Friday, November 30, 2007


Whilst this news article was found in the UK press, it is not very much different here in the US. The difference most likely would be an increase in the numbers. Many US physicians and other health care professionals do read the BMJ.

This a very real cause for concern regarding the state of the health care system.

Over 90,000 patients die & almost 1 million are harmed each year in England because of hospital blunders. Errors in surgery, misdiagnoses and hospital-acquired infections are among the causes.

8.7 to 10% of hospital stays involve such mistakes & up to half were preventable.

Prof. Trevor Sheldon, author of the study, published in British Medical Journal said that a stay in hospital "is as risky as a bungee jump." 15% of the blunders led to impairment or disability lasting over 6 months. Prof. Sheldon said this is not limited to the NHS but is found in many health systems around the world. Peter Walsh of the charity "Action Against Medical Accidents" said the real figure could be much higher as the research does not include GP surgeries, ambulance trusts or mental health, & covers only England, not the whole of the UK.

Vaccine Injury Overlooked

I read an article this morning that came originally from Parenting Magazine that concerned me greatly. The story tells about a family when their 11 month old child was found to have Type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is usually considered to be an auto-immune disorder.

No where in the article did I read a concern about the fact that vaccination, especially the Hepatitis vaccine, is known to cause diabetes.

Just fair warning to parents and a reason to ask questions and expect answers from health care providers before blindly injecting your child.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

CT scans raise cancer risk, so what are you doing to protect your health?

I believe there will come a day when the average person will realize that radiation in any form is a clear and present danger for the development of cancer.
"Dr. Robert Smith, the American Cancer Society's director of screening, said the authors' estimate that 2 percent of future cancers may be due to CT scans "seems high." But since cancers take 10 to 20 years to develop, "the ability to even observe that kind of an increase is going to be very difficult," he said."

Perhaps the above comment will make women especially heed our long time warning that in deed mammogram is a cause of cancer because the repeated exposure over a decade or more is the crucial factor to understand.
"Both doctors and patients need to be more aware of radiation risks and discuss them openly, Brenner and Hall said.
"We were astonished to find, when we were researching materials for this paper, how many doctors, particularly emergency room physicians, really had no idea of the magnitude of the doses or the potential risks that were involved," Hall said."

And consider that when the doctor does not know of the risk and fails to inform patients, there is NO informed consent. Patients also should ask more questions rather than blindly going along with what the doctor suggests.
Millions of Americans, especially children, are needlessly getting dangerous radiation from "super X-rays" that raise the risk of cancer and are increasingly used to diagnose medical problems, a new report warns.

In a few decades, as many as 2 percent of all cancers in the United States might be due to radiation from CT scans given now, according to the authors of the report.

Some experts say that estimate is overly alarming. But they agree with the need to curb these tests particularly in children, who are more susceptible to radiation and more likely to develop cancer from it.

"There are some serious concerns about the methodology used," but the authors "have brought to attention some real serious potential public health issues," said Dr. Arl Van Moore, head of the American College of Radiology's board of chancellors.

The risk from a single CT, or computed tomography, scan to an individual is small. But "we are very concerned about the built-up public health risk over a long period of time," said Eric J. Hall, who wrote the report with fellow Columbia University medical physicist David J. Brenner.

It was published in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine and paid for by federal grants.

The average American's total radiation exposure has nearly doubled since 1980, largely because of CT scans. Medical radiation now accounts for more than half of the population's total exposure; it used to be just one-sixth, and the top source was the normal background rate in the environment, from things like radon in soil and cosmic energy from the sun.

A previous study by the same scientists in 2001 led the federal Food and Drug Administration to recommend ways to limit scans and risks in children.

But CT use continued to soar. About 62 million scans were done in the U.S. last year, up from 3 million in 1980. More than 4 million were in children.

Since previous studies suggest that a third of all diagnostic tests are unnecessary, that means that 20 million adults and more than 1 million children getting CT scans are needlessly being put at risk, Brenner and Hall write.

Ultrasound and MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, scans often are safer options that do not expose people to radiation, they contend.

CT scans became popular because they offer a quick, relatively cheap and painless way to get 3D pictures so detailed they give an almost surgical view into the body. Doctors use them to evaluate trauma, belly pain, seizures, chronic headaches, kidney stones and other woes, especially in busy emergency rooms. In kids, they are used to diagnose or rule out appendicitis.

But they put out a lot of radiation. A CT scan of the chest involves 10 to 15 millisieverts (a measure of dose) versus 0.01 to 0.15 for a regular chest X-ray, 3 for a mammogram and a mere 0.005 for a dental X-ray.

The dose depends on the type of machine and the person — obese people require more radiation than slim ones — and the risk accumulates over a lifetime.

"Medical care in this country is naturally so fragmented. Any one doctor is not going to be aware of the fact that a particular patient has had three or four CT scans at some point in the past," said Dr. Michael Lauer, prevention chief at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

People with chronic problems like kidney stones are likely to get too many scans, said Dr. Fred Mettler, radiology chief in the New Mexico Veterans Administration health care system.

"I've seen people who are 30 years old who have had at least 18 scans done," he said.

That puts them at risk of developing radiation-induced cancer, Brenner and Hall said. They base this on studies of thousands of Japanese atomic bomb survivors who had excess cancer risk after exposures of 50 to 150 millisieverts — the equivalent of several big CT scans.

"That's very controversial. There's a large portion of the medical physics community that would disagree with that" comparison, said Richard Morin, a medical physicist at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla. However, others defended the data, which has been widely cited in other radiation studies.

"It's the best evidence we've got" on cancer risks, Lauer said.

Dr. Robert Smith, the American Cancer Society's director of screening, said the authors' estimate that 2 percent of future cancers may be due to CT scans "seems high." But since cancers take 10 to 20 years to develop, "the ability to even observe that kind of an increase is going to be very difficult," he said.

