Europe against GMO crops! Please, sign the Avaaz petition!
I already did. It's us who decide, not Monsanto!!!

Health care or health joke, November, 2010

Health is all we have and it's supposed to be a priority. Right? Wrong! I gathered quite a long list of articles dedicated to the lie of public health care. I called it a health joke, but it's not a joke, it's more likely a conspiracy. I won't comment each article separately, they are way too much. I would like only to point to the obvious weakness in our attitude in life.
When we suspect something is bad for our health, we don't stop using it, when we know something is good for our health, we pretend we don't know. How stupid is this?! What am I referring to? First, we know how good diagnostic tools are CT scans and MRI. How often do we use them? Very rarely. Why?! I mean these are among the most beneficial for human life pieced of technology we came up with. And yet, they are drastically under-used, because of the cost. Well, what's the point of being technologically developed civilization, if because of the cost you don't use what you know?! How sick this idea of economy is? Human life is suppose to be above all. But of course, it is not. For a long while I repeat that society defines economy and not the other way around. But nobody listens or cares to listen. And people die in vain. Why? Because.
It's funny how we ignore the problem with the cost of health care until we or somebody around us gets sick. And then we suddenly realise just how unfair life is. But it doesn't have to be that way. The absolute cost of the treatment  rarely equals the price we pay for it. Usually the price covers research, salaries, resources and genuine profit. Why did personal computers become cheap? Because they are common. True, the production cost is also low, but that also comes from the fact they are common. When scans and MRI become common, their cost will fall. But for that, we need political will. Do we have it? No.
From the other side - when we know something is bad for our health, do we remove it from our lives? Of course not. We still use the nasty plastic bottles, we're still bombarded with tons of chemicals causing all kind of health effects. And authorities still deny to involve with the process of regulating those chemicals. Is it simple to regulate them? No. We're talking about a great number of chemicals, each of which should be risk-assessed separately and in combination with other chemicals. This is absurdly hard and probably it would take forever to say something is "safe". But should it be done? Yes. Most definitely yes. It's impossible to regulate each and every substance we get in contact with. But the most common chemicals and combinations, or those that are suspected to be dangerous should be regulated. This effort should be done.
One would think that the authorities should be interested in public health, since it pays for public health care. Even when the health care is not public, the authorities still pay for various social programs aimed at people who are not healthy. In the least - the sick person is not a good worker. If a lot of people are sick, production will suffer. Economy will suffer. So authorities are supposed to care for public health. They are supposed to, but they don't. If they did, they will act adequately to regulate possible dangers. Instead, they regulate only pharmaceutical finances. How is that for a health care?
Ultimately - it's up to us to require better regulation. If you want something to happen, find similarly minded people and ask your government to provide for your needs. After all, the logic that if something is dangerous, the market will regulate it is kind of stupid. If people die or get sick from a combination of products, they will never know who to sue. Who is then regulating the dangerous substances? Who is regulating aggressive pharmaceutical companies who medicate little kids, when all they need is counseling? Who regulates medical costs when it comes to treatments? Ultimately - what's the point in paying for any kind of health care, if all that "health care" do is suck your money? None!
I think it's time we all wake up and understand that the power is in our hands. And the time to act is NOW.

  1. Child’s Ordeal Shows Risks of Psychosis Drugs for Young
  2. In Feast of Data on BPA Plastic, No Final Answer
  3. Vitamin D found to influence over 200 genes, highlighting links to disease
  4. Prone to Error: Earliest Steps to Find Cancer 
  5. Push to Market Pill Stirs Debate on Sexual Desire
  6. Diabetes Drug Maker Hid Test Data on Risks, Files Indicate
  7. CT Scans Cut Lung Cancer Deaths, Study Finds
  8. Elevated nitrogen and phosphorus still widespread in much of the nation's streams and groundwater

