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.
European scientists and health authorities are facing angry questions about why H1N1 flu has not caused death and destruction on the scale first feared, and they need to respond deftly to ensure public support. Accusations are flying in British and French media that the pandemic has been "hyped" by medical researchers to further their own cause, boost research grants and line the pockets of drug companies. Britain's Independent newspaper this week asked "Pandemic? What Pandemic?." France's Le Parisien newspaper ran the headline: "Swine flu: why the French distrust the vaccine" and noted a gap between the predicted impact of H1N1 and the less dramatic reality. "Dangerous liaisons between certain experts, the labs and the government, the obscurity of the contracts between the state and the pharma firms have added to the doubt." In Britain, health authorities' original worst-case scenario -- which said as many as 65,000 could die from H1N1 -- has twice been revised down and the prediction is now for around 1,000 deaths, way below the average annual toll of 4,000 to 8,000 deaths from seasonal winter flu.
Note: It's quite interesting and telling that a thorough Internet seach showed that no major media picked up this article from Reuters News Agency
A spate of recent deaths of New York police and fire officers who took part in the emergency operation at Ground Zero after the 9/11 attacks has heightened fears that it could be the start of a delayed epidemic of cancer-related illness. Five firefighters and police officers, all of whom were involved in the rescue and clear-up at the site of the collapsed Twin Towers, have died of cancer in the past three months, the oldest being 44. Three died last month within a four-day period. Up to 70,000 people took part in the massive operation at Ground Zero, including police, firefighters and construction workers who came to New York voluntarily from all over the US. Many worked for months amid a toxic soup of dust and chemicals. Amid the pollutants within the giant pile of 1.8m tons of debris and the surrounding air were ... about 1,000 tons of asbestos that was used in the construction of the Twin Towers, pulverised lead from computers, mercury and highly carcinogenic by-products from the burning of plastics and chlorinated chemicals. No official tally is available for the number of those who have died as a result of the 9/11 clear-up. The New York state health department has recorded 817 deaths of emergency workers. Claire Calladine, a campaigner who runs the organisation 9/11 Health Now, said the fear was that the recent rise in cancer cases was just the start. "We have only seen the tip of the iceberg. How bad will it get – that is the big question."
Your body is probably home to a chemical called bisphenol A, or BPA. It’s a synthetic estrogen that United States factories now use in everything from plastics to epoxies — to the tune of six pounds per American per year. More than 92 percent of Americans have BPA in their urine, and scientists have linked it ... to everything from breast cancer to obesity, from attention deficit disorder to genital abnormalities in boys and girls alike. Now it turns out it’s in our food. Consumer Reports magazine tested an array of brand-name canned foods for a report in its December issue and found BPA in almost all of them. The magazine says that relatively high levels turned up, for example, in Progresso vegetable soup, Campbell’s condensed chicken noodle soup, and Del Monte Blue Lake cut green beans. The magazine also says it found BPA in the canned liquid version of Similac Advance infant formula ... and in canned Nestlé Juicy Juice. The BPA in the food probably came from an interior coating used in many cans. More than 200 other studies have shown links between low doses of BPA and adverse health effects, according to the Breast Cancer Fund, which is trying to ban the chemical from food and beverage containers. “The vast majority of independent scientists — those not working for industry — are concerned about early-life low-dose exposures to BPA,” said Janet Gray, a Vassar College professor who is science adviser to the Breast Cancer Fund.
Note: For more on BPA and other health issues, click here.
Advice about soft drinks and health from one of the nation's largest doctors groups will soon be brought to you by Coke. The American Academy of Family Physicians has prompted outcry and lost members over its new six-figure alliance with the Coca-Cola Co. The deal will fund educational materials about soft drinks for the academy's consumer health and wellness Web site, www.FamilyDoctor.org. "Coca-Cola, like other sodas, causes enormous suffering and premature death by increasing the risks of obesity, diabetes, heart attacks, gout, and cavities," Harvard University nutrition expert Dr. Walter Willett said in an e-mail. He said the academy "should be a loud critic of these products and practices, but by signing with Coke their voice has almost surely been muzzled." Dr. Henry Blackburn, a University of Minnesota public health specialist, said the deal "will inevitably have a chilling effect on the focus of their message in regards to sweet drinks."
Note: For more on corruption in the medical/corporate complex, click here.