The authors stressed that they were not trying to scare people who need CT scans away from having them. In most cases, the benefits exceed the risks, especially for diagnostic scans.

However, using the scans to screen people with no symptoms of illness — like screening smokers for signs of lung cancer — has not been shown to save lives and is not currently recommended.

Many groups also condemn whole-body scans, often peddled by private practitioners in shopping centers as peace of mind to the worried well. Many of these centers are not accredited by the College of Radiology; only a third of all places that do CT scans in the U.S. are, although insurers are starting to require it for reimbursement, Moore said.

Many CT centers also are set up for adults and rarely image children, who need adjustments to limit dose and radiation risk, said Dr. Alan Brody, a radiologist at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center who wrote a report on the topic. He said parents should seek a center that often handles children.

Both doctors and patients need to be more aware of radiation risks and discuss them openly, Brenner and Hall said.

"We were astonished to find, when we were researching materials for this paper, how many doctors, particularly emergency room physicians, really had no idea of the magnitude of the doses or the potential risks that were involved," Hall said.

Other studies found the opposite problem: Three out of 10 parents in one study insisted on CT scans instead of observing the child's condition for awhile even after they were told of the radiation risk, Brody said.

"This is what our patients want," and they expect fast answers from doctors, he said.

The pressure is greatest for ER doctors who "are in a bind ... they have all these patients stacked up" and need to make quick decisions, Mettler said.

Future generations of devices using less radiation should help alleviate the concern, but these mostly are directed at the emerging field of heart scans, Lauer said.

"When we order a CT scan it just doesn't seem like such a big deal" but it should be, he said. "The threshold for ordering these tests is low and it's getting lower and lower over time, which means that the risks become potentially all that more important."

On the Net:
New England Journal:
Consumer information:
FDA advice:
Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Toxic Damage From Splenda

Splenda is a chlorinated hydrocarbon which is very different that sugar. It is sugar modified with chlorine. Chlorine is a carcinogen. Recent studies show that Splendashow that it is gentoxic and alters DNA.

Comet assay tests groups of 4 mice to show sucralose genotoxicity in
stomach, colon, lung, Yu F Sasaki et al, Mutation Research 2002.

from Mark Gold
Splenda was first developed as a pesticide and its pre-approval research showed that it caused shrunken thymus glands (up to 40% shrinkage) and enlarged liver and kidneys, and calcification in the kidneys.

[Toxicologist Judith] Bellin reviewed studies on rats starved under experimental conditions, and concluded that their growth rate could be reduced by as much as a third without the thymus losing a significant amount of weight (less than 7 percent). The changes were much more marked in rats fed on sucralose. While the animals' growth rate was reduced by between 7 and 20 percent, their thymuses shrank by as much as 40 percent.

Other adverse effects reported in pre-approval research included:

* Shrunken thymus glands (up to 40% shrinkage) (EO56)
* Enlarged liver and kidneys. (EO57 & E161)
* Atrophy of lymph follicles in the spleen and thymus (EO51, EO56, EO151)
* Increased cecal weight (E151)
* Reduced growth rate (EO57)
* Decreased red blood cell count (EO55)
* Hyperplasia of the pelvis (EO57)
* Extension of the pregnancy period
* Aborted pregnancy (E134)
* Decreased fetal body weights and placental weights (EO32)

# Sucralose Breaks Down
Despite the manufacturer's mis-statements, sucralose does break down into small amounts of 1,6-dichlorofructose, a chemical that has not been adequately tested in humans.

# Independent, Long-Term Human Research
None. Manufacturer's "100's of studies" (some of which show hazards) were clearly inadequate and do not demonstrate safety in long-term use.

# Chlorinated Pesticides
The manufacturer claims that the chlorine added to sucralose is similar to the chlorine atom in the salt (NaCl) molecule. That is not the case. Sucralose may be more like ingesting tiny amounts of chlorinated pesticides, but we will never know without long-term, independent human research.

# Conclusion
While it is unlikely that sucralose is as toxic as the poisoning people are experiencing from Monsanto's aspartame, it is clear from the hazards seen in pre-approval research and from its chemical structure that years or decades of use may contribute to serious chronic immunological or neurological disorders.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Use of Multiple Nutritional Supplements Found to Be Beneficial to Health

This is an important commentary based on the current CODEX effort to limit your access to supplements at any therapeutic level.

"Usage patterns, health, and nutritional status of long-term multiple dietary supplement users: a cross-sectional study," Block G, Jensen CD, et al, Nutr J, 2007; 6(1): 30. (Address: Gladys Block, PhD, Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health Nutrition, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, 207-B University Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720-7360, USA. E-mail: ).

In a cross-sectional study involving 278 long-term users of multiple dietary supplements, 176 users of a multivitamin/mineral supplement, and 602 non-users of supplements, the users of multiple dietary supplements were found to have better biomarkers of health, as compared to subjects in the other 2 groups. At least half of the subjects in the multiple dietary supplements group consumed the following supplements: a multivitamin/mineral, B-complex, vitamin C, carotenoids, vitamin E, calcium with vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, flavonoids, lecithin, alfalfa, coenzyme Q10 with resveratrol, glucosamine, and an herbal immune supplement. Most of the women in this group also consumed gamma linolenic acid and a probiotic supplement, while most of the men consumed zinc, garlic, saw palmetto and a soy protein supplement. After adjusting for various potentially confounding factors, results clearly showed more favorable health outcomes in the subjects taking multiple dietary supplements. Improvements included lower concentrations of serum homocysteine (while non-users had a 45% risk of elevated homocysteine, and single supplement users had a 37% risk, multi-supplement users had only an 11% risk), C-reactive protein, and triglycerides, and higher levels of HDL cholesterol. In addition, subjects in the multi-supplement group were found to have lower risks of elevated blood pressure, diabetes (73% less risk of diabetes compared to non-users), and coronary heart disease (52% less risk). Furthermore, subjects taking multiple
dietary supplements reported having "good or excellent" health status 74% more often than non-supplement users. Suboptimal levels of certain micronutrients including vitamin C were found among the non-users and the single multivitamin/mineral supplement users. These results suggest that the use of multiple nutritional supplements such as those used by the subjects in this study, may confer various benefits to health. The authors conclude, "These findings should be confirmed by studying the dietary supplement usage patterns, health, and nutritional status of other groups of heavy users of dietary supplements."

