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.
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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.
Macrophage activation may suppress breast cancer metastasis
2008-02-20, Reuters Health
Vitamin D-binding protein-derived macrophage activating factor (GcMAF) appears to be an effective immunotherapeutic agent in patients with metastatic breast cancer, according to US and Japanese researchers. "Serum vitamin D-binding protein -- known as Gc protein -- is the precursor of the principal macrophage activating factor," lead investigator Dr. Nobuto Yamamoto told Reuters Health. "Treatment of purified Gc protein with beta-galactosidase and sialidase generates GcMAF," he added, "the most potent macrophage activating factor ever discovered, which produces no side effect in humans." Dr. Yamamoto of the Socrates Institute for Therapeutic Immunology, Philadelphia and colleagues note that in vitro studies show that macrophages treated with GcMAF have a highly tumoricidal effect in mammary adenocarcinomas. To investigate whether the approach can be effective in humans, the researchers studied 16 non-anemic breast cancer patients who were given "a minute amount -- 100 nanograms per week -- of GcMAF," Dr. Yamamoto said. The researchers found that after 16 to 22 GcMAF doses, initially elevated nagalase levels, which reflect the tumor burden, fell to those found in healthy controls. Follow-up over 4 years showed that the level remained low and that there was no tumor recurrence, they report in the January 15th issue of The International Journal of Cancer. The findings, the team concludes, clearly demonstrate "the importance of focusing cancer immunotherapy on macrophage activation."
Note: Another article from the National Institutes of Health website covers an experiment with colorectal cancer patients using this amazing discovery. It states that "all colorectal cancer patients exhibited healthy control levels of the serum Nagalase activity, indicating eradication of metastatic tumor cells." Why isn't this getting more major press coverage?
Lawmakers blast USDA for food inspection lapses
2008-02-19, San Francisco Chronicle/Associated Press
Lawmakers and watchdog groups had harsh words Monday for the U.S. Department of Agriculture after the agency ordered a recall of 143 million pounds of beef from a Southern California slaughterhouse. Beef products dating to Feb. 1, 2006, that came from Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. of Chino (San Bernardino County) are subject to the recall, which is the largest such action in U.S. history. The notice came after the Humane Society of the United States shot undercover video showing crippled and sick animals being shoved with forklifts - treatment that has also triggered an animal-abuse investigation. A congresswoman who chairs a House subcommittee that determines funding levels for the USDA sent a letter ... to the agency's undersecretary for food safety demanding an explanation of the Westland case before a March 5 budgetary review hearing. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., chairwoman of the House Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration Appropriations Subcommittee, called the scenes in the video inhumane and said the video "demonstrates just how far our food safety system has collapsed." DeLauro has called for an investigation into the government's ability to secure the safety of meat in the nation's schools. Westland was a major supplier of beef for the National School Lunch Program. She also asked how the agency is addressing staff shortages among slaughterhouse inspectors - an issue also raised by several food safety experts and watchdog groups. According to Felicia Nestor, a senior policy analyst with Food and Water Watch, a consumer advocacy group based in Washington, anywhere from 7 to 21 percent of slaughterhouse inspector positions have been left vacant by the USDA, depending on the district. "They just don't fill vacancies," Nestor said.
Note: For many revealing articles from reliable sources on government corruption, click here.
Cancer and the bacterial connection
2008-02-18, Los Angeles Times
Today, some scientists think [that] germs can teach our bodies how to fight back against tumors. Dr. John Timmerman, a cancer immunotherapy expert at UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center, says this revolution has produced "the most exciting sets of compounds in cancer immunology." New studies are revealing that certain cancers may be reduced by exposure to disease-causing bacteria and viruses. The studies also imply that our cleaner, infection-free lifestyles may be contributing to the rise in certain cancers over the last 50 years, scientists say, because they make the immune system weaker or less mature. Germs cause disease but may also fortify the body, a notion summed up in a 2006 report by a team of Canadian researchers as "whatever does not kill me makes me stronger." In the 1980s, dermatologists began noticing that patients with severe acne, which is caused by another type of bacterium, have reduced rates of skin cancer, lymphoma and leukemia. According to a paper by Dr. Mohammad Namazi at the Shiraz University of Medical Sciences in Iran, studies showed that these bacteria, when injected into animals, appear to stimulate the immune system and shrink tumors. In reports published in the last two years, Harvey Checkoway, a University of Washington epidemiologist, has found that female cotton workers in Shanghai have a 40% to 60% lower risk of lung, breast, and pancreas cancer than other factory workers. Other recent studies by Giuseppe Mastrangelo at the University of Padua in Italy found that dairy farmers exposed to high levels of manure dust are up to five times less likely to develop lung cancer than their colleagues who work in open fields.
