possible that the caffeine and sugar in the soda may directly affect teens' behavior, the researchers said. However, it's also possible that people who are violent have a penchant for soda. Additional research is needed to find the exact reason for the link. It's possible that an underlying condition, such as low blood sugar, may result in both high soda consumption and aggressive behavior, the researchers said. But even if soda consumption doesn't cause violent behavior, it may be a useful marker for aggressive, the researchers say.
Note: For an important article showing how violent behavior dramatically decreased at a school where junk food was replaced by healthy food, click here. For key reports from reliable sources on important health issues, click here.
Pap smear tests are still the best way to prevent cervical cancer, but women should not seek them every year, a U.S. government-backed expert panel and major cancer groups said. Instead, every three years is a reasonable timetable, according to the Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), the same group that recently recommended against routine prostate cancer tests for healthy men. Proposing changes to 2003 recommendations, the task force also said evidence is still insufficient to weigh harms and benefits of tests screening for human papillomavirus (HPV) -- in contrast with the views of cancer patient advocates. However, in a rare show of unity, the groups including the American Cancer Society sided with the panel on the new recommendations and proposed new screening guidelines themselves for the first time, bluntly recommending against the common practice of annual Pap tests. Echoing the panels' recommendations, the cancer groups also said women younger than 21 do not need to get tested. However, despite the task force's skepticism over the effectiveness of the HPV test in preventing cancer, the cancer society and other groups called the combination of regular Pap plus HPV testing the "preferred strategy" for women over 30, if done every three to five years.
Note: For an excellent Dr. Mercola article on the risks involved with both Pap tests and the HPV vaccine Gardasil, click here.
How and why potentially — and historically — life-saving vaccinations, especially those mandated for children, have become a 21st century medical and political tinderbox is deftly examined by producers and co-directors Kendall Nelson and Chris Pilaro in their provocative documentary "The Greater Good." The filmmakers put human faces on this polarizing issue by focusing largely on three American children devastated, it is believed, by post-vaccine side effects. They include Gabi Swank, an inspiring teen who suffered neurological damage after taking the much-hyped HPV vaccine to prevent cervical cancer; 12-year-old Jordan King who, as a toddler, regressed into autism after routine inoculations; and infant Victoria Christner, who died at 5 months, her parents maintain, of vaccine injuries. An articulate array of doctors, scientists and public health officials weigh in on both sides of the debate. Some cite that vaccines, often government mandated, are sound and necessary for "the greater good," while others demand further research, safety and education to help parents — and everyone else — to make more informed choices before rushing to immunize. Either way, the film proves an effective eye-opener.
Chocolate seems to be good for the cardiovascular system - no secret there. Studies have tied the sweet stuff to lower blood pressure, healthier blood vessels, and reduced risk of blood clots. And now Swedish researchers have linked chocolate to a reduced risk for stroke. The scientists found that the women who ate the most chocolate - 66.5 grams a week, or about 2.4 ounces - were 20 percent less likely to have a stroke than the women who never or seldom ate chocolate. The study was published in the October 2011 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. But before you unleash your inner chocoholic, be aware that not all forms of chocolate are thought to be beneficial. Dark chocolate is best because it contains more of the antioxidant-rich cocoa and less sugar and fewer calories than milk chocolate.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on important health issues, click here.
