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.
Links are provided to the full stories on their mainstream media websites. If any link should fail to function, click here
. These health news stories are listed by date posted to this webpage. For the same list by order of importance, click here
. For the list by the date the news story was originally published, click here
. By choosing to educate ourselves on these important issues and to spread the word
, we can and will build a brighter future
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
Doctor, Musician Join Fight Against Fluoride
2007-01-25, WSMV-TV (Nashville, TN NBC affiliate)
Posted: 2011-01-24 09:48:41
Fluoride has become a controversial additive to our drinking water. While no one denies it can prevent cavities with topical application, a growing number of people, cities and countries have decided that ingesting unknown quantities of fluoride is a bad idea.
One of Tennessee's own top health risk scientists is asking Gov. Phil Bredesen to stop adding fluoride to the water. Dr. Kathy Thiessen makes a living assessing health risks and has worked for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Environmental Protection Agency. “The deliberate exposure to uncontrolled and unmonitored intake of fluoride is unwise at best and probably harmful to a substantial number of people,” Thiessen said. Thiessen joins Tennessee lawmaker and medical doctor Joey Hensley as the most prominent Tennessee voices against fluoride. Chris White is a musician with the band Loft, but his other passion is removing fluoride from Gallatin's water supply. “All parties point to the American Dental Association recommending that mothers stop using fluoridated water for baby formula as an obvious sign that fluoride is obviously not for everyone,” he said.
Note: This article fails to mention a key recent study showing "about 28 percent of the children in the low-fluoride area scored as bright, normal or higher intelligence compared to only 8 percent in the 'high' fluoride area. In the high-fluoride city, 15 percent had scores indicating mental retardation and only 6 percent in the low-fluoride city." For a truly awesome, revealing interview with a BBC producer on the major deceptions around and dangers of fluoride in water, click here. For more on this key topic from Dr. Mercola, click here. And for the top website on the risks and dangers of flouride in water, click here.
When Insurers Put Profits Between Doctor and Patient
2011-01-06, New York Times
Posted: 2011-01-17 11:17:28
In articles, interviews, op-eds and testimony on Capitol Hill, Wendell Potter has described the dark underbelly of the health care insurance industry — unkept promises of care, canceled coverage of those who get sick and fearmongering campaigns designed to quash any change that might adversely affect profits. He should know what he is talking about. For 20 years, Mr. Potter was the head of corporate communications at two major insurers, first at Humana and then at Cigna. Now Mr. Potter has written a fascinating book that details the methods he and his colleagues used to manipulate public opinion and describes his transformation from the idealistic son of working-class parents in eastern Tennessee to top insurance company executive, to vocal critic and industry watchdog. Using little of the fiery rhetoric or lurid prose that usually marks corporate exposés or memoirs of redemption, the book, Deadly Spin ... is an evenhanded yet riveting account of the inner workings of the health care insurance industry, a cautionary tale that doctors and patients would be wise not to miss. Mr. Potter [describes] the myth-making he did, interspersing descriptions of front groups, paid spies and jiggered studies with a deft retelling of the convoluted (and usually eye-glazing) history of health care insurance policies.
Note: Mr. Potter has written a powerful condemnation of health care industry practices at this link. For other major media articles on this courageous whistleblower, click here. And for other highly informative reports on important health issues, click here.
U.S. says too much fluoride in water
2011-01-07, USA Today/Associated Press
Posted: 2011-01-17 11:11:40
Fluoride in drinking water — credited with dramatically cutting cavities and tooth decay — may now be too much of a good thing. Getting too much of it causes spots on some kids' teeth. A reported increase in the spotting problem is one reason the federal government will announce [that] it plans to lower the recommended levels for fluoride in water supplies — the first such change in nearly 50 years. About 2 out of 5 adolescents have tooth streaking or spottiness because of too much fluoride, a surprising government study found recently. In some extreme cases, teeth can even be pitted by the mineral. Maryland is the most fluoridated state, with nearly every resident on a fluoridated water system. In contrast, only about 11% of Hawaii residents are on fluoridated water, according to government statistics. Fluoridation has been fought for decades by people who worried about its effects, including conspiracy theorists who feared it was a plot to make people submissive to government power. "It's amazing that people have been so convinced that this is an OK thing to do," said Deborah Catrow, who successfully fought a ballot proposal in 2005 that would have added fluoride to drinking water in Springfield, Ohio.
