The Plain Truth

The Plain Truth
God's Hand Behind the News

Sunday, June 27, 2010

100,000 Americans Die Each Year from Prescription Drugs, While Pharma Companies Get Rich

Prescription drugs taken as directed kill 100,000 Americans a year. That's one person every five minutes. How did we get here?

How many people do you know who regularly use a prescription medication? If your social group is like most Americans', the answer is most. Sixty-five percent of the country takes a prescription drug these days. In 2005 alone, we spent $250 billion on them. read more>>>>>>

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Cancers of Hair, Nails, Sweat Glands Appear to be on the Rise in U.S

Categories: News

Skin CancerRare skin cancers of the sweat glands, hair, nails and mammary glands seem to be on the rise in the United States and scientists are trying to figure out why, according to a new study.

Though the tumors, called cutaneous appendageal carcinomas, are still unusual, the article in the June issue of the Archives of Dermatology, a Journal of the American Medical Association publication, said their rates are apparently increasing among American patients.

The National Cancer Institute's Patrick W. Blake and colleagues studied trends as well as incidence and survival rates of the diseases using 16 cancer registries from 1978 to 2005 from a report called the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program.

About 5.1 cases per 1 million people developed the skin appendage tumors each year, with men more likely to get one of the cancers than women, researchers found. The most common type was cancer of the sweat glands, or apocrine-eccrine carcinoma.

The rates of the cancers were highest in non-Hispanic whites and lower in Hispanic whites, blacks, Asians and Pacific Islanders. The diseases' incidence rose with age, according to the findings, which showed a 100-fold difference between people aged 20 to 29 and those 80 and older.

Among the reasons for the apparent increase are the evolution of the classification of tumors, a rise in sun and UV radiation exposure and an aging population, study corresponding author Dr. Jorge R. Toro told AOL Health.

The tumors have also become more widely diagnosed over time, in part thanks to a spike in early screenings -- with a 150 percent jump in the incidence rates between 1978 to 1982 and 2002 to 2005. Sweat gland cancers increased 170 percent and cancers of the eyelid glands 217 percent, according to the researchers.

Dr. Jorge A. Garcia-Zuazaga, a dermatologist at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Ohio, said the carcinomas often appear as small red bumps or pimples on the skin that won't go away.

"We do think there's an environmental component," he told AOL Health. "There's more indoor tanning, more exposure to the sun and more early screening."

The tumors also develop more frequently in patients with compromised autoimmune systems and in conjunction with certain genetic diseases, he added.

The good news is that survival rates are relatively high: 99 percent over five years if the tumors are caught early and confined to one area and 43 percent if the cancer has spread.

A broader-based population study is needed to confirm the findings, Toro said.

Related:
The Root of Health: What's Your Hair Telling You?

Reusable Grocery Bags Can Breed E. Coli, Study Warns


Environmentally-conscious consumers often bring their own reusable grocery bag to the check-out line, but they may be endangering their health by doing so.

A joint food safety research report by the University of Arizona at Tucson and Loma Linda University says reusable grocery bags can serve as a breeding ground for dangerous food-borne bacteria and pose a serious risk to public health.

The research study -- which randomly tested reusable grocery bags carried by shoppers in the Los Angeles area, San Francisco, and Tucson -- also found consumers were almost completely unaware of the need to regularly wash their bags.

"Our findings suggest a serious threat to public health, especially from coliform bacteria including E. coli, which were detected in half the bags sampled," said Charles Gerba, Ph.D., a University of Arizona environmental microbiology professor and co-author of the study. "Furthermore, consumers are alarmingly unaware of these risks and the critical need to sanitize their bags after every use."

The bacteria levels found in reusable bags were significant enough to cause a wide range of serious health problems and even lead to death -- a particular danger for young children, who are especially vulnerable to food-borne illnesses, he said.

The study also found that awareness of potential risks was very low. A full 97 percent of those interviewed have never washed or bleached their reusable bags, said Gerba, who added that thorough washing kills nearly all bacteria that accumulate in reusable bags.

