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Monday, January 31, 2011

Drug Disposal Safety

I am a TV channel flipper most likely because I generally rely on it for noise and few really good programs.

Flipping the other night I came across Dog the Bounty Hunter's 200th episode and got one big shock.  The crew was flushing coke down the toilet at Dog's direction. BAD DOG!

I was hot on his tail for this egregious act, just because municipal water supplies cannot clean these drugs out of the system. 

No wonder everyone is out of sorts for being medicated without their knowledge or permission.

Here is the current policy fyi

Addressing Unchecked Dumping of Drugs in Waterways

Selected posts from Natural Health News

Dec 16, 2009
Customers should not dispose of drug patches (birth control, nicotine, etc.) or other medical products in the toilet or down the drain. A list of approved disposal sites can be found by visiting ...
Sep 19, 2008
And while most pharmaceutical waste is unmetabolized medicine that is flushed into sewers and waterways through human excretion, the AP examined institutional drug disposal and its dangers because unused drugs add another substantial ...
Nov 15, 2008
Because water treatment facilities cannot remove the chemicals from the water supply all of us are inundated with drug metabolites including hormones to chemotherapy. Be wise and incinerate. Check with a local pharmacy or hospital in ...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Keep Your Liver Clean and You Won't Have Many Problems

UPDATE: January 2011

Original post, January 2008

UPDATE: March 2009 - It is very sad that Professor Ernst is so ignorant about herbs, especially since he has the title of complementary medicine professor.

In a country that is the home of Culpeper and Maud Grieve it amazes me that there is such a lack of academic prowess. The information in regard to dandelion and artichoke for liver health is rather extensive. Both herbs are ones I often use for people who have liver related health concerns, including Hepatitis.

Now that spring is about to arrive in the northern hemisphere it is time to focus on detoxification and liver health. If you'd like a copy of our liver cleansing program, just send a donation to CHI and put detox in the note, and you'll receive it promptly in an email.

You most likely won't do anything better for improving your health than periodic detoxifying with foods and herbs.

In this case I've got to side with Charles.
Prince Charles detox 'quackery' Prince Charles has been accused of exploiting the public in times of hardship by launching what a leading scientist calls a "dodgy" detox mix.

Edzard Ernst, the UK's first professor of complementary medicine, said the Duchy Originals herbal detox tincture was based on "outright quackery".

There was no scientific evidence to show that detox products work, he said.

Launching the product in January, Duchy Originals' herbalist said each mix had been meticulously researched.

Michael McIntyre added they were "manufactured to the highest standards after exhaustive lab testing".

But Professor Ernst of Peninsula Medical School said Prince Charles and his advisers appeared to be deliberately ignoring science, preferring "to rely on 'make-believe' and superstition".

He added: "Prince Charles thus financially exploits a gullible public in a time of financial hardship."

Marketed as Duchy Herbals' Detox Tincture, the artichoke and dandelion mix is described as "a food supplement to help eliminate toxins and aid digestion".

It costs £10 (about $14 USD at current exchange rates) for a 50ml bottle.

Detox doubts

Professor Ernst said the suggestion that such products remove toxins from the body was "implausible, unproven and dangerous".
“ Prince Charles and his advisors seem to deliberately ignore science and prefer to rely on ‘make believe' and superstition ”
Professor Edzard Ernst

"Nothing would, of course, be easier than to demonstrate that detox products work. All one needed to do is to take a few blood samples from volunteers and test whether this or that toxin is eliminated from the body faster than normal," he said.

"But where are the studies that demonstrate efficacy? They do not exist, and the reason is simple: these products have no real detoxification effects."

Earlier this year the charitable trust Sense About Science produced a report seeking to debunk claims made about detox products.

Its researchers reviewed a series of products, from bottled water to face scrub, and found the detox assertions to be overwhelmingly meaningless.

It is not the first time Professor Ernst has criticised Prince Charles.

His 2008 book Trick or treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial is dedicated with irony to the prince, who has long been a supporter of complementary medicine - and particularly homeopathy.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2009/03/10 © BBC MMIX

ORIGINAL POST, Jan 08 Dr. Russell Blaylock offers you Five Nutrients to Protect Your Liver
The liver is the largest organ in the body and one of the most important for survival. It has three major functions: metabolizing nutrients, generating bile acids, and detoxifying poisons from both within and outside the body.

Bile acids are produced by liver cells and stored in the gallbladder until needed. They are critical to the digestion and absorption of fats. When fats enter the upper small bowel (which is composed of two sections — the duodenum and jejunum), the gallbladder releases bile acids that mix with the fats. This reaction forms a special chemical structure that can be further broken down by enzymes (lipases) to allow for better absorption.

When bile stagnates in the gallbladder, gallstones can form, leading to possible bacteria growth. This situation often triggers gallbladder attacks that spur severe cramping and pain, particularly if the gallstones block the bile duct — the tube connecting the gallbladder to the small intestine.

