Carb Intake, Obesity Tied to Rise in Esophageal Cancers


FRIDAY, Feb. 29 (HealthDay News) -- There may be a link between rising rates of carbohydrate intake and obesity and the increasing number of esophageal cancer cases in the United States, a new study says.

Researchers noted that cases of esophageal cancer increased from 300,000 in 1973 to 2.1 million in 2001, which closely mirrors increases in carbohydrate intake and obesity over the same time.

Obesity is a major risk factor for many types of cancer, and a diet high in calories from refined carbohydrates is a common contributor to obesity, the researchers noted. They also said no other studied nutrients were found to correlate with esophageal cancer rates.

"If we can reverse the trends in refined carbohydrate intake and obesity in the U.S., we may be able to reduce the incidence of esophageal cancer," study senior author Dr. Li Li, an assistant professor in the department of family medicine and the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center at Case Western Reserve University/University Hospitals Health System, said in a prepared statement.


Clinic accused of reusing syringes sued


LAS VEGAS - A former patient sued a surgical center believed to have spread hepatitis C by reusing syringes and vials of medication, saying Thursday he fears for his health.

The suit comes a day after the Southern Nevada Health District announced that unsafe practices at the clinic may have led to six reported cases of hepatitis C, a potentially fatal blood-borne virus.

Another 40,000 people who received anesthesia at the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada between March 2004 and January 2008 are being urged to be tested for hepatitis, strains C and B, and HIV.

"I feel like a ticking time bomb. I'll get tested ASAP, but since HIV can lay dormant for many years, my wife and I face a future of uncertainty and fear," according to a statement from the plaintiff, Charles Anthony Rader, Jr., who says he received treatment during that period and may have been exposed.


What a nightmare: Americans get too little sleep



WASHINGTON (Reuters) - With late-night TV watching, Internet surfing and other distractions, Americans are getting less and less sleep, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday.

And all this sleeplessness can be a nightmare for your mental and physical health, CDC experts cautioned, calling sleep loss an under-recognized public health problem.

Sleep experts say chronic sleep loss is associated with obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, cardiovascular disease, depression, cigarette smoking and excessive drinking.

The CDC surveyed 19,589 adults in four states. Ten percent reported they did not get enough sleep or rest every single day of the prior month, and 38 percent said they did not get enough in seven or more days in the prior month.


Doctor's Orders Can Kill You


When’s the last time YOUR doctor gave you a prescription for some nutritious food, some time off from work, and a stress-free, loving relationship?

I got a big kick out of this cartoon, not only because of the punch line but also because the above “prescription” truly can redirect you toward health. Life can seem so very complicated at times, but when you get down to it, it is the simple things that make all the difference.

So as much and as often as you can,
eat healthy food, be supportive to your loved ones, get some physical activity (in whatever form you choose!), and by all means, laugh, deeply and heartily...Read More....

Deaths Halt Diabetes Study

Deaths Halt Diabetes Study

diabetes, insulin, blood sugar, sugar, leptin, obesity, actos, avandia, deathThe U.S. government abruptly halted aggressive treatment in a major study of diabetes and heart disease after a surprising number of deaths occurred among patients who pushed their blood sugar to very low levels.

The 10,000-patient ACCORD was designed to investigate whether lowering blood sugar levels to below the current recommended target would help protect patients at high-risk of heart attack.

However, the study was halted 18 months early, following 257 deaths among aggressively treated patients, compared to only 203 among diabetics given more standard care. Although aggressively treated patients were actually less likely to suffer heart attacks, any heart attacks they did suffer were more likely to be fatal.

A close look at the multiple medications patients used, including the drug Avandia that is suspected of being a heart risk, showed no sign that any were to blame.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

One concept that I strive to make well-known, which has the potential to save hundreds of thousands and even millions of lives, is that diabetes is not a disease of blood sugar.

Rather, it is a disease of insulin – of insulin resistance -- and perhaps more importantly, of faulty leptin signaling.

Until that concept becomes well-known in both the medical community and by the public at large, this misconception will continue to be promoted in studies such as the one above, revealing the inadequacy of current conventional medical treatment for chronic diseases such as diabetes, and their erroneous advice about nutrition.

Typically, conventional treatment is focused on fixing a symptom, in this case elevated blood sugar, rather than the underlying disease. Symptoms are generally the way that nature has taught our bodies to deal with a disease – the real underlying biological or physiological problem.

Similarly, treatments that concentrate merely on lowering blood sugar for diabetes while raising insulin levels, can actually worsen rather than remedy the actual problem of metabolic miscommunication. It just trades one evil for another...Read More...

Starving student blames stingy host family

Parents consider suing AFS after son was placed in Egyptian home
This photo, taken in January, shows Jonathan McCullum at a hospital in Portland, Maine, after his time abroad.
updated 4:43 p.m. ET, Wed., Feb. 27, 2008

HALLOWELL, Maine - Jonathan McCullum was in perfect health at 155 pounds when he left last summer to spend the school year as an exchange student in Egypt.

