Health News ArticlesExcerpts of Key Health News Articles in Media
Three and a half years ago, on my 62nd birthday, doctors discovered a mass on my pancreas. It turned out to be Stage 3 pancreatic cancer. I was told I would be dead in four to six months. Today I am in that rare coterie of people who have survived this long with the disease. But I did not foresee that after having dedicated myself for 40 years to a life of the law, including more than two decades as a New York State judge, my quest for ameliorative and palliative care would lead me to marijuana. My survival has demanded an enormous price, including months of chemotherapy, radiation hell and brutal surgery. Inhaled marijuana is the only medicine that gives me some relief from nausea, stimulates my appetite, and makes it easier to fall asleep. The oral synthetic substitute, Marinol, prescribed by my doctors, was useless. Rather than watch the agony of my suffering, friends have chosen, at some personal risk, to provide the substance. I find a few puffs of marijuana before dinner gives me ammunition in the battle to eat. A few more puffs at bedtime permits desperately needed sleep. This is not a law-and-order issue; it is a medical and a human rights issue. Being treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, I am receiving the absolute gold standard of medical care. But doctors cannot be expected to do what the law prohibits, even when they know it is in the best interests of their patients. When palliative care is understood as a fundamental human and medical right, marijuana for medical use should be beyond controversy.
Note: The author is Gustin L. Reichbach, who is a justice of the New York State Supreme Court in Brooklyn. For lots more from reliable sources on the benefits of many mind-altering drugs, click here.
The federal government has not done enough to oversee the treatment of America's foster children with powerful mind-altering drugs, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. The GAO's report, based on a two-year-long investigation, looked at five states - Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oregon and Texas. Thousands of foster children were being prescribed psychiatric medications at doses higher than the maximum levels approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in these five states alone. And hundreds of foster children received five or more psychiatric drugs at the same time despite absolutely no evidence supporting the simultaneous use or safety of this. Overall, the GAO ... found that more than one-fourth of foster children were prescribed at least one psychiatric drug, [and] were prescribed psychotropic drugs at rates up to nearly five times higher than non-foster children. The chances of a foster child compared to a non-foster child being given five or more psychiatric drugs at the same time were alarming. In Texas, foster children were 53 times more likely to be prescribed five or more psychiatric medications at the same time than non-foster children. Foster children were also more than nine times more likely than non-foster children to be prescribed drugs for which there was no FDA-recommended dose for their age. For ... those less than 1 year old, foster children were nearly twice as likely to be prescribed a psychiatric drug compared to non-foster children.
People who started using mobile as teenagers and have been doing so for more than a decade are at a five-fold risk of developing a common type of brain cancer, new evidence indicates. The Swedish study found large increased incidence of astrocytoma, the most common form of a malignant brain tumour type called glioma, in those who had been using mobiles for over 10 years. The research, published in the International Journal of Oncology, was further evidence of the need to educate children of the potential dangers of talking on mobile phones. Researchers ... examined the mobile and cordless phone use of more than 1,200 Swedes, who were diagnosed with malignant brain cancer between 1997 and 2003. They then compared [their phone habits] to phone use information on almost 2,500 'controls'. The team concluded that using both mobiles and cordless phones led to "an increased risk for malignant brain tumours". People who started using mobiles as teenagers, and have done so for at least 10 years, were 4.9 times more likely to develop astrocytoma, compared to controls. Worringly, the comparable figure for cordless home phones - which are very similar to mobiles in terms of radiation emission - was almost as high, at 3.9. The study comes weeks after the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organisation, stated that radiation from handsets was "possibly carcinogenic", although it stopped short of declaring there was a clear link. Air-tubes, such as the Air2Hear, cut radiation exposure to the brain to almost zero by replacing the last six inches of wire with a hollow tube down.