You can effectively prevent such attacks by regularly using the herb curcumin, which stimulates the gallbladder to release its bile. Curcumin also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that help prevent infections and inflammation in the organ.

The liver itself can be damaged by a variety of medications, as well as alcohol and viruses. One of the most common medications known to destroy liver cells is acetaminophen (as found in Tylenol™). Even when taken in recommended amounts, this drug can do great harm to the liver. In fact, acetaminophen damage is the underlying cause of many liver transplants.

Alcoholics are notorious for having bad livers because alcohol is a powerful liver toxin. Over time, heavy drinkers can develop severe scarring of the liver and loss of cells in that vital organ. Chronic heavy drinkers with damaged, poorly functioning alcoholic livers are also at high risk of liver cancer. This is a result of the chronic scarring, inflammation and exposure to toxins.

But several powerful nutrients have been shown to help protect liver cells from damage inflicted by toxins and toxic medications: grapefruit, quercetin, curcumin, N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC), and methionine.

Grapefruit, quercetin and curcumin all reduce the toxicity of acetaminophen as well as a number of other toxins. N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) and methionine are also both effective in treating acetaminophen poisoning.

Vaccines & Sick Buildings

Researchers Suggest Sick Building Syndrome May Be Caused by Vaccinations

“New research at the Chaim Zabludowicz Center for Autoimmune Diseases identifies sick building syndrome as autoimmune syndrome induced by adjuvants.”

A new term recently entered the medical arena, ASIA, or autoimmune inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants, sometimes called Shoenfeld's syndrome.

Adjuvants are additives included in vaccines to cause the immune system to respond more strongly. They may include things like aluminum, thimerosal (mercury), and squalene. These adjuvants have been associated with defined and non-defined immune mediated diseases in both animal and human models. In extreme cases, a potentially deadly cytokine storm may be possible.

“In recent years four conditions: siliconosis, the Gulf war syndrome GWS), the macrophagic myofasciitis syndrome (MMF) and post-vaccination phenomena were linked with previous exposure to an adjuvant,” says head researcher Israeli. “Furthermore, these four diseases share a similar complex of signs and symptoms which further support a common denominator.”

These diseases were classified under Shoenfeld's syndrome by researchers Shoenfeld and Agmon-Levin.

Israeli and colleagues suggest adding sick building syndrome under the classification of autoimmune inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants. Nine out of ten main symptoms are present in all 5 conditions.

Sick building syndrome is a set of clinically recognizable symptoms without a clear cause reported by occupants of a specific building. New research at the Chaim Zabludowicz Center for Autoimmune Diseases identifies sick building syndrome as autoimmune syndrome induced by adjuvants.

Several similar syndromes, including SBS, multiple chemical sensitivity, repetition stress injury, the side effects of silicone breast implants, the Gulf War syndrome (GWS), chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable
bowel syndrome, and fibromyalgia may be related.

Shoenfeld and Agmon-Levin further propose several major and minor criteria, which, although requiring
further validation, may aid in the diagnosis of this newly defined syndrome.

A new term recently entered the medical arena, ASIA, or autoimmune inflammatory syndrome induced by
adjuvants, sometimes called Shoenfeld's syndrome.

The safety of vaccines is a very controversial subject. In some cases, there is a 50/50 split in the populations’ trust of some vaccines. Less than half of medical professionals take the flu vaccine for themselves. Where there is this much controversy, a safety issue is definitely going on that is not being properly addressed.

Adjuvants are already known to trigger the development of inflammatory illnesses in people who are genetically susceptible. Therefore, some people are choosing not to vaccinate or are selectively choosing vaccines for only the most dangerous diseases. May adult and childhood vaccines may also be requested without the addition of adjuvants when available.

Symptoms of Shoenfeld's syndrome include seemingly unexplained:
Pain, Chronic Fatigue, Poor Coordination’ Brain Fog, or Confusion, Bowel Problems

Reference Israeli E, Pardo A. Mod Rheumatol. 2010 Dec 29. [Epub ahead of print] The Chaim Zabludowicz Center for Autoimmune Diseases, Chaim Sheba Medical

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Stay In and Share a Healthy Potluck

Potluck and the Healthy Benefits of Staying In
By Jim Rollince

As the cold winter months press onward, many are looking for accessible and fun ways to stay physically fit and healthy. Exercise is not the only way to stay physically fit and maintain a healthful lifestyle. A huge component of staying fit and healthy is centered on what types of food you choose to put into your body. This idea goes so far as to mean; healthy food is just as important as giving your body regular exercise. Eating healthy does not have to be a painful process.  Eating healthy can be a social and environmentally friendly experience where you as the consumer are able to support your local food economy while reaping all of the health benefits. Here are a few ways to keep the cold winter months lively, healthy, and delicious.

