Gardasil Takes a Life

That’s Jessica Ericzon, an all-American 17-year old girl from LaFargeville, New York who dreamed of becoming a New York state trooper.  Tragically,  she died days after receiving a shot of Merck’s cervical-cancer vaccine Gardasil. Jessica’s mother Lisa Ericzon spoke with Susan Edelman of The New York Post:
Jessie got the first injection in July 2007.

After her second shot in September, she complained of a pain in the back of her head, fatigue and soreness in some joints, said her mom, Lisa.

On Feb. 20, while on winter break from school, she got her third and final dose of the vaccine.

The next night, "she told me the spot on the back of her head was bothering her again," her mom said.

The next morning, Feb. 22, Lisa, a hospital technician, left for work just after 5 a.m., leaving Jessie asleep.

Jessie never showed up for the class she was taking at Jefferson Community College.

When her mom got home at 3:20 p.m., she found Jessie sprawled on her back on the bathroom floor, with blood spots on her head where it had hit a flowerpot.

Jefferson County Medical Examiner Samuel Livingstone is stumped.

"She was essentially dead by the time she hit the floor. Whatever it was, it was instantaneous," Livingstone said.
Very sad, but not surprising because a couple weeks ago we found out that FDA and CDC have received 7,802 instances of people having an adverse reaction to Gardasil. Certainly more testing needs to be conducted, especially since this flimsy drug only protects against 4 of the 100 strains of HPV.

U.S. Bans Phthalates from Toys

Congressional lawmakers have banned phthalates, toxic compounds used to soften the plastic in children’s toys. The AFP reports:
Critics believe the chemicals are linked to reproductive problems, including low sperm counts.

Certain phthalates were banned for use in children's products in Europe in 1999 and in California last year. The states of Washington and Vermont have since passed legislation on use of the chemicals.

The Wall Street Journal said some of the chemicals would be banned only temporarily under the new legislation while more research is conducted.

"Chemical additives should not be placed in products that can impact health adversely until they are tested and found to be benign," sponsor Senator Dianne Feinstein of California told the Post.

Chemical industry groups, which had financed a large-scale effort to stop the ban, criticised the move saying it could allow less-tested chemicals to be used instead.
Now we need watchdogs to monitor whatever replacement concoction the plastics producers come out with next.
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Pesticides Linked to Diabetes-Risk


Research by National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Cancer Institute have determined that long-term exposure to pesticides heightens diabetes-risk. Bridget M. Kuehn of the Journal of the American Medical Association reports:
The study involved more than 33,000 licensed pesticide applicators enrolled in the Agricultural Health Study, who provided information about lifetime exposure and their medical history. An analysis of the data revealed that exposure to 7 pesticides—aldrin, chlordane, heptachlor, dichlorvos, trichlorfon, alachlor, and cyanazine—increased the workers' odds of developing diabetes and that the incidence of diabetes increased with cumulative days of exposure.
Dale Sandler, PhD, chief of the NIEHS’s epidemiology branch, points out that pesticide exposure is just another factor that contributes to diabetes, like obesity, lack of exercise and family history. Here’s the actual study, via Epidemiology: Incident Diabetes and Pesticide Exposure among Licensed Pesticide Applicators.

Health Points: Friday


Roughly 19 percent of U.S. energy consumption goes toward producing and supplying food, David Pimentel and his colleagues at Cornell University write in the current issue of the journal Human Ecology. Considering that the average American consumes an estimated 3,747 calories a day, — at least 1,200 more than health experts advise — the researchers suggest everyone cut back.

Animal products and junk food, in particular, use more energy and other resources for their production than staples such as potatoes, rice, fruits and vegetables.

Producing all the stuff that goes into a single hamburger, for example, requires some 1,300 gallons of water, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. A study in 2006 by University of Chicago researchers Gidon Eshel and Pamela Martin found that a vegetarian diet is the most energy-efficient, followed by one that includes poultry. Diets with red meat or fish are the least efficient.

"By just reducing junk food intake and converting to diets lower in meat, the average American could have a massive impact on fuel consumption as well as improving his or her health," Pimentel and his team write in a statement released today.
Researchers at the University of Colorado Hospital recruited 80 seniors, age 65 to 89, and found that three-quarters of them had insufficient levels of Vitamin D.


That's probably because they thought the old levels were sufficient, said Sunny Linnebur, associate professor at the CU-Denver School of Pharmacy.

"It was a surprise because in Denver we have so much sun," she said. "And these were ambulatory elderly, people who can walk around and go outside. We were expecting more of them to have normal levels of Vitamin D."

Sara Jane Barru of Denver said she had assumed she was taking plenty of Vitamin D, but when a test found her levels were low she eagerly jumped into the study.

She said she started taking a lot more Vitamin D while in the study "and I'm continuing to keep it up there.

More risk assessment studies are needed to understand what exactly defines toxicity due to nanoparticles, and what kind of regulations the sector needs, said Hermann Stamm, head of nanotechnology and molecular imaging at the Institute for Health and Consumer Protection in the European Commission's Joint Research Council.


Speaking at the Euroscience Open Forum in Barcelona this week (20 July), Stamm said concern over possible health risks due to nano-sized particles arises from several studies that found a link between ultra-fine particles from exhaust engines and air pollution to lung cancers and heart disease.

Nanotechnology — the use of particles as small as one-billionth of a metre — holds tremendous potential for the health sector, particularly in drug delivery.

Developing countries are keen to use nanotechnology in healthcare and agriculture. India, for example, in 2007 launched a US$225 million programme for nanoscience and technology.
In June 2007, the Government of Canada called on industry to voluntarily reduce the levels of trans fat in the Canadian food supply to the levels recommended by the Trans Fat Task Force, and announced that the Government would monitor the progress.


The Trans Fat Task Force recommended a trans fat limit of 2% of the total fat content for all vegetable oils and soft, spreadable margarines, and a limit of 5% of the total fat content for all other foods, including ingredients sold to restaurants.

"I am very pleased to see that industry is continuing to make progress to reduce the levels of trans fat," said Parliamentary Secretary Fletcher. "This second set of data, which focused on popular fast food chains and family restaurants in Canada, further illustrates the commitment of industry to achieve the limits recommended by the Trans Fat Task Force. The fact that we're seeing reductions in the levels of trans fat in so many areas is great news for all Canadians."