Microwave your way to poor health

COOKING, MICROWAVE OVEN COOKING - Broccoli, Vitamin C, Glucosinolates, Phenolic Compounds, Minerals, Vitamins, Water

Reference: "Effects of microwave cooking conditions on bioactive compounds present in broccoli inflorescences," Lopez-Berenguer C, Carvajal M, et al, J Agric Food Chem, 2007; 55(24): 10001-7. (Address: Food Science and Technology Department and Plant Nutrition Department, CEBAS-CSIC, P.O. Box 164, Espinardo, Murcia, Spain. E-mail: ).

Summary: In this study, researchers set out to determine the effects of various approaches to microwave cooking (with differences in time cooked, power used, and use of water) on various health-promoting compounds found in broccoli (namely, glucosinolates, phenolic compounds, minerals, and vitamin C). Results found that after all microwave cooking conditions, levels of all the health-promoting compounds studied decreased, with the exception of mineral levels, which remained stable under all cooking conditions. The greatest reduction was found in levels of vitamin C, which was determined to be due to degradation and leaching. Reductions in phenolic compounds and glucosinolates were found to be primarily due to leaching into water. The authors conclude, "In general, the longest microwave cooking time and the higher volume of cooking water should be avoided to minimize losses of nutrients."

Given the prevalence of microwave cooking in industrialized societies around the world, these results have broad implications for public health. Additional research is warranted.

The US Navy, as we reported in the late 1990s held much of this same information until it was released not long ago from classified data.

After the World War II, the Russians also experimented with microwave ovens. From 1940 their research was carried out at the Institute of Radio Technology at Klinsk, Byelorussia. According to US researcher William Kopp, who gathered much of the results of Russian and German research - and was apparently prosecuted for doing so (J. Nat. Sci, 1998; 1:42-3) - the following effects were observed by Russian forensic teams:

1. Heating prepared meats in a microwave sufficiently for human consumption created:
* d-Nitrosodiethanolamine (a well-known cancer-causing agent)
* Destabilization of active protein biomolecular compounds
* Creation of a binding effect to radioactivity in the atmosphere
* Creation of cancer-causing agents within protein-hydrosylate compounds in milk and cereal grains;
2. Microwave emissions also caused alteration in the catabolic (breakdown) behavior of glucoside - and galactoside - elements within frozen fruits when thawed in this way;
3. Microwaves altered catabolic behavior of plant-alkaloids when raw, cooked or frozen vegetables were exposed for even very short periods;
4. Cancer-causing free radicals were formed within certain trace-mineral molecular formations in plant substances, especially in raw root vegetables;
5. Ingestion of micro-waved foods caused a higher percentage of cancerous cells in blood;
6. Due to chemical alterations within food substances, malfunctions occurred in the lymphatic system, causing degeneration of the immune system=s capacity to protect itself against cancerous growth;
7. The unstable catabolism of micro-waved foods altered their elemental food substances, leading to disorders in the digestive system;
8. Those ingesting micro-waved foods showed a statistically higher incidence of stomach and intestinal cancers, plus a general degeneration of peripheral cellular tissues with a gradual breakdown of digestive and excretory system function;
9. Microwave exposure caused significant decreases in the nutritional value of all foods studied, particularly:
* A decrease in the bioavailability of B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, essential minerals and lipotrophics
* Destruction of the nutritional value of nucleoproteins in meats
* Lowering of the metabolic activity of alkaloids, glucosides, galactosides and nitrilosides (all basic plant substances in fruits and vegetables)
* Marked acceleration of structural disintegration in all foods.

As a result microwave ovens were banned in Russia in 1976; the ban was lifted after Perestroika.

Microwaves leak

In the book, Health Effects of Microwave Radiation Microwave Ovens by Dr. Lita Lee, she states that every microwave oven leaks electromagnetic radiation, harms food, and converts substances cooked in it to dangerous toxic and carcinogenic products.

There has been contradictory research linked to EMFs (electromagnetic fields) produced by appliances like microwave ovens.

Dr. David Carpenter, Dean at the US School of Public Health, State University of New York believes it is likely that up to 30% of all childhood cancers come from exposure to EMFs. In fact, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns 'There is reason for concern' and advises prudent avoidance.

EMFs can be measured with an instrument called a Gauss meter. In fact, here is what one reader has to say when he used a Gauss meter to test microwaves: Measuring with a Gauss meter, every microwave I tested leaked, and was detectable up to six feet away.

So just to be on the safe side, it is best to stand back from your microwave when its running, by six (6) feet.Better not to be in the same room when one is running, or best to avoid microwave cooking all together!

Friday, November 23, 2007

WARNING: Tamiflu and Relenza Hazards Reported

Parents of children who have received the flu vaccines, including the nose spray type, are reporting that their children are experiencing convulsions and hallucinations.
From: Reuters
Published November 23, 2007 03:14 PM
FDA staff urge psych warnings for two flu drugs

By Kim Dixon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Food and Drug Administration staffers are recommending new warnings about psychiatric events observed in some patients taking Roche Holding AG's Tamiflu and GlaxoSmithKline Plc's Relenza, according to documents released on Friday.

An FDA advisory panel will review the recommendations for the anti-viral influenza drugs at a meeting next week.

The FDA held a similar meeting two years ago in response to reports of a dozen deaths of children in Japan who had been taking Tamiflu.


Experts then found no evidence of a direct connection between the drug and the deaths, although the FDA did ultimately update Tamiflu's label to add a caution urging close monitoring of patients for abnormal behavior such as delirium or self-injury.