1.                    Plan healthy potluck dinners with your friends. Potluck dinners are a fantastic way to be social around ideas of healthy cooking. Not only do these dinners give you a chance to catch up with friends, they also provide the opportunity for you and others to share healthy recipes, ingredients, and cooking methods. Healthy potluck dinners take the pain out of cooking, as they turn the process into a social experience where information is shared amongst people trying to achieve the same goals. The more you attempt to incorporate health into all dimensions of your life, including cooking, food choice, and social relationships, the easier it will become. An added bonus of potluck dinners is they are relatively inexpensive. Purchasing groceries to cook one dish runs anywhere from $12-18 dollars. This amount of money is substantially less than what it costs to go out to dinner.

2.                    Shop at your local farmers market or independently owned grocery store. Selecting food from your local farmers market is significantly cheaper than going into a national chain grocery store to purchase ingredients, especially with produce. By purchasing fruits, vegetables, and grains from a local farmer you are participating in strengthening your region’s local green movement. Your money is going straight to small farmers’ operation costs. Farmers in your geographic region, who are not recipients of large government subsidies, need your patronage to survive.  

3.                    Purchasing locally grown food does not simply make you an eco-conscious participant in the ‘locavore, it also offers you tremendous health and taste benefits. The perishable items like fruit, vegetables, and breads that move the fastest from farmer to your plate are in transit the shortest period of time. Strawberries from California or bananas from Jamaica could spend upwards of 2-3 days in transit before arriving to your national grocery store and sitting out for 5 days. However, perishable food items from local farms or food coops are in transit for just hours before they are set out and sold at the farmers market or locally owned grocery store. If you purchase local produce you are ensured the highest quality food items and will also experience the great variety of fruits and vegetables characteristic of regional food growing.

Staying healthy this winter does not have to be a painful and cold process. You can combine indoor workouts on gym equipment with new and delicious ways to eat healthy and stay fit.

By: Jim Rollince of Gym Source home fitness equipment, including home gyms, treadmills, ellipticals, arc trainers, bikes and more!

Friday, January 28, 2011

New Vitamin D Test

New test may help detect vitamin D deficiency earlier

By Nathan Gray, 27-Jan-2011

A new diagnostic vitamin D assay to be released in Europe may help to detect early deficiency, and could help to provide more accurate data for dieticians and researchers.

Developed by the diagnostic lab technology company Abbott to detect the amount of 25-hydroxy vitamin D, the ARCHITECT 25-OH Vitamin D is a new diagnostic test to measure levels of vitamin D in blood using an automated instrument system.
Abbot announced Conformité Européenne (CE) marking for the assay, which is intended for the assessment of 25-hydroxy vitamin D in human serum and plasma to determine vitamin D status, but added that currently the test is not approved for use in the US.
Abbot said the assay will provide a quick and accurate gauge of vitamin D status in blood samples – which may provide greater opportunities for preventive and therapeutic interventions in at risk populations.
D deficiency
“Vitamin D deficiency is recognized as a global health problem, and vitamin D supplementation should be considered for all people at risk of vitamin D deficiency,” said Dr Jean-Claude Souberbielle, of the Université Paris.
He added that determination of the serum vitamin D concentration and supplementation according to the measured deficiency level is important for patients with osteoporosis, chronic kidney disease, abnormalities in absorbing food nutrients, and more generally, in those with a disease or a treatment that may impair bone health.
The UK National Institute of Health (NiH) said that whilst testing for levels of 25-hydroxy vitamin D is currently the most accurate way to determine vitamin D levels, many assays that are used can be notoriously inaccurate. 
“As a major diagnostic lab, serum 25-OH vitamin D has become an increasingly important diagnostic marker to us,” said Dr. Frans AL van der Horst, from the Reinier de Graaf Group, Netherlands.
Brian Blaser, senior vice president, diagnostic operations for Abbott said that the new vitamin D assay is “a valuable and convenient addition” which provides an automated test for samples that may previously have been sent to outside reference labs.

Selections from 8 pages of posts at Natural Health News 

Dec 14, 2010
The latest controversy that has spun out of the new Vitamin D RDA announcement has caused some people to turn away from this important vitamin. But that could put them at risk of low Vitamin D and the Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms that ...
Dec 17, 2010
For as long as I can recall, at least two or three decades, I have been teaching people to take a 20 minute walk at noon, even on cloudy days, to get sun exposure to help maintain vitamin D levels. Now you know that the "new guidance", ...
Dec 01, 2010
I'm including it because the latest mainstream medicine/media cartel would like you to be scared away from using supplements of any kind, and in this case calcium and vitamin D. "The base level for vitamin D for both adults and children ...
Nov 16, 2010
Back then, vitamin-deficiency diseases weren't unheard-of: the bowed legs and deformed ribs of rickets (caused by a severe shortage of vitamin D) or the skin problems and mental confusion of pellagra (caused by a lack of the B vitamin