Armstrong, a seven-time winner of the Tour de France, said the United States needs to make more progress against the various types of cancer.


"As a survivor, I think I can say this -- we have taken our eye off the ball," Armstrong told a news conference along with former surgeons general Richard Carmona, David Satcher, Joycelyn Elders and Antonia Novello.

Cancer is the No. 2 cause of death in the United States, and is expected to kill about 566,000 this year. Only heart disease kills more.

At Armstrong's request, the four doctors developed a national "call to action" against cancer that emphasizes prevention efforts such as not smoking, eating more fruit and vegetables, getting less fat in the diet, getting more exercise, using sunscreen and avoiding indoor tanning beds.
Dawn Page, 52, has been awarded £810,000 in damages from her nutritionist, although the practitioner denies fault.


Mother of two Mrs Page, who weighed 12st, became ill within days of taking up the Amazing Hydration Diet.

She had been told by the nutritionist to drink four extra pints of water a day and drastically reduce her salt intake.

The first stage of the regime left her suffering from severe vomiting and stomach cramps, but she was told these were just part of the detoxification process.

She was told by her dietician to increase the amount of water to six pints and consume still less salt.

Days later she suffered a massive epileptic fit and brain damage caused by severe sodium deficiency.

A Los Angeles city council planning committee unanimously approved a 1-year ban, which could be extended for a further year, on new fast food outlets in a 32-square-mile (82-sq-km) area of Los Angeles.


The measure, the latest in efforts by U.S. cities to promote healthier eating, will go to the full council for a vote next month.

If passed, it would affect about half a million Angelenos living in an area that supporters say already has about 400 fast-food eateries and few grocery stores.

The proposed moratorium follows a report last year which found that about 30 percent of children living in the South Los Angeles, West Adams, Baldwin Hills and Leimert Park areas are obese compared to about 21 percent in the rest of the city.
"For cattle and pigs, food safety concerns are considered unlikely. But we must acknowledge that the evidence base is still small. We would like to have a broader data base and we need further clarification."


In its initial response to the issue of cloning -- which many consumer and religious groups strongly oppose -- EFSA said in January that cloned animals could be safe to eat.

It also said it saw "no environmental impact" from animal cloning, which takes cells from an adult and fuses them with others before implanting them in a surrogate mother.

But when asked if cloned products such as meat and dairy would be safe for people to buy in European supermarkets, Dr. Dan Collins of EFSA said: "There are possible concerns ... there is an impact of animal health and welfare on food safety. We need more data."

Wacky FDA and CDC: Gardasil Safe!


A couple weeks ago we found out that the FDA and CDC have received 7,802 instances of people having an adverse reaction to Gardasil, but now, both agencies say Merck’s vaccine is safe. Reuters is on it:
Consumers, doctors and others have raised questions about Gardasil's safety but the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the most serious adverse events did not appear linked to the vaccine.

"Based on the review of available information by FDA and CDC, Gardasil continues to be safe and effective, and its benefits continue to outweigh its risks," a statement said.

The agencies said they reviewed more than 9,700 reports of health problems following Gardasil injections.

Six percent of the cases were deemed serious events. They included 20 deaths reported as of June 30.

"There was not a common pattern to the deaths that would suggest they were caused by the vaccine," the FDA and CDC statement said.

In cases where autopsy or other records were available, "the cause of death was explained by factors other than the vaccine," the agencies said.
High praise for a vaccine that only protects against 4 of the 100 strains of HPV and may wear off after 5 to 7 years—according to Dr. Fuhrman. The FDA’s kudos is especially odd because the FDA recently slammed Merck for violations at its vaccine plant.
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UK: Doctors Should Go Easy on Antibiotics...

England’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is urging doctors to NOT prescribe antibiotics for most cases of sore throats, colds, bronchitis, and most respiratory infections. Reuters reports:

They should also delay writing such prescriptions and reassure people the drugs are not needed immediately and would make little difference because most respiratory infections are viral, the new guidelines said.

"Management of respiratory tract infections in the past concentrated on advising prompt antibiotic treatment," Paul Little, who helped write the new guidelines, said in a statement.

"However, as rates of major complications are much less common in modern developed countries, so the evidence of symptomatic benefit should be strong to justify prescribing antibiotics so that we are not needlessly exposing patients to side effects."

The overuse of antibiotics is a growing concern for health officials worldwide as hospitals report an increasing number of drug-resistant bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA.

MRSA infections can range from boils to more severe infections of the bloodstream, lungs and surgical sites. Most cases are associated with hospitals, nursing homes or other health care facilities.

The drugs watchdog said a quarter of people in England and Wales visit the doctor because of respiratory tract infections, which account for 60 percent of all antibiotic prescriptions in general practice.

This is a recurring topic. Dr. Fuhrman has strong opinions on prescribing antibiotics. He faults both doctors and pharmaceutical companies. Check it out:

Drug companies are a big part of this problem. They promote the use of their products through widespread advertising and the practice of giving free samples of the more potent, broad-spectrum antibiotics to doctors.

Most doctors perpetuate this problem because they give in to the pressure to prescribe antibiotics. They like to appear that they are offering an important and necessary service by writing prescriptions.

But Dr. Fuhrman would definitely agree with NICE’s recommendation. He insists antibiotics are appropriate for severe bacterial infections. Likes these:

  • Cellulitis
  • Lyme disease
  • Pneumonia
  • Joint infections
  • Cat bites
  • Meningitis
  • Bronchitis (in a long-term smokers)

Seems to me this strategy would really cut into the profits of drug makers.

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Feet Eating Fish!


As an avid runner, my feet take a beating. Maybe I should schedule an appointment with doctor fish. The Associated Press elaborates:
Ready for the latest in spa pampering? Prepare to dunk your tootsies in a tank of water and let tiny carp nibble away.

Fish pedicures are creating something of a splash in the D.C. area, where a northern Virginia spa has been offering them for the past four months. John Ho, who runs the Yvonne Hair and Nails salon with his wife, Yvonne Le, said 5,000 people have taken the plunge so far.