A noted plant scientist who spent much of his career at Purdue University sent a letter to the USDA informing the agency that he'd discovered a mysterious new disease-causing organism in Monsanto's (MON) genetically engineered Roundup Ready corn and soybeans. Now, that scientist - Don Huber - has written a follow-up letter ... and appears in a videotaped interview where he presents an even scarier picture of the damage he claims Monsanto's herbicide chemical glyphosate (the main ingredient in Roundup) is doing to both plants and the animals who eat them. Use of glyphosate has soared thanks to widespread use of Monsanto's soy and corn seeds, which are genetically modified to survive its effects. The problem with glyphosate, Huber says, is that it effectively "gives a plant AIDS," weakening its defenses and making it more susceptible to pathogens, such as the one his team discovered. The scientists have taken to calling the bug "the electron microscope (EM) organism," since it can only be seen with an electron microscope. Huber claims that the double whammy of weakened defenses and the new EM organism have contributed to "unexplained epidemics" of disease on farms. He's heard from cattle farmers who are struggling because they're experiencing a 15% infertility rate and 35% rate of spontaneous abortions among their herds. When the farmers switch to non-GE soy and corn for feed, the problems decline dramatically.
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.
The first court award in a vaccine-autism claim is a big one. CBS News has learned the family of Hannah Poling will receive more than $1.5 million dollars for her life care, lost earnings, and pain and suffering for the first year alone. In addition to the first year, the family will receive more than $500,000 per year to pay for Hannah's care. Those familiar with the case believe the compensation could easily amount to $20 million over the child's lifetime. Hannah was described as normal, happy and precocious in her first 18 months. Then, in July 2000, she was vaccinated against nine diseases in one doctor's visit: measles, mumps, rubella, polio, varicella, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, and Haemophilus influenzae. Afterward, her health declined rapidly. She developed high fevers, stopped eating, didn't respond when spoken to, began showing signs of autism, and began having screaming fits. In acknowledging Hannah's injuries, the government said vaccines aggravated an unknown mitochondrial disorder Hannah had which didn't "cause" her autism, but "resulted" in it. It's unknown how many other children have similar undiagnosed mitochondrial disorder. All other autism "test cases" have been defeated at trial. Approximately 4,800 are awaiting disposition in federal vaccine court.
Note: A CBS affiliate reports that "since the late 1980s, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) has paid money for 83 cases involving autism." The article also mentions this has been kept quiet. For a powerful report by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. showing blatant deception and cover up on the part of government and industry around a link between vaccines and autism, click here. For numerous revealing reports from major media sources on the link between vaccines and autism, click here.
Eric Merola's "Burzynski" charts how a Texas medical doctor and biochemist developed Antineoplastons, genetic-targeted medicines, and with them began to treat a wide range of cancers, including difficult-to-treat brain malignancies, with remarkable and continuing success only to bring down the full force of the medical establishment, which has laid assault to him in the most stupefying, devious and costly manner. Stanislaw Burzynski, a Polish immigrant ... eventually won a 14-year struggle – during which he found himself threatened with life imprisonment and astronomical fines for fraud and other violations – to obtain FDA-approved clinical trials of his Antineoplastons, an ordeal that cost Burzynski $2.2 million in legal expenses and the FDA $60 million in taxpayers' money. The film makes the case that big pharmacy holds the FDA in its thrall. Burzynski's Antineoplastons, with their high success rate and lack of side effects, pose a significant threat to the trillion-dollar industry of treating cancer with the traditional methods of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
Note: The Los Angeles Times now requires payment to view this article at this link. For the Burzynski clinic website, click here. You can watch part or all of this revealing movie at this link. For another powerful documentary featuring a variety of potential cancer cures that have been suppressed, click here. For excerpts from numerous major media articles with potential cancer cures that are being suppressed, click here.
European criticism of the World Health Organization's handling of the H1N1 pandemic intensified ... with the release of two reports that accused the agency of exaggerating the threat posed by the virus and failing to disclose possible influence by the pharmaceutical industry on its recommendations for how countries should respond. The WHO's response caused widespread, unnecessary fear and prompted countries around the world to waste millions of dollars. At the same time, the Geneva-based arm of the United Nations relied on advice from experts with ties to drug makers in developing the guidelines it used to encourage countries to stockpile millions of doses of antiviral medications. The first report ... came from the Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which launched an investigation in response to allegations that the WHO's response to the pandemic was influenced by drug companies that make antiviral drugs and vaccines. The second report, a joint investigation by the [British Medical Journal] and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism ... criticized 2004 guidelines the WHO developed based in part on the advice of three experts who received consulting fees from the two leading manufacturers of antiviral drugs used against the virus, Roche and GlaxoSmithKline.