More Americans Using Supplements

A report published in the February, 2011 issue of the Journal of Nutrition reveals widespread use of dietary supplements among Americans, particularly among older individuals.
Researchers from the National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements and the National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Maryland utilized data obtained from 18,758 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003-2006. Infants under the age of one were excluded from the current analysis.
Forty-four percent of males and 53 percent of females reported using supplements, which is an increase from the percentages reported in earlier NHANES surveys beginning in 1971. For those aged 71 and older, supplement use was reported by 70 percent. Multivitamin/mineral formulas were the most common form of supplementation. Twenty-eight to 30 percent of those surveyed used supplements containing vitamins A, B6, B12, C and E; 18 to 19 percent used chromium, iron and selenium, and 26-27 percent used magnesium and zinc. Herbs were used by 20 percent of adults and were more commonly used by older adults.
While 56 percent of those of normal weight were supplement users, this number declined to 48 percent among those who were obese, a finding that is consistent with that of other analyses. Non-Hispanic whites were more likely to use supplements compared to Hispanics and non-whites and higher education was associated with greater use of supplements compared to having a high school diploma or less education.
"About one-half of the US population and 70% of adults ≥ 71 years use dietary supplements; one-third use multivitamin-multimineral dietary supplements," the authors conclude. "Given the widespread use of supplements, data should be included with nutrient intakes from foods to correctly determine total nutrient exposure."


I found this enjoyable blog this morning while I was checking my emails and perusing tweets.  The article that caught my eye was about a disconnect between hospital administrators and doctors.
My comment was that there is a serious disconnect between administrators and nurses too.
The blog title is apropos regarding a disconnect between health care providers and patients, and now clearly the FDA too over ECT.
When I started out in psych nursing in the late 60s I refused to participate in ECT and this caused a serious row.  I also received the only 'A' in my Abnormal Psych class for my term paper on " ECT as a Creator of Social Problems ".
It appears as if little has changed.
More of the pattern of sell out to Big Bus from the White House I'd say...

Human Factor in Medicine and Life.

Alliance for Human Research Protection
A Catalyst for Debate

At the end of today's hearings, an FDA advisory panel will issue
recommendations about whether manufacturers of electroconvulsive devices
must put their devices to rigorous safety tests, or whether they should be
reclassified from Class III (high risk) to Class II (moderate risk).

Below are critical comments by Professor John Read (University of Auckland,
New Zealand) about FDA's Summary of Electroconvulsive devices.

Of note, although 103 deaths were reported to the FDA in individual
submissions, the FDA report devotes merely half a page to this issue.
Does that not demonstrate a disregard for the value of the lives of those
who are subjected to ECT--most often against their will ? 

Contact: Vera Hassner Sharav

January 28, 2011: MEDIA RELEASE: 

Professor John Read (University of Auckland, New Zealand) has submitted to
the FDA a 'Commentary' of the FDA's 150 page 'Executive Summary' report -
released on the eve of its hearings about Electroshock Therapy (Jan 27-28).

The five page Commentary (available on request:
states, in relation to effectivness,'The FDA staff seem to have conducted a
comprehensive review of the available research. They reach broadly similar
conclusions to that of our own recent review', namely:
'Little evidence exists supporting the long-term effectiveness of ECT' (FDA

Suicide Prevention
The belief that ECT somehow prevents suicide has long been a central plank
of claims that it is effective made by ECT proponents. The Commentary notes
that the FDA reports no studies at all in support of this claim.  There are
none. There were, however, 43 individual submissions to the FDA citing
suicidality as an adverse effect (p 68).

The FDA report devotes only half a page to this issue. 
A claim first made by the American Psychiatric Association (2001) is
repeated verbatim by the FDA: 'mortality rate of 1:10,000 patient, or
1:80,000 treatments'.
Our literature review (Read & Bentall, 2010) found numerous studies with
mortality rates far in excess of that claimed by the APA and reproduced,
rather uncritically, by the FDA. 
103 deaths were reported to the FDA in individual submissions "The FDA
report appears to have significantly underestimated the mortality rate of

Memory Loss
The FDA report fails to include the best designed study to date assessing
autobiographical memory. Despite repeated claims, for 50 years, that ECT is
safe, the first large-scale prospective study of cognitive outcomes
following ECT did not occur until 2007. Prominent ECT advocate Harold
Sackeim, found that autobiographical memory was significantly worse than
pre-ECT levels six months later. At both times the degree of impairment was
significantly related to the number of shocks. [The Sackeim study was
formally submitted to the FDA, by JR, on Dec. 30, 2010, with the Read &
Bentall literature review - which is also uncited] A New Zealand Government
report, commissioned by the Ministry of Health concluded that "ECT may
permanently affect memory" (Ministry of Health, 2004) and bemoans the
"slowness in acceptance by some professional groups that such outcomes are
real and significant in people's lives".

