Health News Stories
Excerpts of Key Health News Stories in Major Media
Below are many highly revealing excerpts of important health news stories reported in the major media that suggest a major cover-up.
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. These health news stories are listed by date posted to this webpage. For the same list by order of importance, click here
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This comprehensive list of health news stories is usually updated once a week
. For an index to revealing excerpts of news stories on several dozen engaging topics, click here
Mistakes in Scientific Studies Surge
2011-08-10, Wall Street Journal
Posted: 2011-10-18 17:12:26
It was the kind of study that made doctors around the world sit up and take notice: Two popular high-blood-pressure drugs were found to be much better in combination than either alone. Unfortunately, it wasn't true. Six and a half years later, the prestigious medical journal the Lancet retracted the paper, citing "serious concerns" about the findings. The damage was done. Doctors by then had given the drug combination to well over 100,000 patients. Instead of protecting them from kidney problems, as the study said the drug combo could do, it left them more vulnerable to potentially life-threatening side effects, later studies showed. Today, "tens of thousands" of patients are still on the dual therapy, according to research firm SDI. When a study is retracted, "it can be hard to make its effects go away," says Sheldon Tobe, a kidney-disease specialist at the University of Toronto. And that's more important today than ever because retractions of scientific studies are surging. Since 2001, while the number of papers published in research journals has risen 44%, the number retracted has leapt more than 15-fold, data compiled for The Wall Street Journal by Thomson Reuters reveal. Just 22 retraction notices appeared in 2001, but 139 in 2006 and 339 last year
Note: To learn lots more of how the medical industry puts profit above public health, click here.
'Magic Mushrooms' Can Improve Psychological Health Long Term
2011-06-16, Time Magazine
Posted: 2011-10-18 17:08:00
The psychedelic drug in magic mushrooms may have lasting medical and spiritual benefits, according to new research from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. The mushroom-derived hallucinogen, called psilocybin, is known to trigger transformative spiritual states, but at high doses it can also result in "bad trips" marked by terror and panic. "The important point here is that we found the sweet spot where we can optimize the positive persistent effects and avoid some of the fear and anxiety that can occur and can be quite disruptive," says lead author Roland Griffiths, professor of behavioral biology at Hopkins. Giffiths' study involved 18 healthy adults, average age 46. Nearly all the volunteers were college graduates and 78% participated regularly in religious activities; all were interested in spiritual experience. Fourteen months after participating in the study, 94% of those who received the drug said the experiment was one of the top five most meaningful experiences of their lives; 39% said it was the single most meaningful experience. The participants themselves were not the only ones who saw the benefit from the insights they gained: their friends, family member and colleagues also reported that the psilocybin experience had made the participants calmer, happier and kinder.
'Wi-fi refugees' shelter in West Virginia mountains
2011-09-12, BBC News
Posted: 2011-09-27 11:02:15
[Diane] Schou is one of an estimated 5% of Americans who believe they suffer from Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS), which they say is caused by exposure to electromagnetic fields typically created by mobile phones, wi-fi and other electronic equipment. Symptoms range from acute headaches, skin burning, muscle twitching and chronic pain. Diane believes her illness was triggered by emissions from a mobile phone mast. New research by scientists at Louisiana State University and published by the International Journal of Neuroscience, claims to show that EHS can be caused by low frequency electromagnetic fields found in the environment. "The study provides direct evidence that linking human symptoms with environmental factors, in this case EMF," says Dr Andrew Marino, a neurology professor who led the study. "It's a watershed in that regard. There have been no previous studies that scientifically assess whether electromagnetic fields in the environment could produce human symptoms. And the symptoms matter because they are the first steps that show how EMFs produce human disease."
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on important health issues, click here.