Re-usable bag use may increase

The report comes at a time when some members of the California State Legislature, through Assembly Bill 1998, are seeking to promote increased consumer use of reusable bags by banning plastic bags from California stores.

"If this is the direction California wants to go, our policymakers should be prepared to address the ramifications for public health," said co-author Ryan Sinclair, Ph.D., a professor at Loma Linda University's School of Public Health.

The report noted that "a sudden or significant increase in use of reusable bags without a major public education campaign on how to reduce cross contamination would create the risk of significant adverse public health impact."

Geographic factors also play a role, said Sinclair, who noted that contamination rates appeared to be higher in the Los Angeles area than in the two other locations -- a phenomenon likely due to that region's weather being more conducive to growth of bacteria in reusable bags.

Useful tips

The report -- "Assessment of the Potential for Cross Contamination of Food Products by Reusable Shopping Bags" -- offered the following policy recommendations for lawmakers, as well as tips for consumers who use reusable grocery bags:

• States should consider requiring printed instructions on reusable bags indicating that they need to cleaned or bleached between uses;

• State and local governments should invest in a public education campaign to alert the public about risk and prevention;

• When using reusable bags, consumers should be careful to separate raw foods from other food products;

• Consumers should not use reusable food bags for such other purposes as carrying books or gym clothes;

• Consumers should not store reusable bags in the trunks of their cars because the higher temperature promotes growth of bacteria.

"As scientists our focus was not on the relative merits of paper, plastic or reusable grocery bags," Gerba said. "Our intent was purely to provide relevant data to better inform consumers and lawmakers about the public health dimensions that could arise from increased use of reusable bags. With this knowledge, people will be in a better position to protect their health and that of their children."

South African doctor invents female condoms with 'teeth' to fight rape

By Faith Karimi, CNN

June 21, 2010 -- Updated 1922 GMT (0322 HKT)
Dr. Sonnet Ehlers shows a spiked female condom, whose hooks she  says stick on a man during rape.
Dr. Sonnet Ehlers shows a spiked female condom, whose hooks she says stick on a man during rape.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Doctor distributes anti-rape female condom during World Cup
  • Jagged rows of teeth-like hooks attach on man's penis
  • Device can only be removed by a doctor
  • "It hurts, he cannot pee and walk when it's on," doctor says

(CNN) -- South African Dr. Sonnet Ehlers was on call one night four decades ago when a devastated rape victim walked in. Her eyes were lifeless; she was like a breathing corpse.

"She looked at me and said, 'If only I had teeth down there,'" recalled Ehlers, who was a 20-year-old medical researcher at the time. "I promised her I'd do something to help people like her one day."

Forty years later, Rape-aXe was born.

Ehlers is distributing the female condoms in the various South African cities where the World Cup soccer games are taking place.

The woman inserts the latex condom like a tampon. Jagged rows of teeth-like hooks line its inside and attach on a man's penis during penetration, Ehlers said.

Once it lodges, only a doctor can remove it -- a procedure Ehlers hopes will be done with authorities on standby to make an arrest.

"It hurts, he cannot pee and walk when it's on," she said. "If he tries to remove it, it will clasp even tighter... however, it doesn't break the skin, and there's no danger of fluid exposure."

Ehlers said she sold her house and car to launch the project, and she planned to distribute 30,000 free devices under supervision during the World Cup period.

Video: Rape-fighting condom has 'teeth'

"I consulted engineers, gynecologists and psychologists to help in the design and make sure it was safe," she said.

After the trial period, they'll be available for about $2 a piece. She hopes the women will report back to her.

"The ideal situation would be for a woman to wear this when she's going out on some kind of blind date ... or to an area she's not comfortable with," she said.

The mother of two daughters said she visited prisons and talked to convicted rapists to find out whether such a device would have made them rethink their actions.

Some said it would have, Ehlers said.

Critics say the female condom is not a long-term solution and makes women vulnerable to more violence from men trapped by the device.

It hurts, he cannot pee and walk when it's on. If he tries to remove it, it will clasp even tighter
--Dr Sonnet Ehlers
RELATED TOPICS

It's also a form of "enslavement," said Victoria Kajja, a fellow for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the east African country of Uganda. "The fears surrounding the victim, the act of wearing the condom in anticipation of being assaulted all represent enslavement that no woman should be subjected to."