Note: This article fails to mention a key recent study showing "about 28 percent of the children in the low-fluoride area scored as bright, normal or higher intelligence compared to only 8 percent in the 'high' fluoride area. In the high-fluoride city, 15 percent had scores indicating mental retardation and only 6 percent in the low-fluoride city." For a truly awesome, revealing interview with a BBC producer on the major deceptions, risks, and dangers of fluoride in water, click here. For more on this key topic from Dr. Mercola, click here. And for the top website on the risks and dangers of flouride in water, click here.
Bees in freefall as study shows sharp US decline
2011-01-03, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2011-01-17 11:09:18
The abundance of four common species of bumblebee in the US has dropped by 96% in just the past few decades, according to the most comprehensive national census of the insects. Scientists said the alarming decline, which could have devastating implications for the pollination of both wild and farmed plants, was likely to be a result of disease and low genetic diversity in bee populations. Bumblebees are important pollinators of wild plants and agricultural crops around the world ... thanks to their large body size, long tongues, and high-frequency buzzing, which helps release pollen from flowers. Sydney Cameron, an entomologist at the University of Illinois, led a team on a three-year study of the changing distribution, genetic diversity and pathogens in eight species of bumblebees in the US. By comparing her results with those in museum records of bee populations, she showed that the relative abundance of four of the sampled species (Bombus occidentalis, B. pensylvanicus, B. affinis and B. terricola) had declined by up to 96% and that their geographic ranges had contracted by 23% to 87%, some within just the past two decades. Cameron's findings reflect similar studies across the world. According to the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in the UK, three of the 25 British species of bumblebee are already extinct and half of the remainder have shown serious declines, often up to 70%, since around the 1970s. Last year, scientists inaugurated a £10m programme, called the Insect Pollinators Initiative, to look at the reasons behind the devastation in the insect population.
Note: For news on a leaked EPA memo expressing concern over chemicals causing bee deaths, click here. And for a list of other excellent, revealing links on this key topic, see the bottom of the webpage at this link.
Pesticides: Germany bans chemicals linked to honeybee devastation
2008-05-23, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2011-01-17 10:45:25
Germany has banned a family of pesticides that are blamed for the deaths of millions of honeybees. The German Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) has suspended the registration for eight pesticide seed treatment products used in rapeseed oil and sweetcorn. The move follows reports from German beekeepers in the Baden-Württemberg region that two thirds of their bees died earlier this month following the application of a pesticide called clothianidin. "It's a real bee emergency," said Manfred Hederer, president of the German Professional Beekeepers' Association. "50-60% of the bees have died on average and some beekeepers have lost all their hives." Tests on dead bees showed that 99% of those examined had a build-up of clothianidin. The chemical, produced by Bayer CropScience, a subsidiary of the German chemical giant Bayer, is sold in Europe under the trade name Poncho. It was applied to the seeds of sweetcorn planted along the Rhine this spring. The seeds are treated in advance of being planted or are sprayed while in the field. Clothianidin, like the other neonicotinoid pesticides that have been temporarily suspended in Germany, is a systemic chemical that works its way through a plant and attacks the nervous system of any insect it comes into contact with. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency it is "highly toxic" to honeybees.
Note: For news on a leaked EPA memo expressing concern over these chemicals, click here. And for a list of other excellent, revealing links on this key topic, see the bottom of the webpage at this link.
Panel challenges Gulf seafood safety all-clear
Posted: 2011-01-03 11:51:36
A New Orleans law firm is challenging government assurances that Gulf Coast seafood is safe to eat in the wake of the BP oil spill, saying it poses “a significant danger to public health.” Citing what the law firm calls a state-of-the-art laboratory analysis, toxicologists, chemists and marine biologists retained by the firm of environmental attorney Stuart Smith contend that the government seafood testing program, which has focused on ensuring the seafood was free of the cancer-causing components of crude oil, has overlooked other harmful elements. And they say that their own testing — examining fewer samples but more comprehensively — shows high levels of hydrocarbons from the BP spill that are associated with liver damage. “What we have found is that FDA simply overlooked an important aspect of safety in their protocol,” contends William Sawyer, a Florida-based toxicologist on Smith’s team. Five months after crude oil stopped gushing from the broken BP wellhead into the Gulf of Mexico, the federal government has reopened more than 90 percent of fishing waters that were in danger of contamination from the broken Deepwater Horizon rig. But many fishermen have yet to return to sea, and consumer confidence in Gulf seafood remains lukewarm.