The average person’s body contains about 100 trillion cells, but only maybe one in 10 is human. Human cells ... are far outnumbered by those from microbes — primarily bacteria but also viruses, fungi and a panoply of other microorganisms. That thought might make a lot of people lunge for the hand sanitizer, but that impulse may be exactly the wrong one. Researchers are amassing a growing body of evidence indicating that microbial ecosystems play crucial roles in keeping us healthy. Moreover, scientists are becoming more convinced that modern trends — diet, antibiotics, obsession with cleanliness, Caesarean deliveries — are disrupting this delicate balance, contributing to some of the most perplexing ailments, including asthma, allergies, obesity, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, cancer and perhaps even autism. These microbial stowaways may wield far greater powers than previously appreciated. Acquired beginning at birth, this mass of fellow travelers may help steer normal development. Investigators are trying to identify which organisms may truly be beneficial “probiotics” that people could take to help their health. One intriguing finding is that babies born through Caesarean section apparently miss out on acquiring their mothers’ microbiota. The rising number of C-section babies ... might help explain trends such as rising incidents of asthma and food allergies caused by misfiring immune systems. Obese people appear to have a distinctive mix of digestive bacteria that make them prone to weight gain. Thin mice get fatter when their microbiota is replaced with the microbes of obese animals.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, the group that told women in their 40s that they don't need mammograms, will recommend that men not get screened for prostate cancer, according to a source privy to the task force deliberations. A review of studies shows screening with the PSA blood test results in "small or no reduction" in prostate cancer deaths. The report adds that PSA testing is "associated with harms related to subsequent evaluation and treatments." The problem is that many of the cancers that get detected are so small and slow-growing, they'll never be harmful, and doctors have a difficult time discerning the quick, harmful cancers from the slow, harmless ones. If you test 100 men over age 50, 17 of them will have prostate cancer, and only three of those will have a fast-growing cancer and die of the disease, according to Dr. Kenneth Lin, senior author of the paper. If the 14 men with the slow-growing cancers are treated, they could be rendered impotent or incontinent from the treatment; or worse, the treatment could kill them. Some prostate cancer patients were disappointed with the task force's decision. A spokesman for the Prostate Cancer Foundation called the proposed recommendation "a tremendous mistake." "You're talking to someone whose life was saved by [the PSA test]," Dan Zenka said. But Lin says he believes testing does more harm than good. "Maybe you should get tested if you have this horrible family history where everyone gets prostate cancer before the age of 50. But for most men, testing is harmful," he said.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on important health issues, click here.
More than one in 10 parents use an "alternative" vaccination schedule for their young children, including refusing vaccines altogether, according to a U.S. survey ... from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The Internet survey included 748 parents of kids between the ages of six months and six years. Of those, 13 percent said they used some type of vaccination schedule that differed from the CDC recommendations. That included refusing some vaccines or delaying vaccines until kids were older -- mostly because parents thought that "seemed safer." In addition, two percent of parents refused any vaccination altogether, according to findings published in Pediatrics. Even among parents who did follow the recommended schedule, about one-quarter said in the survey they thought delaying vaccines would be safer or that the expert-backed schedule wasn't the best one to follow. Parents who skip or delay vaccines typically cite safety concerns, researchers said.
Note: For many major media articles posing serious questions on the safety of many vaccines, click here. For a powerfully revealing article showing just how dangerous vaccines can be to children's health, see the excellent article by the respected Dr. Mercola available here.
The first vaccine against human papillomavirus, or HPV, which causes cervical cancer, came out five years ago. It has become a hot political topic. Behind the political fireworks is a quieter backlash against a public health strategy that has won powerful advocates in the medical and public health community. Many find the public health case for HPV vaccination compelling. But Dr. Diane Harper, a professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, says the vaccine is being way oversold. That's pretty striking, because Harper worked on studies that got the vaccines approved. And she has accepted grants from the manufacturers, although she says she doesn't any longer. Harper changed her mind when the vaccine makers started lobbying state legislatures to require schoolkids to get vaccinated. "Ninety-five percent of women who are infected with HPV never, ever get cervical cancer," she says. "It seemed very odd to be mandating something for which 95 percent of infections never amount to anything. Pap smear screening is far and away the biggest thing a woman can do to protect herself, to prevent cervical cancer," she says. Apart from the comparative advantages of vaccine versus Pap smears, Harper has another objection to mandating early vaccination at this point. She points out that studies so far show the vaccines protect for four or five years. Young women may need a booster shot later. As it stands now, Harper says, vaccinating an 11-year-old girl might not protect her when she needs it most - in her most sexually active years.
Note: Read a more recent article on why the Gardasil vaccine may not be a wise choice. Merck, the company behind Gardasil, had to suspend a questionable lobbying campaign to make vaccination by this costly drug mandatory back in 2007. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing vaccine controversy news articles from reliable major media sources.