Even the 2001 APA Report has acknowledged that "In some patients the
recovery from retrograde amnesia will be incomplete, and evidence has shown
that ECT can result in persistent or permanent memory loss".
The Commentary concludes: "The FDA report has grossly underestimated the
duration of the memory deficits caused by ECT".

'Subjective' Memory Loss
"The FDA report also repeats the claim that much of the memory loss is
related to the depression rather than to the ECT, using the term 'subjective
memory loss' employed by by ECT proponents to promote this hypothesis. Our
review points out that this oft-made claim has been repeatedly demonstrated
to be unsubstatantiated."

* Dr Read had previously submitted a 2010 research literature review,
co-authored with Professor Richard Bentall (University of Liverpool),
concluding that ECT had no benefits beyond the treatment period, did not
prevent suicide and caused long-lasting, sometimes permanent memory
Read, J., Bentall, R. (2010). The effectiveness of electroconvulsive
therapy: A literature review. Epidemiologia e Psychiatria Sociale, 19,

Unrecognized Dangers Of Formaldehyde

Samuel S. Epstein, M.D., who chairs the Cancer Prevention Coalition, says, "The dermatologists and other scientists quoted in the Times appear unaware of the longstanding scientific evidence on the carcinogenicity of formaldehyde. However, this had been detailed in five National Toxicology Program Reports on Carcinogens from 1981 to 2004."
The Times assured its readers that "most of the 180 items tested, largely clothes and bed linens, had low or undetectable levels of formaldehyde that met voluntary industry guidelines." Accordingly, the Times claimed, "Most consumers will probably never have a problem with exposure to formaldehyde," since such low levels "are not likely to irritate most people," other than those wearing wrinkle-resistant clothing.
However, Dr. Epstein points to evidence that links formaldehyde exposure with increased incidence of nasal cancer and breast cancer.
The Times article stated that "The U.S. does not regulate formaldehyde levels in clothing. ... Nor does any government agency require manufacturers to disclose the use of this chemical on labels."
But that could change. On March 5, 2008, Senators Bob Casey, Sherrod Brown, and Mary Landrieu introduced an amendment to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reform bill "that would help protect Americans from dangerous levels of formaldehyde in textiles including clothing..."
The Senators referred to a 1997 CPSC report on formaldehyde, which admitted that "it causes cancer in tests on laboratory animals, and may cause cancer in humans." Accordingly, the Senators requested the CPSC to "regulate and test formaldehyde in textiles - and protect consumers from this poison."
In August 2010, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report warned that "a small proportion of the U.S. population does have allergic reactions to formaldehyde resins on their clothes." However, the GAO made no recommendations for any regulatory action.
Dr. Epstein supports both regulatory and legislative action based on scientific evidence in the five National Toxicology Program Reports on Carcinogens that classified formaldehyde as "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen," based on limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans, and sufficient evidence in experimental animals.
This evidence was confirmed in a series of reports by the prestigious International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Its 2006 and 2010 reports explicitly warn that formaldehyde is "a known cause of leukemia in experimental animals - and nasal cancer" in humans.
"Strong" evidence of the nasal cancer risk was also cited in the May 2010 President's Cancer Panel report, "Environmental Cancer Risk: What Can We Do Now?"
"Nevertheless," says Dr. Epstein, "and in spite of this explicit evidence, a September 2010 Government Accountability Office report attempted to trivialize the cancer risks of formaldehyde on the alleged grounds that exposure levels are low or 'non-detectable.'"
Of further concern, Dr. Epstein warns, "occupational exposure to formaldehyde has been associated with breast cancer deaths in a 1995 National Cancer Institute report, while environmental exposure has been associated with an increased incidence of breast cancer in a 2005 University of Texas report."
"Disturbingly," observes Dr. Epstein, "none of the dermatologists quoted in the New York Times appear aware of longstanding evidence that most cosmetics and personal care products, commonly used daily by most women, besides on their infants and children, and to a lesser extent men, contain up to eight ingredients which are precursors of formaldehyde."
These include diazolidinyl urea, metheneamine, and quaterniums, each of which readily breaks down on the skin to release formaldehyde, Dr. Epstein explains, warning, "This is then readily absorbed through the skin, and poses unknowing risks of cancer to most of the U.S. population."
Samuel S. Epstein, M.D. is professor emeritus of Environmental and Occupational Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, and Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition; and former President of the Rachel Carson Trust. His awards include the 1998 Right Livelihood Award and the 2005 Albert Schweitzer Golden Grand Medal for International Contributions to Cancer Prevention. Dr. Epstein has authored 20 scientific articles and 15 books on cancer prevention, including the groundbreaking The Politics of Cancer (1978), Cancergate: How to Win the Losing Cancer War (2005) and most recently Toxic Beauty (2009, Benbella Books: about carcinogens in cosmetics and personal care products.
Samuel S. Epstein, M.D.
Chairman, Cancer Prevention Coalition 
Professor emeritus Environmental & Occupational Medicine 
University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health 
Chicago, Illinois
Tel: 312-996-2297 