But when he returned home to Maine just four months later, the 5-foot-9 teenager weighed a mere 97 pounds and was so weak that he struggled to carry his baggage or climb a flight of stairs. Doctors said he was at risk for a heart attack.

McCullum says he was denied sufficient food while staying with a family of Coptic Christians, who fast for more than 200 days a year, a regimen unmatched by other Christians...Read More...

Anti-impotence pill could boost high flying pilots

 Thu Feb 7, 3:43 PM ET

   JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A drug used to treat impotence could help Israeli fighter pilots operate at high altitude, the Israeli military's official magazine reported in its latest issue.

It said a retired general plans to present to the air force the results of a study he conducted on Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania where he found that tadalafil, the active ingredient in Cialis tablets, improved breathing in a thin atmosphere...Read More...

Strokes among middle-aged women triple By MARILYNN MARCHIONE, AP Medical Writer


NEW ORLEANS - Strokes have tripled in recent years among middle-aged women in the U.S., an alarming trend doctors blame on the obesity epidemic. Nearly 2 percent of women ages 35 to 54 reported suffering a stroke in the most recent federal health survey, from 1999 to 2004. Only about half a percent did in the previous survey, from 1988 to 1994...Read More...

Antibiotics Frequently Given To Patients With Advanced Dementia

A new study by researchers in the US found that people with advanced dementia are frequently given antibiotics toward the end of life, and has thrown into question whether this practice should be curtailed in view of the increased risk of developing drug resistant superbugs.

The study is the work of Drs Erika D'Agata and Susan L Mitchell of the Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, and is published in the 25th February issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Advanced dementia patients in nursing homes are at high risk of infections and antimicrobial exposure near the end of life, wrote the researchers.

D'Agata and Mitchell studied a group of 214 residents, of average age 85.2, with advanced dementia being cared for in 21 nursing homes in and around Boston.

The residents were assessed between 2003 and 2006 and then every three months for up to 18 months. At each assessment, the number and type of antibiotics prescribed, with reasons (indication), were noted from records kept at the nursing home...Read More...

Study casts doubt on anti-depressants

By Salamander Davoudi

Published: February 25 2008 19:25 | Last updated: February 25 2008 19:25

Prescribing anti-depressants to the vast majority of patients is futile, as the drugs have little or no impact at all, according to researchers.

Almost 50 clinical trials were reviewed by psychologists from the University of Hull who found that new-generation anti-depressants worked no better than a placebo – a dummy pill – for mildly depressed patients.Read More................

Diet Soda Now Linked to Heart Disease?????

diet soda, pop, soft drinks, canEating two or more servings a day of red meat increases your risk of metabolic syndrome by 25 percent, compared to those who have two servings of red meat each week, a new study found.

Drinking diet soda also increased the risk of metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of risk factors such as excessive fat around your waist, high cholesterol, high blood sugar and high blood pressure, all of which can raise your risk of heart disease and diabetes.

The researchers examined the diets of over 9,500 people between the ages of 45 and 64. They were categorized into two groups: a “western-pattern diet” that included processed meat, fried foods and red meat, or a “prudent-pattern diet” that included more fruits and vegetables, poultry and fish.

They concluded that lots of meat, fried foods and diet soda increase your risk of heart disease.

Vaccine Companies Investigated For Murder!

vaccine, vaccination, shotA formal investigation has been launched by French authorities against two managers from drug companies GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi Pasteur. A second investigation for manslaughter has also been opened against Sanofi Pasteur MSD.

The investigations are in response to allegations that the companies failed to fully disclose side effects from an anti-hepatitis B drug used between 1994 and 1998.

During this time, close to two-thirds of the French population, and almost all newborn babies, received a hepatitis B vaccine. The vaccination campaign was halted after concerns rose over the shot’s side effects.

Thirty plaintiffs, including the families of five people who died after the vaccination, have launched a civil action in the case against the drug companies.

Urinary tract infections may come from pets

By David Douglas

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Picking up an E. coli bug from your pet might lead to a urinary tract infection, according to Minneapolis-based researchers.

"Sharing of E. coli strains among humans and pets within a household, including strains that can cause urinary tract infections, is extremely common," Dr. James R. Johnson told Reuters Health.

Harboring the same strain of the bug implies that it is passed from one person or animal to another.

Read More...........

Blood Red Beet Juice Brings Down Blood Pressure

by Patrick Totty

According to British researchers at Barts and the London School of Medicine, drinking 500 ml (about one pint) of beetroot juice every day can significantly reduce blood pressure. It's the nitrate contained in the juice that produces the effect.

Bacteria in saliva convert the nitrate into nitrite, which either circulates throughout the body or is converted into nitric acid in the stomach. In either case, the chemical lowers blood pressure.

The effects of the beetroot juice become evident about one hour after ingestion and peak in three or four hours. Researchers noted that in some cases the effect lasts up to 24 hours.

