Saturday, December 30, 2006
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
As I say, I suffered debilitating panic attacks that sometimes left me paralyzed. I know how much life can be lost in that manner. I also used the nutritient GABA, which I have written about. That article mentions Joe Barry's Panic Away as well. If you or a loved one suffer from panic disorder and anxiety attacks, I highly recommend these two methods.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Court pact says Va. teen can forgo chemo
By SONJA BARISIC, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 49 minutes ago
ACCOMAC, Va. - A 16-year-old cancer patient's legal fight ended in victory Wednesday when his family's attorneys and social services officials reached an agreement that would allow him to forgo chemotherapy.
At the start of what was scheduled to be a two-day hearing, Accomack County Circuit Judge Glen A. Tyler announced that both sides had reached a consent decree, which Tyler approved.
Under the decree, Starchild Abraham Cherrix, who is battling Hodgkin's disease, will be treated by an oncologist of his choice who is board-certified in radiation therapy and interested in alternative treatments. The family must provide the court updates on Abraham's treatment and condition every three months until he is cured or turns 18.
'It's all over. It's everything we fought for, everything we wanted to ever have, we've won. We got our freedom back,' Abraham said outside the courthouse after the hearing."
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
What is the natural state of a human's feet? In most places and eras, human beings have spent a great deal of the time barefoot or wearing thin-soled shoes made of leather. Their feet have developed naturally. You would not find Native Americans, for instance, clambering around the cliffs with blocks of wood on their feet. Yet, here we are with millions of children plodding about in this most unnatural and uncomfortable manner. At this time, it is difficult to find soft-soled and flexible shoes anywhere in stores, but they can be sought out on the net, with difficulty for older children. There are famous, old-fashioned sneakers for little kids that maintain their soft but protective soles up to size 10. After that, they start to become clunky again. It will require parental demand to create the old-fashioned protective but flexible shoes and sneakers, so get to it!
As you can see from the below article, at least one foot organization, the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society, gives the right advice on this subject, recommending that children wear flexible shoes which protect their feet but nonetheless allow for proper development. AOFAS also recommends that children go barefoot "in a protective environment." Of course, we do not want children stepping on glass or metal or other harmful material, but going barefoot on safe and soft grass is extremely pleasant and healthful as well. Now, get thee back to nature and get your precious feet back!
American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society
A Guide to Children's Shoes
Most children learn to walk at about the time of their first birthday, although some learn months earlier or later. As your child begins to walk, you may have your first questions about what shoes he or she should wear. A growing child will need new shoes frequently and more questions will arise....
Make sure the insole is made of absorbent material. You may want padded insoles. Most children do not need a special arch support. All toddlers younger than 16 months have flat feet and only fully develop an arch by the age of 6 to 8 years.Outer Sole
The outer sole provides traction, cushioning, and flexibility to the shoe. Some very sticky and thick outer soles can make young children clumsy and cause falls and should be avoided.Heel
Toddlers do not need heels on their shoes. Flat outer soles make it easier to begin walking. Older children can wear shoes with heels, but they should not be too high (bigger than one inch) as this can cause the foot to slide forward, cramping the toes against the shoe....Pre-Walking Shoe
Certain types of shoes are appropriate for your child's age.
Babies and crawlers do not need shoes. They only need booties, warm wide socks to keep their feet warm, or pre-walking shoes that do not bind their feet. The shoe should be flexible rather than providing a rigid support, and it's very important that the shoe be shaped like the child's foot.
Your child can go barefoot in a protected environment such as indoors.Toddler Shoes
Shoes for toddlers, age 9 months to 3 years, should allow the foot to breathe since their feet perspire a great amount. Avoid synthetic materials that don't breathe.School-Age Children's Shoes
For children 9 to 18 months, choose a high top shoe which will stay on the foot better than an oxford or a low top tennis shoe. A leather or canvas tie shoe is more secure, will stay on the foot, and will fit fat little feet better. The sole of the shoe should be smooth like the palm of your hand. A smooth sole means less friction so the shoe won't grab the floor, possibly causing your child to fall. Choose a light-weight shoe, since children use a lot of energy walking at this age. Toddlers can go barefoot in a protected environment such as indoors.
Style and shoefit is important for school-age children. At this age, they can choose from a variety of options including athletic shoes, sandals, hiking shoes, etc.