"This is a good treatment for everyone who likes to have nice feet," Ho said.

He said he wanted to come up with something unique while finding a replacement for pedicures that use razors to scrape off dead skin. The razors have fallen out of favor with state regulators because of concerns about whether they're sanitary.

Ho was skeptical at first about the fish, which are called garra rufa but typically known as doctor fish. They were first used in Turkey and have become popular in some Asian countries.

But Ho doubted they would thrive in the warm water needed for a comfortable footbath. And he didn't know if customers would like the idea.

"I know people were a little intimidated at first," Ho said. "But I just said, 'Let's give it a shot.'"
You’ve got to see them in action. Take a look:



I wonder if fish worry about OUR mercury-risk.

Health Points: Wednesday


Eating locally raised food is a growing trend. But who has time to get to the farmer’s market, let alone plant a garden?

That is where Trevor Paque comes in. For a fee, Mr. Paque, who lives in San Francisco, will build an organic garden in your backyard, weed it weekly and even harvest the bounty, gently placing a box of vegetables on the back porch when he leaves.

Call them the lazy locavores — city dwellers who insist on eating food grown close to home but have no inclination to get their hands dirty. Mr. Paque is typical of a new breed of business owner serving their needs.
In a study published in the latest issue of the journal Neurology, taking Topamax (topiramate) during pregnancy was associated with a birth defect risk within the range of risk seen in other anti-epileptic drugs, researchers reported.


But the incidence of birth defects seen when Topamax was taken with other anti-epileptic drugs was higher than expected.

The study was small, but it is among the first to link Topamax to birth defects in humans, confirming what has been seen in previous animal studies.

"More research needs to be done to confirm these results, especially since it was a small study," researcher John Craig, MRCP, of the Royal Group of Hospitals in Belfast, Northern Ireland said in a news release.

I am the mother of two young children, and extremely grateful to my own parents for looking after them for a few hours now and then. My problem is that they stuff the kids with chocolates, crisps and ice cream. This is not good for the children, their behavior and my own efforts to feed them something nutritious. Why do the grandparents have such a different philosophy, and can I do anything to change their thinking…


… Rather than reasoning with your parents, you must change their incentives. Unfortunately, this is not easy. You could try to bribe your parents, but threats will be useless because they are doing you a favor.

Perhaps your best bet is to try to arrange for longer bouts of childcare. Your parents will have a fresh perspective on the merits of carrots after trying to put a three-year-old to bed in the midst of a sugar high.
"There is some evidence suggesting culturally tailored health education can improve some clinical outcomes in the short-term," co-author Dr. Yolanda Robles of Cardiff University the UK told Reuters Health. However, "further research is needed to assess long-term effects," Robles said.


Language and cultural barriers may hinder the delivery of quality diabetes health education to ethnic minorities, yet education is a vital aspect of diabetes care, Robles and colleagues report in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews from The Cochrane Collaboration.

To assess the overall efficacy of culturally tailored diabetes education versus the "usual" care, the researchers combined findings from 11 published research articles that compared the two approaches among minority groups living in middle- or high-income countries. All of the 1,603 study participants were older than 16 years.
  • U.S. inspectors believe a single jalapeño pepper may have caused salmonella outbreak. More from Lauran Neergaard of the Associated Press:

They found the same bacteria strain on a single Mexican-grown jalapeno pepper handled in Texas -- and issued a stronger warning for consumers to avoid fresh jalapenos.


But Monday's discovery, the equivalent of a fingerprint, doesn't solve the mystery: Authorities still don't know where the pepper became tainted -- on the farm, or in the McAllen, Texas, plant, or at some stop in between, such as a packing house.

Nor are they saying the tainted pepper exonerates tomatoes sold earlier in the spring that consumers until last week had been told were the prime suspect.

Still, "this genetic match is a very important break in the case," said Dr. David Acheson, the Food and Drug Administration's food safety chief.
Fully aware of the irony here, biologist Ronald Levy of Stanford University and his team used tobacco plants to grow the vaccine, which would act against follicular B-cell lymphoma. This chronic, incurable form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma strikes some 16,000 people in the United States each year. For all its horrors, however, follicular B-cell lymphoma just may be tailor-made for a cancer vaccine: all of the malignant cells are the descendants of a single bad actor and have an identical molecule on their surface. But the molecular signature of one patient’s cancer cells is slightly different from every other patient’s; hence the need for potentially expensive personalized vaccines.


The scientists therefore spliced the DNA for the molecular sequences of the antibodies from each of the 16 patients into tobacco cells. The DNA triggered production of antibodies in the tobacco plants’ leaves which were tailor-made for each patient’s lymphoma cells. The scientists ground up the leaves and isolated the antibodies, injecting them into each patient.

The patients’ immune systems got cracking: 70 percent of the patients developed an immune response to the plant-produced vaccine, and 47 percent produced a response specific to the antigen.

"We saw that for women there is still some negative societal fallout to having tattoos", said study author Myrna L. Armstrong, a professor in the school of nursing at Texas Tech University's Health Sciences Center, in Lubbock, Texas. "This isn't a problem for men. Society supports men, because tattoos are related to a macho image, so we don't question it. But for women, having a tattoo seems to be a transgression of gender boundaries."


Armstrong and her colleagues outlined their observations in the July issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

The authors pointed out that about one-quarter of Americans between the ages of 18 and 30 have a tattoo, and women constitute between 45 percent and 65 percent of the tattoo market.

Prior studies show that more than 80 percent of the inked crowd are pleased with their decision to get a tattoo. Among the fifth that are not, about 6 percent ultimately remove their marking.
Almost half of the obstetricians interviewed said they did not routinely ask about alcohol consumption in pregnancy.


An editorial by Professor Elizabeth Elliot from the University of Sydney titled "Alcohol and Pregnancy: the Pivotal Role of the Obstetrician", discusses the state of awareness about the adverse effects of alcohol consumption during pregnancy and the obstetricians’ participation in educating against maternal drinking.

Only 16% of the obstetricians routinely provided information about the consequences of alcohol in pregnancy, while only 5% gave advice which were consistent with the latest guidelines of The National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC) - which states that, for pregnant women, ‘no drinking is the safest option’.