Propelled by an increase in prescription narcotic overdoses, drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in the United States, a Times analysis of government data has found. Drugs exceeded motor vehicle accidents as a cause of death in 2009, killing at least 37,485 people nationwide, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While most major causes of preventable death are declining, drugs are an exception. The death toll has doubled in the last decade, now claiming a life every 14 minutes. By contrast, traffic accidents have been dropping for decades because of huge investments in auto safety. This is the first time that drugs have accounted for more fatalities than traffic accidents since the government started tracking drug-induced deaths in 1979. Fueling the surge in deaths are prescription pain and anxiety drugs that are potent, highly addictive and especially dangerous when combined with one another or with other drugs or alcohol. Among the most commonly abused are OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax and Soma. One relative newcomer to the scene is Fentanyl, a painkiller that comes in the form of patches and lollipops and is 100 times more powerful than morphine. Such drugs now cause more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined. Overdose victims range in age and circumstance from teenagers who pop pills to get a heroin-like high to middle-aged working men and women who take medications prescribed for strained backs and bum knees and become addicted. The seeds of the problem were planted more than a decade ago by well-meaning efforts by doctors to mitigate suffering, as well as aggressive sales campaigns by pharmaceutical manufacturers.
Note: For more on pharmaceutical industry corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
The political tempest created by Rick Perry's response to questions about his 2007 executive order requiring immunization of young girls is the wrong debate at the wrong time for the Texas governor's front-running presidential campaign. The heated political exchange over Perry's program to vaccinate all Texas school girls to protect them from cervical cancer caused by a sexually transmitted disease opens the door for critics to declare it an example of intrusive, big government to require such immunization, particularly for a sexually transmitted virus, even if, as Perry says, there was an opt-out provision for parents. The fact that Perry tried to implement the policy with an executive order, rather than proposing legislation mandating the vaccinations, spooks libertarians who don't want to see another president implementing policy through executive orders, as George W. Bush and Barack Obama have done on a wide range of social and security issues. The issue also highlights what [has been] dubbed "crony capitalism" - how big contributors and longtime friends of the Texas governor have been named to key state positions and won important policy victories in Rick Perry's Texas. Perry's former chief of staff, Mike Toomey, was a lobbyist for Merck, the manufacturer of the drug Gardasil, the vaccine that Perry sought to require for girls.
Note: Another media article points out that Perry grossly underestimated the amount of political contributions he received from Merck, the manufacturer of the drug Gardasil, the vaccine that Perry required for young girls.
[Diane] Schou is one of an estimated 5% of Americans who believe they suffer from Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS), which they say is caused by exposure to electromagnetic fields typically created by mobile phones, wi-fi and other electronic equipment. Symptoms range from acute headaches, skin burning, muscle twitching and chronic pain. Diane believes her illness was triggered by emissions from a mobile phone mast. New research by scientists at Louisiana State University and published by the International Journal of Neuroscience, claims to show that EHS can be caused by low frequency electromagnetic fields found in the environment. "The study provides direct evidence that linking human symptoms with environmental factors, in this case EMF," says Dr Andrew Marino, a neurology professor who led the study. "It's a watershed in that regard. There have been no previous studies that scientifically assess whether electromagnetic fields in the environment could produce human symptoms. And the symptoms matter because they are the first steps that show how EMFs produce human disease."
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on important health issues, click here.
From the island nation known for the quality of its cigars comes some pretty big news today: Cuban medical authorities have released the first therapeutic vaccine for lung cancer. CimaVax-EGF is the result of a 25-year research project at Havana’s Center for Molecular Immunology, and it could make a life or death difference for those facing late-stage lung cancers. CimaVax-EGF isn’t a vaccine in the preventative sense--that is, it doesn’t prevent lung cancer from taking hold in new patients. It’s based on a protein related to uncontrolled cell proliferation--that is, it doesn’t prevent cancer from existing in the first place but attacks the mechanism by which it does harm. As such it can turn aggressive later-stage lung cancer into a manageable chronic disease by creating antibodies that do battle with the proteins that cause uncontrolled cell proliferation, researchers say. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are still recommended as a primary means of destroying cancerous tissue, but for those showing no improvement the new vaccine could be a literal lifesaver. The vaccine has already been tested in 1,000 patients in Cuba and is being distributed at hospitals there free of charge. That’s a big deal for a country where smoking is part of the national culture and a leading cause of death. If it proves as successful as researchers say it is, it should give those suffering from lung cancer reason to celebrate--just not with a Cohiba.