Look for reasonably priced, flexible, well-ventilated shoes that allow plenty of room for growth. If you have a great deal of difficulty finding shoes that fit, or if your child develops calluses, sores, or other foot problems, consult your physician....
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Can we improve health and extend life by "going under the knife?"
Does plastic surgery improve health and increase longevity? Several studies over the years have demonstrated that some cosmetic or reconstructive surgery may have profound physical, psychological and emotional effects that create greater happiness, improve quality of life and increase the will to live. Of course, overindulgence in cosmetic surgery may be not only unattractive but also unhealthy.
For the rest, please see Plastic Surgery.
How much water is needed for superior health and longevity? What type of water?
Fresh water is the elixir of life. Unless you're a sea creature, of course! So, how much water should drink in order to thrive? And what type of water?
As is the case with plants, human beings need a variable amount of water. The "one size fits all" approach does not work with diet, exercise or sleep. Nor does it apply to water. A man in the desert will need more water than one in the rainforest. Someone who's been perspiring will be thirstier than someone who has not.
The subject of water consumption is, like so many other health issues, full of confusion. One person recommends drinking nothing but spring water; another insists on distilled. Is H2O just H2O, or is there some "trick" to it?
For the rest, please see Water: The Elixir of Life.
Probiotics have been shown to be very effective in improving overall health.Since the days when acidophilus first entered the vocabulary there has been a quest for the "perfect" probiotics. The word "probiotic" means "for life," as opposed to "antibiotic," which means "against life." It has been recognized for centuries that cultures added to such foods as milk, producing yogurt and cheese, are beneficial to human health: Hence, they are probiotics. These probiotics are composed of many different strains of bacteria that thrive in the intestine and could thus be called "intestinal flora." Included within this category of bacteria are not only acidophilus but many other strains - more than 400 different species - including bifidus, bactilis subtilis and various substrains, as well as soil-based organisms, which under normal circumstances release "beneficial enzyme, hormone and nutrient by-products" into the soil. Numerous scientific studies have been conducted using a large variety of probiotics or intestinal bacterial flora, with a wide spectrum of results and probiotics therapy being recommended by scientists and doctors in many parts of the world.
For the rest, please see Probiotics: The Staff of Life.
What is the diet most likely to improve health and increase longevity?
Over the years, many diets have been proposed that not only help someone lose weight but also increase health and, possibly, human lifespan. In experiments with animals, diet has consistently had a very pronounced effect on the animal's longevity. It is clear that the consumption of whole foods, as opposed to denatured, refined and processed foods, increases health, well-being and longevity. It is also evident that we must go even further "back to nature" in increasing the amount of organic whole foods we consume. Can someone live a fairly long life consuming little but junkfood? It may be possible, as there are always exceptions to the rule, such as long-lived individuals who smoke and drink, but it is a smarter bet to put your money on organic foods.
For the rest, please see The Ultimate Diet.
Is exposure to the sun helpful or harmful?
Little has been so important to life on earth as the sun. For thousands of years, cultures the world over have found the sun so germane to life that they have created extravagant religions around it. Sun worship has been highly pervasive.
For those of us today who see the sun as a big ball of gas, the question arises: Is the sun healthful or harmful to human health? Does exposure to the sun increase or decrease longevity? What can the study of long-lived cultures reveal to us about this controversial subject?
Many people today are aware that the sun has the ability to harm us and other lifeforms through its potent UV rays. We are encouraged to slather ourselves and our children inhigh SPF sunscreens and to wear protective clothing , as it is currently prevailing wisdom with apparent evidence that the sun is a major cause of skin cancer. Is this apparent carcinogenic effect factual? Has the harmful effect of the sun increased because of a degradation of the ozone layer?For the rest, see Sun Worship or Withdrawal?
Is milk helpful or harmful to health? Do we need to drink milk?Most of us are familiar with the Dairy Industry's "Got Milk?" campaign. Many people are unaware that there has been an ongoing debate concering the inclusion of milk in the human diet. While the dairy industry is in favor of everyone consuming as much milk as is possible, naysayers point to milk as the cause of practically every illness. What is the truth to this matter? Somewhere in the middle, which is appropriate for a health and longevity rule of thumb: "Everything in moderation."
For the rest, please see Need Milk?
How does Botox work? Is Botox safe? Are there alternatives to Botox?
