Friday, December 28, 2007

A Fox was in the Chicken Coop: Disgraced Former FDA Official Now Marketing Lilly Drug

One really has to wonder about the ethics at the FDA
by Martha Rosenberg

As a 33-year-old Wall Street insider known for recommending hot medical stocks, many were surprised when physician Scott Gottlieb was named FDA deputy commissioner for medical and scientific affairs in 2005.”

Gottlieb has an orientation which belies the goal of the FDA,” said Dr. Jerome Kassirer, former editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.”The appointment comes out of nowhere,” said former FDA Commissioner Donald Kennedy.

“Anything but a reassuring signal,” said Time magazine.

As critics feared, soon after assuming the number two FDA position, Gottlieb had to recuse himself from resource planning for a possible bird flu epidemic because of financial ties to Roche and Sanofi-Aventis. He also had to bow out of work related to Eli Lilly, Proctor & Gamble and five other drug companies.

When three people in a multiple sclerosis drug trial lost blood platelets and one died, he called stopping the study “an overreaction” because the disease not the drug might be to blame.

And when FDA scientists rejected Pfizer’s osteoporosis drug candidate Oporia, forecast to earn $1 billion a year, underlings received accusatory emails from Gottlieb.

His on-to-Wall-Street approach succeeded in rushing Chantix, Pfizer’s stop smoking drug, varenicline, to market but a string of 2006 suicides and the violent death of Dallas musician Carter Albrecht leave many asking if that was such a good thing.

“The truth is, the FDA’s required trials reveal limited information,” Gottlieb wrote presciently in an oped in the Chicago Tribune in 2005. “In many cases, it is only after…drugs are on the market for many years and given to thousands of patients that their true benefits (sic.) are revealed.”

Gottlieb even trashed the definitive Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study that found hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was bad nor good for women’s health saying the results “were rushed to print with a cleverly orchestrated PR blitz.”

Now that he’s left the FDA, Gottlieb is helping sell Lilly’s osteoporosis drug Evista which the company was convicted in 2005 of marketing, off label, for anti cancer and heart disease purposes.

Since Evista has now been approved to reduce the risk of developing some breast cancers writes Gottlieb in an angry oped in the Wall Street Journal in December, doesn’t that transform Lilly’s “speech ‘crime,’ by some measures, into a public service?”

Penalizing Lilly’s off-label promotion of Evista may have proved “fatal” for “patients and doctors who rely on the latest clinical information to make hard decisions,” Gottlieb says implying physicians are lost without input from drug reps with Bachelor of Science degrees.

But of course this is not the first time Lilly has had “free speech” problems.

In October, the FDA told Lilly to stop falsely claiming antidepressant Cymbalta produced “significantly less pain interference with overall functioning” and start mentioning its side effect of liver toxicity.

And documents from its Viva Zyprexa campaign show Lilly marketed the atypical antipsychotic for off label use among elderly patients though an increased risk of death in older patients is a warning on its own label.

Nor is Evista a misunderstood wonder drug.

Launched in 1998 to disappointing results, Justice Department documents reveal Lilly brand managers decided to market off label uses for Evista to boost sales.

And when 20 million women quit HRT in the early 2000’s, marketing Evista (raloxifene), a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM), as a kind of anti estrogen or good estrogen made sense.

Like HRT, researchers hinted Evista was an all purpose, youth giving drug, not just preventing and treating osteoporosis but reducing the risk of some types of breast cancer and heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular problems in at risk patients.

Dr. Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, head of epidemiology at the University of California, San Diego called a 2002 Evista study, “exciting because it offers new hope in treating heart disease, the biggest killer of women, while at the same time strengthening their bones.”

Barrett-Connor also assured the public that hormone therapy had “no significant effect on the risk for stroke among postmenopausal women with coronary disease” in an article in the American Heart Association’s journal, Circulation, in 2001, paid for by hormone maker Wyeth-Ayerst Research.

Unfortunately, Evista is a little too much like HRT, which, contrary to what appeared in Circulation, causes a 26 percent increased risk of breast cancer, 29 percent increased risk of heart attack, 41 percent increased risk of stroke, and 100 percent increased risk of blood clots according to WHI figures.

Not only does Evista cause lethal blood clots–its warning label says “Increased risk of Venous Thromboembolism and Death From Stroke”–it increases the risk of ovarian cancer say some clinicians.

“Evista induces ovarian cancer in both mice and rats,” wrote Dr. Samuel S. Epstein, professor of environmental medicine at the University of Illinois School of Public Health in the Chicago Tribune in 1998. “Furthermore, carcinogenic effects were noted at dosages well below the recommended therapeutic level.”

In 2001 scientists at the University of Southern California also found Evista stimulated the growth of ovarian cancer cells.

“In breast and uterine cancer it does not appear to be a problem; in ovarian cancer it may stimulate the cells,” said Dr. Richard Paulson, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology referring to laboratory studies.

Evista advertising is also like HRT, relying on ageism, sexism and fear-mongering to sell product with the patronizing tag line, Protect Her Bones Protect Her Breasts, and a female model symbolically covering her breasts with her arms.

No, off label marketing of Evista is not a public service. But Gottlieb’s departure from the FDA might be.

Martha Rosenberg is a cartoonist for the Evanston Roundtable in Evanston, Illinois

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Allergy to medicines 'is killing thousands'

This article from The Times in London (UK) certainly is just one more reason to be very careful when taking Rx drugs.

Make sure your health care provider thoroughly educates you on the risks versus benefit based on fact - not what the drug companies plies the field with - And make sure you are fully educated on the side effects. It's required by law!

If you need more information please go to and read about any drugs you are taking, Go directly to health professional information, skip the patient pages because these items are not beneficial to your knowledge.

Also, if taking multiple Rx, always get your pharmacist to do a drug interaction profile.

The January issue of herbalYODA Says! will focus on informed consent.
by David Rose

Nearly 3,000 patients have died in the past three years as a result of taking medicines intended to help them, official figures show.

Thousands more have been hospitalised after suffering harmful side-effects or serious allergic reactions to prescription drugs and other medications.

Almost half of the deaths occurred last year, while the number of reported adverse drug reactions has increased by 45 per cent over a decade. Growing numbers of patients taking aspirin and other medications for chronic illness such as heart disease could be fuelling the trend, experts suggest.

A total of 964 UK patients died because of suspected drug reactions in 2006, more than 200 after lengthy stays in hospital. A further 4,432 patients were also hospitalised but survived, figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats show.

Adverse drug reactions (ADRs) describe the unwanted, negative consequences associated with the use of any medications, as a result of medical error or otherwise. They represent a considerable burden on the NHS, accounting for 1 in 16 hospital admissions, at a cost of up to £466 million a year.

Patients admitted because of ADRs stay an average of eight days in hospital, research suggests, meaning that at any one time they take up the equivalent of up to seven 800-bed hospitals in England alone. Over the past three years, 2,846 patients died as a result of a suspected ADR, while 13,643 patients were hospitalised, the figures show.

Drugs most commonly implicated in adverse reactions include low-dose aspirin, diuretics, the anticoagulant drug warfarin and other nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs.

The most common problem associated with these medications is gastrointestinal bleeding, which can be fatal. But many of the reactions were likely to be because of incorrect dosages or known interactions of the drugs and as such were avoidable, research suggests.

The latest figures were revealed in answer to parliamentary questions by the Liberal Democrats. Norman Lamb, the party’s health spokesman, commented: “This is a dangerously escalating problem, which is putting lives at risk and placing a big cost burden on the NHS.” In addition, new “treatment targets” for specific long-term diseases, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol, are likely to lead to more patients taking medicines with possible interactions and side-effects, he said.

Approximately 20,000 reports of adverse drug reactions are made to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency and Commission for Human Medicines every year through a spontaneous reporting system known as the “yellow card” scheme. But Dawn Primarolo, the Minister for Public Health, admitted that the yellow card scheme “is associated with an unknown level of underreporting”.

“In addition, it is important to note that the submission of a suspected ADR report does not necessarily mean that it was caused by the drug,” she added.

But the Government’s Chief Medical Officer said that the NHS could be better at learning from its prescribing mistakes. At a conference held by the National Patient Safety Agency last month, Sir Liam Donaldson said that drug allergies were a significant cause of avoidable harm in hospitals. He has also recommended that NHS organisations should be fined if patients are harmed while in their care.

“When someone has a known allergy and we give them the drug in error or a lack of awareness as to what’s being prescribed, the results can be fatal,” he said. “Although these are not common events, some mistakes are capable of being repeated and we have to become better at learning from these mistakes.”

Sir Liam recalled the case of Teresa Innes, 38, who lapsed into a coma in September 2001 after a surgeon at Bradford Royal Infirmary prescribed a drug containing penicillin as she was about to undergo a routine procedure to drain fluid from an abscess on her thigh. Despite wearing a red allergy band on her wrist and medical notes giving warning about her acute aversion to the antibiotic, Mrs Innes was given the drug Magnapen, which staff did not realise contained penicillin.

The former care worker suffered an-aphylactic shock, which stopped her heart for 35 minutes, resulting in permanent brain damage. She was left in a persistent vegetative state from which she never recovered. She died two years later.

Sir Liam added: “This is a tragic and avoidable case.”

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Why Medical Authorities Cannot be Trusted on Gardasil HPV Vaccine

By Gwen Landolt

TORONTO, December 19, 2007 ( - Medical health authorities have repeatedly assured us that Gardasil, the vaccine injection given to young girls to allegedly prevent cervical cancer, is perfectly safe. For example, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, a group of medical specialists, endorsed the vaccine last February. The Society of Gynecologic Oncologists of Canada claims the vaccine is safe, as does Dr. David Butler-Jones, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer. The Canadian Pediatric Society and the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada have also endorsed the vaccine.