Kajja said the device constantly reminds women of their vulnerability.

"It not only presents the victim with a false sense of security, but psychological trauma," she added. "It also does not help with the psychological problems that manifest after assaults."

However, its one advantage is it allows justice to be served, she said.

Various rights organizations that work in South Africa declined to comment, including Human Rights Watch and Care International.

South Africa has one of the highest rape rates in the world, Human Rights Watch says on its website. A 2009 report by the nation's Medical Research Council found that 28 percent of men surveyed had raped a woman or girl, with one in 20 saying they had raped in the past year, according to Human Rights Watch.

In most African countries, rape convictions are not common. Affected women don't get immediate access to medical care, and DNA tests to provide evidence are unaffordable.

"Women and girls who experience these violations are denied justice, factors that contribute to the normalization of rape and violence in South African society," Human Rights Watch says.

Women take drastic measures to prevent rape in South Africa, Ehlers said, with some wearing extra tight biker shorts and others inserting razor blades wrapped in sponges in their private parts.

Critics have accused her of developing a medieval device to fight rape.

"Yes, my device may be a medieval, but it's for a medieval deed that has been around for decades," she said. "I believe something's got to be done ... and this will make some men rethink before they assault a woman."

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Study busts liver disease myth

KOLKATA: If you had the idea that alcohol and obesity were primarily responsible for fatty liver and other liver diseases, here is a report that turns this theory on its head. Non-obese and non alcoholic people also fall prey to liver diseases, including the cirrhosis of the liver.

A study by a team of Kolkata doctors has revealed a high prevalence rate of non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) and other liver diseases among the non-obese, non-alcoholic people from poor families. The remarkable findings by the team of doctors from SSKM’s School of Digestive & Liver Diseases (SDLD) breaks the myth that NAFL is particular to developed countries that are associated with industrialisation, sedentary lifestyle and obesity.

A sample size of 1,911 adults from Nagari panchayat in Birbhum district were chosen for the study. A majority of them belonged to the below poverty line category and are either agricultural workers or labourers. People from this region and economic background were chosen so that they can be taken as representatives of those living in less developed regions across the country.

None had either hepatitis B or C that can trigger liver ailment. And despite the fact that about 47% of them were malnourished, the most remarkable finding of the study is that about 9% of this sample — who did not consume alcohol and were not obese — had fatty liver.

“Confirmation for NAFL was done by dual radiological screening consisting of ultra sonography and CT scan in order to double check for an absolutely error free result. The study was conducted over a period of two years,” said gasteroenterologist Dr Khaunish Das, who was a part of the team.

Because of the significant prevalence of NAFL and higher risks of liver diseases — including cryptogenic cirrhosis — in this non-obese, non-alcoholic, non-affluent population, the researchers believe NAFL will be a major determinant for future liver disease burden in developing economies.

Cirrhosis of the liver is considered the thirteenth most common cause for mortality. So far, chronic viral hepatitis due to hepatitis B and C was known as the most common cause for cirrhosis of the liver.

The study highlights two issues. First, NAFL is prevalent among individuals in developing countries who many not have the typical metabolic risk factors for NAFL and therefore, perceived to be not in the risk category for the condition. Secondly, NAFL in this Birbhum population could be similar to NAFL in other population from similar backgrounds.

“The study has shown that non-obese people who are physically active and without a bulging waistline can also have fatty liver. In fact, this study provides evidence for the first time that NAFL will be an important determinant of liver disease burden even in poor and emerging economies,” said Dr Abhijit Chowdhury who heads SDLD.

The findings of the study have been published recently in two reputable journals — ‘Hepatology, the journal of American Association for the study of liver’ and ‘Nature Reviews’.

