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Health News Stories
Excerpts of Key Health News Stories in Major Media

Below are highly revealing excerpts of important health news stories reported in the media that suggest a major cover-up. Links are provided to the full stories on their major media websites. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These health news stories are listed by date posted to this webpage. You can explore the same articles listed by order of importance or by article date. By choosing to educate ourselves on these important issues and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.

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.

Researchers developing communication app for children with autism
2013-08-01, CBS News/Associated Press
Posted: 2014-01-28 10:00:54

University of Kansas researchers have received a $1.2 million grant to test whether an iPad voice output application can help children with autism. Similar apps have previously been developed for adults with autism. In June 2012, 60 Minutes interviewed a 27-year-old man with autism who uses the keypad on the iPad to type out letters, words and phrases. A robotic voice then reads the words on the screen, giving a voice to an intelligent young man who previously struggled to communicate. Other researchers have developed apps to test vocabulary and math skills of autistic children. They are finding that the apps reveal a greater level of intelligence than previously expected in many of the children. Lead researcher Kathy Thiemann-Bourque says many young children with autism have complex communication needs but do not develop functional speech. In previous research, she has examined both peer training and direct teaching strategies to increase social communication between children with autism and their classmates without disabilities.

Note: For an amazing eight-minute clip showing how a non-verbal autistic woman uses her computer to eloquently invite people into her world, click here. The amazing writing starts at 3:15. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.

Historic smoking report marks 50th anniversary
2014-01-04, Washington Post
Posted: 2014-01-13 16:10:32

Fifty years ago, ... more than 42 percent of U.S. adults smoked, and there was a good chance your doctor was among them. The turning point came on Jan. 11, 1964 [when] U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry released an emphatic and authoritative report that said smoking causes illness and death — and the government should do something about it. The report’s bottom-line message was hardly revolutionary. Since 1950, head-turning studies that found higher rates of lung cancer in heavy smokers had been appearing in medical journals. A widely read article in Reader’s Digest in 1952, “Cancer by the Carton,” contributed to the largest drop in cigarette consumption since the Depression. In 1954, the American Cancer Society announced that smokers had a higher cancer risk. But the tobacco industry fought back. Manufacturers came out with cigarettes with filters that they claimed would trap toxins before they settled into smokers’ lungs. And in 1954, they placed a full-page ad in hundreds of newspapers in which they argued that research linking their products and cancer was inconclusive. It was a brilliant counter-offensive that left physicians and the public unsure how dangerous smoking really was. Cigarette sales rebounded. In the decades that followed, warning labels were put on cigarette packs, cigarette commercials were banned, taxes were raised and new restrictions were placed on where people could light up. While the U.S. smoking rate has fallen by more than half to 18 percent, that still translates to more than 43 million smokers. Smoking is still far and away the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S.

Note: For more on corporate corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Glaxo Says It Will Stop Paying Doctors to Promote Drugs
2013-12-17, New York Times
Posted: 2014-01-13 16:04:29

The British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline will no longer pay doctors to promote its products and will stop tying compensation of sales representatives to the number of prescriptions doctors write, its chief executive said ..., effectively ending two common industry practices that critics have long assailed as troublesome conflicts of interest. The announcement appears to be a first for a major drug company — although others may be considering similar moves — and it comes at a particularly sensitive time for Glaxo. It is the subject of a bribery investigation in China, where authorities contend the company funneled illegal payments to doctors and government officials in an effort to lift drug sales. For decades, pharmaceutical companies have paid doctors to speak on their behalf at conferences and other meetings of medical professionals, on the assumption that the doctors are most likely to value the advice of trusted peers. But the practice has also been criticized by those who question whether it unduly influences the information doctors give each other and can lead them to prescribe drugs inappropriately to patients. Under the plan, which Glaxo said would be completed worldwide by 2016, the company will no longer pay health care professionals to speak on its behalf about its products or the diseases they treat “to audiences who can prescribe or influence prescribing.” It will also stop providing financial support directly to doctors to attend medical conferences, a practice that is prohibited in the United States through an industry-imposed ethics code but that still occurs in other countries.

