Health News ArticlesExcerpts of Key Health News Stories in Major Media
Note: This comprehensive list of health news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
The Food and Drug Administration is finally going to decide whether antibacterial soap actually works, or if it's causing more harm than good. Government researchers plan to deliver a review this year on the effectiveness and safety of triclosan, the germ-killing ingredient found in an estimated 75 percent of antibacterial liquid soaps and body washes sold in the United States. The chemical has been in U.S. households for more than 40 years, used for cleaning kitchens, people's bodies and clothing. The chemical is also found in mouthwash, toothpaste and toys, and depending on what the FDA finds, a $1 billion industry could be affected. The agency's review comes amid growing pressure from lawmakers, consumer advocates and others who are concerned about the safety of triclosan. Recent animal studies of triclosan have led scientists to worry that it could case hormone-related problems in humans including an increase the risk of infertility and early puberty. The concerns over triclosan offer a sobering glimpse at a little-known fact: Many chemicals used in everyday household products have never been formally approved by U.S. health regulators. That's because many germ-killing chemicals were developed decades ago before there were laws requiring scientific review of cleaning ingredients. The controversy also highlights how long it can take the federal government to review the safety of such chemicals. It's not uncommon for the process to drag on for years.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on health issues, click here.
Lipstick can give your lips color, sheen and texture, but may also put you at risk of ingesting potentially toxic metals, UC Berkeley researchers say in the latest study to ferret out questionable compounds in cosmetics. The scientists said [on May 2 that] they found metals in every one of the 32 lipsticks and lip glosses they tested. Some of those substances, including lead, cadmium and chromium, are banned from cosmetics in Europe, but not in the United States. Previous studies had detected traces of lead in lipstick, but the researchers said theirs was the first to find a variety of other metals that can be toxic in high doses. Manganese, for example, which was found in varying amounts in the tested products, is linked to neurological defects in humans who inhale it on a continuous basis. Makeup manufacturers in the United States sometimes use metals as color additives. The researchers believe that potentially harmful metals are present in possibly thousands of lip products beyond the 32 they tested. "The fact that virtually all of them have some metals of some concern leads me to say that it's a concern in general," said Katharine Hammond, a UC Berkeley environmental health sciences professor and the study's primary investigator. The report appears in the current issue of Environmental Health Perspectives. Consumers should not be burdened with figuring out which products are safe, [Hammond] argued. Instead, she said, the responsibility belongs to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which regulates cosmetics.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on health issues, click here.
In a study, researchers have found that long-term pot smokers were roughly 62 percent less likely to develop head and neck cancers than people who did not smoke pot. The new study featured 434 patients with head and neck cancers, which include tumors in the mouth, tongue, nose, sinuses, throat and lymph nodes in the neck, and 547 individuals without these cancers seen in the Greater Boston area from December 1999 to December 2003. After factoring out the impact of smoking, drinking, and other factors that might influence the results, smoking marijuana from once every two weeks to three times every two weeks, on average, was associated with about half the risk of head and neck cancer, compared with less frequent use. Those who took up pot smoking at an older age appeared to have less risk of these cancers than those who started it at a younger age. Compared to people who never smoked pot, those who began smoking marijuana between the ages of 15 and 19 years were 47 percent less likely to develop head and neck cancer, while users who began at age 20 or older had a 61 percent reduced risk, Kelsey and colleagues found. The authors note that chemicals in pot called cannabinoids have been shown to have potential antitumor effects. Other studies have linked marijuana use to a reduced risk of some cancers, such as cancer of the prostate, and now head and neck cancer. It's also been suggested that smoking pot may help stave off Alzheimer's disease and help combat weight loss associated with AIDS, and nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy in cancer patients.
Note: For a great nine-minute video presenting major media reports showing how marijuana is a very promising cancer treatment that is being suppressed, click here. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on health issues, click here.