Note: For important reports from reliable sources on government corruption, click here.
Panel urges FDA to take another look at mercury dental fillings
Posted: 2011-01-03 11:48:10
A Food and Drug Administration advisory committee said ... that the agency should look at updated data on mercury amalgam dental fillings that may indicate possible medical problems for patients. The panel -- after hearing two days of testimony from experts, members of the public and dental professionals -- recommended the FDA look at information updated since the agency ruled in 2009 that the mercury in dental fillings is not harmful. Public pressure prompted the panel's review, initiated less than 18 months after the agency's decision. Committee members listened to testimony by consumer and dental groups claiming the FDA used flawed science when it set the current guidelines for mercury safety levels. Some experts say mercury from these fillings penetrates into the body and damages human cells, especially in the brain, bones and kidneys. How much damage it is unknown, which is why the advisory committee is revisiting the issue. Some dentists did say they would avoid using amalgam fillings because of numerous public reports of mercury poisoning. "I always wondered why we were told by the (American Dental Association) to be careful when disposing of mercury. If it's so dangerous to the environment, why not my patients?" asked Dr. Stephen Markus, a dentist in the Philadelphia area.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on health issues, click here.
Portugal's drug policy pays off; US eyes lessons
2010-12-27, Washington Post/Associated Press
Posted: 2011-01-03 11:44:44
These days, Casal Ventoso is an ordinary blue-collar community - mothers push baby strollers, men smoke outside cafes, buses chug up and down the cobbled main street. Ten years ago, the Lisbon neighborhood was a hellhole, a "drug supermarket" where some 5,000 users lined up every day to buy heroin and sneaked into a hillside honeycomb of derelict housing to shoot up. At that time, Portugal, like the junkies of Casal Ventoso, had hit rock bottom: An estimated 100,000 people - an astonishing 1 percent of the population - were addicted to illegal drugs. So, like anyone with little to lose, the Portuguese took a risky leap: They decriminalized the use of all drugs in a groundbreaking law in 2000. Now, the United States, which has waged a 40-year, $1 trillion war on drugs, is looking for answers in tiny Portugal, which is reaping the benefits of what once looked like a dangerous gamble. "The disasters that were predicted by critics didn't happen," said University of Kent professor Alex Stevens, who has studied Portugal's program. "The answer was simple: Provide treatment." Drugs in Portugal are still illegal. But here's what Portugal did: It changed the law so that users are sent to counseling and sometimes treatment instead of criminal courts and prison. The switch from drugs as a criminal issue to a public health one was aimed at preventing users from going underground.
Stanford faculty still taking drug firms' money
2010-12-20, San Francisco Chronicle/ProPublica
Posted: 2010-12-28 17:57:35
Last year, Stanford banned its physicians from giving paid promotional talks for pharmaceutical companies. One thing it didn't do was make sure its faculty followed that rule. A ProPublica investigation ["Dollars for Docs"] found that more than a dozen of the school's doctors were paid speakers in apparent violation of Stanford policy - two of them were paid six figures since last year. Conflict-of-interest policies have become increasingly important as academic medical centers worry that promotional talks undermine the credibility not only of the physicians giving them, but also of the institutions they represent. Yet when it comes to enforcing the policies, universities have allowed permissive interpretations and relied on the honor system. That approach isn't working. Many physicians are in apparent violation, and ignorance or confusion about the rules is widespread. As a result, some faculty physicians stay on the industry lecture circuit, where they can net tens of thousands of dollars in additional income. Critics of the practice say delivering talks for drug companies is incompatible with teaching future generations of physicians. That's because drug firms typically pick the topic of the lecture, train the speakers and require them to use company-provided presentation slides.
Note: "Dollars for Docs" is an ongoing investigation into the influence of drug company marketing payments on medical providers. To search for a doctor in the database, click here.