The rage over Botox, an injectable anti-wrinkle treatment made from the botulinum toxin (hence "bo-tox"), continues. Botox is well known to remove facial wrinkles, especially forehead wrinkles, frown lines between the eyes and whistle marks around the mouth. Botox does this miracle by causing "flaccid muscle paralysis," temporarily paralyzing the muscles needed to make the wrinkles. It is sometimes easy to spot a Botox-treated face, as it may look unnaturally smooth and relaxed. Botox treatment is a "nonablative technique," which means that it is non-surgical, with no post-operative down time. As concerns which type of Botox is more effective in reducing facial wrinkles, a study published in December 2005 concluded: "Botox [Cosmetic] 20 U provided better and more prolonged efficacy than Dysport 50 U in the treatment of glabellar lines."
Through several years of testing, Botox has been shown to be very effective, as many people, especially celebrities, can attest. But, is it safe? Are there any longterm health hazards? Should it be used repeatedly and indefinitely? Are there any alternatives? Are they safer and more practical than Botox? And what about cost? Botox is generally out of the price range for most people.
For the rest, please see Botox: Effective, But Safe?
Our bones are the foundation of our health. How can we keep our bones healthy and avoid osteoporosis and other bone diseases?
Most people know about the role of calcium in bone health, but there are many other factors. Possibly the most important overlooked element in bone health is the role of vitamin D, even though a vitamin D deficiency has been known for decades to be the cause of the debilitating bone disease rickets. To prevent rickets is why vitamin D is added to milk. Unfortunately, the amount of vitamin D we get from drinking milk is generally not enough to ensure proper bone health. Although we can produce vitamin D if we get enough sunlight, the most reliable source of vitamin D is cod liver oil.
Even in sunny places, modern man does not produce enough vitamin D, as has been demonstrated through blood testing. One reason is that in some cultures we are "bath happy," which means we bathe frequently, removing oils from our skin that are necessary for the production of vitamin D through sunlight. Also, many people today are concerned about the harmful effects of the sun on their skin. It is pretty clear from observation of people who work in the sun, such as farmers, that the sun ages our skin, as it tans hides. However, it is also believed that a large amount of sunlight and the subsequent vitamin D produced by it can prevent diseases such as prostate cancer.
For the rest, please see Bone Health.
Does alpha lipoic acid reduce wrinkles? Can it improve health?
Popularized by Dr. Nicholas Perricone, alpha lipoic acid is widely touted as a "wrinkle cure" more effective than skin-care ingredients of the past, such as alpha hydroxy acids. But the anti-aging substance alpha lipoic acid is more than just a skin-care ingredient. Called "possibly the most powerful antioxidant," alpha lipoic acid may increase health and lifespan.
Personal anecdotes reflect that alpha lipoic acid improves the texture and smoothness of skin. Alpha lipoic acid is also used to eliminate the puffiness around the eyes. Another product that works very well to reduce puffiness and dark circles under the eyes is Camocare, which contains extract of chamomile flower. Eye puffiness is a sign of the kidneys being taxed and overworked. Very large bags under the eyes indicates that water has built up around the heart. Along with topical treatments for eye bags and puffiness, it is wise to consume foods and other nutritional products that will increase kidney and heart health. Taking alpha lipoic acid orally may be useful in treating these conditions, as well as any that may be caused by inflammation.
For the rest, please see Alpha Lipoic Acid.
Does Noni reduce the effects of aging? What are the health benefits of consuming noni? Are there any risks?
The Pacific Islands plant commonly known as "noni" has been the subject of much interest in the field of nutrition, health and longevity. Known in the scientific community by its Latin name Morinda citrifolia, noni is found under many names throughout the Pacific and elsewhere such as Africa, Australia, Asia, India, Malaysia and Vietnam. Noni's names include bumbo, cheesefruit, Grand Morinda, Indian mulberry, kura, lada, mengkudo, nono, nhau, Painkiller Tree, Polynesian bush fruit and 'ura.
A bitter and generally inedible plant, noni is beneficial through the use of its extracts, including infusions from its leaves, as well as juice and other substances. Modern Fijians, Tahitians, Australians and Samoans are known to use noni both raw and cooked. Noni has been claimed to be a tonic for practically every illness and disease known to mankind. It is further claimed that noni contributes to a long, healthy life, by reducing the overall aging of the human body. Cited as evidence - considered anecdotal by the scientific community - are the healthy and youthful Polynesians who utilize noni. Noni is thus held up as a virtual "cure" for aging, with citations of foreign communities such as French colonies who consume it becoming healthier and more youthful.
