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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Water Tower Antennae

Birds have historically been adaptable to pollution. Now with ever increasing electro-magnetic pollution (ElectroSmog) from cell phone towers, WI-FI and DTV, even birds cannot sustain.
As the crow flies: birds flee

The Importance of Being Earnest

In the Oscar Wilde play of the same name Wilde uses Lady Bracknell to embody the mind-boggling stupidity of the British aristocracy, while at the same time, he allows her to voice some of the most trenchant observations in the play.

Lady Bracknell state's “I do not approve of anything that tampers with natural ignorance. Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone. The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound. Fortunately in England, at any rate, education produces no effect whatsoever. If it did, it would prove a serious danger to the upper classes, and probably lead to acts of violence in Grosvenor Square.”

Perhaps we are dealing with mind boggling ignorance of the pundits in the new administration - and Members of Congress - when it comes to the health care debate.

If one is familiar with current health care concerns, they know all too well that people who are the "Medicare eligibles" and "Medicaid recipients" are in between the proverbial 'rock and a hard place' because they already are being turned away from care because of low reimbursement rates.

Now on top of the excessive costs and privacy risks of electronic health care records, Obama wants to further reduce reimbursement.

"...make big changes to health care, including lower reimbursements for Medicare and Medicaid treatments and prescription drugs."

We do not see any effort to reduce reimbursements, treatments and Rx from the health care plan used by members of Congress.

We also haven't seen any move to reverse the horrendous gift to the drub industry by Bushites AKA Medicare Plan D. Changes here would save millions, just starting with bidiing for supplying the drugs and elimination of the estra level of bureaucracy called "case management".

I remind you that it is a violation of the equal protection clause to continue these dualistic and more costly in the long term type of patches to the long broken health care system.

Your effort in learning what you can do to build your health is the key. You'll find some of our many health education programs at TOC, and of course we also offer consultation to you and to health care providers.

A move to reign in lobbyists is just as massive an undertaking - and of course we have the culture of bureacracy, something not unfamiliar with the new crew in the White House and the pack of hardline cronies with no vested interest in real change.
Obama challenges lobbyists to legislative duel
By CHARLES BABINGTON, Associated Press Writer Charles Babington, Associated Press Writer
Sat Feb 28, 3:39 pm ET

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama challenged the nation's vested interests to a legislative duel Saturday, saying he will fight to change health care, energy and education in dramatic ways that will upset the status quo.

"The system we have now might work for the powerful and well-connected interests that have run Washington for far too long," Obama said in his weekly radio and video address. "But I don't. I work for the American people."

He said the ambitious budget plan he presented Thursday will help millions of people, but only if Congress overcomes resistance from deep-pocket lobbies.

"I know these steps won't sit well with the special interests and lobbyists who are invested in the old way of doing business, and I know they're gearing up for a fight," Obama said, using tough-guy language reminiscent of his predecessor, George W. Bush. "My message to them is this: So am I."

The bring-it-on tone underscored Obama's combative side as he prepares for a drawn-out battle over his tax and spending proposals. Sometimes he uses more conciliatory language and stresses the need for bipartisanship. Often he favors lofty, inspirational phrases.

On Saturday, he was a full-throated populist, casting himself as the people's champion confronting special interest groups that care more about themselves and the wealthy than about the average American.

Some analysts say Obama's proposals are almost radical. But he said all of them were included in his campaign promises. "It is the change the American people voted for in November," he said.

Nonetheless, he said, well-financed interest groups will fight back furiously.

Insurance companies will dislike having "to bid competitively to continue offering Medicare coverage, but that's how we'll help preserve and protect Medicare and lower health care costs," the president said. "I know that banks and big student lenders won't like the idea that we're ending their huge taxpayer subsidies, but that's how we'll save taxpayers nearly $50 billion and make college more affordable. I know that oil and gas companies won't like us ending nearly $30 billion in tax breaks, but that's how we'll help fund a renewable energy economy."

Passing the budget, even with a Democratic-controlled Congress, "won't be easy," Obama said. "Because it represents real and dramatic change, it also represents a threat to the status quo in Washington."

Obama also promoted his economic proposals in a video message to a group meeting in Los Angeles on "the state of the black union."

"We have done more in these past 30 days to bring about progressive change than we have in the past many years," the president in remarks the White House released in advance. "We are closing the gap between the nation we are and the nation we can be by implementing policies that will speed our recovery and build a foundation for lasting prosperity and opportunity."

Congressional Republicans continued to bash Obama's spending proposals and his projection of a $1.75 trillion deficit this year.

Almost every day brings another "multibillion-dollar government spending plan being proposed or even worse, passed," said Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., who gave the GOP's weekly address.

He said Obama is pushing "the single largest increase in federal spending in the history of the United States, while driving the deficit to levels that were once thought impossible."

On the Net:Obama address:
Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Michael Moore

I had a few posts planned for today, however learning of Michael's passing this last Friday, I will add just the following for today.

Michael Moore is perhaps one of the most preeminent herbalists in the world, and one who has contributed much and influenced many.

I know I relied so much on his work and his help during the years I presented my "Medicinal Uses of Wildflowers"(c) series at the Darrington (WA) Wildflower Festival every summer for a decade.

His books were required reading for my students. His books and the vast amount of information he made available to people were invaluable when I was teaching my Natural Healing for Diabetes programs on reservations in the west. I recommended his work to many health professionals over the years.

Those in medicine who constantly attack us who know the wealth of information about natural healing are well advised to refer to Moore's resources.

Here are some memorials other have posted.

SW School
Paul Bergner
Bear Medicine

Godspeed my friend.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

New orthopaedic procedure for faster healing, perhaps

When I developed my xtreme sports formula in 2004, one of the things we discovered in some cases being followed by MDs, is that fracture healing increased between 30-40% when the athletes continued using ADVENTURX.

This wasn't a double blind study (actually these can be manipulated readily to achieve a specific outcome), just based on information received on these cases.

Perhaps it would be beneficial for other non-surgical approaches.
Long bone fractures heal faster after injections of bone-building cells.

Cell Injections Accelerate Fracture Healing

ScienceDaily (2009-02-21) -- Long bone fractures heal faster after injections of bone-building cells. New research has shown that osteoblast cells cultured from a patient's own bone marrow can be injected into the fracture area and can speed the healing process. ... > read full article

Health Care Industry already sharing health records

Worth reading, especially the comments.

If you find a health provider willing to take cash then you have more control over your own records. Just get your files compiled and carry them with you.

Hospital Workers Sharing Music? They May Also Be Sharing Your Medical Records
Health care workers using Gnutella or other peer-to-peer (P2P) networks to share music and video, may be putting you at risk for medical identity theft, Dartmouth researchers find.

Green Living: Clean Food

Green Living is a subject I've been engaged in for a very long time. While I know this is a trendy topic now and a lot of people are trying to get on the band wagon and convince you they are "experts", little seems to be available to really help you if you are outside an urban center with lots of resources or in some tropical location.

If you can't afford going organic there are things you can do, and be healthy. This suggestion comes from a newsletter I receive, and yes peeling food is a helpful process.

Better yet, make a donation to our non-profit organization and receive a copy of our food cleaning 'Healthy Handout'(c)

Youll learn how you don't need to purchase veggie wash products, but how you can make your own and use it to clean a wide array of foods, more than fruits and vegetables.

"If you can't afford organic produce, you can still enjoy great health. If you can't buy organic produce, I would still encourage you to buy non-organic fruits and vegetables and enjoy a full array of different types.

However, I'd also recommend taking some additional steps with the non-organic produce that you purchase. It would be important to wash your non-organic fruit and vegetables well, using a natural bristle brush to lightly scrub the surface, so that you can remove some of the pesticide residues that may be present.

You may also want to peel conventionally grown cucumbers, eggplant, potatoes, and apples. This peeling recommendation is due to two factors. First, the outermost surfaces of fruits and vegetables may be the most affected by pesticide spraying. Second, the above types of produce often have petroleum-based wax coatings that may work against your best health. (The situation with the peeling of non-organic produce is exactly opposite from the situation with organic fruits and vegetables. With organic produce, you almost always want to keep the peels and skins intact because they are among the most nutrient-rich parts of any food.)

Do you have a farmer's market near you? If so, you may want to buy your produce there. Even if the produce you find there is not certified organic, chances are that it may contain less pesticide residues than produce available in larger grocery stores that do not focus on locally grown foods. Many small farmers don't go through the process of organic certification but still grow their produce with minimal, if any, agricultural chemicals."

In 2006, the Environmental Working Group released an updated report that identified foods in the conventional, non-organic food supply that contained the highest number of pesticide residues. The worst offenders, which were nicknamed the "dirty dozen," include:

# Apples
# Bell peppers
# Celery
# Cherries
# Grapes (imported, especially grapes from South American countries)
# Lettuce
# Nectarines
# Peaches
# Pears
# Potatoes
# Spinach
# Strawberries

EWG released an updated version of their report "Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce" in 2006 in which they reported on pesticide residues found on 43 popular fresh fruits and vegetables. This report was based upon an analysis of over 100,000 U.S. government pesticide test results. The following are the 12 fruits and vegetables that they found least likely to have concentrated pesticide residues:

# Asparagus
# Avocados
# Bananas (fungicides are used in Bananas, NHN note)
# Broccoli
# Cabbage
# Corn (frozen)
# Kiwi
# Mangoes
# Onions
# Papaya
# Pineapple
# Sweet peas (frozen)

And from our main domain, posted since the early 1990s -
- from Citizen Petition.
When you eat bananas, melons, or oranges from the supermarket you are ingesting ethyl alcohol, isopropanol, oxidized polyethylene, shellac, propylene glycol, silicone, and sulfur dioxide.
When you eat tomatoes, avocado, peaches, and plums, you are ingesting 2-6-dichloro-4-nitroaniline, botran, ammonia compounds, and dimethylpolyoxane. (see for information on aniline containing substances)
When you eat sweet potatoes, onions, parsnips, and beets you ingest fungicides imazilil, benomyl, and thiabenzadole. These substances are cancer causing as well as sources of birth defects, mutations, and immune system damage. They cannot be removed by peeling and are used to allow longer shelf life (not fresher or safer food).THE TRUTH ABOUT FOOD WAX

Friday, February 20, 2009

Another FDA approved drug linked to hazards and death

UPDATE: 9 April - Raptiva is withdrawn from the U.S. market
Contact us for natural health information for psoriasis.
The last sentence tell you that the government wants you to believe that psoriasis is not curable, but they want you to take a drug that does little to help yet may even cause death.