Note: For wide coverage from reliable sourcesof the swine and avian flu "fake pandemics" designed for corporate profit, click here.
The President’s Cancer Panel is the Mount Everest of the medical mainstream, so it is astonishing to learn that it is poised to join ranks with the organic food movement and declare: chemicals threaten our bodies. The cancer panel is releasing a landmark 200-page report ... warning that our lackadaisical approach to regulation may have far-reaching consequences for our health. It calls on America to rethink the way we confront cancer, including much more rigorous regulation of chemicals. The President’s Cancer Panel suggests ... giving preference to organic food, checking radon levels in the home and microwaving food in glass containers rather than plastic. In particular, the report warns about exposures to chemicals during pregnancy, when risk of damage seems to be greatest. Noting that 300 contaminants have been detected in umbilical cord blood of newborn babies, the study warns that: “to a disturbing extent, babies are born ‘pre-polluted.’” The report blames weak laws, lax enforcement and fragmented authority, as well as the existing regulatory presumption that chemicals are safe unless strong evidence emerges to the contrary. “Only a few hundred of the more than 80,000 chemicals in use in the United States have been tested for safety,” the report says. It adds: “Many known or suspected carcinogens are completely unregulated.”
Note: To read the President's Cancer Panel report, Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk, click here. For many other important reports from major media sources on potential cancer cures and treatments, click here.
In August 2009, CBS News made a simple request of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for public documents, e-mails and other materials CDC used to communicate to states the decision to stop testing individual cases of Novel H1N1, or "swine flu." When the public affairs folks at CDC refused to produce the documents and quit responding to my queries altogether, I filed a formal Freedom of Information (FOI) request for the materials. Two months after my FOI request, the CDC has yet to produce any of these easily retrievable materials. This has become standard operating procedure in Washington. Today, I received a letter from the CDC Freedom of Information office ... to inform me that my request for "expedited" treatment of my FOI request has been denied because CDC has determined the request is "not a matter of widespread and exceptional media and public interest." The CDC may be the only agency on the planet to argue that testing and counting of swine flu cases is "not of widespread and exceptional media and public interest." CBS News reporting on the topic has been quoted and reproduced internationally by news organizations such as California NPR, radio talk shows and others. The Freedom of Information Act ... was supposed to stop federal agencies from using their power and control to withhold public information from the people who own it. Many federal agencies use it to obstruct the delay or release of obviously public information.
Note: See powerful media reports suggesting that both the Avian Flu and Swine Flu were manipulated to promote fear and boost pharmaceutical sales. For other verifiable information on health corruption, see the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Health Information Center.
If you've been diagnosed "probable" or "presumed" 2009 H1N1 or "swine flu" in recent months, you may be surprised to know this: odds are you didn’t have H1N1 flu. In fact, you probably didn’t have flu at all. That's according to state-by-state test results obtained in a three-month-long CBS News investigation. Why the uncertainty about who has and who hasn't had H1N1 flu? In late July, the CDC abruptly advised states to stop testing for H1N1 flu, and stopped counting individual cases. CBS News learned that the decision to stop counting H1N1 flu cases was made so hastily that states weren't given the opportunity to provide input. When CDC did not provide us [CBS News] with the material, we filed a Freedom of Information request with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). More than two months later, the request has not been fulfilled. We also asked CDC for state-by-state test results prior to halting of testing and tracking, but CDC was again, initially, unresponsive. We asked all 50 states for their statistics on state lab-confirmed H1N1 prior to the halt of individual testing and counting in July. The vast majority of cases were negative for H1N1 as well as seasonal flu, despite the fact that many states were specifically testing patients deemed to be most likely to have H1N1 flu, based on symptoms and risk factors, such as travel to Mexico. With most cases diagnosed solely on symptoms and risk factors, the H1N1 flu epidemic may seem worse than it is.
Note: Some states found that less than 2% of cases claimed to be swine flu turned out to be the real thing. The numbers have been greatly exaggerated. Yet the drug companies raked in billions of dollars in profit from all the fear mongering. For more reliable information on this, click here and here.