Does noni really produce these effects? Is the youthful natural state of the Polynesians, known for their thick and smooth skin, as well as ageless hair, attributable to noni? It is difficult to say whether or not noni has this extraordinary effect on human health and longevity, as the noni used has only been available in its present form for a few years and has not been held up to enough rigorous scientific testing.
For the rest, please see Noni: Nature's Medicine.
Friday, July 21, 2006
The form meditation in which one sits quieting the mind for hours on end is called "vipassana," but there are other forms as well, or methods one can use in order to be able to achieve vipassana. Vipassana can be difficult to accomplish, as the mind can carry on endlessly chattering. However, with these other methods, which are sometimes quite physical, quieting the mind can become much easier. Making sure one is sitting comfortably and not attempting the cross-legged "lotus posture" can also facilitate attaining to a state of peacefulness and reduced stress.
Harvard Gazette: Meditation changes temperatures
Mind controls body in extreme experiments
By William J. Cromie
In a monastery in northern India, thinly clad Tibetan monks sat quietly in a room where the temperature was a chilly 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Using a yoga technique known as g Tum-mo, they entered a state of deep meditation. Other monks soaked 3-by-6-foot sheets in cold water (49 degrees) and placed them over the meditators' shoulders. For untrained people, such frigid wrappings would produce uncontrolled shivering.
If body temperatures continue to drop under these conditions, death can result. But it was not long before steam began rising from the sheets. As a result of body heat produced by the monks during meditation, the sheets dried in about an hour.
Attendants removed the sheets, then covered the meditators with a second chilled, wet wrapping. Each monk was required to dry three sheets over a period of several hours.
Why would anyone do this? Herbert Benson, who has been studying g Tum-mo for 20 years, answers that 'Buddhists feel the reality we live in is not the ultimate one. There's another reality we can tap into that's unaffected by our emotions, by our everyday world. Buddhists believe this state of mind can be achieved by doing good for others and by meditation. The heat they generate during the process is just a by-product of g Tum-mo meditation.'
Benson is an associate professor of medicine at the Harvard Medical School and president of the Mind/Body Medical Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. He firmly believes that studying advanced forms of meditation 'can uncover capacities that will help us to better treat stress-related illnesses.'
Benson developed the 'relaxation response,' which he describes as 'a physiological state opposite to stress.' It is characterized by decreases in metabolism, breathing rate, heart rate, and blood pressure. He and others have amassed evidence that it can help those suffering from illnesses caused or exacerbated by stress. Benson and colleagues use it to treat anxiety, mild and moderate depression, high blood pressure, heartbeat irregularities, excessive anger, insomnia, and even infertility. His team also uses this type of simple meditation to calm those who have been traumatized by the deaths of others, or by diagnoses of cancer or other painful, life-threatening illnesses."
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Nevertheless, it is logical to assume that toxic chemicals placed under the arms - a very sensitive part of the body, especially after shaving - will do little to contribute to good health and quite probably will contribute to poor health. Despite the seeming lack of a proven connection between shaving, toxic substances and breast cancer, there is no reason to take the risk that there may indeed be such a connection. Women need not shave all the time - or at all, especially if they are not going to be exposing their armpits to anyone else. Women all over the world do not shave. Now, with sleeveless shirts and bathing suits, that habit is somewhat unaesthetically pleasing, as well as odorous, but the latter can be combatted. One more "natural" but highly effective substance to remove or prevent underarm odor is the deodorant crystal. Unfortunately, like the typical commercial brands of deodorants, the crystal contains aluminum, although it is purportedly a more "naturally occurring" metal and the risks are likely less with this type or this amount of aluminum. Also, some people sometimes get very painful rashes from the deodorant crystal.
In any event, it seems prudent for the health of your body as well as that of the earth to cut down on the typical commercially produced deodorants and antiperspirants.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
A breakthrough in mind medicine may be a hand with the study of the amino acid and brain chemical gamma butyric acid or GABA. GABA is a naturally occurring chemical found in the brain that is responsible for an upbeat mood, positive self-image, goodwill and sound sleep. A neurotransmitter, or chemical that allows brain cells or neurons to interact, GABA apparently regulates the "anti-anxiety" part of the brain. People who suffer anxiety attacks may have a chemical imbalance that includes GABA depletion.
