Friday, November 14, 2008

Much Ado About Merck Marketing

I'd suggest the money spent on this fiasco be put to nutrition education in an effort to prevent and reverse diabetes rather than promote drug sales.
A group of labor unions is launching a campaign that accuses CVS Caremark Corp. of violating patient privacy and improperly pushing doctors to prescribe a costly prescription drug.

Change to Win, a group of unions that represents about six million workers, said CVS's pharmacy benefits management business has been urging doctors via a letter to add Merck & Co. diabetes drug Januvia to specific patients' treatments. The letter, obtained by the union group, said CVS identified the diabetes patients through a review of prescription-drug claims processed by its Caremark unit.

A line at the bottom of the letter says Merck paid for the mailing. Neither Merck nor CVS would say how much Merck paid, and the drug maker also declined to say whether the mailing boosted Januvia sales.

CVS said the union group's actions are rooted in a dispute about workplace rules. The unions represent several thousand CVS workers. The Woonsocket, R.I., company said the unions have been attacking CVS for more than a year, including objecting to two recent acquisitions.

Januvia is as much as eight times more expensive than many other diabetes treatments, according to a recent study. Some medical experts say patients may not need the drug and may respond just as well to older, cheaper treatments.

The CVS letter was previously reported by Phoenix Business Journal.

Change to Win says the Januvia letter is an example of CVS putting its interests ahead of the businesses that pay it to manage employee prescription-drug benefits. CVS became a big player in the pharmacy-benefits business when it acquired Caremark, then the nation's second-largest PBM, for about $27 billion in 2007.

A Merck spokeswoman said the Whitehouse Station, N.J., company paid for the mailing "to help inform physicians about additional treatment options." She added that "no personal information about patient participants in the plan are provided to Merck." The letters were sent by CVS Caremark, not Merck.

CVS said it does not improperly try to switch patients to more expensive drugs and protects the privacy of plan participants' health information. As for the Januvia mailing, CVS said it was part of a program to provide information to physicians and that doctors make the ultimate decision about prescribing a drug.

Employers and insurers hire PBMs with the goal of keeping costs low while providing access to a wide range of treatments.

In recent years, PBMs have been accused of favoring drugs that generate rebates and high profit margins. Six years ago, some patients complained about a letter from Longs Drug Stores urging the patients to switch to a new version of the osteoporosis treatment Fosamax. That mailing also was paid for by Merck.

The union campaign, set to be announced Friday, comes as CVS's PBM business has struggled. In its most recent quarterly earnings report, announced last month, revenue in the PBM unit fell about 1% to $10.6 billion.

Change to Win's executive director, Chris Chafe, said the goal of the CVS campaign is to change state laws to force PBMs to disclose to customers all payments or rebates they receive from drug companies; limit the amount of patient information the PBMs can disclose; and require that any switching of drugs results in lower costs for PBM customers.

Mr. Chafe said CVS was targeted because of its large role in the retail drug business and the PBM industry, and because the company manages prescription benefits of many union members. Change to Win's members include the Teamsters and the Service Employees International Union.

Write to David Armstrong at

Thursday, November 13, 2008

And Now for the Rest of the Story

Just this past Sunday (9 November, 2008) I posted this article on Natural Health News: Boosting Drug Sales with Studies.

I added one follow-up article earlier today, and now I am happy to give you something to think about in terms of why sound nutrition is a better option than wholesale use of drugs. Supplements certainly do edge out the pharmaceuticals in this study.

You'll also see how it is totally possible to fool a lot of the people a lot of the time -
Why treat nutritional deficiency with drugs?
(OMNS, November 13, 2008) A recent study suggested that statins might be used to avoid the effects of nutritional deficiency. Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Jupiter group described a study of statin drugs in people with high C-reactive protein and low cholesterol. (1) High C-reactive protein levels are associated with inflammation and heart disease/stroke. The authors concluded that, in apparently healthy persons with elevated C-reactive protein levels, rosuvastatin (Crestor) significantly reduced the incidence of major cardiovascular events.

Their much-publicized claim, that this statin lowers the risk of heart attack by approximately one half, is technically correct though highly misleading. The reported annual incidence of coronary events was 37 people in 10,000 (controls) and 17 people in 10,000 (treated). Similar results were reported for risk of stroke. When expressed as a proportion, a 46% improvement (17/37) sounds large. However, an improvement of 20 events (37-17) in 10,000 people known to be at risk is less impressive. Such an improvement means that 500 people (10,000/20) with this increased risk would need to take the tablet daily for a year, to prevent one person suffering an event.

The paper does not explicitly report deaths. One reason for this may be that if a person on statins suffered a heart attack, that person was about three times more likely to die than a control who was not on statins.

The cost of rosuvastatin per person is approximately $1000 per year. So, treating enough people to prevent one heart attack costs $500,000 per year. Since about 70% of the heart attacks were not fatal, prevention of a single death from heart attack would cost even more, approximately $1,700,000. Giving the benefit of the doubt, we may allow for a similar reduction in stroke and say that "only" $250,000 is needed to protect one person from a stroke or heart attack. It is hardly surprising that Astra Zeneca's share price increased by $1.3 billion dollars on release of this paper and the corresponding media hype. (2)

The media suggested millions of healthy people could cut their risk of heart disease by taking statins. (3) They also claimed that statins could cut the risk of heart attack for "everyone". (4) This is inaccurate and incorrect. The study did not include normal healthy people, only a sample of a relatively small number of people, suffering from inflammation (increased C-reactive protein) - a known cause of heart disease and stroke. Out of 89,890 people considered for inclusion, 17,802 people (19.8%) met the specific criteria of poor health for the study. Widespread prescription of statins to healthy people is not supported by these findings.

The fact that statins produce a modest improvement is unsurprising, since they are known to lower inflammation, as do many nutritional supplements. It has pointed out that Crestor lowered C-reactive protein by 37%, but vitamin E lowers it (C Reactive Protein) by 32%, (5) and vitamin C by 25.3%. (6,7) These effects are similar to those of statins and would be expected to provide comparable benefits, without side effects and at a lower cost.

Crestor and other statin drugs have serious side effects. The incidence of established side-effects, such as rhabdomyolysis (0.3 per 10,000 per year), myopathy (1.1 per 10,000) and peripheral neuropathy (1.2 per 10,000 per year) seems low, (8) but may be underestimated as it takes time to establish long-term side-effects. (The depletion of coenzyme Q10 by statins is a particular concern.) The figures imply that for every ten people who avoid a cardiovascular event, at least one previously healthy person will suffer a non-trivial side effect of the statin drug.

The doctors reported a statistically significant increase (270) in diabetes in the statin group compared to the placebo group (216). Over the course of the study, this corresponds to an increased risk of approximately 61 in 10,000 people. So, the number of people on statins reported to become diabetic was greater than the number that avoided a heart attack! These people might have shorter lives and be at greater risk of heart disease in the long term.

Notably, the Jupiter study was stopped early, which the authors admit prevents assessment of how side-effects might outweigh reported benefits in the longer term. The study was to last 3-5 years and the criteria for stopping were not included in the original published design. (9) The paper claims that when the study was stopped "these [diabetic] events were not adjudicated by the end-point committee". The committee either knew about the diabetes in which case it was considered, or it did not and the committee was not doing its job properly.

The Jupiter name stands for Justification for the Use of statins in Prevention: an Intervention Trial Evaluating Rosuvastatin; the reader might think this "justification" sounds more like a marketing plan than a scientific endeavor. The researchers did not address the underlying cause of the inflammation and increased C-reactive protein: they simply treated the condition with drugs. In many cases, raised C-reactive protein is a result of nutritional deficiency. (10)

It is worth mentioning that several nutritional supplements inhibit inflammation and lower C-reactive protein, without causing known side effects. Deficiency in vitamins A, (11) B6, C, E, A, folate, carotenoids and lycopene, (12) and selenium (for example) is associated with raised C-reactive protein. (13,14,15) We suggest that the $250,000 cost of preventing a single cardiovascular event with rosuvastatin might be better spent funding a study of such inexpensive alternatives the deficiency of which may be the cause of the problem.

The people at risk could be encouraged to supplement their diet and restore their health without using these expensive drugs to conceal their underlying sickness.

Stick with the supplements!


(1) Ridker P.M. Danielson E. Fonseca F.A.H. Genest J. Gotto A.M. Kastelein J.J.P. Koenig W. Libby P. Lorenzatti A.J. MacFadyen J.G. Nordestgaard B.G. Shepherd J. Willerson J.T. Glynn R.J. for the JUPITER Study Group (2008) Rosuvastatin to Prevent Vascular Events in Men and Women with Elevated C-Reactive Protein, NEJM, 359(21), 2195-2207.

(2) Mail Online (2008) Crestor news helps AstraZeneca market value leap by more than £1.3bn, 9:25 PM, 10th Nov.

(3) Smith R. (2008) Millions could cut heart attack risk by taking statins, study finds,, 7:55AM GMT, 10 Nov.

(4) Hope J. (2008) The new statin drug that cuts the risk of heart attacks and strokes for EVERYONE, Daily Mail, 11th Nov.

(5) Devaraj S. Tang R. Adams-Huet B. Harris A. Seenivasan T. de Lemos J.A. Jialal I. (2007) Effect of high-dose alpha-tocopherol supplementation on biomarkers of oxidative stress and inflammation and carotid atherosclerosis in patients with coronary artery disease, Am J Clin Nutr, 86(5), 1392-1398.

(6) Block G. Jensen C.D. Dalvi T.B. Norkus E.P. Hudes M. Crawford P.B. Holland N. Fung E.B. Schumacher L. Harmatz P. (2008) Vitamin C treatment reduces elevated C-reactive protein, Free Radic Biol Med, Oct 10. [Epub]

(7) Sardi B. (2008) The Headline You Should Be Reading: Statin Drugs Don't Save Lives And May Increase Your Risk For Diabetes, Knowledge of Health Report, Nov 11.

