Sunday, 11 December 2011

Cancer Treatment Centers of America – marketing panacea or best in class cure?

Medicine and health today is all about marketing and money and has little or nothing to do with efficacy and health.

Cancer treatment is big money, same as with cholesterol treatments, ADHD, depression and the new big market being penetrated - vaccinations.

The following article was originally post here


If you live around the Chicago area, you will be inundated with commercial for Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

These commercials have recently gotten to my mom. She had non-malignant skin cancer a few years ago. It was treated by surgery and some radiation. Her neck bothers her but the specialist couldn’t do anything for the tightness. His advice was to turn the neck a bit.

Now she feels that the new Cancer Treatment Centers of America will solve all her problems.

A few years ago, I did call Cancer Treatment Centers of America to ask about a female friends cancer. I couldn’t get off the phone with the marketing person. They were asking all kinds of questions about the patient, condition, etc., when all I was trying to do was get general information. They even wanted a doctor to talk to the two of us. But this is just my first phone call.

U.S. News and World Report

Image by afagen via Flickr

The same thing happened when I was trying to find out about university tuition. If I contact a university like the University of Phoenix or Full Sail University, I’m put through my paces with the marketing staff. If I contact a private Illinois university like Benedictine University, Aurora University or Elmhurst College, it’s more laid back and relaxed.

Most of the commercials show someone who has been helped giving a testimonial. But if I look at the U.S. News best hospitals for 2011-2012 at U.S. News best hospitals for 2011-2012, I don’t see them listed. And how do they compare with the University of Chicago or other top Illinois hospitals. If I go to the the University of Chicago’s hospital website at University of Chicago cancer hospital, it says “U.S.News & World Report consistently ranks our cancer program among the top in the United States and the highest in Illinois.” The website goes on to list other endorsements.

I looked at the U.S. News and World report for top cancer treatment facilities in Illinois at U.S. News and World report for top cancer treatment facilities in Illinois . I have found several hospitals listed – but not Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

I have found an interesting story in the Cancer Survivors Network about them at Cancer Survivors Network user chats. Here is what one person had to say:

“…my husband did not want to travel and be away from home for 3 days — he’s on a feeding tube and just feels more comfortable at home…I called them and told them based on the itinerary they sent it was a waste of time for us and I would prefer if they can review the records we provided them with and then tell us if there is anything they can do for my husband and if there is then we would come down, but if there is nothing they can do for us then there is no reason for us to come down. They agreed to this. Well — now I find out that they actually BILLED our insurance company for $500 to read the medical records — they NEVER said they were going to bill us and we never agreed to this.”

Interesting story!

So next time you are dying of cancer and live in the Chicago are:

Would you like to go to Cancer Treatment Centers of America based upon their excellent marketing commercials and commercialized testimonies?

Or would you prefer to visit the University of Chicago hospital, who give the following stats at University of Chicago hospital?:

  • U.S.News & World Report consistently ranks our cancer program among the top in the United States and the highest in Illinois.
  • We are designated a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute–one of only two in Illinois.
  • In addition, the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer awarded the Medical Center a three-year accreditation with commendation.
  • Our program earned the highest overall rating in seven areas, including prevention and early detection, outcomes analysis, and cancer-related quality improvements.

There are many other hospitals recognized in the US News and World Report recommendations. But they don’t run a TV commercial marketing blitz. The only other TV commercial for a cancer treatment program in Illinois is Advocate Health Care.  They are more low key and claim to “help more  people become survivors than any other facility in Illinois.” I probably can find them in the US News and World Report recommendations.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Seven Diseases Big Pharma Hopes You Get in 2012

Supply-driven marketing not only turns the nation into pill-popping hypochondriacs, it distracts from Pharma's drought of real drugs for real medical problems.