These medical authorities, however, are puzzled and also indignant that the use of this vaccine still remains controversial, ever since it was rolled out in lightening speed after Ottawa announced a $300 million funding package for participant provinces. After all, they reason, they have approved the drug, so what is the problem? Surely their expert opinion should be sufficient to allay the public's fears about the drug?

The reason the public has good reason to distrust the judgement of these medical authorities is because of their experience with them. It is a fact that the public has heard many similar assurances about other drugs, and used them to their lasting regret. For example:

- In the 1960's, thalidomide was pronounced a safe drug for pregnant women experiencing morning sickness. It was not safe, as thousands of adults with flipper arms and legs can attest.

- In the 1960's, the birth control pill was developed and women were assured that its use had no harmful side effects. Studies now report that the pill can be the cause of a greatly increased risk of stroke, heart attack and blood clots if taken for eight years or more. (British Journal of Medicine, 16 or 17 September, 2007).

- Between 1938 and 1971, as many as 4 million U.S. women and many Canadian women took the drug, diethylstilbestrol (DES) to prevent miscarriage. Daughters of these women who were exposed to DES in utero have experienced a range of structural reproductive tract abnormalities in the uterus, cervix and vagina. The incidents of abnormality occurs in 18% of cases, but it may be as high as 33% in women exposed to DES in utero. The male offspring of women who took DES during pregnancy also have an increased incidence of genital abnormalities and a possibility of increased risk of prostrate and testicular cancer.

- Merck Frosst, the manufacturer of Gardasil, also developed a much-acclaimed painkiller called Vioxx, that was subsequently used by thousands of individuals suffering from arthritis. Unfortunately, the drug had the side effect of causing heart attacks and strokes. As a result, the medication was taken off the market in 2004 and Merck Frosst is now facing thousands of class action suits amounting to billions of dollars in claims.

- By 2001, 15 million women in the U.S. alone, as well a millions of women in Canada and abroad, were taking hormone-replacement therapy (H.R.T.). It became one of the most popular prescription drug treatments for menopause, supposedly to allow women to lead a long and healthier life. However, in July 2002, estrogen therapy was exposed as a hazard to health, rather than a benefit. It was found to constitute a potential health risk for post-menopausal women by increasing risks of heart disease, stroke, blood clots and breast cancer. The question lingers unanswered, as to how many women may have died prematurely because their physician prescribed this medication? A reasonable estimate would be tens of thousands of women. (New York Times, September 16, 2007)

- Europe's largest drug manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline developed and sold the diabetic drug Avandia, it's second best selling product last year, which was subsequently linked to a higher risk of heart attacks according to a study released in May 2007. This caused sales of the drug to drop 38%.

These are just a few examples of the here-today gone-tomorrow nature of medical wisdom. What we are advised about with confidence one year is reversed the next. One of the contributing factors to this reversal is that the kind of experimental trials necessary to determine the truth about the medication is excessively expensive and time-consuming and very often does not happen. Hence, the problem with these new drugs so enthusiastically recommended by the medical profession.

It is alarming that Gardasil's approval was based on the testing of only a few thousand patients and almost not at all (only 1200) on young girls, 9-13 years old, who are targeted for injection of the drug. (See REALity Sept/Oct. 2007, p. 5)

As its marketing plan, Merck Frosst used lobbyists with access to important public officials. In Canada, Ken Boessenkool, now with the public relations firm of Hill and Knowlton in Calgary, lobbied the federal government on Merck Frosst's behalf. Mr. Boessenkool was a former advisor to Prime Minister Stephen Harper when he was opposition leader. Jason Grier, former executive assistant to Ontario Health Minister George Smitherman, also lobbied on behalf of Merck and Ontario has now decided to administer the drug to young girls.

Even though only approximately 2-5% of women have Pap smears with cell changes due to HPV, the medication was pushed as a preventative cure for cervical cancer. However, no mention was made of the fact that the drug does not protect against other sexually transmitted diseases, such as chlamydia, herpes, hepatitis, trichomoniasis, gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV, AIDS, etc. It's all promotion; facts do not count.

The long-term consequences of Gardasil are not known. The manufacturer admits this and agrees it does not know its effect on young girls' cancer risk, on their immunity system, on their reproductive system, or its genetic effects. In due course, we will know this, possibly in twenty or thirty years from now when these young girls, the innocent subjects of the Gardasil experiment have become grown women and then report the consequences of their having taken the medication in their childhood on medical advice.

This article was originally published in the Nov./Dec. edition of REAL Women of Canada's Reality magazine.

Weight Loss Promise for a new year

The TV ads are already hawking weight loss products and exercise equipment and the Times Square ball hasn't even dropped.

You might get a head start if you consider a few sensible ideas to help you be successful with weight loss and exercise plans.

One first rule is to avoid all artificial sweeteners such as aspartame (Nutrasweet), acesulfame K and sucralose (Splenda) in foods, beverages or even medications. I'll be posting more on this issue very soon, reflecting information I hope will cause you to reconsider use of these dangerous products.

If you believe you need that sweet taste then try Just Like Sugar, it is all natural.

Some simple tips that will have you losing weight in a balanced and healthy way.

1. Lose weight with water. Water is essential for everybody - it is also the key to losing weight. If you haven't been drinking enough water, your body has developed a pattern of storing water. This water retention equals extra unwanted weight.

By drinking more water, you are not only flushing out toxins, you are also teaching your body that it no longer needs to store water. Drink at least 60 ounces of water (about 8 glasses) a day. Boil water and sliced lemons, and drink this throughout the day to help with fluid retention. If you are still not sold on the merits of water, try this on for size: water is a natural appetite suppressant.

2. Soup up your weight loss program. A simple dietary change will have you shedding pounds: eat a bowl of soup at least once a day. Nutritious, low-salt soups will nourish you as they flush waste from your body. People who eat a serving of soup daily lose more weight than those who eat the same amount of calories but don't eat soup. Go for homemade soup whenever possible, as canned soups are loaded with salt and chemicals.

3. Eat early to keep weight off. The human body follows a circadian rhythm, which means that the same foods eaten at breakfast and lunch are processed differently than when eaten at dinner. Studies show that when you eat your daily protein and fat at breakfast you tend to lose weight and have more energy; however, eating the same things at dinner tend to increase tendencies toward weight gain. I suggest that you eat your last meal of the day by 7 p.m.

4. Eat smaller meals, more frequently. Follow an eating schedule with five little meals every day. Eating steadily through the day keeps you from becoming famished and overeating at your next meal. Make a low-fat trail mix from raw almonds, pumpkin seeds, dried plum, and apples and have it available at all times to avoid the tempting lure of high-calorie snacks.

5. Adopt a balanced approach to your diet. Most of the fad diet programs out there nowadays are extreme in a few recommended foods, or else deprive the body of food altogether. This works in opposition to our metabolism and the results usually don't last, producing a yoyo effect that depresses your metabolic function - not to mention your self-esteem. We are natural beings that need a balance of nutrition from all sources.

Your diet should consist of a balance of organic sources of lean protein, complex carbohydrates, whole grains, legumes, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. Instead of white rice and pasta, opt for brown rice, bulgur, millet, or buckwheat.

Eat more green, chlorophyll-rich foods such as broccoli, kale, spinach, and asparagus. Eliminate candy, sugar, soda, and all simple sugars from your diet. Excess sugar ends up being stored as fat in your body, which results in weight gain. Also, keep dairy to a minimum because most dairy products are high in saturated fat. Avoid fatty foods, processed or fried foods.

6. Walk off the weight. The No. 1 cause of weight gain is inactivity. Physical activity is the key to speeding up your metabolism and burning excess calories. The best way to be physically active is to use your legs! Walk as often and as long as you can. Always take the stairs instead of the elevator.

Step outside during your break at work and take a walk around your building. Consider joining a local hiking or walking club. Try taking a walk 30 minutes in the morning or 30 minutes in the early evening.

I love soups. Since winter is the time for restoration of the kidneys, I'll be making more of my favorite black bean soup. I have a special recipe and it's offered with a donation to Creating Health Institute (viaPayPal).

I believe there is a role for allergy testing in weight loss. I did this recently because I have had problems because I lived in a house with mold some years ago and I wanted to see if my reaction to mold had lessened. In the process I learned I was very allergic to wheat and gliadin. I am also very allergic to all dairy products, garlic, zucchini, green beans, chicken eggs, cane sugar, kidney and pinto beans, beef, chicken and lamb, oats, barley and a few other foods.

Since I started a new food plan I have lost a lot of excess water and don't seem to be as reactive to things in the environment. I have more energy too!

We offer a home test for food allergy; just contact us if you are interested.

Planning ahead

There is new snow on the ground since last night. That means I'll have to bundle up to go fill the bird feeders and sweep or shovel the snow from the decks, sidewalks and the driveway. I could have a snow blower I guess but that is just one more gadget.

I looked out my front window this morning and saw what looks like a random act of kindness because the walk in front of my house looks like a mini snow plow has gone and done the work for me. How nice!

Shoveling snow is a good exercise. Pacing the work is the key to doing it without tiring or excessive stress from all that food from the previous day. Many people do suffer heart problems if this seasonal work gets too strenuous.

Heart health is also a big topic these days, maybe it is just to make sure that the Baby Boomers - and even children - line up for toxic drugs.

If you want a few tips on non-drug help, here's a list from an MD I know who seems to have thought more than most -

A new report shows the number of kids taking statin drugs shot up 68% in just 5 years.1

It’s great that younger people are focusing on heart health. And it’s certainly alarming that health problems related to heart disease are showing up at younger ages than ever before. But statin drugs aren’t the answer. As I’ve pointed out before, they pose serious health risks, including

* Inability to concentrate
* Depression
* Confusion
* Impotence
* Amnesia
* Lowered sex drive
* Disorientation
* Weakened immune system
* Shortness of breath
* Liver damage
* Fatigue
* Kidney failure
* Nerve pain
* Death
* Muscle weakness
* Rhabdomyolysis (painful bursting of muscle cells)
Study after study has demonstrated the potentially debilitating effects of statin drugs. They can produce confused states similar to Alzheimer’s disease. They may increase the risk of cancer death. And putting the blame on LDL cholesterol, they don’t even help solve the underlying problems that cause heart disease.