Note: For exciting reports of promising new approaches to curing cancer, click here.
U.S. expanding the law - domestic and foreign - to benefit corporations
2008-02-17, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
As a U.S. taxpayer, you may be contributing to fewer cheap drugs on international shelves. Public dollars support the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the trade agency with authority to pressure foreign governments to change their domestic intellectual property laws. As such, the agency actively presses for laws that would keep generic drugs out of markets worldwide. Congress is considering legislation to create a separate executive branch office dedicated to using government resources for lobbying other countries to change their laws, sometimes exclusively to benefit certain U.S. companies. That's a bad idea for patients here and abroad, because it would give the U.S. government more power in an area where it should instead have less. The trade agency's interpretation of what other countries' domestic laws need to cover expands beyond the broadest definitions within U.S. law. To give one example, data gathered during clinical trials of new drugs are not protected by copyright, patent or trademark in the United States. The Food and Drug Administration restricts use of test results finding that a brand-name drug is safe when considering the safety of identical generic drugs. The trade representative is using its authority to press for comparable rules restricting the approval process for generic drugs in other countries. It doesn't take much sleuthing to follow the money back to the U.S. pharmaceutical manufacturers on the trade agency's advisory panel, who can maintain monopolist profits while a generic drug is blocked from the market in Guatemala, Malaysia or any of the dozen other countries that the trade agency is pressuring to adopt U.S.-style restrictions on generic drug approval.
Note: For more reports on the power of the pharmaceutical industry to influence government policy, click here.
Science of the orgasm
2008-02-11, Los Angeles Times
As they seek to document and demystify one of life's great thrills, scientists have run across some real head-scratchers. How, for example, can they explain the fact that some men and women who are paralyzed and numb below the waist are able to have orgasms? How to explain the "orgasmic auras" that can descend at the onset of epileptic seizures -- sensations so pleasurable they prompt some patients to refuse antiseizure medication? And how on Earth to explain the case of the amputee who felt his orgasms centered in that missing foot? No one -- no sexologist, no neuroscientist -- really knows. For a subject with so many armchair experts, the human orgasm is remarkably mysterious. But today, a few scientists are making real progress -- in part because they're changing their focus. To uncover the orgasm's secrets, researchers are looking ... to the place behind the scenes where the true magic happens. They're examining the central nervous system: the network of electrical impulses that zip to and fro through the brain and spinal cord. In an orgasm orchestra, the genitalia may be the instruments, but the central nervous system is the conductor. Armed with new lab tools and fearless volunteers, scientists are getting first-ever glimpses of how the brain lights up (and, in places, shuts down) when the orgasmic fireworks go off. They're tracing nerves and finding new pathways for pleasure that help explain how people with shattered spinal cords can defy sexual expectations.
Study: Artificial Sweeteners Increase Weight Gain Odds
2008-02-11, ABC News
Calorie-conscious consumers who opt for diet sodas may gain more weight than if they drank sugary drinks because of artificial sweeteners contained in the diet sodas, according to a new study. A Purdue University study ... in the journal Behavioral Neuroscience reported that rats on diets containing the artificial sweetener saccharin gained more weight than rats given sugary food, casting doubt on the benefits of low-calorie sweeteners. "There's something about diet foods that changes your metabolic limit, your brain chemistry," said ABC News' medical contributor Dr. Marie Savard. Savard said another recent study, which included more than 18,000 people, found healthy adults who consumed at least one diet drink a day could increase their chance for weight gain. In the Purdue study, the rats whose diets contained artificial sweeteners appeared to experience a physiological connection between sweet tastes and calories, which drove them to overeat. "The taste buds taste sweet, but there's no calorie load that comes with it. There's a mismatch here. It seems it changes your brain chemistry in some way," Savard said. The information may come as a surprise to the 59 percent of Americans who consume diet soft drinks, making them the the second-most-popular low-calorie, sugar-free products in the nation. Because so many foods today contain artificial sweeteners, the study results may go beyond diet drinks.