It used to be joked that a consultant is someone who borrows your watch to tell you what time it is. These days, the opportunist is Big Pharma, which raises your insurance premiums and taxes while providing you "low-priced" drugs that you paid for.
How did Pharma get a good third of the United States taking antidepressants, statins, and Purple Pills, albeit at low prices? By selling the diseases of depression, high cholesterol, and gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. Supply-driven marketing, also known as "Have Drug — Need Disease and Patients," not only turns the nation into pill-popping hypochondriacs, it distracts from Pharma's drought of real drugs for real medical problems.
Of course, not all diseases are Wall Street pleasers. To be a true blockbuster disease, a condition must (1) really exist but have huge diagnostic "wiggle room" and no clear-cut test, (2) be potentially serious with "silent symptoms" said to "only get worse" if untreated, (3) be "underrecognized," "underreported" with "barriers" to treatment, (4) explain hitherto vague health problems a patient has had, (5) have a catchy name — ED, ADHD, RLS, Low T or IBS — and instant medical identity, and (6) need an expensive new drug that has no generic equivalent.
Here are some potential blockbuster diseases Pharma hopes you get in 2012.
Adult ADHD
Everyday problems labeled as "depression" sailed Pharma through the last two decades. You weren't sad, mad, scared, confused, remorseful, grieving, or even exploited. You were depressed, and there was a pill for that. But depression peaked just like the Atkins Diet and the Macarena. Luckily, there is adult ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), which has doubled in women 45 to 65 and tripled in men and women 20 to 44, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Like depression, adult ADHD is a catch-all category. "Is It ADHD or Menopause?" asks an article in Additude, a magazine devoted exclusively to ADHD. "ADD and Alzheimer's: Are These Diseases Related?" asks another article in the same magazine.
"I'm Depressed. Could it be ADHD?" says an ad in Psychiatric News, showing a pretty but pouting young woman. In the same publication, another ad titled "Broken Promises" says, "Adults with ADHD were nearly 2x more likely to have been divorced," while exhorting doctors to "screen for ADHD."
Adults with ADHD are often "less responsible, reliable, resourceful, goal-oriented, and self-confident, and they find it difficult to define, set, and pursue meaningful internal goals," says an article cowritten by Harvard child psychiatrist Dr. Joseph Biederman, who is credited with putting "pediatric bipolar disorder" on the map. They "show tendencies to being self-absorbed, intolerant, critical, unhelpful, and opportunistic," and "tend to be inconsiderate of other people's rights or feelings," says the article, describing most people's brothers-in-law.
Adults with ADHD will have trouble keeping a job and get worse without treatment, says WebMD, tapping into the second requirement of a blockbuster disease — symptoms worsen without pills. "Adults with ADHD may have difficulty following directions, remembering information, concentrating, organizing tasks, or completing work within time limits," according to the website, whose original partner was Eli Lilly.
How did Pharma get five million kids and now, maybe, their parents on ADHD meds? Ads on 26- by 20-foot screens in Times Square that ask "Can't focus? Can't sit still? Could you or your child have ADHD?" four times an hour couldn't hurt. (Bet no one had trouble focusing on that!)
Still, convincing adults they aren't sleep deficient or bored but have ADHD is only half the battle. Pharma also has to convince kids who grew up diagnosed as ADHD not to quit their meds, says Mike Cola of Shire (which makes the ADHD drugs Intuniv, Adderall XR, Vyvanse, and the Daytrana patch). "We know that we lose a significant number of patients in the late teen years, early 20s, as they kind of fall out of the system based on the fact that they no longer go to a pediatrician."
A Shire ad in Northwestern University's student paper this year takes the issue head on. "I remember being the kid with ADHD. Truth is, I still have it," says the headline splashed across a photo of Adam Levine, the lead singer of Maroon 5. "It's Your ADHD. Own It," was the tagline. (Was "Stay Sick" the runner-up?)
Of course, pushing speed on college kids (or anyone, for that matter) isn't too hard. Why else do meth dealers say, "First taste free"? But Pharma is so eager to retain its pediatric ADHD market, it has funded for-credit courses for doctors, such as "Identifying, Diagnosing, and Managing ADHD in College Students" and "ADHD in College: Seeking and Receiving Care During the Transition From Child to Adult."
To make sure no one thinks ADHD is a made-up disease, WebMD shows color-enhanced Pet scans of the brains of a normal person and an ADHD sufferer (flanked by an ad for Vyvanse). But it is doubtful the scans are really different, says psychiatrist Dr. Phillip Sinaikin, author of Psychiatryland. And even if they are, it proves nothing.
"The crux of the matter is that there is simply no definitive understanding of how neuronal activity is related to subjective consciousness, the age-old unsolved body/mind relationship," Sinaikin told AlterNet. "We have not advanced beyond phrenology, and this article in WebMD is simply the worst kind of manipulation by the drug industry to sell their overpriced products, in this case a desperate effort by Shire to maintain a market share when Adderall goes generic."
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a serious and dangerous disease. But so are Pharma's immune-suppressing biologic drugs like Remicade, Enbrel, and Humira, which are pushed to treat it. While RA attacks the body's own tissues, leading to inflammation of the joints, surrounding tissues, and organs, immune suppressors can invite cancers, lethal infections, and activate TB.
In 2008, the FDA announced that 45 people on Humira, Enbrel, Remicade, and Cimzia died from fungal diseases, and investigated Humira's links to lymphoma, leukemia, and melanoma in children. This year, the FDA warned that the drugs can cause "a rare cancer of white blood cells" in young people, and the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) warned of "potentially fatal Legionella and Listeria infections."
Immune-suppressing drugs are also dangerous to the pocketbook. One injection of Remicade costs up to $2,500; a month's supply of Enbrel costs $1,500; and a year's supply of Humira costs up to $20,000.
Once upon a time, RA was diagnosed from the presence of "rheumatoid factor" and inflammation. But, thanks to Pharma's supply-driven marketing, stiffness and pain are all that are required for the diagnosis today. (Athletes and people born before 1970 — line forms to the left!)
In addition to diagnostic wiggle room and a catchy name, RA has other blockbuster disease requirements. It  will "only get worse" if untreated, says WebMD, and it is often "misdiagnosed" and underreported, says Abbott's Heather Mason, because "people often don't know what they have for a while."
So serious a disease, it costs over $20,000 a year to treat but so subtle you may not know you have it? RA sounds like a blockbuster.
Another underreported disease is fibromyalgia, characterized by widespread. unexplained bodily pain. Fibromyalgia is "almost a textbook definition of an unmet medical need," says Ian Read of Pfizer, which makes the first drug to be approved for fibromyalgia, the seizure pill Lyrica. Pfizer gave nonprofit groups $2.1 million in 2008 to "educate" doctors about fibromyalgia and financed PSAs (pharma service announcements) depicting sufferers describing their symptoms without mentioning a drug. Lyrica now makes $3 billion a year.
Still, Lyrica has to fight Cymbalta, the first antidepressant to be approved for fibromyalgia. Eli Lilly prepositioned Cymbalta for the physical "pain" of depression in a campaign called "Depression Hurts" before the fibromyalgia approval. Treatment of a fibromyalgia patients with either Lyrica or Cymbalta hovers around $10,000, say medical journals.
Pharma and Wall Street may be happy with fibromyalgia drugs, but patients aren't. On, the drug-rating website, patients on Cymbalta reported chills, jaw problems, electrical "pings" in their brain, and eye problems. This year, four patients reported the urge to kill themselves, a frequently reported side effect of Cymbalta. Lyrica users on askapatient reported memory loss, confusion, extreme weight gain, hair loss, impaired driving, disorientation, twitching, and worse. Some patients take both drugs.
Middle of the Night Insomnia
Sleep disorders are a goldmine for Pharma because everyone sleeps — or watches TV when they can't. To churn the insomnia market, Pharma rolls out subcategories of insomnia, such as chronic, acute, transient, initial, delayed-onset, terminal, early-morning, menopausal, and the master category of nonrestful sleep. This fall, Pharma rolled out a new version of Ambien for "middle-of-the-night" insomnia called Intermezzo, even though Ambien is paradoxically notorious for middle-of-the-night awakenings: people "waking up" in an Ambien blackout and walking, talking, driving, making phone calls, and eating food.
Many became aware of Ambien's "lights-on-nobody-home" effect when former Rhode Island Representative Patrick Kennedy drove to Capitol Hill to "vote" at 2:45 a.m. in 2006 on Ambien and crashed his Mustang. But it was Ambien's EWI effect — eating while intoxicated — not DWIs that gave the pill its worst rap. Fit and sexy people awoke amid mountains of pizza, Krispy Kreme, and Häagen-Dazs cartons, their contents consumed by their evil twin on Ambien.
Excessive Sleepiness and Shift Work Sleep Disorder
Needless to say, people with insomnia won't be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed the following day —  whether they didn't sleep or whether they have sleeping pill residues in their system. In fact, they are actually suffering from the underrecognized and underreported epidemic of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness. The main medical causes of EDS or ES are sleep apnea and narcolepsy, but last year Pharma rolled out a lifestyle-caused "Shift Work Sleep Disorder." (No, it doesn't meant you can't sleep because your partner "shifts" in his or her sleep.) Ads for Provigil, a Schedule IV stimulant that treats EDS along with Nuvigil show a judge in his black robe, nodding out on the job, with the headline "Struggling to Fight the Fog?" ("Yo! Your Honor! I'm trying to plead!").
Of course wakefulness agents contribute to insomnia, which contributes to wakefulness problems in a kind of perpetual pharmaceutical jet lag. In fact, the sleeping pill/alertness aid habit is so common, it threatens to create a new meaning for "AA" — Adderall and Ambien!
Insomnia That Is Really Depression
Sleep disorders have also given a new lease on life to antidepressants. Doctors now prescribe more antidepressants for insomnia than they do sleeping pills, according to CNN. They also often combine them, since "insomnia and depression often occur together, but which is the cause and which is the symptom is often unclear."
WebMD agrees with doubling the drugs. "Depressed patients with insomnia who were treated with both an antidepressant and a sleep medication fared better than those treated only with antidepressants," it writes. Ka-ching!
In fact, many of the new blockbuster diseases from adult ADHD and RA to fibromyalgia are treated with new drugs piled on top of existing ones that aren't working, a Pharma contrivance called polypharmacy. It brings to mind the store owner who says, "I know that 50 percent of my advertising is wasted — I just don't know which 50 percent."
Martha Rosenberg frequently writes about the impact of the pharmaceutical, food, and gun industries on public health. Her work has appeared in the Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, and other outlets.