I wonder why it is that some very simple testing for food allergy, especially wheat, and other natural treatments do an excellent job of helping people?
FDA: Psoriasis drug could cause deadly brain infection

NEW:European Medicines Agency discourages new Raptiva prescriptions

Raptiva's product labeling was revised in October to highlight risks

Raptiva is an injection for adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis

The drug suppresses T-cells, which makes it decrease immune system function

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The government is warning that taking the psoriasis drug Raptiva could result in serious brain infection and even death.

The Food and Drug Administration cited three confirmed cases, and a possible fourth, of people diagnosed with progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) after being treated with Raptiva.

"Three of those patients have died," the FDA said in a public health advisory. "All four patients were treated with the drug for more than three years."

None was receiving other treatments that suppress the immune system.

Raptiva's product labeling was revised in October to highlight a boxed warning about the risks of life-threatening infections, including PML.

"At that time, the FDA directed Genentech, the manufacturer, to develop a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy (REMS) to include a medication guide to educate patients about the drug's risks," the FDA's advisory says.

In the advisory, issued Thursday, the FDA highlighted the confirmed cases and promised to "take appropriate steps" to ensure that Raptiva's risks do not outweigh its benefits.

The FDA also said it will ensure that patients "are clearly informed of the signs and symptoms of PML" and that health care professionals "carefully monitor patients for the possible development of PML."

Overseas, the European Medicines Agency has gone further, recommending that no new prescriptions for Raptiva be issued and that patients taking the drug talk to their doctors about an alternative.

On Thursday it asked the European Commission to make that recommendation legally binding.

The group's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use determined "that the benefits of Raptiva no longer outweigh its risks, because of safety concerns, including the occurrence of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy in patients taking the medicine."

It said patients who have been treated with the drug should be "closely monitored for neurological symptoms and symptoms of infection."

"Patients who are currently taking Raptiva should not stop treatment abruptly, but should make an appointment with their doctor to discuss the most appropriate replacement treatment," the agency said.

Raptiva, a once-weekly injection for adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, works by suppressing T-cells -- cells that help fight infection -- in the immune system. Those cells cause the skin inflammation associated with psoriasis.

By suppressing T-cells, Raptiva "decreases the function of the immune system, which increases a patient's susceptibility to infections," the FDA said.

The National Institutes of Health says the prognosis for PML "remains grim; the disease usually lasts for months and 80 percent die within the first six months, although spontaneous improvement has been reported. Those who survive PML can be left with severe neurological disabilities."

Around 6 million to 7 million Americans have psoriasis, which is incurable, the NIH says.

Nutrition and Health

I felt enlivened by the following quote from a physician colleague of mine taken from a recent issue of her newsletter.
the REAL Miracle is…
…that modern man gets by as well as he does with so little of this essential nutrient. A hundred years ago — before we depleted our soil with greedy agricultural practices — the average person received at least 500 mg of magnesium a day, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

Without supplementation, in 2009, even on a pure organic diet, you’re looking at only 150 mg at best.

She is very correct about the lack of nutrients even in an all organic diet. She is also correct about the deficiency of magnesium that most people truly do experience and how this adds a great weight to health status, or should I say "poor health status".

I certainly get more from this level of confirmation than I do when I read the gibberish from pundit doctors and USDA brain washed dietitians about how vitamins and supplements are just a waste of your money and that eating a good diet will give you all you need, or that organic food isn't worth the expense.

Certainly good dental health comes more from nutrition than fluoride.

And good overall health comes from sound nutrition and supplements used daily or otherwise. Nutrition And Dental Health

Certainly it doesn't come from pharmaceutical drugs.
Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, February 19, 2009
Vitamin Deficiency Underlies Tooth Decay
Malnutrition Causes Much More than Dental Disease
(OMNS, February 19, 2009) Cavities and gum diseases are not often regarded as serious diseases, yet they are epidemic throughout our society, from the youngest of children to the oldest of senior citizens. Research more than suggests that the same good nutrition that prevents cavities and gum diseases may also prevent other illnesses.

Dental caries and gum pathology are frequently associated with serious chronic health problems. Multiple independent studies published after 1990 document this. Cavities are associated with poor mental health [1-4]. Elderly individuals with dementia or Alzheimer's disease had an average of 7.8 teeth with fillings vs. an average of only 2.7 fillings for elderly individuals without dementia [1]. It is likely that the toxic heavy metal mercury, which makes up half of every amalgam filling, is a contributing factor.

A recent authoritative review showed a clear association between cavities and heart diseases [5]. More importantly, this same study showed that people with poor oral health, on average, lead shorter lives. The association between cavities and diabetes is also a subject of active, ongoing research [6-8]. Connections between heart disease, diabetes, and dental decay have been suspected for decades. Many of the scientists who called attention to this have proposed that diets high in sugar and refined carbohydrates were the common cause of these diseases [9-15].

Dental diseases, mental diseases, heart disease, infectious respiratory diseases, and heart disease are all at least partially caused by common failures in metabolism. Such failures are inevitable when there is a deficiency of essential nutrients, particularly vitamins D, C, and niacin.

There is especially strong evidence for a relationship between vitamin D deficiency and cavities. Dozens of studies were conducted in the 1930's and 1940's [16-27]. More than 90% of the studies concluded that supplementing children with vitamin D prevents cavities. Particularly impressive was a study published in 1941 demonstrated the preventative affect of "massive" doses of vitamin D [28]. And yet no subsequent studies in the scientific literature suggested a need to follow up and repeat this work.

Vitamin D deficiency is linked to respiratory infections, cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other ailments [29]. The evidence for vitamin C was reviewed by Linus Pauling [15], and the evidence for niacin was reviewed by Abram Hoffer [30].

Obtaining vitamins in sufficient doses to help prevent dental disease is safe and easily accomplished. Between 5,000 and 15,000 IU of vitamin D may be obtained from modest exposure to sunshine in the middle of the day. Recommending that people regularly use the capacity of their skin to make vitamin D is common sense. Certainly 1,000 to 2,000 IU per day of vitamin D in supplemental form is safe. 2,000 milligrams per day of vitamin C, and hundreds of milligrams per day of niacin, help prevent tooth and mouth troubles. Sick individuals, and those who are prone to cavities, will typically benefit by starting with higher doses of vitamin D, vitamin C, and niacin under the supervision of an orthomolecular physician.

We believe that individuals taking these nutrients, along with good dental care, will have dramatically fewer cavities and gum operations than individuals just getting good dental care. This idea is easily tested, and the time has come to do so.