ADHD: Ban Artificial Food Dyes


Activists are calling on the Food and Drug Administration to ban artificial food dyes after more research confirms the link to ADHD. David Kohn of The Baltimore Sun explains:
"At this point, there's no evidence of a connection between dyes and children's behavior," says FDA consumer safety officer Judith Kidwell. She points out that in 1982, a National Institutes of Health panel examined the safety of artificial dyes and found no evidence of risk.

That attitude frustrates activists. "They're at least 20 years behind the science," says Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Last month, the group petitioned the FDA to ban use of the dyes, as well as sodium benzoate, a common preservative that critics also suspect of contributing to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.

"At the very least, they ought to give some consideration to what the British government is doing," Jacobson said.

The FDA is reviewing the CSPI's petition; a spokesman said he didn't know when the agency would respond.

Scientists aren't sure how these chemicals might affect the brain. There are only eight artificial food dyes used in the U.S. To get specific colors, manufacturers mix them.
Not the first time we’ve heard things like this. Check out these posts:
I’ve never felt the need to consume neon green food.

Green-News: Monday 7.21.08

Large quantities of lead ammunition and fishing tackle are produced annually -- the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that roughly 72,600 metric tons of lead shot and bullets are deposited in the U.S. environment each year at outdoor shooting ranges alone. And while estimates of lost fishing tackle are much less, lead tackle also poses a potential toxicological threat. Lead (Pb) is a nonessential heavy metal with no known functional or beneficial role in biological systems. Although lead is relatively stable, under some environmental conditions (e.g., soft acidic water, acidic soil), lead objects can weather and the element can mobilize, spreading the toxic properties. However, the TWS/AFS technical review concludes that the greatest hazard arises from direct ingestion of lead ammunition and fishing tackle by wildlife, particularly birds.

Topics covered include the chemical properties of lead, sources and estimated quantities of lead originating from hunting, shooting and fishing, as well as the pathways of exposure and the effects of lead on plants, animals, and humans. Current regulations on lead ammunition and fishing tackle, along with alternative materials, are also evaluated.
The plaintiffs hope a favorable ruling would force the EPA to implement standards for every state, most of which have only vague limits on such pollution, said Earthjustice attorney David Guest.


The groups say rain sends the runoff, which includes fertilizers and animal waste, into rivers and lakes, contaminating waterways and nourishing algae blooms that poison the ecosystems.

"This is endemic throughout the United States," Guest said. "When you fertilize the water, it makes it so that only one instrument in the ecological orchestra can play. Where you used to have this vast ecological orchestra, now it's only the algae playing."
In what was described as the United States' first statewide "green" building rules, the California Building Standards Commission said the code would help reduce the carbon footprint of every new structure in the state.


According to a statement from the California State and Consumer Services Agency (SCSA), the code goes beyond existing standards, targeting a 50 percent landscape water conservation reduction.

The code also calls on builders to reduce energy use of new structures by 15 percent more than existing standards.

Other measures include encouraging greater use of recycled materials in carpet and construction materials, the SCSA.

Menthol Smokes Target Kids


Harvard University researchers claim menthol masks the harshness of cigarettes and makes them more appealing to adolescents and young adults. The BBC News reports:
They said industry documents showed US firms tested menthol levels for their appeal to different ages.

A leading tobacco company denied such product targeting, while anti-smoking groups said the strategy had not yet been tried in the UK.

The study, in the American Journal of Public Health, analysed a 2006 survey of US smokers, and found that significantly more adolescent and young adult smokers preferred menthol brands.

Between the age of 12 and 17, 43.8% of smokers said they used menthol cigarettes, as did 35.6% of 18 to 24-year-olds.

Cigarettes with higher levels of menthol have been available for many years, but these tend to appeal to older, established smokers.

In the past decade, brands with lower menthol content have been released, and gained a significant following among younger adults.
Hardly shocking; cigarettes, fast food, sugary cereals, and junk food—hook them when they’re young!

Confusing News: Sugar Helps School Kids Concentrate


New research by David Benton, Ph.D., a psychologist and professor at Swansea University, Wales, U.K., suggests sugary drinks improve school children’s memories and concentration. Richard Gray of the UK Telegraph reports:
“Children between the ages of five and ten need twice as much glucose for their brains compared to an adult, but unlike other organs the brain does not store energy so it has to obtain it straight from the blood.

“The message we would like to encourage is that children need to be fed a little and often, but the risk is that they get fed a lot and often leading to problems with obesity.”

Professor Benton gave 16 nine and ten-year-olds fruit squash containing either artificial sweetener or glucose, a basic form of sugar. When the children consumed glucose, he found their memory test scores improved by over ten per cent. The children also spent between 11 and 20 minutes longer on a task when asked to work individually in class.

But Professor Benton did insist that schools should not start feeding pupils fizzy drinks between classes, proposing regular fruit of muesli bars instead.
The methodology of this study only serves to confuse. I’m not a nutritionist, but I think I can say this. Isolated sugars and sweeteners are NEVER healthy. In fact, consuming them interferes with your body’s ability to detoxify. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
When you eat a diet that is based on toxic and addictive foods—such as salt, fried foods, snack foods, and sugary drinks—you not only build up free radicals and AGEs in your cells, but you also set the stage for ill feelings when you are not digesting food. Unhealthy food allows your body to create waste byproducts that must be removed by the liver and other organs. Only when digestion ends can the body fully take advantage of the opportunity to circulate and attempt to remove toxins. If the body is constantly digesting, it can’t go through this detoxification process effectively.
If children need glucose, why even consider nutrition-less sugar? Highly nutritious fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of glucose (via Wikipedia), start there instead! Besides, it was recently determined that kids are already consuming WAY too much sugar.

Grilled Meat, Risky...


Its summer and lot of people have barbeque on their minds, but grilling foods—especially meat—comes with a hefty price. Cooking meat at high temperatures releases cancer-causing carcinogens. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Cancer-causing compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are even more concentrated in grilled chicken than in beef.1 Another recent study from New Zealand that investigated heterocyclic amines in meat, fish, and chicken found the greatest contributor of HCAs to cancer risk was chicken.2
In fact, the American Institute for Cancer Research is urging people to substitute veggies for meat and change their grilling habits. Brittney Johnson of The Washington Post reports:
AICR's warning is based on a 2007 review of research conducted on animals showing that diets high in red and processed meats increase the risk of colorectal cancer. This is the third most common cause of cancer death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The AICR recommends eating no more than 18 cooked ounces of red meat per week -- the equivalent of about four quarter-pound hamburgers -- and avoiding all processed meats, including such summer favorites as hot dogs and sausages.