Read the original artcile here

New Study Supports Claim That Breast Screening May Be Causing More Harm Than Good

Research: Possible net harms of breast cancer screening: Updated modelling of Forrest report

A new study published on today supports the claim that the introduction of breast cancer screening in the UK may have caused more harm than good.

Harms included false positives (abnormal results that turn out to be normal) and overtreatment (treatment of harmless cancers that would never have caused symptoms or death during a patient's lifetime). This may be because the cancer grows so slowly that the patient dies of other causes before it produces symptoms, or the cancer remains dormant or regresses.

It shows that the harms of screening largely offset the benefits up to 10 years, after which the benefits accumulate, but by much less than predicted when screening was first started.

The Forrest report in 1986, which led to the introduction of breast cancer screening in the UK, estimated the number of screened and unscreened women surviving each year over a 15-year period. Costs and benefits were measured in quality adjusted life years or QALYs (a combined measure of quantity and quality of life) but it omitted harms.

It suggested that screening would reduce the death rate from breast cancer by almost one third with few harms and at low cost.

Since the Forrest report, the harms of breast cancer screening have been acknowledged. So, researchers at the University of Southampton set out to update the report's survival estimates by combining the benefits and harms of screening in one single measure.

The results are based on 100,000 women aged 50 and over surviving by year up to 20 years after entry to the screening programme.

Inclusion of false positives and unnecessary surgery reduced the benefits of screening by about half. The best estimates generated negative net QALYs for up to eight years after screening and minimal gains after 10 years.

After 20 years, net QALYs accumulate, but by much less than predicted by the Forrest report.

The authors say more research is needed on the extent of unnecessary treatment and its impact on quality of life. They also call for improved ways of identifying those most likely to benefit from surgery and for measuring the levels and duration of the harms from surgery. From a public perspective, the meaning and implications of overdiagnosis and overtreatment need to be much better explained and communicated to any woman considering screening, they add.

However, the continuing uncertainty surrounding the extent of overtreatment is apparent in a study of French women published on last month, which put overdiagnosis of invasive breast cancer due to screening at around 1%.

Contacts and sources:
Emma Dickinson
BMJ-British Medical Journal

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

14 Proven Side Effects of Sitting All Day

Original article can be found here

It should come as no surprise that sitting around and not moving all day isn't really good for your body, but many may not be aware of just how many problems can be caused by such a sedentary lifestyle. Whether you choose to sit all day or are required to by the logistics of your job, you may want to take a new approach to your workday after learning just what health effects sitting can have on the body. It could impact not only your health, but the lives of your loved ones and expenditures towards healthcare.

  1. Deep Vein Thrombosis. Most are familiar with this condition through warnings urging people not to sit without getting up on long flights. The same goes for sitting for hours on end anywhere– at work or at home– without moving. If you don't get up and walk around occasionally, you could be putting yourself at risk of potentially deadly blood clots in your legs.
  2. Obesity. Surprise, surprise, sitting all day rather than standing or moving around can play a contributing role in obesity. While not burning enough calories is part of the problem, studies have also shown that being overly sedentary can slow your metabolism and change how your body functions, further contributing to weight gain.
  3. Increased Risk of Heart Disease. You think a workout after work is enough to make up for sitting still all day? Think again. New studies have shown that exercise once a day, even for an hour, isn't enough to make up for sitting all day at work. Those who work out and sit all day are just as likely to develop heart disease as those who don't work out and sit all day, something that should make any health conscious worker reevaluate their daily schedule.
  4. Risk of Diabetes. Along with an increased risk of heart disease, sitting for prolonged periods of time can increase your chances of developing diabetes by as much as 7 percent. Why? Sitting all day actually causes your body to slow down considerably and can result in increased blood sugar (since your body doesn't need the sugar for energy it simply stays in your system), insulin resistance and a much less healthy you.
  5. Raised Cholesterol. Those standing desks and treadmills desks won't sound so bad after you learn what other side effects sitting all day can have. Not only will it raise your blood sugar, but your cholesterol as well. Sitting causes enzyme activity in the body to drop by as much as 90%, preventing those helpful enzymes from grabbing that fat and using it for energy. In fact, after a few hours of sitting, healthy cholesterol plummets by 20%.
  6. Herniated Disk. Our bodies aren't really designed to sit all day long. Sitting puts a lot of pressure on your hips and spine, and can lead to some injuries in them over an extended period of time. One such injury may be a herniated disk. Continued pressure on your spine may cause a disk to come out of place, creating a painful condition that can require medication, physical therapy or even surgery.
  7. Poor Posture. Do you always sit correctly when you're sitting down at work or at home? More than likely you're not, which can put undue pressure on certain parts of your body and lead to poor posture even when you're not sitting at a desk. Weakened muscles and tight joints caused by prolonged sitting take their toll over time, and can leave you feeling tired, cause extreme lower back and neck pain and harm your body as a whole.
  8. Knee Pain. When you sit, your knees are generally at a ninety degree angle. At first, this doesn't seem so bad, but after sitting all day, for weeks on end, this can take its toll on your knees. Sitting in this position puts pressure on the kneecap and can lead to pain and swelling and may result in having to wear a knee brace while at work.
  9. Muscle Weakness. It makes sense that moving less results in loss of muscle mass and muscle weakness. One of the hardest hit muscles is the gluteus maximums, or the buttocks. It is one of the largest muscles in the body and plays a big role in just about any movement you could want to do, so it's essential that it stays strong. Weak gluteus muscles can result in lower back pain and hip bursitis as well.
  10. Increased Risk of Depression. Sitting at your desk all day may make you depressed through the sheer tedium of it all, but there's a scientific reason for it as well. Reduced movement means less blood flow. Less blood flow means fewer feel-good hormones are moving through your body, helping you keep depression at bay. The effects can be even worse for those who already struggle with or are more prone to depression.
  11. Slowed Metabolism. When you sit for an extended period of time, your body starts to slow and shut down on a metabolic level. Since you're not moving around, your circulation slows and you're burning fewer calories and fewer fat burning enzymes are moving through your body. All of this can lead to an overall slowed metabolism that can affect your energy levels and cause you to gain weight.
  12. Neck Problems. Many people who work at a computer extend their necks to see or bend them slightly when working. While over the short term this may not be a huge problem, but over long periods of time it can start to harm the muscles and joints in the neck and lead to pain even when you're not at work.
  13. Back Aches and Pain. One of the hardest hit parts of the body when you're sitting all day is the lower back. It is under a large amount of pressure and can begin to ache while at work and for hours afterward. While stretching, working out the muscles and moving around can all help, many sitting all day just don't realize how much they're hurting their backs and could face long term problems trying to get them back into shape.
  14. Shorter Life Span. Those who sit more than six hours a day are at an increased risk of early death from all causes, higher by an average 35% for women and 18% for men, for those who exercise. Those who don't exercise and sit all day are at a 94% higher risk of premature death for women, and a 48% higher risk for men. This is no joke for those who spend their days at a desk. Get up, get exercising and start reducing the effects of being sedentary before it's too late.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Consumer Reports Find Arsenic and Lead in Juices