Interestingly, nitrate is also found in leafy green vegetables. Scientists had previously concluded that it was the anti-oxidant vitamins in those vegetables that made them valuable components of a healthy diet. Now it turns out that their nitrate content may be even more important.

The researchers say that their findings may offer a simple, inexpensive way for people worldwide to control their high blood pressure.



Cinnamon does not control blood sugar or fat levels

By Megan Rauscher

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Cinnamon does not appear to have any impact on blood sugar or cholesterol levels in people with diabetes, Connecticut-based researchers report in the journal Diabetes Care.

"The preponderance of evidence currently available does not suggest that cinnamon has the ability to decrease a person's risk of heart disease by helping them control their diabetes or lower their cholesterol," Dr. Craig I. Coleman, of Hartford Hospital, who was the principal investigator, told Reuters Health.

Several studies have looked at the impact of cinnamon on blood sugar and lipids (fats) in patients with diabetes but had only modest sample sizes and yielded mixed results, Coleman and colleagues note in their report.

This led them to perform a large review, or "meta-analysis," of five studies in which a total of 282 type 1 or type 2 diabetic patients were randomly assigned to receive cinnamon or a placebo and were followed for up to 16 weeks.

All five studies used cinnamon cassia, "the same cinnamon most people have in their spice racks at home," Coleman noted. Doses ranged from 1 to 6 grams daily.

As mentioned, the use of cinnamon did not significantly alter hemoglobin A1C -- a marker of blood sugar control.  It also had no effect on fasting blood sugar levels or lipid parameters.  Analyses by subgroup and sensitivity did not appreciably alter these results.

Coleman told Reuters Health that the inspiration for conducting this specific analysis came from one of his research fellows, Dr. William Baker.  "He works in a chain pharmacy as a pharmacist, now and then, and he was asked by a patient whether cinnamon was useful in treating diabetes."

"As pharmacists,we want to be able to provide patients ... with the best information about these over-the-counter treatments, which are often readily available but under researched," Coleman said.  Based on the current study, "we would not recommend its use to patients," he said.

Study links protracted cellphone use with tumors

Tumors of the parotid (salivary) glands are significantly more common in people who use cellular phones over a relatively long period, according to a retrospective study of nearly 500 Israelis who contracted such benign or malignant growths compared to more than twice as many healthy controls. This is reportedly the first study of the possible effects of cellphone use by Israelis, who are known to utilize them for many minutes per day and start at young ages.

Photo: Bloomberg [file]

The study, led by Sheba Medical Center physician and Tel Aviv University epidemiologist Dr. Siegal Sadetzki, was announced late last week on the Web site Science Daily ( and published recently in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Sadetzki, who has appeared several times at Knesset committees about the possible risk of cellular phone usage, said that while the results needed to be confirmed by additional and longer studies, in the meantime precautions should be taken. These include limiting the use of cellphones by children and both kids and adults using earphones and other means to distance the cellphone from the head whenever possible.

She conducted her study as part of the international Interphone Study, which aimed to discover if cellphone use and several kinds of brain and salivary gland tumors were linked.


Beef Industry Responds to Secret Video

Cattle Industry Denounces Mistreatment of Sick Animals; Says Nearly All US Cattle Treated Well DENVER (AP) -- Despite a secretly taped video showing workers at a Southern California slaughterhouse abusing sick or crippled animals, nearly all cattle bound for American dinner tables are treated humanely, a cattle industry spokesman said Monday.

Top psychiatrist concludes liberals clinically nuts

WASHINGTON – Just when liberals thought it was safe to start identifying themselves as such, an acclaimed, veteran psychiatrist is making the case that the ideology motivating them is actually a mental disorder. "Based on strikingly irrational beliefs and emotions, modern liberals relentlessly undermine the most important principles on which our freedoms were founded," says Dr. Lyle Rossiter, author of the new book, "The Liberal Mind: The Psychological Causes of Political Madness." "Like spoiled, angry children, they rebel against the normal responsibilities of adulthood and demand that a parental government meet their needs from cradle to grave."

An American Medical Study that you have to Learn about From Europe! WHY???

For decades, researchers believed that if people with diabetes lowered their blood sugar to normal levels, they would no longer be at high risk of dying from heart disease. But a major U.S. study of more than 10,000 middle-aged and older people with Type 2 diabetes has found that lowering blood sugar actually increased their risk of death, researchers reported. The researchers announced that they were abruptly halting that part of the study, whose surprising results call into question how the disease, which affects 21 million Americans alone, should be managed.

What treatments are available for women with thinning hair?