A $112 million settlement involving alleged drug kickbacks that the Justice Dept. announced with the nation's largest nursing home pharmacy and a generic drug manufacturer on Nov. 3 is part of a wide-ranging investigation of suspected Medicaid fraud by the pharmaceutical industry. Critics say the continuing probe, which involves ... major drugmakers, highlights what they describe as an industry practice of paying money to outfits that provide drugs to consumers, in return for preferential treatment. Because those alleged payoffs have the effect of compromising patient care and driving up costs for government and private health insurers, cases like the settlement unsealed with Omnicare (OCR) in Covington, Ky., and IVAX Pharmaceuticals in Weston, Fla., could bolster opposition to the controversial deal the Obama Administration reached with the pharmaceutical industry to win its support for health-reform legislation. Many Democrats say the Administration should have asked for much bigger cost savings from drugmakers. Patrick Burns, a spokesman for Taxpayers Against Fraud, a nonprofit Washington group that promotes whistleblower suits, says the Justice Dept. is backed up with pharmaceutical fraud cases. Since drugmakers offer so many similar products, he contends, they rely on kickbacks to give their products a market edge. "In the pharmaceutical industry, the business isn't selling the best drug, it's the best scheme of kickbacks to the prescriber."
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on corporate corruption, click here.
Eating a diet high in processed food increases the risk of depression, research suggests. What is more, people who ate plenty of vegetables, fruit and fish actually had a lower risk of depression, the University College London team found. Data on diet among 3,500 middle-aged civil servants was compared with depression five years later, the British Journal of Psychiatry reported. They split the participants into two types of diet - those who ate a diet largely based on whole foods, which includes lots of fruit, vegetables and fish, and those who ate a mainly processed food diet, such as sweetened desserts, fried food, processed meat, refined grains and high-fat dairy products. After accounting for factors such as gender, age, education, physical activity, smoking habits and chronic diseases, they found a significant difference in future depression risk with the different diets. Those who ate the most whole foods had a 26% lower risk of future depression than those who at the least whole foods. By contrast people with a diet high in processed food had a 58% higher risk of depression than those who ate very few processed foods.
Note: For an excellent article revealing dramatic improvements in the behavior of children at a school which transformed the children's diet in a major experiment being modeled by other schools, click here. For key reports from major media sources on important health issues, click here.
In August 2009, CBS News made a simple request of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for public documents, e-mails and other materials CDC used to communicate to states the decision to stop testing individual cases of Novel H1N1, or "swine flu." When the public affairs folks at CDC refused to produce the documents and quit responding to my queries altogether, I filed a formal Freedom of Information (FOI) request for the materials. Two months after my FOI request, the CDC has yet to produce any of these easily retrievable materials. This has become standard operating procedure in Washington. Today, I received a letter from the CDC Freedom of Information office ... to inform me that my request for "expedited" treatment of my FOI request has been denied because CDC has determined the request is "not a matter of widespread and exceptional media and public interest." The CDC may be the only agency on the planet to argue that testing and counting of swine flu cases is "not of widespread and exceptional media and public interest." CBS News reporting on the topic has been quoted and reproduced internationally by news organizations such as California NPR, radio talk shows and others. The Freedom of Information Act ... was supposed to stop federal agencies from using their power and control to withhold public information from the people who own it. Many federal agencies use it to obstruct the delay or release of obviously public information.
Note: See powerful media reports suggesting that both the Avian Flu and Swine Flu were manipulated to promote fear and boost pharmaceutical sales. For other verifiable information on health corruption, see the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Health Information Center.
As Germany launched its mass-vaccination program against the H1N1 flu virus on Monday, the government found itself fending off accusations of favoritism because it was offering one vaccine believed to have fewer side effects to civil servants, politicians and soldiers, and another, potentially riskier vaccine to everyone else. The German government prepared for its mass-vaccination campaign earlier this year by ordering 50 million doses of the Pandemrix vaccine. The vaccine, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, contains an immunity-enhancing chemical compound, known as an adjuvant, whose side effects are not yet entirely known. The Interior Ministry confirmed that it had ordered a different vaccine, Celvapan, for government officials and the military. Celvapan, which is made by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Baxter, does not contain an adjuvant and is believed to have fewer side effects.
Reinhold Vieth, [a] professor at the University of Toronto’s Department of Laboratory Medicine and Patho-biology, ... is among the most knowledgeable people in the world on the subject of vitamin D. In the US and Canada, official vitamin D policy is set by the Institute of Medicine. And in the opinion of Vieth, the current recommendations – 200 International Units per day for people under 50, 400 for people aged 51-70, and 600 for those 71 and older – are outrageously low. Vieth and other vitamin D advocates have good reason to think there will be minimal changes made to dietary guidelines. Last December, the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer issued a 465-page report that concluded there was no need to raise vitamin D recommendations. “The evidence favouring vitamin D is probably as good as the evidence that shows smoking is bad for you,” Vieth says, explaining that just as smoking is correlated with certain cancers, so are low vitamin D levels. “But when these government officials see the same kind of evidence that deals with vitamin D as they see with smoking they go, ‘Oh wait a minute. We can’t really trust this.’” Vieth pauses, as though he can barely stand to talk about such a miserable state of affairs. “It’s easy to say ‘don’t do something – don’t smoke’. It’s very hard to say ‘take this. Take vitamin D.’”