Cholesterol is the great red herring of mainstream medicine’s take on heart health. Despite twenty years of propaganda from the heart health industry, the fact is that LDL cholesterol levels are still a terribly poor predictor of whether or not you’re going to have a heart attack. It may surprise you to learn that 75% of heart attack victims have normal cholesterol levels.

And this is old news. The myth of cholesterol’s role in heart disease has been thoroughly debunked. Cholesterol isn't the problem but somehow, this still hasn’t gotten through to mainstream medical establishment or the media.

My advice is to forget about cholesterol and statin drugs and focus instead on the true indicators of heart health. Here’s what you should really be looking out for if you want to know whether you’re at risk:

* Triglycerides
* Insulin
* HDL Cholesterol
* Blood Pressure
* Fasting Blood Glucose
* Waist Size

Triglycerides are the kind of fat in your bloodstream that clogs your arteries. You can lower them safely and naturally by getting more omega-3 and vitamin D. Cod liver oil’s a great source of both. Lean meats, fish, and eggs are also rich in omega-3s. You can also get your vitamin D from supplements – 1,000 IEUs per day will do the trick.

Insulin is the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. And high blood sugar levels lead to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. If your insulin levels are high, you may be developing insulin resistance, the cause of diabetes. Cut carbs out of your diet and replace them with protein.

HDL Cholesterol is the heart of the matter when it comes to heart disease. Your total cholesterol doesn’t matter if your HDL levels are high. If your HDL’s above 85, you’re at no greater risk for heart disease if your total cholesterol is 150 or 350. A combination of exercise and dietary changes are all you need to boost your HDL. Eating more lean meats (either red or white) is a great way to raise your HDL naturally.

Blood Pressure is another indicator of heart disease risk. You can easily lower it through exercise, diet, and supplements. CoQ10, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin C have all been shown to benefit people with high blood pressure. Garlic and cayenne pepper also contain natural ingredients that reduce hypertension.

Just remember that statins and other cholesterol lowering drugs interfere with COQ10 in your body so you absolutely must supplement it with at least 100 mg daily. Statins also interfere with some B complex vitamins necessary to health.

You might also want to order a copy of our book, Blood Pressure Care Naturally

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Apple cider vinegar may be as close as we'll ever come to a universal remedy.

Health Tip

Folk medicine of many traditions calls for a spoonful each day of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. According to The Vinegar Book by Emily Thacker, "Since the beginning of time, mankind has sought the magic elixir which bubbles from the fabled 'Fountain of Youth.' For most of us, apple cider vinegar may be the closest we'll ever come to such a universal remedy."

Thacker reviewed scientific and medical journals and found reports of vinegar's effectiveness in preventing arthritis, osteoporosis, and cancer, killing infections, soothing itches, burns, and sunburns, aiding digestion, controlling weight, and preserving memory. Even Hippocrates, the Greek physician to whose oath every contemporary American doctor must swear, prescribed vinegar as a remedy.

This information and more can be found in Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz

And here is more information

Amendment is often unnoticed

The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

The idea of a Bill of Rights worried some of the founders greatly. They feared that, by listing rights not to be infringed by the government, rights that were not listed might be subject to government interference because such interference was not specifically prohibited. The Ninth Amendment was written in an attempt to preclude such abuse.

Originally, the Ninth Amendment was a negative statement. In other words, it prevented the Bill of Rights from increasing government powers by limiting those powers solely to what was listed. In more recent years, however, the amendment has been considered in some court cases to be positive, that it confirmed the existence of rights not otherwise listed but still protected. The right to privacy, for example, while not otherwise listed (although strongly implied in the First, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments) has enjoyed such decisions under the protections of the Ninth Amendment as Griswold v. Connecticut (see also Privacy).

Food Inflation Rises - 25 Year High

With the price of food rising steadily it places people in a precarious position.

My suggestion is to establish food buying clubs.

Such groups allow you to buy at almost wholesale and offer you the choice of organic foods and produce.

Azure Standard and United offer these services.

Plus, this WILL help your health!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Holiday Tips to Keep Your Pets Healthy

* Wrap your gifts on an elevated surface, so your pets cannot access (or ingest) string, ribbons, paper or bows, this can cause intestinal blockages.

* Encourage your holiday guests to refrain from feeding your household companions human food; this can result in diarrhea, vomiting, and illness. Keep chocolate away from all dogs and cats as it can be poisonous to pets and may have dangerous effects if enough is ingested.

* The holidays can be a exciting but stressful time for your household pets. The may drink more water then normal, Be alert and check their water bowls often.

* Post your vet's phone number in a prominent location, like your refrigerator. Should a problem arise, this will provide easy access to very important information for anyone visiting your home.

* Dogs and cats that tend to walk on sidewalks and streets should have their paws cleaned upon re-entering the home. Ice, rock salt, and other chemicals can collect in their pads and cause irritation and infections if left to accumulate between their paws.

* Curled up by the fireplace is favorite pastime for some pets.When using the fireplace in a home with pets, always use a fireplace screen to prevent long furry tails from getting too close to the flames.

Animals love to explore with their mouths and make play toys out of everything,so play it safe and keep those lovely gifts and treats out of reach this holiday season. Don't forget to set aside some special quiet time to share with your precious pal. Holidays can be hectic, and they need your attention too!

* From time to time some information listed may be provided by other organizations, individuals, and health care professionals. Always consult your veterinarian professional first before administering any first aid to your pets and for all questions concerning your pets. The articles listed are intended for general information purposes only and are not meant as guidelines. Consult your veterinarian for additional information.

Avastin NOT Effective for Breast Cancer

Dr. Ralph Moss has zeroed in on a very hot issue in regard to breast cancer therapy - is it money or health that is the driving motive?

I would weigh in for $$$ as this seems so far to be the driving force in cancer care marketing.

With the known facts that Gardasil is not useful; about 8 million people succumbed to cancer in the last year and 12 million are predicted to develop this so called disease (known to be a nutritionally deficient state since the government said so back in the 1970s, with the additive environmental factors contributing to the increase) in the coming year, can't you try to figure it out as well?

Let us know what you think because we do have a great amount of information we are happy to share.

Last week, the Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) voted 5-4 to recommend against approving the drug Avastin for first-line use in advanced breast cancer. In clinical trials to date, Avastin has not been shown to extend overall survival or to improve quality of life for women with metastatic breast cancer.

Traditionally, FDA has required that new drug approvals should only be granted on the basis of clear evidence of patient benefit. But lately the agency has lowered its standards and has begun to approve drugs based on clinical trials that use surrogate endpoints such as "disease-free interval" and "time to progression" instead of the much more clinically meaningful measure of overall survival. The main beneficiaries of this change in the standard of approval have been big pharmaceutical companies, not cancer patients.

The ODAC is mainly made up of cancer doctors, but does include a few non-physicians, at least one of whom was instrumental in the vote against approving Avastin.

"Absolutely it's a very painful reality that metastatic breast cancer is not curable," said Natalie Compagni Portis, a patient representative on the committee, who voted against approval. But, she added, "I don't think that means that we should just say, ‘Well, here, try this,' if there isn't meaningful data to support it." (New York Times, Dec. 6, 2007).

I congratulate ODAC for recommending against granting a new indication for a drug that has not been proven to work in this patient population. And I especially congratulate Breast Cancer Action, the San Francisco-based activist organization, which led the campaign to educate ODAC members and the public about this issue.

Readers should be aware, however, that this might not be the end of the story. ODAC, as its name implies, is only an advisory committee, and Genentech executives have indicated that they still hope to get around the ODAC decision.

According to the Times, Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann, Genentech's president for product development, said the company might ask the FDA for conditional approval on the promise of later providing survival data from two other clinical trials that are now under way (ibid.).

The final decision is now in the hands of Andrew von Eschenbach, M.D., the FDA commissioner, and his deputy, Dr. Richard Pazdur, director of the division of oncology drugs. They can still overrule ODAC's recommendation.

As a concerned citizen, you have a right to express your opinion on this matter. I am therefore calling on readers to send a brief email to Dr. von Eschenbach and Dr. Pazdur asking them to listen to their own advisory panel and not to approve the ineffective drug, Avastin, for advanced breast cancer.

Their email addresses are as follows:

If enough of us write in, this will hopefully influence FDA to put the needs of cancer patients above those of the drug companies, and only to approve drugs that are of actual benefit to cancer patients.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Men's Health and Magic Mushrooms

For quite a few years we have supplied a very high quality Reishi extract to many of our clients, finding excellent results for thier health concerns.

Wild mushroom can fight prostate cancer: Israeli researchers

Israeli scientists claim that a wild mushroom, used in traditional Chinese medicine for a century, could treat prostate cancer, the University of Haifa said Friday.
Researchers at the university in northern Israel said they found molecules in the Ganoderma lucidum mushroom, commonly known as the reishi, which help supress some mechanisms involved in the progression of prostate cancer.

"We already knew the mushroom could impede the development of cancer by affecting the immune system. The in-vitro trials we have done show that it attacks the cancer cells directly," chief researcher Ben Zion Zaidman told AFP.

"These results give rise to hope about developing medication to treat prostate cancer," he said of research carried out to date only in Petri dishes. The research still has to be tested on animals.

The reishi is found only in remote, wild areas, preferring a habitat of rotting plum tree trunks, sometimes oak trees, in heavily forested mountain areas.

The Chinese have tried to grow reishi mushrooms for centuries, but it was only in the early 1970s that Japanese experts managed to cultivate them.

Prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer among men, with more than 543,000 cases diagnosed worldwide each year.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced in October that he is suffering from prostate cancer and is expected to undergo surgery in the new year.

Fri Dec 14, Copyright © 2007 Agence France Presse.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Some Facts on the Gardasil Hype You Might Want to Know

The FDA knew back in 2003 that a HPV is not the actual cause of cervical cancer. The actual cause is a "persistent HPV infection that may act as a tumor promoter in cancer induction [8-11].

Please refer to other posts about the risks of Gardasil on this BLOG (via search function)

Friday, December 14, 2007

A New Warning for Women with Breast Cancer

Yes, one size does not fit all and it is about time MSM woke up to tell you...

The anthracycline drugs -- long a mainstay of breast cancer chemotherapy -- only benefit a minority of women and should be mostly scrapped, a researcher said here.

The continued use of the drugs "on a one-size-fits-all approach is just crazy and it's medically dangerous," said Dennis Slamon, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of California at Los Angeles.
Read the full article here:

ABC Fails Listeners on Health Topics

F is for failure. And this is exactly the grade ABC News and Charles Gibson get for their ridiculous report about yoghurt.

Yoghurt is replete with health promoting bacteria and it has been recognized for hundreds of years for this very reason. If you rely on mainstream media to inform you on this topic you really are left out in the cold.

Of course now that Kraft Foods and General Mills are in the over priced trendy nutrafood market now of course this becomes the focal point for getting air time on the networks or in print or electronic media.

Real yoghurt, the kind I know and have eaten for a bit over half a century isn't in a cute little container containing synthetic ingredients, high fructose corn syrup or aspartame or sucralose. It doesn't even have a marketing campaign to make women believe it support "The Race for the Cure".

The kind of real yoghurt I know and love is the same kind known to give the Hunza and Bulgarians world wide recognition for their health and longevity.

Its also the kind that is scientifically proven to be is rich in potassium, calcium, protein and B vitamins, including B-12. Yoghurt strengthens and stabilizes the immune system.

It also fights the damage caused by antibiotics - I've been teaching this for at least 20 years - and helps prevent secondary infections.

Do your self a favor, look for only high quality and preferably organic whole milk or low fat yoghurt. You might have to look in the health food section of your store or at a health food store. Use fresh fruit, honey, vanilla, cocoa powder or more natural substances to add flavor if you need to.

Don't waste your money on those grocery stores or or highly marketed products because that isn't yoghurt.

And you can donate to our Women's Health Education program instead of buying pink lids. General Mills won't support our work because we don't support their fake foods.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

More STATIN Risks Uncovered

Well, here is a new view on statins that just might make you look at the work of Uffe Ravnskov MD.

Statins May Hike Risk of Hemorrhagic Second Stroke
By Judith Groch, Senior Writer, MedPage Today

DURHAM, N.C., Dec. 12 -- Patients taking statins after a stroke or a TIA were five times more likely than controls to have a second, hemorrhagic stroke if their initial stroke had been hemorrhagic, researchers here reported.
These negative findings came from a secondary analysis of the generally positive results in a clinical trial known as Stroke Prevention by Aggressive Reduction in Cholesterol Levels (SPARCL).

That trial found that atorvastatin (Lipitor) at 80 mg a day produced a 16% reduction in fatal and nonfatal stroke in patients with a recent stroke or TIA and no known coronary heart disease, Larry B. Goldstein, M.D., of Duke University here, and colleagues reported in the Dec. 12 online issue of Neurology.

However, the researchers said, their post hoc analysis found that despite the overall reduction in stroke and other coronary events, there was an increase in stroke among atorvastatin-treated patients who had had a hemorrhagic stroke (55 for active treatment versus 33 for placebo, HR: 1.68, 95% CI: 1.09 to 2.59, P=0.02).

The findings came from the SPARCL trial of 4,731 patients with no history of heart disease, in which half the participants received atorvastatin and half a placebo. Of these, 67% had had ischemic strokes, 31% TIAs, and 2% hemorrhagic strokes within six months of study entry.

The patients were then followed for a mean of 4.5 years. At the end of follow-up, overall statin treatment reduced stroke in these patients (HR: 0.84, 95% CI: 0.71 to 0.99, P=0.03).

However, of those randomized to atorvastatin, 2.3% had a hemorrhagic stroke during the study compared with 1.4% of those randomized to placebo.

At the same time, the researchers found a 21% reduction in ischemic stroke among those taking atorvastatin.

Cox multivariable analyses showed that the hemorrhagic stroke risk was more than five times higher for those with hemorrhagic stroke as their entry event (HR: 5.65, 95% CI: 2.82 to 11.30, P<0.001).

Men were nearly twice as likely to have a hemorrhagic stroke (HR: 1.79, 95% CI: 1.13 to 2.84, P=0.01), while the risk also increased with age (10-year increments, HR: 1.42, 95% CI: 1.16 to 1.74, P=0.001).

There were no statistical interactions between these factors and treatment, the investigators said.

Multivariable analyses also found that having Stage 2 hypertension at the last study visit before a hemorrhagic stroke increased the stroke risk more than sixfold (HR: 6.19, 95% CI: 1.47 to 26.11, P=0.01).

These data support the need for aggressive management of hypertension, the researchers said.

Finally, they said, there was no effect for baseline LDL-cholesterol level or the most recent level in those treated with atorvastatin.

Anticoagulants and some antiplatelet regimens may be associated with an increased risk of post-stroke brain hemorrhage, the researchers said. However, they found no overall effect of these drugs on the risk of brain hemorrhage in SPARCL.

Unlike patients with an ischemic stroke upon study entry, there is no evidence that those with an original hemorrhagic stroke benefited from treatment, Dr. Goldstein and his colleagues said.

It is, however, important to re-emphasize the exploratory nature of these analyses, they said. They are useful for generating hypotheses, but cannot be conclusive.

Hemorrhagic strokes occurred in no more than 2% of the study population. The observation was found in a post hoc analysis, and the exploratory statistical models accounted for only a small proportion of bleeding, the investigators said.

Therefore, in making therapeutic decisions, they wrote, the increase in the risk of hemorrhagic stroke must be balanced against the benefit of statin treatment in reducing the overall risk of stroke, as well as other cardiovascular events.

The SPARCL trial was funded by Pfizer, maker of atorvastatin (Lipitor). Pfizer employees contributed to the design and conduct of the study, the collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data, as well as review of the manuscript.

Dr. Goldstein reported receiving honoraria from Pfizer during the course of this study. Various co-authors have received grants and honoraria from Pfizer for this study or for other research or activities not reported in this research.

Primary source: Neurology
Source reference:Goldstein LB, et al "Hemorrhagic stroke in the Stroke Prevention by Aggressive Reduction in Cholesterol Levels study" Neurology 2007; DOI: 10.1212/01.wnl.00002296277.63350.77.

An A-mazing Discovery

I am always pleased when I read something in the medical reports about the benefits of vitamins, especially when Big Pharma is pushing government so hard to block your access to them in therapeutic doses.

Vitamin A is a very critical fat-soluble vitamin that does many good things. It helps the eyes (remember those vitamin A drops in the eye to prevent blindness in children in Africa?) and helps protect the mucous membrane lining throughout your body, as examples.

One of its known benefits is that it is protective of your health and can both prevent and treat respiratory problems. Of course you have to know how to go about finding the studies because the FDA really doesn't want you to know about just how good vitamins work.
Vitamin A supplements may improve infant survival

By C. Vidyashankar, MDWed Dec 12, 6:28 PM ET

In a study conducted in India, vitamin A supplements given in the early newborn period reduced the risk of infant deaths from diarrhea, fever and respiratory infections, but did not reduce the occurrence of these problems.

In the new study, Dr. James M. Tielsch from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and his team at the Aravind Centre for Women, Children and Community Health in Madurai, south India, randomly assigned 5,786 newborns to receive vitamin A supplements within the first 48 hours after birth and 5833 newborns to receive inactive "placebo."

Infants in both groups were followed up through home visits for 6 months and details of illness were recorded.

Death rates due to diarrheal diseases and fever were markedly lower among vitamin A-treated infants compared with those given placebo. There was also evidence that vitamin A reduced the risk of death from respiratory infection, Tielsch and colleagues report in the Journal of Nutrition.

However, as noted, vitamin A supplementation did not actually reduce the occurrence of diarrheal disease, fever, or respiratory infection, the researchers report.

"It is...a consistent finding in almost all vitamin A supplementation studies done in low-income countries over the past 20 years that we see important positive effects in reducing mortality, but the incidence of (illness) is not changed," Tielsch told Reuters Health.

Because vitamin A deficiency testing is very costly, he added, "the general approach to a preventive intervention like this would be to provide it to all infants in populations with known vitamin A deficiency."

SOURCE: Journal of Nutrition, November 2007.

Opening the Record on Big Pharma

I worked for many years in psychiatry and always integrated this care in my work in intensive care units as well as in community health.

Yes, I have prescribed some of these drugs, but because more and more disenchanted as I learned more and more of what the manufacturers really knew about thier so called 'block busters'.

I also know that these drugs were plied on my mother following a closed head injury she suffered. I know that the chemical soup she was prescribed caused serious side effects, even causing her to try to jump out of a window. Additionally I know that the 5 Star corporate care center where my brother (an insurance salesman with NO medical understanding, living on the high road in S. Hero VT) has her (ware)housed with carte blanche to the "doctors". Even the pharmacy supplying the drugs did NO interaction evaluation as I did and had a PhD reasearch pharmacologist friend do. And gee whiz! no speech therapy or neuro care for a woman with expressive aphasia...

Of course I am in favor of natural health, and certainly in psychiatry there are many ways to help people with nutrition, orthomolecular medicine and less damaging treatments.