FROM ENGLAND Hair loss doesn’t just affect men – 40 per cent of women over 35 are affected by thinning hair. Zoe Strimpel gives the lowdown on what treatments are available and Dr Toby Murcott looks at the scientific evidence behind them
Hair loss woman pulling hair from a hairbrush

What is it? A spray containing an active ingredient, minoxidil, which the manufacturers claim increases the supply of blood and nutrients to hair follicles, stimulating growth.
What science says There is good evidence that minoxidil reduces male and female-pattern baldness. Treatment needs to be continued, perhaps for life, as new hair is lost within months if it stops.
Cost £24.95;

What is it? A comb-like object that uses infrared lasers to penetrate the scalp and stimulate hair follicles.
What science says A different type of medical laser has some success in treating alopecia areata, patchy hair loss, but scientists are unclearhow it works. There is no evidence that Hairbeam is effective for normal-pattern hair loss. A 2007 report found no reliable studies of laser-based devices.
Cost £495;

What is it? A range of products – scalp lotion, shampoo, conditioner and supplements – containing a marine protein extract to stimulate hair regrowth. Also claims to stimulate blood flow in the scalp.
What science says A single 2006 trial of 55 people found that Nourkrin supplements did reduce hair loss over a six-month period. While an indication that it might work, this is far from conclusive; more trials would be needed.
Cost £19.95 for lotion, £8.50 each for shampoo and conditioner, £35.99 for 60 tablets;

What is it? A caffeine-based shampoo that claims to counteract the effects of postmenopausal hormone imbalance. It stops dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the hormone largely responsible for hair loss, from attacking the hair follicles.
What science says Test-tube studies suggest that caffeine stimulates the growth of hair follicles. Further data reveals that caffeine can penetrate the scalp and hair follicles when applied as a shampoo. This suggests that caffeine may boost the number of hair follicles in a real-life situation, but there are no clinical trials of this particular shampoo.
Cost From £8.99;

What is it? Topical mixture aiming to block the production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
What science says This contains many different ingredients intended to reduce DHT. While there is evidence that they do in the lab, there is none that this formulation works in real life.
Cost £65 for three months’ supply;

What is it? A copper-based range of products that claim to inhibit DHT.
What science says There is some evidence that copper does this in the test tube, but there are no independent clinical trials demonstrating this in real people.
Cost £59.99 for spray, shampoo and conditioner;

What is it? The active ingredient here is tricosaccaride, a naturally occurring chemical in skin tissue, thought to stimulate hair growth. The treatment claims to extend the hair’s growth phase and reduce the percentage of hair lost in the shedding phase.
What science says One 1987 trial of 30 men with various types of hair loss suggested that this treatment reduces hair loss. This is insufficient evidence to say much more than it has potential and further trials are required.
Cost £23.95;

What is it? Much publicised spray based on a complex extracted from Costa Rican coffee beans and Indian pennywort. The claim is that together they work to slow down hair thinning, encourage thicker hair, and boost the overall feel and condition of the hair.
What science says There is evidence that caffeine can reduce the amount of DHT in the test tube, but none from clinical trials. There is no known link between the other ingredients and hair loss.
Cost £19.99;

What is it? A topical range that uses pantothenic acid and water to make the hair swell as the water is forced to the centre of the hair shaft.
What science says There is evidence that some of the ingredients do this, but no research demonstrating that this approach is effective.
Cost £7.62;

Bad breath? 10 solutions

Brushing tongue with toothbrush to prevent bad breath

FRESH PARSLEY If you chew this herb in small amounts, you can stop people heading for the door when you strike up conversation.
What science says Anecdotally famous for removing garlic breath, there is no research suggesting that it can help with that or halitosis. Like many plants parsley does have some antibacterial properties, a possible but unproven link to curing bad breath.
Cost 69p for 25g, Waitrose

MASTIC GUM A natural resin taken from the Pistacia lentiscus tree on the Greek island of Chios is said to have antiseptic properties and to decrease acidity in the mouth.
What science says Two studies of 75 patients published last year found that chewing mastic gum reduced the amount of mouth bacteria. However, the researchers did not measure bad breath, so it’s impossible to say whether fewer bacteria also meant less halitosis.
Cost £19.95 for 100 capsules, involving 40 patients and recommended scraping for maximum effect. However, a small study last year found that tongue scraping alone is not enough; you have to brush your teeth properly as well.
Cost £2.99,

ANTIBACTERIAL MOUTHWASHES These are said to swill away the bacteria that cause bad breath. Many also have antiplaque properties, so are kind to your teeth too.
What science says As bacteria produce most bad breath, an antibacterial mouthwash can reduce the problem, according to a review published last May. Another trial of ten people in the same year found that the most effective was a mixture of chlorhexidine and zinc. However, this has yet to be confirmed by other research, and other formulations are also effective.
Cost Corsodyl mouthwash with chlorhexidine, £3.59 from shops nationwide

“LIVE” YOGHURT Live yoghurt is said to decrease levels of hydrogen sulphide, the smelly gas produced by bacteria in the mouth, through the action of the live bacteria Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus.
What science says There are no published studies on whether the bacteria in yoghurt can minimise bad breath. It might work, but without research it is impossible to say.
Cost £1.67 for 100g, Tesco