For more, please see GABA: Anti-Anxiety Cure?
Sunday, July 09, 2006
Women's Health Risks Rise Along With Weight
WEDNESDAY, July 5 (HealthDay News) -- Another major study finds that the more obese a woman is, the greater her risk for coronary heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, high blood pressure and death.
Reporting in the July 5 Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh analyzed data on weight, death, and cardiovascular disease among more than 90,000 ethnically-diverse U.S. women followed for an average of seven years.
They concluded that the health risks of women who are extremely obese may have been underestimated."
Thursday, June 29, 2006
The fact is that raw milk has been consumed around the world for thousands of years. It is a real and proper food. Only when the community becomes degraded, hygiene is poor and the animals are badly fed and treated does raw dairy pose any health risk. On the contrary, the degraded and corrupted commercial milk products of today, being poured into our kids at every opportunity, are linked to a number of significant health products. I have no doubt that my own health suffers when I do not have access to raw milk. It's time to support the campaign for real milk.
Amish farmer says milk law opposes beliefs
MOUNT HOPE, Ohio - Arlie Stutzman was busted in a rare sting when an undercover agent bought raw milk from the Amish dairy farmer in an unlabeled container.
Now, Stutzman is fighting the law that forbids the sale of raw milk, saying he believes it violates his religious beliefs because it prohibits him from sharing the milk he produces with others.
'While I can and I have food, I'll share it,' said Stutzman, who is due in Holmes County Common Pleas Court on Friday to tell a judge his views. 'Do unto others what you would have others do unto you.'
Last September, a man came to Stutzman's weathered, two-story farmhouse, located in a pastoral region in northeast Ohio that has the world's largest Amish settlement. The man asked for milk.
Stutzman was leery, but agreed to fill up the man's plastic container from a 250-gallon stainless steel tank in the milkhouse.
After the creamy white, unpasteurized milk flowed into the container, the man, an undercover agent from the Ohio Department of Agriculture, gave Stutzman two dollars and left."
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Considering the following exchange with a world-famous pediatrician. This pediatrician stated that he did not believe in indiscriminate use of vaccines, but he did recommend them to babies and children who were in daycare, because daycare staff have a notoriously high turnover rate and bring in diseases, as well as the fact that the children themselves were constantly sick. But why, came the response, if vaccines are so effective, are these children so sick? If all these children have been vaccinated against various diseases, why are they at risk of getting them? The same question can be put forth to healthcare professionals who apparently panic at the idea that a child or a few children of a lone family are unvaccinated - I saw this panic portrayed in an episode of "ER," in which a woman failed to vaccinated her child for measles - and the child died! The nurses and doctors started freaking out that now they would have a measles epidemic on their hands because of this one child. Why, the logical question is asked, would all those vaccinated children be at risk of an epidemic, if vaccines are effective?
In other words, if your child is the "lone man out," so to speak, what is the risk to the other children? It should be zero, zilch, none, if vaccines really work.
To my knowledge, these questions have never been answered.
Dr Andrew Wakefield stands by his findings
The doctor who first suggested a link between the MMR vaccine and autism is to be charged with serious professional misconduct, it is reported.
The Independent newspaper reports that the General Medical Council will accuse Mr Andrew Wakefield of carrying out 'inadequately founded' research.
Vaccination rates fell sharply after Dr Wakefield questioned the safety of MMR, raising fears of a measles epidemic.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Kenyans protest brutal killing of HIV-infected boy: "NAIROBI (Reuters) - Several hundred Kenyan AIDS activists took to the streets of Nairobi on Thursday to protest at the killing of an HIV-infected boy, whom they say was hacked with a garden fork by his uncle because of his status.
A week after 15-year-old Isaiah Gakuyo was killed in Nyeri in central Kenya, police were still looking for his uncle, who was the orphaned boy's guardian.
About 300 people demonstrated on Thursday, saying the killing highlighted the stigma faced by those living with HIV/AIDS in Kenya.
'The boy was facing violence on a daily basis,' said Inviolata Mwali Mmbwavi, one of the march organisers who runs a group working with Kenyan AIDS victims.
'We don't want this to happen again,' she added to Reuters.