I recall being chastised as a new grad when I went to work in Philadelphia's premier psych hospital for refusing to participate in ECT for patients. Well it happened that I worte a college sociology paper that develed into the risks and hazards of ECT for which I received the only A in the calss that semester. Biased, yes!

Well I stumbled on a blog here abouts written by a questioning psychiatrist. He pushes drugs but maybe I can get him to be more open over time with a little nudging.

Be that as it may, I like some of what he has to say on his BLOG, so here it is.

More vaccine problems reported

It is clearly important to get very well educated on the subject of vaccines and reactions to their ingredients in order to protect your health and the health of your children.

New Jersey's governor should be paying more attention!
Alberta Health halts mumps inoculations
The Canadian Press

December 12, 2007

Edmonton -- Alberta has suspended its campaign to vaccinate young people against mumps because of severe allergic reactions to the vaccine.

Learn more about how vaccines are manufacturerd

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Total Dis-Satisfaction, almost

While a very large percentage of Americans are unhappy with health care, many Canadians report the same discontent. And this are looming to get worse as more power is handed over by the current administration to pharmaceutical and insurance companies.

In case you didn't know, the mega industries of insurance and pharmaceuticals spent billions to keep the status quo in their hands, and many are coming to realize this. Our decades long campign is finally reaching mainstream.

On top of patient dissatisfaction, many docotrs claim they would not shode certain of the same treatments they push on patients, most often without offering the required explanations.
"Indeed, patients in the United States are less trusting of their doctors than they were even five years ago. According to a 2004 poll by the Kaiser Foundation, nearly half of all consumers worry about the safety of their health care. More than half (55 percent) also say they are dissatisfied with the overall quality of health care in this country – up from 44 percent who reported the same complaint in a survey conducted in 2000. Of those who have chronic illness, 66 percent are dissatisfied with their healthcare.

Grotte believes that poor communication skills and a habit of using fear to motivate patients is responsible for some of this situation. In addition, he believes many doctors don't even realize the negative effects that result from using fear tactics."

Many Americans Dissatisfied With Their Medical Care
By Steven Reinberg, HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Nov. 1 -- Although the United States spends more than twice as much on health care as other western countries, many Americans say they are forced to forgo care because of costs, experience more medical errors, and say the health-care system needs to be overhauled, a new survey finds.

U.S. patients also have the highest out-of-pocket costs and the most difficulty paying medical bills, according to the survey of seven countries conducted by The Commonwealth Fund.

And U.S. and Canadians are least likely to be able to get a same-day appointment with their doctors and are more likely to go to emergency rooms for immediate care, the survey found.

"It's easy to say that we have the best health system in the world, but it's really important to look at the evidence to see what the data show," Karen Davis, Commonwealth Fund president, said during a teleconference Wednesday.

"We are certainly the most expensive health-care system," Davis said. "What these surveys have shown year after year is that patients in the U.S. experience more problems with access to care because of costs," she said.

The report, Toward Higher Performance Health Systems: Adults' Views and Experiences With Primary Care, Care Coordination and Safety in Seven Countries, 2007, is published in the Nov. 1 online issue of Health Affairs.

For the survey, Commonwealth Fund researchers were led by Cathy Schoen, fund vice president and research director of its Commission on a High Performance Health System. They surveyed 12,000 adults in Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States about their health-care systems.

"Despite spending that leads the world, U.S. adults, for the most part, are likely to go without needed care because of costs, to report medical errors when sick, and to encounter high out-of-pocket costs and struggle to pay their medical bills," Schoen said during the teleconference.

Schoen's team found that one third of U.S. adults said the health-care system needed rebuilding, which was the highest rate in any country. In addition to costs, U.S. patients said they received more fragmented and inefficient care, including medical record and test delays, and more time wasted on paperwork, compared with patients in other countries. "Both low- and high-income patients expressed these views," Schoen said.

U.S. patients also said they had the highest rates of lab test errors and some of the highest rates of medical or medication errors. These errors were highest among patients seeing multiple doctors or with multiple chronic illnesses, Schoen said. In the United States, one-third of patients who had chronic conditions reported a medical, medication, or test error in the last two years.

Many U.S. adults also said they were likely to go without care because of costs. Thirty-seven percent of all U.S. adults and 42 percent of those with chronic conditions said cost had kept them from taking prescribed medications, seeing a doctor when sick, or receiving recommended care last year. These rates were far higher than all other countries, Schoen noted.

Patients in Canada, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom rarely reported not getting needed medical care because of costs, the survey found.

"The Netherlands stands out for strong positive endorsement of their health-care system -- confidence in care, quality and safety, and access to the latest technology," Schoen said. "The Netherlands also stands out with low concern with access due to cost, as do Canada and the U.K.," she added.

Moreover, one-fifth of patients in the United States said they had serious problems paying medical bills. That was more than double the rate in the next highest country. In addition, 30 percent of American patients spent more than $1,000 in the last year on out-of-pocket medical expenses.

The survey also found that patients gave the highest grades to health-care systems in which people had one doctor in charge of their medical care. But, across all the countries surveyed, only 45 percent to 61 percent of adults said they had a primary source of care, sometimes called a "medical home." In the United States, only 26 percent of uninsured patients had a medical home, compared with 53 percent of insured adults under 65, the researchers found.

One expert said the survey revealed -- once again -- the shortcomings of the U.S. health-care system.

"Comparing the U.S. health-care system to other industrialized countries is not for the faint of heart. The deficiencies in the U.S. system are painfully evident in every such study, and this one is no exception," said Dr. David Katz, director of Yale University School of Medicine's Prevention Research Center. "We manage to spend more on less efficient health care than any country in the world."

The real message from this survey is not about countries or health-care systems, but people, Katz said.

"What seems to predict better care, better outcomes, and more patient satisfaction is the most fundamental aspect of care there is -- a caring relationship. Patients with a health-care provider they know and trust and can rely on and call their own have a better health-care experience," he said.

SOURCES: Oct. 31, 2007, teleconference with Karen Davis, president, The Commonwealth Fund, and Cathy Schoen, vice president and research director, Commission on a High Performance Health System, The Commonwealth Fund, New York City; David Katz, M.D., M.P.H., director, Prevention Research Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn.; Nov. 1, 2007, Health Affairs, online

Copyright © 2007 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.
And see who else is just saying 'no'.


Win with Willow Bark

Win the Fight Against Arthritis with an ally -

Most folks don’t need hardcore painkillers.

When pain starts…

Doctors might tell you: “Your arthritis is too far gone… And besides, joint pain is simply part of the aging process…”

Don't take this as gospel, and always look for more information and other opinions. Often when not using Rx your pain can return. Something much safer and more effective could be White willow bark.

White willow bark is the original aspirin. Bayer began manufacturing aspirin after creating a synthetic form in the 1800s. It comes from a tree native to Europe and Asia.

The medicinal use of willow bark dates back to the ancient Egyptians, who took advantage of its anti-inflammatory power. The ancient Greek doctor Hippocrates had his patients chew on white willow bark to reduce fever and inflammation.

White willow bark contains salicin, the same curative compound found in aspirin. But there’s big difference: White willow bark won’t upset your stomach, because your body first has to extract it from the plant’s natural fibers, slowing its release into your system.

Willow Bark is effective. A study in the American Journal of Medicine looked at salicin’s effectiveness for lower back pain. Researchers gave 120 mg, 240 mg, or a placebo to three different groups every day for a month.

In the fourth and final week of the study, 39% of the group on 240 mg of salicin were pain-free for at least 5 days, compared to 21% in the 120 mg group and only 6% in the placebo group.1

Unlike pharmaceutical drugs, willow bark is able to be easily utilized by your body, and it is greatly helpful for joint pain and muscle aches and pain, with very few or no side effects.

People love it because it works.

To Your Good Health.

1 Chrubasik et al, “Treatment of low back pain exacerbations with willow bark extract: A randomized double-blind study,” American Journal of Medicine, 2000, 109: 9-14.

Ginger is also another good choice for pain and inflammation and works as well to help warm you and your joints. Add MSM for a powerhouse anti-pain and inflammation trio. We have been avocating for this combination for more than a decade.

More on MSM -
MSM makes its name known for osteoarthritis
By Clarisse Douaud 12/10/2007-

Researchers have associated methylsulfonylmethane, or MSM, to protecting
articular cartilage and reducing inflammation in osteoarthritis - findings that
could bolster the profile of the ingredient for joint health.

The findings of the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) researchers were presented last week at the 2007 World Congress on Osteoarthritis in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The abstract of this study is to be published in the Osteoarthritis and Cartilage Journal. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate have been the most high profile joint health supplement ingredients to date, with MSM following in third place.

With a larger proportion of the American population aging than before, supplements focusing on joint health will likely continue to grow in popularity,especially if they can be scientifically proven to be effective.

Market researchers have time and again revealed baby boomers as a key demographic for
supplement formulators and marketers as this generation is not only going to face more and more health problems as it approaches old age, but it also tends to have a greater sense of wanting to take charge of its own health, and in addition has the disposable income to do so.

The form of MSM used in the UCSD study, was Bergstrom Nutrition's OptiMSM - which was provided by the Vancouver, Washington company. The in vitro study investigated the effect of the MSM on healthy and osteoarthritic articular cartilage from post mortem human knees.

The researchers focused on cytokines - genes that are markers of inflammation and are related to cartilage degradation. They say the study results point to a protective effect of MSM on reducing the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines. "It suggests that MSM acts as a barrier, shielding cartilage in early stages of osteoarthritis from further degeneration from inflammatory cytokines and cartilage degrading enzymes," said lead researcher David Amiel, from the UCSD's Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.

With more researcher planned for 2008, the investigators say additional studies will
be necessary to elaborate an optimum dose concentration for use in supplements by humans. The generally recommended dosage is 1,500 to 6,000 mg of MSM per day.