FDA panel urges new look at "silver" teeth fillings
Posted: 2010-12-28 17:55:33
Enough uncertainty surrounds silver-colored metal dental fillings with mercury that U.S. regulators should add more cautions for dentists and patients, a U.S. advisory panel [has] said. The fillings should be accompanied by warnings about unknown risks for vulnerable people such as children and pregnant women. "There really is no place for mercury in children," Suresh Kotagal, a panelist and neurologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, said of the toxic metal. Mercury has been linked to neurological damage at high exposure levels and makes up about half of a metal filling. While the panel stopped short of urging a ban, it wants the FDA to look at the latest data and reassess its guidance after the agency last year declared the fillings safe. Some European nations have banned amalgam use. Critics told the advisers there was a clear link between mercury fillings and side effects, especially in more vulnerable patients. They should be banned or not implanted unless patients give consent, they said.
Note: Why is mercury still used in most dental fillings, when there is a known risk and other materials are available? Our teeth are not a good place for mercury. Studies have proven that small amounts of mercury are released by these fillings in gases into the mouth, only the toxicity is debated. For more, click here.
WikiLeaks cables: Pfizer 'used dirty tricks to avoid clinical trial payout'
2010-12-09, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2010-12-20 17:38:52
The world's biggest pharmaceutical company hired investigators to unearth evidence of corruption against the Nigerian attorney general in order to persuade him to drop legal action over a controversial drug trial involving children with meningitis, according to a leaked US embassy cable. Pfizer was sued by the Nigerian state and federal authorities, who claimed that children were harmed by a new antibiotic, Trovan, during the trial, which took place in the middle of a meningitis epidemic of unprecedented scale in Kano in the north of Nigeria in 1996. But the cable suggests that the US drug giant did not want to pay out to settle the two cases – one civil and one criminal – brought by the Nigerian federal government. The cable reports a meeting between Pfizer's country manager, Enrico Liggeri, and US officials at the Abuja embassy on 9 April 2009. It states: "According to Liggeri, Pfizer had hired investigators to uncover corruption links to federal attorney general Michael Aondoakaa to expose him and put pressure on him to drop the federal cases. He said Pfizer's investigators were passing this information to local media." The cable ... continues: "A series of damaging articles detailing Aondoakaa's 'alleged' corruption ties were published in February and March. Liggeri contended that Pfizer had much more damaging information on Aondoakaa and that Aondoakaa's cronies were pressuring him to drop the suit for fear of further negative articles."
Note: For more on this revealing case, see the New York Times article available here.
Court OKs Hormone-Free Label On Dairy Products In Ohio
2010-10-01, NPR blog
Posted: 2010-12-20 17:36:11
A federal court yesterday struck down an Ohio ban on dairy products whose labels say they're made from milk that's free of hormones that increase cows' milk production. That means companies that want to say their products are "rbGH free" and "rbST free" and "artificial hormone free" are now free to do so. The ruling challenges the FDA's 17-year-old finding that there's "no significant difference" between the milk of cows given growth hormone and those that aren't. Just that sort of distinction ... is part of the ongoing debate about how to label genetically engineered salmon. The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit said there is a "compositional difference" between milk from cows given growth hormones and those without. The court gave three reasons they're different: * Increased levels of the hormone IGF-1; * A period of milk with lower nutritional quality during each lactation; and * Increased somatic cell counts (i.e. more pus in the milk). But the FDA concluded in 1993 when it approved the growth hormone that the milk shows "no significant difference" in milk from untreated cows.
Note: To learn more about how your health has been endangered by previous media and government decisions, click here. For a stunning 10-minute video clip showing how crazy this can get, click here.
What's Fueling the Battle Over Raw Milk?
2010-09-26, Time Magazine
Posted: 2010-12-20 17:32:14
For some Americans, milk has become a test of their freedom. And they're not paranoid kooks either; the government really is out to get them, authorizing seizures of bottles and jugs of unpasteurized milk and, in one recent case, a full-on, agents-brandishing-guns raid. Currently, under federal law, it's illegal to sell consumers unpasteurized milk that has been transported across state lines. Raw milk cannot be sold at all in 10 states. In 30 states, it can be sold only by certain farms under certain conditions. And in the remaining states, retail sales are allowed but are greatly hindered by technicalities. An underground railroad has emerged to get milk from cows to consumers without any high-tech processing in between. Now comes the proposed Food Safety Modernization Act, federal legislation that would improve the FDA's ability to trace [illness] outbreaks and give the agency — which can already fine companies that knowingly sell contaminated foods — the power to order recalls. Supporters say they know the milk may contain pathogens; the most ardent say they welcome the bugs, many of which have peacefully resided in our guts for thousands of years. All agree that they should be able to drink raw milk if they want to.