Note: For powerful evidence of a major cover-up of the risks and dangers of artificial sweetener aspartame, click here. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on major health issues, click here.
Parents Concerned Over Potentially Toxic Baby Bottles
2008-02-07, ABC News
Dozens of environmental health organizations in the United States and Canada are calling for an immediate moratorium on the use of a chemical, bisphenol A — or BPA — in food and beverage containers, including baby bottles. They say a new study found that, when exposed to heat, baby bottles release a chemical that, researchers say, has been linked to obesity, diabetes and developmental problems in lab animals. "When bottles are used extensively over time, and when they're heated, higher levels of this chemical leach out, exposing young infants to elevated levels of this unnecessary toxic chemical," says Mike Shaade at the Center for Health Environment and Justice. BPA is used to make plastic in 95 percent of baby bottles now on the market. But it is up for debate whether it is harmful or not. BPA is already in most of us: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found BPA in the urine of 95 percent of people it tested. Dr. Maida Galvez is a pediatrician at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, who studies whether traces of BPA found in children's urine is harmful to them. "We know the animal studies raise concerns, but there aren't human studies showing effects yet ... so, when we don't have the evidence, what we recommend is that parents try to err on the side of caution," she says.
Note: For many highly informative reports on health, click here.
Timeline: Porton Down Laboratory
2008-01-31, BBC News
The Ministry of Defence's announcement that it is to award £3m in compensation to 360 veterans of chemical weapons tests has put the spotlight on the Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down. 1916: Building work begins at Porton Down ... to create an experimental base for research into chemical warfare. 1920: Large-scale expansion of the site begins, initially focusing on the effects of mustard gas - experiments in which thousands of volunteers were to participate. 1940: After the outbreak of war, a secret group is set up at Porton Down to investigate biological warfare. 1945: Thousands of military personnel had taken part in trials at Porton Down during World War II. As the war ended, volunteers began participating in nerve-agent trials there - a practice that was to continue until 1989. 1953: Leading Aircraftman Ronald Maddison participates in chemical experiments at Porton Down. Within an hour of being given sarin, he is dead. Military chiefs conduct an inquest in secret. Verdict: misadventure. 1989: Nerve-agent trials at Porton Down cease. 2002: Ministry of Defence (MoD) helpline set up to enable Porton Down veterans to find out more about the trials they were involved in. 2004: Fresh inquest into the 1953 death of Ronald Maddison returns a verdict of unlawful killing. The MoD [only two years later] admits "gross negligence". 2008: The BBC learns of a £3m out-of-court settlement between the MoD and veterans, under which the  ex-servicemen will each receive £8,300 and an apology ... without admission of liability.
Note: The military has repeatedly condoned horrendous research on live subjects. For a revealing list of highly unethical experimentation on human over the past 75 years, click here. For a concise summary of the government's secret quest to control the mind and human behavior no matter what the cost, click here.
Rethinking the Meat-Guzzler
2008-01-27, New York Times
A sea change in the consumption of a resource that Americans take for granted may be in store — something cheap, plentiful, widely enjoyed and a part of daily life. And it isn’t oil. It’s meat. Global demand for meat has multiplied in recent years, encouraged by growing affluence and nourished by the proliferation of huge, confined animal feeding operations. These assembly-line meat factories consume enormous amounts of energy, pollute water supplies, generate significant greenhouse gases and require ever-increasing amounts of corn, soy and other grains, a dependency that has led to the destruction of vast swaths of the world’s tropical rain forests. The world’s total meat supply was 71 million tons in 1961. In 2007, it was estimated to be 284 million tons. Per capita consumption has more than doubled over that period. (In the developing world, it rose twice as fast, doubling in the last 20 years.) At about 5 percent of the world’s population, [Americans] “process” (that is, grow and kill) nearly 10 billion animals a year, more than 15 percent of the world’s total. Growing meat (it’s hard to use the word “raising” when applied to animals in factory farms) uses so many resources that it’s a challenge to enumerate them all. An estimated 30 percent of the earth’s ice-free land is directly or indirectly involved in livestock production. Livestock production generates nearly a fifth of the world’s greenhouse gases — more than transportation. Though some 800 million people on the planet now suffer from hunger or malnutrition, the majority of corn and soy grown in the world feeds cattle, pigs and chickens.