Gakuyo was often beaten and denied food at home, added Asunta Wagura, executive director of the Kenya Network of Women with AIDS.
'We supported him as he was an unwelcome dependent in the family,' Wagura said, adding that the organization had been trying to find him another home.
HIV/AIDS prevalence in the east African country has declined to seven percent in 2003 from about 10 percent in the late 1990s.
Thousands of Kenyans living with the virus cannot access even the cheapest anti-retroviral drugs, which are too expensive in private hospitals and not available in public ones."
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Fluoride debate may surge as treated water linked to cancer
Young boys who drink fluoridated tap water are at greater risk for a rare bone cancer, Harvard researchers reported yesterday.
The study, published online yesterday in a Harvard-affiliated journal, could intensify debate over fluoridation and mean more scrutiny for Harvard’s Dr. Chester Douglass,accused of fudging the findings to downplay a cancer link.
“It’s the best piece of work ever linking fluoride in tap water and bone cancer. It’s pretty damning for (Douglass),” said Richard Wiles of the Environmental Working Group, which filed a complaint with the National Institutes of Health against Douglass.
Douglass, an epidemiology professor at Harvard’s School of Dental Medicine, is paid as editor of the Colgate Oral Care Report, a newsletter supported by the toothpaste maker.
Harvard and the NIH are investigating whether Douglass misrepresented research findings last year when he said there was no link, despite extensive research to the contrary by one of his doctoral students. The NIH gave Douglass at least $1 million for the research.
That student, Dr. Elise Bassin, wrote in yesterday’s Cancer Causes and Control that boys who drink water with levels of fluoride considered safe by federal guidlines are five times more likely to develop osteosarcoma than boys who drink unfluoridated water. About 250 U.S. boys each year are diagnosed with osteosarcoma, the most common type of bone cancer and the sixth most common cancer in children. Bassin notes that more research is needed to “confirm or refute this observation.”
Douglass, in a letter to the editor published in the same issue, said Bassin’s study was a “partial view of this ongoing study,” and urged readers to be “especially cautious” when interpreting the findings."
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Sunscreen makers sued for misleading health claims
"LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A consumer lawsuit filed on Thursday accuses sunscreen makers of exposing millions of people to cancer and other dangers through false and misleading claims about the effectiveness of their products.
The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, consolidates nine previous lawsuits filed by individuals and seeks class action status.
It charges that makers of sunscreen, including brands such as Coppertone, Banana Boat, Hawaiian Tropic, Bullfrog and Neutrogena, inflate claims about their products' qualities, lulling consumers into a false sense of security over prolonged sun exposure.
Ultraviolet radiation from the sun is the leading cause of skin cancer.
The lawsuit, filed by the law firms of Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP and Abraham Fruchter & Twersky LLP, does not make any claims of personal injury.
Defendants named in the suit include Johnson & Johnson Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., Playtex Products Inc., Tanning Research Laboratories Inc. and Chattem Inc..
The suit focuses on labels that claim the sunscreens protect equally against the sun's harmful UVA and UVB rays, and also claims of how long sunscreens promoted as waterproof remain effective in water.
It says the defendants' products may protect against harmful UVA rays with shorter wavelengths, but the skin remains exposed to harmful UVA rays with longer wavelengths that penetrate deep within the skin."
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Study: Too Much Fluoride Can Be Bad
Wed Mar 22, 11:06 AM ET
WASHINGTON - The high levels of fluoride that occur naturally in some drinking water can cause tooth and bone damage and should be reduced, the National Research Council said Wednesday.
The study did not analyze the benefits or risks of adding fluoride to drinking water. Instead it looked at the current maximum limit of 4 milligrams per liter. Approximately 200,000 people live in communities where that level occurs naturally in water.
The Council suggested further studies to establish a new maximum level, but noted that the problems associated with exposure to fluoride are very small at 2 milligrams per liter and less. Approximately 1.4 million people have drinking water with natural fluoride levels of 2.0 to 3.9 milligrams per liter, said the Council, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences.
More than 160 million Americans live in communities with artificially fluoridated water, which contains between 0.7 and 1.2 milligrams of fluoride per liter.
Fluoride is added to water to help strengthen the teeth.
Drinking water with levels above the maximum can cause tooth discoloration and weaken the enamel, and long-term accumulation in the bones can result in an increase in fractures, the Council reported."