Child’s Ordeal Shows Risks of Psychosis Drugs for Young

OPELOUSAS, La. — At 18 months, Kyle Warren started taking a daily antipsychotic drug on the orders of a pediatrician trying to quell the boy’s severe temper tantrums.
Thus began a troubled toddler’s journey from one doctor to another, from one diagnosis to another, involving even more drugs. Autism, bipolar disorder, hyperactivity, insomnia, oppositional defiant disorder. The boy’s daily pill regimen multiplied: the antipsychotic Risperdal, the antidepressant Prozac, two sleeping medicines and one for attention-deficit disorder. All by the time he was 3.
He was sedated, drooling and overweight from the side effects of the antipsychotic medicine.
Today, 6-year-old Kyle is in his fourth week of first grade, scoring high marks on his first tests. He is rambunctious and much thinner. Weaned off the drugs through a program affiliated with Tulane University that is aimed at helping low-income families whose children have mental health problems, Kyle now laughs easily and teases his family.
More than 500,000 children and adolescents in America are now taking antipsychotic drugs, according to a September 2009 report by the Food and Drug Administration. Their use is growing not only among older teenagers, when schizophrenia is believed to emerge, but also among tens of thousands of preschoolers. Even the most reluctant prescribers encounter a marketing juggernaut that has made antipsychotics the nation’s top-selling class of drugs by revenue, $14.6 billion last year, with prominent promotions aimed at treating children.
But it is cheaper to medicate children than to pay for family counseling, a fact highlighted by a Rutgers University study last year that found children from low-income families, like Kyle, were four times as likely as the privately insured to receive antipsychotic medicines.
Texas Medicaid data obtained by The New York Times showed a record $96 million was spent last year on antipsychotic drugs for teenagers and children — including three unidentified infants who were given the drugs before their first birthdays.
In addition, foster care children seem to be medicated more often, prompting a Senate panel in June to ask the Government Accountability Office to investigate such practices.
Kyle was rescued from his medicated state through a therapy program called Early Childhood Supports and Services, established in Louisiana through a confluence of like-minded child psychiatrists at Tulane, Louisiana State University and the state. It surrounds troubled children and their parents with social and mental health support services. source

In Feast of Data on BPA Plastic, No Final Answer

Concerns about BPA stem from studies in lab animals and cell cultures showing it can mimic the hormone estrogen. It is considered an “endocrine disruptor,” a term applied to chemicals that can act like hormones. But whether it does any harm in people is unclear.
Where science has left a void, politics and marketing have rushed in. A fierce debate has resulted, with one side dismissing the whole idea of endocrine disruptors as junk science and the other regarding BPA as part of a chemical stew that threatens public health.
About half a dozen states have banned BPA in children’s products, and Senator Dianne Feinstein hopes to accomplish the same nationwide, with an amendment to the food safety bill scheduled for a vote in the Senate next week.
This year, a presidential panel on cancer and the environment said there was a “growing link” between BPA and several diseases, including cancer, and recommended ways to avoid BPA, like storing water in bottles free of it and not microwaving food in plastic containers. Some cancer experts said the report overstated the case against chemicals, but the concerns it raised seemed to reflect growing public worries.
In May, a White House task force on childhood obesity issued a report suggesting that BPA and certain other chemicals might be acting as “obesogens” in children — promoters of obesity — by increasing fat cells in the body and altering metabolism and feelings of hunger and fullness. Perhaps not surprisingly, the issue of whether BPA is safe has become highly partisan.
Environmental groups and many Democrats want BPA banned, blaming it for an array of ills that includes cancer, obesity, infertility and behavior problems. Environmentalists think the United States should adopt the “precautionary principle,” a better-safe-than-sorry approach favored in the European Union. The principle says, in essence, that if there are plausible health concerns about a chemical, even if they are not proved, people should not be exposed to it until studies show it is safe. The United States takes the opposite approach: chemicals are not banned unless there is proof of harm.
Many Republicans, anti-regulation activists and the food-packaging and chemical industries insist that BPA is harmless and all but indispensable to keeping canned food safe by sealing the cans and preventing corrosion, and to producing many other products at reasonable prices.
Linda S. Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (part of the National Institutes of Health), said that a new round of government-financed studies with uniform methods, now under way with animal subjects, should help to resolve unanswered questions. In the meantime, Mrs. Feinstein’s ambitious plan to ban BPA from baby bottles, sippy cups, baby food and formula was blocked by partisan battling. She had hoped that the ban would be included in the food safety bill, not merely in an amendment to be considered separately.
The F.D.A. says that infants are “a potentially sensitive population for BPA” because their brains and endocrine systems are still developing, and their livers are less efficient than adults’ at detoxifying and eliminating foreign substances. The drug agency has taken a seemingly paradoxical position, on the one hand saying there is no evidence of harm in humans, and on the other supporting industry actions to get BPA out of baby bottles and feeding cups, and to find alternative liners for food and formula cans. Bottle-makers have found substitutes, but can producers say there is nothing like BPA. Only a few companies are offering BPA-free cans.

Vitamin D found to influence over 200 genes, highlighting links to disease

August 23, 2010

The extent to which vitamin D deficiency may increase susceptibility to a wide range of diseases is dramatically highlighted in research published today. Scientists have mapped the points at which vitamin D interacts with our DNA - and identified over two hundred genes that it directly influences. The results are published today in the journal Genome Research.