DNA Molecules Display Telepathic Abilities
2008-01-25, Fox News
DNA molecules can display what almost seems like telepathy, research now reveals. Double helixes of DNA can recognize matching molecules from a distance and then gather together, all seemingly without help from any other molecules, scientists find. Previously, under the classic understanding of DNA, scientists had no reason to suspect that double helixes of the molecule could sort themselves by type, let alone seek each other out. Scientists investigated double-stranded DNA tagged with fluorescent compounds. These molecules were placed in salt water that contained no proteins or other material that could interfere with the experiment or help the DNA molecules communicate. Curiously, DNA with identical sequences of bases were roughly twice as likely to gather together as DNA molecules with different sequences. Although it looks as if spooky action or telepathic recognition is going on, DNA operates under the laws of physics, not the supernatural. The bases that make up a strand of DNA each cause the corkscrew to bend one way or the other. Double-stranded DNA with identical sequences each result in corkscrews "whose ridges and grooves match up," said researcher Sergey Leikin, a physical biochemist. Identical DNA double helixes have matching curves, meaning they repel each other the least, Leikin explained. The scientists conjecture such "telepathy" might help DNA molecules line up properly before they get shuffled around. This could help avoid errors in how DNA combines, errors that underpin cancer, aging and other health problems.
Mature Human Embryos Created From Adult Skin Cells
2008-01-18, Washington Post
Scientists at a California company reported yesterday that they had created the first mature cloned human embryos from single skin cells taken from adults, a significant advance toward the goal of growing personalized stem cells for patients suffering from various diseases. Creation of the embryos -- grown from cells taken from the company's chief executive and one of its investors -- also offered sobering evidence that few, if any, technical barriers may remain to the creation of cloned babies. The study leader, who is also the medical director of a fertility clinic ... emphasized that he has no interest in cloning people. "It's unethical and it's illegal, and we hope no one else does it either," said Samuel H. Wood, chief executive of Stemagen in La Jolla, whose skin cells were cloned and who led the study. The closely held company hopes to make embryos that are clones, or genetic twins, of patients, then harvest stem cells from those embryos and grow them into replacement tissues. Opponents of research on human embryos lashed out at the approach. "This study seems to confirm that human cloning ... is technically possible," said Richard Doerflinger of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. "It does not answer the ethical or social questions about the mass-production of developing human lives in order to destroy them. It only tells us that these questions are more urgent than ever." Other critics noted that scientists in Japan and Wisconsin recently discovered a way to "reprogram" stem cells directly from skin cells, without having to make embryos as a middle step. "In light of the recent cell reprogramming developments, cloning-based stem cell research is less justified than ever," said Marcy Darnovsky of the Center for Genetics and Society.
Bay Area has first major U.S. study of Morgellons disease
2008-01-17, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Bay Area researchers are beginning the first major U.S. study into a mystery disease known for its frightening symptoms - among them, open sores and unidentifiable objects poking out of the skin - that doctors have long suspected is all in patients' heads. The study into Morgellons will start immediately. The research will be funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [and conducted by Kaiser Permanente]. Researchers are hoping to come up with a more specific definition of Morgellons and how prevalent it is in the Bay Area, which has one of the largest concentrations of ... cases of the disease in the country. The CDC is not yet agreeing that Morgellons is a medical condition. Many doctors believe that Morgellons is actually a psychiatric condition called delusional parasitosis. They say the filaments that patients report growing out of their skin are actually lint or threads from clothing, and the open sores are caused by patients scratching at skin when they perceive a crawling sensation. San Francisco resident Pat Miller has been to more than a dozen doctors since he first developed symptoms several years ago. He's been diagnosed with a wide variety of skin conditions, as well as delusional parasitosis, and few doctors have been willing to consider Morgellons. "I've developed this lack of love for doctors and health care systems. You pretty much have to become your own doctor." The nonprofit Morgellons Research Foundation says that more than 10,000 families in the United States have registered with the Web site, claiming at least one family member has the disease. About 24 percent of registered families are in California, and the Bay Area is one of several hot spots in the country. The research foundation estimates that 150 to 500 people in Northern California have Morgellons.