Note: For many key reports from reliable sources on important health issues, click here.
If you've been diagnosed "probable" or "presumed" 2009 H1N1 or "swine flu" in recent months, you may be surprised to know this: odds are you didn’t have H1N1 flu. In fact, you probably didn’t have flu at all. That's according to state-by-state test results obtained in a three-month-long CBS News investigation. Why the uncertainty about who has and who hasn't had H1N1 flu? In late July, the CDC abruptly advised states to stop testing for H1N1 flu, and stopped counting individual cases. CBS News learned that the decision to stop counting H1N1 flu cases was made so hastily that states weren't given the opportunity to provide input. When CDC did not provide us [CBS News] with the material, we filed a Freedom of Information request with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). More than two months later, the request has not been fulfilled. We also asked CDC for state-by-state test results prior to halting of testing and tracking, but CDC was again, initially, unresponsive. We asked all 50 states for their statistics on state lab-confirmed H1N1 prior to the halt of individual testing and counting in July. The vast majority of cases were negative for H1N1 as well as seasonal flu, despite the fact that many states were specifically testing patients deemed to be most likely to have H1N1 flu, based on symptoms and risk factors, such as travel to Mexico. With most cases diagnosed solely on symptoms and risk factors, the H1N1 flu epidemic may seem worse than it is.
Note: Some states found that less than 2% of cases claimed to be swine flu turned out to be the real thing. The numbers have been greatly exaggerated. Yet the drug companies raked in billions of dollars in profit from all the fear mongering. For more reliable information on this, click here and here.
Did you know that Lunesta will help you fall asleep just 15 minutes faster? Or that a higher dose of the osteoporosis drug Zometa could damage a cancer patient’s kidneys and raise their risk of death? Chances are you didn’t, and neither did your doctor. Much of what the Food and Drug Administration knows about a drug’s safety and effectiveness is not included on the label, say two drug safety experts who are calling on the agency to make that information more accessible. In ... the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers ... argue that drug labels don’t reflect the nuanced decisions the FDA makes when deciding to approve a drug. The editorial from Drs. Lisa Schwartz and Steven Woloshin recommends easy-to-read fact boxes to help patients weigh the benefits and risks of medications. If drug labels sometimes exaggerate benefits and play down drug risks, the authors say there’s a very good reason: they are written by drugmakers. While FDA must approve the final labeling, the actual language is drafted by the manufacturer, with input from FDA scientists. The labeling is based on results from company studies, which generally compare results for patients taking the drug versus those taking placebo. If FDA decides the drug’s ability to treat or prevent a disease outweighs its side effects, the agency is obligated to approve it. But Schwartz and Woloshin point out that benefits may be slim and potential harms may not be fully understood. “The take home point is that just because a drug is approved doesn’t mean it works very well,” said Schwartz, in an interview with the Associated Press. “You really need to know more to see whether it’s worth the cost.” Schwartz and Woloshin say FDA labeling frequently fails to provide a full picture of a drug’s effects.
Note: For a powerful summary of corruption in the pharmaceutical industry, click here.
Suzanne Somers is at it again. She's back with a new book [on an] emotional topic: Cancer treatment. Specifically, she argues against what she sees as the vast and often pointless use of chemotherapy. Somers, who has rejected chemo herself, seems to relish the fight. "Cancer's an epidemic," said the 63-year-old actress ... a day before [the] release of Knockout: Interviews with Doctors Who Are Curing Cancer--And How to Prevent Getting It in the First Place, her 19th book. "And yet we keep going back to the same old pot, because it's all we've got. Well, this is a book about options." Though she may be one of the most visible, Somers is hardly the only celebrity who's advocated alternative treatments recently. The late Farrah Fawcett underwent a mix of traditional and alternative treatments, and made a poignant plea for supporting alternative methods in her film, "Farrah's Story." Actress Jenny McCarthy advocates a special dietary regime, supplements, metal detox and delayed vaccines to treat autism. In fact, Somers does view chemotherapy as effective for some cancers, but not for the most common, including lung and breast cancer. Diagnosed with breast cancer a decade ago, she had a lumpectomy and radiation, but declined chemotherapy, as she did more recently when briefly misdiagnosed with pervasive cancer.