[1] B Ellefsen; P Holm-Pedersen; D E Morse; M. Schroll; B. Andersen; G. Waldemar. Caries Prevalence in Older Persons with and without Dementia. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Volume 56, Number 1, January 2008, 59-67(9).
[2] J M Chalmers, K D Carter, A J Spencer. Caries incidence and increments in community-living older adults with and without dementia. Australian Research Center for Population Oral Health, Dental School, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide 5005, Australia. Gerodontology Volume 19 Issue 2, 80 - 94.
[3] Friedlander, A.H.; Mahler, M.E. Major depressive disorder psychopathology, medical management and dental implications. Graduate Medical Education, Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (14), Los Angeles, CA, USA. Journal of the American Dental Association (2001), 132(5), 629-638.
[4] Stewart, R.; et. al. Oral Health and Cognitive Function in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), Psychosomatic Medicine 70:936-941 (2008).
[5] Meurman, J.H.; Sanz, M.;Janket, S. Oral infection and vascular disease. Institute of Dentistry, University of Helsinki, Finland. Vascular Disease Prevention (2007), 4(4), 260-267.
[6] Touger-Decker R, Sirois D A, Vernillo A T. Diabetes mellitus: Nutrition and oral health relationships. Department of Primary Care, School of Health-Related Professions, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark, NJ, USA. Editor(s): Touger-Decker, Riva. Nutrition and Oral Medicine (2005), 185-204.
[7] Diaz-Romero, R.; Casanova-Roman, R.; Beltran-Zuniga, M; Belmont-Padilla, J.; Mendez, J.; Avila-Rosas, H.. Oral Infections and Glycemic Control in Pregnant Type 2 Diabetics. Instituto Nacional de Perinatologia, Mexico City, Mex. Archives of Medical Research (2005), 36(1), 42-48.
[8] Twetman, S.; Johansson, I.; Birkhed, D.; Nederfors, T. Caries incidence in young type 1 diabetes mellitus patients in relation to metabolic control and caries-associated risk factors. Caries Research (2002), 36(1), 31-35.
[9] Bommer, S. Diseases of civilization and nutrition. Ernaehrungsforschung (1963), 7 598-612.
[10] Miler-Sosnkowska, M. Role of dietary carbohydrates in relation to their metabolism. Inst. Zywienia Czlowieka, Akad. Roln., Warsaw, Pol. Postepy Higieny i Medycyny Doswiadczalnej (1975), 29(4), 537-55.
[11] Cremer, H.D.; Eyer, H. Carbohydrates. Inst. Ernaehrungswiss. I, Univ. Giessen, Giessen, Fed. Rep. Ger. Ernaehrungs-Umschau (1975), 22(10), 291-3.
[12] Newberne, P.M.. Nutrition: summary of evidence. Sweeteners: Issues, uncertainties. Acad. Forum, 4th (1975), 76-85, 252-3.
[13] Heraud, G. Sucrose and nutritional pathology. Sucrerie Francaise (1979), 120(24), 21-6.
[14] Nuttall, F.Q.; Gannon, M.C.. Sucrose and disease. Diabetes Care (1981), 4(2), 305-10.
[15] Pauling, L. "How to Live Longer and Feel Better." W.H. Freeman and Company, 1986. Revised 2006, Oregon State University Press.
[16] Tisdall, F.F. The effect of nutrition on the primary teeth. Child Development (1937) 8(1), 102-4.
[17] McBeath, E.C. Nutrition and diet in relation to preventive dentistry. NY J. Dentistry (1938) 8; 17-21.
[17] McBeath, E.C.; Zucker, T.F. Role of vitamin D in the control of dental caries in children. Journal of Nutrition (1938) 15; 547-64.
[19] East, B. R. Nutrition and dental caries. American Journal of Public Health 1938. 28; 72-6.
[20] Mellanby, M. The role of nutrition as a factor in resistance to dental caries. British Dental Journal (1937), 62; 241-52.
[21] His Majesty's Stationery Office, London. The influence of diet on caries in children's teeth. Report of the Committee for the Investigation of Dental Disease (1936).
[22] McBeath, F.C. Vitamin D studies, 1933-1934. American Journal of Public Health (1934), 24 1028-30.
[23] Anderson, P. G.; Williams, C. H. M.; Halderson, H.; Summerfeldt, C.; Agnew, R. Influence of vitamin D in the prevention of dental caries. Journal of the American Dental Association (1934) 21; 1349-66.
[24] Day, C. D.; Sedwick, H. J. Fat-soluble vitamins and dental caries in children. Journal of Nutrition (1934) 8; 309-28.
[25] Agnew, M. C.; Agnew, R. G.; Tisdall, F. F. The production and prevention of dental caries. Journal of the American Dental Association, JADA (1933) 20; 193-212.
[26] Bennett, N. G.; et al. The influence of diet on caries in children's teeth. Special Report Series - Medical Research Council, UK (1931) No. 159, 19.
[27] Mellanby, M.; Pattison, C. L. The influence of a cereal-free diet rich in vitamin D and calcium on dental caries in children. British Medical Journal (1932) I 507-10.
[28] Brodsky, R. H.; Schick, B.; Vollmer, H.. Prevention of dental caries by massive doses of vitamin D. American Journal of Diseases of Children (1941) 62; 1183-7.
[30] Hoffer A, Saul AW. Orthomolecular Medicine for Everyone. Laguna Beach, California, Basic Health Pub, 2008.

Nutritional Medicine is Orthomolecular Medicine

Orthomolecular medicine uses safe, effective nutritional therapy to fight illness. For more information:

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sure Still Sounds like HillaryCare to me

The insurance industry lobbyists are hard at work...and consider that the next HHS batter up at the plate is a former insurance commissioner.

I don't know about you but to me it really is time for people to take back control of their health, understand their rights, and not allow the Draconian plan promulgated by the current administration embedded in the "stimulus" plan to make any headway.

All you will get is rationed care according to a very low level of "protocol standards of care" cookie-cutter treatment. It will be drug oriented thanks to Big Pharma and there will be NO inherent interest for your health, well being or cure.

"The aim here is not to move away from the private insurance industry," said Dr. James Mongan, president and CEO of Partners HealthCare System Inc in Massachusetts, who headed the Commonwealth Fund commission that drafted the proposal.

New U.S. health insurance program envisioned
By Will Dunham Thu Feb 19, 2009

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A prominent private U.S. health policy group on Thursday proposed creating a major new public health program and government-operated insurance exchange as part of a plan to expand coverage and rein in health care costs.

The Commonwealth Fund, a leading private health policy research group, unveiled a comprehensive plan for changing a U.S. health care system that is the world's most expensive yet lags many other nations in important measures of quality.

They hope the Obama administration and lawmakers consider the ideas as they move forward this year with plans for major changes in the health care system. This plan is one of many being advanced as U.S. policymakers move toward action.

The proposal favors a mix of public and private insurance options over the idea of a fully government-run health system.

Every American would be required to have some form of public or private health insurance, and one choice would be a new nationwide government program for anyone under 65, the age when eligibility for the existing Medicare program begins.

More than 40 million people would be expected initially to sign up for the new program, the group's Cathy Schoen said.

The government would also operate an insurance exchange similar to the one run by the state of Massachusetts, giving people the option of comparing coverage and choosing among a menu of private insurers or the new public program.

The plan envisions wide adoption of health information technology, greater disease prevention efforts and insurance payment changes that reward efficiency and penalize waste.

Commonwealth Fund leaders said their proposal is designed to achieve nearly universal insurance coverage while enhancing the quality of the health care system and controlling costs.

"The aim here is not to move away from the private insurance industry," said Dr. James Mongan, president and CEO of Partners HealthCare System Inc in Massachusetts, who headed the Commonwealth Fund commission that drafted the proposal.

U.S. Census Bureau figures show 15 percent of Americans had no health insurance in 2007, a total of 45.7 million people. Within two years, only about 4 million Americans would remain uninsured under the new proposal.

Americans spent $2.2 trillion on health care in 2007, according to a government report released in January, representing 16.2 percent of U.S. gross domestic product.

Health spending would continue to increase, but the rate of increase would be slower than current projections over the next decade. The plan would reduce annual growth from a projected 6.7 percent to 5.5 percent and save a cumulative total of about $3 trillion by 2020, the Commonwealth Fund said.

(Editing by Julie Steenhuysen and Todd Eastham)
Copyright © 2009 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

More problems for Women's Health

The difficulty here from my perspective is that you aren't being told that anyone treated for any type of cancer can later develop other cancers. Usually people are told that if they achieve the 5 year window successfully following treatment they are cancer free. The other side of this is that if you do develop cancer again after the end of the 5 year window, it is statistically interpreted as a "new"cancer, although that may not in fact be the case.

What I wonder is why don't more women get told about the real and effective benefits from herbs and other nutritional supplements along with diet that will off set menopausal symptoms bone loss concerns. At time is is important to consider liver health because of its role in recycling neurotransmitters and detoxification, all interfered with by chemotherapy and other synthetic hormone pharmaceuticals.
Menopause drug linked to breast cancer relapse
Tue Feb 17, 2009
PARIS (AFP) – A synthetic steroid used to treat menopause symptoms and prevent osteoporosis significantly increases the risk of a relapse in breast cancer patients, according to a study released Tuesday.

The steroid, called tibolone, should not be prescribed to a woman who has had or is suspected of having breast cancer, concluded the study, published in the British medical journal The Lancet Oncology.

Women with breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy are often beset with the debilitating symptoms of menopause, including hot flushes, night sweats, and bone loss.

Tibolone is licensed for use in 90 countries for alleviating these symptoms, and 55 countries have approved its use in treating osteoporosis, according to the study.

But concern that the drugs might also cause a recurrence of cancer have led to their being ruled out for patients with breast cancer.

Still, many patients with breast cancer use the drug -- often available without prescription -- to counteract the effects of menopause.

In clinical trials led by Peter Kenemans of the VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam, 3,098 women who had been surgically treated for breast cancer and who were experiencing hot flushes along with other related symptoms were divided into two groups.

The first was given a daily dose of 2.5 milligrammes of tibolone, and the second a look-alike placebo.

Just over 10 percent of the women who had taken the dummy medication suffered a cancer relapse, compared to more than 15 percent of the women who had taken the steroid -- an increased risk of 40 percent.

Seventy percent of the recurrences among the tibolone group were so-called "distant metastatses," which are invariably fatal.

The increased risk was so pronounced that the trial was stopped six months early.

"Although the trial was intended to show the non-inferiority of tibolone compared with placebo, the findings clearly show that -- although effective against hot flushes -- tibolone does increase the risk of breast-cancer recurrence," the study said.

Copyright © 2009 Agence France Presse.

Overlooked Health Consequences

UPDATE: 9 March 2010

Virus infections may be contributing factor in onset of gluten intolerance

ScienceDaily (2010-03-07) -- Recent research findings indicate a possible connection between virus infections, the immune system and the onset of gluten intolerance, also known as celiac disease. ... > read full article

UPDATE: 18 February
Shingles is readily treated and resolved with herbal compounds. Historically Black Walnut tincture was used to apply externally to the patches, although I have found that Valerian root tincture can be effective. Valerian may be taken inernally to help with the pain, and St. John's Wort, an effective anti-vital herbal tincture, may be used alone or in combination with Valerain for pain and help fighting the virus.
Flower essence of Impatiens can be an adjuct treatment, as in the original development of Bach's remedies he found in his hospital provings that Impatiens essence was as effective as morphine, yet it had no untoward effects.
Shingles 'risk' of arthritis drug
Some popular treatments for rheumatoid arthritis could increase the risk of the painful condition shingles, a German study suggests.

Anti-TNF (anti-tumour necrosis factor alpha) therapy drugs can slow the progress of disease and help to reduce some of the worst symptoms.

But some of them may make patients more vulnerable to shingles, a skin disease which produces sore, itchy blisters.

Writing in JAMA, the authors advised patients on such drugs be monitored.

The team at the Rheumatism Research Centre in Berlin analysed data from more than 5,000 patients on different forms of treatment.

There were 86 outbreaks of shingles - triggered by the virus Herpes zoster - among 82 patients. Thirty-nine of these coincided with treatment with the anti-TNF drugs adalimumab and infliximab.

Etanercept, a protein therapy, and conventional disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs were associated with 23 and 24 cases respectively.