SOURCE:

ABORTION IN THE NEWS

MATTERS OF LIFE AND DEATH
Researchers: Abortion 'can triple risk of breast cancer'
4th epidemiological study to report such a link in last 14 months
--London Daily Mail


WND.ARCHIVES, OCT. 4, 2007
WorldNetDaily Exclusive

Abortions linked to breast cancer again
'Women aren't being given this information'
--WND


Clinic to stop offering abortions
Former owner dies childless, without heirs to leave business to
--Raleigh News & Observer

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Why Your Stomach is Twitching: Neurologist Explains

Is your stomach twitching? "Twitching is the common term for fasciculations, an abnormal firing of muscles," says Daniel Kantor, MD, President-Elect of the Florida Society of Neurology (FSN) and Medical Director of Neurologique, an organization dedicated to patient care, research and education. When your stomach twitches, just what is happening?

"When it is in the abdominal area, the abdominal muscles are having these fasciculations." So that's what's happening when a person's stomach is twitching. Dr. Kantor continues: "Fasciculations can appear in almost any muscle." With that said, this experience is actually a muscle twitching in the stomach area of the body, rather than an internal organ.

"Fasciculations can be a normal thing (it just feels strange); it can be due to dehydration, aging or to more serious (usually not life-threatening or life-altering) causes. When we overuse a muscle, it can twitch. So, just like your leg muscles may twitch after a long run, if you put strain on your midsection, your abdominal muscles may twitch."

In short, the sensation of your stomach twitching is absolutely no cause for alarm or fear, even though it can be very annoying.

In rare cases, a twitch coming from the stomach area can be a symptom of a more serious condition such as a motor neuron disease, says Dr. Kantor. If that stomach twitching is really bothering you, see a neurologist to rule out any disease process and put your mind at ease. However, chances are, if your stomach muscles have been twitching, it's a perfectly benign situation.

"This is why it is important to relax, not jump to conclusions, and to talk to your primary care doctor or neurologist about it," says Dr. Kantor.

"Sometimes people mistake abdominal wall dystonia with abdominal muscle fasciculations. In abdominal wall dystonia there is an abnormal muscle tone. This causes sustained contractions and involuntary, writhing movement of the abdominal wall. This is why some people have called it 'belly-dancer's dyskinesia' -- abnormal movement. The confusion between twitching, abnormal muscle tone and even muscle jerking (myoclonus) highlights the importance of a good physical examination by your doctor."

If you haven't put recent strain on your stomach, but the muscles continue to twitch, this could be the result of anxiety, stress, dehydration and/or mineral imbalance. Make sure you are getting enough fluids and adequate amounts of magnesium and potassium.

If you've noticed that the more you think about your stomach twitching, the more it fires away, then this pretty much confirms that the situation is benign, since an actual disease isn't going to cause fasciculations just because you start thinking about it. Read more about how anxiety can outright cause fasciculations

SOURCE

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sugary Foods Linked to Pancreatic Cancer

People with diets high in sweets and other foods that cause rapid blood-sugar spikes may have a higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer than those who eat less of those foods, a new study suggests.

In a study of nearly 1,000 Italian adults with and without pancreatic cancer, researchers found that those whose diets were high in so-called "glycemic index" showed a greater risk of the cancer than participants whose diets were relatively low-glycemic index. MORE>>>>>>>

Tea and coffee 'protect against heart disease'

FROM THE BBC


cup of tea It is still not clear what difference milk makes to the health benefits

Drinking several cups of tea or coffee a day appears to protect against heart disease, a 13-year-long study from the Netherlands has found.

It adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting health benefits from the most popular hot drinks.

Those who drank more than six cups of tea a day cut their risk of heart disease by a third, the study of 40,000 people found.

Consuming between two to four coffees a day was also linked to a reduced risk.

While the protective effect ceased with more than four cups of coffee a day, even those who drank this much were no more likely to die of any cause, including stroke and cancer, than those who abstained.

The Dutch tend to drink coffee with a small amount of milk and black tea without. There have been conflicting reports as to whether milk substantially affects the polyphenols - believed to be the most beneficial substance in tea.

Coffee has properties which could in theory simultaneously increase and reduce risk - potentially raising cholesterol while battling the inflammatory damage associated with heart disease.

But the study in the Journal of the American Heart Association finds those who drank between two and four cups a day lowered the risk of the disease by 20%.