Copyright© 2000/2007 – Decision News Media SAS – All Rights Reserved.

Docs Miss Cancer on Mammogram

WOMEN: Maybe now you will stop going for this cancer causing X-RAY and start demanding Thermography and Ultra Sound.

By Kyung M. Song
Seattle Times health reporter

A new three-state study led by Seattle's Group Health Cooperative shows that even the most skilled radiologists fail to detect 20 percent of breast-cancer cases in diagnostic mammograms — which are done when cancer is suspected and when any tumors would presumably be larger and easier to spot.

The findings add weight to concerns about relying on a mammogram, which experts have long said was an imprecise tool for detecting breast cancer. And the research shows that women shouldn't automatically accept a mammogram result — negative or positive — as the final word.

Researchers examined nearly 36,000 mammograms read by 123 radiologists and found that a woman's odds of getting accurate results vary widely depending on who is doing the reading. The worst radiologists missed nearly 40 percent of the tumors and misidentified 8.3 percent of their patients as having nonexistent cancers.

The top performers tended to be doctors at academic medical centers and those who specialized in breast imaging. But even then, the cancer went undetected in one of five women who turned out to have cancer, while 2.6 percent had false-positive results.

The study appeared online Tuesday in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Dr. Pat Dawson, a breast surgeon at Swedish Medical Center, said women should not interpret the study as an indictment against mammograms in general.

Dawson said routine mammograms indisputably reduce death rates from breast cancer among women over 50. What's less clear is how much symptom-free younger women benefit from screening, Dawson said.

Women of any age should ideally ask for radiologists who do only breast imaging, Dawson said. Locally, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Swedish, Northwest Hospital & Medical Center and Overlake Hospital Medical Center are among those with dedicated breast-imaging radiologists.

The findings come as some health experts' opinions are diverging on the value of mammograms, particularly for younger women. In April, an influential physicians group came out against the wide practice of giving annual mammograms for women 40 to 49, saying women within that age group aren't at a uniform risk of cancer and that the mammograms themselves could expose the women to harm through needless treatments because of a false cancer scare.

Still, mammograms offer a potent early alert for breast cancer, which kills about 40,000 Americans a year.

"Mammography is not perfect. But it's still the best thing at detecting breast cancer," said Diana Miglioretti, an associate investigator at the Group Health Center for Health Studies and the study's lead author.

Traditional mammograms, taken with low-dose X-rays, are notoriously difficult to read. Benign and malignant lesions can look alike. A speck of tumor can be hard to discern from the surrounding breast tissue. Accurate readings rest largely on a radiologist's skill.

Miglioretti and her fellow investigators wanted to know what made one radiologist more accurate than another. They examined 35,895 diagnostic mammograms taken in 72 facilities in Washington, New Hampshire and Colorado.

They matched the radiologists' conclusions (definite or probable negative or positive for cancer) with medical records to find women who were diagnosed with cancer within a year.

Radiologists who concentrated on breast imaging and those who worked at academic medical centers tended to perform better. Those who spent at least 20 percent of their time on breast imaging caught 80 percent of cancers, compared with 70 percent for those with lesser focus — a difference that researchers said is probably not due to chance.

Affiliation with academic medical centers was the single biggest factor in successful cancer-detection rates, although investigators could not rule out chance as the reason because only seven of the 123 radiologists fit into that group.

On the other hand, the sheer number of mammograms read did not meaningfully raise a radiologist's performance. The researchers suggested creating imaging centers staffed by radiologists who specialize in breast imaging, Miglioretti said.

The study's findings on diagnostic mammograms echo previous research on screening mammograms, which many women get annually starting at age 40. Diagnostic mammograms, by contrast, are performed when a lump or something unusual is discovered in the breast. Of every 1,000 woman undergoing diagnostic mammograms, 44 will have cancer, compared with five women who get screening mammograms.

The radiologists with the highest detection rates for cancer also tended to have slightly higher false-positive rates. That might be an acceptable trade-off for a diagnostic mammogram, where finding the cancer is paramount, Miglioretti said.

Given mammogram's well-documented error rates, Miglioretti said, women should always heed their instincts.

"If you have a lump in your breasts, even if you had a recent negative mammogram, you still need to see your doctor," she said.

Humourous comment worth thinking about.

The NHS is similar to the FDA in the US. The following quote is taken from an article I found on the BBC regarding the use of bath emollients for babies and children with eczema.

It is so hilarious to me becuase so many "approved" drugs via these agencies are truly unproven, especially for the long term AND do cause side effects, some extremely serious or lethal.

But the NHS watchdog warns parents not to waste money on "high street" allergy tests for the condition, and to avoid herbal remedies and food supplements.

The efficacy of these is unproven, and they may cause side-effects, it says.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Keep Saying NO on OTC cholesterol drugs

While the FDA consideres lining the Merck bank account with a new line item of profit it blocks the sale of statin containing red rice yeast in OTC settings.

There isn't much difference but you can see the line clearly between the FDA attitude toward non-drug products.

When I questioned this the FDA told me their reason was that the consumer had no access to a doctor to be properly informed. I replied to the FDA with a number of statistics indicating that doctors are handing out statins like candy with no information about the risks, as is required by law.

One person I spoke with recently had no idea that the statin drug she had been prescribed promoted liver and kidney failure as well as cancer. She also did not know that the drug delpeted Co enzyme Q 10 and that this could lead to sudden death.

We need an FDA that is more interested in protecting consumer right-of-choice and access in health, not an agency flagrantly ignoring its own (so-called) standards.
FDA weighs over-counter cholesterol drug By LAURAN NEERGAARD, AP Medical Writer

The government is questioning if too many of the wrong people will take cholesterol-lowering Mevacor if it's sold without a prescription, days before Merck & Co. makes its third try to move the drug over the counter.

Merck says selling a low dose of this long-used medication on drugstore shelves, next to the aspirin, could get millions of people at moderate risk of heart disease important treatment that they otherwise may miss.

A preliminary Food and Drug Administration review released Tuesday agreed that nonprescription Mevacor would be "a reasonably safe and effective" option — if consumers used it as directed.

But when Merck tested if consumers could judge who was a proper Mevacor candidate, only 20 percent answered all the questions completely correctly — 50 percent if researchers counted people who said they'd check some things with their doctor before purchasing, concluded FDA's lead medical reviewer.

Moreover, about 30 percent of people who already were diagnosed with heart disease, diabetes or had had a stroke wanted to purchase over-the-counter Mevacor, people who need a doctor's care, the FDA documents say.

The studies "have not convinced this reviewer that there is adequate consumer comprehension of the proposed product label to ensure safe and effective use of this product," the preliminary assessment concluded.

Merck argues that most people made the right decision on whether they should buy OTC Mevacor even if they missed some answers.

On Thursday, Merck will present its case to the FDA's independent scientific advisers, hoping they will recommend that Mevacor become the first in the family of cholesterol-lowering "statin" drugs to be sold in this country without a prescription. Twice before, FDA has said no.

Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Why Acid?

The FDA released a report on drugs commonly used for what you are lead to believe is a need to have less acid in your stomach. What they don't tell you, because of the narrow limitations of their "study" is that there are risks.

Acid in your stomach is absolutely necessary to help digest protein. Since the 'gut' is the seat of a major player in your body's immune system health you might want to read more.

Warning! Heartburn drugs do cause risks that may not outweigh alleged benfit.
FDA reviews two major heartburn drugs

Patients who suffer from heartburn are not at increased risk for heart problems as a result of taking Prilosec or Nexium, according to a review released Monday by the Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA and its Canadian counterpart began reviewing the drugs, used by tens of millions of people, back in May. The drug's manufacturer, AstraZeneca PLC, provided them with an early analysis of two small studies that suggested the possibility of a risk. The agency said its review of that study as well as 14 others indicated no increased risk for patients.

"FDA recommends that health care providers continue to prescribe, and patients continue to use these products as prescribed," the agency said.

Nexium is the world's No. 2 selling drug, with 2006 sales of $6.7 billion, according to health care research firm IMS Health.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Its the Cyanide Silly, just one more time

Yes, it is the tiny seeds in these fruits that attack cancer cells. Just to remind you, the cyanide compounds are present in seeded fruit as a survival mechanism. These compounds protect the perpetuation of the species so to speak, and protect the seeds from viruses and bacteria, allowing them to sprout into new plants.

This is interesting because so many years ago these compounds began being attacked - in the form of almond pits known to many as Laetrile.

The government banned Laetrile because they told you that there was cyanide in the almond pits and this was dangerous for your health. More likely than not the idea that natural food could cure disease was so foreign to the FDA, steeped in payola from Big Pharma. The goal was to protect the soaring profits of the drug companies rather than support the right of the people supposed to be protected from catastrophic disease.

Cabbage and broccoli are in the Brassica family along with cauliflower and brussel sprouts and contain many cancer fighting substances. These foods are in the mustard family so perhaps you recall that mustard gas was used in war to kill many people and then became a cancer treatment. I suppose its in the dose...

The Brassicas do contain thyroid suppressing compounds. It is best to reduce this through light steaming or use the sprouts. Lowered thyroid function is directly connected to problems with cancer; you can find this out by reading the proper research.

The real message here is to eat your vegetables and fruit, in that order. And perhaps consider getting a Jack LaLanne juicer as a holiday gift, and start sprouting.

From Reuters Fri Dec 7, 2:36 PM ETStudies show how fruits and veggies reduce cancer

Just three servings a month of raw broccoli or cabbage can reduce the risk of bladder cancer by as much as 40 percent, researchers reported this week.

Other studies show that dark-colored berries can reduce the risk of cancer too -- adding more evidence to a growing body of research that shows fruits and vegetables, especially richly colored varieties, can reduce the risk of cancer.

Researchers at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, surveyed 275 people who had bladder cancer and 825 people without cancer. They asked especially about cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage.