Watchful eye

After adjusting for the age of the patient, the severity of their illness and their use of steroid hormone therapies, researchers found that the risk for patients on the anti-TNF programme almost doubled.
“ All drugs which damp down the immune response run the risk of increased risk of infection ”
Professor Alan Silman
Arthritis Research Campaign
Although this was beneath the threshold of clinical significance, which would be an increase of more than double, the researchers, led by Dr Anja Strangfeld, said their findings suggested doctors should be on the look out for shingles in the patients they treat with these drugs.

"Based on our data, we recommend careful monitoring of patients treated with monoclonal anti-TNF-alpha antibodies for early signs and symptoms of Herpes zoster," they wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Shingles is the reactivation of the virus infection that causes chickenpox. After a person has had the infection, usually as a child, the virus remains in their body and can return, usually after the age of 50.

It often first manifests as pain, itching or tingling in an area of skin on one side of the body or face before developing into a rash. Many continue to suffer chronic nerve pain once the rash has subsided.

A weakened immune system is thought to be one of the triggers, and it is suggested that this may be why anti-TNF drugs could have this effect.

"All drugs which damp down the immune response run the risk of increased risk of infection; steroids being a well known example," said Professor Alan Silman, medical director of the Arthritis Research Campaign.

"Shingles is also a rare but well recognised complication of immune drugs used to treat both autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis as well as cancers. This distressing but fortunately treatable infection is likely to be increased in incidence in anti-TNF treated patients."
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2009/02/18 © BBC MMIX
I have known for decades the benefits of cod liver oil for arthritis. Seems funny that it has taken so long to reach the hallowed halls of the BBC.
Cod oil 'cuts arthritis drug use'
A daily dose of cod liver oil can cut painkiller use in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, a study suggests.
Taking 10g of cod liver oil a day reduced the need for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) by 30%, Dundee University researchers say.

Concerns about side-effects of NSAIDs has prompted research into alternative.

Rheumatologists said the study, in Rheumatology journal, funded by Seven Seas, was small but showed fish oil could benefit some patients.

Patients in the trial were either given cod liver oil or placebo and after 12 weeks asked to gradually reduce their use of NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen.

“ Anything that can help to reduce NSAID use is going to be safer for patients ”
Dr Andrew Bamji, British Society for Rheumatology
Almost 60 patients completed the nine-month trial which found 39% taking cod liver oil reduced their daily dose of NSAIDs compared with 10% taking a placebo.

The reduction in drug use was not associated with any worsening of pain or the disease, the researchers reported.

The research team at the University of Dundee, aided by colleagues at the University of Edinburgh, have now completed three studies which have all shown patients are able to cut down their NSAID use when taking cod liver oil.

It is thought fatty acids in the fish oil have anti-inflammatory properties.


Some side-effects of NSAIDs, such as an increased risk of stomach bleeding have been known for a long time.

But more recently, concerns have been raised about an apparent increased risk of heart attacks and strokes in those taking the drugs.

Study leader Professor Jill Belch said the study offered hope to many rheumatoid arthritis patients who wanted to reduce the amount of pain medication they take.

"Every change in medication should be discussed with a GP but I would advise people to give cod liver oil a try for 12 weeks alongside their NSAIDs and then try to cut it down if they can manage it but if they don't manage it, that's fine.

"If you can get off NSAIDs it will be much safer."

National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society chief executive Ailsa Bosworth said: "People with rheumatoid arthritis still rely heavily on NSAIDs, even though the safety of these drugs is under scrutiny.

"We look forward to more research in this area."

British Society for Rheumatology president Dr Andrew Bamji said it was a small study so difficult to draw firm conclusions.

But he added: "Anything that can help to reduce NSAID use is going to be safer for patients.

"It does look as if the results are positive and that is quite interesting.

"I would say to patients by all means take cod liver oil and when you feel ready start to reduce your NSAID dose."

But he stressed that patients must discuss plans with their doctor because it was important that physicians were aware of all medications and supplements the patient was taking.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2008/03/25 © BBC MMIX
Originally posted 20 January
TV adverts make me angry.

One reason is because I do not think these ads should be on TV. Secondly I think the ads are disease mongering and an effort to increase profits for Big Pharma.

One new ad I saw the other day while flipping channels, since I am not a TV addict or fan, was an ad for Humira in the treatment of psoriasis.

Notwithstanding, Humira is used as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and other so described "auto-immune" disorders.

Humira(adalimumab) is a recombinant human IgG1 monoclonal antibody specific for human tumor necrosis factor (TNF). This means it is a genetically modified product, that in itself creates a plethora of problems.

Humira has a Black Box warning for the risk of tuberculosis. Other serious sided effects may include serious infections, neurologic reactions and malignancies. More information may be found in the professional section at

I'm in the midst of writing the January issue of my opt-in newsletter, herbalYODA Says! The topic happens to be detoxification and as part of my research I came across an interesting piece of information about non-Celiac gluten sensitivity.

I happen to be someone with gluten and gliaden sensitivity. I have many other food allergies which I attribute to certain situations I experienced in the last couple of decades which took a pretty devastating toll on my adrenals.

I'd say there were some other factors because my father had psoriasis. It isn't something I have but I have helped many people who lived with this condition, from mild to severe, to resolve their case.

This of course alerts me to the fact that I probably should not ever have had bread. It also has to do with heritage and the metabolic typing as developed by William D. Kelley, DDS.

Simply what this means is that there are certain symptoms of gluten and gliaden intolerance, even if you do not have Crohn's.

Conditions Often Associated With Gluten Sensitivity
From 'Going Against the Grain' (Chicago, IL: Contemporary Books, 2002) by Melissa Diane Smith

Autoimmune diseases
Chronic neurological conditions of unknown cause
Dermatitis herpetiformis (a blistery, itchy skin disease)
Downs syndrome
Epilepsy and/or a personal history of migraine headaches, hyperactivity and/or digestive problems
Frequent unexplained headaches
Osteoporosis and other bone diseases unresponsive to conventional treatment
Infertility and pregnancies of poor outcome
Insulin-dependent (type I) diabetes
Intestinal lymphoma or esophageal cancer
Sjogren’s disease (dry-eye, dry-skin syndrome)

I find it interesting that Sjogren's is on this list along with psoriaisis, as Humira is often prescribed for Sjrogren's as well.

I noted in some other data that esophageal cancer is related to gluten intolerance (wheat allergy) and the articles I found on this date back to the 1970s.

This is the long way around but if you have any of these health issues perhaps you want to demand your doctor to order some food allergy testing, and re-consider Humira.

Or at least ask why your health care provider missed this one.

If your doctor looks at you like you are crazy then refer them to this study -
The innate immune system is an old system (evolutionarily speaking) that predates the antibody-producing “adaptive immune system” and nonspecifically defends against pathogens.

Biopsies from 5 out of 6 patients showed an IL-15 response to at least one gliadin fragment. The implication is that the majority of people have an immune response to wheat, even if they don’t have Celiac disease. The reason they aren’t diagnosed as Celiac patients is they don’t have circulating anti-gliadin antibodies (and they presumably don’t yet have severe structural damage to their intestinal tract as judged by biopsy or endoscopy), but as the paper shows, people can react to gluten without producing antibodies via the innate immune system.

This is the first time that an IL-15-mediated innate response to gliadin is described in individuals without celiac disease. The authors of the study believe that “gluten elicits its harmful effect, throughout an IL-15 innate immune system response on all the individuals. This innate response is found in both patients with and without celiac disease.” However, in patients with celiac disease, an adaptive response to gluten also takes place.

Study reference: Bernardo D, Garrote JA, Fernandez-Salazar L, et al. Is gliadin really safe for non-coeliac individuals? Production of interleukin 15 in biopsy culture from non-coeliac individuals with gliadin peptides. Gut, 2007;56:889-890.

Six people in the study had symptoms including gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), hiatal hernia, colic, abdominal pain, diarrhea and chronic gastritis. How many people have these conditions and take medications for them instead of considering that the bread, pasta and other wheat products they are eating may be the culprit behind their problems?
or have them look up the work of Kenneth Fine, MD or Alessio Fasano, M.D.

There is just more here than meets the eye - "Many gluten-sensitive make the mistake of substituting too many non-gluten grains (rice, corn, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth and teff) and sugars in place of gluten grains. This can lead to carbohydrate sensitivity and conditions such as Syndrome X and type II diabetes. To prevent the development of a new health problem, emphasize vegetables, such as salad greens, broccoli, green beans and asparagus, in place of gluten grains."

If you are interested in food allergy testing, the same system I used to uncover mine, please contact us.

By the way, one of my original teachers in natural healing always taught that RA and gluten allergy go hand-in-hand.

Certainly altering your nutrition and food plan first can do a lot before you succumb to another dangerous drug, and it just might heal your condition.

Time to Come Clean: What's in Toxic Cleaners

Had you attended any of the Green Living classes I started teaching almost 20 years ago now you might have been alerted to some of the very toxic ingredients in the many cleaning products sold in major grocery chains.

Somehow it seems not so long ago, but at least now the subject is at a critical mass and for that reason so many more people will have access to this information.
Do Common Cleaners Have Toxic Ingredients?
Lawsuit attempts to enforce arcane law in effort to force full disclosure on U.S. cleanser industry.

People concerned about the use of chemicals in their homes and schools have long sought out alternative and DIY cleansers that promise nontoxic cleaning. Ingredients in cleansers could contaminate indoor air, or lead to more subtle developmental, hormonal or reproductive effects, according to laboratory studies on those specific ingredients.

Now, environmental groups are taking several giants of the conventional cleanser industry to court, in an effort to enforce a forgotten New York law they say requires the companies to disclose all chemical ingredients in their products. The 1976 law, according to Earthjustice "requires household and commercial cleaner companies selling their products in New York to file semi-annual reports with the state listing the chemicals contained in their products and describing any company research on these chemicals' health and environmental effects."