A pill to make you smarter? Drug grows brain cells
2010-07-08, Reuters News
Posted: 2011-09-27 10:40:44
Researchers have found a drug that can help the brain grow new cells and said their study may lead to ways to improve experimental Alzheimer's drugs. The researchers' work, done on rodents, builds on findings that all mammals, including humans, make brain cells throughout their lives. Most of these die, but this drug helps more of the baby cells survive and grow to become functioning brain cells. "We make new neurons every day in our brain," Andrew Pieper of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas who worked on the study, said in a telephone interview. "What our compound does is allow more of them to survive." The compound is called P7C3 for now, and the researchers have already started tweaking it to make it more effective. They said it seems safe and appears to work even when taken as a pill. The compound is similar to Medivation Inc and Pfizer Inc's experimental Alzheimer's drug, Dimebon, and may provide ways to improve its effects, Pieper and colleagues reported in the journal Cell. Alzheimer's gradually destroys the brain and affects 26 million people globally. Drugs, such as Pfizer's Aricept, improve symptoms only minimally.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on important health issues, click here.
Cuba Announces Release of the World's First Lung Cancer Vaccine
2011-09-08, Popular Science Magazine
Posted: 2011-09-20 10:17:10
From the island nation known for the quality of its cigars comes some pretty big news today: Cuban medical authorities have released the first therapeutic vaccine for lung cancer. CimaVax-EGF is the result of a 25-year research project at Havana’s Center for Molecular Immunology, and it could make a life or death difference for those facing late-stage lung cancers. CimaVax-EGF isn’t a vaccine in the preventative sense--that is, it doesn’t prevent lung cancer from taking hold in new patients. It’s based on a protein related to uncontrolled cell proliferation--that is, it doesn’t prevent cancer from existing in the first place but attacks the mechanism by which it does harm. As such it can turn aggressive later-stage lung cancer into a manageable chronic disease by creating antibodies that do battle with the proteins that cause uncontrolled cell proliferation, researchers say. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are still recommended as a primary means of destroying cancerous tissue, but for those showing no improvement the new vaccine could be a literal lifesaver. The vaccine has already been tested in 1,000 patients in Cuba and is being distributed at hospitals there free of charge. That’s a big deal for a country where smoking is part of the national culture and a leading cause of death. If it proves as successful as researchers say it is, it should give those suffering from lung cancer reason to celebrate--just not with a Cohiba.
Note: For lots more on important health issues from reliable sources, click here.
Rick Perry battles charges of 'crony capitalism'
2011-09-15, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2011-09-20 10:05:16
The political tempest created by Rick Perry's response to questions about his 2007 executive order requiring immunization of young girls is the wrong debate at the wrong time for the Texas governor's front-running presidential campaign. The heated political exchange over Perry's program to vaccinate all Texas school girls to protect them from cervical cancer caused by a sexually transmitted disease opens the door for critics to declare it an example of intrusive, big government to require such immunization, particularly for a sexually transmitted virus, even if, as Perry says, there was an opt-out provision for parents. The fact that Perry tried to implement the policy with an executive order, rather than proposing legislation mandating the vaccinations, spooks libertarians who don't want to see another president implementing policy through executive orders, as George W. Bush and Barack Obama have done on a wide range of social and security issues. The issue also highlights what [has been] dubbed "crony capitalism" - how big contributors and longtime friends of the Texas governor have been named to key state positions and won important policy victories in Rick Perry's Texas. Perry's former chief of staff, Mike Toomey, was a lobbyist for Merck, the manufacturer of the drug Gardasil, the vaccine that Perry sought to require for girls.
Note: Another media article points out that Perry grossly underestimated the amount of political contributions he received from Merck, the manufacturer of the drug Gardasil, the vaccine that Perry required for young girls.
Want to Live Longer? Turn Off Your TV
2011-08-17, Time Magazine
Posted: 2011-09-20 09:58:30
Sitting in front of the television may be a relaxing way to pass an evening, but spending too much time in front of the tube may take years off your life. That's what Australian researchers found when they generated life-expectancy tables for people based on mortality information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics as well as participants' survey responses about how much TV they had watched in the past week. The TV-viewing data from more than 11,000 participants older than 25 years showed that Australian adults watched an estimated 9.8 billion hours of television in 2008. People who watched an average six hours of TV a day lived an average 4.8 years fewer than those who didn't watch any television, the study found. Even more humbling: every hour of TV that participants watched after age 25 was associated with a 22-minute reduction in their life expectancy. The findings suggest that watching too much TV is as detrimental to longevity as smoking and lack of exercise.