Note: For more on this, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.

Cheerios drops genetically modified ingredients
2014-01-02, USA Today
Posted: 2014-01-06 16:18:56

Under pressure from consumers and activist groups, General Mills says it will stop using genetically modified ingredients to make its original Cheerios cereal. While the oats used to make Cheerios have never contained any genetically modified organisms (GMOs), the company did make changes to its sourcing — and now, for example, only uses non-GMO pure cane sugar instead of beet sugar, says spokesman Mike Siemienas. The move is being hailed by anti-GMO activist groups as a major victory. It comes at a time activists have been increasingly pressuring American food makers to remove GMOs from all foods — or, at the very least, label all foods that do contain GMOs. Last year, Whole Foods became the first national grocery chain to require all of its suppliers to label all products that contain GMOs by 2018. In the past year, Chipotle announced plans to phase out GMOs and Kashi is also is taking action to phase out GMOs. "This is a big deal," says Todd Larsen, corporate responsibility director at Green America, a green economy activist group. "Cheerios is an iconic brand and one of the leading breakfast cereals in the U.S." What's more, he adds, "We don't know of any other example of such a major brand of packaged food, eaten by so many Americans, going from being GMO to non-GMO. " One year ago, the group used social media efforts to rally consumers to pressure General Mills to make Cheerios without GMOs. Cheerios was picked, in part, because it's one of the first foods given to many toddlers.

Note: For more on the health risks of GMO foods, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

What's wifi doing to us? Experiment finds that shrubs die when placed next to wireless routers
2013-12-16, Daily Mail
Posted: 2013-12-30 16:15:47

A group of schoolgirls claims to have made a scientific breakthrough that shows wifi signals could damage your health – by experimenting with cress. The 15-year-olds set out to test whether mobile phone signals could be harmful. They say the result could affect millions of people around the world. An experiment in Denmark claims to show that Wi-Fi signals are powerful enough to kill cress seeds after just 12 days of exposure. Pupil Lea Nielsen said: ‘We all thought we experienced concentration problems in school if we slept with our mobile phones at the bedside, and sometimes we also found it difficult sleeping.’ However, because they were not able to monitor their brain activity at their school in Denmark, they chose to monitor plants near wireless routers, which emit similar radio waves to mobile phones. When the girls grew trays of garden cress next to wifi routers, they found that most of the seedlings died. In the experiment, they placed six trays in a room without any equipment and another six trays in a room next to two routers. Over 12 days many of the seedlings in the wifi room turned brown and died, whereas those in the others room thrived. Kim Horsevad, the students’ biology teacher at Hjallerup School, said: ‘This has sparked quite a lively debate in Denmark regarding the potential adverse health effects from mobile phones and wifi equipment.’ The results will bolster the findings of researchers in Holland, who found that trees exposed to wireless radio signals suffered from damaged bark and dying leaves.

Note: For more on important health issues, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Marijuana stops child's severe seizures
2013-08-07, CNN
Posted: 2013-12-30 16:08:20

Charlotte and Chase were born October 18, 2006. They were healthy. Everything was normal. The twins were 3 months old when the Figis' lives changed forever. [Charlotte had a] seizure [which] lasted about 30 minutes. Her parents rushed her to the hospital. They did a million-dollar work-up ... and found nothing. A week later, Charlotte had another seizure. Over the next few months, Charlotte ... had frequent seizures lasting two to four hours, and she was hospitalized repeatedly. She was [put] on seven drugs -- some of them heavy-duty, addictive ones such as barbiturates and benzodiazepines. They'd work for a while, but the seizures always came back with a vengeance. At 2, she really started to decline cognitively. In November 2000, Colorado voters approved Amendment 20, which required the state to set up a medical marijuana registry program. [Then Charlotte's father Matt] found a video online of a California boy whose [seizures were] being successfully treated with cannabis. [Her parents started] Charlotte out on a small dose. By then Charlotte had lost the ability to walk, talk and eat. She was having 300 grand mal seizures a week. The results were stunning. The seizures stopped for ... seven days. [Now] Charlotte gets a dose of the cannabis oil twice a day. [It has] stopped the seizures. Today, Charlotte, 6, is thriving. Not only is she walking, she can ride her bicycle.