A special comment on health care reform in this country. The insurance industry owns the Republican Party. Not exclusively. Pharma owns part of it, too. Hospitals and HMO's, another part. Sen. John Thune of South Dakota ... has thus far received from the Health Sector, campaign contributions ... amounting to $1,206,176. How about Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite? Are you truly worth every dollar of the $369,000,255 ... you have received over the years from the Health Sector? [And Democrat] Bart Gordon of Tennessee ... $1,173,000 in donations from the Health Sector. [Democratic Senator] Max Baucus of Montana, ... you're supposed to be negotiating all this out with the Republicans and hesitant Democrats? Your price has been ... $414,000 in donations from hospitals, about $667,000 from the insurance companies and just over $1,000,000 from Big Pharma. Mr. Baucus, you are not the Senator from Schering-Plough Global Health Care, even if they have already given you $76,000 towards your re-election. We could bring up Senator Hagan ... who, at $628,000, appears to represent the insurance industry and not North Dakota. I could bring up Sen. Carper, and Sen. Blanche Lincoln. I could bring up all the other Democrats doing their masters' bidding in the House or the Senate. Every poll, every analysis, every vote, every region of this country supports health care reform, and the essential great leveling agent of a government-funded alternative to ... profiteering private insurance corporations.
Note: For an excellent analysis of the huge influence of the pharmaceutical industry over our government by the former editor-in-chief of the esteemed New England Journal of Medicine, click here. It's time to get the money influence out of politics and shift from our current one dollar equals one vote to one person equals one vote.
Quality, affordable health care is on the critical list in America. And so is the newspaper business. So maybe it's not surprising that one of the most powerful papers in the country attempted an unholy alliance, trying to turn a profit from its newsroom's coverage of the fight for health care reform. You may have missed the story because it broke on the eve of the July 4th weekend. The publisher of The Washington Post, Katharine Weymouth — one of the most powerful people in the nation's capital — invited top officials from the White House, the Cabinet and Congress to her home for an intimate, off-the-record dinner to discuss health care reform with some of her reporters and editors covering the story. But she then invited CEOs and lobbyists from the health care industry to come, too — providing they fork over $25,000 a head, or a quarter of a million if they want to sponsor a whole series of these cozy little get-togethers. And what is the inducement she offers them? Nothing less than — and I'm quoting the invitation verbatim — "An exclusive opportunity to participate in the health care reform debate among the select few who will actually get it done." The invitation promises this private, intimate, and off-the-record dinner is an extension "of The Washington Post brand of journalistic inquiry into the issues, a unique opportunity for stakeholders to hear and be heard." Let that sink in. The "stakeholders" in health care reform in this case do not include the rabble — the folks across the country who actually need quality health care but can't afford it. If any of them showed up at the kitchen door on the night of this little soiree, a bouncer would drop kick them beyond the beltway.
Note: To read the complete text, click on the link above and scroll below the video box at the top of the page. For an excellent article on the Washington Post's ties to the CIA and manipulative politics, click here.
People who remember when tobacco advertising was a prominent part of the media landscape ... probably recollect that actors like Barbara Stanwyck and athletes like Mickey Mantle routinely endorsed cigarettes. But how about doctors and other medical professionals, proclaiming the merits of various cigarette brands? Or politicians? Or children? Even Santa Claus? Those images — some flabbergasting, even disturbing — were also used by Madison Avenue to peddle tobacco products. An exhibit ... in New York presents cigarette ads from the 1920s through the early 1950s in an effort to demonstrate what has changed since then — and what may not have. The exhibit is the brainchild of Dr. Robert K. Jackler of the Stanford School of Medicine. “The very best artists and copywriters that money could buy” would work on cigarette accounts, said Dr. Jackler. “This era of over-the-top hucksterism went on for decades,” he added, “and it was all blatantly false.” The genesis of the exhibit was an ad from around 1930 for Lucky Strike cigarettes, which shows a doctor above a headline proclaiming that “20,679 physicians say ‘Luckies are less irritating.’ ” The Luckies doctor was joined in Dr. Jackler’s collection of about 5,000 ads by scores of scientists and medical professionals — doctors, dentists, nurses — making statements that are now known to be patently untrue. Some of the claims being made in the ads, you did not have to be a scientist in a laboratory to dispute ... ads that smoking certain brands “does not cause bad breath” or “can never stain your teeth.”