In documents prepared for the meeting next week and posted on the FDA's Web site, agency staff recommended that Tamiflu's label be strengthened to note: "In some cases, these behaviors resulted in serious injuries, including death, in adult and pediatric patients."

The FDA staff also reviewed Relenza, a drug in the same class as Tamiflu, recommending its label be changed to note "reports of hallucinations, delirium and abnormal behavior" observed in some patients taking the drug.

The current Relenza label has no label warning related to psychiatric events.

The FDA staff said the evidence is "conflicting" as to whether the events are medication-related, a manifestation of disease or a combination of the two.

Tamiflu has been more widely used in Japan than in the United States, and there is some evidence that the Japanese are more vigilant about reporting side effects, the FDA has said.

Tamiflu, known generically as oseltamivir, is a pill, while Relenza, generically zanamivir, is inhaled.

A Roche spokesman said no causal relationship between Tamiflu and these psychiatric events has been proven.

"Roche has extensively investigated the issue and is conducting ongoing clinical and nonclinical studies. Roche takes all adverse events reports very seriously," spokesman Terence Hurley said in a statement.

About 48 million people have taken Tamiflu worldwide, including 21 million children, since approval in 1999, he said.

A Glaxo spokeswoman said a review of premarketing and post-approval trial data showed no worrying safety signals on patients taking Relenza. The drug is a not a major revenue-generator for UK-based Glaxo.

FDA staff based its recommendations on a review of nearly 600 cases of neuropsychiatric events reported by patients on Tamiflu and 115 cases of such events by patients taking Relenza.

The FDA staff will present the advice to the advisory panel of experts meeting on Tuesday, November 27. The agency typically takes the advice of these panels but is not bound by them.


Japan in March warned against prescribing Tamiflu to those ages 10 to 19 as more than 100 people, mostly young, showed signs of abnormal behavior after taking the drug.

Earlier this year, Japan broadened its probe of Tamiflu to look at flu drugs Relenza and amantadine, after reports of abnormal behavior among young patients.

FDA staff reviewed recent side effect reports on amantadine and rimantadine, another flu drug in amantadine's class, but recommended no label changes. Amantadine already has a strong warning about suicide attempts and an increase in seizures seen in patients on the drug, while rimantadine notes seizure-like activity and hallucinations.

Tamiflu was having lackluster sales as a drug to prevent and treat seasonal flu but got a second life when it was the first drug to show real efficacy in treating and preventing bird flu.

The FDA staff documents for the advisory meeting were posted at: dex-27and28.html.

(Additional reporting by Ben Hirschler in London)

(Reporting by Kim Dixon; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Carol Bishopric)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Salt: The Health Promoting Kind

Salt has been controversial for decades and it seems the same arguments keeping recycling through the news and little change happens. What is correct about high blood pressure and salt is directly related to its use in more and more processed food, fast food eating and restaurant use. Heavy handed salt shaking on food adds to the mix.

What you aren't hearing in the news -

Its the processed salt you purchase at the store and used in processed and restaurant food that is the problem.

When box salt is manufactured it is heated up to 1400 degrees Fahrenheit to drive off the impurities. Along with the impurities go all the health promoting minerals found in nautral salt.

Secondly, the food industry is marching along the lines of adding a salt flavoring to food and it won't have to be listed as an ingredient. Senomyx is the manufacturer.

Humans and animals require salt (sodium and a little chloride) for health. Even as little as a lick of really natural salt can lower blood pressure (or two celery stalks a day) and help your heart. Dr. Laragh is well known for his research in this area. (more in our book, Blood Pressure Care Naturally)

I am not referring to "sea salt" as now even this health food stroe staple can be found with added maltrodextrin to increase flow and prevent caking.

Salt in the natural form is what I refer to and you really do need a little each day for the best of health.

We can provide really natural salt for your health should you wish to purchase some. This is the same kind I knew as a child when we had crystal salt cellars on the table with tiny sterling serving spoons...

Egregious Violation of Human Rights over forced vaccine administration

Now we have the judicial system involved in the practice of medicine. Such abuses are gross distortion of the law and the right of informed consent as well.

Consider this...

State Attorney Admits No Law Makes Vaccines Mandatory

A state prosecutor involved in bringing potential criminal charges
against hundreds of parents in a county just outside Washington D.C.
for failing to allow their children to be vaccinated admitted
yesterday on a national radio show that there is no law that mandates
any vaccine, despite a Fox News report falsely claiming otherwise.
(November 15, 2007)

It appears also that no one advised parents that they had a right to refuse and no one explained the risks and benefits of these drugs to the parents, thus violating the rule of informed consent.

Write Maryland's Governor

The next issue of herbalYODA Says! will be covering Informed Consent. We believe this is a critical topic because not only do health care providers fail, obviously the judiciary is failing here as well.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Consumers unaware of 'eating GM food'

GM food is known to cause problems but with no labeling requirement you won't have a clue what's in your food.

from The Scotsman

GENETICALLY-modified food is entering the UK by stealth via feed given to animals reared for dairy and pork products, a campaign group has warned.

Supermarket chains are widely stocking goods sourced from animals fed GM soya and maize, according to the Soil Association.

GM material could find its way, in small quantities, into the milk and animal tissue of GM-fed livestock, the group said.

The Soil Association, which is pro-organic, said consumers were eating food produced from GM crops without their knowledge.

There is no requirement to label food produced from GM-fed animals.

Most supermarkets have not banned dairy and meat products from GM-fed animals, despite banning GM ingredients from their own-label products, according to the association.

Tests carried out on 35 feed samples from dairy, pig and poultry farmers found 73 per cent contained GM soya.

Of the GM soya samples, 27 per cent had a GM soya content of more than 70 per cent.

Supermarket and feed company sourcing policies showed that GM maize was also widely used, with the dairy and pig sectors most likely to do so.