Note: There have been plentiful stories of miraculous healing from marijuana, but this may be the first time the major media is reporting it (see links at the bottom of this article for more). That's exciting! We may be seeing a major change here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.

The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder
2013-12-15, New York Times
Posted: 2013-12-23 16:19:28

After more than 50 years leading the fight to legitimize attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Keith Conners could be celebrating. Severely hyperactive and impulsive children, once shunned as bad seeds, are now recognized as having a real neurological problem. Doctors and parents have largely accepted drugs like Adderall and Concerta to temper the traits of classic A.D.H.D., helping youngsters succeed in school and beyond. But Dr. Conners did not feel triumphant this fall as he addressed a group of fellow A.D.H.D. specialists in Washington. He noted that recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the diagnosis had been made in 15 percent of high school-age children, and that the number of children on medication for the disorder had soared to 3.5 million from 600,000 in 1990. He questioned the rising rates of diagnosis and called them “a national disaster of dangerous proportions.” “The numbers make it look like an epidemic. Well, it’s not. It’s preposterous,” Dr. Conners, a psychologist and professor emeritus at Duke University, said in a subsequent interview. “This is a concoction to justify the giving out of medication at unprecedented and unjustifiable levels.” The rise of A.D.H.D. diagnoses and prescriptions for stimulants over the years coincided with a remarkably successful two-decade campaign by pharmaceutical companies to publicize the syndrome and promote the pills to doctors, educators and parents. With the children’s market booming, the industry is now employing similar marketing techniques as it focuses on adult A.D.H.D., which could become even more profitable.

Note: For more on corruption in the medical industry, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Mysterious ingredients vanish from food labels
2013-12-18, Boston Globe/Associated Press
Posted: 2013-12-23 16:02:10

Take another look at that food label. An ingredient or two may have vanished. As Americans pay closer attention to what they eat, food and beverage companies are learning that unfamiliar ingredients can invite criticism from online petitions and bloggers. The risk of damaging publicity has proven serious enough that some manufacturers have reformulated top-selling products to remove mysterious, unpronounceable components that could draw suspicion. Earlier this year, for example, PepsiCo Inc. said it would stop using brominated vegetable oil in Gatorade and find a another way to evenly distribute color in the sports drink. Last year, Starbucks said it would stop using a red dye made of crushed bugs based on comments it received “through a variety of means,” including an online petition, and switch to a tomato-based extract. Kraft Foods plans to replace artificial dyes with colors derived from natural spices in select varieties of its macaroni and cheese, a nod to the feedback it’s hearing from parents. Ali Dibadj, a Bernstein analyst who covers the packaged food and beverage industry, says the changes reflect a shift from “democratization to activism” by consumers. “It used to be that people would just decide not to buy the product. Now they’re actually agitating for change,” Dibadj said. “There’s a bullhorn — which is the Internet — so you can get a lot of people involved very quickly.” In the past, a customer complaint about an ingredient may have been addressed with a boilerplate letter from corporate headquarters. But now people can go online to share their concerns with thousands of like-minded individuals.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.

Smelling a rat: GM maize, health and the Séralini affair
2013-12-07, The Economist
Posted: 2013-12-17 10:41:31