Note: The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) promoted cigarette ads for 20 years "after careful consideration of the extent to which cigarettes were used by physicians in practice." Will people, even highly respected members of society, bend the truth and even lie when paid enough? This article seems to answer that with a resounding yes. Is that still true today? For excerpts from many highly revealing articles showing it's as true now as ever, click here and here.
The United States of America is becoming less united by the day. A 30-year gap now exists in the average life expectancy between Mississippi, in the Deep South, and Connecticut, in prosperous New England. Huge disparities have also opened up in income, health and education depending on where people live in the US, according to a report published yesterday. The American Human Development Index has [issued a report] measuring well-being ... with shocking results. The US finds itself ranked 42nd in global life expectancy and 34th in survival of infants to age. Suicide and murder are among the top 15 causes of death and although the US is home to just 5 per cent of the global population it accounts for 24 per cent of the world's prisoners. The report points to a rigged system that does little to lessen inequalities. "The report shows that although America is one of the richest nations in the world, it is woefully behind when it comes to providing opportunity and choices to all Americans to build a better life," the authors said. Some of its more shocking findings reveal that ... Asian-American males have the best quality of life and black Americans the lowest, with a staggering 50-year life expectancy gap between the two groups. Using official government statistics, the study points out that because American schools are funded primarily from local property taxes, rich districts get the best state education. The US has no federally mandated sick pay, paternity leave or annual paid vacation.
Note: For lots more on health issues from reliable, verifiable sources, click here.
In a major breakthrough in the search for a cure for cancer, the first human trials are to begin using a technique that has already been shown to destroy the disease in mice. The trials are the culmination of years of research prompted by the discovery of a cancer-proof mouse by researchers almost a decade ago. More than 20 cancer patients will be given white blood cells with cancer-killing properties in an attempt to boost their immune system's fight against the deadly illness. The work stems from experiments into the metabolism of a humble laboratory mouse whose immunity to cancer defied the repeated attempts of scientists to kill it with high-level doses of cancer cells. White blood cells taken from the animal and its offspring were subsequently used to cure other mice of advanced cancers. The white blood cells destroyed the cancer cells but left normal cells alone. This discovery encouraged scientists to study how people might be helped to fight off cancer by being given a boost of white blood cells called granulocytes. Laboratory tests have since shown how human granulocytes can destroy cervical, prostate and breast cancer cells, provided sufficient numbers of cancer-killing granulocytes from healthy donors are used. Scientists are now confident that the treatment will prove just as successful in humans as it has been in mice. Hundreds of donors will be recruited for the new treatment – which is called leukocyte infusion therapy – and a process similar to platelet donation will be used to collect the granulocytes.
When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved implanting microchips in humans, the manufacturer said it would save lives, letting doctors scan the tiny transponders to access patients' medical records almost instantly. The FDA found "reasonable assurance" the device was safe, and a sub-agency even called it one of 2005's top "innovative technologies." But neither the company nor the regulators publicly mentioned this: A series of veterinary and toxicology studies, dating to the mid-1990s, stated that chip implants had "induced" malignant tumors in some lab mice and rats. "The transponders were the cause of the tumors," said Keith Johnson, a retired toxicologic pathologist, explaining ... the findings of a 1996 study he led at the Dow Chemical Co. Leading cancer specialists reviewed the research for The Associated Press and ... said the findings troubled them. Some said they would not allow family members to receive implants, and all urged further research before the glass-encased transponders are widely implanted in people. To date, about 2,000 of the so-called radio frequency identification, or RFID, devices have been implanted in humans worldwide. Did the agency know of the tumor findings before approving the chip implants? The FDA declined repeated AP requests to specify what studies it reviewed. The FDA is overseen by the Department of Health and Human Services, which, at the time of VeriChip's approval, was headed by Tommy Thompson. Two weeks after the device's approval took effect on Jan. 10, 2005, Thompson left his Cabinet post, and within five months was a board member of VeriChip Corp. and Applied Digital Solutions. He was compensated in cash and stock options.
Note: For more reliable information about the use and dangers of microchips, click here.