A recently-published Harvard University meta-analysis funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has concluded that children who live in areas with highly fluoridated water have "significantly lower" IQ scores than those who live in low fluoride areas. In a 32-page report that can be downloaded free of charge from Environmental Health Perspectives, the researchers said: "A recent report from the U.S. National Research Council ... concluded that adverse effects of high fluoride concentrations in drinking water may be of concern and that additional research is warranted. Fluoride may cause neurotoxicity in laboratory animals, including effects on learning and memory. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies on increased fluoride exposure in drinking water and neurodevelopmental delays. Findings from our meta-analyses of 27 studies published over 22 years suggest an inverse association between high fluoride exposure and children's intelligence. The results suggest that fluoride may be a developmental neurotoxicant that affects brain development at exposures much below those that can cause toxicity in adults. Our results support the possibility of adverse effects of fluoride exposures on children's neurodevelopment. There are so many scientific studies showing the direct, toxic effects of fluoride on your body, it's truly remarkable that it's not considered a scientific consensus by now. Despite the evidence against it, fluoride is still added to 70 percent of U.S. public drinking water supplies.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on health issues, click here.
Do consumers really need to be concerned about eating meat they buy at the grocery stores? A new report released today by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) says, yes. The group analyzed 2011 data recently released by the U.S. government and found 81 percent of ground turkey and 55 percent of ground beef sold in supermarkets carried antibiotic-resistant strands of salmonella and Campylobacter. Together these bacteria cause 3.6 million cases of food poisoning a year. More than half of all chicken sampled carried antibiotic-resistant E. coli. Almost 90 percent of all store-bought meat also had signs of normal and resistant Enterococcus faecium – a bacteria that indicates the product came in contact with fecal matter at some point during or after processing. Even if the idea of a little diarrhea or a urinary tract infection does not faze you (both of which can be caused by E. coli), the problem is that as strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria become more commonplace in our lives, the less we are able to use the drugs to treat common human diseases. Many involved in the livestock industry like the American Meat Institute, the International Egg Commission, and the Animal Health Institute (whose membership includes Bayer, Merck, and Mars) reject these concerns. They also hold enormous power over legislators and committee members. In other words, if we continue to buy these meats, it is likely industry will continue to use antibiotics to raise animals. But by doing so, we will put our own health, and the health of the global population, at risk.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on important health issues, click here.
Silver [tooth] fillings, commonly called dental amalgam, contribute mercury pollution to the environment. Recent developments suggest momentum is building against silver fillings based on environmental concerns: Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Japan and Finland have either banned dental amalgam or restricted its use within the last five years. Twelve states have mandatory dental amalgam reduction programs. About half the mercury entering municipal wastewater treatment plants, or about 3.7 tons annually, comes from dental amalgam waste. While treatment plants capture about 90 percent of amalgam, some mercury settles into sewage sludge that is deposited in landfills, incinerated, applied as fertilizer or flushed into waterways. Once in water, it can transform into methylmercury, a neurotoxin that builds up in fish, shellfish and animals that eat fish, including humans. Several studies have linked methylmercury to health and developmental problems, especially in pregnant women, fetuses, infants and children. High exposure to methylmercury has been linked to permanent damage in children's brains and nervous systems and to increased risk of kidney problems in adults. Research shows that the human body absorbs mercury vapor released from dental amalgam. Numerous studies raise concerns about mercury exposure from amalgam. In toxic doses, elemental mercury breathed in as vapor can cause symptoms including tremors, mood swings, neuromuscular changes and cognitive deficits.
Note: For a great report by Dr. Mercola and Dr. Oz on the risks of mercury-based dental amalgam, click here.
Pat Guillet is a food addict. She has finally wrestled her addiction under control and now she counsels other food addicts to avoid processed food. "Yeah, just the sight of the packages will trigger cravings," she said. Craving. It doesn't just happen to food addicts. "These companies rely on deep science and pure science to understand how we're attracted to food and how they can make their foods attractive to us," Michael Moss said. The New York Times investigative reporter spent four years prying open the secrets of the food industry’s scientists. "This was like a detective story for me, getting inside the companies with thousands of pages of inside documents and getting their scientists and executives to reveal to me the secrets of how they go at this," he said. What he found became the title of his new book, Salt, Sugar Fat: How the food giants hooked us. "I spent time with the top scientists at the largest companies in this country and it's amazing how much math and science and regression analysis and energy they put into finding the very perfect amount of salt, sugar and fat in their products that will send ... their products flying off the shelves and have us buy more, eat more and …make more money for them."