Genetically modified maize causes cancer: that was the gist of one of the most controversial studies in recent memory, published in September 2012 by Food and Chemical Toxicology. [But] on November 28th the journal retracted it. The article was by Gilles-Eric Séralini of the University of Caen, in France, and his colleagues. It described what happened to rats fed with NK603 maize, a variety made resistant to a herbicide called glyphosate by a genetic modification made by Monsanto. Monsanto also discovered glyphosate’s herbicidal properties. It sells it under the trade name “Roundup”. In Dr Séralini’s experiment, rats fed with the modified maize were reckoned more likely to develop tumours than those which had not been. Females were especially badly affected: their death rates were two or three times as high as those of control groups. The article was explosive. Jean-Marc Ayrault, France’s prime minister, said that if its results were confirmed his government would press for a Europe-wide ban on NK603 maize. Russia suspended imports of the crop. Kenya banned all GM crops. Though the paper has been retracted, that is unlikely to be end of the matter. The journal’s publisher said there was “no evidence of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of the data”, which are the usual justifications for retraction. Scientific opinion runs strongly against the conclusion that GM foods are harmful—but not universally so. A group called the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility backed Dr Séralini.

Note: Over 100 scientists have signed a pledge to boycott Elsevier, the publisher of the journal which retracted the GMO study, as you can see at this link. For an excellent video review of the study, click here. For more on the health risks of GMO foods, see the deeply revealing report available here.

Grocers' group spends record lobbying amid food-labeling fights
2013-12-03, Chicago Tribune/Bloomberg News
Posted: 2013-12-10 11:32:43

A proposal to require labeling of genetically engineered foods and seeds in Washington state enjoyed broad public support in polls this summer. That was before some of the largest food companies swooped in to spend more so consumers would know less about what they are eating. The Grocery Manufacturers Association, a Washington-based trade group that represents companies such as ConAgra Foods and Kraft Foods, was responsible for $11 million of the $22 million campaign against the initiative, compared with about $9 million by pro-labeling advocates. The GMA's campaign made the difference. The initiative, which had 66 percent support in a September survey, was defeated by 51 percent to 49 percent. The grocers, who opposed the proposal as arbitrary and costly for businesses, raised more than $2.3 million from PepsiCo Inc. and about $1.5 million each from Coca-Cola Co., [and] Nestle USA. Those groups also were part of a $45 million campaign that defeated a labeling initiative in California last year. "Spending is not a problem" for organizations opposed to labeling requirements, said Colin O'Neil, director of government affairs for the Center for Food Safety, which backed the Washington state initiative. "These companies will spend whatever it takes to defeat labeling at the state level." If that's the case, the trade associations and their members will be issuing a lot more checks as fights over labeling food are breaking out in other states and advocates are pressing the matter in Congress with proposed legislation from both sides awaiting action.

Note: For more on the risks from genetically-modified organisms in food and the environment, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

China rejects shipment of U.S. genetically modified corn
2013-12-02, Los Angeles Times
Posted: 2013-12-10 11:31:09

China recently rejected a 60,000-ton shipment of American corn because it included unapproved genetically modified grain, the country’s food-quality watchdog said. The shipment was halted in the southern port city of Shenzhen, near Hong Kong, after it was discovered to contain MIR162, a special insect-resistant variety of maize developed by Syngenta, a Swiss maker of seeds and pesticides, according to Chinese state media. MIR162 is not on the Chinese government's short list of approved grains considered genetically modified organisms, or GMO. Still, Chinese consumers remain wary of GMO crops and some nationalist-leaning pundits have suggested the Western-dominated technology leaves China’s food supply vulnerable. The U.S. is the world’s largest corn exporter and China is its No. 3 customer. The Asian nation is expected to buy a record 7 million tons of corn in the 2013-14 marketing year. Experts described the recent rejection of U.S. corn as probably an isolated incident and said China would continue with its buying binge.