Money talks -- and very loudly -- when a drug company is funding a clinical trial involving one of its products. UCSF researchers looked at nearly 200 head-to-head studies of widely prescribed cholesterol-lowering medications, or statins, and found that results were 20 times more likely to favor the drug made by the company that sponsored the trial. "We have to be really, really skeptical of these drug-company-sponsored studies," said Lisa Bero, the study's author and professor of clinical pharmacy and health policy studies. The trials typically involved comparing the effectiveness of a drug to one or two other statins. UCSF researchers also found that a study's conclusions -- not the actual research results but the trial investigators' impressions -- are more than 35 times more likely to favor the test drug when that trial is sponsored by the drug's maker. Bero said drug companies fund up to 90 percent of drug-to-drug clinical trials for certain classes of medication. The researchers found other factors that could affect trial results. For example, pharmaceutical companies could choose not to publish results of studies that fail to favor their drugs, or they could be designed in ways to skew results. The study found the most important weakness of trials was lack of true clinical outcome measures. In the case of statins, some trials focused on less-direct results such as lipid levels but failed to connect the results with key outcomes such as heart attacks or mortality. "None of us really care what our cholesterol level is. We care about having a heart attack," Gibson said. "For the drug to be worthwhile taking, it has to be directly related to prevent a heart attack."
Note: For lots more reliable information about corruption in the pharmaceutical industry, click here.
Two of the world’s largest drug companies are paying hundreds of millions of dollars to doctors every year in return for giving their patients anemia medicines, which regulators now say may be unsafe at commonly used doses. The payments are legal, but very few people outside of the doctors who receive them are aware of their size. The payments give physicians an incentive to prescribe the medicines at levels that might increase patients’ risks of heart attacks or strokes. At just one practice in the Pacific Northwest, a group of six cancer doctors received $2.7 million from Amgen for prescribing $9 million worth of its drugs last year. [A] report prepared by F.D.A. staff scientists said no evidence indicated that the medicines either improved quality of life in patients or extended their survival. Several studies suggested that the drugs can shorten patients’ lives when used at high doses. The medicines ... are among the world’s top-selling drugs. They represent the single biggest drug expense for Medicare. Since 1991 ... the average dose given to dialysis patients in this country has nearly tripled. About 50 percent of dialysis patients now receive enough of the drugs to raise their red blood cell counts above the level considered risky by the F.D.A. Unlike most drugs, the anemia medicines do not come in fixed doses. Therefore, doctors have great flexibility to increase dosing — and profits. The companies have [failed] to test whether lower doses of the medicines might work better than higher doses. There is little evidence that the drugs make much difference for patients with moderate anemia, and federal statistics show that the increased use of the drugs has not improved survival in dialysis patients.
Note: For lots more on major corruption in health care, click here.
By Dr. Michael Wilkes. I recently wrote a column about cholesterol-lowering medications. I stated that if 67 healthy men with elevated cholesterol took a cholesterol-lowering drug ... for five years, only one would benefit. The other 66 would not benefit, and it would cost about $5,500 over the five-year period. I received a ton of e-mail from readers. Many readers wrote that after knowing this number, they did not feel taking the drug was worth the effort or expense. Others took the opposite view. Both interpretations are valid, depending on the person's values. This number -- the 1 in 67 -- is a term doctors call "the number needed to treat," or NNT. It is a relatively new concept [that] is grossly underused in sharing information with the public. Doctors and pharmacists do a poor job talking with patients about their medications. Many people will derive little or no benefit from their medicines, but they are never told this. The key is for doctors and patients to understand the NNT. Here are some estimates of NNT: 1 in 2,550: The number of breast cancer deaths prevented in women between the ages of 50 and 59 screened annually for five years with mammograms. 1 in 2,000: The number of women ages 60-64 without risk factors who would prevent a hip fracture by taking medicine for osteoporosis for five years. 1 in 700: The number of people with mild high blood pressure who would prevent a stroke or heart attack by taking blood pressure medicine for one year. 1 in 16: The number of infections prevented by treating a victim of a dog bite with a week of antibiotics. 1 in 7: The number of children (otherwise healthy children) who benefit from treatment with an antibiotic for an ordinary ear infection.
Note: Many doctors and scientists have made valid claims that drug companies are hyping disease in order to make profits on their drugs. For a top MD's discussion of this vital topic, click here.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.