It is estimated that one billion people worldwide do not have sufficient vitamin D. This deficiency is thought to be largely due to insufficient exposure to the sun and in some cases to poor diet. As well as being a well-known risk factor for rickets, there is a growing body of evidence that vitamin D deficiency also increases an individual's susceptibility to autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS), rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes, as well as certain cancers and even dementia.
Now, in a study whose funders include the Medical Research Council (MRC), the MS Society, the Wellcome Trust and the MS Society of Canada, researchers at the University of Oxford have shown the extent to which vitamin D interacts with our DNA. They used new DNA sequencing technology to create a map of vitamin D receptor binding across the genome. The vitamin D receptor is a protein activated by vitamin D, which attaches itself to DNA and thus influences what proteins are made from our genetic code.
The researchers found 2,776 binding sites for the vitamin D receptor along the length of the genome. These were unusually concentrated near a number of genes associated with susceptibility to autoimmune conditions such as MS, Crohn's disease, systemic lupus erythematosus (or 'lupus') and rheumatoid arthritis, and to cancers such as chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and colorectal cancer.
They also showed that vitamin D had a significant effect on the activity of 229 genes including IRF8, previously associated with MS, and PTPN2, associated with Crohn's disease and type 1 diabetes.
The first author of the paper, Dr Sreeram Ramagopalan from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, adds: "There is now evidence supporting a role for vitamin D in susceptibility to a host of diseases. Vitamin D supplements during pregnancy and the early years could have a beneficial effect on a child's health in later life. Some countries such as France have instituted this as a routine public health measure."
The main source of vitamin D in the body comes from exposing the skin to sunlight, although a diet of oily fish can provide some of the vitamin. Research has previously suggested that lighter skin colour and hair colour evolved in populations moving to parts of the globe with less sun to optimise production of vitamin D in the body. A lack of vitamin D can affect bone development, leading to rickets; in pregnant mothers, poor bone health can be fatal to both mother and child at birth, hence there are selective pressures in favour of people who are able to produce adequate vitamin D.
This new study supports this hypothesis, having found a significant number of vitamin D receptor binding sites in regions of the genome with genetic changes more commonly found in people of European and Asian descent.  source

Prone to Error: Earliest Steps to Find Cancer -
As it turns out, diagnosing the earliest stage of breast cancer can be surprisingly difficult, prone to both outright error and case-by-case disagreement over whether a cluster of cells is benign or malignant, according to an examination of breast cancer cases by The New York Times.
Advances in mammography and other imaging technology over the past 30 years have meant that pathologists must render opinions on ever smaller breast lesions, some the size of a few grains of salt. Discerning the difference between some benign lesions and early stage breast cancer is a particularly challenging area of pathology, according to medical records and interviews with doctors and patients.
“There are studies that show that diagnosing these borderline breast lesions occasionally comes down to the flip of a coin.”
There is an increasing recognition of the problems, and the federal government is now financing a nationwide study of variations in breast pathology, based on concerns that 17 percent of D.C.I.S. cases identified by a commonly used needle biopsy may be misdiagnosed. Despite this, there are no mandated diagnostic standards or requirements that pathologists performing the work have any specialized expertise, meaning that the chances of getting an accurate diagnosis vary from hospital to hospital.

Push to Market Pill Stirs Debate on Sexual Desire

Now, a German drug giant says it has stumbled upon such a pill and is trying to persuade the Food and Drug Administration that its drug can help restore a depressed female sex drive. The effort has set off a debate over what constitutes a normal range of sexual desire among women, with critics saying the company is trying to turn a low libido into a medical pathology.
On Wednesday, an F.D.A. staff report recommended against approving the drug, saying the maker, Boehringer Ingelheim, had not made its case and that the benefits of the daily pill did not outweigh its side effects, which included dizziness, nausea and fatigue.
That staff report came ahead of a meeting Friday by an F.D.A. advisory panel of experts who are to vote on whether to recommend that the agency approve the pill, which would be the first drug aimed specifically at a low sex drive in premenopausal women.
F.D.A. staff reports carry weight but do not always sway how advisory panels vote, and advisory votes do not always predict what the F.D.A. might finally decide.
Some analysts forecast that if the drug does reach the market, it could have annual sales in this country of $2 billion — or about equal to the current combined annual American sales of the men’s drugs Viagra, Levitra and Cialis.
There is no dispute that some women have a depressed level of sexual desire that causes them anguish. Boehringer cites a condition — hypoactive sexual desire disorder — that is included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a reference book for psychiatrists and insurers. But many experts say that unlike sexual dysfunction in men — which has an obvious physical component — sexual problems in women are much harder to diagnose. And among doctors and researchers, there is serious medical debate over whether female sexual problems are treatable with drugs. Some doctors advocate psychotherapy or counseling, while others have prescribed hormonal drugs approved for other uses.
Boehringer developed the drug, flibanserin, as an antidepressant, but it failed to lift depression. The company says it learned serendipitously that the pill, taken daily for weeks, could restore female libido. source