Note: Though mainstream science initially claimed Morgellons disease was purely psychological, much information is challenging this stance. For many revealing health stories from reliable sources, click here.
USDA Recommends That Food From Clones Stay Off the Market
2008-01-16, Washington Post
The U.S. Department of Agriculture yesterday asked U.S. farmers to keep their cloned animals off the market indefinitely even as Food and Drug Administration officials announced that food from cloned livestock is safe to eat. Bruce I. Knight, the USDA's undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs, requested an ongoing "voluntary moratorium" to buy time for "an acceptance process" that Knight said consumers in the United States and abroad will need, "given the emotional nature of this issue." Yet even as the two agencies sought a unified message -- that food from clones is safe for people but perhaps dangerous to U.S. markets and trade relations -- evidence surfaced suggesting that Americans and others are probably already eating meat from the offspring of clones. Executives from the nation's major cattle cloning companies conceded yesterday that they have not been able to keep track of how many offspring of clones have entered the food supply, despite a years-old request by the FDA to keep them off the market pending completion of the agency's safety report. At least one Kansas cattle producer also disclosed yesterday that he has openly sold semen from prize-winning clones to many U.S. meat producers in the past few years, and that he is certain he is not alone. "This is a fairy tale that this technology is not being used and is not already in the food chain," said Donald Coover, a Galesburg cattleman and veterinarian who has a specialty cattle semen business. "Anyone who tells you otherwise either doesn't know what they're talking about, or they're not being honest." Last year, [only] 22 percent of Americans who responded to a major survey said they had a favorable impression of food from clones.
Note: For lots more reliable information on how big business takes huge risks with the food we eat, click here.
Ricki Lake in 'Business of Being Born,' about birth in America
2008-01-13, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Things did not exactly go as planned when Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein conceived the idea of working together on an expose of America's delivery rooms. Called "The Business of Being Born," the documentary examines the politics, economics and history of how and where most Americans take their first breaths. This includes the births of Epstein's and Lake's own babies - Lake delivered at home aided by a midwife. Although they were longtime friends, Epstein had written off Lake's interest in home birth and midwifery as a "reckless" crusade that she admits she "totally didn't get." That all changed in 2004 when Lake showed Epstein a home video of [Lake] giving birth to her second son in a bathtub in 2001. "Ricki's video was so inspiring. I didn't know you could have a baby like that - with no blood, in her own home," Epstein says. "It was clean. It was beautiful. She looked so powerful and so in control." While "The Business of Being Born" clearly takes a stance in defending the craft of midwifery, Epstein and Lake insist that their mission is more about empowering women with knowledge and reminding them that they may have more choices than they realize. "The film is not advocating anything but choice. I'm not at all telling people to have a home birth like me," says Lake, who after reading a book called Spiritual Midwifery decided she wanted to give birth to her second child at home. Citing statistics that show home-birthing rates declining from 95 percent in 1900 to less than 1 percent by 1955, the film questions whether American women today have been convinced that they are not responsible for the births of their children or simply don't know how to give birth on their own.