Note: How about the health impacts of hours daily online or working at a computer screen? Might they be similar to the health effects of watching TV? For lots more on important health issues from reliable sources, click here.
5 ways your TV is slowly killing you
Posted: 2011-09-20 09:55:58
You’ve accepted the idea that TV makes you dumber. And unless you’re working out to an exercise video, you know those hours sprawled out in front of the screen are going to make you fatter — not to mention the impact of all that junk food you’ve been tempted to scarf down during the commercial breaks. But you’ll be surprised to learn the host of other bad things TV can do to you. 1. TV makes you deader. TV-viewing is a pretty deadly pastime, research suggests. No matter how much time you spend in the gym, every hour you spend in front of the TV increases your risk of dying from heart disease, according to a recent report in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. 2. TV may make you drink more. When it comes to drinking, we’re apparently very susceptible to what we see on TV, according to a report published in Alcohol and Alcoholism. 3. TV can make your kid pregnant. Teens who watched a lot of TV that included sexual content were twice as likely to get pregnant, according to a study published in Pediatrics. 4. TV weakens your bones. Hours spent watching TV can set a kid up for later problems with brittle bones, according to a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics. 5. TV makes you less engaging. A recent study found that when the TV is on — even if it’s just in the background — parents interact less with their kids. To learn more about TV’s effects, researchers brought 51 infants and toddlers, each accompanied by a parent, to a university child study center, according to the report published in Child Development.
Note: For lots more on important health issues from reliable sources, click here.
'Anti-cancer virus' shows promise
2011-08-31, BBC News
Posted: 2011-09-13 09:25:50
An engineered virus, injected into the blood, can selectively target cancer cells throughout the body in what researchers have labelled a medical first. The virus attacked only tumours, leaving the healthy tissue alone, in a small trial on 23 patients, according to the journal Nature. Researchers said the findings could one day "truly transform" therapies. Cancer specialists said using viruses showed "real promise". Using viruses to attack cancers is not a new concept, but they have needed to be injected directly into tumours in order to evade the immune system. The virus, named JX-594 ... was injected at different doses into the blood of 23 patients with cancers which had spread to multiple organs in the body. Prof John Bell, lead researcher and from the University of Ottawa, said: "We are very excited because this is the first time in medical history that a viral therapy has been shown to consistently and selectively replicate in cancer tissue after intravenous infusion in humans. Intravenous delivery is crucial for cancer treatment because it allows us to target tumours throughout the body as opposed to just those that we can directly inject."
Note: With millions of people dying of cancer every year, why isn't this being fast tracked like the AIDS drugs were? For exciting information from reliable sources on promising new cancer cure possibilities, click here.
45,000 American deaths associated with lack of insurance
Posted: 2011-09-13 09:20:39
A freelance cameraman's appendix ruptured and by the time he was admitted to surgery, it was too late. A self-employed mother of two is found dead in bed from undiagnosed heart disease. A 26-year-old aspiring fashion designer collapsed in her bathroom after feeling unusually fatigued for days. What all three of these people have in common is that they experienced symptoms, but didn't seek care because they were uninsured and they worried about the hospital expense, according to their families. All three died. Research released ... in the American Journal of Public Health estimates that 45,000 deaths per year in the United States are associated with the lack of health insurance. If a person is uninsured, "it means you're at mortal risk," said one of the authors, Dr. David Himmelstein, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. The researchers examined government health surveys from more than 9,000 people aged 17 to 64, taken from 1986-1994, and then followed up through 2000. They determined that the uninsured have a 40 percent higher risk of death than those with private health insurance as a result of being unable to obtain necessary medical care. The researchers then extrapolated the results to census data from 2005 and calculated there were 44,789 deaths associated with lack of health insurance.
Note: For key reports on important health issues from reliable sources, click here.