December 1, 2011

Findings of a Consumer Reports investigation about arsenic and lead levels in apple juice and grape juice have prompted the organization to call for government standards to limit consumers’ exposure to these toxins.

One of the greatest scams of the industrial food cartel was exposed when it was found that the so-called “fresh” orange juice sold in supermarkets is not fresh at all. Now apple and grape juice can be added to the list of toxic fruit juices.
The tests of 88 samples of apple juice and grape juice purchased in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut by Consumer Reports staffers found that 10 percent of those samples had total arsenic levels exceeding federal drinking-water standards of 10 parts per billion (ppb) and 25 percent had lead levels higher than the 5 ppb limit for bottled water set by the Food and Drug Administration. Most of the arsenic detected in our tests was the type called inorganic, which is a human carcinogen. For our complete test results download Consumer Reports Arsenic Test Results January 2012.pdf.

Arsenic has long been recognized as a poison and a contaminant in drinking water, but now concerns are growing about arsenic in foods, especially in fruit juices that are a mainstay for children.

Controversy over arsenic in apple juice made headlines as the school year began when Mehmet Oz, M.D., host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” told viewers that tests he’d commissioned found 10 of three dozen apple-juice samples with total arsenic levels exceeding 10 parts per billion (ppb). There’s no federal arsenic threshold for juice or most foods, though the limit for bottled and public water is 10 ppb. The Food and Drug Administration, trying to reassure consumers about the safety of apple juice, claimed that most arsenic in juices and other foods is of the organic type that is “essentially harmless.”
But an investigation by Consumer Reports shows otherwise:
  • Roughly 10 percent of our juice samples, from five brands, had total arsenic levels that exceeded federal drinking-water standards. Most of that arsenic was inorganic arsenic, a known carcinogen.
  • One in four samples had lead levels higher than the FDA’s bottled-water limit of 5 ppb. As with arsenic, no federal limit exists for lead in juice.
  • Apple and grape juice constitute a significant source of dietary exposure to arsenic, according to our analysis of federal health data from 2003 through 2008.
  • Children drink a lot of juice. Thirty-five percent of children 5 and younger drink juice in quantities exceeding pediatricians’ recommendations, our poll of parents shows.
  • Mounting scientific evidence suggests that chronic exposure to arsenic and lead even at levels below water standards can result in serious health problems.
  • Inorganic arsenic has been detected at disturbing levels in other foods, too, which suggests that more must be done to reduce overall dietary exposure.
The investigation included an analysis of the National Center for Health Statistics’ National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) database from 2003 to 2008. The results of that analysis suggest that these juices may be an important contributor to dietary arsenic exposure. Through interviews with physicians and authors of peer-reviewed studies, Consumer Reports also found mounting scientific evidence suggesting that chronic exposure to arsenic and lead even at levels below federal standards for water can result in serious health problems, especially for those who are exposed in the womb or during early childhood. FDA data and other research reveal that arsenic has been detected at disturbing levels in other foods as well.
While federal limits exist for arsenic and lead levels in bottled and drinking water, no limits are defined for fruit juices, which a recent Consumer Reports’ poll of parents confirms are a mainstay of many children’s diets. The FDA says when a fruit juice sample has 23 ppb or more of total arsenic, it will retest the sample to determine how much of it is inorganic, because according to the agency’s 2008 hazard assessment, 23 ppb of inorganic arsenic would represent a potential health risk. But that 23 ppb “level of concern” is not a mandatory limit, nor is it based on arsenic’s well-established cancer risks.
A call for arsenic standards for juice

Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, believes the FDA’s “level of concern” is an inadequate reference point for establishing a protective limit for public health. Based on Consumer Reports’ test findings, Consumers Union is urging the FDA to set a more protective standard of 3 ppb for total arsenic and 5 ppb for lead in juice. Such standards are attainable: 41 percent of the samples Consumer Reports tested would meet both thresholds.
Consumers Union was encouraged by recent discussions with FDA officials and by an FDA letter to the consumer advocacy groups Food & Water Watch and Empire State Consumer Project indicating that the agency is considering setting guidance for the level of inorganic arsenic permissible in apple juice. The agency announced that its new initiatives include collecting and analyzing up to 90 samples of apple juice from retailers across the U.S. by the end of 2011 and analyzing levels of organic and inorganic arsenic in other types of juice as well.
Consumers Union believes that the FDA already has the data it needs to set juice standards, and that a guidance level must be followed by the establishment of a legally binding standard.
The FDA’s data

Earlier this month, when the Consumer Reports story was going to press, the FDA had posted on its website results for 70 samples of apple juice and concentrate it had tested from fiscal years 2005 through 2011 as part of a program it launched to test for specific toxins such as arsenic in imported and domestic products.
Then in late November, the agency posted eight previously undisclosed test results for apple juice samples from that data set containing total arsenic levels greater than 23 ppb.
Five samples were from 2008: two samples with arsenic levels of 27 ppb, one with 42 ppb, and two others with 45 ppb. The three other test results included a 2009 sample at 25 ppb and two 2010 samples with levels of 26 ppb and 34 ppb. FDA stated that those results had not been disclosed before because they were “in the process of being further verified.”
When asked why the process took so long, an FDA spokeswoman said that the samples should have been posted at the same time as the other results and that the agency is developing procedures to ensure that in the future, “data that are posted indeed represent the complete set.”