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on corporate corruption, click here.
When Cristin Couzens went on the hunt for evidence that Big Sugar had manipulated public opinion, she had no idea what she was doing. She was a dentist, not an investigative reporter. But she couldn't let go of the nagging suspicion that something was amiss. Her obsession started in an unlikely place, at a dental conference in Seattle in 2007 about diabetes and gum disease. When one speaker listed foods to avoid, there was no mention of sugar. "I thought this was very strange," Couzens said. She quit her job, exhausted her savings and spent 15 months scouring library archives. Then one day she found what she was looking for, in a cardboard box at the Colorado State University archives. What Couzens found was something food industry critics have been seeking for years — documents suggesting that the sugar industry used Big Tobacco tactics to deflect growing concern over the health effects of sugar. "So I had lists of their board reports, their financial statements, I had names of their scientific consultants, I had a list of research projects they funded, and I had these memos where they were describing how their PR men should handle conflict of interest questions from the press," she said. As Couzens sorted through the documents, the full extent of that campaign to forge public opinion emerged. The documents describe industry lobby efforts to sponsor scientific research, silence media reports critical of sugar, and block dietary guidelines to limit sugar consumption.
Note: Cristin Couzens publicized secret sugar industry documents in a magazine article titled "Big Sugar's Sweet Little Lies." For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on corporate corruption, click here.
A new study from researchers at the University of Ottawa shows honey to be effective in killing bacteria that cause chronic sinusitis [which] affects millions of people every year. In chronic sinusitis, the mucous membranes in the sinus cavities become inflamed, causing headaches, stuffy nose, and difficulty breathing. Though it can be caused by allergies, chronic sinusitis can also be caused by bacteria that colonize in the nose and sinuses. That's where honey may help. Researchers, led by Tala Alandejani, MD, at the University of Ottawa, tested two honeys, manuka and sidr. [They] singled out three particularly nasty bacteria: two strains of staph bacteria ... and one called Pseudomonas aeriginosa. The two types of honey were effective in killing the bacteria. Even bacteria growing in a biofilm, a thin, slimy layer formed by bacteria that affords resistance to antibiotics, were susceptible to honey. The researchers also found that the two types of honey worked significantly better than an antibiotic against [the staph bacterias]. Scientists hope the results can help lead to a new treatment for people with chronic sinusitis.
Note: One note of caution: Infants one year or younger should never be given honey because it could become toxic in their underformed intestinal tract, causing illness or even death.
The Texas Medical Center [is] a nearly 1,300-acre, 280-building complex of hospitals and related medical facilities, of which MD Anderson is the lead brand name. Medicine had obviously become a huge business. In fact, of Houston’s top 10 employers, five are hospitals, including MD Anderson with 19,000 employees. How did that happen? Where’s all that money coming from? And where is it going? I have spent the past seven months trying to find out by analyzing a variety of bills from hospitals like MD Anderson, doctors, drug companies and every other player in the American health care ecosystem. When you look behind the bills that ... patients receive, you see nothing rational — no rhyme or reason — about the costs they faced in a marketplace they enter through no choice of their own. The only constant is the sticker shock for the patients who are asked to pay. Yet those who work in the health care industry and those who argue over health care policy seem inured to the shock. Why exactly are the bills so high? What are the reasons ... that cancer means a half-million- or million-dollar tab? Why should a trip to the emergency room for chest pains that turn out to be indigestion bring a bill that can exceed the cost of a semester of college? What makes a single dose of even the most wonderful wonder drug cost thousands of dollars? Why does simple lab work done during a few days in a hospital cost more than a car? And what is so different about the medical ecosystem that causes technology advances to drive bills up instead of down?