Cooking meats such as beef, fish and pork at high temperatures produces carcinogens -- substances that can cause changes in DNA that may lead to cancer.
Makes your worry about Uruguay's big barbecue—26,400 pounds toxic beef—that’s why I don’t grill anything. In stead, I steam—EVERYTHING—and according to Dr. Fuhrman, water-based cooking is the best choice:
When food is steamed or made into a soup, the temperature is fixed at 100 degrees Celsius or 212 Fahrenheit—the temperature of boiling water. This moisture-based cooking prevents food from browning and forming toxic compounds. Acrylamides, the most generally recognized of the heat-created toxins, are not formed with boiling or steaming. They are formed only with dry cooking. Most essential nutrients in vegetables are more absorbable after being cooked in a soup, not less absorbable.
Seems pretty logical, I doubt eating a piece of charcoal is healthful, so why would a charred piece of already unhealthy steak be any better? For more on meat and carcinogens, check out: The Meat-Disease Connection.
Continue Reading...

Less Second Hand Smoke, But...


Officials cite smoking bans and other anti-smoking laws for a major drop in second hand smoke, but too many children are still exposed. Mike Stobbe of the Associated Press reports:
"It's still high," said Cinzia Marano, one of the study's authors. "There is no safe level of exposure."

Cigarettes cause lung cancer and other deadly illnesses not only in smokers, but in nonsmokers who breathe in smoke, studies have shown.

For nonsmoking adults, secondhand smoke increases lung cancer risk by at least 20 percent and heart disease risk by at least 25 percent. Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at increased risk of asthma attacks, ear problems, acute respiratory infections and sudden infant death syndrome, health officials say.

The CDC report drew its data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a unique government study that sends mobile trailers out to communities. Participants are asked about their health and get blood tests and physical exams.

The blood tests check for cotinine - a byproduct of nicotine that usually is detectable for up to five days.
Here’s some more smoking-related news. Take a look:

Questioning Gardasil's Safety...


WebMD reports that the FDA and CDC have received 7,802 instances of people having an adverse reaction to the HPV vaccination Gardasil. Miranda Hitti explains:
The 7,802 adverse events reported to Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) for Gardasil include 15 deaths and 31 reports of Guillain-Barre syndrome, a potentially paralyzing, life-threatening condition in which the body's immune system attacks part of the nervous system.

But the VAERS data doesn't tell the whole story, notes John Iskander, MD, MPH, the CDC's acting director of immunization safety…

…Karen Smith-McCune, MD, PhD, associate professor of the department of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive science at the University of California, San Francisco, agrees that the VAERS data don't amount to proof.

But Smith-McCune, who has daughters in the age range for Gardasil vaccination, says she's waiting to see the final, published results from Gardasil's phase III clinical trials before she decides whether to let her daughters get vaccinated.
And not too long ago crackpots wanted to make HPV vaccination mandatory. Dr. Fuhrman’s been bashing Gardasil from the beginning. Check out these 5 points:
  1. 44 percent of women studied aged 20 – 24 had infections with HPV.
  2. The virus disappears and does not cause a problem in 90 percent of infected women.
  3. 100 strains exist, the vaccine protects against only 4, but they include the two strains associated with seventy percent of cervical cancers 16 and 18.
  4. The vaccine has not been studied for long-term effectiveness and the protection may wear off in 5 – 7 years.
  5. Conclusion, most HPV infections and about 50 percent of HPV related cancers will not likely be helped by the vaccine because its effectiveness will likely wane with time, other strains can also cause disease.
The amazing part is how many people are quick to run out and stick themselves or their kids with a drug like this.

Health Points: Thursday


“Summer vacation shouldn’t become a vacation from healthy eating. Kids need nutritious food in the summer just as much as they do during the school year,” Kramer said. “Parents can help by making sure there are plenty of fruits and vegetables available at home. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is a critical cornerstone of nutritious eating habits and is associated with maintaining a healthy weight and overall good health.”

While it’s important to eat fruits and vegetables every day, including them on the menu for special occasions is one way to encourage family members to make healthy food choices during holiday celebrations, vacations, and other summer activities. Here are some ideas for including plenty of fruits and vegetables in meals and snacks. Remember, more matters, so try out more than one of these ideas for healthy summertime eating.
The Food and Drug Administration ordered makers of flouroquinolone drugs - a potent class of antibacterials - to add a prominent "black box" warning to their products and develop new literature for patients emphasizing the risks.


Tendon ruptures are normally thought of as sports injuries, generally occurring among men in their mid-30s. The link to treatment with the antibiotics is highly unusual, and scientists still don't fully understand why it happens. However, FDA officials stressed that many of the serious injuries appear to be preventable if patients stop taking the drug at the first sign of pain or swelling in a tendon, call their doctor, and switch to another antibiotic.

Studying childhood obesity, University of Toronto nutritionist Harvey Anderson found that kids who watched TV while eating lunch took in 228 extra calories than those who ate without the television on.

"One of Anderson's conclusions is that eating while watching television overrides our ability to know when to stop eating," the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, which funded the study, said on Tuesday.

"In effect, mindless television watching produces mindless eating. ... Anderson has some immediate advice for parents -- turn the television off during mealtime."
Researchers at the American Cancer Society and Emory University in Atlanta calculated death rates for lung, breast, prostate and colorectal cancer by level of education among U.S. blacks and whites ages 25 to 64 for 1993 through 2001.


Death rates for each of these types of cancer decreased from 1993 to 2001 in men and women with at least 16 years of education -- a college degree -- except for lung cancer among black women, for whom death rates were stable, they found.

By contrast, among people with less than 12 years of education -- those who did not finish high school -- a statistically significant decrease in death rates during the same period was registered only for breast cancer among white women, according to the study.