Even though all eight samples exceeded 23 ppb total arsenic, the agency tested only three of them to measure how much of the total was inorganic arsenic. Of those three, one 2010 sample contained 43 ppb inorganic arsenic; the entire shipment associated with that sample was denied entry into the U.S. The two others had less than 23 ppb inorganic arsenic. FDA says four of the samples that did not undergo further testing were collected before the agency established its level of concern for inorganic arsenic in ready-to-drink apple juice, and that it is “currently determining what action was taken” regarding the remaining sample.
When those eight test results were added to the previous 70 samples plus results for another 82 samples the agency collected in the latter part of 2011, the cumulative total posted on FDA’s website rose to 160. Of those, 12 percent had 10 ppb or higher total arsenic and 5 percent had arsenic levels of 23 ppb or higher.
The FDA also cites test results of samples in its Total Diet Study program, which tested another 134 composite apple juice samples from 1991 to 2009. Of those, nearly a quarter tested at 10 ppb or higher and 5 percent had 23 ppb or more of total arsenic. The overall picture is that the vast majority of apple juice samples tested below the FDA’s 23 ppb level of concern, an FDA spokeswoman said.
But the level the FDA deems acceptable should be much lower, Consumers Union believes, because in establishing its level of concern the agency didn’t consider the risks of skin, lung, and bladder cancer that arsenic exposure poses to the public.

Even "100 Percent Pure" Orange Juice Is Artificially Flavoured

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

African viewpoint: Jammeh, Aids and infertility

29 November 2011
President Yahya Jammeh (L) speaks with his wife, Zeineb Souma Jammeh, on 24 November 2011 as he leaves a polling station in the capital Banjul
In our series of viewpoints from African journalists, former BBC Focus on Africa deputy editor and Ghanaian government minister Elizabeth Ohene recalls meeting The Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh, who was re-elected last week, after he seized power in a coup in 1994.

As I followed the election news coming out of The Gambia last week, my mind invariably went down memory lane.

It came as no surprise that President Yahya Jammeh was declared winner with 72% of the vote, giving him a fourth five-year term.

Seventeen years ago when Mr Jammeh - then aged 29 - staged a coup that overthrew The Gambia's first President Sir Dawda Jawara, I went to report from the country and I met the fresh-faced young man who sounded like all the other young military men in Africa at the time.

Mr Jammeh's inspiration and role-models were Jerry Rawlings of Ghana, Valentine Strasser of Sierra Leone and Muammar Gaddafi of Libya.

I had a memorable interview with him then and again in 1996 when he was under intense diplomatic pressure to return the country to constitutional rule.

I remember he tried to sound confident and even authoritative but every once in a while his nerves failed him.

And last week, when BBC Focus on Africa's Umaru Fofana asked him if he would accept defeat if he lost, Mr Jammeh asked if he looked like a loser, to applause from the crowd around him.

Back in 1996, a few of the friends that he started out with had already fallen out with him and I took a deep breath when someone in the capital, Banjul, told me I should be careful and not think that I was protected by my BBC badge.


A quote from my old notebook reads: "If he thinks you are threatening his position, you will disappear."

I don't remember what I made of that warning but I recall being more amused than frightened by Mr Jammeh's antics.

The post-independence leaders of The Gambia and Guinea, Sir Dawda Jawara (r) and Sekou Toure (R), in this file photo
Post-independence leader Dawda Jawara (l) was toppled by Yahya Jammeh
Fast forward to the year 2005, when a group of 44 hapless Ghanaians and nine other West Africans were to experience what happens when the president of The Gambia is perceived to be under threat.

The security forces arrested and killed them, suspecting they were mercenaries when they were, in fact, migrants trying to make their way to Europe.

Mr Jammeh eventually paid $500,000 to Ghana in compensation for those murders.

Seventeen years ago he hadn't yet acquired all the titles that are now obligatory adjuncts to his name but he already certainly had illusions of grandeur.

You had to be blind not to see that he would be better for The Gambia than Mr Jawara was, Mr Jammeh told me.

His belief that The Gambia has achieved more during his 17 years in office then during 400 years of British rule must have occurred to him later.

When I heard Umaru's interview with him, he came across as unabashed, unapologetic and indeed quite proud to say that The Gambia was "hell for journalists" - even in those early days journalists were not his favourite people and some learnt the hard way not to upset the young leader.

The bit I couldn't have predicted was Jammeh the healer. Not only did he announce in 2007 that he had discovered a herbal cure for HIV/Aids, he now has a cure for infertility as well.

The government's official website carries reports of barren women being kept in villages for the president's wonder cure.

Aged 46 and with no apparent likelihood of Gambians being tempted to lose their marbles at polling booths, the chances are His Excellency Sheikh, Professor, Alhaji, Doctor Yahya AJJ Jammeh will be around for a long time as President and Commander in Chief of the Republic of The Gambia.

The Arab Spring might find it difficult to cross the Sahara desert.

In West Africa, our weather pattern does not include spring - we have only dry and rainy seasons.

I only wish I had the opportunity to interview him again. I suspect he won't talk to me now.

Read original article here

Common Herbicide Used in 60 Countries and Found in Rain Water Causes Infertility

November 30, 2011

An international team of researchers has reviewed the evidence linking exposure to atrazine -- an herbicide widely used in the U.S. and more than 60 other nations -- to reproductive problems in animals. The team found consistent patterns of reproductive dysfunction in amphibians, fish, reptiles and mammals exposed to the chemical.

Atrazine is the second-most widely used herbicide in the U.S. More than 75 million pounds of it are applied to corn and other crops, and it is the most commonly detected pesticide contaminant of groundwater, surface water and rain in the U.S.

Men exposed to high amounts of the substances are far more likely than men with less contact to have diluted or deformed and sluggish sperm. Each of the semen problems can reduce the ability of sperm to reach and fertilize an egg and could make conception harder.

The new review, compiled by 22 scientists studying atrazine in North and South America, Europe and Japan, appears in the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

High levels of exposure to the herbicide were previously associated with a 30-fold increased risk of diluted or struggling sperm.