BAKING SODA Brushing with baking soda, or bicarbonate of soda, is meant to counteract high levels of acidity in the mouth, a possible cause of bad breath.
What science says Research published between 1996 and 1998 found that brushing with toothpaste containing 20 per cent baking soda reduced bad breath for up to three hours. Interestingly, a paper published in 2001 suggested that baking soda-powered chewing gum might also be effective.
Cost Arm & Hammer, baking soda toothpaste, £1.89 for 100ml,

PEPPERMINT OIL Some natural health practitioners believe that popping capsules of this oil may keep your breath minty fresh.
What science says A study in July last year of 32 intensive care patients showed that an essential oil mouthwash, with peppermint oil in its list of ingredients, reduced bad breath. But the study is too small to draw any conclusions.
Cost £5.49 for 60 capsules, Mint mouthwash, £4.49 for 250ml,

FENNEL SEEDS Chewing on fennel seeds after a meal was a traditional way of masking mouth odours.
What science says There are no studies of the impact of fennel seeds on bad breath, but extracts of fennel do have some antibacterial properties. As bad breath is caused by some mouth bacteria it may have an effect.
Cost £1.39 fo 30g, Waitrose

HOLLAND AND BARRETT BREATH CHECK CAPSULES These contain parsley seed oil and sunflower seed oil.
What science says I can find no published research to say whether these ingredients have any effect on smelly breath; either for good or bad.
Cost £4.99 for 150 capsules,

MAGNOLIA CHEWING GUM Preparations containing the bark of this tree are thought to help treat nausea, indigestion and menstrual cramps. Recent studies indicate that it can also work to freshen your breath.
What science says Chewing gum containing magnolia bark extract was shown in a 2007 study to reduce the amount of halitosis-causing bacteria in nine healthy volunteers. The research was done by the Wrigley’s.
Cost Still in development

BOOTS EXPERT TONGUE CLEANER The bacteria that cause bad breath reside on the tongue and don’t like exposure to oxygen. If you scrape your tongue, you not only scoop them up, but also expose them to oxygen, which may help to prevent halitosis.
What science says Cleaning or scraping your tongue can lessen bad breath. What’s more, scrapers appear to be more effective than simply using a toothbrush as a tongue cleaner, at least according to a review published by the respected Cochrane Collaboration. The authors examined two studies


Mervyn Druian, a dentist and spokesman for the British Dental Association, gives his checklist for keeping dragon breath at bay

- Professional help Gum problems are the main cause of bad breath, so get checked out by your dentist or hygienist

- Drink plenty of water Avoid having a dry mouth, as dead and dying bacteria and cells, which would normally be swept away by saliva, linger, stagnate and release pungent gases. And be aware that the more you chat, the worse you’ll smell. Talking makes yourmouth dry, so drink plenty of water.

- Eat fruit Chewing fruit not only hydrates the mouth, but also efficiently dislodges the dead and dying cells and bacteria in the mouth that lead to bad breath.

- Always eat breakfast “Morning breath” is caused by breathing through your mouth during the night, making it very dry by the time you wake up. The smell will linger if you don’t eat – and coffee and cigarettes make it worse.

- Dental floss Fundamental to maintaining good oral hygiene.

- Medical problems Persistent bad breath may indicate an underlying condition such as diabetes or kidney problems.

For more details Visit the British Dental Association website,

Blood test detects ovarian cancer early

Researchers have developed what they believe is the first blood test that accurately detects ovarian cancer at an early stage. "The ability to recognize almost 100 percent of new tumors will have a major impact on the high death rates of this cancer," senior author Dr. Gil Mor, from Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, said in a statement. "We hope this test will become the standard of care for women having routine examinations."

Feeling stressed out linked to cervical cancer

Feeling stressed could play a role in the development of cervical cancer, a new report suggests. But experts say the findings are still preliminary and it's too soon to rush out and enroll in a stress-management course

TEEN DIES FROM CUT FINGER! Infection the Cause

A U.K. teen, who unknowingly suffered from a rare condition that affects just one in four million people, died after contracting an infection from a tiny cut on his finger, it is reported by the Daily Mail.

Matthew Corbett, 18, cut his ring finger while vacationing with his family in Spain and contracted a minor infection, according to the report.

At the time Corbett was unaware he suffered from aplastic anemia, a condition in which bone marrow does not produce sufficient new cells to replenish older blood cells. People with the condition have lower counts of all three blood cell types: red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.

The condition prevented Corbett's body from fighting the infection from the cut and it quickly spread up his arm, according the Daily Mail.

He was taken to Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton, Somerset, U.K., on Oct. 14 and specialists diagnosed him with aplastic anemia. Corbett was then moved to the Bristol Royal Infirmary where doctors determined that he needed a bone marrow transplant, according to the report.

After family members were determined to be unsuitable bone marrow donors, one was found in Northern England. He was scheduled to have the tranfusion on Feb. 7, but developed a chest infection beforehand that turned into pneumonia, it is reported. He died Feb. 6.