The danger of drugs … and data
2009-05-09, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2011-09-13 09:19:02
A fascinating court case in Australia has been playing out around some people who had heart attacks after taking the Merck drug, Vioxx. This medication turned out to increase the risk of heart attacks in people taking it, although that finding was arguably buried in their research, and Merck has paid out more than £2bn to 44,000 people in America. The first ... thing to emerge in the Australian case is email documentation showing staff at Merck made a "hit list" of doctors who were critical of the company, or of the drug. This list contained words such as "neutralise", "neutralised" and "discredit" next to the names of various doctors. "We may need to seek them out and destroy them where they live," said one email, from a Merck employee. Staff are also alleged to have used other tactics, such as trying to interfere with academic appointments, and dropping hints about how funding to institutions might dry up. Worse still, is the revelation that Merck paid the publisher Elsevier to produce a publication. This time Elsevier Australia went the whole hog, giving Merck an entire publication which resembled an academic journal, although in fact it only contained reprinted articles, or summaries, of other articles.
Note: For a superb overview of corruption in the pharmaceutical industry by a leading MD and former medical journal editor, click here.
2006-09-12, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2011-09-13 09:11:29
We have always been told there is no recovery from persistent vegetative state - doctors can only make a sufferer's last days as painless as possible. But is that really the truth? Across three continents, severely brain-damaged patients are awake and talking after taking ... a sleeping pill. Brain-damaged patients are reporting remarkable improvements after taking a pill that should make them fall asleep but that, instead, appears to be waking up cells in their brains that were thought to have been dead. No one yet knows exactly how a sleeping pill could wake up the seemingly dead brain cells, but [researchers] have a hypothesis. After the brain has suffered severe trauma, a chemical known as Gaba (gamma amino butyric acid) closes down brain functions in order to conserve energy and help cells survive. However, in such a long-term dormant state, the receptors in the brain cells that respond to Gaba become hypersensitive, and as Gaba is a depressant, it causes a persistent vegetative state. It is thought that during this process the receptors are in some way changed or deformed so that they respond to zolpidem differently from normal receptors, thus breaking the hold of Gaba. This could mean that instead of sending patients to sleep as usual, it makes dormant areas of the brain function again and some comatose patients wake up.
Note: For lots more on key health issues from reliable sources, click here.
Public 'misled' by drug trial claims
2010-10-13, BBC News
Posted: 2011-08-30 10:55:36
Doctors and patients are being misled about the effectiveness of some drugs because negative trial results are not published, experts have warned. Writing in the British Medical Journal, they say that pharmaceutical companies should be forced to publish all data, not just positive findings. The German team give the example of the antidepressant reboxetine, saying publications have failed to show the drug in a true light. Reboxetine (Edronax), made by Pfizer, is used in many European countries, including the UK. But its rejection by US drug regulators raised doubts about its effectiveness, and led some to hunt for missing data. This is not the first time a large drug company has come under fire about its published drug trial data. Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) was criticised for failing to raise the alarm on the risk of suicidal behaviour associated with its antidepressant Seroxat. GSK has also been forced to defend itself over allegations about hiding negative data regarding another of its drugs, Avandia, which is used to treat diabetes. "Our findings underline the urgent need for mandatory publication of trial data," [the researchers] say in the BMJ. They warn that the lack of all information means policy makers are unable to make informed decisions.
In the US, it is already a requirement that all data - both positive and negative - is published.
Note: For a powerful summary of government/corporate corruption in the pharmaceutical industry by a respected former editor of a major medical journal, click here.
Growing Body Parts
2010-07-26, CBS News 60 Minutes
Posted: 2011-08-30 10:53:50
We may be on the path to a new technology in which quite literally, we will be growing new body parts. It's called "regenerative medicine," where cells in the human body are manipulated into regrowing tissue. Researchers have so far created beating hearts, ears and bladders. Biotech companies and the Pentagon have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in research that could profoundly change millions of lives. Dr. Anthony Atala runs the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in North Carolina. You name the body part, chances are Dr. Atala is trying to grow one. "The possibilities really are endless," he said. Atala says every organ in our body contains special stem cells that are unique to each body part. The key to regeneration, he says, is to isolate and then multiply those cells until there are enough to cover a mold of that particular body part. In Pittsburgh, researchers are taking a different approach: at the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine they are trying to trick the body into actually repairing and regenerating itself. Dr. Steven Badylak, the institute's deputy director, [is] convinced that the key to regeneration is finding the switch in our bodies that tells our cells to grow when we are still in the womb. Badylak said. "If we could make the body or at least the part of the body that's missing or injured think that it's an early fetus again. That's game set and match."