"It's basically a good news story for those who like tea and coffee. These drinks appear to offer benefits for the heart without raising the risk of dying from anything else," said Professor Yvonne van der Schouw, the lead researcher.

Ellen Mason, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: "This study adds further weight to the evidence that drinking tea and coffee in moderation is not harmful for most people, and may even lower your risk of developing, or dying, from heart disease.

"However, it's worth remembering that leading a healthy overall lifestyle is the thing that really matters when it comes to keeping your heart in top condition.


Monday, June 14, 2010

Study: Blood Pressure Drugs Linked to Cancer

A drug commonly used to treat blood pressure, heart failure and diabetes-related kidney damage, was linked to a “modest” increased risk of cancer in a study published Monday. The drugs are known as angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs) and include medicines such as telmisartan (Micardis), losartan (Cozaar, Hyzaar), valsartan (Diovan) and candesartan (Atacand).

The Lancet Oncology journal’s research on the use of angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) found 7.2 percent of patients who took ARBs were given a new cancer diagnosis, compared to 6 percent of patients not treated with ARBs, over the same four-year period.

The U.S. study described the results as showing “ARBs are associated with a modestly increased risk of new cancer diagnosis,” and said the findings warrant further investigation.

Of the specific solid organ cancers examined, only instances of lung cancer were significantly higher in the patients assigned ARBs.

For the analysis, scientists used publicly available data from ARB studies conducted before November 2009 and fresh data on 61,590 new cancer patients and 93,515 cancer death victims.

There was no significant difference in cancer deaths between the two groups studied.

The Wall Street Journal reported that a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic said ARBs should be used with caution.

Steven Nissen, wrote in an accompanying commentary in The Lancet: "These drugs are often overprescribed, as a result of aggressive marketing and in the absence of evidence that they are better than angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (another class of drugs)."

The paper could not reach ARB drug manufacturers for comment.

Click here to read more from NewsCore.

A drug commonly used to treat blood pressure, heart failure and diabetes-related kidney damage, was linked to a “modest” increased risk of cancer in a study published Monday. The drugs are known as angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs) and include medicines such as telmisartan (Micardis), losartan (Cozaar, Hyzaar), valsartan (Diovan) and candesartan (Atacand).

The Lancet Oncology journal’s research on the use of angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) found 7.2 percent of patients who took ARBs were given a new cancer diagnosis, compared to 6 percent of patients not treated with ARBs, over the same four-year period.

The U.S. study described the results as showing “ARBs are associated with a modestly increased risk of new cancer diagnosis,” and said the findings warrant further investigation.

Of the specific solid organ cancers examined, only instances of lung cancer were significantly higher in the patients assigned ARBs.

For the analysis, scientists used publicly available data from ARB studies conducted before November 2009 and fresh data on 61,590 new cancer patients and 93,515 cancer death victims.

There was no significant difference in cancer deaths between the two groups studied.

The Wall Street Journal reported that a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic said ARBs should be used with caution.

Steven Nissen, wrote in an accompanying commentary in The Lancet: "These drugs are often overprescribed, as a result of aggressive marketing and in the absence of evidence that they are better than angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (another class of drugs)."

The paper could not reach ARB drug manufacturers for comment.

Click here to read more from NewsCore.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Healthcare Horror Story From Canada

By: Dick Morris

There are howls of outrage coming from the liberal community in Alberta, Canada.

It seems that some doctors, desperate to protect their patients from the overcrowded and failing socialized medical system in their country, have set up private clinics to treat them.

To circumvent Canadian laws, which prohibit charging for medical care, they have set up private membership clinics where, for $2,000 a year, patients can access well staffed and equipped clinics and avoid the long waits and compromised care of the public system.

The leading Canadian newspaper, the Globe and Mail, reports that "critics say that the clinics are taking physicians away from the public system, making it even harder . . . to find a family doctor."

David Eggen, executive director of a group that supports the Canadian socialized system, Friends of Medicare, said that it's already hard to find a family physician in Canada and that clinics like these, springing up in several Canadian cities, could make it even harder.