Click here to read more on this story from the Daily Mail

Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Call-In Sick to Work


While many of us jump at the chance to call-in sick to work at the first sign of a cold — other people push through the coughing, sneezing and runny nose to make it into the office. But, is that always a good idea? According to several recent studies, sick employees who drag themselves into work, known as "presenteeism," actually end up costing companies more money than if they decided to stay home. Those costs range from lost productivity to the chances of spreading the illness to fellow co-workers.

I Was Right About the Bird Flu Hoax


tamiflu, vaccine, vaccines, bird flu, hoax, scam, avian fluLast year, the number of human cases of avian flu dropped rather than rose for the first time -- from a paltry 115 in 2006 to an even more insignificant 86 in 2007. Frightening headlines warning of a pandemic that could kill 150 million people have all but vanished.

Although some “experts” still argue that preparations against bird flu must continue, many are finally beginning to realize what I said all along -- that this overhyped, oversold “pandemic” was never a threat in the first place. According to Dr. Paul A. Offit, a vaccine specialist at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, “H5 viruses have been around for 100 years and never caused a pandemic and probably never will.”

Still, according to this New York Times article, scientists and governments are congratulating themselves for averting a threat that never was by stockpiling worthless vaccines, pointlessly culling hundreds of millions of birds, and pouring money into preparation efforts.

I can only imagine that the flu vaccine manufacturers are laughing all the way to the bank.

The Truth about Sugar

U.S. probes Chinese factory’s ties to heparin ills

WASHINGTON - Government health officials are investigating if a Chinese factory may be a source of problems with a Baxter International blood thinner linked to hundreds of reports of allergic reactions and four deaths. Baxter buys the active ingredient for the drug heparin from a supplier that manufactures it both at the Chinese factory and a facility in the U.S., Baxter spokeswoman Erin Gardiner said. Baxter inspected both facilities last year and found no quality issues, Gardiner said. However, the company plans to reinspect the facilities "very soon" as part of its own investigation, she said.


HEALTH BOMB #1: High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has become a modern-day plague. Not only does it contribute to our obesity epidemic, but it has also been linked to:

  • Pancreas dysfunction, diabetes and insulin resistance
  • High cholesterol and heart disease
  • Cancer
  • High blood pressure
  • Anemia
  • Liver damage
  • Infertility
  • And more

Sadly, the average consumption of fructose has doubled between 1980 and 1994. Soft drinks and some fruit drinks are a major source of HFCS, but it is also found in many other products, from crackers to salad dressing.

Fructose contains zero enzymes, vitamins or minerals — and it leeches micronutrients from your body.

Why is it found in so many products? Because, after air, water, and salt, it’s the cheapest ingredient in the American food chain (and we know how the food industry likes to save money…)

I’d also urge you to  be on the lookout for HFCS in its many “disguises” — conveniently (for the food industry) labeled as chicory, inulin, iso glucose, glucose-fructose syrup, fruit fructose, and others.

Another major “health torpedo” you want to watch out for is…

HEALTH BOMB #2: Gluten Wheat (and other grains containing gluten) is NOT your friend. My experience has shown that you could well be one of the estimated 1 in 10 people who have at least a subclinical intolerance to gluten protein. This is actually a food allergy.

I recommend avoiding gluten, even the organic whole-grain types.

Gluten intolerance has been linked to miscarriage, autism, intestinal disease (including irritable bowel syndrome), malnutrition, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, and developmental delay in children, just to name a few. Oftentimes, your gluten sensitivity may present with various unexplained symptoms.

Getting rid of these two health bombs will go a long way toward improving your health.

Insurance Companies Robbing Patients Robbing patients to pay CEOs

 leads to unprecedented medical insurance corporation greed.

Over the years, we have frequently commented on the negative role the legal profession and government regulations have had on the healthcare delivery system and rising costs for the patient.

Today we comment on greedy and uncaring medical insurance companies and CEO and executive greed that rivals that seen in other American industries the last few decades.

This particular story is well documented in a recent Jan. 1, 2008 release from The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.

A year ago, William McGuire, M.D., was ousted from his position as one of the highest paid executives in the U.S. because of a backdating scandal.

More than 80 corporate officials lost their jobs in the scandal.

Dr. McGuire, former chief executive of UnitedHealth Group, agreed to one of the largest executive-pay givebacks in history, forfeiting $620 million in stock option gains and retirement pay, to settle civil and federal claims against stock-option backdating. The final outcome, however, remains uncertain as of Dec. 28, 2007.

McGuire still retains about 24 million stock options that currently could be cashed in for a gain of about $800 million on top of the $500 million in pay he received from UnitedHealth between 1991 and 2006. A freeze on these assets was continued by U.S. District Judge James Rosenbaum in a Dec 26 ruling, pending a decision by the Minnesota Supreme Court on whether he has the power to examine the settlement beyond just rubber-stamping it. State courts give varying degrees of deference to special litigation committees.

The committee, appointed by UnitedHealth¹s board, had concluded that some of the accusations against McGuire might have merit, but the cost and risk of suing him might not be worth it. McGuire neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing.