Note: Robert Becker did amazing, pioneering research in this field over 25 years ago, yet was shunned by conservative academia. For his landmark book The Body Electric, click here.
Anger at deadly Nigerian drug trials
2007-06-29, BBC News
Posted: 2011-08-30 10:52:05
In school, Anas Mohammadu's mates call him "horror" and make fun of him. But Anas is lucky to be alive. Other children who were used in the controversial 1996 drug trial by US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer died. Anas, then only three years old, was the first child to be given the experimental antibiotic Trovan at the Infectious Diseases Hospital, Kano, during the drug trial. Pfizer tested the then unregistered drug in Nigeria's north-western Kano State during an outbreak of meningitis which had affected thousands of children. Officials in Kano say more than 50 children died in the experiment, while many others developed mental and physical deformities. But Pfizer says only 11 of the 200 children used in the drug trial died. Following pressure from rights groups and families affected by the trial, the Nigerian government set up an expert medical panel to review the drug trial. The experiment was "an illegal trial of an unregistered drug", the Nigerian panel concluded, and a "clear case of exploitation of the ignorant". After more than a decade of silence, the Nigerian government has decided to sue Pfizer, seeking $7bn (£3.5bn) in damages for the families of children who allegedly died or suffered side-effects in the experiment. Kano State government has also filed separate charges against Pfizer.
Note: Pfizer settled the case out of court, as reported by BBC at this link.
New leukemia treatment exceeds 'wildest expectations'
Posted: 2011-08-16 10:52:10
Doctors have treated only three leukemia patients, but the sensational results from a single shot could be one of the most significant advances in cancer research in decades. Doctors at the University of Pennsylvania say the treatment made the most common type of leukemia completely disappear in two of the patients and reduced it by 70 percent in the third. In each of the patients as much as five pounds of cancerous tissue completely melted away in a few weeks, and a year later it is still gone. The results of the preliminary test “exceeded our wildest expectations,” says immunologist Dr. Carl June a member of the Abramson Cancer Center's research team. Chemotherapy and radiation can hold this form of leukemia at bay for years, but until now the only cure has been a bone marrow transplant. A bone marrow transplant requires a suitable match, works only about half the time, and often brings on severe, life-threatening side effects such as pain and infection. So why has this remarkable treatment been tried so far on only three patients? Both the National Cancer Institute and several pharmaceutical companies declined to pay for the research. Neither applicants nor funders discuss the reasons an application is turned down.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on hopeful new cancer treatments, click here.
NC Forced Sterilization Victims Voice Grief, Pain
2011-06-22, ABC News/Associated Press
Posted: 2011-08-10 09:46:51
There is nothing the state of North Carolina can do, Elaine Riddick says, to make up for forcing her to be sterilized when she was 14 years old. "They cut me open like I was a hog," [she said]. About 7,600 people were sterilized under North Carolina's eugenics program. Roughly 85 percent of the victims were women or girls. Unlike most states, North Carolina ramped up its sterilizations after World War II, despite associations between eugenics and Nazi Germany, which took eugenics to even more horrifying lengths. Around 70 percent of all North Carolina's sterilizations were performed after the war, peaking in the 1950s, according to state records. Nationwide, there were more than 60,000 known victims of sterilization programs, with perhaps another 40,000 sterilized through "unofficial" channels like hospitals or local health departments working on their own initiative. Eugenics was aimed at creating a better society by filtering out people considered undesirable, ranging from criminals to those imprecisely designated as "feeble-minded." People as young as 10 in North Carolina were sterilized for not getting along with schoolmates, being promiscuous or running afoul of local social workers or doctors. "Where did all this come from? This came from doctors, medical practitioners, professors, not guys in pickup trucks wearing white sheets," said Edwin Black, author of the eugenics history War Against the Weak.