Sunday, March 19, 2006
A new report by the Health Department in New South Wales has concluded that along with known mental health problems, cannabis addiction can have a serious impact on the user's physical health.
The report said cannabis abuse can lead to cardiovascular, respiratory and immune system problems; it can decrease short-term memory and also slow brain development at a young age.
NSW Health Minister John Hatzistergos will open the state's fourth cannabis treatment clinic in southern Sydney today.
He said while use of cannabis had fallen, the increasing potency of the drug is posing increased health risks.
'Previous reports have indicated that the incidence of cannabis dependence has in fact been declining,' he said.
'What, however, has been increasing is the dangers of cannabis use and that's largely due to the fact that the cannabis now being used, compared to 10 years ago, is much more potent.'"
Friday, March 17, 2006
The antibiotic Tequin, manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb, can cause potentially fatal swings in blood sugar.
Greater Risk Than Previously Thought
A new study shows that the drug's risks are far greater than they were believed to be. The FDA has already warned doctors not to prescribe the antibiotic to diabetic patients. However, the blood sugar swings have now been observed even in patients without diabetes.
17 Times the Risk
An examination of the medical records of almost 1.5 million people older than 65 showed that those who took Tequin had four times the risk of low blood sugar, and almost 17 times the risk of high blood sugar.
Those who took Tequin were also far more likely to be hospitalized for blood sugar problems, and a number of such patients died.
Tequin made $150 million in worldwide sales last year. It is used to treat lung, sinus and urinary tract infections, and also some sexually transmitted diseases. Alternative antibiotics are available for all of its uses.
March 17, 2006
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) -- Tart cherry growers will pick up the tab for a stepped-up research and marketing campaign to promote the fruit as a health food.
The Cherry Industry Administrative Board on Thursday approved a five-year assessment on the nation's tart cherry producers. The 'research and promotion initiative' will charge growers a half-penny per pound to raise millions of dollars for promoting cherries and studying possible medicinal benefits.
An estimated 110-plus million pounds of tart cherries were grown in northwest Michigan last year. That's more than half the estimated 190 million pounds produced in Michigan, which annually has more than three-quarters of the nation's total harvest.
The Food and Drug Administration last fall warned 29 companies selling cherry products such as juice concentrate and dried cherries not to make unproven claims that they treat or prevent ailments such as heat disease or arthritis.
Bob Gregory, a Suttons Bay farmer, said the assessment will cost his grower cooperative up to $140,000 a year but said it was a good investment.
'There's no doubt it's a pile of money,' he told the Traverse City Record-Eagle for a Friday story. 'But in order to get the message out, we can't do it alone.'
Leelanau County extension director Jim Bardenhagen said the assessment will further squeeze local growers' already-thin profit margins. But he said it's no time to cut back on efforts to find more outlets for tart cherries.
'We still produce more cherries than we can sell,' he said.
Gregory said cherry producers need to find a 'balancing act' between general marketing and promotion of cherries to consumers, and to get medical verification that cherries are beneficial.
'We need to entice the medical community to take this to the next level of clinical analysis,' Gregory said. 'We have not been able to take the story of the health benefits of cherries and carry that forward to the consumers at large.'
The assessment is collected through cherry processors and should raise around $1 million per year depending on the size of the national cherry harvest, said Perry Hedin of the administrative board. A nine-member committee from the administrative board and the Cherry Marketing Institute will set up and oversee the program.
Hedin said board members polled in recent weeks showed around 70 percent support for a growers surcharge."
By Jon Brodkin/ Daily News Staff
Friday, March 17, 2006
Congress has asked for a new investigation into a potential link between mercury-containing vaccines and autism, as some lawmakers claim the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has inadequately researched the topic.
'If the federal government is going to have a study whose results will be broadly accepted, such a study cannot be led by the CDC,' Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., and seven other members of Congress wrote in a letter to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).
A budget appropriation approved by Congress urges the NIEHS to examine the Vaccine Safety Datalink, a CDC database that follows 7 million immunized children from 1990 to the present.
Some lawmakers believe a new review of this database may show a link between autism and thimerosal -- a vaccine preservative containing mercury.
A local parent who said he believes his two autistic children were harmed by vaccines applauded Congress for requesting a new investigation. The parent, Jared Hansen of Framingham, said he thinks the CDC is reluctant to expose dangers of thimerosal because the agency is responsible for ensuring public acceptance of its vaccination program.