The two former Minnesota Supreme Court justices on the committee wrote that their ability to evaluate McGuire¹s potential defenses were, "hampered by his unavailability for an interview." They interviewed 50 other people over the course of a year (Joshua Reed, Chicago Sun-Times Dec. 7, 2007).

Judge Rosenbaum also expressed some thoughts about the amount of money that McGuire had claimed when he was forced out of UnitedHealth. "Words such as 'huge,' 'fantastic,' 'astounding,' 'staggering,' or 'astronomical,' do not describe $1 billion," he wrote. "Such a sum can only be thought of as 'transcendent,' or in terms of the gross national product of smaller members of the United Nations" (Vanessa Fuhrmans and Peter Lattman, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 28, 2007).

McGuire is barred from serving as an officer or director of a public company for 10 years. He also still faces a criminal inquiry.

UnitedHealth's current CEO, Stephen Hemsley, plans to voluntarily have his remaining options repriced, effectively forfeiting $50 million, on top of the $190 million in gains he agreed to give back last year on options with questionable grant dates (Wall Street Journal Dec. 7, 2007).

While growing into a colossus, UnitedHealth has repeatedly failed to perform its basic job of paying medical bills. UnitedHealth, which covers 70 million Americans, has been sanctioned in nine states for paying claims slowly; shortchanging doctors, hospitals, or patients; or poorly handling complaints and appeals.

One Nebraska woman complained to state regulators thatUnitedHealth's computers had incorrectly rejected claims related to her son's surgery six times.

At one point, UnitedHealth owed Dr. George Schroedinger, an orthopedic surgeon, $600,000. He and his clinic sued UnitedHealth of the Midwest in 2004.

Deciding for the clinic, U.S. District Judge Stephen Limbaugh of Missouri declared that the company's claims processing systems were "flawed in many ways, denying, reducing, and improperly processing claims on a regular basis. And despite innumerable requests, United was unwilling to remedy the underlying errors in its systems" (Star-Tribune Dec. 12, 2007).

Payment troubles continued after the verdict, and Dr. Schroedinger filed a second lawsuit. "These people can never get it right, which says to me that they just plain lie," he said in an interview.

Failure to pay isn't the only complaint. The insurer also gives incorrect information on which physicians are in its network, creating enormous problems for physicians' staff.

The AMA said that no other insurer has prompted as many complaints as UnitedHealth about abusive and unfair payment practices. AMA officials have met with UnitedHealth executives 16 times since 2000, with little to show for it.

"They have always got a new plan to fix it," said Dr. William G. Plested III, past president of the AMA. But "nothing ever happens."

It seems to us that this case is just the tip of the insurance iceberg. More and more stories are appearing daily in the news media about how insurance company are instructing employees their jobs are to deny claims and/or delay payments.

With such a high percentage of medical premiums and other costs going to the legal profession, to maintain compliance with endless government rules/regulations and being hoarded by the insurance companies and executives — is it any wonder medical costs are increasing so dramatically?

It's time to take a closer look at the medical insurance companies.

UnitedHealth Group is not the first medical insurance company to rob patients, hospitals and clinics to pay obscene salaries to their executives.

It's a modern day robbing patients to pay pimps.

Michael Arnold Glueck, M.D., comments on medical-legal issues and is a visiting fellow in economics and citizenship at the International Trade Education Foundation of the Washington International Trade Council.

Robert J. Cihak, M.D., is a senior fellow and board member of the Discovery Institute and a past president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.

FDA reviewing safety of Botox

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Regulators said on Friday they were reviewing the safety of Allergan Inc's (AGN.N: Quote, Profile, Research) Botox and a competing product after reports of deaths and serious reactions in some patients. The Food and Drug Administration said the most serious cases included hospitalizations and deaths and occurred mostly in children treated for cerebral palsy-associated limb spasticity, a use not approved in the United States.

Women's Health and Diabetes

Bigger Breasted Women More Vulnerable to Diabetes, Says Canadian Study
Patrick Totty
4 February 2008

A Canadian study asserts that girls and young women with big breasts run a 68-percent greater chance of acquiring diabetes by middle age than their smaller-breasted peers.

However, concerned that the finding might inspire some women to seek out breast reductions, researchers emphasize that their conclusion is broad and preliminary. They say there are several other factors besides breast size that they must study before definitively linking size to increased vulnerability to diabetes.

Scientists tracked 92,102 mostly white nurses from 14 U.S. states over a 10-year period to determine if their breast size would increase their chances for developing diabetes by age 35. While preliminarily concluding that large breasts were a common factor in the higher incidence of diabetes, they say weight, family history, smoking, diet and ethnicity probably also play large roles.

The reason for breast size as a factor is that breast tissue tends to be insulin-resistant. Bigger breasts create more insulin resistance in women's bodies, thereby increasing their chances of acquiring diabetes.