Embracing Alternative Care
2008-01-09, U.S. News and World Report
"To be blunt, if my wife and I didn't think it was helping him, we wouldn't have continued with it," says Dan Polley. He's talking about Mikey, the Polleys' 2½-year-old in the next room, who was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia when he was 6 months old. Chemotherapy, radiation, and a bone marrow transplant have been crucial elements of Mikey's treatment. But the "it" his father speaks of is nothing like these aggressive, costly, and heavily researched exemplars of western care -— it is a kind of touch therapy. Gentle and benign, "healing touch" is intended to rebalance the energy field that its practitioners believe surrounds the body and flows through it along defined pathways, affecting health when disrupted. Several times a week, therapist Lynne Morrison spends 20 minutes unblocking and smoothing Mikey's energy field, which energy healers like Morrison say they can feel and correct. The setting for the unorthodox therapy ... would have been startling just five or 10 years ago. Morrison is on the staff of Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago, a ... research-oriented emblem of western medicine. It perennially ranks among America's premier hospitals. And Mikey is only one of many children there receiving care that not long ago was called alternative medicine. Now it is more often called CAM, for complementary and alternative medicine, or integrative medicine, to avoid the loaded "alternative." The message the new labels are meant to convey is that the therapies more often go hand in hand with traditional medicine than substitute for it.
Note: For lots of exciting reports on new health research, click here.
Food Allergies Stir a Mother to Action
2008-01-09, New York Times
[Robyn O’Brien's] story is one of several in a new book, Healthy Child, Healthy World. About two years ago, she fed her youngest child scrambled eggs. The baby’s face quickly swelled into a grotesque mask. Little Tory had a severe food allergy, and Ms. O’Brien’s journey had begun. Her theory — that the food supply is being manipulated with additives, genetic modification, hormones and herbicides, causing increases in allergies, autism and other disorders in children — is not supported by leading researchers or the largest allergy advocacy groups. [But] record numbers of parents are heading to doctors concerned that their children are allergic to a long list of foods. States are passing laws requiring schools to have policies protecting children with food allergies. No one knows why the number of allergies seems to be on the rise. Ms. O’Brien and leading allergy researchers agree that few reliable studies on food allergies exist. The best estimates suggest that 4 to 8 percent of young children suffer from them. Many health professionals, though, agree that something is changing. The hygiene hypothesis intrigues many researchers. It holds that children are being exposed to fewer micro-organisms and, as a result, have weaker immune systems. “But this alone cannot account for the massive relative increase in food allergy compared with other allergic disease such as asthma,” said Dr. Marc E. Rothenberg, the director of allergy and immunology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. [Ms. O'Brien] chides top allergy doctors who are connected to Monsanto, the producer of herbicides and genetically modified seeds. She asserts that the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, the nation’s leading food allergy advocacy group, is tainted by the money it receives from food manufacturers and peanut growers.
Note: Visit Robyn O'Brien's website, AllergyKids.com. For many other powerful reports on health issues, click here.
FDA to Back Food From Cloned Animals
2008-01-05, Washington Post
The Food and Drug Administration is set to announce as early as next week that meat and milk from cloned farm animals and their offspring can start making their way toward supermarket shelves. The decision would be a notable act of defiance against Congress, which last month passed appropriations legislation recommending that any such approval be delayed pending further studies. Moreover, the Senate version of the Farm bill ... contains stronger, binding language that would block FDA action on cloned food, probably for years. The FDA has hinted strongly in the past year that it is ready to lift its "voluntary moratorium" on the marketing of milk and meat from clones and their offspring, saying that the science led them to that decision. But public opinion has been negative on the issue, with some saying that not enough safety studies have been conducted and others concerned about the health of the clones, which are far more likely than ordinary farm animals to die early in life. A handful of U.S. companies have pushed for marketing approval. Margaret Mellon of the Union of Concerned Scientists, an advocacy group, said she had read the entire 678-page draft risk assessment and found it to be "long on assumptions and short on data, and especially short on the data that are directly relevant to food consumption safety." Of particular concern, she said, was that even though the vast majority of clones die either before birth or soon after, those that survive are deemed normal. She said the FDA should withhold approval at least until it has a regulatory plan in place that will give it an ability to track food from clones and watch for human health impacts. Others have called for mandatory labeling so consumers can avoid products from clones. The FDA has said that lacking any safety concerns, it will not demand such labels. The Agriculture Department has also declared that meat from clones cannot be deemed organic.
Note: For lots more reliable information on how big business takes huge risks with the food we eat, click here.