Expert panel: Carcinogenic chemicals in environment threaten Americans

May 7, 2010 by Lin Edwards -- An expert panel in the U.S. has warned President Obama Americans face "grievous harm" from a bombardment of largely unregulated and often carcinogenic chemicals in their food, air and water, both at work and in the home, and has urged the president to adopt a new national strategy to focus on the threat.
The panel, known as the “President's Panel,” claims the often-quoted figure of only five percent of cancers being caused by and , and the rest caused by factors such as diet and smoking, is grossly underestimated. The panel did not offer a new estimate, however.
The panel’s report, released on May 6, said there was a “growing body of evidence” that linked exposure to chemicals, and pollutants in the environment to cancer, with children being especially at risk because they are smaller and still growing. It pointed out U.S. Federal laws in the area are weak, with regulation split between too many agencies, and that research funding and enforcement in the country are inadequate.
The 200-page report said rates of some cancers in children were rising inexplicably, and recent research had found umbilical cord blood contained industrial chemicals, which meant children were being “bombarded” with exposure to a combination of before they were born. The report also noted that the impact of chemicals on fetuses, babies and young children is not known.
Around 1.5 million Americans were diagnosed with cancer in 2009, and over half a million died from cancer the same year, making it the biggest killer of Americans after heart disease. source

Diabetes Drug Maker Hid Test Data on Risks, Files Indicate

CT Scans Cut Lung Cancer Deaths, Study Finds

WASHINGTON — Annual CT scans of current and former heavy smokers reduced their risk of death from lung cancer by 20 percent, a huge government-financed study has found. Even more surprising, the scans seem to reduce the risks of death from other causes as well, suggesting that the scans could be catching other illnesses.

The findings represent an enormous advance in cancer detection that could potentially save thousands of lives annually, although at considerable expense. Lung cancer will claim about 157,000 lives this year, more than the deaths from colorectal, breast, pancreatic and prostate cancers combined. Most patients discover their disease too late for treatment, and 85 percent die from it.

Patients wishing to get a CT lung screen will most likely have to pay the roughly $300 charge themselves, since few insurers pay for such scans unless an illness is suspected. The federal Medicare program will soon reconsider paying for such screens, a Medicare official said.

Since 46 million people in the United States smoke and tens of millions more once smoked, a widespread screening program could cost billions annually. Any further refinement of those most at risk could reduce those costs. Low-dose CT scans expose patients to about the same radiation levels as mammograms. Little is known about how the cumulative risks of years of such scans would balance the benefits. source

Elevated nitrogen and phosphorus still widespread in much of the nation's streams and groundwater

September 27, 2010
Elevated concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus, nutrients that can negatively impact aquatic ecosystems and human health, have remained the same or increased in many streams and aquifers across the Nation since the early 1990's, according to a new national study by the U.S. Geological Survey.
"Despite major Federal, State and local efforts and expenditures to control sources and movement of nutrients within our Nation's watersheds, national-scale progress was not evident in this assessment, which is based on thousands of measurements and hundreds of studies across the country from the 1990's and early 2000's," said Matthew C. Larsen, USGS Associate Director for Water. 
USGS findings show that widespread concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus remain two to ten times greater than levels recommended by the EPA to protect aquatic life. Most often, these elevated levels were found in agricultural and urban streams. source 

1 коментара:

A little update:
"Benlysta reduced symptoms in two clinical trials. But about 11 patients would have to be treated in order for one to benefit. The staff of the F.D.A. and some committee members questioned the drug’s effectiveness, pointing out that many patients with the most severe symptoms were excluded from the trial.

Also, one trial had no American patients. In the trial that did, Americans and Canadians did not seem to get as much benefit from the drug as people from other regions. Some panel members expressed concern that the trial did not include enough African-Americans, who tend to have more aggressive forms of the disease and did not appear to gain any benefit from Benlysta."

This is the new Lupus medicament approved by FDA. Even though it helps only 1 of every 11 patients. Sounds strange, no?

November 27, 2010 at 2:31 AM  

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