Teen girls who spend a lot of time on the Internet are more likely to see their weight creeping slowly up than adolescents who spend less time in front of the computer screen, new research shows.


And the association between computer use and weight held true even when the researchers accounted for the amount of exercise the girls were getting. The Harvard researchers also found that a lack of sleep and alcohol consumption were associated with increasing weight.

"We found more weight gain -- after adjustment for height growth and other factors including physical activity -- for females who spent more recreational time on the Internet, for those getting the least sleep, and for those drinking the most alcohol," said study author Catherine Berkey, a biostatistician at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.
It's simple. No fancy machines required; just record what you eat on paper or using an online record. "The trick is to write down everything you eat or drink that has calories," says Victor Stevens, a researcher at Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research and coauthor of the study released today, which appears in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. That's easy enough with labeled foods but gets harder when you're dining out or are eating an unfamiliar food. Try online calorie databases like CalorieKing.com, and watch the serving sizes—here's a good source of info on estimating what, say, an ounce of bread looks like. You'll probably still underestimate your daily intake, says Thomas Wadden, director of the Center for Weight Loss and Eating Disorders at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, but you'll very likely come closer than someone who isn't keeping a food record.


It's eye opening. In fact, some people will be so shocked at how many calories are in their thrice-daily Coke that the "aha" moment will make going on an actual diet unnecessary. Being forced to be aware of what you're eating can often be enough to help people drop weight, says Wadden.

This funny little fruit seems to crop up in lots of popular diet plans, despite a high calorie count.

The reason: It contains monounsaturated fat, one of the "good" fats. It's also packed with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, and it can help the body absorb even more. It's got no cholesterol or sodium, but it's packed with lutein, an antioxidant that contributes to healthy eyes.

Watch it, though: A medium avocado contains about 250 calories, and it's easy to shovel in a bowlful of guacamole when there are chips at hand. But when used judiciously, avocados are healthful and satisfying.
"There is a very long list of health hazards from being overweight," said Ghiyath Shayeb, the study's lead researcher at the University of Aberdeen. "Now we can add poor semen quality to the list."


But experts aren't sure if that necessarily means obese men face major difficulties having children.

"If you have a man who isn't fantastically fertile with a normal partner who is fertile, her fertility will compensate," said Dr. William Ledger, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Britain's University of Sheffield, who was unconnected to the study.

But if both partners are heavy, Ledger said that could be a problem, since obesity is known to decrease women's fertility.

The Flintstones Grab a Smoke

Everyone loves The Flintstones, but did you know that Fred and Barney used to hock cigarettes. You won’t believe your eyes:



Hard to believe—wow!
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Plastic Bag Tax?


The Los Angeles city council wants to impose a 25 cent fee on each plastic shopping bag. The Associated Press is on it:
If the full council approves the proposal, city employees would have to use reusable cups and plates whenever possible, Kandarpa said.

The city spends $20,000 per year on polystyrene products, said Neil Guglielmo, a recycling manager at the city Bureau of Sanitation. He told the committee plastic bags and foam food containers are not biodegradable, clogs storm drains and add waste to landfills.

Michael Westerfield, a spokesman for packaging company Dart Container, opposed the plan by arguing that by banning one product, "you're just going to replace the problem with another product."
And check out this article on plastic bags too: China's Plastic Bag Ban Will Save 37 Million Barrels of Oil.

Smokers Have More Back Pain


According to a telephone survey smokers or former smokers reported having more back pain. From ScienceDaily:
Their evaluation showed that smokers or former smokers suffer chronic back pain much more often than do non-smokers. The number of years the subjects had been smoking or had smoked was decisive. Subjects who had consumed tobacco for more than 16 years had a two-fold greater probability of suffering chronic back pain than subjects who had smoked for less than 10 years.

The probability of back pain was further multiplied for subjects who had smoked for longer than 26 years. On the other hand, the frequency with which the subjects consumed tobacco and the quantities smoked did not play a role.

However, the authors pointed out that tobacco consumption does not necessarily cause chronic back pain. It is just as possible that people with chronic back pain smoke to alleviate the pain. The exact association between smoking and back pain will have to be clarified in appropriate studies. These could offer additional possibilities to prevent chronic back pain or smoking motivated by this.
Yeah, don’t smoke.

FEMA Trailers, Still Toxic


The problem with those infamous toxic FEMA trailers? Formaldehyde fumes from particle board. Maggie Fox of Reuters reports:
Such temporary housing should be designed with better ventilation, the report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests, and current health and safety standards may not be enough to protect people.

"Even though construction materials meet standards ... you have to be a little bit careful about how you use those construction materials. You could end up fostering high levels of formaldehyde," said CDC spokesman Glen Nowak in a telephone interview.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said 15,000 people displaced by hurricanes Katrina and Rita along the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2005 are still living in such trailers.

FEMA spokesman James Kaplan said a few dozen mobile homes were being sent to people displaced by flooding in Iowa, but they had been tested for low formaldehyde levels.
That’s funny. “Better ventilation.” The trailer’s toxic, so open a window!
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Your Job, Good Health Mandatory...


With healthcare costs soaring, many businesses have instituted mandatory health guidelines—like refusing to hire smokers—which have kicked off a fiery debate, are employee health guidelines good or just an invasion of privacy. CNN reports:
"Health and wellness programs at work are a win/win situation for everybody," says Richard Taylor, vice president of human resources at Intel. "We keep our insurance costs down, and the employees are offered free health and wellness opportunities."

Alfred Sanchez, the CEO of the YMCA of Greater Miami, agrees. He started a free health and fitness program in March for his staff and their families that include weigh-ins, meetings with health counselors, nutritional guidance and exercise plans. Out of a staff of 170, all but 40 employees signed up…

…Some people, however, bristle at what they perceive as having lifestyle choices dictated by an employer.

This May, for example, the University of Massachusetts Medical School banned all tobacco use from their campus and hospital, including parking lots. If an employee is caught smoking, they risk being fired.

"They won't even allow people to smoke in their cars," says James LeBlanc, 45, an employee at the university and himself an ex-smoker who kicked the habit prior to the ban. "We all know smoking is bad for you, but last time I checked it was still legal in this country."