Drug makers spend more on marketing than research: study
2008-01-03, CBC News (Canada's equivalent of PBS)
U.S. drug companies spend almost twice as much on marketing and promoting medications [as] on research and development, a new Canadian study says. "These numbers clearly show how promotion predominates over R&D in the pharmaceutical industry, contrary to the industry's claim," the authors write in this week's peer-reviewed journal Public Library of Science Medicine. Using data from two market research companies, the University of Quebec's Marc-André Gagnon and York University's Joel Lexchin found U.S. drug companies spent $57.5 billion US on promotional activities in 2004 compared with $31.5 billion on research and development. Promotional activities included free samples, visits from drug reps, direct-to-consumer advertising of drugs, meetings with doctors to promote products, e-mail promotions, direct mail and clinical trials designed to promote the prescribing of new drugs rather than to generate scientific data. The authors say their figure of $57.5 billion US is likely an underestimate, citing other avenues for promotion such as ghostwriting of articles in medical journals by drug company employees, or the off-label promotion of drugs. Drug companies have long argued they are driven primarily by research, while critics charge that marketing and profits are their primary concerns. There were extensive U.S. government reviews of the pharmacy business in the 1950s and '60s and again in the 1980s. But there hasn't been a comprehensive study of drug industry profits and spending in more than a decade.
Note: For a powerful overview of corruption in the pharmaceutical industry, click here.
'Second Thoughts about Fluoride,' Reports Scientific American
"Some recent studies suggest that
over-consumption of fluoride can raise the risks of disorders affecting teeth,
bones, the brain and the thyroid gland," reports Scientific American [magazine]. "Scientific attitudes toward fluoridation may be starting to shift," writes author Dan Fagin. "Fluoride, the most consumed drug in the USA, is deliberately added to [two-thirds] of public water supplies theoretically to reduce tooth decay, but with no
scientifically-valid evidence proving safety or effectiveness," says lawyer Paul Beeber [of the] New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation. Fagin, Director of New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program, writes,
"There is no universally accepted optimal level for daily intake of fluoride." After [three] years of scrutinizing hundreds of studies, a National Research Council committee "concluded that fluoride can subtly alter endocrine function, especially in the thyroid -- the gland that produces hormones regulating growth and metabolism," reports Fagin. Fluoride in foods, beverages, medicines and dental products can result in fluoride over-consumption, visible in young children as dental fluorosis -- white spotted, yellow, brown and/or pitted teeth. Reports Fagin, "a series of epidemiological studies in China have associated high fluoride exposures with lower IQ. Epidemiological studies and tests on lab animals suggest that high fluoride exposure increases the risk of bone fracture, especially in vulnerable populations such as the elderly and diabetics."
Note: If above MSNBC link fails, click here. For many highly informative reports on health issues, click here.
His parasite theory stirs a revolution
2007-12-31, Boston Globe
"What if I told you," Joel Weinstock said, "there were countries where the doctors had never seen hay fever?" It is another piece of evidence, another "aha" moment in the global medical mystery that Weinstock - the chief of gastroenterology and hepatology at Tufts-New England Medical Center - has narrowed down to one chief suspect: the worms. Weinstock, 59, specializes in studying why immunological diseases ... are on the rise in developed countries but remain relatively uncommon in undeveloped countries. He believes these diseases, many of which were almost unheard of 100 years ago, are because of changes in our environment, a lack of exposure to something. And he thinks that something may be the worms. "We realized that one thing people always had was intestinal worms," he said. The parasites that we have been told to avoid - such as hookworm and pinworm - may be the good guys, while excessive hygiene may be the bad guy. "I get about 5,000 e-mails a year from patients all over the world asking what to do," he said. "People know that something isn't right. They keep their kids in the cleanest environments and they get asthma. We get all of these things that were rare becoming common. And a lot of it comes down to hygiene. Excessive hygiene can potentially lead to disease." The "hygiene hypothesis," which was first proposed nearly two decades ago, argues that aspects of cleanliness prevent the immune system from programming itself to fight off disease. "The big question is what are those aspects? We don't want to go back to the standards of the 1800s," Weinstock said. "Public hygiene and cleanliness are very good for us, but removing ourselves entirely from our natural environment is bad for us. We need to figure out the aspects of dirt and exposure that are good for us and hopefully we can find a balance."
Note: For many reliable reports on health issues, click here.
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