These foods are rich in compounds called isothiocyanates, which are known to lower cancer risk.

The effects were most striking in nonsmokers, the researchers told a meeting being held this week of the American Association of Cancer Research in Philadelphia.

Compared to smokers who ate fewer than three servings of raw cruciferous vegetables, nonsmokers who ate at least three servings a month were almost 73 percent less likely to be in the bladder cancer group, they found.

Among both smokers and nonsmokers, those who ate this minimal amount of raw veggies had a 40 percent lower risk. But the team did not find the same effect for cooked vegetables.

"Cooking can reduce 60 to 90 percent of ITCs, (isothiocyanates)," Dr. Li Tang, who led the study, said in a statement.

A second team of researchers from Roswell Park tested broccoli sprouts in rats.

They used rats engineered to develop bladder cancer and fed some of them a freeze-dried extract of broccoli sprouts. The more they ate, the less likely they were to develop bladder cancer, said Dr. Yuesheng Zhang, who led the research.

They found the compounds were processed and excreted within 12 hours of feeding. That suggests the idea that compounds are protecting the bladder from the inside, said Zhang.

"The bladder is like a storage bag, and cancers in the bladder occur almost entirely along the inner surface, the epithelium, that faces the urine, presumably because this tissue is assaulted all the time by noxious materials in the urine," Zhang said.

In a third study, a team at The Ohio State University fed black raspberries to patients with Barrett's esophagus, a condition that can lead to esophageal cancer.

Black raspberries, sometimes called blackberries or blackcaps, are also rich in cancer-fighting compounds.

Ohio State's Laura Kresty and colleagues fed 1.1 ounces (32 grams) of freeze-dried black raspberries to women with Barrett's esophagus and 1.6 ounces (45 grams) to men every day for six months.

They measured urine levels of levels of two compounds -- 8-isoprostane and GSTpi -- that indicate whether cancer-causing processes are going on in the body.

Kresty said 58 percent of patients had marked declines of 8-isoprostane levels, suggesting less damage, and 37 percent had higher levels of GSTpi, which can help interfere with cancer causing damage and which is usually low in patients with Barrett's.

(Reporting by Maggie Fox, editing by Julie Steenhuysen and Vicki Allen)

Saturday, December 8, 2007

It's more of that anti-cancer Cyanide

All seeded berries contain seeds with a proven anti-cancer compound called proanthocyanidins. You might do as well with the whole foods and skip this pricey drink.

The blueberry drink that can shrink tumoursBy FIONA MACRAE - 7th December 2007

A mixed fruit punch could provide a devastating blow against prostate cancer.

The blueberry, grape, raspberry and elderberry cordial rapidly slashes the size of prostate tumours, research shows.

In tests, Blueberry Punch cut the size of tumours by a quarter in two weeks.

Trials are now planned to see whether a daily glass or two of the drink could treat the disease and even prevent it developing in the first place.


Blueberries: Cancer fighting qualities

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in British men, with nearly 35,000 new cases a year and more than 10,000 deaths.

Blueberry Punch is an Australian product but is available for sale on the internet at £16 a bottle.

It also includes a host of other natural ingredients thought to boost health, including green tea, olive leaves, the herb tarragon and the spices turmeric and ginger.

It is thought the ingredients act together to cut inflammation and block a cancer gene.

Dr Jas Singh, who conducted the research on mice at Sydney University, said: "We have undertaken efficacy studies on individual components of Blueberry Punch in the same laboratory setting and found these effective in suppressing cell growth in culture.

"We reasoned that synergistic or additive effects are likely to be achieved when they are combined."

The researchers looked at the effect of Blueberry Punch on both cancer cell cultures in the laboratory and genetically engineered mice with human prostate tumours. After only two weeks of having the syrupy solution added to their drinking water, their tumours had shrunk by 25 per cent, an American Association for Cancer Research conference heard.

Greg Jardine, the drink's inventor, said the results were comparable to drugs used to treat prostate cancer.

Successful human trials would give the punch 'more credibility within the medical and scientific communities', he said, adding: "We would like it to be considered in the same league as a drug."

In Britain, the Prostate Cancer Charity, said the drink had shown 'promising results' but cautioned that the research was still at an early stage.

Debbie Clayton, the charity's information manager, said: "The researchers are planning a small study of 150 men with prostate cancer who will drink three glasses of the juice every day.

"This is a large quantity for men to consume on a regular basis and further studies will be needed to establish the most effective. These studies will need to involve much larger numbers of men and it may be several years before we are able to offer men clear guidance on how the drink may help them.

"In the meantime, we would recommend that men include a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables in their diet, ensuring they get a "rainbow" of colours."

The research was part-funded by Blueberry Punch's Australian manufacturer, Dr Red Nutraceuticals. However, the scientists said they designed and conducted the experiments independently.

Safe Stevia

For many years the FDA has been making a concerted effort to block the general use of stevia as a safe sweetener while it allows carcinogenic aspartame and the highly toxic chlorinated hyrocarbon insecticide substance known as sucralose (Splenda) to be sold in thousands of products and packages.

I suppose you have to wonder whose zooming whom in this scenario.

Aspartame, as we know from the science, can cause reproductive and fetal problems, cardiovascular issues, tumours and more. It does - when exposed to heat (about 85 degrees) disintegrate into formaldehyde-methyl alcohol-and a tumour forming chemical. And you thought this was safe. NOT!

Stevia extract has been used for thousands of years as a sweetener. It's known to be safe (that is, outside the walls of the Rockville Ranch) and it won't give you diabetes {some new studies show that stevia (see related articles in this BLOG)seems to help prevent you from developing diabetes} and protects you from cavities.

Maybe questioning the government's motive is the clue...
FDA warns about herbal tea sweetener risk
Additive used in some Celestial Seasonings drinks raises 'safety concerns'

WASHINGTON - U.S. health regulators warned Hain Celestial Group Inc about a potentially unsafe herb in some of its herbal teas, saying it might be dangerous to blood sugar, reproductive, cardiovascular and renal systems.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration sent a letter to Hain dated August 17 calling the herb, a natural sweetener made from a South American herb called stevia, “an unsafe food additive.” The agency released the letter on its Web site on Tuesday.

Stevia is being eyed by big beverage makers looking for new low-calorie sweeteners. In May, Coca-Cola Co and Cargill Inc said they would work together to market the new sweetener, despite lack of FDA approval. Stevia has been approved in a dozen other countries including Japan, China and Brazil.

The FDA letter said that although it has received requests to use stevia in food, “data and information necessary to support the safe use have been lacking.”

It also said “literature reports have raised safety concerns,” including those “about control of blood sugar, and the effects on the reproductive, cardiovascular and renal systems.”

A spokeswoman for Boulder, Colorado-based Hain had no immediate comment.

The Lost Art in Medicine

Maybe this is a sign of these times?

By John Gever, Contributing Writer, MedPage Today
Reviewed by Zalman S. Agus, MD; Emeritus Professor
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

BOSTON, Dec. 4 -- Although physicians pronounce that the integrity of medicine requires observance of the highest standards of professionalism, many concede that their own behavior falls short of this goal.

In short, found Eric G. Campbell, Ph.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital, and colleagues, in a survey of 1,662 physicians and surgeons, doctors don't always practice what they preach when it comes to professional conduct.

For example, 96% agreed that a physician who was impaired or incompetent should be reported to authorities but 45% said they had failed to do so, found the survey, reported in the Dec. 4 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine. Action Points

Explain that the study found that while most physicians embrace strong standards of professional conduct, they do not always follow them in their own practices.

Point out that physicians often must follow policies set by others and may not have complete freedom in their medical decisions.
"Physicians report behaviors that are consistent with the tenets of being honest with patients and protecting patient confidentiality," the authors wrote. "However, for other norms, there were gaps between physician beliefs and what they reported doing."

The investigators sent a two-part professionalism questionnaire to 3,504 physicians in family practice, internal medicine, cardiology, pediatrics, surgery, and anesthesiology, with a 58% response rate.

The first part addressed nine categories of professional standards, asking for agreement or disagreement with the need to encourage participation of patients in clinical trials (83% agreed) and the desirability of periodic recertification (77% agreed).

The second part dealt with specific behaviors corresponding to the general standards. For example, doctors were asked whether they had actually encouraged a patient to participate in a clinical trial in the past three years (41% said they had), and whether they had undergone a competency assessment by a provider organization or health plan (33% said yes).

Another disparity between agreement and adherence was in the category of fair distribution of finite resources, a concept that 98% agreed was a valid standard. But asked whether they would order a clinically unnecessary MRI scan for a patient who insisted on one, 36% said they would.

Also, 93% of respondents agreed with the general principle that physicians should provide necessary care without regard for payment, Yet 69% said they were accepting patients who are unable to pay, and 74% said they had provided care to poor and underserved patients in the past three years without expectation of payment.

Responses varied according to certain physician characteristics, such as their specialty, practice setting and payment system.

For example, 44% of cardiologists and 43.2% of FPs said they always reported personal knowledge of impaired or incompetent colleagues. But 57.4% of pediatricians said they did so.

Physicians in staff-model HMOs were less likely to have provided care without expectation of payment (28.3%), while those in solo practice less frequently participated in a formal medical error reduction program (43.5%) than those in group practices (56.3%).

Similarly, salaried physicians were less likely than those in capitation payment plans to have undergone a competency assessment.

Dr. Campbell and colleagues suggested that some deviation from professional standards could be attributed to employment arrangements. "It is not a physician's sole responsibility if a policy of the organization in which he or she works limits his or her participation in certain professional behaviors, such as caring for the poor or undergoing competency assessments," they said.

"Our findings give reason for both optimism and concern," they concluded. On the plus side, "the near-universal acceptance of key professional norms" is reassuring.