Note: For many key reports from reliable sources on important health issues, click here.
Houston TV stations refuse ad that slams fast food
2010-12-14, Houston Chronicle (Houston's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2010-12-20 17:30:27
A physicians' group campaigning against McDonald's fast food offerings says that four Houston TV stations have refused to run its advertisement equating cheeseburgers with heart disease and death. The advertisement from Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, titled "Consequences," displays a doctor and a weeping woman standing over a corpse clutching a cheeseburger in its right hand. The 30-second spot ends with a picture of the McDonald's logo, the words "I was lovin' it," a parody of the company's "I'm lovin' it" slogan, and the voiceover, "High cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart attacks. Tonight, make it vegetarian." Susan Levin, director of nutrition of education for the Washington, D.C., nonprofit, said all four of Houston's major network affiliates turned down "Consequences," which she said has aired in Chicago and Washington and was rejected by stations in Miami. The group was prepared to pay $5,000 to air the ad locally. Houston was selected for the campaign, the group said, because of its market size, its reputation as having one of the nation's highest obesity rates and because it has 149 McDonald's outlets, more than any city in the nation other than New York. The "Consequences" spot has been viewed more than 1.1 million times on the group's YouTube site.
Note: To view the commercial at YouTube, click here.
Cancer is a man-made disease, controversial study claims
Posted: 2010-12-06 11:39:00
Is the common nature of cancer worldwide purely a man-made phenomenon? That is what some researchers now suggest. Scientists have only found one case of the disease in investigations of hundreds of Egyptian mummies, researcher Rosalie David at the University of Manchester in England said in a statement. The rarity of cancer in mummies suggests it was scarce in antiquity, and "that cancer-causing factors are limited to societies affected by modern industrialization," researcher Michael Zimmerman at Villanova University in Pennsylvania said in a statement. "In an ancient society lacking surgical intervention, evidence of cancer should remain in all cases." Zimmerman was the first to diagnose cancer in an Egyptian mummy by analyzing its tissues on a microscopic level, identifying rectal cancer in an unnamed mummy who had lived in the Dakhleh Oasis during the Ptolemaic period 1,600 to 1,800 years ago. As they analyzed ancient literature, they did not find descriptions of operations for breast and other cancers until the 17th century, and the first reports in the scientific literature of distinctive tumors have only occurred in the past 200 years, such as scrotal cancer in chimney sweepers in 1775, nasal cancer in snuff users in 1761 and Hodgkin's disease in 1832. David and Zimmerman therefore argue that cancer nowadays is largely caused by man-made environmental factors such as pollution and diet. They detailed their findings in the October issue of the journal Nature Reviews Cancer.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on important health issues, click here.
Harvard scientists reverse the ageing process in mice – now for humans
2010-11-28, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2010-12-06 11:37:16
Scientists claim to be a step closer to reversing the ageing process after rejuvenating worn out organs in elderly mice. The experimental treatment developed by researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, turned weak and feeble old mice into healthy animals by regenerating their aged bodies. The surprise recovery of the animals has raised hopes among scientists that it may be possible to achieve a similar feat in humans – or at least to slow down the ageing process. "What we saw in these animals was not a slowing down or stabilisation of the ageing process. We saw a dramatic reversal – and that was unexpected," said Ronald DePinho, who led the study, which was published in the journal Nature. The Harvard group focused on a process called telomere shortening. Most cells in the body contain 23 pairs of chromosomes, which carry our DNA. At the ends of each chromosome is a protective cap called a telomere. Each time a cell divides, the telomeres are snipped shorter, until eventually they stop working and the cell dies or goes into a suspended state called "senescence". The process is behind much of the wear and tear associated with ageing. At Harvard, they bred genetically manipulated mice that lacked an enzyme called telomerase that stops telomeres getting shorter. When DePinho gave the mice injections to reactivate the enzyme, it repaired the damaged tissues and reversed the signs of ageing.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on important health issues, click here.