Note: For more on the risks from genetically-modified organisms in food and the environment, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

As Hospital Prices Soar, a Stitch Tops $500
2013-12-03, New York Times
Posted: 2013-12-10 10:44:16

In a medical system notorious for opaque finances and inflated bills, nothing is more convoluted than hospital pricing, economists say. Hospital charges represent about a third of the $2.7 trillion annual United States health care bill, the biggest single segment, according to government statistics, and are the largest driver of medical inflation, a new study in The Journal of the American Medical Association found. A day spent as an inpatient at an American hospital costs on average more than $4,000, five times the charge in many other developed countries, according to the International Federation of Health Plans, a global network of health insurance industries. The most expensive hospitals charge more than $12,500 a day. And at many of them ... emergency rooms are profit centers. That is why one of the simplest and oldest medical procedures — closing a wound with a needle and thread — typically leads to bills of at least $1,500 and often much more. At Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, Daniel Diaz, 29, a public relations executive, was billed $3,355.96 for five stitches on his finger after cutting himself while peeling an avocado. At a hospital in Jacksonville, Fla., Arch Roberts Jr., 56, a former government employee, was charged more than $2,000 for three stitches after being bitten by a dog. Insurers and patients negotiated lower prices, but those charges were a starting point. The main reason for high hospital costs in the United States, economists say, is fiscal, not medical: Hospitals are the most powerful players in a health care system that has little or no price regulation in the private market.

Note: For more on corruption in the health industry, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Whooping Cough Study May Offer Clue on Surge
2013-11-26, New York Times
Posted: 2013-12-02 09:42:43

Baboons vaccinated against whooping cough could still carry the illness in their throats and spread it, research ... has found. The surprising new finding has not been replicated in people, but scientists say it may provide an important clue to a puzzling spike in the incidence of whooping cough across the country, which reached a 50-year high last year. The whooping cough vaccines now in use were introduced in the 1990s after an older version, which offered longer-lasting protection, was found to have side effects. But over the years, scientists have determined that the new vaccines began to lose effectiveness after about five years, a significant problem that many researchers believe has contributed to the significant rise in whooping cough cases. The new study, published ... in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, offers another explanation. Using baboons, the researchers found that recently vaccinated animals continued to carry the infection in their throats. Even though those baboons did not get sick from it, they spread the infection to others that were not vaccinated. “When you’re newly vaccinated you are an asymptomatic carrier, which is good for you, but not for the population,” said Tod J. Merkel, the lead author of the study, who is a researcher in the Office of Vaccines Research and Review in the Food and Drug Administration. The current whooping cough vaccines were developed after a surge in concerns from parents that their children were getting fevers and having seizures after receiving the old vaccine. Those worries added fuel to general skepticism about vaccines that had led some parents to choose not to have their children vaccinated.

Note: For more on the dangers of vaccines, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Twenty-Six Countries Ban GMOs—Why Won’t the US?
2013-10-29, The Nation
Posted: 2013-11-12 08:59:01

The 2013 World Food Prize was awarded to three chemical company executives, including Monsanto executive vice president and chief technology officer, Robert Fraley, responsible for development of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The choice of Fraley was widely protested, with eighty-one members of the prestigious World Future Council calling it “an affront to the growing international consensus on safe, ecological farming practices that have been scientifically proven to promote nutrition and sustainability.” The choice of Monsanto’s man triggered accusations of prize buying. From 1999 to 2011, Monsanto donated $380,000 to the World Food Prize Foundation, in addition to a $5 million contribution in 2008. For some, the award to Monsanto is actually a sign of desperation on the part of the GMO establishment. The arguments of the critics are making headway. Owing to concern about the dangers and risks posed by genetically engineered organisms, many governments have instituted total or partial bans on their cultivation, importation, and field-testing. A few years ago, there were sixteen countries that had total or partial bans on GMOs. Now there are at least twenty-six, including Switzerland, Australia, Austria, China, India, France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Greece, Bulgaria, Poland, Italy, Mexico and Russia. Significant restrictions on GMOs exist in about sixty other countries. Already, American rice farmers face strict limitations on their exports to the European Union, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines, and are banned altogether from Russia and Bulgaria because unapproved genetically engineered rice “escaped” during open-field trials on GMO rice.