Earthjustice filed the lawsuit on behalf of a coalition of state and national groups: Women's Voices for the Earth, Environmental Advocates of New York, New York Public Interest Research Group, Riverkeeper, Sierra Club, and American Lung Association in New York.

Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive, Church and Dwight and Reckitt-Benckiser, and the dozens of brands each produces, are being targeted because they did not respond to a request to disclose their ingredients, as apparently is required by law. Several companies, including the California-based Sunshine Makers, Inc. (manufacturers of Simple Green products), complied with the request, filing reports with the state for the first time.

(Clorox, whose Greenworks brand has been endorsed by the Sierra Club, has also responded, according to David Willett, a Sierra Club spokesman: "Our partnership with the Greenworks line of products did facilitate more direct conversations because we now have relationships with people at Clorox, but our partnership itself did not play a role. Rather is was Clorox's assurance ... that they have a plan which the company has already started implementing for disclosing ingredients in accordance with the law.")

The Soap and Detergent Association, an industry group for U.S. cleaning products manufacturers, responded to the lawsuit by saying it "is unfounded, lacks legal standing and its claims are not supported by state law." The association pointed to its November 2008 Consumer Product Ingredient Communication Initiative, a voluntary program to disclose more ingredients publicly.
"Responsible manufacturers ensure their products go through comprehensive, extensive risk assessments, and also review scientific developments and monitor product use data that may affect the safety assessment process," the SDA statement reads, in part. "An incredible amount of research and development goes on before these products ever hit the shelves, not to mention that the products must meet federal and state quality and safety regulations." The Soap and Detergent Association (SDA - ), the Home of the U.S. Cleaning Product and Oleochemical Industries(R), is a one-hundred plus member trade association representing the $30 billion U.S. cleaning products market. SDA members include the formulators of soaps, detergents, and general cleaning products used in household, commercial, industrial and institutional settings; companies that supply ingredients and finished packaging for these products; and oleochemical producers. SDA and its members are dedicated to improving health and the quality of life through sustainable cleaning products and practices. Website:

You can read more about the lawsuit on the Earthjustice Web site, and the industry's response.

Among the ingredients of concern ethylene glycol ethers and other solvents, alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs), surfactants called ethanolamines as well as chlorine and ammonia in combination. The following is a list of the brands, as listed by Earthjustice, made by each company targeted in the lawsuit:

* Ajax Fabuloso All-Purpose Cleaner
* Dynamo
* Tom's of Maine
* Softsoap
* Palmolive (dishwashing soap)
* Ajax Dish Liquid
* Dermassage
* Murphy Oil Soap (wood cleaner, soap spray, soft wipes)
* Suavitel


* Calgon
* Vanish
* Resolve
* Spray ‘n Wash
* Woolite
* Lysol
* Finish (dishwashing detergent)
* Electrasol (dishwashing detergent)

Procter and Gamble

* Joy
* Cascade
* Ivory (laundry detergent and dish detergent only)
* Dawn
* Mr. Clean
* Swiffer
* Bounce
* Cheer
* Downy
* Dreft
* Era
* Gain
* Ivory
* Tide

Church and Dwight

* Brillo steel wool soap pads
* Brillo Scrub 'n' Toss
* Scrub Free Soap Scum Remover
* Scrub Free Mildew Stain Remover
* Scrub Free Disinfectant Bathroom Cleaner
* Arm & Hammer Clean Shower
* SNOBOL Toilet Bowl Cleaner
* Parsons' Ammonia
* Cameo Aluminum & Stainless Steel Cleaner
* Cameo Copper Brass & Porcelain Cleaner
* Kaboom (various bathroom cleaners)
* Orange Glo Hardwood Floor Care
* Orange Glo Wood Furniture Cleaner & Polish
* OxiClean (stain removers for clothing and carpet)

Find this article at:

Stop GMO Corn NOW!

UPDATE: 18 February
Please realise that it has been proven that GM products do alter tissue in the human boy and the long term effect of this alteration is unknown.
EU court attacks GM crop secrecy
Europe's top court has ruled that EU governments have no right to conceal the location of field trials of genetically modified (GM) crops.

The European Court of Justice was responding to a case brought by Pierre Azelvandre in Alsace, eastern France.

He wanted to know where GM field trials had taken place in his local area.

The only EU-approved GM crop is a strain of corn developed by the US firm Monsanto. But GM trials for research are legal, under strict controls.

The court in Luxembourg ruled on Tuesday that "information relating to the location of the release can in no case be kept confidential".

It said "considerations relating to the protection of public order and other secrets protected by law... cannot constitute reasons capable of restricting access to the information listed by the [EU] directive, including in particular those relating to the location of release".

On Monday, the European Commission failed in a bid to force the governments of France and Greece to allow Monsanto's GM corn to be grown in their countries.

Opponents of GM crops say more scientific data is needed, arguing that their long-term genetic impact on humans and wildlife could be harmful.

The biotech industry says the crops are as safe as traditional varieties, and that they would provide plentiful, cheaper food.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2009/02/18 12:29:39 GMT
Genetically Engineered Crops Creating More Pesticide Addiction in U.S.
According to a recent (December 2008) global summary report from the Worldwatch Institute:
1) The U.S. leads the world, by far, in genetically engineered crop production and consumption.

2) The widespread planting of crops genetically engineered to resist specific pesticides (which allows farmers to apply more pesticides to their
crops) has created 15 new species of plants known as "superweeds" that are resistant to commonly used pesticides. In 2008, these superweeds were discovered on hundreds of thousands of acres of U.S. farmland.

3) Due to the presence of these new superweeds, GM crop production has already led to a $60 million annual increase in pesticide use in the U.S.
Most of that money goes to the same companies that developed the GM crops that were supposed to reduce pesticide use in the first place.

Respond by this Friday, 6 Feb.

February 3, 2009

Tell USDA "NO" on new untested genetically engineered corn

USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has given preliminary approval to Event 98140 corn, the first of a new generation of pesticide-promoting, genetically engineered (GE) crops designed to survive spraying with multiple herbicides. This latest petition to deregulate a new, untested, and complex GE crop poses food safety, environmental, and agronomic concerns that were not adequately evaluated by the previous Administration's USDA. APHIS has failed to adequately address a range of health and environmental risks in its draft environmental assessment (EA), including novel food safety concerns, increased pesticide use and increased prevalence of herbicide-resistant weeds.

To make matters worse, the USDA has limited the opportunity for public input, by only accepting comments until this Friday, February 6th!

Speak out now! Tell USDA to put the brakes on this approval, and prepare and publish a thorough Environmental Impact Statement before making a decision. Visit the Center for Food Safety's True Food Network at TODAY to learn more and take action.

Thanks for all your support for family farmers and a sustainable future for all!

The Farmers and Staff of Organic Valley Family of Farms

Yes, rBGH is a thing of the past, so we are told

"...yogurt can only serve as a source of absorbable calcium if it is prepared from unpasteurized milk and is unsweetened."

Yoplait, the not real yoghurt stuff promoted mainly to women under many sorts of advertising, especially connected to the fraudulent pink lid campaign, may still be hiding health from you.

While everyone is now happy with General Mills for telling us they decided, after a lot of pressure, to stop using rBGH (recombinant or genetically modified - bovine growth hormone containing milk for their Yoplait brand of products.

Of course you need to ask what else they might not be telling you.

Yoplait might not be telling you that aspartame is still in their "light" versions. Aspartame is a known carcinogen and that is exactly why people in Hawaii and New Mexico are now attempting to get the substance banned from their states.

They might also not be telling you that using low fat or non fat milk to manufacture their product will keep you from getting to be able to sue the calcium that you think is in all dairy food and helps give you healthy bones. Yes, ladies, you really do need fat in milk to be able to absorb and utilize the calcium because it is a fat dependent nutrient.

Have they mentioned that the sugar used ion their fruit versions also block the absorption of both calcium and protein?

And what about the high level of phosphorus in their products?

And just why is it so hard these days to get unpasteurized (raw) milk, something previously easy to purchase within the last 20 years?

Be that as it is, a colleague happened to send along this morning from one of his recent articles:

Yogurt is also heavily promoted as a good calcium source. Aside from the fact that a great many people have dairy food sensitivities that make these foods congesting and a causative factor in a wide variety of catarrhal disorders, yogurt can only serve as a source of absorbable calcium if it is prepared from unpasteurized milk and is unsweetened. The uptake of calcium from the small intestine into the blood is inhibited by the presence of sugar.

Plain unadulterated milk made at home into health promoting yoghurt is a longevity secret of the Bulgarians. Here's some information to help you do some thinking about grocery store quality products.

If you'd rather have a healthier brand try Nancy's or Strauss. Better yet make your own.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Better Health Without SOY

Soy is a food that has many known problems and negative effects on health. Several articles on soy are posted here at Natural Health News and many articles are found on our main web site.

It is also good to recall that the push to give your "cholesterol lowering plant sterols" adds more soy and toxic canola oils to your diet, while lowering health protective carotenoids (vitamin A family).

"What if I told you that the Food and Drug Administration lists soy as a poisonous plant?"

It really does pay to get educated and read labels before something goes in your shopping cart.

This article provides a good overview of the problems.

Highlights -

* soy oil was the first and primary profit centre for soy, and soy was largely responsible for the spread of hydrogenated or trans fats

* most soy is genetically modified

* soy farming is wreaking greater devastation on forests, cottage industries, and family farms than the cattle industry. (If you mistakenly thought soy was a bunch of hippie farmers, like I did, Dr. Daniel tells it like it is: "Let's name names. Monsanto, Dupont, Archer Daniels Midland, Solae . . . Nearly all the old hippie companies have been bought up by the big boys. For example, White Wave is owned by Dean Foods. Some of America's largest food companies now manufacture soy foods or use soy ingredients heavily in their products. Think Kraft, Kellogg, ConAgra, General Mills, Heinz, Unilever Best Foods and Dean Foods.")