Some companies forbid their employees to light up at all -- even at home. There are at least 20 states that allow for this type of work policy, including Ohio, where the state's second-largest employer, the Cleveland Clinic, stopped hiring smokers in September.
This is tough. Everyone wants a healthier workforce, but this is America. If you want to ruin your health, you can. It’s your right. But then again, don’t companies also have the right to hire or not hire whoever they want—barring any civil rights infractions that is.

101 Ways to Live Healthy and Happy!


The Nursing Degree Network shares a whole bunch of ways we can all live better. Here are some I really liked. Have a look:
3. Not getting enough sleep: Even though you’re not putting anything harmful in your body, not getting enough sleep can be harmful to you.
8. Being negative: Get rid of negative thoughts and feelings, and you’ll find that a life filled with feelings of gratitude, optimism and perspective will make you more successful and happy.
22. Introduce natural light: Introduce natural light into your home or office to improve your energy level.
24. Eat organic: Organic foods actually promote good feng shui and good energy, so make sure your kitchen is stocked with organic vegetables and grains.
39. Meditation: Relax your mind and de-stress with these meditation tips.
45. Go to the bathroom: It’s important to have regular bowel movements, and holding it in too long can cause an infection. Go when you need to go!
50. Add garlic to your diet: Garlic "activates liver enzymes" which clean out your system and help you detox.
62. Spend time outside: Taking a walk outside or reading a book in your yard will quickly make you feel more connected to your community and nature.
67. Clean out your inbox: Organizing your inbox by deleting old messages and moving important e-mails to separate folders will help you focus and de-clutter your mind.
72. Open the windows: Let in some of the natural elements by opening a window…even if it’s raining outside. Breathing in fresh air will calm you down naturally.
83. Pick something you enjoy: If you hate yoga, don’t do sign up for a class just because you think it’s the right thing to do. You can detoxify with any kind of exercise, including organized sports or running.
89. Exercise at work: Desktop yoga and other simple exercises can be done at work, helping workaholics detox anytime.
101. Eat broccoli sprouts: Broccoli sprouts have more "cancer-fighting, enzyme-stimulating" nutrients than regular broccoli.
The one about the going poop made me laugh. If you need to remember to go to the bathroom—you've got major problems! Be sure to read them all.

Wednesday: Healthy Points


Denmark is the happiest nation and Zimbabwe the the most glum, he found. (Zimbabwe's longtime ruler Robert Mugabe was sworn in as president for a sixth term Sunday after a widely discredited runoff in which he was the only candidate. Observers said the runoff was marred by violence and intimidation.)

The United States ranks 16th.

The results of the survey, going back an average of 17 years in 52 countries and involving 350,000 people, will be published in the July 2008 issue of the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science. Researchers have asked the same two questions over the years: "Taking all things together, would you say you are very happy, rather happy, not very happy, not at all happy?" And, "All things considered, how satisfied are you with your life as a whole these days?"
The study, researchers say, suggests that CKD should be added to the list of conditions that are associated with weight gain, including diabetes and high blood pressure.


Obesity is a known risk factor for CKD, but the impact of weight gain in normal-weight individuals without high blood pressure or diabetes is unknown, Dr. Seungho Ryu, at Kangbuk Samsung Hospital in Seoul, and associates note in their report.

In Korea, workers are required to undergo periodic health examinations. Using these data, Ryu's team followed 8792 healthy men ages 30 to 59 years with no known risk factors for CKD between 2002 and 2007. The prevalence of obesity was about 33 percent.

For example, for apricots, a cup of fresh halves is 86 percent water, with 74 calories, and a half cup of dried fruit is 76 percent water, with 212 calories. Fresh apricots have 3.1 grams of fiber versus 6.5 for dried; 0.6 milligrams of iron versus 2.35 milligrams; 15.5 milligrams of vitamin C versus 0.8 milligrams; and 149 retinol activity equivalents of vitamin A versus 160.


A cup of fresh Thompson seedless grapes is 80 percent water, with 104 calories, and a half cup of raisins is 15 percent water, with 434 calories. The grapes have 1.4 grams of fiber, versus 5.4 grams for the raisins; 0.54 milligrams of iron versus 2.73 milligrams; 288 milligrams of potassium versus 1,086 milligrams; and 16.3 milligrams of vitamin C versus 3.3 milligrams.
At a meeting of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, a joint body of the WHO and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), officials also set benchmarks for producing gluten-free foods.


Peter Ben Embarek, a scientist in the WHO's food safety division, said the adoption of the "landmark" code of hygienic practices for powdered formula could reduce contamination from two bacteria that can cause severe illness and death in babies.

People with wheat allergies would also be protected by the standards for gluten-free food that countries pledged to work into their national legislation, and to meet in food exports under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

Most trade shows are the stuff of, if not nightmares, then at least a sleepwalk from one charmless kiosk to the next. Not so at the 54th Summer Fancy Food Show, where 20,000+ gourmet retailers, restaurateurs, chefs, media folks and plain ol' food fans spend three days chomping their way through a fever dream of some 180,000 specialty foods. The throwback "Fancy" is a bit of a misnomer by now, as there's a very wide slice of products on offer, ranging from swankity wines, oils, cheeses and caviar to humble chewing gums, ketchups, chili seasonings and snack mixes.
Most commercial brands of mayonnaise contain vinegar and other ingredients that make them acidic — and therefore very likely to protect against spoilage. When problems occur, they usually result from other contaminated or low-acid ingredients (like chicken and seafood), improper storage and handling, or homemade versions that contain unpasteurized eggs.


One prominent study published in The Journal of Food Protection found, for example, that in the presence of commercial mayonnaise, the growth of salmonella and staphylococcus bacteria in contaminated chicken and ham salad either slowed or stopped altogether. As the amount of mayonnaise increased, the rate of growth decreased. When temperatures rose to those of a hot summer day, the growth increased, but not as much as in samples that did not contain mayonnaise.

After following over 5,700 men for 23 years, researchers concluded that the faster your rate drops after exercise, the lower your risk of dying of a heart attack. To perform the calculation, first take note of your heart rate at exactly one minute after you've finished your workout. Then, take that number and subtract it from the maximum heart rate you reached during the workout. If the difference is more than 35bpm, there's a good chance you do not face an increased risk.