GMO Alfalfa Gets Go Ahead from USDA

What the Heck Happened? The Politics of GM Alfalfa Explained
How did the USDA's plan for peaceful coexistence among alfalfa growers end up with the agency approving GM alfalfa with no restrictions?
We are seeing the sell out to Big Bus from the White House day after day - 
USDA abandoning provision to protect organic farmers from genetic contamination
Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director for the Center for Food Safety poignantly stated that:
USDA has become a rogue agency in its regulation of biotech crops and its decision to appease the few companies who seek to benefit from this technology comes despite increasing evidence that GE alfalfa will threaten the rights of farmers and consumers, as well as damage the environment.

Little seems to be different at EPA and other agencies as the clear and apparent danger of selling out to the corporatocracy continues.

Cornucopia says:

USDA to Fully Deregulate Monsanto’s Genetically Engineer Alfalfa — Gene Contamination of Feed, Milk, Meat and Other Products to Follow…

"The policy set for GE alfalfa will most likely guide policies for other GE crops as well. True coexistence is a must."   -  Whole Foods Market, Jan. 21, 2011
In the wake of a 12-year battle to keep Monsanto's Genetically Engineered (GE) crops from contaminating the nation's 25,000 organic farms and ranches, America's organic consumers and producers are facing betrayal. A self-appointed cabal of the Organic Elite, spearheaded by Whole Foods Market, Organic Valley, and Stonyfield Farm, has decided it's time to surrender to Monsanto. Top executives from these companies have publicly admitted that they no longer oppose the mass commercialization of GE crops, such as Monsanto's controversial Roundup Ready alfalfa, and are prepared to sit down and cut a deal for "coexistence" with Monsanto and USDA biotech cheerleader Tom Vilsack.
Nonstick kitchenware, Roundup, Vinyl, VOCs, Flame retardants, BPA, Dry-cleaned clothing

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Big PhRMA Behind Millions in Medicare Fraud

This issue is close to me because I am sure Medicare fraud is involved in my late mother's care.  A person with a closed head injury and expressive aphasia needs a neurologist to be their primary care provider, not a questionable shrink who loaded her up on expensive psych drugs.  Hyatt surely made out like a bandit on this one too, yet my greedy, controlling brother in Vermont, her POA, did NOTHING to make a change.  My mother was warehoused in Florida at a so-called '5 star' facility.

Blowing the whistle on drug firms

Last December, a specialty pharmacy in Florida enjoyed its best month ever — posting a hefty $168.7 million in revenues.

But it wasn't filling prescriptions that made Ven-A-Care of the Florida Keys Inc. such a success.

Tiny Ven-A-Care has developed a lucrative niche market: blowing the whistle on drug companies that overcharge Medicare and Medicaid — and collecting tens of millions of dollars in reward money.

Unlike most whistle-blowers who help the government with one case after they encounter wrongdoing, Ven-A-Care has filed suits alleging fraudulent conduct against dozens of drug companies supplying pharmacies and healthcare providers. Complete Article

Monday, January 24, 2011

Health Hero Passes

I am old enough to remember being a young mother and staying at home with my daughter, and following Jack LaLanne's exercise program pretty faithfully.

My daughter will be 49 later this year.  I hope some of what she learned from me has helped her.  She is an artist and a massage therapist now. 

I tried to pass on to her much of what I learned from Jack.  He will be missed, not only by me but by many I know whose lives he influenced.

Lung Health

A new study reports that beta-glucan is very helpful for protecting lung health, just as is vitamin A (oil based) and vitamin C.

Reference:"Pleuran (Beta-glucan from Pleurotus ostreatus) supplementation, cellular immune response and respiratory tract infections in athletes," Bergendiova K, Majtan J, et al, Eur J Appl Physiol, 2011, Jan 20; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address:Pneumo-Alergo Centrum, s.r.o., Uzbecka 16, 821 06, Bratislava, Slovakia).
Summary:In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving 50 athletes undergoing strenuous physical training, results indicate that supplementation with pleuran, an insoluble glucan from mushroom Pleurotus ostreatus, may exert beneficial effects. The athletes were randomised to pleuran or placebo for a period of 3 months. At intervention end, a significant reduction in incidences of URTI (upper respiratory tract infections) symptoms and increased number of circulating NK cells were observed in the pleuran group. Additionally, a significant reduction of phagocytosis was observed in the placebo group alone. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, "These findings indicate that pleuran may serve as an effective nutritional supplement for athletes under heavy physical training."