Note: For lots more on important health issues from reliable sources, click here.
For the past year the KHOU 11 News I-Team has been investigating the quality of the tap water in Texas. What they found was surprising: That many of the state's communities have a real problem with radioactive contamination in their local drinking water. However, the team also discovered that many of those consuming it didn't know they were also being exposed to a health risk. State scientists found some of Texas’ water could pose a 1 in 400 cancer risk. Neighborhoods across the state have been getting illegal amounts of a particularly damaging form of radiation, an exposure that some say was “covered-up” by Texas officials. Water with under-the-legal-limit amounts of radiation still might not be “safe”. Concentrated "bursts" of radiation could be released into your home ... from water pipes that become "a hidden risk" themselves.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on government corruption, click here.
Propelled by an increase in prescription narcotic overdoses, drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in the United States, a Times analysis of government data has found. Drugs exceeded motor vehicle accidents as a cause of death in 2009, killing at least 37,485 people nationwide, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While most major causes of preventable death are declining, drugs are an exception. The death toll has doubled in the last decade, now claiming a life every 14 minutes. By contrast, traffic accidents have been dropping for decades because of huge investments in auto safety. Public health experts have used the comparison to draw attention to the nation's growing prescription drug problem, which they characterize as an epidemic. This is the first time that drugs have accounted for more fatalities than traffic accidents since the government started tracking drug-induced deaths in 1979. Fueling the surge in deaths are prescription pain and anxiety drugs that are potent, highly addictive and especially dangerous when combined with one another or with other drugs or alcohol. Such drugs now cause more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on important health issues, click here.
An engineered virus, injected into the blood, can selectively target cancer cells throughout the body in what researchers have labelled a medical first. The virus attacked only tumours, leaving the healthy tissue alone, in a small trial on 23 patients, according to the journal Nature. Researchers said the findings could one day "truly transform" therapies. Cancer specialists said using viruses showed "real promise". Using viruses to attack cancers is not a new concept, but they have needed to be injected directly into tumours in order to evade the immune system. The virus, named JX-594 ... was injected at different doses into the blood of 23 patients with cancers which had spread to multiple organs in the body. Prof John Bell, lead researcher and from the University of Ottawa, said: "We are very excited because this is the first time in medical history that a viral therapy has been shown to consistently and selectively replicate in cancer tissue after intravenous infusion in humans. Intravenous delivery is crucial for cancer treatment because it allows us to target tumours throughout the body as opposed to just those that we can directly inject."
Note: With millions of people dying of cancer every year, why isn't this being fast tracked like the AIDS drugs were? For exciting information from reliable sources on promising new cancer cure possibilities, click here.
Sitting in front of the television may be a relaxing way to pass an evening, but spending too much time in front of the tube may take years off your life. That's what Australian researchers found when they generated life-expectancy tables for people based on mortality information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics as well as participants' survey responses about how much TV they had watched in the past week. The TV-viewing data from more than 11,000 participants older than 25 years showed that Australian adults watched an estimated 9.8 billion hours of television in 2008. People who watched an average six hours of TV a day lived an average 4.8 years fewer than those who didn't watch any television, the study found. Even more humbling: every hour of TV that participants watched after age 25 was associated with a 22-minute reduction in their life expectancy. The findings suggest that watching too much TV is as detrimental to longevity as smoking and lack of exercise.
Note: How about the health impacts of hours daily online or working at a computer screen? Might they be similar to the health effects of watching TV? For lots more on important health issues from reliable sources, click here.