The Soil Association is calling on the government and the European Commission to bring in compulsory labelling for foods produced from GM-fed animals.

Patrick Holden, director of the association, said the findings were alarming.

"This amounts to deception on a large scale," he said. "This is not just accidental contamination, hundreds of thousands of tonnes of GM grain are being used to produce our food each year.

"Biotechnology companies have clearly used imported animal feed as a 'Trojan horse' to introduce GM into the UK food chain, despite the fact that the British public have voted overwhelmingly against GM."

It says the Little Red Tractor and Freedom Foods labels do not guarantee that products have not come from animals fed on GM food.

Related topic
GM food
This article:
Last updated: 16-Nov-07 00:55 GMT

MRSA faces defeat from wild flowers

By AilĂ­n Quinlan
A WILD flower growing in West Cork could hold the key to wiping out the deadly superbug MRSA, it has emerged.

Researchers at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) have revealed the bright yellow flower known as inula helenium kills the lethal bug, which is resistant to some of the strongest antibiotics on the market.

Inula helenium is a tall plant which grows wild in west Cork and blossoms in late summer. It’s one of two herbs involved in a €35,000 research project carried out at CIT. The other, pulsatilla vulgaris, also proved highly effective against the potentially fatal MRSA bug.

Extracts from both plants were tested against a group of 300 staphylococci including MRSA and inula helenium proved 100% effective against the superbug.

The trials were carried out by postgraduate student Susan O’Shea of CIT’s biological sciences department as part of a two-year research project, under the supervision of Dr Brigid Lucey, a senior medical scientist with the microbiology department of Cork University Hospital and Dr Lesley Cotter, a lecturer in biomedical sciences at CIT.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Vitamin hype and big business

Cargill response today -

Cargill verified what I suspected by admitting that CoroWise, their plant sterol product found in Centrum Cardio, is made from vegetable oil. The source is soy with some corn, sunflower and rapeseed (canola). They advise that the products are GMO and not organic.

They do have non-GMO /organic but it is NOT specified for this product.

EU countries have refused GMO products so I guess the US consumer is the dumping ground...

Original post
All over the TV you see the silly ad for Centrum Cardio. While the need for high quality vitamin and mineral supplementation is critical for health, I'm very clear on my view that I can't support or endorse these products from Big Pharma.

I'm not sure about the studies that led the FDA to approving the claims of this product except that it is something manufactured from synthetic ingredients by Big Phara. In my mind this is the only reason Centrum is allowed for coverage under the Big Pharma Payola Program otherwise known as Medicare part D.

Being curious I looked up Centrum Cardio to find out exactly just what made it possible to improve your HDL score.

Centrum Cardio claims to have more of select B vitamins, vitamins C and E (synthetic form dl), plus calcium and folic acid, all to improve your health.

Some of the other ingredients in this generally synthetic product include Sodium Benzoate which is known to be carcinogenic in the presence of citric acid and vitamin C.

The tablets include iron which, especially after menopause, increases the risk of heart attack substantially for women and slightly for men. Iron supplements should be used only in the presence of clinically diagnosed anemia.

‡ Foods or dietary supplements containing at least 400 mg per serving of free phytosterols taken twice a day with meals for a daily total intake of at least 800 mg, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease. Calcium carbonate and magnesium oxide are the very inexpensive and poorly absorbed form of these two minerals in less than the optimum balance. Most of the B vitamins listed are well below what you need for heart health if you take any statin drug. Gnerally you are paying a lot for little.

Cargill's(Big Ag) phytosterol product CoroWise is included at 400mg per tablet, two tablets required daily. A daily serving of Centrum Cardio® (2 tablets) contains 800 mg of CoroWise® phytosterols.

Cargill's CoroWise information tells little about what it is other than vegetable oil or flour, depending on the form (there are two). It isn't specifically identified. Cargill has not answered my query about this product.

Peanut and soy are listed as ingredients. These are two very allergenic foods. Soy is often genetically engineered.

Their BHT petroleum based preservative is usually considered very toxic. PEG (polyethylene glycol)is another suspicious and toxic ingredient.

In my mind, based on decades of nutrition and medical research, the amounts of nutrients in this product probably aren't worth the price. And knowing what I know about the negatives of soy I'll pass. I'll pass on the price too, looks like it runs about $22 for a bottle of 120 tablets or a two month supply. Pricey for synthetics and vegetable oil with toxic preservatives.

INGREDIENTS: Phytosterols, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Dibasic Calcium Phosphate, Croscarmellose Sodium, Potassium Chloride, Ascorbic Acid (Vit. C), Magnesium Oxide, Silicon Dioxide. Contains < 2% of: Acacia, Anhydrous Citric Acid, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Beta-Carotene, Biotin, Boric Acid, BHT, Calcium Pantothenate, Calcium Stearate, Cholecalciferol (Vit. D3), Chromic Chloride, Colloidal Silicon Dioxide, Corn Starch, Cupric Sulfate, Cyanocobalamin (Vit. B12), dl-Alpha-Tocopherol, dl-Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate (Vit. E), FD&C Yellow No. 6 Aluminum Lake, Ferrous Fumarate, Folic Acid, Gelatin, Hypromellose, Lecithin, Magnesium Stearate, Manganese Sulfate, Medium-Chain Triglycerides, Modified Food Starch, Niacinamide, Nickelous Sulfate, Phytonadione (Vit. K), Polyethylene Glycol, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Potassium Iodide, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vit. B6), Riboflavin (Vit. B2), Sodium Ascorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Metavanadate, Sodium Molybdate, Sodium Selenate, Sorbic Acid, Stannous Chloride, Sucrose, Talc, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vit. B1), Titanium Dioxide, Tribasic Calcium Phosphate, Vitamin A Acetate (Vit. A), Zinc Oxide. Contains: Peanut, Soy.

Suggested Use:
Adults – Take one tablet twice daily with meals or snacks. Not formulated for use in children.