It does not seem to have occurred to defenders of socialized medicine that the system itself is causing the doctor shortage. Cuts in medical fees, overcrowding of facilities, shortages of equipment and space, and bureaucratic oversight have all combined to drive men and women out of family medical practice.

Now, with a critical shortage looming, those who can afford to pay for adequate care are opting out of the public system and, literally, taking their lives into their own hands.

But it is illegal to make patients "have to pay a fee to gain access to health services" that are provided free by the government system. So patients and doctors are forming membership-only groups to avoid the legal penalties that could potentially stop them from getting or giving the care that they need.

This is where the United States is headed. Socialism dries up the supply of medical care and forces ever stricter rationing of the available resources. As Margaret Thatcher famously said, "Eventually socialism runs out of other peoples' money."

With the full implementation of Obamacare and its likely cuts in physician reimbursement, more and more doctors will choose to opt out of Medicare and charge their patients for their care. The elderly who need specialized care will have no choice but to take out insurance, not to fill gaps in Medicare coverage, but to overlay the system with private coverage so they can get the care Medicare now provides to all seniors.

If you want to see a family doctor, it will be rough unless you are paying for the care privately. And to see a specialist, at the low reimbursement rates afforded by the program in the future, will be well nigh impossible.

Medical care for the elderly will become like public housing or public education in the inner city. Those who can afford to will go elsewhere. Those who can't will be left to fend for themselves in overcrowded public facilities that will be, at least, free.

And then, as in Canada, liberal critics will rail, not against the system that dried up the resources in the first place or against the socialist rules that drove doctors out of medicine, but against the private clinics for taking resources from the public sector.

By plunging our excellent medical care system into this new world of regulation, fee cuts, and care rationing, the U.S. is going down the disastrous road Canada has taken.

Unless we can elect a Republican majority in November and a GOP president in 2012, this is our future.

Lose Your Teeth, Lose Your Mind?

Researchers at Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine (GSDM) link tooth loss and periodontal disease to cognitive decline in one of the largest and longest studies on the topic to date, released in this month's issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Professor Dr. Elizabeth Krall Kaye looked for patterns in dental records from 1970 to 1973 to determine if periodontal disease and tooth loss predicted whether people did well or poorly on cognitive tests. She found that for each tooth lost per decade, the risk of doing poorly increased approximately eight to 10 percent.

MORE>>>>>>

Monday, June 7, 2010

Vitamin E Can Prevent COPD

Women 45 years old and older who use vitamin E on a regular basis lower their risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Researchers at Cornell University and Brigham and Women's Hospital found that both smokers and non-smokers cut their risk by about 10 percent.

"As lung disease develops, damage occurs to sensitive tissues through several proposed processes, including inflammation and damage from free radicals," Anne Hermetet Agler, doctoral candidate with Cornell University's Division of Nutritional Sciences, said in a statement. "Vitamin E may protect the lung against such damage.

MORE>>>>>>

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Is a Male Birth Control Pill Coming Soon?

May 8, 2010 at 10:31 am - WDAF
Dateline: Kansas City, Kansas
pic
"There's a higher proportion of men now that are willing to share the responsibilities of family planning with women."

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Milk From Grass-Fed Cows Healthier

If milk does a body good, it might do the heart better if it comes from dairy cows grazed on grass instead of on feedlots, according to a new study.

Earlier experiments have shown that cows on a diet of fresh grass produce milk with five times as much of an unsaturated fat called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than do cows fed processed grains. Studies in animals have suggested that CLAs can protect the heart, and help in weight loss.

MORE>>>>>>>>

Weight Loss Drugs Can Cause Liver Damage

Weight-loss drugs from GlaxoSmithKline and Roche will carry new warnings about rare reports of liver injury, U.S. health officials said.

The Food and Drug Administration said it had not determined that Roche's prescription drug Xenical or Glaxo's over-the-counter pill Alli caused liver damage, but felt the public should be alerted because the condition is serious.

Patients should stop taking either medicine and consult a doctor if they notice any signs of liver injury, the FDA said.

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