More About Natural Cancer Treatments

from Krista Peterson in response to our post about supplements

More on immune system health
Natural Cancer Treatments

Traditional cancer treatments work by targeting the tumor with toxic chemicals or radiation, killing off the malignant cells – but also damaging healthy cells in the process.  For this reason, chemotherapy and radiation are extremely difficult on the body, causing side effects ranging from hair loss to nausea and vomiting to anemia.  Some of the most lethal cancers, such as mesothelioma, are not diagnosed until the late stages. Mesothelioma treatment generally includes traditional therapies like radiation, chemotherapy, and – more rarely – surgery, but these treatments are often of limited effectiveness by the time the cancer is diagnosed.

As a result, many cancer patients turn to alternative treatment as a method of alleviating symptoms or fighting the cancer itself.  There are many natural alternative remedies available, though most are used in conjunction with traditional therapies rather than replacements for them.  The reason these treatments are not part of standard medical care is that most have not been proven to show significant positive effects in clinical trials.  However, when even conventional medical treatment offers little chance of recovery, it is only natural to search for natural alternatives with fewer harsh side effects.

Vitamin C – an important nutrient found in citrus and other fruits and vegetables, given intravenously in large doses.  This therapy is based on a 1976 study that suggested the vitamin may increase survival time for terminal cancer patients.  However, other scientists have not been able to reproduce the results of this study.

Mushroom extract – the use of mushrooms for medicinal purposes.  Compounds called beta-glucans found in some mushrooms are thought to boost the body’s immune responses, allowing it to better fight the cancer.

Cat’s claw – the common name for Uncaria tormentosa, a vine found in the tropics of Central and South America.  The inner bark and root are used by indigenous cultures to treat intestinal ailments, and there has been some indication that it may also have a stimulating effect on the immune system in cancer patients.

Iscador – an extract of the mistletoe plant, especially popular as a cancer therapy in Europe.  Though the National Cancer Institute does not list it as an approved treatment, some tests have been promising and the extract is currently undergoing clinical trials.

Quercetin – an anti-oxidant flavonoid found in some fruits and vegetables.  Some in vitro studies have shown quercetin to suppress malignant cancer cells, and the National Cancer Institute highly recommends a diet rich in fruits and vegetables for cancer prevention as well as during treatment.

Macrobiotic diet – a diet that consists primarily of whole grains, vegetables, and beans while avoiding refined or processed foods.  Practitioners claim this diet is linked to the traditions of Chinese, Japanese, or Incan cultures and is based on the principle of balance in food and in life.

An Important Note

If you are receiving medical treatment for cancer or other serious illness, it is imperative that you speak to your doctor before beginning any alternative therapies to prevent possibly dangerous interactions or side effects.  Any changes in diet should also be discussed with a medical professional, since chemotherapy or radiation may change the way your body takes in nutrients and malnutrition can be a serious risk.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Friendly Skies? MRSA Risk Flying High

If TSA isn't bad enough, maybe your data base isn't as well informed about flying as it should be.

Places Germs Breed

Even coffee, magazines can be contaminated

  • Airplane water has been under review for traces of E. coli for six years
  • Purchase bottled water to bring on board and don't use ice cubes in your drink
  • To avoid catching the cold or flu, don't stash things in the seat pocket
  • Don't wash your hands after using the airplane bathroom -- use sanitizer instead
(Budget Travel) -- Flu season is in full swing, so it's more important than ever to protect yourself against illness. We dug deep to identify the major germ zones on planes (and tips to avoid them). No, you're not likely to contract meningitis, but better safe than sorry, right?

E. coli, a common culprit behind stomach cramps

Your plane reaches 30,000 feet, the fasten-seat-belt sign switches off, and the flight attendant comes by to take your drink order: Coffee or tea? Ice water? They seem like innocent offers -- until you consider that airplane water has been under review by the EPA for traces of E. coli for six years.

A random sampling of 327 unnamed domestic and international aircraft caused a stir in 2004 when some water samples tested positive for E. coli, one strain of which is the leading cause of food poisoning in the U.S. Coffee and tea are brewed on board with such water and don't typically reach hot enough temperatures to kill E. coli. When bottled water runs out, some planes have been known to fill fliers' glasses from the tank.

One British Airways crew member confessed to the London-based Times that, in those cases, the crew first has to wait for any cloudy "floating stuff" to settle out. And onboard tanks are small to limit their weight, so planes sometimes refill at foreign airports, where water standards can be questionable.

The encouraging news is that water quality and control are improving: From 2005 to 2008, only 3.6 percent of samples tested positive for coliform bacteria, of which only a small fraction tested positive for E. coli. And in October 2011, the EPA's Aircraft Drinking Water Rule, with more standardized, stringent disinfection and inspection regulations, will go into effect.

Once you clear the security checkpoint, purchase a bottle of water to bring on board. When the flight attendant comes to take your order, stick to soda, juice and other prepackaged liquids, minus the ice. While ice cubes are usually supplied by an outside vendor, some large planes may have their own ice-making capabilities -- reliant on tank water.