As with any supplement, if you are pregnant, nursing, or taking medication, consult your doctor before use.

Sitosterolemics: Contains Phytosterols (Sitosterols).

Accidental overdose of iron-containing products is a leading cause of fatal poisoning in children under 6. Keep this product out of reach of children. In case of accidental overdose, call a doctor or poison control center immediately.

Important Information:
Long-term intake of high levels of vitamin A (excluding that sourced from beta-carotene) may increase the risk of osteoporosis in adults. Do not take this product if taking other vitamin A supplements.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Way off target and cancer care

Devra Davis' comments are very close to the issues I have been raising since the early 1970s.

So little has changed

The Washington Post (pg. B1), November 4, 2007


[Rachel's introduction: The war on cancer remains focused on efforts to develop drugs and technologies that can find and treat the disease --to the tune of more than $100 billion a year in the U.S. alone. Meanwhile, the struggle basically ignores most of the things known to cause cancer, such as tobacco, radiation, sunlight, benzene, asbestos, solvents, and some drugs and hormones.]

By Devra Davis

[Devra Davis's most recent book is The Secret History of the War on Cancer.]

We've been fighting the war on cancer for almost four decades now, since President Richard M. Nixon officially launched it in 1971. It's time to admit that our efforts have often targeted the wrong enemies and used the wrong weapons.

Throughout the industrial world, the war on cancer remains focused on commercially fueled efforts to develop drugs and technologies that can find and treat the disease -- to the tune of more than $100 billion a year in the United States alone. Meanwhile, the struggle basically ignores most of the things known to cause cancer, such as tobacco, radiation, sunlight, benzene, asbestos, solvents, and some drugs and hormones. Even now, modern cancer-causing agents such as gasoline exhaust, pesticides and other air pollutants are simply deemed the inevitable price of progress.

They're not. Scientists understand that most cancer is not born but made. Although identical twins start life with amazingly similar genetic material, as adults they do not develop the same cancers. As with most of us, where they live and work and the habits that they develop do more to determine their health than their genes do. Americans in their 20s today carry around in their bodies levels of some chemicals that can impair their ability to produce healthy children -- and increase the chances that those children will develop cancer.

Consider the icon of American cancer, the cyclist Lance Armstrong. He's hardly alone as an inspiring younger survivor. Of the 10 million American cancer survivors who are alive five years after their diagnosis, about one in 10 is younger than 40. Could exposure to radiation and obesity-promoting chemicals help explain why, according to a study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, the rates of the testicular cancer that Armstrong developed nearly doubled in most industrialized countries in the past three decades? Should we wait to find out?

I'm calling for prudence and prevention, not panic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Environmental Working Group have confirmed that American children are being born with dozens of chemicals in their bodies that did not exist just two decades earlier, including toxic flame retardants from fabrics. A new study by Barbara Cohn and other scientists at the Public Health Institute in Berkeley, Calif., finds that girls exposed to elevated levels of the pesticide DDT before age 14 are five times more likely to develop breast cancer when they reach middle age.

Yes, the war has had some important successes: Cancer deaths in the United States are finally dropping, chiefly because of badly belated (and still poorly supported) efforts to curb smoking, reductions in the levels of some pollutants and significant advances in the control of cancers of the breast, colon, prostate and cervix. But new cases of cancer not linked to smoking or aging are on the rise, such as cancer in children and non-Hodgkin lymphoma in people older than 55. And according to the CDC, cancer is the No. 2 cause of death for children and middle-age people, second only to accidents. The longer view is troubling: The National Cancer Institute reports that from 1950 to 2001, the number of cancers of the bone marrow, the bladder and the liver doubled.

Both public health and social justice demand that we focus more on the things that cause cancer. For example, blacks and other minorities still die of many forms of cancer more often than do whites. Could this be tied to the fact that so many African Americans hold blue- collar jobs, which may bring them into contact with carcinogens? Or because poor blacks are more likely to live in polluted neighborhoods, or eat diets higher in cancer-causing fats? We can't say, and we're not even trying to find out. The vast cancer-fighting enterprise has decidedly different priorities.

Even our triumphs in battling cancer can leave us with tragic shortcomings. Consider one irony of oncology: Many of the agents that can so effectively rout cancer early in life, such as chemotherapy and radiation, can also increase the risks of falling prey to other forms of the disease later on. According to a study in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, one out of every three girls treated with radiation before age 16 to arrest Hodgkin's disease -- a cancer of the lymphatic system that often occurs in young people -- will develop breast cancer by age 40. Of course, many cancers in children and young adults might have been avoided in the first place without earlier exposure to cancer-causing agents.

We also need to weigh the downsides of the way we use radiation today to find problems in the healthy public, especially the young. A consensus statement from the American College of Radiology notes that "the current annual collective dose estimate from medical exposure in the United States has been calculated as roughly equivalent to the total worldwide collective dose generated by the nuclear catastrophe at Chernobyl."

Most parents (and many emergency-medicine physicians) don't know that a single CT scan of a child's head can deliver the same radioactive dose as that in 200 to 6,000 chest X-rays. Some pediatric experts recommend that CT scans of children be restricted to medical emergencies and kept at doses as low as reasonably possible. Even so, according to the American College of Radiology, the use of CT scans has jumped tenfold in the past decade -- a change that stems from the profitability and growth of "defensive medicine," and one that has not resulted in any improvement in our overall health that I can discern.

The Food and Drug Administration, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency often lack the authority and resources to monitor and control tobacco smoke, asbestos, tanning salons and the cancer-causing agents in food, water and the everyday products we use on our bodies and in our homes. Under antiquated laws, chemical and radiation hazards are examined one at a time, if at all. Of the nearly 80,000 chemicals regularly bought and sold today, according to the National Academy of Sciences, fewer than 10 percent have been tested for their capacity to cause cancer or do other damage.