'They've proven far more willing to overstate the risks of disease and understate the danger of vaccination,' Hansen said. 'No one in their right mind can say that giving mercury intravenously is a smart thing to do.'
Autism rates soared during the 1990s when thimerosal was most heavily used in childhood vaccines. Levels of mercury injected into infants were 120 times greater than federal safety limits for oral ingestion of mercury, congressmen wrote to the NIEHS.
Government officials asked manufacturers in 1999 to remove the mercury-based preservative from vaccines, but it is still used in flu and tetanus shots.
CDC's research on the Vaccine Safety Datalink is flawed, Lieberman and his colleagues wrote, because it 'was based on data collected prior to the removal of thimerosal and failed to explicitly compare the outcome of children who received thimerosal-containing vaccines with those who did not.'
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Laws & Politics
US plans to scale back mad cow testing
By Sue Mueller
Mar 15, 2006, 10:28
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has considered scaling back the enhanced national BSE testing program, which resulted in the discovery of the third US case of mad cow disease. The US Chief Veterinary Officer John Clifford indicated such a move in his announcement.
The reason may be this: the enhanced BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) testing program has been not intended as a measure to prevent mad cow disease. Rather, it is designed to survey the prevalence of mad cow disease, according to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), an agency of the USDA.
'Testing is not a food safety measure. Rather, it's a way to find out the prevalence of the disease,' The associated Press said, citing Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns who was at a trade meeting Monday in Warsaw, Poland.
The BSE testing program, part of the BSE surveillance plan, was initiated in March, 2004 to respond to the possible high risk of mad cow disease in the US after the first case of mad cow was discovered in December 2003. The goal of the plan is to test as many cattle in the targeted high risk population as possible in a 12-18 month period, APHIS states.
Under this program, 1000 cows at high risk are tested daily compared with 55 per day in 2003. The Department of Agriculture intends to call for a budget that supports 110 tests a day, according to the AP.
Reduction in the testing would lower the odds of discovering new cases in the US as APHIS acknowledges that more cases of mad cow disease should be expected when the enhanced testing program remains in place.
The testing program does not test all cows, but only those at a higher risk of mad cow disease. Cows at high risk include dead cows; non-ambulatory cattle or downers who can't walk into the slaughterhouse; cattle showing signs of a central nervous system disorder, or other signs associated with BSE. So far, more than 650,000 cows, a small fraction of the total cows slaughtered, have been tested for mad cow disease."
(HealthDay News) -- Research shows that teen and pre-teen girls need more than nine hours of sleep a night.
Without it, they become cranky, don't do as well at school, and may feel depressed.
Natural changes in the body may keep teenage girls wide awake long after they're supposed to be asleep, according to Girl Power, a national public education campaign sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
So what can teen girls do to make it easier to fall asleep? Girl Power suggests keeping regular bedtime hours, relaxing before going to bed (avoid reading scary novels), playing sports in the afternoon but not right before bed, and avoiding foods and drinks that contain caffeine."
By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay ReporterThu Mar 16, 5:07 PM ET
THURSDAY, March 16 (HealthDay News) -- Capsaicin, the component that gives jalapeno peppers their heat, may also kill prostate cancer cells, a new study suggests.
Initial experiments in cancer cells and mice show that capsaicin causes prostate cancer cells to undergo a kind of suicide. Researchers speculate that, in the future, pills containing capsaicin might be used as therapy to prevent prostate cancer's return.
According to their report, capsaicin caused almost 80 percent of prostate cancer cells in the mice to die. In addition, prostate cancer tumors treated with capsaicin were about one-fifth the size of tumors in untreated mice.
'Capsaicin inhibits the growth of human prostate cancer cell in Petri dishes and mice,' said lead researcher Dr. H. Phillip Koeffler, director of hematology and oncology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and a professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. Based on the findings, Koeffler believe the next step is a trial to see if it works in patients with prostate cancer.
The report appears in the March 15 issue of Cancer Research.
Capsaicin probably has several effects, Koeffler said. Most noticeable is its effect in blocking NF-kappa Beta, a molecular mechanism that promotes cancer cell growth, he noted.
In addition, capsaicin also was effective against leukemia, and might be effective in slowing or preventing the growth of other cancers as well, he added."