(8) Law M. Rudnicka A.R. Statin Safety: A Systematic Review, The American Journal of Cardiology, 97(8), Suppl 1, S52-S60.

(9) Ridker P.M. JUPITER Study Group (2003) Rosuvastatin in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease among patients with low levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and elevated high-sensitivity C-reactive protein: rationale and design of the JUPITER trial, Circulation, 108(19), 2292-2297.

(10) Ford E.S. Liu S. Mannino D.M. Giles W.H. Smith S.J. (2003) C-reactive protein concentration and concentrations of blood vitamins, carotenoids, and selenium among United States adults, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 57, 1157-1163.

(11) Root M.M. Hu J. Stephenson L.S. Parker R.S. Campbell T.C. (1999) Determinants of plasma retinol concentrations of middle-aged women in rural China. Nutrition 15, 101-107.

(12) Boosalis M.G. Snowdon D.A. Tully C.L. Gross M.D. (1996): Acute phase response and plasma carotenoid concentrations in older women: findings from the nun study, Nutrition, 12, 475-478.

(13) Friso S. Jacques P.F. Wilson P.W. Rosenberg I.H. Selhub J.(2001) Low circulating vitamin B(6) is associated with elevation of the inflammation marker C-reactive protein independently of plasma homocysteine levels, Circulation, 103(23), 2788-2791.

(14) Devaraja S. Jialal I. (2000) Alpha tocopherol supplementation decreases serum C-reactive protein and monocyte interleukin-6 levels in normal volunteers and type 2 diabetic patients, Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 29(8), 790-792.

(15) Upritchard J.E. Sutherland W.H. Mann J.I. (2000): Effect of supplementation with tomato juice, vitamin E, and vitamin C on LDL oxidation and products of inflammatory activity in type 2 diabetes, Diabetes Care, 23, 733-738.

Nutritional Medicine is Orthomolecular Medicine

Low Cholesterol Risks

Professionals only supplements resources that I rely on in my clinical work usually publish reports on studies of natural supplements that help health concerns.

While most hear about how high cholesterol is so bad and how many risky drugs you need, often you don't hear that low cholesterol can impair your immune function or defer review of other more risky markers. Triglycerides included.

I've educated on triglyceride issues for so long it seems funny to me that its just hitting headlines. Still its not prominent in the media to equal the risk to your health.

The real warning should be that yes, high triglycerides will kill you.
The Deadly Truth about Low Cholesterol
It’s a common misconception with fatal consequences: Many people still believe that low total cholesterol levels mean you’re not at risk for stroke, heart attack, or any of the other deadly risks that come with cardiovascular disease.

But in reality, nothing could be further from the truth—and unless you’re paying close attention to one particular group of fats called triglycerides, your heart could be a ticking time bomb, no matter how healthy your cholesterol might look.

Triglycerides are naturally manufactured and stored by both your liver and fat cells. At normal levels, they’re a crucial source of energy for your body—but start producing more than you can store, and those excess triglycerides will be dumped into your bloodstream, where they can wreak havoc on your arteries, heart, pancreas, and liver.1

Studies have shown that abnormally high triglyceride levels raise your risk of heart attack threefold—and when accompanied by low levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL, or “good” cholesterol), your risk jumps a staggering 16 times higher. In fact, this ratio is one of the single strongest predictors of heart attack risk, even more accurate than the better-known LDL (low-density lipoprotein, or “bad” cholesterol) to HDL ratio.2 And it isn’t just your heart that suffers. Studies show that risk of stroke, obesity, diabetes, and liver disease are all linked to these dangerous fats.3-5

Keeping triglycerides in check is absolutely critical to your health—and a simple combination of omega-3 fatty acids, niacin and a supplement blend™ can make all the difference. One recent trial showed that supplementing with fish oil daily slashed triglyceride levels by 46 percent in as little as eight weeks.6 And niacin boasts nearly five decades of research demonstrating that it not only reduces triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, but also increases HDL levels by up to 29 percent.7-8

Finally, be wary of your blood sugar: Numerous clinical trials have shown that refined carbs and sugar can actually double triglyceride production.9-10 Tossing sugary sodas and boosting protein intake can help.11 So can supplementing with natural blood sugar managing agents like bitter melon, goat’s rue and quercetin.12-13A comprehensive formulas like some we use in our work contain these ingredients along with several others, including cinnamon. Clinical trials reveal that this popular spice can reduce triglycerides by 23 to 30 percent.14


1. Webster’s New World Medical Dictionary, 3rd edition, William Schiel, Jr, MD, Author, 2008, Webster publishing.

2. Gaziano, JM., Hennekens, CH. Fasting triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein, and the risk of myocardial infarction. Circulation. 1997 Oct 21; 96(8):2520-5.

3. Grundy, SM., Cleeman, JI., Merz, CN., Brewer, HB, Jr., Clark, LT., Implications of recent clinical trials for the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III guidelines. Circulation. 2004 Jul 13; 110(2):227-39. Review. Erratum in: Circulation. 2004 Aug 10; 110 6):763.

4. Tanne, D., Koren-Morag, N., Graff, E. Blood lipids and first-ever ischemic stroke/transient ischemic attack in the Bezafibrate Infarction Prevention (BIP) Registry: high triglycerides constitute an independent risk factor. Circulation. 2001 Dec 11; 104(24):2892-7.

5. Kadikoylu G, Yavasoglu I, Bolaman Z. Plasma exchange in severe hypertriglyceridemia, a clinical study. Transfus Apher Sci. 2006 Jun; (3):253-7.

6. Vega GL, Chandalia M, Szczepaniak LS, Grundy SM. Effects of N-3 fatty acids on hepatic triglyceride content in humans. J Investig Med. 2008 Jun; 56(5):780-5.

7. Crouse, JR. 3rd. new developments in the use of niacin for treatment of hyperlipidemia: new considerations for use of an old drug. Coron Artery Dis. 1996 Apr; 7 (4):321-6.

8. Drexel H. Nicotinic acid in the treatment of hyperlipidaemia. Fundam Clin Pharmacol. 2007 Nov;21 Suppl 2:5-6.

9. Teff, KL., Elliott, SS., Tschop, M., Dietary fructose reduces circulating insulin and leptin, attenuates postprandial suppression of ghrelin, and increases in triglycerides in women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004 Jun;89(6):2963-72.

10. Furtado, JD., Campos, H., Appel, LJ., Miler, ER. Effects of protein, unsaturated fat, and carbohydrate intakes on plasma apolipoprotein B and VLDL and LDL containing apolipoprotein C-III: results from the OmniHeart Trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Jun;87 (6): 1623-30.

11. Parks, EJ., Skokan, LE. , Timlin., Dingfelder, CS. Dietary sugars stimulate fatty acid synthesis in adults. J. Nutr. 2008 Jun: 138 (6): 1039-46.

12. Sridhar MG, Vinayagamoorthi R, Arul Suyambunathan V, Bobby Z, Selvaraj N. Bitter gourd (Momordica charantia) improves insulin sensitivity by increasing skeletal muscle insulin-stimulated IRS-1 tyrosine phosphorylation in high-fat-fed rats. Br J Nutr. 2008 Apr;99(4):806-12.

13. Rivera L, Morón R, Sánchez M, Zarzuelo A, Galisteo M. Quercetin ameliorates metabolic syndrome and improves the inflammatory status in obese zucker rats. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2008 Sep;16(9):2081-7.

14. Anderson RA. Chromium and polyphenols from cinnamon improve insulin sensitivity. Proc Nutr Soc. 2008 Feb;67(1):48-53.

Unwarranted And Unwise: Mandatory HPV Vaccination

For well over a year we have been alerting readers of Natural Health News to the risks of the HPV vaccines, the problematic side effects, and the fact that for the most part it is unproven and that HPV more often than not clears on its own. We also believe it should not be mandatory, that there are no studies of long term effects, and several natural therapy approaches are available.

You can locate our prior posts on vaccines and Gardasil via the search function on Natural Health News.

Now we find that a number of experts agree.

Mandatory HPV Vaccination Is Unwarranted And Unwise, According to Experts

ScienceDaily (2008-11-12) -- A new article in the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics suggests that it is premature for states to currently mandate the HPV vaccine as a condition for school attendance. Gardasil is relatively new and long-term safety and effectiveness in the general population is unknown, experts point out. ... > read full article

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Doctors: Disclose Off-label Prescribing To Patients

There exists a culture today in mainstream medicine, and sadly in the hybrid called naturopathic medicine, to treat patients like objects. Failing to explain medications or treatments is one of the missing links and a basic but forgotten ethic of health care practice.

There are just too many people who have not understanding of why they are given a drug for a symptom or what the drug or treatment might do or the adverse effects.

Arrogance fails to heal: Here take this drug, maybe it will make you sicker or kill you, but we're not telling.

Roulette anyone?
ScienceDaily (Nov. 11, 2008) — Doctors should be required to disclose when they are prescribing drugs off-label, argues a new article in this week's PLoS Medicine. Michael Wilkes and Margaret Johns from the University of California Davis argue that the ethics related to informed consent and shared decision-making provide an imperative for doctors to inform patients about the risks of a medical treatment when their use has not been approved by regulators.

Off-label prescriptions are those that do not comply with the use approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the drug. While off-label prescribing is legal and accounts for roughly half of all prescriptions currently written in the US, it is often not supported by sound scientific evidence. Worse, say the authors, off-label prescribing can put patients at risk and drive up healthcare costs.

The public often assumes that all common uses of prescription drugs have been approved by the FDA, say the authors. But current law does not prevent doctors from prescribing a drug to any patient for any use whether it was approved for this use or not.