As a result of these policy failures, the United States often stands alone -- and not in a good way. Unlike Italy, Ireland, France, Albania, Argentina, Uruguay and many other countries, the United States has failed to ban smoking in public spaces nationwide. Unlike European children, American kids are exposed to small levels of known carcinogens in their food, air, shampoos, bubble baths and skin creams -- such as the clear, colorless liquid known as "1, 4-dioxane," a common contaminant that causes cancer in animals and has been banned from cosmetics by the European Union.

In fact, our growing dependence on many unstudied modern conveniences makes us the subjects of vast, uncontrolled experiments to which none of us ever consents. Consider cellphones, whose long-term health consequences could prove disastrous. Experimental findings show that cellphone radiation damages living cells and can penetrate the skull. Widely publicized research on cellphone use in the early 1990s indicates that the phones are safe, but those studies did not include any children and excluded all business users. While exposure levels are much lower on newer phones, the effects of gadgets that have increasingly become part of our children's lives remain unstudied.

That's unwise. Recent reports from Sweden and France, published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, reveal that adults who have used cellphones for 10 years or more have twice as much brain cancer on the side of their heads most frequently exposed to the phone. The Swiss and Chinese governments have set official exposure limits for cellphone microwave emissions that are 500 times lower than those the United States mandates. In Bangalore, India, it is illegal to sell a cellphone to a child younger than 16. As a basic precaution, people should use the phones with earpieces or speakers, and young children should not use them at all -- consistent with warnings recently issued by the German and British governments. Because brain cancer can take 10 years or longer to develop, national statistics cannot be expected to show the health impact of today's skyrocketing cellphone use. But we shouldn't wait for the cases to roll in before acting.

True, there are many uncertainties about environmental cancer hazards. But these doubts should not be confused with proof that environmental factors are harmless. The confusion arises for three different reasons. First, studying the ways that our surroundings affect our cancers is genuinely hard. Second, public and private funding levels for research and control of environmental cancer are scandalously low. Finally, those who profit from the continued use of some risky technologies have devised well-financed efforts to sow doubt about many modern hazards, taking their cue from the machinations of the tobacco industry. The best crafted public relations campaigns masquerade as independent scientific information from unimpeachable authorities.

No matter how much our efforts to treat cancer may advance, the best way to reduce cancer's toll is to keep people from getting it. We need to join the rest of the industrialized world by issuing a national ban on asbestos and forbidding smoking in the workplace and other public spaces. We must reduce the hazards faced by those working to build our homes, transport our goods and make the products we consume. We should restrict CT scans of children to medical emergencies, limit the use of diagnostic radiation in general, ban young children from using cellphones and keep the rest of us from using tanning beds. And we must recognize that pollutants do not need passports. Controlling cancer, like controlling global warming, can take place only on an international scale. We can -- and must -- do better.

Devra Davis, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public Health, directs the Center for Environmental Oncology. Her most recent book is "The Secret History of the War on Cancer."

Dear Farrah

Dr. Ralph Moss has eloquently spoken on the politics of cancer in his open letter to Farrah Fawcett. I share his thoughts and especially appreciate his comments on how medicine in the US does not support involving the patient in their own care and actively obstructs any effort to choose other than the status quo.
On my own behalf, as well as that of my coworkers, and the readers of our weekly online newsletter, I want to wish you success in pursuing innovative cancer treatments in Germany. I applaud your courage in seeking an approach that hopefully will be less toxic and more effective than the treatments you have so far been offered in the US.

With this open letter, I also hope to counter some of the negative comments that have been made in the media about your treatment choices. Some of the derogatory comments about "the murky world of overseas clinics" have come from the tabloids - no surprise there. As your spokesperson told People magazine, "It is now clear that the tabloids are as invasive and malignant as cancer." I wish there were some way to shield you from their abusive attacks.

Far more surprising have been highly critical comments from individuals associated with major US cancer institutions. Isn't it ironic that before your diagnosis you served as a celebrity spokesperson for the American Cancer Society? Now, some people associated with ACS and similar organizations have forgotten this former service and, in effect, have washed their hands of you.

Interviewed by the Associated Press about your case, Barrie Cassileth, PhD, is quoted as saying, "I would [tell a patient considering alternative treatment] that they are signing their own death certificate. I would say they are wasting time they could otherwise spend happier and with their families." Dr. Cassileth is chief of the Integrative Medicine Department at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York and has been prominently associated with your former organization, the ACS.

I find such statements both highly inappropriate and contradictory. Saying that people are "signing their own death certificate" by pursuing innovative cancer treatments outside the US implies that they would not be signing their death certificate had they only stayed in the US for treatment. While I do not presume to know the details of your case, I assume that you were fully informed by your American oncologists of the treatment options for your cancer, and found them unacceptable.

I am sure you did not make the decision to seek treatment in Germany on a whim, but after due deliberation of all your options. Dr. Cassileth's melodramatic statement implies that you are wasting your time by doing so and that you could instead spend "happier" time with your family. Not everyone will choose to, as it were, wait out the clock. I thoroughly understand your desire to seek more effective treatments, including those available abroad. This is of course a very personal choice, which is determined in part by one's resources and fighting spirit. But the fact that some people choose to seek out other possibilities abroad rather than give up hope at home is not a sign of irrationality.

Medicine develops unevenly and is still partly determined by national characteristics. (For confirmation, see Lynne Payer's classic Medicine and Culture.) Consequently, there are treatments available in Europe that are not yet available here, and vice versa. Dr. Cassileth seems to think that all German cancer clinics are a monolith and that all their techniques are the same and equally ineffective. But the topic of German innovative medical treatments is a huge one. According to one German Web site ( there are presently 2,200 private clinics in Germany, containing 500,000 beds and treating 17.5 million patients annually. Many of these are cancer patients. These clinics were not set up to treat Americans, but primarily to serve the interests of the indigenous population. Germans in general (including many of their doctors) have a more positive attitude towards natural medicine than do their counterparts in America. In my experience, the German clinics are generally well run and are in full compliance with both local laws and international standards of ethical patient care.