Seat Pocket
Cold and influenza A, B, and C viruses

There's a familiar routine to settling in on a plane: Store your luggage in the overhead bin and deposit any personal items you want to be readily available in your seat pocket. But reaching into that pocket is akin to putting your hand in someone else's purse and rummaging among their used tissues and gum wrappers.

Toenail clippings and mushy old French fries are even nastier surprises that have been found in seat pockets. Consider that cold and influenza viruses can survive for hours on fabric and tissues, and even longer (up to 48 hours) on nonporous surfaces like plastic and metal -- and you realize that you might pick up more than that glossy flight magazine when you reach inside.

Bring a small, easily accessible carry-on bag so that you can avoid stashing things in the seat pocket. If you must use it, keep magazines and other items within a plastic bag for protection.

Tray Table
MRSA, a deadly superbug

Flight attendants have witnessed many repulsive misuses of the tray table, from parents changing dirty diapers to kids sticking their boogers underneath. Research confirms that the handy tray table is a petri dish for all kinds of health hazards, including the superbug Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), which is often fatal once contracted. It kills an estimated 20,000 Americans annually.

In 2007, University of Arizona researcher Jonathan Sexton tested tray tables from three major airliners, and an alarming 60 percent tested positive for the superbug. That's quite a revelation considering only 11 percent of his samples from the New York subway found traces of the bug.

Bring disinfectant wipes to clean off your tray table before and after use, and never eat directly off the surface. CDC guidelines tell you what to look for in a disinfectant and recommend checking a product's label to see if MRSA is on the list of bacteria it kills; Lysol disinfecting wipes is one reliable choice. And be sure to protect any cuts with Band-Aids -- the most common way of contracting an MRSA infection is through open skin.
Airplane Meal
Listeria, a microbe known to cause gastrointestinal illness and meningitis

In-flight meals have long had a bad reputation for consisting of bland, barely identifiable dishes. Then, in 2009, the meals made headlines when FDA inspections of the Denver location of LSG Sky Chefs -- the world's largest airplane caterer with clients including American Airlines, Delta and United -- found the kitchens crawling with roaches too numerous to count and employees handling the food with bare hands or unwashed gloves.

Test samples from the food preparation area also found traces of Listeria monocytogenes, which can cause gastrointestinal illness and meningitis, as well as cervical infection in pregnant women. Your likelihood of contracting illness from the microbe is very low, though it should be noted that one fifth of the 2,500 annual cases are fatal.

LSG Sky Chefs, to its credit, responded accordingly after the news broke and passed the FDA's follow-up inspection in January 2010.

It sounds like LSG has cleaned up its act, but you'll never really know where your meal has been. If you're concerned, eat beforehand and bring your own snacks onto the plane. For starters, choose a well-cured meat like prosciutto or salami.

Airplane Pillow and Blankets
Germs like Aspergillus niger that cause pneumonia and infections

Talk about sleeping with the enemy. You're snuggling with a blanket and pillow that have likely been used by many drowsy, drooling passengers before you. Unless visibly soiled, pillows and blankets are often reissued because of the frequency of flights.

A 2007 investigation by The Wall Street Journal revealed that airlines cleaned their blankets every five to 30 days. And don't assume your blanket is new just because it's wrapped in plastic. The Union of Needletrades, Industrial, and Textile Employees made a big stink in 2000 when it accused Royal Airline Laundry -- which supplies pillows and blankets to clients like American, United and US Airways -- of repackaging pillows and blankets without cleaning them properly.

Its research found blankets with traces of Pseudomonas paucimobilis, known for causing lung and eye infections, and pillowcases with Aspergillus niger, which can lead to pneumonia and gastrointestinal bleeding. In the decade since, airlines like Southwest and Alaska Airlines have removed pillows and blankets completely, while JetBlue, US Airways and American now charge for them.

There have been no documented reports linking airlines to these infections. But if you're worried about staying warm -- and want to avoid potential germs and airline fees -- wear layers and thick socks, and consider bringing Grabber Warmers, small disposable hand and foot warmers. A travel pillow and compact blanket will help you sleep in comfort.

Airplane Lavatory
A smorgasbord of threats like E. coli or fecal bacteria

After a mid-flight nap, you wake up to nature's call and must face the airplane's biggest germ zone: the lavatory. With hundreds of people using the commode daily, the small boxy space is a natural haven for all kinds of germs and viruses, especially on the door handle (do you really think every passenger washes his or her hands?).

And that thunderous volcanic toilet flush doesn't exactly help the situation, spraying water and releasing potential germs into the air every which way. The CDC cited the lavatory as a major danger area for the spread of disease during the H1N1 flu and SARS epidemics.

Use a paper towel to close the toilet lid before flushing -- and then leave without washing your hands. Remember that cloudy tank water we described above? The sink water comes from the same source. You'll come away cleaner if you skip the sink and reach for hand sanitizer instead.

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