Doctors have treated only three leukemia patients, but the sensational results from a single shot could be one of the most significant advances in cancer research in decades. Doctors at the University of Pennsylvania say the treatment made the most common type of leukemia completely disappear in two of the patients and reduced it by 70 percent in the third. In each of the patients as much as five pounds of cancerous tissue completely melted away in a few weeks, and a year later it is still gone. The results of the preliminary test “exceeded our wildest expectations,” says immunologist Dr. Carl June a member of the Abramson Cancer Center's research team. Chemotherapy and radiation can hold this form of leukemia at bay for years, but until now the only cure has been a bone marrow transplant. A bone marrow transplant requires a suitable match, works only about half the time, and often brings on severe, life-threatening side effects such as pain and infection. So why has this remarkable treatment been tried so far on only three patients? Both the National Cancer Institute and several pharmaceutical companies declined to pay for the research. Neither applicants nor funders discuss the reasons an application is turned down.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on hopeful new cancer treatments, click here.
It was the kind of study that made doctors around the world sit up and take notice: Two popular high-blood-pressure drugs were found to be much better in combination than either alone. Unfortunately, it wasn't true. Six and a half years later, the prestigious medical journal the Lancet retracted the paper, citing "serious concerns" about the findings. The damage was done. Doctors by then had given the drug combination to well over 100,000 patients. Instead of protecting them from kidney problems, as the study said the drug combo could do, it left them more vulnerable to potentially life-threatening side effects, later studies showed. Today, "tens of thousands" of patients are still on the dual therapy, according to research firm SDI. When a study is retracted, "it can be hard to make its effects go away," says Sheldon Tobe, a kidney-disease specialist at the University of Toronto. And that's more important today than ever because retractions of scientific studies are surging. Since 2001, while the number of papers published in research journals has risen 44%, the number retracted has leapt more than 15-fold, data compiled for The Wall Street Journal by Thomson Reuters reveal. Just 22 retraction notices appeared in 2001, but 139 in 2006 and 339 last year
Note: To learn lots more of how the medical industry puts profit above public health, click here.
It's fraudulent for academics to give their names to medical articles ghostwritten by pharmaceutical industry writers, say two Canadian law professors who call for potential legal sanctions. Studies suggest that industry-driven drug trials and industry-sponsored publications are more likely to downplay a drug's harms and exaggerate a drug's virtues, said Trudo Lemmens, a law professor at the University of Toronto. The integrity of medical research is also harmed by ghostwritten articles, he said. Ghostwriting is part of marketing that can distort the evidence on a drug, Lemmens said. Industry authors are concealed to insert marketing messages and academic experts are recruited as "guest" authors to lend credibility despite not fulfilling criteria for authorship, such as participating in the design of the study, gathering data, analyzing the results and writing up of the findings. Lemmens and his colleague Prof. Simon Stern argue that legal remedies are needed for medical ghostwriting since medical journals, academic institutions and professional disciplinary bodies haven't succeeded in enforcing sanctions against the practice. Ghostwritten publications are used in court to support a manufacturer's arguments about a drug's safety and effectiveness, and academic experts who appear as witnesses for pharmaceutical and medical device companies also boost their credibility with the publications on their CV, Lemmens said.
The food and advertising industries have launched a multi-pronged campaign to squash government efforts to create voluntary nutritional guidelines for foods marketed to children. Calling themselves the Sensible Food Policy Coalition, the nation’s biggest foodmakers, fast-food chains and media companies, including Viacom and Time Warner, are trying to derail standards proposed by four federal agencies. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has also lent its lobbying muscle to the effort. The guidelines are designed to encourage foodmakers to reduce salt, added sugars and fats in foods and drinks targeted to children. Public-health experts say children, many of whom may lack the critical-thinking skills to understand advertising, are bombarded daily by television ads, Web sites, toy giveaways and cartoon characters promoting junk food. The food and beverage industry spends about $2 billion a year marketing directly to children. The business community has portrayed the government’s guidelines as job-killing government overreach. “We allow companies into our homes to manipulate children to want food that will make them sick,” said Margo Wootan of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
Note: The "Sensible Food Policy Coalition" is arguing against voluntary guidelines designed to help our children eat more nutritious food. Is that Orwellian doublespeak or what?
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.