Note: To watch a video clip of this, click here. For her harrowing experience of being misdiagnosed with stage four cancer, click here. And if you want to understand how big money sometimes ruthlessly acts to stop cancer cures, click here. For media articles discussing potentially powerful cancer cures and how industry sometimes will not support them, click here.
Health care legislation before Congress takes only modest steps to address a problem that is more deadly than inadequate medical insurance - medical error. Studies show that preventable medical errors - ranging from poor sanitation to mistakes during surgery - kill four times as many people as the lack of medical insurance. In August, a Hearst investigation, "Dead by Mistake," concluded that as many as 200,000 people die each year from medical errors and infections in the United States and that many measures to alleviate the problem have not been adopted 10 years after a landmark federal study, "To Err Is Human." A new Hearst analysis shows that the health care reform bills under consideration by Congress also do not include key recommendations, outlined in the study, that the health care industry has lobbied against ever since. Experts agree that the proposed legislation does not address key aspects of the problem. "We are not seeing a lot about safety, which is interesting, because the nation is acknowledging the 10-year anniversary of 'To Err is Human' and there is a lot of frustration that we have not made more progress," said Jim Conway, senior vice president at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, a Boston nonprofit that has been pushing hospitals toward safer care. Two major recommendations of the federal study are mandatory reporting of medical errors and, based on those reports, systemic changes to prevent future mistakes. None of the bills include mandatory reporting.
Note: For a powerful summary of corruption in the pharmaceutical industry, click here.
France's highest court has ruled that US agrochemical giant Monsanto had not told the truth about the safety of its best-selling weed-killer, Roundup. The court confirmed an earlier judgment that Monsanto had falsely advertised its herbicide as "biodegradable" and claimed it "left the soil clean". The company was fined 15,000 euros (Ł13,800; $22,400). Roundup is the world's best-selling herbicide. Monsanto also sells crops genetically-engineered to be tolerant to Roundup. French environmental groups had brought the case in 2001 on the basis that glyphosate, Roundup's main ingredient, is classed as "dangerous for the environment" by the European Union. Earlier this month, Monsanto reported a fourth quarter loss of $233m (Ł147m), driven mostly by a drop in sales of its Roundup brand.
Note: For an article on the dangers of Monsanto's RoundUp, click here.
Americans are still debating whether to roll up their sleeves for a swine flu shot, but companies have already figured it out: vaccines are good for business. Drug companies have sold $1.5 billion worth of swine flu shots, in addition to the $1 billion for seasonal flu they booked earlier this year. These inoculations are part of a much wider and rapidly growing $20 billion global vaccine market. "The vaccine market is booming," says Bruce Carlson, spokesperson at market research firm Kalorama, which publishes an annual survey of the vaccine industry. "It's an enormous growth area for pharmaceuticals at a time when other areas are not doing so well," he says. As always with pandemic flus, taxpayers are footing the $1.5 billion check for the 250 million swine flu vaccines that the government has ordered so far and will be distributing free to doctors, pharmacies and schools. In addition, Congress has set aside more than $10 billion this year to research flu viruses, monitor H1N1's progress and educate the public about prevention. Drugmakers pocket most of the revenues from flu sales. But some say it's not just drugmakers who stand to benefit. Doctors collect copayments for special office visits to inject shots, and there have been assertions that these doctors actually profit handsomely from these vaccinations. Pharmacies also charge co-payments or full price of about $25 to those without insurance.
Note: For a revealing article questioning the efficacy of vaccines, click here. And for a powerful CBS '60 Minutes' news clip clearly showing how the profit motive in vaccines endangers public health, click here.
A “perplexing” Canadian study linking H1N1 to seasonal flu shots is throwing national influenza plans into disarray and testing public faith in the government agencies responsible for protecting the nation's health. Distributed for peer review last week, the study confounded infectious-disease experts in suggesting that people vaccinated against seasonal flu are twice as likely to catch swine flu. The paper has since convinced several provincial health agencies to announce hasty suspensions of seasonal flu vaccinations, long-held fixtures of public-health planning. “It has confused things very badly,” said Dr. Ethan Rubinstein, head of adult infectious diseases at the University of Manitoba. “And it has certainly cost us credibility from the public because of conflicting recommendations. Until last week, there had always been much encouragement to get the seasonal flu vaccine.” On Sunday Quebec joined Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Nova Scotia in suspending seasonal flu shots for anyone under 65 years of age. Quebec's Health Ministry announced it would postpone vaccinations until January. B.C. is expected to announce a similar suspension during a press conference Monday morning. Other provinces, including Manitoba, are still pondering a response to the research. Dr. Rubinstein, who has read the study, said it appears sound. “There are a large number of authors, all of them excellent and credible researchers,” he said. “And the sample size is very large – 12 or 13 million people taken from the central reporting systems in three provinces. The research is solid.”