And while off-label prescribing is common and sometimes necessary (as in the area of paediatrics where many drugs have not been tested on children), Wilkes and Johns argue that off-label prescribing can also pose potentially serious risks. By definition no governmental body has conducted a review of the effectiveness or safety of the drug for the off-label use, they say. As a result, an off-label prescription may be ineffective or detrimental, and could be more costly than existing drugs.

Wilkes and Johns argue that the strict requirement that doctors obtain informed consent from patients before enrolling in a research study means they should obtain the same consent when a drug is being prescribed off-label as each such prescription is just like a mini research study. The contemporary expectation for shared decision-making between doctors and patients also supports full disclosure about off-label prescribing, leaving the option open for patients to opt for a drug which has received FDA approval for the condition in question.

"From an ethical perspective," say Wilkes and Johns, "[what is required is] open, honest discussions where doctors tell their patients that the use of the drug will be off-label and thus not approved for this indication, explain the risks, potential benefits, and alternatives, and then ask patients for their permission to proceed."

A recent PLoS Medicine paper ( described techniques by which drug companies covertly promote off-label use. Adriane Fugh-Berman (Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington DC) and Douglas Melnick (a preventive medicine physician working in North Hollywood, California) discussed the use of "decoy indications" and drug representatives to engage in illegal pharmaceutical marketing. Pharmaceutical marketing, they say, has "distorted the discourse on off-label uses and encouraged the unmonitored, potentially dangerous use of drugs by patients for whom risks and benefits are unknown."

"Companies that engage in off-label promotion should be heavily fined and their future marketing practices subject to increased scrutiny by regulatory agencies," say Fugh-Berman and Melnick.

Journal reference: Wilkes M, Johns M. Informed consent and shared decision-making: A requirement to disclose to patients off-label prescriptions. PLoS Med, 5(11): e223

Public Library of Science (2008, November 11). Doctors Should Disclose Off-label Prescribing To Their Patients, Experts Argue. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 12, 2008, from /releases/2008/11/081110223328.htm

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

America Recycles Day November 15

I live in a very small town in the midst of wheat fields. We have limited recycling. Our sister town ten miles down the road has no recycling.

Twenty six miles down the road is one cool recycling center and thanks to Andy Boyd, they recycle almost everything.

So if you don't have recycling where you live, look around and see if you can't find a site close to where you live.

I've been recycling since the 60s and I think it is worth the time.
Simple Recycling Guide to Get You Ready for America Recycles Day
Help Save Natural Resources

"In Beverly Hills... they don't throw their garbage away. They make it into television shows." ~Woody Allen

Americans generate almost twice the amount of trash of other developed countries -- a whopping 4 pounds of garbage per person everyday. That's 301,139,947 U.S. residents producing just about four pounds of trash each, equaling 1,204,559,788 pounds or 602,280 tons of trash each day...the weight of about 580,000 Liberty Bells.
recycling symbols number 1 for plastics, pet plastic

The U.S. currently has approximately 3,000 active landfills. Buried and forgotten (unless you live near one), the trash that each American creates leads to water contamination, land erosion, methanol off-gassing, and disgusting odors. (Peee-euw!) Much of this waste within landfills actually retards bio-degradation, therefore defeating their intentions.

An overhaul to landfill systems, recycling, making producers and manufacturers responsible for the end-life of their products, biodegradable packaging, and learning to adjust the way we as individuals consume are all part of the long-term solution. But when it comes down to it, it's our own responsibility to reduce, reuse and recycle, and to become more educated about the long-term consequences of landfills, and the endless benefits offered by up-cycling and recycling paper, plastic, glass, aluminum, scrap metal and fabric.

On America Recycles Day, November 15, we remember that although 75% of trash is recyclable, only 25% actually gets recycled. Curbside recycling makes it easy for households to be part of the solution. It's easy to divert materials from landfills and incinerators. Here are some things to consider when you're recycling.


When adequately exposed to the elements, paper decomposes completely in 2-5 months. But if thrown away as regular trash, once the plastic bag itself eventually deteriorates in about 20 years, then maybe the paper entombed inside the plastic trash bag will finally have its chance to decompose as well. Sadly, paper -- in all its many shapes and sizes -- amounts to almost half of what we end up sending to landfills. However, if Americans recycled just one tenth of their paper, it would save 25 million trees a year.

If you read anything in print you should know that the act of recycling paper decreases the demand for virgin pulp, thereby reducing the devastation of forests, and the overall amount of air and water pollution created during the manufacture of the paper. It's always best to separate paper into white office paper, newspaper, cardboard, and mixed-color paper, and tie each type separately. Once sorted and bundled, carry the items to be picked up curbside at the appropriate time on the designated days for your community.


In 1988, the American Society of the Plastics Industry developed the resin identification code that is used to indicate the most common polymer materials used in the manufacture of a product or in packaging to assist recyclers with sorting the collected materials.

To check the recyclability of a plastic item, look to see if there's a Universal Recycling Symbol (URS--usually on the bottom). Next, look to see if there's a number inside the triangle. The numbers are meant to give us a leg up on what kinds of resins were used. If there is no number, then the material is considered "generically recyclable" (in which case there are codes beneath or near the triangle indicating the materials used). Each number, from 1 to 7 indicates what type of polymer was used.

At the moment it's only economically viable to recycle items with a URS triangle with the No. 1, which is PET or PETE (polyethylene terephthalate) or No. 2, which is HDPE (high-density polyethylene). But scattered across our great nation, local recycling programs are stretching the range of plastics that might be recycled as the technology to do so becomes available. (It takes 20 years for a plastic bag to decompose but up to 250 years for a plastic cup to decompose.)


Glass that finds its way into recycling systems is usually comprised of clear, green, and brown bottles and broken glassware -- and when recycled the process uses less energy and produces less carbon dioxide than manufacturing glass from scratch. (A glass bottle takes 4,000 years or more to decompose, or even longer if it's in the landfill.)


Aluminum may be reused by simply re-melting the metal. That's energy efficient and a lot less expensive than making new. (It takes 500 years for an aluminum can to decay.)

Scrap Metal

Aluminum lawn chairs, bicycles, cabinets, chain link and wire fencing, doors, grills, household appliances, iron furniture, lawn mowers (with oil and gas drained) metal sheds (disassembled), railings, refrigerators and freezers (doors must be removed), sewing machines, shower stalls, swing sets, wire clothes sometime they all become scrap. Instead of sending then to the dump consider a curbside scrap metal collection. When arranged in advance, pickup is often free and made on your regular recycling day. (Don't place your scrap metal items into your blue bin.)


The best way to recycle fabric is to contribute your old duds to a charitable organization. According to the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Solid Waste, Americans have dumped over 9 million tons of just about anything with a thread count into landfills nationwide.

When you donate your unwanted, unraveling, or otherwise thread-worn garments to your favorite charity -- even though it probably won't end up resold as clothing for someone in need -- it will probably have a very green reincarnation through re-sale to individuals and textile recyclers.

Unfortunately, no man or woman comes with an operational manual (well, at least I've never found mine!) Turning a new leaf to becoming "green" can seem overwhelming. By not considering our carbon footprint, spending habits, and waste, we're all adding to global warming by not recycling. Locate the recycling guide provided by your city, state or county (the regulations change from region to region) and keep it handy.

When it comes to cleaning your recyclables, to prevent critters or bugs, it's fine to rinse your metal cans, glass and plastic containers. But no need to go nuts -- the heat used during the recycling process deals with many contaminants.

As it says on the Liberty Bell, "Proclaim Liberty throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants thereof." By working together, our actions will produce a healthier land and a healthier environment for all the inhabitants thereof.

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What's In Your Oil

Once again -

If you follow Natural Health News you know that I am against the use of canola oil in any way, shape or form. You know as well that I have written about the "plant sterol" fiasco that is sweeping the aisles of OTC products that include Centrum Cardio and Bayer's Heart Advantage.

You'll find canola oil in Promise and their "super shots" as well.

Canola is also generally GMO in the market place and it is toxic to your liver.

One expert on fats and oils classes canola oil as "too monounsaturated for health".

Here is a chart and some comments from another natural health advocate that might enlighten you.
7.4% Saturated - 61.6% Monounsaturated - 31.0% Polyunsaturated

Although Canola Oil contains a high percentage of relatively stable monounsaturated fatty acids, canola oil goes rancid quite easily, and relative to olive oil, forms high concentrations of trans fatty acids.

Canola oil consumption has also been linked to vitamin E deficiency and heart disease, especially when a person is not getting enough saturated fatty acids in his or her diet.

I recommend staying away from canola oil whenever possible.

Fertility Concerns

Several new reports show that the effect of supplements can be very helpful when conception and fertility are concerned.

Read the new news notes...

And do remember that your nutritional status has a great impact on your health, especially when planning for a baby.

Low Magnesium, High Blood Pressure

While the original purpose for ADVENTURX was to prevent arm pump in xtreme sports many other benefits have been found during the four years my formula has been available.

Most of us who study natural healing and nutrition already know how magnesium helps reduce blood pressure. Magnesium is nature's ACE inhibitor.

The added benefit of oxygen producing elements in ADVENTURX may be helpful to the process of lowering blood pressure as well.
Evidence that increased reactive oxygen species are link between magnesium deficiency and hypertension
The relationship between high blood pressure and magnesium deficiency has been explored in several studies, producing conflicting evidence. A study published in the November 2002 issue of the Journal of Hypertension submits the hypothesis that insufficient levels of magnesium may lead to hypertension by increasing the formation of reactive oxygen species, harmful molecules that cause oxidative damage.