* soy is a major allergen, and because it is used as filler in hundreds of products including meats and 'vegetable oil,' people with allergies may be at risk

* soy contains goitrogens, which damage the thyroid

* soy contains lectins, which cause red blood cells to lump together and may trigger abnormal immunity responses

* soy contains oligosaccarides, sugars that cause bloating and gas

* soy contains oxalates, which prevent calcium absorption, cause painful kidney stones and vulvodynia, a vaginal disorder

* many plant foods contain phytates and phytic acid, naturally occurring 'pesticides' to keep plants from being eaten while growing. phytates impair mineral absorption, and in fact, remove many minerals already in the body, including iron, zinc, and calcium. phytates in many foods are alleviated by cooking - soy's phytate levels are high and stubborn.

* isoflavones, lauded as natural estrogens, are serious endocrine disruptors, lowering testosterone, causing menstrual disorders, and cancer cell proliferation

* protease inhibitors interfere with digestive enzymes, saponins may lower good cholesterol and damage intestine

* that all of these plant chemicals can have benefits, and do exist in other foods, to varying levels of edibility: that soaking grains and fermenting beans are ancient food prep traditions

* soymilk is far from a natural food: it is filled with rancid fats and high in sugar

* soy cheeses are largely made with hydrogenated oils (safety level of hydrogenated products? ZERO)

* some health problems that may be associated with soy foods are: bladder, prostate, colorectal, thyroid and breast cancer; precancerous lesions; heart disease; type 2 diabetes; malnutrition; stunted growth; flatulence; pancreatic problems; low libido: early puberty; anemia; zinc deficiency; osteoporosis; intestinal damage; mal-absorption and leaky gut syndrome; kidney stones; allergies; infant death; immune system disruption; thyroid disease - and the list goes on.

Aluminum and Cooking

UPDATE: 3 February 2010
    In the brain of his low dose test animals, Isaacson observed a tangling of capillary blood vessels, reduced oxygen uptake along with the peculiar crystalline structures, all of which are identical to those found in Alzheimer's victims. Dr. Isaacson's research indicates that the Alzheimer's-like effects result from the transport of aluminum to the brain and the high death rates from the toxicity of the fluorine.
    Aluminum has previously to this, of course, been implicated in Alzheimer's, but how is the link made between fluoridation of human drinking water and the presence of aluminum fluoride? According to Drs. Carton and Burgstahler, fluoride being the most electrochemically active of all the elements, it has a strong propensity to create metallic compounds with itself whenever fluoridated water comes into contact with such things as aluminum cooking vessels. Ergo: there is created aluminum fluoride from cooking with such vessels using fluoridated water and not incidentally, according to Dr. Robert Carton, former EPA scientist, aluminum is used in city water treatment.
    "An incidental observation of possible importance must be mentioned," the research paper adds. "Pathologic changes were found in the kidneys of animals in both the AlF 3 and NaF [sodium fluoride] groups." If all this weren't enough, the research team observed a "general impairment in the immune capacities of the treated subjects." They also found that the death rate increased among those animals treated with the aluminum fluoride where stress was elevated due to a training regime.

Originally posted Feb, 2009

I think this clarifies that using aluminum cookware of any kind is not health promoting. Keep in mind too that aluminum is now often used as a preservaative in vaccines.
Is anodized aluminum cookware better than non-anodized?

Concerns with aluminum cookware come from the fact that measurable amounts of aluminum can migrate from the pot into the food. Several research studies have confirmed migration of aluminum from conventional aluminum cookware at a level of concern for our health. Aluminum is included in the 2007 list of top priority toxins in the United States (a list put out every year by the Agency for Toxic Substances &; Disease Registry), and aluminum has been clearly identified as a toxin for the human nervous system (neurotoxicity), immune system (immunotoxicity), and genetic system (genotoxicity).

Anodization is a process in which chemical baths are used to prepare the surface of aluminum to receive an electrical charge that will increase the thickness of the oxide layer and make it harder, more durable, and less likely to corrode. Anodized aluminum is definitely less reactive than non-anodized aluminum and will leach less aluminum as a result, provided that the surface has not been damaged. Although it is more difficult to damage the surface of anodized versus non-anodized aluminum, its surface can still be damaged.

Although the non-stick properties of anodized aluminum have been a selling point for this cookware to consumers, most cookware in the marketplace using anodized aluminum does not feature this material on the surface that is in contact with the food; instead, they feature a specialized non-stick surface that may have potential toxicity problems much greater than anodized aluminum. Many manufacturers are taking advantage of the durability and quick heat-transfer properties of anodized aluminum by using this material on the exterior of their pots and pans, but they are leaving the non-stick tasks to another material (not anodized aluminum).

Given all of the potential health risk factors listed above-together with the environmental problems created by aluminum mining and manufacturing-I still favor stainless steel and porcelain-coated pots as my first choices for stovetop cooking. Copper-bottomed pots or pots with a layer of copper in between the stainless steel are also fine. Some stainless steel cookware now comes with a layer of anodized aluminum sandwiched inside, and that cookware would also be fine from a health standpoint, even though the environmental problems with aluminum would remain.

It's important to wash all cookware carefully. For example, take care not to scour stainless steel pots too harshly when cleaning them as once the surface of the stainless steel has been damaged, the pot will leak nickel into the food that is being cooked. Stainless steel pads or brushes, for example, are too harsh in my opinion to risk using.

Inside the oven, stainless steel, tempered glass designed for oven use (for example, oven-safe Pyrex), and non-leaded ceramic are all good choices.


Rajwanshi P, Singh V, Gupta MK, et al. Leaching of aluminium for cookwares: A review. Environmental Geochemistry and Health. 1997;19(1):1-18.

Gramiccioni L, Ingrao G, Milana MR, et al. Aluminium levels in Italian diets and in selected foods from aluminium utensils. Food Additives and Contaminants. 1996; 13(7):767-774.

And again we have a report on the correlation of aluminum and Alzheimer's.
Aluminum, silica in water affect Alzheimer's riskWed Mar 4, 2009
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Higher levels of aluminum in drinking water appear to increase people's risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, whereas higher levels of silica appear to decrease the risk, according to French investigators.

"Alzheimer's disease is a multifactorial disease, and aluminum concentrations in drinking water may have an effect on cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease," Dr. Virginie Rondeau told Reuters Health.

The results of some studies suggest that silica reduces the oral absorption of aluminum or increases the excretion of this metal.

Rondeau, at the Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale in Bordeaux, and her colleagues examined associations between exposure to aluminum or silica from drinking water and the risk of cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer's disease among elderly subjects followed for 15 years.

Daily aluminum intake of at least 0.1 milligram was associated with greater cognitive decline during the course of the study, the team reports in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Subjects with a high daily aluminum intake had a 2.26-fold increased risk of dementia, the researchers note. On the other hand, for every 10 milligram-per-day intake of silica, the odds of developing dementia dropped by 11 percent.

"Further studies are needed to settle the debate over the link between aluminum or silica in drinking water and neurologic disorders and cognitive impairment," the investigators conclude.

SOURCE: American Journal of Epidemiology, February 15, 2009.
Copyright © 2009 Reuters Limited

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sprint Teams with Oprah

I own a SPRINT PCS phone and I've had one since about 1995. Because it is owned by the 501c3 organization that sponsors Natural Health News, no tax is supposed to be billed to our account.

I can't tell you how many times I have approached SPRINT on this issue. And it comes and goes.

I've applied to SPRINT for a grant to cover our very limited use of the service, but to no avail.

Gee wouldn't it be great to get a brand new top of the line phone and three months service like the promo on Oprah today for all the people in her audience. None with a non-profit group.

And perhaps along with that, Dan Hesse will give all those women who were screaming about this freebie, a copy of my article, based on science, that includes the breast cancer risk of cell phones.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Drug Costs and Insurance Keep Prices High

The high cost of drugs for US consumers is directly related to the insurance industry and third party billing. The mentality for several decades has been "we can charge what the market will bear, because insurance will cover the costs."

Of course this system is failing. Since the welfare plan for Big Pharma was introduced under the euphemistic "Senior Drug Plan" or Medicare D, as a way the Bush administration repaid the favor for all the Big Pharma money that helped him get elected, and even wrote the drug plan, costs have skyrocketed.

Seeing falling profits the health insurers raised co-pays and developed new creative ways to keep their money.

Now we have a new economic plan leading further down the pike to universal care and the single payer model, in the coming days of the new administration.

We don't see any cost savings plans yet on the government side but there is a minor movement to do so - in exchange for data - at the big box retail companies, and the drug bus.
Drugmakers and retail chains offer meds are bargain prices. But are they worth it?

I keep wondering why it is that more people aren't getting on board for health classes like I taught for many years at Secure Horizons. I'll come teach these same programs at your community organization. All you have to do is ask. You'll not only save money, you may save your health.

Senator Ortiz y Pino Continues Fight to Ban Aspartame

Please support this important FDA action. And hopefully, this time around, Ajinmoto will not send big checks - like the 10K Bill Richardson accepted - to interfere with fact and the people's will.
New Mexico Senate
Santa Fe, New Mexico
February 12, 2009

The Honorable Frank Torti, M.D.
Acting Commissioner, United States Food and Drug Administration
5400 Fishers Lane
Rockville, Maryland

Dear Dr. Torti:

I am the New Mexico sponsor of the enclosed Senate Memorial 9, 2009, asking the Food and Drug Administration to rescind its approval for the artificial sweetener, aspartame.