The researchers looked at studies linking atrazine exposure to abnormal androgen (male hormone) levels in fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals and studies that found a common association between exposure to the herbicide and the “feminization” of male gonads in many animals.

The most robust findings are in amphibians, said University of Illinois comparative biosciences professor Val Beasley, a co-author of the review. At least 10 studies found that exposure to atrazine feminizes male frogs, sometimes to the point of sex reversal, he said.

Beasley’s lab was one of the first to find that male frogs exposed to atrazine in the wild were more likely to have both male and female gonadal tissue than frogs living in an atrazine-free environment. And in a 2010 study, Tyrone Hayes, a professor of integrative biology at the University of California at Berkeley and lead author of the review, reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that atrazine exposure in frogs was associated with “genetic males becoming females and functioning as females,” Beasley said.

“And this is not at extremely high concentrations,” he said. “These are at concentrations that are found in the environment.”

Researchers have previously found that long-term exposure to even very low levels of atrazine -- 2.5 parts per billion of water -- emasculated three-quarters of laboratory frogs and turned one in 10 into females. Scientists believe the pesticide interferes with endocrine hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone.

The new review describes the disruptions of hormone function and sexual development reported in studies of mammals, frogs, fish, reptiles and human cells exposed to the herbicide. The studies found that atrazine exposure can change the expression of genes involved in hormone signaling, interfere with metamorphosis, inhibit key enzymes that control estrogen and androgen production, skew the sex ratio of wild and laboratory animals (toward female) and otherwise disrupt the normal reproductive development and functioning of males and females.

“One of the things that became clear in writing this paper is that atrazine works through a number of different mechanisms,” Hayes said. “It’s been shown that it increases production of (the stress hormone) cortisol. It’s been shown that it inhibits key enzymes in steroid hormone production while increasing others. It’s been shown that it somehow prevents androgen from binding to its receptor.”

The review also consolidates the evidence that atrazine undermines immune function in a variety of animals, in part by increasing cortisol.

“Cortisol is a nonspecific response to chronic stress,” Beasley said. “But guess what? Wildlife in many of today’s habitats are stressed a great deal of the time. They’re stressed because they’re crowded into little remnant habitats. They’re stressed because there’s not enough oxygen in the water because there are not enough plants in the water (another consequence of herbicide use). They’re stressed because of other contaminants in the water. And the long-term release of cortisol causes them to be immuno-suppressed.”

The Natural Resources Defense Council, an advocacy organization, released a report in August 2009 that documented spikes of atrazine in the water supplies of Midwestern and Southern agricultural areas where the pesticide is primarily applied.

Home or municipal carbon filters can remove atrazine from water but some water filtration systems in small towns are not equipped to filter out atrazine. Water systems in a handful of states have sued atrazine's manufacturers in an effort to force them to pay for removing the pesticide from drinking water.

There also are studies that show no effects -- or different effects -- in animals exposed to atrazine, Beasley said. “But the studies are not all the same. There are different species, different times of exposure, different stages of development and different strains within a species.” All in all, he said, the evidence that atrazine harms animals, particularly amphibians and other creatures that encounter it in the water, is compelling.

“I hope this will stimulate policymakers to look at the totality of the data and ask very broad questions,” Hayes said. “Do we want this stuff in our environment? Do we want -- knowing what we know -- our children to drink this stuff? I would think the answer would be no.”

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

49 Sudden Deaths, 213 Permanent Disabilities - And the Silent Plan to Poison Your Child

Posted By Dr. Mercola | November 29 2011

Story at-a-glance

  • The HPV vaccine is NOT harmless like it is being promoted and has not been proven to actually prevent cervical cancer
  • The HPV vaccine only protects against TWO strains of HPV associated with cancer but there are MORE THAN 100 different strains of HPV in all.
  • Dr. Diane Harper, one of the lead researchers for Gardasil blew the whistle on the vaccine, saying the available data suggests the HPV vaccine's protective effects do not last beyond five years.
  • The VAERS database continues to swell with reports of autoimmune disorders contracted after receiving the HPV vaccine. These side effects now include 137 reports of cervical dysplasia, and 41 reports of cervical cancer.
  • HPV infection clears up on its own within two years in 90 percent of all cases. It rarely leads to cervical cancer unless the infection becomes chronic and leads to cervical changes that remain untreated. Routine pap smear testing can identify chronic HPV infection and may provide greater protection against development of cervical cancer than reliance on an HPV vaccine that has not been adequately proven to be safe or effective.

By Dr. Mercola
During a Republican debate in Tampa, Florida, presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) alleged that campaign contributions from drug company Merck—the maker of Gardasil—played "a pivotal role in Rick Perry's 2007 executive order that mandated teenage girls in Texas be inoculated against HPV," CNN reports.
The order did not go into effect, however, as it was later overturned by the legislature.
Still, it's hard to overlook the potential for undue influence and conflict of interest. Perry responded that the company gave only $5,000 to his campaign.
However, Merck has contributed:

Even Low Dose Vitamin D Slashes Flu Risk by Nearly Half

Anthony Gucciardi
Activist Post
Tue 29 Nov 2011

Vitamin D3, even when taken in low daily dosages, has been found to slash your risk of developing the flu by 42%.

If optimal ranges of vitamin D intake were utilized, the percentage would most likely climb much higher.

While conducting the study, Mitsuyoshi Urashima and colleagues at the Jikei University School of Medicine in Tokyo administered only 1,200 IU of vitamin D daily to study participants. The researchers examined 430 children between the ages of 6 and 15 between December 2008 and March 2009. Half of the participants received vitamin D3 and the other half received a placebo. 

Simply Taking Vitamin D3 Helps Tackle All Serious Flu Epidemics 
At a dosage of 1,200 IUs per day, 334 of the children fully completed the study.

In order to diagnose the presence of influenza Types A and B, researchers used nose and throat swabs on both groups.

What they found was that only 18 of the children taking vitamin D3 were infected with influenza Type A, while the number rose to 31 in the placebo group.

The difference between the two groups regarding infection rates indicates a 42% decreased risk of developing the flu simply by taking vitamin D3.

Interestingly, Type A influenza includes all serious flu epidemics, including seasonal flus and even the swine flu.

So if 1,200 IUs per day is low, what is the optimal daily dosage of vitamin D?

Amazingly, the children in the study are actually taking 1,300 IUs less than what is recommended to children by Canada’s Public Health Agency. According to the organization, children between the ages of 5 and 10 should be taking 2,500 IUs per day. In addition, the guidelines state that adults should be taking 5,000 IUs daily. Therefore, 1,200 IUs is not even adequate for young children.