The University of Montreal researchers divided stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats into three groups that received a control diet containing normal levels of magnesium, a magnesium-free diet and a high magnesium diet, and systolic blood pressure was measured each week for sixteen weeks. In a second experiment, stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats received a control diet, a magnesium-free diet and a magnesium-free diet combined with Tempol, a superoxide dismutase mimetic for seven weeks. Superoxide dismutase is one of the antioxidants naturally produced in the body.

Rats in the low magnesium group experienced an exacerbation in the development of hypertension after five weeks, accompanied by a reduction in oxidative stress markers which increased rapidly after two weeks. The ability of blood vessels to dilate in response to acetylcholine was decreased in the low magnesium group compared to controls. Vessel wall hypertrophy was greater and vascular superoxide higher in the rats who received the magnesium deficient diet compared to those on the high magnesium diet. However, rats on magnesium-free diets receiving Tempol did not experience a progression of hypertension or the vascular changes seen in magnesium deficient rats who did not receive the antioxidant.

In an accompanying editorial, Richard D Bukoski writes that the research provides, "the first link between an essential dietary nutrient and the key molecular pathways involved in regulating vascular smooth muscle growth and structure." (Journal of Hypertension 2002, 20:2141-2143)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sjogren's Fatigue and Cancer Drugs

UPDATE: 26 January, 2009. Related article.
Rituximab is a (monoclonal antibody genetically engineered) drug mainly used as a treatment for Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. It may also be used for the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Now you may receive it if you have fatigue from a thyroid related (generally thought of as auto-immune) dis-order called Sjogren's.

Make sure if this is proposed to you that you get this information that the drug may cause
severe and sometimes fatal infusion reactions. Tell your doctor right away if you develop blurred vision, cough, dizziness, drowsiness, headache, hives, itching, swelling, trouble breathing, or wheezing, while you receive or after you receive Rituximab .

Severe and sometimes fatal kidney problems and skin reactions may also occur during treatment with Rituximab . Tell your doctor right away if you experience decreased urination; red, swollen, peeling, or blistered skin; or skin or mouth sores or ulcers.

Rarely, a severe and sometimes fatal viral infection of the brain has been reported with the use of Rituximab in certain patients. Tell your doctor right away if you notice new or worsening medical problems such as changes in thinking (eg, confusion, disorientation), loss of balance or coordination, muscle weakness, trouble walking or talking, or unusual eye movements or vision changes.

You might also pursue proper thyroid testing, as thyroid dysfunction often is associated with fatigue.

And it now might be related to low levels of vitamin D-
Researchers at UCLA tried to show that low vitamin D would make an autoimmune thyroid problem worse. Their experiment was based on the idea that vitamin D has a dampening effect on an excessive and inappropriate immune response in many areas of your body, so they figured this was likely to apply to the thyroid as well. This turned out not to be the case, but what they did find was rather surprising.

First they created two groups of mice, one with vitamin D in their diet and the other with none. Even before they started their experiment they found that the vitamin D deficient mice had low levels of thyroxine (t4), meaning they were actually hypothyroid prone when the experiment was conducted. When the experiment was performed, vitamin D lacking mice did not have an excessive immune response as expected. Rather, they developed persistent hyperthyroidism because their thyroid glands were less able to withstand the stress of the experiment and were more sensitive to the autoimmune antibodies that both sets of mice were being exposed to. Simply put, a lack of vitamin D makes your thyroid more susceptible to injury that could result in hyperthyroidism.

While this is an animal study, the findings are important. First, it means that a lack of vitamin D contributes to the possibility of low thyroid. Second, it means that many irritants are likely to aggravate your thyroid to a greater extent if you lack vitamin D. For example, there are many chemical irritants in the environment that irritate your thyroid gland, such as perchlorate and fluoride. If you lack vitamin D you are more likely to be adversely affected by them.

This may be part of the reason that so many people feel metabolically worse and gain weight as the winter months move along. It is simple to make sure you take some extra D in the winter and doing so may help you keep your metabolism and thyroid from suffering the winter blues. Courtesy Wellness Resources.

Rituximab May Ease Fatigue in Sjogren's Syndrome By David Douglas

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Nov 06 - Results of a pilot study suggest that rituximab may reduce fatigue in patients with Sjogren's syndrome and thus may improve quality of life, UK researchers report in the November issue of the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

Dr. Paul Emery of Allerton Hospital, Leeds, and colleagues studied 17 patients with a fatigue score of more than 50 on a 100-mm visual analogue scale. They were randomized in a double-blind fashion to receive 2 infusions of rituximab 1 g or placebo. All patients also received oral and intravenous steroids.

At 6 months, 7 of the 8 patients receiving rituximab showed a greater than 20% improvement in the VAS for fatigue. This was true of only 5 of the 9 patients who had placebo.

Overall, there was a significant 36.8% improvement in fatigue VAS in the rituximab group compared to a non-significant 17.9% improvement in the placebo group. General health was also significantly improved in the active treatment group, but not in the placebo group.

There was also a significant difference in measures of social functioning and a trend towards improved mental health scoring in the rituximab group.

Commenting on the findings, Dr. Emery told Reuters Health that "this was the first randomized controlled trial in Sjogren's syndrome to show benefit, in particular a significant improvement in fatigue, a major issue for patients. This pilot study will now be followed by a more definitive study."

Ann Rheum Dis 2008;67:1541-1544.

IODINE AND SJOGREN'S SYNDROMEWe encourage - especially in darker and colder seasons - the use of iodine supplementation. This need is increased with fluoridated municipal water supplies and use of fluoride based drugs in the antibiotic, antidepressant, anticholesterol and antiosteoporosis drugs et al. We also encourage the proper use of selenomethionine in the support of proper thyroid function.

Thyroid dysfunction in primary Sjogren's syndrome: a long-term followup study.
D'Arbonneau F, Ansart S, Le Berre R, Dueymes M, Youinou P, Pennec YL.

Arthritis Rheum. 2003 Dec 15;49(6):804-9.

"OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the prevalence of thyroid dysfunction and related autoantibodies in patients with primary Sjogren's syndrome (pSS), and to determine whether these abnormalities develop over time. METHODS: pSS patients (n = 137) and controls (n = 120) were investigated for thyroid dysfunction and for the presence of anti-thyroid peroxidase antibody (anti-TPO) and antithyroglobulin antibody (ATG). Followup time for patients was 1-16 years, and 72 of the 120 controls were reevaluated 3 years after initial evaluation. RESULTS: Thyroid disease was more frequent in the pSS patients than in the controls (30% versus 4%; P < 10(-4)), as were anti-TPO and ATG (11% versus 3%; P < 0.02, and 3% versus 1%, not significant). Ten of 107 euthyroid pSS patients dropped out of the study, and thyroid dysfunction became apparent at followup in 12 of the remaining 97. Most of the patients with thyroid-related autoantibodies at entry developed autoimmune thyroid disease thereafter. CONCLUSION: Thyroid dysfunction is frequent in pSS patients, and those prone to develop thyroid disorders are identified by thyroid-related autoantibodies, or by rheumatoid factor and anti-Ro/SSA activity."

Thyroid disease in primary Sjogren syndrome. Study in a series of 160 patients.
Ramos-Casals M, Garcia-Carrasco M, Cervera R, Gaya J, Halperin I, Ubieto I, Aymami A, Morla RM, Font J, Ingelmo M.

Medicine (Baltimore). 2000 Mar;79(2):103-8.

"We studied 160 consecutive patients (147 female and 13 male) with primary Sjogren syndrome (SS) to determine the prevalence and clinical significance of thyroid disease in a large series of patients with primary SS from our unit and to compare the prevalence and significance with those in 75 individuals without SS from a primary care center. Serum levels of thyroid hormones (free thyroxine, triiodothyronine, and thyroid-stimulating hormone) and autoantibodies against thyroglobulin (TgAb) and thyroid peroxidase (TPOAb) were measured in all SS patients and in 75 control patients. Fifty-eight (36%) of the 160 patients with primary SS had evidence of thyroid disease. Autoimmune thyroid disease (ATD) was diagnosed in 32 (20%) patients and nonautoimmune thyroid disease (NATD) in 26 (16%). No significant differences were found when these prevalences were compared with those in control patients. On the other hand, comparing those patients with altered hormonal profiles, patients with NATD showed mainly hyperthyroidism (10/17, 59% versus 2/20, 10% in patients with ATD, p = 0.001). Finally, when clinical and immunologic manifestations of SS were analyzed in patients with and without thyroid disease, respectively, we found that patients with thyroid disease had a higher prevalence of female gender (98% versus 88%, p = 0.03), antiparietal cell autoantibodies (33% versus 12%, p = 0.002), TgAb (30% versus 5%, p < 0.001), and TPOAb (40% versus 5%, p < 0.001). In conclusion, thyroid disease occurred in more than one-third of patients with primary SS; the main cause was ATD, which was present in 20% of the patients studied. We note that no significant differences were observed when the prevalence of thyroid disease (either ATD or NATD) was compared with that in a control group of similar age and gender. Our results indicate that middle-aged women (with or without SS) should be screened periodically for thyroid function."

Autoimmune thyroid disease in primary Sjogren's syndrome.
Perez B, Kraus A, Lopez G, Cifuentes M, Alarcon-Segovia D.

Am J Med. 1995 Nov;99(5):480-4.

"PURPOSE: To evaluate the prevalence of autoimmune thyroid disease and thyroid dysfunction in patients with primary Sjogren's syndrome. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Thyroid function of 33 patients with primary Sjogren's syndrome was clinically and biochemically evaluated. Thyroid hormones and autoantibodies against thyroid peroxidase, thyroglobulin, and thyroid hormones were measured. RESULTS: Autoimmune thyroid disease and thyroid dysfunction were found in 15 cases (45%): autoimmune thyroiditis in 8 (24%); autoimmune hyperthyroidism in 2 (6%); and reversible iodine-induced hypothyroidism in the remaining 5 (15%). One or more of the evaluated autoantibodies were detected in 8 euthyroid patients (24%). Overall, the prevalence of autoantibodies against thyroid peroxidase, thyroglobulin, thyroxine, and triiodothyronine was 45%, 18%, 42%, and 36%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The high prevalence of autoimmune thyroid disease and thyroid dysfunction found in primary Sjogren's syndrome, using sensitive immunologic and thyroid function tests, suggest that both diseases are more frequently associated than it was previously thought, and should be sought clinically and by laboratory tests in all patients with primary Sjogren's syndrome."