You may know that the FDA, to its credit, turned down G.D. Searles application for aspartame's approval from 1966 to 1981, at which point, approval was forced through the FDA at the insistence fo Searles CEO, Donald Rumsfeld.

Numerous physicians petitions as well as many private petitions have been filed with FDA since 1981 asking for the rescinding of aspartames approval. These have all been routinely ignored and responded to with industry assurance about how many industry financed "tests" aspartame has been through, all of which showed "aspartame to be safe."

FDA used to keep records on consumer complaints on aspartame, accruing a minimum of 92 alleged symptoms from ingesting aspartame, ranging from headaches, blurred vision, skin rashes, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis to that ultimate symptom, DEATH.

Dr. Torti, this chemical has produced a massive mountain of medical and neurodengenerative evidence, which I believe would lead you to order it removed from the market. While it is too late to do this now as a "precaution"; it is even more imperative to do this as a means of preventing further medical harm to future victims.

This Memorial is advancing in the New Mexico Senate, after being cosponsored by ten of my colleagues. A similar version of the Memorial has also been introduced by Hawaii Senator Chun Oakland, and is cosponsored by ten members of the Hawaii Senate. That resolution will create an evidentiary repository for Hawaii victims, especially those with diabetes and epileptic seizures, now statistically epidemic in Hawaii, with links to aspartame.

In January 2009, Hawaii Senator Kalani English introduced SB576 in that state. It would ban aspartame entirely in Hawaii. This bill is cosponsored by an astonishing 14 members of the 25 member Hawaii Senate. At the same time, Representative Mele Carroll has introduced HB669, also banning aspartames sale and use in Hawaii.

I realize a permanent FDA Commissioner has not yet been selected by the Obama Administration, but when one is appointed, I will send a similar letter to him/her to again request this action in order to protect the American public from further harm from a chemical that the FDA has known for 43 years is metabolized as methanol, formaldehyde, aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and the proven carcinogen, diketopiperazine.

This regulatory failure of epic proportions entirely resulted from the actions of Donald Rumsfeld when he was with the original patent holder for aspartame. There is sufficient evidence to warrant such a rescinding, a situation not unlike that in 1969 when President Richard Nixon similarly ordered the FDA to take away the approval for another group of carcinogens, cyclamates, which occurred very quickly.

Our concern must be the overarching concerns of preventing further neurodengenerative and carcinogenic damage to hundreds of millions of Americans, who have no other government entity to trust and depend on than the United State Food and Drug Administration!

I believe that President Obama, Congressman Bart Stupak, and Congresswoman Rosa Delauro all want to see the rebuilding of an FDA that merits the restored trust of the American people. I certainly want to see this come about, and I hope you do as well.

Rescinding aspartames FDA approval would be a major credible first step in the right direction.

Sincerely yours,
Gerald Ortiz y Pino
New Mexico State Senator
District 12

More on health risks of EMF

Quite a few years ago I presented a program to some nurses in Lewiston, Idaho focused on the health impact of EMF and a coming storm of health problems that would be - more likely than not - unable to be diagnosed by mainstream medical providers. Additionally I believed then as I do now that this will be the next rash of health care issues rising, as Dr Rau states, with the addition of DTV, more electric cars and more commercial wind farms ( your stimulus plan), and the many vectors not evaluated for health risk in the long term.

I hope some of the following information will help you to take a better and deeper look at what you may be doing to your health for the sake of convenience.
February 10th, 2009. Dr. Thomas Rau, Medical Director of the world renowned Paracelsus Clinic in Lustmühle, Switzerland says he is convinced ‘electromagnetic loads’ lead to cancer, concentration problems, ADD, tinnitus, migraines, insomnia, arrhythmia, Parkinson’s and even back pain.

One of the most dangerous devices in use, in most homes is the DECT cordless phone. The dangerously high microwave radiation that these 'convenience items' expose families to, are likely to eventually kill and maim more Americans than the two World Wars and the Vietnam war combined. This may take quite some time for the cancer and other illnesses to develop, but scientific research indicates that there is a huge risk of exposing the entire population to this danger and a real cause for deep concern. The adverse health effects of electro magnetic radiation (and in particular microwave radiation) have been known and researched for over sixty years, but it has only been recently that most of the population has been exposed to dangerously high amounts of this pollution. Martin Weatherall

Friday, February 13, 2009

New Drug Approved for FMS - Read this first before your rush to buy it

I do agree that fibromyalgia is not an enjoyable condition. However, to me, and for all of the people who do live with FMS on a daily basis, I find it offensive that the only focus is to offer a risky drug that manages only the symptoms.

Are we so far removed from humanity that all of the millions in drug research can't be diverted to find the cure?

It is unfortunate that so little is made available in media outlets for those natural care approaches that have helped thousands with this diagnosis.

I am pleased to learn that my formulas, Heart Leaf Remedy 6:4 and ADVENTURX, have proven helpful to so many with fibromyalgia.

Our complete program has helped many to recover.
"Fibromyalgia is a complicated chronic pain condition, so it is important that physicians and patients have access to treatments that have been shown to help manage the symptoms that define the experience of fibromyalgia," Daniel Clauw, professor of anesthesiology and medicine at the University of Michigan, said in a company news release.

See also

BLACK BOX WARNING: SUICIDALITY AND ANTIDEPRESSANT DRUGSSee full prescribing information for complete boxed warning.
• Increased risk of suicidal ideation, thinking and behavior in children, adolescents, and young adults taking antidepressants for major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders. Savella is not approved for use in pediatric patients (5.1)

The most frequently occurring adverse reactions (≥ 5% and greater than placebo) were nausea, headache, constipation, dizziness, insomnia, hot flush, hyperhidrosis, vomiting, palpations, heart rate increased, dry mouth, and hypertension (6.3).

SNRIs, including Savella, have been associated with reports of increase in blood pressure.

Patients taking prescription drugs need to be nutrition-conscious

Prescription drugs often become a necessary component of patients' health. And that presents a new need -- the need for physicians and pharmacists to discuss the possible ramifications of taking a prescription, including nutrient depletion in the body.

Most people are well-versed in the importance of vitamins, minerals, and herbs to their health. Stress, environmental pollutants, and poor diet all contribute to the depletion of nutrient levels in the body.

Unfortunately, most people are not aware of how prescription drugs create drug-induced nutrient depletion. This is an important issue that becomes even more important when a patient must take a prescription for a chronic condition.

As America ages, it's inevitable that more of the population will need prescription drugs for chronic conditions. There's already an influx of prescriptions for Americans' high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, heart disease, and other health concerns. This is a prime opportunity to educate your patients about the need for nutritional therapy as an adjunct to taking prescription medications. Not only does this benefit the patient, but also enables you to integrate natural medicines into your clinic or pharmacy.

Consider that anti-hypertensive medications for blood pressure, drugs that comprise the sixth largest dollar-volume category of prescription drugs in the U.S. in 1998, will deplete zinc in the body. This mineral is crucial to the immune system and its many functions including wound healing and infection fighting. A zinc deficiency can also cause insulin resistance and sexual dysfunction.

Cholesterol-lowering drugs such as Lipitor® and Zocor® comprise the third largest category of prescription drugs in the United States in 1998 and can easily deplete Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). On the flip side, magnesium may inhibit the absorption of these drugs. And even commonplace NSAIDs deplete nutrients like folic acid. And it's this deficiency that poses greater risk for women because of the link to cervical dysplasia and birth defects in their children. Other problems associated with a lack of adequate folic acid include anemia, depression, elevated homocysteine levels (and corresponding risk of cardiovascular disease), and increased risks for developing breast and colorectal cancers.

Antidepressant Drugs
Includes drugs used to stimulate the mood of a depressed patient. Some are used in eating disorders, treating obesity, and panic disorders. Drugs include tricyclic and SSRI medicines such as Amitriptyline, Elavil, Tra-zodone, Desipramine, Pamelor, Nortriptyline, Serzone, Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft and Imipramine.

B-Complex Vitamins: Additional B--vitamins are critical when taking antidepressants for short or extended periods. Vitamin B12 and folic acid are especially necessary. There may also be an additional need for riboflavin (B2) and pyridoxine(B6, necessary to produce serotonin).

Selenium: Stores of selenium are compromised with extended use of these drugs. A suggested supplementation dose would be 50 to 100 micrograms daily.

Zinc: Depletion of this antioxidant can slow wound healing and reduce the sense of taste. Supplement with a dose of 10--35 mg per day.

L-Gluthathione: An important amino acid that decreases free radicals and helps to protect your liver.

Calcium/Magnesium: Take for nutritional support, along with additional minerals.

Vitamin C, CO Q 10, and some reports of sodium depletion.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Red Dress, Heart Month and Women's Health

"Heart Disease Doesn’t Care What You Wear -- It’s the Number 1 Killer of Women."

The primary goal of The Heart Truth campaign is to raise awareness that heart disease is the number one killer of women.

To support this goal, The Heart Truth campaign launched the Red Dress as the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness in February 2003.

A longtime friend of mine, about age 67, was found dead on the floor in her home just under two weeks ago. She had a good doctor but still her damaged heart probably just quit.

Another very dear friend of mine, and younger than I am, has been dealing with heart failure for a couple of years. Her doctor is described as rude and demeaning of her choice of more natural care which the doctor disdains. Still my friend seems to be doing fairly well.

Because I've spent over 30 years in the health care industry in various levels of nursing, administration and education I've known for quite some time that male focused mainstream medicine does not usually do studies on health issues that affect women. The treatments also are based on how men are affected as are the symptoms listed as warnings for heart attack. Only very recently has this started to change.

But, having the enquiring mind that I do, and the fact that I am an inveterate proponent of public health and natural care, I am just wondering this: Has anyone ever looked at the effect of Annual Screening Mammogram and the increase in the rate of heart disease in women?