Germany has long been a world leader in cancer research and treatment. German biologists pioneered almost every step in understanding the nature of this disease. Despite the terrible setbacks of World Wars I and II, German doctors continue to be well trained and well informed on all aspects of cancer care. In the use of complementary medicine they are without peer in the West. German doctors have either pioneered or expanded the use of mistletoe, enzymes, thymic peptides, immunotherapy, hyperthermia, and a host of other innovative techniques. These methods are sometimes employed alongside surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, when these are deemed necessary.

A glance at this year's program of the 41st Medizinische Woche (Medicine Week), held October 27-November 1, in Baden-Baden, reveals a panoply of treatment options that are unknown by most American oncologists. Recently I had the honor of co-editing a medical textbook on the German approach to integrative cancer therapy with Josef Beuth, MD, professor of complementary medicine at the University of Cologne. Our volume, Complementary Oncology (Thieme) gives some idea of the range of these treatments and the depth of their scientific evaluation including, in some instances, through the use of randomized controlled trials.

In conclusion, Ms Fawcett, I hardly think you are wasting your time, much less signing your own death certificate, by going abroad for treatment. You have made a rational decision under extremely difficult circumstances, and that decision deserves the utmost respect, not a flippant dismissal of your survival prospects. All people of good will wish you the best of luck in your search for effective treatments.

References:Jefford M, Tattersall MH. Informing and involving cancer patients in their own care. Lancet Oncology 2002;3(10):629-37.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Fresh, clean air does not come in a can

Now that those of us north of the Equator are living in closed homes during the autumn and winter months, indoor air quality generally becomes an issue.

I send out my newsletter on the New Moon so it went out to all my opt-in subscribers this last week. The topic was air quality.

You can freshen your home's inside air in many ways but some simple suggestions are using a small dish of apple cider vinegar on your kitchen counter, nebulizing or spraying pure essential oils, simmering cinnamon and cloves in a small pan of water, or doing the same with pickling spice.

One important concern is to avoid mass marketed so called air fresheners. We reported several years ago about the dangers of Febreze to companion animals.

Here is some information from a Canadian colleague to help you understand why these products really are not for good health. Thank you Dr. Kim.
If you use synthetic air fresheners in your car and/or living space, you should know that you are increasing your risk of developing a variety of health problems. Headaches, earaches, depression, an irregular heart beat, and diarrhea in babies are just a few of many health challenges that have been linked with regular use of synthetic air fresheners.

A report that was released in September of 2007 by the Natural Resources Defense Council found that 12 of 14 brands of common household air fresheners contained phthalates. Phthalates are chemicals that are used to prolong the length of time that scented products maintain their fragrance. Regular exposure to phthalates can increase your risk of experiencing endocrine, reproductive, and developmental problems. Amazingly, some of the brands that tested positive for phthalates did not include phthalates on their lists of ingredients; some of these brands were even labeled as being "all-natural" and "unscented."

In response to this study, the National Resources Defense Council produced the following list that indicates the presence or absence of phthalates in common air fresheners:

Highest levels of phthalates:
Walgreens Air Freshener Spray (removed from shelves)
Walgreens Scented Bouquet Air Fresheners (removed from shelves)
Walgreens Solid Air Fresheners (removed from shelves)
Ozium Glycolized Air Sanitizer

Medium levels of phthalates:
Air Wick Scented Oil
Febreze NOTICEables Scented Oil
Glade Air Infusions
Glade PlugIn Scented Oil
Oust Air Sanitizer Spray

Low levels or no phthalates detected:
Citrus Magic
Febreze Air Effects Air Refresher
Lysol Brand II Disinfectant
Oust Fan Liquid Refills
Renuzit Subtle Effects

Please note that having no phthalates does not make synthetic air fresheners safe to use in your car or home. The vast majority of synthetic air fresheners emit significant amounts of terpene, a volatile organic compound that can react with naturally occurring ozone to create formaldehyde. Ozone, a form of oxygen, exists at some level both indoors and outdoors, so formaldehyde formation is practically inevitable wherever synthetic air fresheners are used. Indoor environments which may have elevated levels of ozone include those where photocopiers and ozone-generating air purifiers are used.

Why should you be concerned about being exposed to formaldehyde? Formaldehyde is classified as a human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
With strong links to phthalates and formaldehyde, it's not surprising that a study that was recently published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine indicates that regular use of sprays can increase your risk of developing asthma by 30 to 50 percent. This study was performed by the European Community Respiratory Health Survey, and collected data from 3,500 people in 10 European countries.

Clearly, your health is best served by saying no to synthetic air fresheners and any other synthetic products that are designed to emit a prolonged artificial scent.

Here are some simple and natural ways of keeping your car and living space smelling fresh without the use of chemical-laden air fresheners:

*Open your windows - even just a crack during cold weather - for at least 30 minutes a day. Weather permitting, it's best to keep your windows open all the time, assuming that you don't live in a heavily polluted area.
*Sprinkle baking soda on carpets before you vacuum.
*Keep a box of baking soda open in the room.
*Keep natural (preferably organic) potpourri in a bowl out in the open, or put into little sachets to keep around the house.
*Maintain a friendly gathering of indoor plants in your living and work spaces.
*Take the garbage and compost out every day.

Please share this article with friends and family members who use synthetic air fresheners in their cars, homes, and work places.
Thank you

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Natural Help for Fibromyalgia

I notice from time to time that people are searching for information about how to help fibromyalgia (FMS) naturally.

For several years I was a resource person for the Providence Hospital (Everett) FMS/CFIDS support group.

During that time I joined with a massage therapist and an MD to set up a FMS treatment protocol.

This system was monitored by the MD who found that those following it were relieved of the diagnosis.

This information is still available if it is of interest to you.