Old News Makes the Rounds Again

I'm slowly updating my original web site that went on-line in the early 1990s. I'm working on it a few pages at a time. I do hope to have some help from two students at one of my colleges very soon.

While updating I found this news from early 2005. I'm sure it was known well before that time. Now in 2008, are we there yet. Instant replay yes, but where was implementation back in the day?

A new study reveals Vitamin D cuts a man's risk of prostate cancer by almost half. Researchers in Boston analysed blood & found men with the highest vit D had a 45% less risk of prostate cancer. They believe vit D inhibits cell growth & has anti-cancer properties. Vit D is lower in older men who are most prone to prostate cancer. The recommended daily amount of vit D is 400 iu but some experts think that is low.

And today we learn that this remarkable (fat soluable) vitamin might protect from low level radiation.

Our center offers high quality, high dose Vitamin D in several potencies. All profits help support our work.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Medicaid Reduction in Service as Bush Prepares to Leave Office.

The new regulation jeopardizes community-based health services, including screening, diagnostic and dental services for children, as well as lab and ambulance services.

In line with the current administration's plans to issue, or relax, many economic, environmental, health and safety rules before they leave office on Jan. 20, this impact on the poor is a political favor now for a surge in costs later as illness rates rise and insurance payments fail to meet cost.

Keep in mind that members of Congress did little to address this sweeping change, so hope they will re-visit the issue in January.
November 8, 2008
New U.S. Rule Pares Outpatient Medicaid Services
WASHINGTON — In the first of an expected avalanche of post-election regulations, the Bush administration on Friday narrowed the scope of services that can be provided to poor people under Medicaid’s outpatient hospital benefit.

Public hospitals and state officials immediately protested the action, saying it would reduce Medicaid payments to many hospitals at a time of growing need.

The new rule conflicts with efforts by Congressional leaders and governors to increase federal aid to the states for Medicaid as part of a new economic action plan.

President-elect Barack Obama has endorsed those efforts. At a news conference on Friday, he said that legislation to stimulate the economy should include “assistance to state and local governments” so they would not have to lay off workers or increase taxes.

In a notice published Friday in the Federal Register, the Bush administration said it had to clarify the definition of outpatient hospital services because the current ambiguity had allowed states to claim excessive payments.

“This rule represents a new initiative to preserve the fiscal integrity of the Medicaid program,” the notice said.

But John W. Bluford III, the president of Truman Medical Centers in Kansas City, Mo., said: “This is a disaster for safety-net institutions like ours. The change in the outpatient rule will mean a $5 million hit to us. Medicaid accounts for about 55 percent of our business.”

Alan D. Aviles, the president of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, the largest municipal health care system in the country, said: “The new rule forces us to consider reducing some outpatient services like dental and vision care. State and local government cannot pick up these costs. If anything, we expect to see additional cuts at the state level.”

Carol H. Steckel, the commissioner of the Alabama Medicaid Agency, said the rule would reduce federal payments for outpatient services at two large children’s hospitals, in Birmingham and Mobile.

Richard J. Pollack, the executive vice president of the American Hospital Association, said these concerns were valid.

“The new regulation,” Mr. Pollack said, “will jeopardize important community-based services, including screening, diagnostic and dental services for children, as well as lab and ambulance services.”

Herb B. Kuhn, the deputy administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, defended the rule.

“We are not trying to deny services,” Mr. Kuhn said. “We want to pay for them more accurately and appropriately. Payments for some services were way higher than they should be.”

The rule narrows the definition of outpatient hospital services to exclude those that could be provided and covered outside a hospital.

In May, the White House said it wanted to avoid the rush of “midnight regulations” that had occurred at the end of other administrations. But Bush administration officials said this week that they still intended to issue, or relax, many economic, environmental, health and safety rules before they leave office on Jan. 20.

Medicaid, financed jointly by the federal government and the states, provides health insurance to more than 50 million low-income people. Services can often be billed at a higher rate if they are performed in the outpatient department of a hospital rather than in a doctor’s office or a free-standing clinic. Hospitals generally have higher overhead costs.

Matt D. Salo, a health policy specialist at the National Governors Association, said, “The new rule is consistent with the administration’s effort to squeeze, shrink and flatten Medicaid spending.”

In a recent letter, the governors urged Congress to increase the federal share of Medicaid for at least two years. With state tax revenues plunging, many governors are considering cuts in Medicaid and other programs. Such cuts, they say, would further depress economic activity.

Ann Clemency Kohler, the executive director of the National Association of State Medicaid Directors, said: “The new rule is a pretty sweeping change from longtime Medicaid policy. Since the beginning of the program, states have been allowed to define hospital outpatient services. We have to question why the rule is being issued now, three days after the election, with a new administration coming in.”

The rule was proposed in September 2007. It takes effect on Dec. 8, six weeks before Mr. Bush leaves office.

Ms. Kohler said the rule would cut “money going to the states, to safety net providers, at a time when states are really being stressed.”

“More and more people are coming onto Medicaid,” she said. “People are losing their jobs and running out of unemployment benefits. Some employers can no longer afford to provide health insurance to their workers.”

In the last 18 months, Congress has imposed moratoriums on six other rules that would have cut Medicaid payments. But the administration says Congress did not block the rule issued on Friday.

Larry S. Gage, the president of the National Association of Public Hospitals, said, “We will urge Congress to extend the moratorium to this rule, and we will ask the Obama administration to withdraw it.”

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

And in other news we find Big Pharma (one great group of very substantial contributions to 'W') being cited for prolific Medicaid billing fraud.

Kansas is suing to recover millions in over payment -
According to the lawsuit, the Medicaid program spent more $160 million on meds last year. And the suit alleges the price for a drug paid by the state, based on a fraudulently-reported Average Wholesale Price and other price indicators, often bears no relationship to the true price and can exceed 100 percent to 200 percent above the actual price.

One example cited - Dey reported an AWP of $44.10 for Ipratropium Bromide, yet the AG claims the drugmaker sold the same drug to retail pharmacists for $8.35 - a 355 percent difference. And Glaxo reported an AWP of $128.24 for Zofran, but charged $22.61- a 450 difference

Perhaps is the current administration would move to prosecute Big Pharma for the egregious activity the recovery would save Medicaid from current cuts. The FDA might be cleaned up a little at the same time, and don't they need an overhaul!

WARNING: I once blew the whistle on perpetrators of Medicare fraud involving Washington state. Instead of doing an accurate investigation, Mike Gregoire, husband of the the current governor and formerly with the Medicaid Fraud unit in the AGs office (at a time when his wife was AG), he feel into lock step with the typical bureaucratic cover-up: Protect the System First.

Fortunately my contacts at the Region X HHS OIG office was glad to take my data. DOJ was prosecuting the company I tried to report to Gregoire for insurance fraud in ten states.

The FEDS won this case and got a $372 million settlement.

Former state legislator Dave Schmidt did do a proper investigation, finding egregious errors by the state. He assisted me in regaining my status. DOH still is covering up. Mike and some DOH cronies continued the fraud by "loosing" legal documents and ignoring fact. Funny though that the AAG assigned to represent the state came out in favor of my facts and me. Former gov Gary Locke ignored the facts too and went so far as to cover up for DOH lies, at a time when he agreed to a request by a US Congressman to investigate. Locke refused to look at my eveidence. Locke and Mike's wife are law school grads and should know very well about due process and equal protection. I can't say for sure, but they went very far to attack the messenger here. And lost some recovery money as well. For shame.

Fraud has many faces.

Using more drugs, not less, for cancer

Anti-angiogenesis drugs haven’t been more successful than standard chemotherapy for cancer.

These drugs include Stutent, Gleevec and Avastin. All three have had serious problems in use and do little to prolong life or cure the disease in any significant manner.

These drugs are very expensive and if they must be used in combination with other chemotherapy is there hope for extended life, quality of life and a cure?

There are many treatment options for cancer. Most of the effective one are not in the media kit sent to oncologists or taught in medical schools.

There is much less spent on prevention. But here's a tip you might enjoy reading -
"The John Wayne Cancer Institute is a supporter of the Vita-Mix."
With the help of this wonderful invention, patients can more easily satisfy their goal of eating five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. The therapeutic antioxidants and phytochemicals in Vita-Mix whole food meals have shown to lower the risk of heart disease, cancer and other health problems.

MSM Pushing Supplements Out of Consideration

I'm really pleased I sought advanced education away from the MPH or MPA degrees as I was being encouraged by some doctors who were friends of mine back in the 60s and
70s. Knowing what I know now, how, even more so, these degrees are designed to encourage you to become a keeper of the status quo, I know it surely doesn't fit my style.

Had I followed this track I guess I had a twenty years stint in the USPHS and be long gone on a fat retirement having been a GS 15-16. Also I probably would have been bucking the 'system' on a daily basis.

I'm what is called a giraffe or turtle, depending on who you talk with. You know, someone who gets ahead by sticking out its neck.

Mainstream Medicine, and medical education, is really very controlled by the CDC, and in turn, the FDA, and in turn, Big Pharma, and in turn, Big Insurance...

And round and round we go in the circle game...

Of course right now in the tenuous situation the US health system finds itself these kind of reports do little to compare their design to earlier studies that conclusively show that both vitamins do, in fact, prevent and reverse heart disease.