Note: For the amazing answers to all these questions, read this detailed investigative report in its entirety at the link above. For more on corruption in the medical industry, click here.
One of the world’s top physicians, Dr. Eric Topol, has a prescription that could improve your family’s health and make medical care cheaper – the smartphone. Topol has long been one of the world’s foremost cardiologists. He has now become the foremost expert in the exploding field of wireless medicine, and this explosion, he says, is about to make our health care better and cheaper. He shows how simply his modified iphone produces a cardiogram for a patient. The device was approved by the FDA in December and is now sold to physicians for $199. Topol tells his patient he just saved a $100 technician’s fee. [Topol:] These days i’m actually prescribing a lot more apps than I am medications. You can take the phone and make it a lab on a chip -- you can do blood tests, saliva tests, urine tests, all kinds of things. Actually I think it helps make the whole interaction much more intimate, because now I’m sharing the results in realtime. There’s so much technology now that we could — by using digital [infra]structure that exists today -- make the office visit an enjoyable thing. [Topol] had a reputation for brashness. He questioned the safety of the hugely profitable pain killer Vioxx and eventually forced it off the market.
Note: To see the full text of this inspiring video, click here.
Per Segerbäck ... keeps limited human company, because human technology makes him physically ill. How ill? On a walk last summer, he ran into one of his few neighbors, a man who lives in a cottage about 100 yards away. During their chat, the man's cellphone rang, and Segerbäck, 54, was overcome by nausea. Within seconds, he was unconscious. Segerbäck suffers from electro-hypersensitivity (EHS), which means he has severe physical reactions to the electromagnetic radiation produced by common consumer technologies, such as computers, televisions and cellphones. Symptoms range from burning or tingling sensations on the skin to dizziness, nausea, headaches, sleep disturbance and memory loss. In extreme cases like Segerbäck's, breathing problems, heart palpitations and loss of consciousness can result. A cellphone has to be in use -- either making or receiving a call, or searching for a signal, when radiation levels are highest -- for it to have this kind of effect on Segerbäck. Sweden is the only country in the world to recognize EHS as a functional impairment, and Segerbäck's experience has been important in creating policy to address the condition. Swedish EHS sufferers -- about 3 percent of the population, or some 250,000 people, according to government statistics -- are entitled to similar rights and social services as those given to people who are blind or deaf. Today, local governments will pay to have the home of someone diagnosed with EHS electronically "sanitized," if necessary, through the installation of metal shielding.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on health issues, click here.
Drug overdose deaths rose for the 11th straight year, federal data show, and most of them were accidents involving addictive painkillers despite growing attention to risks from these medicines. "The big picture is that this is a big problem that has gotten much worse quickly," said Dr. Thomas Frieden, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which gathered and analyzed the data. In 2010, the CDC reported, there were 38,329 drug overdose deaths nationwide. Medicines, mostly prescription drugs, were involved in nearly 60 percent of overdose deaths that year, overshadowing deaths from illicit narcotics. The report [in the] Journal of the American Medical Association ... details which drugs were at play in most of the fatalities. As in previous recent years, opioid drugs — which include OxyContin and Vicodin — were the biggest problem, contributing to 3 out of 4 medication overdose deaths. Medication-related deaths accounted for 22,134 of the drug overdose deaths in 2010. Anti-anxiety drugs including Valium were among common causes of medication-related deaths, involved in almost 30 percent of them. Among the medication-related deaths, 17 percent were suicides. The report's data came from death certificates, which aren't always clear on whether a death was a suicide or a tragic attempt at getting high. Frieden said the data show a need for more prescription drug monitoring programs at the state level, and more laws shutting down "pill mills" — doctor offices and pharmacies that over-prescribe addictive medicines.
Note: Over 38,000 drug deaths are more than the 32,000 automobile deaths in the US. This means that the risk of dying from drugs is now greater than the risk of car accidents. For lots more reliable information showing how the medical industry can actually be dangerous to your health, click here.