Congress Approves Child Nutrition Bill
2010-12-03, The New York Times
Posted: 2010-12-06 11:35:05
Congress gave final approval ... to a child nutrition bill that expands the school lunch program and sets new standards to improve the quality of school meals, with more fruits and vegetables. School meal programs have a major impact on the nation’s health, and supporters of the bill said it could reduce the prevalence of obesity among children. The lunch program feeds more than 31 million children a day. The bill gives the secretary of agriculture authority to establish nutrition standards for foods sold in schools during the school day, including items in vending machines. The standards would require schools to serve more fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. And for the first time in more than three decades, the bill would increase federal reimbursement for school lunches beyond inflation — to help cover the cost of higher-quality meals. It would also allow more than 100,000 children on Medicaid to qualify automatically for free school meals.
Forbes Was Wrong On Monsanto. Really Wrong.
2010-10-12, Forbes.com blog
Posted: 2010-12-06 11:32:59
Forbes made Monsanto the company of the year last year in "The Planet Versus Monsanto." I know because I wrote the article. Since then everything that could have gone wrong for the genetically engineered seed company has gone wrong. Super-weeds that are resistant to its RoundUp weed killer are emerging, even as weed killer sales are being hit by cheap Chinese generics. An expensive new bioengineered corn seed with eight new genes does not look impressive in its first harvest. And the Justice Department is invesigating over antitrust issues. All this has led to massive share declines. Other publications are making fun of our cover story. Monsanto is destined to remain the dominant bioengineered seed company for some time to come. But unless it comes up with a hot new product, its growth years could all be behind it.
Note: WantToKnow.info's Fred Burks was blacklisted by Monsanto, likely for reporting stories like that above. For more on this, click here.
U.S. Says Genes Should Not Be Eligible for Patents
2010-10-30, The New York Times
Posted: 2010-11-29 21:27:35
Reversing a longstanding policy, the federal government said on [October 29] that human and other genes should not be eligible for patents because they are part of nature. The new position could have a huge impact on medicine and on the biotechnology industry. The new position was declared in a friend-of-the-court brief filed by the Department of Justice ... in a case involving two human genes linked to breast and ovarian cancer. “We acknowledge that this conclusion is contrary to the longstanding practice of the Patent and Trademark Office, as well as the practice of the National Institutes of Health and other government agencies that have in the past sought and obtained patents for isolated genomic DNA,” the brief said. The issue of gene patents has long been a controversial [one]. Opponents say that genes are products of nature, not inventions, and should be the common heritage of mankind. They say that locking up basic genetic information in patents actually impedes medical progress. Proponents say genes isolated from the body are chemicals that are different from those found in the body and therefore are eligible for patents. In its brief, the government said it now believed that the mere isolation of a gene, without further alteration or manipulation, does not change its nature.
Note: This is great news. To see how patents have been used in scary ways to promote global monopolies, watch this documentary.
A placebo is a placebo is a placebo ... or maybe not, a new study suggests
2010-10-18, The Los Angeles Times
Posted: 2010-11-29 21:24:40
Many drug trials involve a placebo, a sham drug whose results are compared with the results of the real medication. A placebo is supposed to contain a harmless substance, such as sugar or vegetable oil, which has no significant effect on the body. In [a new] study, researchers delved into 176 studies published in reputable medical journals ... from January 2008 to December 2009 to see if placebo contents were disclosed and if so, what they were. The study authors argue that placebo ingredients may not always be as inconsequential as some may think. They write: "For instance, olive oil and corn oil have been used as the placebo in trials of cholesterol-lowering drugs. This may lead to an understatement of drug benefit: The monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids of these 'placebos,' and their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, can reduce lipid levels and heart disease." Certain placebos, they add, may skew results in favor of the active drug. The researchers referenced a trial for a drug used to treat anorexia linked with cancer in which a lactose placebo was used. Since lactose intolerance is common among cancer patients, the fact that some suffered stomach problems from the placebo may have made the actual drug look more beneficial. "Perfect placebo is not the aim," they write, "rather, we seek to ensure that its composition is disclosed."
Note: For key reports from major media sources on important issues related to health and medicine, click here.