Of course we also have no report from the AP writer on what type of E and C vitamins were used, the dose, and other important factors.

And, yes, vitamin E in high doses does have a very beneficial action of "thinning" your blood. If more doctors used vitamin E first, rather than heparin or coumadin, we would have less trouble with side effects, healthier patients and less in the way of long term problems. The science proves it.

Doctors, especially the ones doing this study, need to read that science before they do another study, then replicate it. This is science and real research based on the Scientific Method.

Another study with women not too long ago (and reported here and Natural Health News) showed poor results with supplements. I was able to locate the data showing synthetic vitamins were used with exceptionally low dose rates, well below therapeutic level.

Hope they can do better next time.

And, make sure you do write your members of Congress and demand health parity for supplements.

Drugs kill, vitamins don't!
Health News
Studies: Vitamin pills don't prevent heart disease AP - Sun Nov 9, 2008
NEW ORLEANS - Vitamins C and E — pills taken by millions of Americans — do nothing to prevent heart disease in men, one of the largest and longest studies of these supplements has found.

Boosting Drug Sales with Studies

For quite a number of years many health professionals have been speaking out against the statin class of drugs.

Much of the concern is associated kidney failure secondary to muscle wasting. Other serious effects have been noted, yet the drug giants keep coming up with ways to try to convince absolutely everyone they need to be taking these drugs.

Now even the "healthy".

One of the key investigators busting this myth has been Uffe Ravnskov, MD

And what ever happened to improving health with foods and supplements to reduce or eliminate this problem.

Recall that the homogenization of milk (and lack of access to raw milk) really kicked off the march to atherosclerosis back in the 1950s.

And remember that lecithin or eating plain applesauce mixed in plain yoghurt aids healthy, clean and flexible arteries. And with major cost savings over these drugs.

Other issues are the fact that many of the statin drugs are fluoride based, such as Baychol - now off the market.

Even Red Rice Yeast can have the same side effects of the drugs.

Statins and the problems associated with their use is the result of marketing a class of drugs before it was fully investigated.

The imprecise use of statin medications is one big reason why side effects occur in more than 40 percent of patients and why 60-75 percent of statin users discontinue treatment.

Crestor averages about $2 a pill, with a range from $1.41 to $3.41 at a variety of pharmacies. The drug company profit for these drugs is in the 4000 percent range. If you get 10 mg of Crestor when you only need 1 mg, risks increase drastically. With each doubling of a statin dosage, the risk of liver injury also doubles.

Concerned about the renal effects of Crestor, some people have been openly weighing the options between taking a statin or accepting a higher cholesterol number. (For instance, is high cholesterol "normal"? Have we fallen victim to high-end marketing tactics?)

All the statin drugs can cause rhabdomyolysis and kidney failure. In most cases the kidney failure is secondary to blocking of the tiny kidney tubules by the breakdown fragments of muscle cells. The mechanism of action here is loss of cell wall integrity of the muscle cells due to interference of the statin drugs with the vital role of ubiquinone in our bodies.

Ubiquinone, known also as Co-enzyme Q10, is collaterally damaged during the statin drug effect on the so- called mevalonate pathway of cholesterol biosynthesis. Ubiquinone metabolism is a branch on the mevalonate "tree" inevitably damaged by these statin drug "reductase inhibitor" action and the stronger the statin, the more severe this effect.

Public Citizen filed a Citizen's Petition with the FDA suggesting that Crestor be removed from the market. Though the courts did not pass a judgement in favor of Public Citizen (thus allowing Crestor to remain a legally prescribed medication), the case brought to light the fact that statins like Crestor can and do cause serious problems in many patients who take them.

In May of 2005, a study published in the American Heart Association's journal, Circulation, revealed that kidney problems and muscle weakness were two to eight times more frequent among Crestor users than those taking other cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Read more


and more
Study: Wider cholesterol drug use may save lives
By MARILYNN MARCHIONE, AP Medical Writer Marilynn Marchione, Ap Medical Writer
Sun Nov 9, 9:44 am ET

NEW ORLEANS – People with low cholesterol and no big risk for heart disease dramatically lowered their chances of dying or having a heart attack if they took the cholesterol pill Crestor, a large study found.

The results, reported Sunday at an American Heart Association conference, were hailed as a watershed event in heart disease prevention. Doctors said the study might lead as many as 7 million more Americans to consider taking cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, sold as Crestor, Lipitor, Zocor or in generic form.

"This takes prevention to a whole new level, because it applies to patients who we now wouldn't have any evidence to treat," said Dr. W. Douglas Weaver, a Detroit cardiologist and president of the American College of Cardiology.

The study also gives the best evidence yet for using a new test to identify people who may need treatment, according to a statement from Dr. Elizabeth Nabel, director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. The new research will be considered by experts reviewing current guidelines.

However, some doctors urged caution. Crestor gave clear benefit in the study, but so few heart attacks and deaths occurred among these low-risk people that treating everyone like them in the United States could cost up to $9 billion a year — "a difficult sell," one expert said.

About 120 people would have to take Crestor for two years to prevent a single heart attack, stroke or death, said Stanford University cardiologist Dr. Mark Hlatky. He wrote an editorial accompanying the study published online by the New England Journal of Medicine.

"Everybody likes the idea of prevention. We need to slow down and ask how many people are we going to be treating with drugs for the rest of their lives to prevent heart disease, versus a lot of other things we're not doing" to improve health, Hlatky said.

Statins are the world's top-selling drugs. Until this study, all but Crestor have already been shown to cut the risk of heart attacks and death in people with high LDL, or bad cholesterol.

But half of all heart attacks occur in people with normal or low cholesterol, so doctors have been testing other ways to predict who is at risk.

One is high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, or CRP for short. It is a measure of inflammation, which can mean clogged arteries as well as less serious problems, such as an infection or injury. Doctors check CRP with a blood test that costs about $80 to have done.

A co-inventor on a patent of the test, Dr. Paul Ridker of Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, led the new study. It involved 17,802 people with high CRP and low LDL cholesterol (below 130) in the U.S. and 25 other countries.

One-fourth were black or Hispanic, and 40 percent were women — important because previous statin studies have included few women. Men had to be 50 or older; women, 60 or older. None had a history of heart problems or diabetes.

They were randomly assigned to take dummy pills or Crestor, the strongest statin on the market, made by British-based AstraZeneca PLC. Neither participants nor their doctors knew who was taking what.

The study was supposed to last five years but was stopped in March, after about two years, when independent monitors saw that those taking Crestor were faring better than the others.

Full results were announced Sunday. Crestor reduced a combined measure — heart attacks, strokes, heart-related deaths or hospitalizations, or the need for an artery-opening procedure — by 44 percent.

"We reduced the risk of a heart attack by 54 percent, the risk of a stroke by 48 percent and the chance of needing bypass surgery or angioplasty by 46 percent," Ridker said.

Looked at another way, there were 136 heart-related problems per year for every 10,000 people taking dummy pills versus 77 for those on Crestor.

Remarkably, every single subgroup benefited from the drug.

"If you're skinny it worked, if you're heavy it worked. If you lived here or there, if you smoked, it worked," Ridker said.

AstraZeneca paid for the study, and Ridker and other authors have consulted for the company and other statin makers.

One concern: More people in the Crestor group saw blood-sugar levels rise or were newly diagnosed with diabetes.

Crestor also has the highest rate among statins of a rare but serious muscle problem, so there are probably safer and cheaper ways to get the same benefits, said Dr. Sidney Wolfe of the consumer group Public Citizen.

"It is highly unlikely that (the benefits are) specific to Crestor," said Wolfe, who has campaigned against the drug in the past.

Crestor costs $3.45 a day versus less than a dollar for generic drugs.

Drs. James Stein and Jon Keevil of the University of Wisconsin-Madison used federal health statistics to project that 7.4 million Americans, or more than 4 percent of the adult population, are like the people in this study.

Treating them all with Crestor would cost $9 billion a year and prevent about 30,000 heart attacks, strokes or deaths, they calculate.

"That's pretty costly. This would be a very difficult sell" unless a person also had family history or other heart disease risk factors, said Dr. Thomas Pearson of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Pearson was co-chairman of a joint government-heart association panel that wrote current guidelines for using CRP tests to guide treatment.

Researchers do not know whether the benefits seen in the study were due to reducing CRP or cholesterol, since Crestor did both.

This study and two other government-sponsored ones reported on Sunday "provide the strongest evidence to date" for testing C-reactive protein, and adding it to traditional risk measures could identify millions more people who would benefit from treatment, Nabel's statement says.

U.S. Crestor prescriptions totaled $420 million in the third quarter of this year, up 23 percent from a year earlier. In the rest of the world, third quarter sales were $520 million, up 33 percent.

Sales have been rising even though two statins — Zocor and Pravachol — are now available in generic form.

On the Net:
New England Journal:
Heart conference:

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Now You Don't See It, Yet It Sees You

Here is a writer that is addressing health issues he believes will be up and coming in the next five years.

I've been writing and teaching about these same issues for more than ten years and of course have been ridiculed many times for my thinking on the health risks of EMF and WIFI/microwave.

Things are most likely to get worse after mandated digital TV debuts next February, and its likely your ER doc or health provider isn't aware of how to diagnose or evaluate your symptoms. Or better yet, won't be able to help you treat it or recover.
You´ll Never See It Coming By Alex Richards

In the next five years you may see your health decline. It may start with fatigue and stress. You will awaken un-refreshed. Perhaps you´ll have headaches and find it difficult to concentrate. Out of nowhere will come blue moments and panic attacks. You´ll blame it on your lifestyle. You´re getting older. You will probably never consider the subtle fact: our environment has fundamentally changed..