It is important to keep in mind that these are typical standardized doses, and only through a blood test will you be able to properly analyze your vitamin D levels. The correct test you should receive is 25(OH)D, also called 25-hydroxyvitamin D. You will want to ensure that you are in the optimal vitamin D level range. The optimal range is 50-70 ng/ml, though anything over 100 is in excess. In contrast, 50 ng/ml or below is in the deficient range.

Here is an image to summarize the ranges:

vitamindlevels Even Low Dose Vitamin D Slashes Flu Risk by Nearly Half

Vitamin D supplementation is a simple method of slashing your flu risk and improving overall health. I encourage you to receive a blood test, which can be done through your general doctor, and optimize your vitamin D levels.

Explore More:
  1. Vitamin D Improves Vascular Health and Lowers Blood Pressure
  2. The Supplement that May Spark Your Heart Attack Risk by 30%
  3. Can Vitamin D Lower Your Risk of Melanoma?
  4. Vitamin E May Lower Women’s Lung Disease Risk
  5. Muscle Building Slashes Diabetes Risk
Please visit Natural Society for more great health news and vaccine information.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

10 Ways to Build Explosive Power for Any Sport

By Robert Rousseau,

American football players need to de-cleat players with blocks and pulverize them with tackles. Basketball competitors need to be able to lift off of the ground with enough power to navigate and sometimes go right through defenders on their way to grabbing a rebound or going up for a score. Mixed martial artists must have the explosive power to drop a man with one punch or put them on the canvas with an explosive single or double leg takedown. So what can help all of these people do their jobs?

Explosive power. In other words, the ability to gather maximum strength in a very short period of time. In fact, the gap between maximum power (developed in milliseconds) and maximum strength (a second or more) is the explosive differential gap as outlined in this article.

Just in case you want to get technical.

The good thing is that there are several ways for athletes or would be athletes to gain explosive power while training. In fact, here are 10 of them (these exercises are often done in sets-3 sets of 8, for example-check with a professional to determine what would be best for you).

Disclaimer: Never attempt any exercise without first consulting a physician to determine if the exercises or program you are attempting are right for you. In addition, contact weight lifting professionals to determine if you are executing lifts correctly as it can be highly dangerous not to.

Barbell Quarter Jump Squats: Barbell Jump squats involve performing a quarter squat. Then the practitioner explodes up during the concentric phase of the lift to the point that his/ her hips and knees propel them into the air. In other words, they jump. Upon landing the lifter should stop downward motion as soon as possible and then jump back into the air.

At first, lifters should probably use no weight at all until they get used to the movement. During this stage, they may utilize an arm swing. Then low weight may be added.

Barbell Sub- Maximum Impact Plyometric Jump Box Squats: This exercise involves a box and one must practice it with extreme caution. In fact, if you have any spine problems or are worried about such, don't practice this exercise.

Basically, a lifter must drop to a parallel squat where they merely touch the box and then explode up when doing a Barbell Sub- Maximum Impact Plyometric Jump Box Squat. Then repeat.

Given the nature of this lift, however, practitioners might just want to try the Barbell Non- Impact Plyometric Jump Squat, which is basically the same as above but with no box.

Depth Jumps: Depth jumps involve stepping off boxes-heights can vary- and upon landing on the floor with both legs at the same time, practitioners must explode into the air. The use of arm swings adds power to this exercise.

Dumbell Jerk: Start with a shoulder width stance and point the toes straight ahead. While doing this, hold dumbbells in each hand up to your shoulders with your elbows pointing straight ahead. One end of each dumbbell will actually rest on each shoulder.

From there, one should drop straight down a few inches and then explosively jump and extend up. Then-and speed is of the essence, here-one should drop straight down into a lunge position with one leg forward and the other back. The weight should be caught with one's arms fully extended in the bottom position. Stand up with the arms extended until you are upright and be careful not to take elongated steps (these should be small). The arms should be fully extended and behind the ears in the catch position.

Finger Clean: This is an interesting take on the clean. Hold a barbell out in front of you with only your fingers (no thumbs) while standing upright. When descending keep your knees in the same place. In other words, let the bar go straight down while the legs are pushed back (the lower back should stay flat) until you reach knee level. Then extend your hips, knees, and ankles but do not lift the bar yet.

Then in an explosive movement, bend down and explosively throw your elbows forward and up, catching the weight on your shoulders. Your fingers will be under the bar in the end.

Load Release Jumps: Get a sturdy bench or something similar that can hold your weight because you will be jumping on it. It's probably appropriate to once again start with no weight until you are used to the exercise. However, when you have dumbbell weight, here's what you do.

Hold the weight in front of you and quickly drop into a squat (the weight will be between your legs). Just prior to jumping up onto the bench, release the weight. Some use a weight vest while performing this exercise.

Long Box Jumps: No weight and no small boxes. Find your self a sturdy and rather high and jump as quickly onto it as possible. This tends to be a good warm up exercise.

Ravers: This one is simple. Put a barbell across your shoulders as if you were going to execute a standard squat. The difference is that you will have one foot forward and the other back. Bend your knees slightly and then quickly switch foot positions with a small jump. Do this back and forth rather forcefully.

Standing Triple Jump: With a shoulder width stance, start with a horizontal jump. Then, landing on one leg, explode up again, this time landing on the other leg. After exploding into a jump once more, practitioners will land on both legs softly and repeat.

Uphill sprints: Remember this back in high school (for all of you former high school wrestlers and football players)? Uphill sprints. Simple and it works to build explosive strength.

Put a uniform on and it works even better, or worse, depending on your outlook.

Original article can be found here

Sunday, 20 November 2011

How to avoid food poisoning

How to avoid food poisoning: Health24: Digestive Health:

Food poisoning is highly unpleasant, and when severe will land you in hospital. As we've seen with the latest serious E.Coli outbreak in Europe, it can even be fatal. Make sure you always take the precautions given here to avoid it happening to you.

“Food poisoning” is a general term for infections contracted through food. Typical symptoms of food poisoning include stomach cramps, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting. Bacteria are the most common cause of food poisoning, followed by viruses and parasites.

There are several hundred food-borne diseases, many of which cause other symptoms besides food poisoning. Poisonous chemicals that get into food can also make you ill.