Ghostwritten medical articles called fraud
2011-08-02, CBC News
Posted: 2011-08-10 09:45:00
It's fraudulent for academics to give their names to medical articles ghostwritten by pharmaceutical industry writers, say two Canadian law professors who call for potential legal sanctions. Studies suggest that industry-driven drug trials and industry-sponsored publications are more likely to downplay a drug's harms and exaggerate a drug's virtues, said Trudo Lemmens, a law professor at the University of Toronto. The integrity of medical research is also harmed by ghostwritten articles, he said. Ghostwriting is part of marketing that can distort the evidence on a drug, Lemmens said. Industry authors are concealed to insert marketing messages and academic experts are recruited as "guest" authors to lend credibility despite not fulfilling criteria for authorship, such as participating in the design of the study, gathering data, analyzing the results and writing up of the findings. Lemmens and his colleague Prof. Simon Stern argue that legal remedies are needed for medical ghostwriting since medical journals, academic institutions and professional disciplinary bodies haven't succeeded in enforcing sanctions against the practice. Ghostwritten publications are used in court to support a manufacturer's arguments about a drug's safety and effectiveness, and academic experts who appear as witnesses for pharmaceutical and medical device companies also boost their credibility with the publications on their CV, Lemmens said.
Note: For a respected doctor's powerful analysis of fraud in the pharmaceutical industry, click here. For lots more from reliable sources on key health issues, click here.
Many Medicines Are Potent Years Past Expiration Dates
2000-03-28, Wall Street Journal
Posted: 2011-08-10 09:36:23
Do drugs really stop working after the date stamped on the bottle? Fifteen years ago, the U.S. military decided to find out. Sitting on a $1 billion stockpile of drugs and facing the daunting process of destroying and replacing its supply every two to three years, the military began a testing program to see if it could extend the life of its inventory. The testing, conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, ultimately covered more than 100 drugs, prescription and over-the-counter. The results ... show that about 90% of them were safe and effective far past their original expiration date, at least one for 15 years past it. The program's returns have been huge. The military from 1993 through 1998 spent about $3.9 million on testing and saved $263.4 million on drug expense. In light of these results, a former director of the testing program, Francis Flaherty, says he has concluded that expiration dates put on by manufacturers typically have no bearing on whether a drug is usable for longer. "Manufacturers put expiration dates on for marketing, rather than scientific, reasons," says Mr. Flaherty, a pharmacist at the FDA until his retirement last year. "They want turnover." Joel Davis, a former FDA expiration-date compliance chief, says that with a handful of exceptions - notably nitroglycerin, insulin and some liquid antibiotics - most drugs are probably as durable as those the agency has tested for the military. "Most drugs degrade very slowly," he says. "In all likelihood, you can take a product you have at home and keep it for many years." Drug-industry officials ... acknowledge that expiration dates have a commercial dimension.
Note: As the Wall Street Journal charges to view this article at the above link, you can view it free here. For lots more on how the pharmaceutical industry cares more about profits than your health, click here.
Organic farmers sue, seek protection from Monsanto
2011-03-29, Reuters News
Posted: 2011-08-02 16:21:51
A consortium of U.S. organic farmers and seed dealers filed suit against global seed giant Monsanto Co. on [March 29], in a move to protect themselves from what they see as a growing threat in the company's arsenal of genetically modified crops. The Public Patent Foundation filed the suit on behalf of more than 50 organizations challenging the chemical giant's patents on its genetically modified seeds. The group is seeking a ruling that would prohibit Monsanto from suing the farmers or dealers if their organic seed becomes contaminated with Monsanto's patented biotech seed germplasm. Monsanto has filed scores of lawsuits and won judgments against farmers they claimed made use of their seed without paying required royalties. Many farmers have claimed that their fields were inadvertently contaminated without their knowledge, and the issue has been a topic of concern for not only farmers, but also companies that clean and handle seed. "This case asks whether Monsanto has the right to sue organic farmers for patent infringement if Monsanto's genetically modified seed should land on their property," said Dan Ravicher, executive director of PUBPAT. The suit also alleges that Monsanto's GMO seeds do more harm than good and claims the patents on genetically modified seed are invalid because they don't meet the "usefulness" requirement of patent law.
Note: For a powerful, quality documentary revealing the gross abuses of Monsanto which endanger public health, click here.