The US has become increasingly filled with radiation from radio-frequency fields and microwaves. These radio waves create electromagnetic fields (EMF) from cell phones, satellites, military and airport radar, WiFi, security alarms, baby monitors and even remote control toys. Until the late 1980´s these radio waves were mostly generated by commercial or military sources. But then we began to bring microwave transmitters like cell phones, WiFi and microwave ovens right into our lives. Our environment, once filled with only thousands of distant fixed transmitters now has become an environment filled with millions of mobile transmitters, many of which beam EMF into our homes. What was once solely a commercial/military source of microwaves, has given way to the "dark side" of the consumer wireless revolution.

Most of us never noticed. These waves are invisible. We can´t feel, taste, or sense them. But their effects can be observed and measured. While measurements show that the intensity of radio waves in our environment has risen between 50-150 times in the last decade, in an eerie parallel, science has been tracking the explosion of unexplained health impacts.

Scientists have already linked biological effects, symptoms and disease with low-levels of electromagnetic radiation ( Over 600 studies connect EMF with Cancer, Alzheimer´s, depression, suicide, Autism, Leukemia, DNA damage, heart disease, strokes, chromosome damage, migraines, permeation of the blood brain barrier, activation of stress hormones, decreases in melatonin/ serotonin and immune system suppression ( Other studies help explain the list of unexplained stress symptoms you may be already be feeling: fatigue, memory loss, anxiety, concentration issues, chronic joint/muscle pain, sleep disturbances and heat or ringing in your ears.

The Freiburger Appeal ( with nearly 30,000 signatures by European physicians links cell phones, cordless phones and cell towers with these unexplained stress symptoms. Along with the growth of wireless since the mid-1980´s, there has been a parallel growth of illnesses without a known cause, so-called mystery illnesses and an emergence of dozens of `new age´ diseases, such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, MS, Lupus, Gulf War Syndrome and Electrohypersensitivity, all of which share the same primary symptoms as the stress symptoms listed above. The link between wireless technologies and the three tiers of health impacts is astonishing: unexplained stress symptoms; "mystery illnesses" and the explosion of "new age" illness.

When you begin to see these stress symptoms coming, you may receive plenty of advice from your family physicians. You will probably fill prescriptions for sleep, pain and maybe even depression. You will gain a sense of management of the symptoms, but they will persist. You will come to accept it.

You will never make the connection to an invisible world of electropollution that has silently exploded around you. You will never suspect that the cell phone in your pocket, or the wireless router that brings you WiFi, could be stealing your health. You´ll go on filling your prescription and explaining the nagging symptoms away. You´ll never see it coming.

and from Sean Arthur Joyce: January 17th, 2008

The Bioinitiatives Working Group of the University of Albany, New York, has undertaken a review of 2000 studies related to bio-effects of electromagnetic fields and has concluded that current safety standards for protecting the public against exposure to EMF are inadequate.

Dr. George Carlo, who was hired by the US telecommunications industry to do the first major study on the issue, had 200 scientists at his disposal in his $28 million study. It was only when his scientific results contradicted the industry’s pre-supposed position of no harm at non-thermal levels of power output that he was marginalized by them and forced to quit.

It was through the industry’s ‘low power exclusion’ that telecom corporations achieved the rare feat of having a consumer product introduced into the North American marketplace with NO pre-market testing!

Brain cancer has risen by 300% worldwide during the past 20 years, roughly concurrent with the widespread use of wireless communications.

And just because we’ve had radio frequency waves in our environment for 100 years doesn’t of itself mean they’ve caused no harm. Cancer in general has soared during the past century.

The World Health Organization has recently admitted (after 30 years of studies to this effect) that children living near high-voltage power lines have a substantially greater risk of developing leukemia.

In any case, it’s up to industry to first prove beyond any reasonable doubt their products are safe, not up to the public to prove otherwise.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Regenerating Brain Cells

When I worked in the Neuro ICU in the early 1970s I was teased relentlessly at times by doctors who believed I was a bit wacky when I'd argue for the ability of the human body to regenerate brain and nerve cells.

The 1990s found me happy when I read a report on a similar result in a study.

Now it seems we are making more headway, and the jokes can stop.

I've applied a process to accomplish this with people who have had traumatic brain injury and suffer with PTSD. I'm sure it applies to the current situation with our young soldiers.
Scientists coax brain cells in mice to regenerateBy Julie Steenhuysen
Thu Nov 6, 2008

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Scientists have found a way to get damaged nerve cells in the brains of mice to repair themselves, a finding that may lead to new treatments for spinal cord and brain injuries.

By turning off proteins that keep nerve cell growth in check, the researchers were able to stimulate regrowth in mice with damaged optic nerves, they reported on Thursday.

"This is the first time it has been possible to see such significant regeneration by manipulating single molecules," Zhigang He of Children's Hospital Boston, whose study appears in the journal Science, said in a statement.

A separate team found that blocking a protein that discourages cell repairs allowed nerve cells in lab dishes to regenerate.

Taken together, the findings offer leads on ways to coax damaged nerves in the brain and spinal cord to fix themselves.

The studies focused on nerve fibers called axons that carry electrical signals throughout the body.

"In your arms and legs, if these fibers are severed, they can regrow back to the muscle," said Marc Tessier-Lavigne, executive vice president of research drug discovery at biotechnology firm Genentech Inc.

"Nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord do not regenerate. When you have a spinal cord injury, the paralysis is usually permanent," he said in a telephone interview.

"The ambition of our field is to understand why it is the fibers don't regenerate in the central nervous system."


He's team focused on a gene network called the mTOR pathway, which is very active when young nerve cells are first growing but becomes less active once nerve cells mature.

Nerve injury appears to shut down this network completely. And two proteins -- PTEN and TSC1 -- appear to be responsible for silencing this pathway, the researchers discovered.

"If we get rid of (those proteins), axons can regenerate very dramatically," He said in a telephone interview.

Mice genetically engineered to lack the proteins kept more neurons after an injury to the optic nerve than normal mice. And the mutant mice were able to grow new axons within two weeks.

He said the study suggests that blocking the proteins might rekindle the nerve cell's natural ability to grow. The team is now looking for drugs that can block the proteins.

Tessier-Lavigne and colleagues focused on a different problem -- the chemicals in the body that discourage repairs.

"Even if the nerve cell could regrow, the environment is hostile to regrowth," Tessier-Lavigne said.

He said when an axon in the spinal cord is severed, the cut end sprouts a growth cone.

"It almost looks like a little hand at the end of this cable-like structure," he said.

Tiny sensors on the growth cone pick up chemical signals. In nerves in the periphery of the body such as the finger, signals tell the axon to repair itself. But in the central nervous system, chemical signals repress growth.

Tessier-Lavigne's team found one of those signals -- a protein called PirB -- in the insulating myelin sheath that wraps around each neuron. When they blocked this myelin protein in cell cultures, they got nerve cells to grow.

Tessier-Lavigne said the hope is to use this information to make drugs that allow nerve cells in the brain and spine to repair themselves.

(Editing by Maggie Fox and John O'Callaghan) Copyright © 2008 Reuters Limited.

WHO Endorses Traditional Medicine

Hopefully the WHO endorsement will have a trickle down effect into mainstream medicine and the newly elected administration here in the states.

Time will tell.
Traditional medicine passes WHO health checks
Fri Nov 7, 2008
BEIJING (Reuters) – Health representatives from more than 70 countries gathered in Beijing on Friday to swap ideas on how to make traditional medicine, ranging from acupuncture to leech treatment, more widely available.

The two-day World Health Organization (WHO) event, built around seminars on regulatory standards and folk medicine in cultures from South Africa to Japan, is expected to end with member countries agreeing to expand traditional medicine in their health care systems.

WHO officials at the event said blending traditional and Western medicine could make each more effective.

"Integration of traditional medicine into national health systems will not only bring benefits to patients, but will also ensure safety and proper use," assistant WHO director-general Carissa Etienne told reporters at a briefing.

Speakers also called for research on traditional medicines, which WHO director-general Margaret Chan called "a valuable source of leads for therapeutic advances and the discovery of new classes of drugs."

Herbal and other treatments have sometimes been found effective in studies. Artemisinin, a plant ingredient used in southern China for centuries to fight malaria, became regarded as the best treatment for the disease after research proved its ability to clear parasites quickly.

Traditional medicine is used throughout China and in other developing countries, even with access to Western-style health care growing.

Leech therapy is used in parts of India to treat pain and skin diseases, and hospitals in China often offer both Western treatment and traditional cures like acupuncture or herbal antidotes.

In Canada and Germany, according to the WHO, more than seven in ten people have tried folk treatments as alternatives or supplements to modern health care.

Revenue from traditional medicine in Europe reached more than 3 billion euros ($3.82 billion) from 2003 to 2004, according to Zhang Xiaorui, WHO coordinator on traditional medicine. The number for China was $8 billion, she said.

"There are many examples where fast and effective traditional medicines have existed," said Hans Hogerzeil, the WHO's director of medicines policy and standards.

"They have then afterwards become more or less Western medicines because the active ingredient has been identified and is now produced in a standardized way."

($1=.7864 Euro)
(Reporting by Beijing newsroom; Editing by Paul Tait)
Copyright © 2008 Reuters Limited.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

OH, What A Surprise

Here is a comment from a (rare) thinking doctor from a medical poll regarding the removal of Avandia from the market.
Should the F.D.A. take Rosiglitazone off the market? Yes. Why? A drug is a drug, is a drug, is a drug. As a molecule foreign to the body, the body will fight it and reject it. This is what is called side effects. The question: Are the side effects worth the risk? The answer is: When it may cost your life, it is not worth it. The "Time Factor' built in this dilemma is just the "Clock ticking in a bomb" So open your eyes and your mind, look and find out a "good alternative". Decide, and be pleased with your decision.