The American Cancer Society advises all women over 40 to get a mammogram once a year to screen for signs of breast cancer. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a panel of experts that advises the federal government on health matters, says most women need to get mammograms only once every two years, and only when they’re between the ages of 50 and 74. Who’s right? A new study comes down on the side of the task force. Researchers examined records of about 140,000 women ages 66 to 89 who had mammograms between 1999 and 2006. Some of the women had mammograms every year, and some of them had them every other year. It turned out that having annual mammograms did not reduce women’s risk of being diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer, as might have been expected. When all the numbers were crunched, “the proportion [of women] with adverse tumor characteristics was similar among annual and biennial screeners,” the researchers wrote in a study published [in] the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. But they did find harm. The more times that women were screened, the greater their odds of getting a false positive reading on a mammogram. For example, among women between the ages of 66 and 74 who already had health problems, 48% of those who had annual mammograms had at least one false-positive reading during a 10-year period. But among those who were screened every other year, only 29% had a false-positive result.
“Mr. Wright” was dying from cancer of the lymph nodes ... and his doctors had exhausted all available treatments. Nevertheless, Mr. Wright was confident that a new anticancer drug called Krebiozen would cure him. [He] was bedridden and fighting for each breath when he received his first injection. But three days later [his] tumors had shrunk by half, and after 10 more days of treatment he was discharged from the hospital. Over the next two months, however, Mr. Wright became troubled by press reports questioning the efficacy of Krebiozen and suffered a relapse. His doctors decided to lie to him: an improved, doubly effective version of the drug was due to arrive the next day, they told him. Mr. Wright was ecstatic. The doctors then gave him an injection that contained not one molecule of the drug—and he improved even more than he had the last time. Soon he walked out of the hospital symptom-free. He remained healthy until two months later, when, after reading reports that exposed Krebiozen as worthless, he died within days. As Mr. Wright’s experience illustrates, a patient’s expectations and beliefs can greatly affect the course of an illness. When psychological factors tied to an inactive substance such as Krebiozen lead to recovery, doctors call the improvement a placebo effect. In recent decades reports have confirmed the efficacy of [these] treatments in nearly all areas of medicine. Placebos can help not only to alleviate illnesses with an obvious psychological component, such as pain, depression and anxiety, but also to lessen the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and inflammatory disorders. Occasionally, as in Mr. Wright’s case, placebos have shrunk tumors.
Note: To view this article in full, click here. With such dramatic results, why isn't more money being poured into research on the power of the mind and our beliefs to affect our health?
Jaime Rosenthal, a senior at Washington University in St. Louis, called more than 100 hospitals in every state last summer, seeking prices for a hip replacement for a 62-year-old grandmother who was uninsured but had the means to pay herself. Only about half of the hospitals, including top-ranked orthopedic centers and community hospitals, could provide any sort of price estimate, despite repeated calls. Those that could gave quotes that varied by a factor of more than 10, from $11,100 to $125,798. Rosenthal's grandmother was fictitious, created for a summer research project on health care costs. But the findings, which form the basis of a paper released Monday by JAMA Internal Medicine, [highlight] the unsustainable growth of U.S. health care costs and an opaque medical system in which prices are often hidden from consumers. Although many experts have said that Americans must become more discerning consumers to help rein in health care costs, the study illustrates how hard that can be. Researchers emphasized that studies have found little consistent correlation between higher prices and better quality in U.S. health care. Cram said there was no data that "Mercedes" hip implants were better than cheaper options, for example. Jamie Court, the president of Consumer Watchdog in Santa Monica, said: "If one hospital can put in a hip for $12,000, then every hospital should be able to do it." With such immense variation in prices, he said, "There is no real price. It's about profit."
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on corruption in the health care industry, click here.