If, however, it is less than 35bpm, the study suggests there's need for caution. Specifically, if the difference is between 31-35bpm, your risk is increased by 40 percent; 25-30bpm, risk increase is 30 percent; less than 25bpm, risk increase is 110 percent.
In Berlin, where a ban took effect on January 1, smokers were granted a six-month period of grace that expired on Tuesday and those who breach the ban now face fines of 1,000 euros (1,575 dollars).


In the eastern state of Saxony, fines can run up to 5,000 euros but in the northern port of Hamburg and Thuringia, in eastern Germany, the highest fine authorities can issue is 500 euros.

The wealthy southern state of Bavaria is considered to have the country's toughest public smoking ban because it prohibits restaurants from opening separate smoking sections -- a practice allowed in other states.

Tuesday: Health Points


The report by scientists at the WHO's International Agency for Cancer Research urged more countries to adopt smoking bans in public and at the workplace, saying there was enough evidence to prove they work, without hurting businesses such as restaurants and bars.

"Implementation of such policies can have a broader population effect of increasing smoke-free environments," the researchers wrote in the Lancet Oncology special report.

"Not only do these policies achieve their aim of protecting the health of non-smokers by decreasing exposure to second-hand smoke, they also have many effects on smoking behavior, which compound the health benefits."
Watching television in America takes some getting used to. Apart from the accent, it is strange to hear companies marketing drugs directly to the consumer. Not only do they sell their own brand, but they actively name and shame their competitors' products. During a commercial break there may be two different brands of antihistamine telling you how bad the other is.


Direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) is the promotion of prescription drugs through newspaper, magazine, television and internet marketing. Although the drug industry is mounting major campaigns to have DTCA allowed in Europe and Canada, the only two developed countries where it is currently legal are the U.S. and New Zealand.

Studies have shown that increases in DTCA have contributed to overall increases in spending on both the advertised drug itself and on other drugs that treat the same conditions. For example, one study of 64 drugs found a median increase in sales of $2.20 for every $1 spent on DTCA. It has been reported that 10 of the leading 12 brand-name drugs with DTCA campaigns have sales in excess of $1 billion annually.

The Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office on Women's Health launched BodyWorks in 2006 by training instructors in the hopes that they would bring the program home to their communities. All materials are provided free, but communities must find the resources to pay trainers and a place to offer the program.


"Throughout the years I've worked with nutritionists, I've worked with diet programs, and it's very frustrating," Dr. Monica Richter, a pediatrician on staff at the Children's Hospital Seattle and a BodyWorks instructor who coordinates fundraising to help support the program, told Reuters Health. "I'm hoping that this will be one of the answers to this growing problem."

Girls 9 to 13 years old who are overweight or obese are referred to BodyWorks through their pediatrician, or by word of mouth. Parents and caregivers attend 10 weekly 90-minute sessions, and girls are expected to show up for at least three. The goal is to give parents and caregivers "hands-on tools to make small behavior changes to prevent obesity and help maintain a healthier weight," according to the BodyWorks Web site (http://www.womenshealth.gov/bodyworks/).
However, a new study suggests that the Nutrition Facts panel found on the side of grocery store products does a poor job of getting that message across to consumers.


"It's very misleading to just throw a number out there," contends study author Elizabeth Howlett, a professor of marketing at the University of Arkansas, in Little Rock.

Her team found that the average health-conscious consumer is often misled by trans fat information found on the Nutrition Facts panel.

The main problem is that because no amount of trans fat is good for you, it makes no sense to post a percentage of the "recommended daily value" -- as is done with other ingredients such as sugar, or total or saturated fats. So consumers are just left with a number -- such as 2, 3 or 4 grams of trans fat per serving -- and no way of interpreting how unhealthy that might be.

What surprises me most about it is that the parking lot next to the field is not full. I would think people would be lined up to climb up on that roof and get a good look at the art from above.
Even a bra that perfectly maximized motion (without sacrificing support and comfort) would be useful to me only if there were a way to turn that motion into energy. For a primer on how to do that, I turned to Professor Zhong Lin Wang of Georgia Tech, who is currently working to develop fabric made from nanowires that will capture energy from motion. Wang's wires are about 1/1,000th the width of a human hair. When woven together in a fabric, these nanowires rub up against one another and convert the mechanical energy from the friction into an electric charge. According to Wang, the fabric is cheap to produce and surprisingly efficient; his team hopes to use it to create energy-generating T-shirts and other articles of clothing. A square meter of fiber produces about 80 milliwatts of power, which is enough to run a small device like a cell phone. Wang expects to have a shirt available for purchase within five years.


Many bra patterns call for about a meter of fabric, which would probably mean that a regular bra would have enough energy to power an iPod. But the fabric could also be layered, doubling or even tripling the amount of energy produced. I asked Wang whether his fabric could be used to make a bra. "Bras would be ideal," he said. "There is a lot of friction and movement in that general area. And the fabric would be thick."

Parents secretly putting things (even if it's broccoli) into their children's food without their knowing it? When they grow up, I wonder what they'll think of that?


Seems a trust is broken here, and I'm not sure it won't affect food issues these children may have down the line.

Delicious is key where food and children are concerned. If a parent wants to get a child to eat fruit, he or she can wash, chop and freeze fresh strawberries, then take a blender and pour in one cup of fat-free milk. Add three packages of artificial sweetener. Add four or five frozen strawberries, and blend. Keep adding strawberries until you have a thick, luscious strawberry milkshake that could stand toe-to-toe with any fast-food shake you've ever had.
Condition worsened
The girl grew increasingly weak and feverish and "became more limp, appears sleepy, acts as if drunk," the report said. She was hospitalized and underwent surgery and was finally withdrawn from life support. She died April 5, according to the report.


The 9- and 6-year-olds suffered from mitochondrial disorders, a spectrum of genetic diseases that has received almost no attention from federal health officials. The 9-year-old, Hannah Poling, was 19 months old and developing normally in 2000 when she received five shots against nine infectious diseases. Two days later, she developed a fever, cried inconsolably and refused to walk. In the next seven months, she spiraled downward, and in 2001, she was diagnosed with autism.