"At the same time, however, our findings suggest opportunities for increasing levels of professional conformance to these norms, at least in the selected areas we probed."

The group said their survey could not capture all behaviors that reflect on professional standards. Also, relying on physician self-reports "probably resulted in over-reporting of socially desirable activities," they acknowledged.

"We do not regard our data on self-reported behaviors as sufficient to judge the overall professionalism of respondents or to conclusively assess their adherence to particular norms," the group said.

Harold C. Sox, M.D., the journal's editor, agreed in a commentary with the survey's overall mixed review of the medical profession.

"We can -- indeed we must -- improve our performance in many of these areas," Dr. Sox said.

The Institute on Medicine as a Profession funded the survey. The survey researchers and Dr. Sox had no relevant financial disclosures.

Primary source: Annals of Internal Medicine
Source reference:Campbell E, et al "Professionalism in medicine: results of a national survey of physicians"Annals of Internal Medicine 2007; 147: 795-802.
Professionalism in Medicine: Results of a National Survey of Physicians
right arrow Eric G. Campbell, PhD; Susan Regan, PhD; Russell L. Gruen, MD, PhD; Timothy G. Ferris, MD, MPH; Sowmya R. Rao, PhD; Paul D. Cleary, PhD; and David Blumenthal, MD, MPP

4 December 2007 | Volume 147 Issue 11 | Pages 795-802

Background: The prospect of improving care through increasing professionalism has been gaining momentum among physician organizations. Although there have been efforts to define and promote professionalism, few data are available on physician attitudes toward and conformance with professional norms.

Objective: To ascertain the extent to which practicing physicians agree with and act consistently with norms of professionalism.

Design: National survey using a stratified random sample.

Setting: Medical care in the United States.

Participants: 3504 practicing physicians in internal medicine, family practice, pediatrics, surgery, anesthesiology, and cardiology.

Measurements: Attitudes and behaviors were assessed by using indicators for each domain of professionalism developed by the American College of Physicians and the American Board of Internal Medicine. Of the eligible sampled physicians, 1662 responded, yielding a 58% weighted response rate (adjusting for noneligible physicians).

Results: Ninety percent or more of the respondents agreed with specific statements about principles of fair distribution of finite resources, improving access to and quality of care, managing conflicts of interest, and professional self-regulation. Twenty-four percent disagreed that periodic recertification was desirable. Physician behavior did not always reflect the standards they endorsed. For example, although 96% of respondents agreed that physicians should report impaired or incompetent colleagues to relevant authorities, 45% of respondents who encountered such colleagues had not reported them.

Limitations: Our measures of behavior did not capture all activities that may reflect on the norms in question. Furthermore, behaviors were self-reported, and the results may not be generalizable to physicians in specialties not included in the study.

Conclusion: Physicians agreed with standards of professional behavior promulgated by professional societies. Reported behavior, however, did not always conform to those norms.


* Whether practicing physicians conform to norms of professionalism is unknown.


* This survey of 3504 practicing physicians in the United States found that most physicians agreed with principles regarding fair distribution of resources, access to and quality of care, conflicts of interest, and self-regulation that were proposed by professional societies in 2002. Self-reported behaviors, however, showed that about one half did not follow self-regulation principles and that about one third would order unneeded magnetic resonance imaging for back pain in response to a patient's request.

* Although physicians generally agree with proposed professional norms, they do not always follow all of them.

—The Editors

Author and Article Information
From Massachusetts General Hospital, Institute for Health Policy, Boston, Massachusetts; School of Public Health, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut; and University of Melbourne, Center for Medical Research, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.

Acknowledgment: The authors acknowledge the contributions of Drs. Janice Ballou and Frank Potter for Mathematica Policy Research.

Grant Support: By a grant from the Institute on Medicine as a Profession.

Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed.

Requests for Single Reprints: Eric G. Campbell, PhD, Institute for Health Policy, 50 Staniford Street, 9th Floor, Boston, MA 02114; e-mail,

Current Author Addresses: Drs. Campbell, Regan, Ferris, Rao, and Blumenthal: Massachusetts General Hospital, Institute for Health Policy, 50 Stanford Street, 9th Floor, Boston, MA 02114.

Dr. Gruen: University of Melbourne, 6th Floor, Center for Medical Research, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Victoria 3050, Australia.

Dr. Cleary: Yale University, School of Public Health, 60 College Street, New Haven, CT 06513.

The Real Benefit of the Correct Supplements for Health

With the concerted effort on the part of Big Pharma to control the supplement industry, you often see or hear many false articles in the media.

One of my favorite myths is that beat carotene is not helpful for health. In these studies you see that NO vitamin A is offered with the beta carotene. Since many people cannot convert beta carotene to vitamin A, of course you'll get skewed results, no matter what the form of the study happens to be.

Enough vitamin A is great to help with all respiratory health concerns, especially pneumonia. But the dose is similar to the famous 3H enema; lots of it and for short duration.

Vitamin E studies also raise the hair on the back of my neck only because the failure, as I see it, is the researchers total failure to do a thorough search of the
literature at the front end of the study. There are other reason as well such as using too small an amount to serve as a therapeutic level, using synthetic vitamins, or - perhaps the real failings - no knowledge of nutrition and no knowledge of the facts and benefits of the supplements. The studies are also too short and have too few participants on the average.

Much of my logic can be extrapolated if you read my comments on the - now highly advertised - Centrum Cardio - in this BLOG.

So if it was me, I'd be using natural vitamin E and lots of it. When taken for two days prior to a chemo treatment, 2000IU will help protect you from hair loss. When taken daily, 2400 IU will protect your from peripheral neuropathy if you have diabetes. Vitamin E also keeps your blood "thin" so you won't suffer from silent bleeding with coumadin or aspirin, and it is very helpful for hot flashes and other menopausal complaints. Vitamin E is the premiere cardiovascular vitamin, proven effective in the 1950s by the Canadian physicians, the doctors Schute.

Any one for a trip to the stacks?

I'd say your health is worth the effort!
IOANNINA, Greece, Dec. 5 -- Although randomized clinical trials have discredited any purported cardiovascular benefits of vitamin E, peer-reviewed medical journals keep citing old disproved epidemiologic findings, found researchers here.Action Points
Explain to interested patients that this study found that articles in the literature continue to cite the protective benefits of vitamin E, beta-carotene, and estrogen for cardiovascular disease, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease, respectively, even though strong evidence from clinical trials has found otherwise.

That emerged from an analysis of citation patterns in journal articles published before, soon after, and several years after the vitamin E claims were contradicted, John P.A. Ioannidis, M.D., of the University of Ioannina School of Medicine, and colleagues, reported in the Dec. 5 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

They said the same pattern -- citing observational findings from epidemiologic studies that have been solidly countered by randomized trials -- also continued for studies of beta-carotene and estrogen.

This trend wastes time, effort, and money and can "also perpetuate a literature of false impressions that can affect future scientific efforts by providing a misleading starting base," said Dr. Ioannidis and colleagues. They did not cite the offending journals by name.

Two articles touting the benefits of vitamin E were published in 1993, but the HOPE trial, which was published in 2000, found that vitamin E did not reduce the risk of cardiovascular events.

A favorable finding for vitamin E was less likely in papers published in 2005 than in 2001 or 1997 (P0.001), yet half of the 46 vitamin E studies published in 2005 cited the two 1993 papers as evidence of the benefit of vitamin E, Dr. Ioannidis and colleagues said.

Moreover, when researchers analyzed 29 articles published in 2005 that cited the HOPE trial, 20.7% of those were still favorable to vitamin E's role in cardiovascular protection, 37.9% were equivocal, and 41.4% were unfavorable.

The researchers found an even higher rate of erroneous claims for articles on beta-carotene and estrogen.

Clinical trials published in 1994 and 1996 found no evidence that beta-carotene supplements prevent cancer, but 10 of 16 articles published in 2006 cited a 1981 review of epidemiology research, which suggested the antioxidant may help reduce the risk of developing the disease. The remaining six articles were evenly divided between equivocal and unfavorable.

For estrogen, 61.7% of 47 articles published in 2006 indicated the hormone may protect against Alzheimer's disease on the basis of a 1996 observational study, even though a clinical trial in 2004 found a trend for increased risk of dementia in postmenopausal women taking estrogen. Of the remaining articles, 29.8% were equivocal, and 8.5% were unfavorable.

Articles that espoused beta-carotene's cancer preventive effect did not consider contradicting evidence, but many of the studies touting the positive benefits of vitamin E or estrogen included counterarguments for why the clinical trial findings did not hold, including information biases or differences in study participants, interventions, co-interventions, and outcomes measured.

The possibility that some of these counterarguments are valid cannot be fully excluded and poses one limitation for the study, Dr. Ioannidis said. However, he added, the more likely scenario is that these researchers have a "wish bias" and are unwilling to let go of their hypotheses, even when the contradicting evidence is overwhelming.

One way of improving this situation is for researchers who specialize in very narrow fields, such as specific vitamins or hormones, to communicate more with those in clinical science and evidence-based medicine, Ioannidis said. "This communication may improve the rational design of translational research efforts to find effective treatments," he said.

Christian Gluud, M.D., of Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark, said he thinks this pattern of not accepting the findings of randomized clinical trials when they refute epidemiological studies happens in other areas beyond vitamins and hormones.

"I don't think they've identified a rare behavior," Dr. Gluud said in an interview. "I think what they've identified is the norm." Dr. Gluud was not involved in the study.

In addition to spurring research that is based on false premises, the practice could also harm the public, Dr. Gluud said. If the general population picks up on the erroneous results, people could jump the gun and start taking vitamin supplements for diseases for which they have not been shown to be effective or safe, he said.

Primary source: Journal of the American Medical Association
Source reference:
Tatsioni A, et al "Persistence of contradicted claims in the literature"JAMA 2007; 298: 2517-2526.