While no phase-out date was set, just-completed negotiations by the Intergovernmental Negotiation Committee ... have resulted in many important provisions to reduce and eliminate mercury release and exposure, including binding requirements for countries to phase down dental amalgam. "This is the beginning of the end of dental amalgam globally," said Michael T. Bender, director of the Mercury Policy Project, a US-based NGO, and co-coordinator of the Zero Mercury Working Group. "We applaud the leadership role the US played in jump-starting support for a phase-down ... along with the concrete steps of the Nordic countries, Switzerland and Japan took in phasing out dental amalgam." "Countries that have phased out amalgam recognize that mercury-free dental fillings are readily available, affordable and effective," said Charles G. Brown, [of the] World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry, a global coalition of NGOs, dentists and consumers from over 25 countries. "This pushes the reset button on dentistry. Now the rest of the world can benefit from the experience of those countries."
Emelie Olsson is plagued by hallucinations and nightmares. When she wakes up, she's often paralyzed, unable to breathe properly or call for help. During the day she can barely stay awake, and often misses school or having fun with friends. She is only 14, but at times she has wondered if her life is worth living. Emelie is one of around 800 children in Sweden and elsewhere in Europe who developed narcolepsy, an incurable sleep disorder, after being immunized with the Pandemrix H1N1 swine flu vaccine made by British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline in 2009. Their fate, coping with an illness that all but destroys normal life, is developing into what the health official who coordinated Sweden's vaccination campaign calls a "medical tragedy" that will demand rising scientific and medical attention. Europe's drugs regulator has ruled Pandemrix should no longer be used in people aged under 20. "There's no doubt in my mind whatsoever that Pandemrix increased the occurrence of narcolepsy onset in children in some countries - and probably in most countries," says [Emmanuel] Mignot, a specialist in the sleep disorder at Stanford University in the United States. In total, the GSK shot was given to more than 30 million people in 47 countries during the 2009-2010 H1N1 swine flu pandemic. Because it contains an adjuvant, or booster, it was not used in the United States because drug regulators there are wary of adjuvanted vaccines.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the major risks of flu shots, click here. If you are thinking of getting a flu vaccine, it is most highly recommended to educate yourself on risk vs. benefits. See this link for more. To see Piers Morgan receive a flu shot on the Dr. Oz show and then come down with a flu less than 10 days later after having been guaranteed that wouldn't happen, click here.
Despite spending more per person on health care than any other country, Americans are getting sicker and dying younger than our international peers -- a problem persisting across all ages and both genders. [The National Research Council and Institute Of Medicine] panel released its report, titled "U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health," on [January 9]. "Our panel was unprepared for the gravity of the finding we uncovered," chair Steven Woolf wrote in the report's preface. Data from 2007 show Americans' life expectancy is 3.7 years shorter for men and 5.2 years shorter for women than in the leading nations -- Switzerland for men and Japan for women. As of 2011, 27 countries had higher life expectancies at birth than the United States. "The tragedy is not that the United States is losing a contest with other countries," the report states, "but that Americans are dying and suffering from illness and injury at rates that are demonstrably unnecessary." The report outlines nine health areas where the United States lags behind other rich nations, including infant mortality, homicides, teen pregnancy, drug-related deaths, obesity and disabilities. And our children are less likely than children in peer countries to reach their fifth birthday. "Many of these conditions have a particularly profound effect on young people, reducing the odds that Americans will live to age 50," the report states.
Note: For a much deeper analysis of the reasons behind this, see Dr. Mercola's insightful comments at this link.
Cambridge University scientists say they have seen four-stranded DNA at work in human cells for the first time. The famous "molecule of life", which carries our genetic code, is more familiar to us as a double helix. But researchers tell the journal Nature Chemistry that the "quadruple helix" is also present in our cells, and in ways that might possibly relate to cancer. They suggest that control of the structures could provide novel ways to fight the disease. "The existence of these structures may be loaded when the cell has a certain genotype or a certain dysfunctional state," said Prof Shankar Balasubramanian from Cambridge's department of chemistry. Balasubramanian's group has been pursuing a four-stranded version of the molecule that scientists have produced in the test tube now for a number of years. The new research is said to be the first to firmly pinpoint the quadruple helix in human cells.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on promising new cancer treatments, any of which have been suppressed, click here.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.