The researchers also note that while big breasts can be a genetic endowment, many women acquire them if they become obese - and obesity is often cited as a major factor in developing diabetes.

Source: Canadian Medical Association Journal

Yet Another Lurking Link Between Foods and Cancer

New research shows that a high dietary intake of acrylamide can increase the risk of breast cancer. The study was the first epidemiological study using biological markers for measuring acrylamide exposure, and also the first to report an acrylamide/breast cancer link.

The study examined 374 postmenopausal women who had developed breast cancer, and an additional 374 healthy women who were used as controls. An increased acrylamide hemoglobin level doubled the risk of breast cancer.

Acrylamide is a carcinogen created when starchy foods are baked, roasted, fried or toasted. It was found to cause cancer in laboratory rats in 2002.

Lipitor Ads Spark Congressional Probe

Lipitor has been running a series of ads in which a kindly "doctor," Robert Jarvik, inventor of the artificial heart, tells viewers about the benefits of the cholesterol-lowering medication Lipitor. These ads, and their use of celebrity endorsers such as Jarvik, are now being investigated by Congress for potentially misleading viewers.

In the ads, Dr. Jarvik appears to be giving medical advice, but he has never obtained a license to practice or prescribe medicine.

Critics of the drug industry claim that such ads emotionally manipulate viewers and underemphasize the potential side effects of drugs.

The congressional probe focuses on the Lipitor ads, but will likely examine others, such as actress Sally Field's endorsement of the osteoporosis drug Boniva.

This isn’t the first time Pfizer is in trouble over their fraudulent claims of what Lipitor can do for you. In 2005 they were sued by healthcare advocates for lying to women and seniors when they claimed Lipitor would reduce their risk of having a heart attack.

The group argued that the drug not only did not work, but that women who took Lipitor ran a 10 percent higher risk of heart attacks than those taking a placebo.

I don’t know the conclusion of that case, but it surely didn’t stop Pfizer from plowing forward with even more absurd claims, which the FDA bought hook line and sinker.

In 2005 Pfizer sold almost $11 billion worth of Lipitor, but after the FDA approved it for reducing stroke and heart attacks risks among diabetics their sales rose to $13 billion in 2006.

This is an unbelievable “oversight” by the FDA, in light of the fact that Lipitor can double the risk of a deadly stroke for diabetics!

Why Statins are Your WORST Option

Statins such as Lipitor are a particularly bad choice for diabetics, but they are a poor treatment even if your only worry is your heart health.

Now, statins do lower LDL (bad) cholesterol very well. The problem is they lower it too well, because cholesterol is still a necessary and natural chemical that your body needs. Cholesterol:

Waterproofs your cell walls
Helps repair cells
Is vital for digesting fats, regulating hormone levels, and neurological function
Despite cholesterol's infamous reputation, having too little of it in your body is as dangerous, if not more so, than too much. Therefore, the result of taking statin drugs can be numerous dangerous side effects, including:

Muscle pain and weakness (most likely due to the depletion of Co-Q10)
Dizziness and cognitive impairment,
Increased cancer risk
Heart failure
The last one is rather counter to the whole supposed point of cholesterol-lowering drugs, don't you think?

And there is this additional evidence that it more than doubles your risk of stroke if you are diabetic, in return for no benefits whatsoever -- unless you enjoy anything on this list; these are the possible consequences of taking statins in strong doses or for a lengthy period of time:

Depression of mental acuity
Frequent fevers
What is Your Underlying Problem, and How Can You Treat THAT?

Make no mistake, Lipitor completely fails to treat the underlying problems causing your high levels of cholesterol. Statins are non-specific inhibitors of a number of very important liver enzymes, including the enzyme that causes your liver to make cholesterol when it is stimulated by high insulin levels.

A far more sensible treatment therefore, is to simply shut down the enzyme that makes cholesterol by reducing your insulin and leptin levels, which is the underlying cause of your high cholesterol. 

By eliminating sugar and most grains, you won’t cause this important enzyme to be blocked, and you also will not block other vital coenzymes such as CoQ10.

This is also exactly what you should be doing if you are diabetic.

To normalize your cholesterol level naturally, and keep your diabetes under control at the same time, these three primary strategies work well 99 percent of the time if properly implemented:

Exercise daily
Eat a low grain, low sugar diet
Take a high quality omega-3 supplement
The omega-3 fats in krill oil or fish oil will influence your HDL cholesterol levels far more safely and effectively than taking a pill -- and for a small fraction of the cost.

I must say I really got a kick out of Robert Jarvik’s public statement where he says in closing: 

“I am a medical scientist specializing in advanced technology to treat heart failure who understands that no one in his or her right mind would want  an artificial heart if it could be avoided with preventive medicine.”

I didn’t say it was a good kick.

To infer that statin drugs are somehow related to preventive medicine is again a grossly misleading statement. There is nothing preventive about these drugs; they do not fix any underlying health issues that might cause problems in the future. Instead they raise your risks of other serious health complications that might cost you your life far sooner than your high cholesterol might have.