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on the dangers of vaccines, click here.
The Environmental Protection Agency detailed its plans ... for research into the possible health and environmental risks of nanomaterials, tiny substances that are finding growing use in products like sunscreens and industrial adhesives. The document ... calls for work to identify sources of nanomaterials, which can measure as little as perhaps one-10,000th the width of a human hair. Research will also center on how they move in the environment, the problems they might cause for people, animals and plants, and how these problems could be avoided or mitigated. The federal National Nanotechnology Initiative is charged with coordinating research by various agencies on the issue. But in a highly critical report last year, the National Academy of Sciences dismissed its effort as inadequate. Little is known about whether substances engineered at the nano scale persist and accumulate in the environment in unusual and potentially harmful ways. In August, a coalition of groups including Friends of the Earth and Consumers Union issued a report urging people to avoid sunscreens containing nano-forms of zinc oxide, saying their risks were unknown.
As a group of healthcare workers, we are being mandated by a new New York state law to receive the seasonal flu vaccine and H1N1 vaccines. If we do not receive these vaccines by November 30th, that inaction is to be considered our resignation. We must sign a consent for the vaccines prior to their administration. The manufacturers have been granted immunity by the government; they cannot be sued for untoward effects. We do not want to receive these vaccines. Our educated studies of risks versus benefits conclude that the risks of the vaccine are greater than the possible benefits. All health care workers with direct patient care are mandated to receive the vaccine, so the coercion is real -- we cannot just go find a job "somewhere else." And the job market of 2009 does not offer opportunity in a different arena where we could still feed our families. We understand the fear that swine flu and influenza has generated. While our sources of information indicate that swine flu is not a pandemic, we know that the slanted research fed by the media offers results intended to frighten the public. We do not have the power to stop the fear that mass hype is able to generate. We hear the hype you are fed. We do not want to bring you harm, but we should not be forced into harm's way ourselves.
Note: For more on mandatory flu vaccinations, click here.
LSD, the drug that launched the psychedelic era and became one of the resounding symbols of the counterculture movement of the '60s, is back in the labs. Nearly 40 years after widespread fear over recreational abuse of LSD and other hallucinogens forced dozens of scientists to abandon their work, researchers at a handful of major institutions - including UCSF and Harvard University - are reigniting studies. The study at UCSF ... is looking into the mechanisms of LSD and how it works in the brain. The hope is that such research might support further studies into medical applications of LSD - for chronic headaches, for example - or psychiatric uses. "Psychedelics are in labs all over the world and there's a lot of promise," said Rick Doblin, director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies in Santa Cruz. Stanislav Grof was one of the last scientists to abandon hallucinogenic research when he shut down several projects at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center in 1973 after his funding dried up. He moved to California to work at a research institute in Big Sur, where he turned to studies about how to re-create the effects of those drugs through meditation and breathing techniques. He's pleased to see some of the stigma falling away from drugs like LSD, but it bothers him that the scientific community lost decades of research. "I thought psychiatry and psychology really lost a major opportunity because of the abuse that happened with unsupervised research," Grof said. "These are fascinating substances - and they're very, very powerful, so they should be used with great precaution."
The Food and Drug Administration [has admitted] that four New Jersey congressmen and its own former commissioner unduly influenced the process that led to its decision last year to approve a patch for injured knees. The agency’s scientific reviewers repeatedly and unanimously over many years decided that the device, known as Menaflex and manufactured by ReGen Biologics Inc., was unsafe because the device often failed, forcing patients to get another operation. But after receiving what an F.D.A. report described as “extreme,” “unusual” and persistent pressure from four Democrats from New Jersey ... agency managers overruled the scientists and approved the device for sale in December. All four legislators made their inquiries within a few months of receiving significant campaign contributions from ReGen, which is based in New Jersey, but all said they had acted appropriately and were not influenced by the money. Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach, the former drug agency’s commissioner, said he had acted properly. The agency has never before publicly questioned the process behind one of its approvals, never admitted that a regulatory decision was influenced by politics, and never accused a former commissioner of questionable conduct. The report, written by top agency officials, said that Dr. von Eschenbach, who resigned as F.D.A. commissioner in January, became as a result of political pressure “personally engaged in the details of a process usually coordinated” by scientific staff. One agency manager concluded that Dr. von Eschenbach “was demanding not only an expedited process but also an outcome in favor of ReGen,” the report stated.
Note: For a powerful summary of corruption in the pharmaceutical industry, 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.