This process should be used when considering any drug primarily because today's pharmaceuticals are so laden with side effects, and not just minor ones.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

More natural substances on their way to drug status

A few days ago I make a smoothie with pomegranate juice, goji juice crystals, plums, and Concord grapes, plus all my hemp protein and other nutritionals I add in. I even shared a little of this thick, velvety purple blend with my Golden Retriever as a topping for her daily serving of plain yoghurt.

I have eaten grape skins and seeds since childhood. Concords are my favorite, but always favored black or red grapes.

I prefer red wine too.

Resveratrol is a grape extract and it became popular again some years ago, as did the known facts on the health benefits of red wine.

Resveratrol is an anti-oxidant in general, but it has a fairly high potency and is high in polyphenols.

In supplement form I prefer high quality herbal powder saturated in the herbal extract.

I also like Concord Grape Skin Pie.

It seems that researchers in France have another idea in the pipeline, using resveratrol for weight loss and it seems on target to become another drugs.

Drug 'tricks body to lose weight'
French scientists say they have found a drug that tricks the body into burning off fat even when on a high-fat diet.

The University of Louis Pasteur team found the drug protected mice against weight gain and insulin resistance.

The drug SRT1720 - a chemical cousin of red wine extract resveratrol - targets the protein SIRT1, which is thought to combat ageing, Cell Metabolism reports.

UK obesity experts said new drug treatments were needed but should be used alongside lifestyle changes.

About a quarter of men and a third of women in the UK are overweight, according to government statistics.

A change in diet and an increase in physical exercise can shift excess weight, but can be hard for many to maintain.

With the removal of the anti-obesity pill rimonabant, also known as Acomplia, from the market amid safety concerns, fewer drug options exist.

Potent drug

The French team from the University Louis Pasteur became interested in the SIRT1 protein after earlier studies showing resveratrol countered some effects of a high-calorie diet via SIRT1.
We do need new treatments for obesity, particularly as there are 1,000 deaths a week in the UK from obesity
Professor Stephen Bloom of Imperial College London

But tests in mice suggested gallons of wine would be necessary for humans to stand a chance of getting the same benefits.

The scientists turned their attention to creating a more potent drug that would specifically target SIRT1.

They found that a low dose of SRT1720 partially protected mice from gaining weight on a high-fat diet after 10 weeks of treatment.

The drug worked by shifting the metabolism to a fat-burning mode that normally takes over only when energy levels are low.

At higher doses, the drug completely prevented weight gain. It also improved the rodents' blood sugar tolerance and insulin sensitivity, which are important for warding off diabetes.

The mice showed no sign of side effects. However, the scientists say further studies are needed to test the drug's safety and efficacy before it could be used in humans.

Other scientists are investigating SIRT1 activators similar to SRT1720 developed by Sirtris Pharmaceuticals.

Professor Stephen Bloom, who has been researching obesity at Imperial College London, said: "This sounds interesting but is terribly early.

"We do need new treatments for obesity, particularly as there are 1,000 deaths a week in the UK from obesity."

Prof Ian Broom, of the Centre for Obesity Research and Epidemiology at The Robert Gordon University, said: "Research in this area is to be welcomed as an additional route of combating the obesity epidemic and associated comorbid disease."

He added that any such drug should be used alongside dietary and lifestyle changes to tackle obesity.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2008/11/05 © BBC MMVIII

Health-Care Reform Takes Center Stage

Read an opinion on this important issue.

Merck vaccine trail increased infection risk

This article points out vaccine failure. I reported on this blog at the time this report was first made. Now there is room for an update.

This experimental HIV vaccine was a Merck product, not unlike the Gardasil vaccine that is known to have caused death and higher risk of disease, without real promise of effectiveness, and no long term studies.

With advertising and marketing Merck and the FDA have made a killing of sorts, at the bank. This might be a good analogy for those of us that keep trying to explain that vaccines aren't all they are built up to be. They do make people sick.

And here's my opportunity to make another plug for the trial I'd like to run with supplements to show they can stop the conversion of HIV to AIDS.

If Bill Gates won't give me a grant perhaps Merck will. Just wish Sir Elton would read this, I'd like his money better. William and Harry might come through so we can dedicate this to their Mum.
Experimental HIV vaccine may have increased infection risk
Mon Nov 3, 2008
WASHINGTON (AFP) – Trials of a once-promising experimental HIV vaccine were cut short in 2007 because the drug may have increased the likelihood of HIV infection rather than preventing it, according to a new study.

The HIV-1 vaccine, which raised hopes in the fight against AIDS as it was being developed by US pharmaceutical giant Merck and Co., was undergoing second stage trials when the problem was discovered in September 2007, said researchers at the Montpellier Institute of Molecular Genetics in France.

The vaccine relied on a modified form of a common cold virus -- Adenovirus 5 (Ad5) -- to carry elements of HIV (Human immunodeficiency virus) into the body.

The smaller HIV parts, the Merck trials contended, would trigger the human immune system to start fighting off later infection with the virus.

One of main worries about the approach was that widespread immunity to the vaccine might cause the drug to be rejected by the body before an effective anti-HIV response could develop.

But three years after the first trial, researchers discovered that more of the vaccine recipients who had prior immunity to the Ad5 virus had been infected with HIV than those not exposed to the vaccine, according to the study, published online in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

The presence of long-lasting antibodies specifically catering to the Ad5 virus, generated during natural infections with the common cold, could have altered the response to the HIV vaccine, the study said.

HIV infection spread through cell cultures three times faster in the presence of antibodies from individuals immune to the Ad5 virus, because the HIV virus came in contact with more of its preferred "T" cells -- prompted to grow by the vaccine -- to infect.

The study said the vaccine reached the second phase of its trials because primates, used in the first phase, do not naturally come into contact with the human common cold, so the problem went unrecognized.

The vaccine prototype was tested on 700 HIV-negative persons in five hospitals in South Africa between February and September 2007, in the first clinical HIV trial of its magnitude ever conducted in Africa.

Meanwhile, tests had been conducted since 2004 in the United States, Australia, Peru, Brazil and Puerto Rico.

HIV can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

According to the World Health Organization, 33 million people around the world are infected with the AIDS virus, mostly in the sub-Sahara Africa.

Some two million people died worldwide of AIDS in 2007.

Copyright © 2008 Agence France Presse.

Vitamin 'may be Alzheimer's aid'

Now you see it and now you don't: Vitamin B3 of all things.

Back in the late 60s I stumbled upon Orthomolecular Medicine while working at The Institute of Pennsylvania Hospital, the US' oldest psychiatric hospital.

At that time orthomolecular treatment was showing very good success in the treatment of schizophrenia, along with vitamin C, in very high doses.

Vitamin B3, or niacin, is also very helpful for fetal alcohol syndrome treatment, lowering cholesterol and other inflammatory states.

The non-flushing type of B3, niacinamide, is very helpful for Rheumatoid arthritis.

Now that the push is on for Big Pharma to take over control of supplements, and if the senior senator from Illinois, Dick Durbin, has his way President-Elect Obama may close a noose around your access to supplements too.

In the mean time this study shows that supplements are very successful in treating serious health concerns, and there is no record of death or serious injury from using them.

Tell your doubting doctors that science back this up! And don't forget to let your members of Congress know you want not control over supplements by the pharmaceutical industry, and you want them covered in all health care plans.
(Note that presently the only vitamins approved under the Senior Medicare Drug Plan are Pfizer's)
A vitamin found in meat, fish and potatoes may help protect the brain from Alzheimer's disease - and even boost memory in healthy people.

US researchers found vitamin B3 lowered levels of a protein linked to Alzheimer's damage in mice.

The Journal of Neuroscience study also showed the animals performed better at memory tests.

UK Alzheimer's charities said people should not start taking the vitamin before results from human studies.

This suggests that not only is it good for Alzheimer's disease, but if normal people take it, some aspects of their memory might improve
Professor Frank LaFerla
University of California, Irvine

The vitamin, also called nicotinamide by scientists, is sold in UK pharmacies and health food shops.

It has already been shown to help people suffering from diabetes complications and has some anti-inflammatory qualities.

The researchers, from the University of California at Irvine, added the vitamin to drinking water given to mice bred to develop a version of Alzheimer's disease, then tested the levels of certain chemicals associated with the condition.

They found that levels of one, called phosphorylated tau, were significantly lower in the animals.

This protein is involved in abnormal 'deposits' in brain cells, called 'tangles', which contribute to the brain damage which progressively affects people with Alzheimer's.

Using 'water mazes', the team also found some evidence that memory was enhanced in both 'Alzheimer's' mice and unaffected mice.

Normal memory

Dr Kim Green, who led the study, said that human tests were progressing: "Nicotinamide has a very robust effect on neurons. It prevents loss of cognition in mice with Alzheimer's disease, and the beauty of it is we already are moving forward with a clinical trial."

His colleague Professor Frank LaFerla, said: "This suggests that not only is it good for Alzheimer's disease, but if normal people take it, some aspects of their memory might improve."

Susanne Sorensen, the head of research at the Alzheimer's Society, said the research was "interesting" and pointed to new ways to treat the condition.

"From the research, it appears that Nicotinamide has more than one beneficial effect on nerve cells including the facilitation of the recycling of the 'bad' phosphorylated tau.

"Nicotinamide occurs naturally in meat, fish, beans, cereals and potatoes and is cheap and easy to take.

"However, more research is now needed to explore the possible mechanisms involved so we can better understand if Nicotinamide could have the same effect in people and, if it does, what level of vitamin intake would be required."

Rebecca Wood, Chief Executive of the Alzheimer's Research Trust, said until the human research was completed, people should not start taking the supplement.

"These are exciting findings, but until the results from the human clinical trial are announced, people should be wary about changing their diet or taking supplements. In high doses vitamin B3 can be toxic."

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2008/11/05 10:04:04 GMT © BBC MMVIII