It is a fact that radiation from x-ray exposure is cumulative and has a deleterious effect on thyroid, heart and breast health. Breast cancer is a side effect of mammogram. Heart disease and thyroid imbalance are side effects of radiation treatment for breast cancer.

What might your thoughts be?

Adverse Effects

A person seems to have had the pneumonia vaccine, Pneumovax. Their adverse effect is noted as Bell's Palsy or an effect on the trigeminal nerve you'll find in the cheek area of your face. The trigeminal nerve is one of the 12 cranial nerves.

Any adverse effect of a vaccine is possible, however, research has shown that DMG is helpful in mediation of the immune response and anti-inflammatory support following several vaccines including Pneumovax.

If you experience an adverse reaction to any vaccine, please report it promptly to the provider who administered the shot.

Natural health has provided treatment for Bell's Palsy with herbal combinations for many decades.

Health Care is Facing a Terrible Dilemma

Here we are with s so-called stimulus plan with some serious detrimental impacts on your health care. Big Pharma has pulled out all the bells and whistles to get their heavily armed (with mega-bucks) lobbyists to fight this war.

So where do you stand?

I'm not sure where the citizen stands if you take a look at how Big Pharma pulled the wool over the eyes of Congress and AARP for the now known to be ruinous Senior Drug Health Plan (Part D). It just looks like it is all going from bad to worse, or to $#%^ in a hand basket.

Perhaps you should peruse the following two articles, think about what it means for you, and let you representatives know exactly what you think.

See Pfizer tips for managing journalists which is certainly a good idea as Pfizer is poised to release its ties to doctors.

Cash-strapped U.S. patients may be skipping drugs
Feb 10, 2009
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Americans with financial worries because of the ailing economy may be skipping needed prescription drugs in a wrong-headed attempt to save money, according to a survey released on Tuesday.

Nearly 95 percent of doctors surveyed by Epocrates Inc. said they have some concern that patients may not be taking a prescribed drug correctly because of the economic climate.

The biggest concern among the 700 doctors surveyed was that patients were simply not filling prescriptions or skipping doses. The doctors also said they believed some patients were splitting pills.

The healthcare information company said 55 percent of the physicians surveyed said they wrote more prescriptions for generic drugs, which are cheaper than patented drugs, in 2008 than in 2007.

(Reporting by Maggie Fox; Editing by Will Dunham and Eric Walsh)
Copyright © 2009 Reuters Limited

Sobering results for cost-cutting Medicare projectBy LINDSEY TANNER, AP Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner
Feb 10, 2009

CHICAGO – An ambitious effort to cut costs and keep aging, sick Medicare patients out of the hospital mostly didn't work, a government-contracted study found. The disappointing results show how tough it is to manage older patients with chronic diseases, who often take multiple prescriptions, see many different doctors and sometimes get conflicting medical advice.

The study showed just how hard it is to change the habits of older patients and their sometimes inflexible doctors. And it points up the challenges the Obama administration will face in trying to reform health care for an aging nation.

Most of the patients had serious, but common, age-related illnesses including diabetes, heart disease and lung disease. Programs were set up at 15 centers around the country. Only two cut the number of times these patients were hospitalized, and those are still in operation. None saved Medicare any money.

The authors of the study called the results "underwhelming." An editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association, where the study appears Wednesday, used the term "sobering."

"The only way you can really do it is by changing patients' behavior and by changing physicians' behavior, and both things are really hard to do," said study author Randall Brown, a researcher at Mathematica Policy Research Inc., in Princeton, N.J., which was hired to evaluate the programs.

Often, these patients need to stop smoking, or lose weight, exercise more, eat healthier foods — a challenge even for generally healthy people. Those changes are especially tough for sick, older patients who often are set in their ways.

"The same thing with physicians," Brown said. "A lot of them feel like they know how to take care of patients, so why do they need a nurse calling up and asking them why the patient isn't on some certain medication?"

Many patients in the study had more than one chronic disease, a common Medicare scenario. In 2002 alone, half of Medicare patients had been treated for five or more ailments, and they accounted for 75 percent of Medicare spending, the study authors noted.

Seeking ways to reduce those costs and improve care, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services selected 15 proposals for test-site programs in 2002. The sites developed their own programs, enrolling a total of 18,309 fee-for-service Medicare patients through 2006.

About half got the patients got the usual care. The others got more intensive, coordinated care. That often involved nurses who acted as go-betweens, helping doctors give patients clear, appropriate advice; counseling patients on changing bad habits and recognizing worrisome symptoms. The nurses were available on a regular basis by phone or in person to answer patients' questions.

Jim Reid, a 74-year-old retired Pennsylvania welder, was among study patients who got coordinated care.

When he enrolled in 2002 in a test program run by Health Quality Partners, a nonprofit group in Doylestown, Pa., he was obese, had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and pre-diabetes.

But Reid was a rare success story.

He actually took the advice offered in group sessions run by nurses. He learned how to read food labels and avoid salty, calorie-laden foods. He also started exercising, walking with a pedometer and building up to a few miles daily.

Now, he breakfasts on oatmeal or vegetable omelets instead of coffee and doughnuts He's lost almost 60 pounds. His blood pressure and cholesterol have greatly improved and his pre-diabetes is gone.

Sticking with the program "is hard," he acknowledged. "As you get older, you don't want to do it." But he said it has "put an extra 10 years in my life."

Reid credits his success to the personal attention of a nurse coordinator.

"I have to have somebody to own up to," he said.

That close, in-person contact with nurses was also a feature of the project's other more successful, still-operating program, at Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa in Mason City, Iowa.

In both programs, each patient had face-to-face contact an average of about once a month with a nurse. That was far more frequent personal contact than in other programs. Both reduced hospitalizations — 17 percent yearly compared with usual-care patients at Mercy, and by about 20 percent in the Pennsylvania program, but only among its sicker patients. That program worked with Doylestown Hospital and recruited patients from area physicians' offices.

Targeting sicker patients and providing frequent in-person contact show the approach has some benefits and that success with future reform efforts "is possible, but it's not easy," Brown said.

Peter Ashkenaz, a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said the agency is evaluating the Iowa and Pennsylvania programs to see if their positive results persist.

He said there are other approaches being tested, some that offer incentives to doctors who meet quality benchmarks, or who use electronic health records to improve quality.

But so far, Ashkenaz said, "as the study shows, we have not yet found broad success."

On the Net:
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services:
Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press

FEBRUARY 9, 2009,
Drug Makers Fight Stimulus Provision By ALICIA MUNDY
WASHINGTON -- The drug and medical-device industries are mobilizing to gut a provision in the stimulus bill that would spend $1.1 billion on research comparing medical treatments, portraying it as the first step to government rationing.
The fight over the provision is highlighting the tensions behind President Barack Obama's plan to overhaul the health-care system. The administration hopes to expand coverage while limiting use of treatments that don't work well, but any efforts that might reduce coverage are politically sensitive.

The House version of the stimulus package sent shudders through the drug and medical-device industry. In a staff report describing the bill, the House said treatments found to be less effective and in some cases more expensive "will no longer be prescribed."

A Senate version backed by Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D., Mont.) doesn't mention cost as a subject to be studied. And the industry won a battle to add the word "clinical" in describing the research -- adding to the implication that the comparison studies won't look at bang for the buck. The final language is likely to be hammered out later this week in a House-Senate conference committee.

Mr. Obama is under pressure to find long-run health-cost savings as projections show that Medicare spending is on track to severely deplete the federal budget. "Without question, we're headed for more of a public and private push for which medicines work best at the lowest cost in particular patients," said Mark McClellan, former Medicare and Medicaid chief under President George W. Bush.

The $1.1 billion in research funding would be doled out to the National Institutes of Health and other government bodies. "We should focus on producing the best unbiased science possible," said Rep. Henry Waxman (D., Calif.), a strong proponent of the House language.

Mr. Obama supported research into comparative effectiveness during his campaign. Administration officials and leading Democrats in Congress say the idea will help government programs direct their dollars to treatments that are worth the money.

Officially, drug and device makers don't object to that sentiment. But they warn of a slippery slope where the government ends up axing useful treatments just because they cost too much. They have lined up patient groups that get industry funding to lobby Capitol Hill.

A coalition called the Partnership to Improve Patient Care includes the lobbying arms of the drug, device and biotechnology industries as well as patient-advocacy groups and medical-professional societies. Coalition spokesman David Di Martino says the research envisioned in the House bill may be used "in an inappropriate manner that may limit treatment options for patients."

A public-relations firm that is part of one of Washington's most influential lobby shops, Barbour Griffith Rogers, is representing the coalition. A major goal is to give industry a seat at the table when federal officials decide what to research with the $1.1 billion.

Companies "want to control the data, how it is reviewed, evaluated, and whether the public and government find out about it and use it," said Harry Selker, a Tufts University professor who directs its clinical-research program.

That also worries Jerry Avorn of Harvard Medical School, a frequent drug-industry critic. Comparative research "has the potential to tell us which drugs and treatments are safe, and which ones work," he said. "This is not information that the private sector will generate on its own, or that the industry wants to share."

Michael Cannon of the libertarian Cato Institute said comparative effectiveness research "isn't going to do any good because the industry will defund it as soon as it presents a threat."

When the government's Agency for Health Research Quality suggested in 1995 that there were too many unnecessary back surgeries, doctors and industry groups attacked the conclusion. Mr. Cannon noted that Congress at the time slashed the agency's budget and stripped its authority to make medicare-payment recommendations.

"They almost killed AHRQ," said Dr. Avorn. "The memory of their near-death experience hasn't been forgotten."

Dr. McClellan, the former Medicare chief, said effectiveness research can be useful but shouldn't assume pricey medicines are automatically bad. "The goal isn't to avoid expensive drugs, it's to get more value for our health-care spending," he said.

—Jacob Goldstein contributed to this article.
Alicia Mundy at
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