Note: For more on the risks from GMO foods, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

The Case for Labeling GMOs
2013-11-04, US News & World Report
Posted: 2013-11-12 08:57:36

The public has the right to know what’s in our food. Over 70 percent of processed foods have genetically modified ingredients. GM crops are modified to contain novel patented bacterial and viral DNA never before seen in foods. Not surprisingly, most polls show around 90 percent of the public wants to know which foods are genetically modified. They want the same right to choose as consumers in the 64 countries around the world that mandate some form of labeling of GM foods. Washington state is currently ground zero, with a GM labeling initiative on the Nov. 5 ballot. Chemical and food corporations have raised over $20 million to defeat the measure. They are willing to spend whatever it takes. Last year, the opposition spent over $45 million to narrowly defeat a similar initiative in California. Why are agrichemical companies willing to spend such huge sums to defeat labeling? These companies’ GM foods would not be able to compete in an informed marketplace against non-GM foods. The fact is that, after spending 30 years genetically modifying crops, these companies have failed to come up with a single trait that would attract consumers. GM foods do not have improved nutrition, fewer calories, better taste or lower costs. In other words, they have no market advantage at all. A rational consumer, when faced with a non-genetically engineered bag of corn chips versus a labeled genetically engineered bag would have no incentive to buy the engineered brand. Labeling would expose these companies’ complete failure to provide a single benefit to America’s consumers. The only thing these foods offer is potential risk.

Note: For more on the risks from GMO foods, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Curbing antibiotics on farms taking too long: Our view
2013-10-27, USA Today
Posted: 2013-11-05 08:37:40

Want to ensure that miracle drugs can no longer perform miracles? Then do what some physicians and industrial livestock farmers have done for years: Overprescribe antibiotics to people, and use them cavalierly in farm animals to promote growth or prevent infections before they even occur. Last month, federal officials quantified that danger: At least 23,000 people die from antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which said that's a conservative figure. For more than four decades, scientists and government health agencies have warned about the danger this poses for development of drug-resistant bugs. Yet last week, the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future reported that little progress has been made on limiting the use of antibiotics on farms. The agriculture industry maintains that the connection is murky between antibiotic use in animals and drug resistance in people. On the other side of the debate is a long list of scientists, public health officials and veterinarians whose views carry more sense and less self-interest. In 2011 alone, 1.9 million pounds of penicillins and 12.3 million pounds of tetracyclines were sold for use in food animals. It's hard to believe that wouldn't have an effect. According to the CDC, humans can pick up drug-resistant bugs through contact with animals or by eating contaminated food. But neither Congress nor the FDA has acted to curtail the broad dangers. The well-financed agriculture industry has won most rounds. And regulators have dragged their feet.

Note: For more on important health issues, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in U.S., data show
2011-09-17, Los Angeles Times
Posted: 2013-11-05 08:32:18

Propelled by an increase in prescription narcotic overdoses, drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in the United States, a Times analysis of government data has found. Drugs exceeded motor vehicle accidents as a cause of death in 2009, killing at least 37,485 people nationwide, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While most major causes of preventable death are declining, drugs are an exception. The death toll has doubled in the last decade, now claiming a life every 14 minutes. By contrast, traffic accidents have been dropping for decades because of huge investments in auto safety. This is the first time that drugs have accounted for more fatalities than traffic accidents since the government started tracking drug-induced deaths in 1979. Fueling the surge in deaths are prescription pain and anxiety drugs that are potent, highly addictive and especially dangerous when combined with one another or with other drugs or alcohol. Among the most commonly abused are OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax and Soma. One relative newcomer to the scene is Fentanyl, a painkiller that comes in the form of patches and lollipops and is 100 times more powerful than morphine. Such drugs now cause more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined. Overdose victims range in age and circumstance from teenagers who pop pills to get a heroin-like high to middle-aged working men and women who take medications prescribed for strained backs and bum knees and become addicted. The seeds of the problem were planted more than a decade ago by well-meaning efforts by doctors to mitigate suffering, as well as aggressive sales campaigns by pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Note: For more on pharmaceutical industry corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Exercise May Be as Effective as Drugs in Treating Disease
2013-10-01, Bloomberg BusinessWeek
Posted: 2013-10-22 10:19:51

Physical activity may be as effective as drugs in treating heart disease and should be included as a comparison in the development of new medicines, according to a review published today in the British Medical Journal. No statistically detectable differences were evident between exercise and drug treatment for patients with coronary heart disease or prediabetes, and exercise was more effective among patients recovering from a stroke, according to a review of 16 meta-analyses that included 305 studies involving 339,274 participants. The analysis adds to evidence showing the benefit of non-medical approaches to disease through behavior and lifestyle changes. Given the cost of drug treatment, regulators should consider requiring pharmaceutical companies to include exercise as a comparator in clinical trials of new medicines, according to authors Huseyin Naci of Harvard and John Ioannidis of Stanford. “Patients deserve to understand the relative impact that physical activity might have on their condition,” Naci and Ioannidis said in the published paper. In the meantime, “exercise interventions should therefore be considered as a viable alternative to, or, alongside, drug therapy.” A landmark study by Dean Ornish, founder of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, found that a low-fat vegetarian diet, increased exercise and stress management can reduce heart disease more than standard medical care. Patients who receive training from medical professionals on Ornish’s program for reversing heart disease have been reimbursed by Medicare since January 2011.

Note: For more inspiring ideas on replacing drugs with exercise, see Dr. Mercola's article at this link. For more on important health issues, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Why Our Health Care Lets Prices Run Wild
2013-07-01, Time Magazine
Posted: 2013-10-08 08:42:45

Of all the oddities of the U.S. health care system, one stands out: we spend far more on health care per person than other industrialized nations yet have no better health outcomes. Understanding why isn’t easy. A 2012 paper by the Commonwealth Fund found that among 13 industrialized countries studied, the U.S. has the highest rate of obesity, which is usually a factor in higher health care costs. Yet, the U.S. ranks far behind many other countries in our rates of citizens who smoke or are over 55, two other strong indicators of increased spending. So why is our health care spending more than 17% of our gross domestic product, far more than any other country? A central reason U.S. health care spending is so high is that hospitals and doctors charge more for their services and there’s little transparency about why. There is no uniformity to the system, in which public and private insurers have separate, unrelated contracts with hospitals and doctors. The result is a tangled, confusing and largely secretive collection of forces driving health care prices higher and higher. This isn’t possible in many other countries either because governments set prices for health care services or broker negotiations between coalitions of insurers and providers. Known as “all-payer rate setting,” insurers in these systems band together to negotiate as groups. In contrast, U.S. insurers closely guard the secrecy of their contracted prices with health care providers and negotiate individually. This is why a hospital hosting five patients for knee replacements might get paid five different amounts for the surgeries.

Note: For more on corporate corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

An End to Medical-Billing Secrecy?
2013-05-08, Time Magazine
Posted: 2013-10-08 08:41:15

Acting on the suggestion of her top data crunchers at the department’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released an enormous data file on May 8 that reveals the list—or “chargemaster”—prices of all hospitals across the country for the 100 most common inpatient treatment services in 2011. It then compares those prices with what Medicare actually paid hospitals for the same treatments—which was typically a fraction of the chargemaster prices. As a result, Americans are a big step closer to being able to compare what hospitals charge them for goods and services with what they actually cost. There are two reasons Sebelius’ release of this newly crunched, massive data file is a great first step toward a new transparency in health care costs. First, it reveals the vast disparity between what hospitals charge for pills, procedures and operations and the real cost of those services, as calculated by Medicare. The second reason the compilation and release of this data is a big deal is that it demonstrates [that] most hospitals’ chargemaster prices are wildly inconsistent and seem to have no rationale. Thus the release of this fire hose of data—which prints out at 17,511 pages—should become a tip sheet for reporters in every American city and town, who can now ask hospitals to explain their pricing. In the through-the-looking-glass world of health care economics, those who are asked to pay chargemaster rates are often under-insured or lack insurance altogether. Moreover, insurers typically negotiate discounts off the grossly inflated chargemaster prices ($77 for a box of gauze pads!), so the chargemaster matters for insured patients too.

Note: For more on corporate corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available 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.