People with HIV/Aids or other immune suppressive diseases are particularly vulnerable to infections from germs in food and water, and need to take extra care. You can’t always tell if food or water is contaminated by how it looks, tastes or smells, but you can greatly reduce the risks by following the simple steps outlined below.
The table below lists the micro-organisms most commonly associated with foodborne illness and examples of foods that are typical vehicles for those illnesses:
Bacillus cereus Reheated cooked rice, cooked meats, starchy puddings, vegetables and fish.
Improper handling after cooking is a common feature of foods causing B. cereus associated foodborne illness.
Clostridium perfringens Reheated foods including buffet dishes, cooked meat and poultry, beans, gravy, stews and soups.
Clostridium botulinum Improperly canned (home-preserved) foods such as vegetables, fish, meat and poultry.
Escherichia coli
Salads and raw vegetables, undercooked meat, cheese, unpasteurised milk.
Campylobacter jejuni Raw milk, poultry.
Listeria monocytogenes Unpasteurised milk and milk products such as soft cheeses, raw meat, poultry, seafood, vegetables, paté, smoked meat and fish, coleslaw.
Salmonella Undercooked poultry, meat, shellfish, salads, eggs and dairy products.
Staphylococcus aureus Ham, poultry, eggs, ice-cream, cheese, salads, custard and cream-filled pastries and gravies, are the most common sources. Improper handling of food or poor hygiene could help S.aureus spread into food.
Vibrio parahaemolyticus and other marine Vibrio Raw and undercooked fish and shellfish.
Trichinella spiralis Undercooked pork or game.
Toxoplasma gondii Undercooked meat and poultry and raw milk.
Hepatitis A virus Shellfish, raw fruits and vegetables can be the uncommon cause of hepatitis A. Hepatitis A can be spread by contaminated food handlers inadvertently transferring the virus to the food they handle.
Source: The European Food Information Council (
Personal hygiene
  • Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water, particularly:
    • after going to the toilet
    • after touching animals
    • after sneezing or blowing your nose
    • before and after food preparation
    • after touching raw meat, fish or poultry
  • Try to avoid coming into contact with animal faeces. If you do, wash your hands very well - with anti-bacterial soap if possible.
  • Cover wounds on your hands to prevent contamination when working with food. Make sure bandages or plasters are clean. Rubber gloves are useful for keeping both wounds and food clean.

Drinking water
  • Boil drinking water first if you are unsure about whether it is safe to drink. Tap water is usually safe, but water from other sources, such as rivers and wells, is not. If boiling isn’t possible, treat the water with bleach, as follows: Mix 1 teaspoon (5ml) of bleach with 25 litres of water (a large basin-full). Leave it to stand at least two hours before drinking.
  • Store safe water in a clean, covered container, preferably in the fridge.
  • Make sure cold drinks and ice cubes have been made with safe water.
  • Remember not to swallow unsafe water while bathing or swimming.
Food shopping
  • Buy foods in amounts that can be eaten before they go off.
  • Don't buy or use dented, bulging or leaking cans.
  • Pre-packaged, sealed cold meats and cheeses are safer.
  • Don't buy cracked eggs: the cracks allow germs to enter.
  • Don't buy foods after their “sell by” date. Throw out foods at home that have reached their expiry date, and don't even taste food if you suspect it has gone off.
  • Avoid foods that have been home-bottled.
Choosing, preparing and storing food
  • If you’re not sure where food comes from or how it’s been prepared, don’t eat it.
  • Keep food away from animals.
  • Cover food to keep insects off it.
Fruits and vegetables
  • Peel fresh fruits and vegetables or wash them with clean water.
  • Throw out moldy or rotten fruits or vegetables.
Milk and milk products
  • Use pasteurised milk. (Milk is heated to high temperatures to destroy germs.) Home-produced milk should be boiled before use.
  • Throw out moldy cheese. Avoid cheeses that contain live molds, like blue cheese, Brie and Camembert.
  • Don't eat wild mushrooms, unless you are absolutely sure they are safe.
  • Never eat raw meat, poultry or fish.
  • Cook meat thoroughly. (It shouldn’t be pink inside.) Ask to have your meat well done when eating at restaurants or friends’ houses.
  • Avoid seafood that does not come from a known, safe source.
  • Never eat raw eggs. Cook eggs until the white and yolk are firm.
  • Don’t use cracked eggs.
  • Wash eggs before breaking them.
Frozen food
  • Food should be kept either hot or cold. Keep cold foods cold:
  • Keep frozen foods frozen until you’re ready to eat them.
  • Pick up frozen foods last, and hurry home with them or pack them with ice in a cooler bag.
  • Don’t keep foods in your freezer longer than a month.
  • Once food has defrosted, it should be used as soon as possible, and not refrozen.
  • Don’t defrost frozen meat at room temperature, which is warm enough to give germs the chance to grow. Defrost frozen meat or other frozen foods in a fridge. If you don’t have a fridge, defrost food in a cool place. Microwave ovens are also good for quick defrosting.
Keep hot foods hot:
  • Eat food as soon as possible once it’s been cooked. Don’t store foods that have cooled down at room temperature.
  • Don't keep food at room temperature for more than two hours. After this time period, bacteria start multiplying. Be suspicious of cold cooked food that has been kept at room temperature for longer.
  • Refrigerate leftovers. If you don’t have a fridge, keep food covered in a cool place.
  • Store foods in airtight containers or cling wrap.
  • When you eat cooked leftovers, reheat them to a high temperature to kill germs.
Take extra care when travelling: you are likely to come into contact with new germs that your body isn’t used to.
  • Only drink bottled or boiled water, or canned drinks. Avoid ice in drinks, unless you know it has been boiled first.
  • Don’t eat raw fruits and vegetables unless you have peeled them yourself.
  • Make sure that food has been properly cooked.
  • Don’t eat food sold by street vendors.
Kitchen hygiene
  • Wash surfaces like the kitchen table, counter or sink, before and after preparing food there. Keep food storage areas (like shelves and fridges) clean.
  • Clean up spills immediately.
  • Use separate cleaning cloths for the kitchen and other parts of the house.
  • Disinfect kitchen cloths, sponges and scourers with bleach, and dry them in sunlight, which helps kill germs. If you have a microwave, heating cloths and sponges for 60 seconds helps kill bacteria.
  • Wash the kitchen floor at least once a week, with cloths that are only used for that purpose.
  • Wash dishes, cutlery and cutting boards well – preferably in hot soapy water that you replace when it gets too dirty. Rinse dishes with clean water, if possible.
  • Replace cracked or badly scratched utensils. Germs live in cracks in cups and dishes and scratches in plastic containers and cutting boards.
  • Use a cutting board for raw foods. Preferably, use one cutting board for meat, poultry and fish, and another for other foods. Or, clean the board well with hot water soapy after cutting each food type. Plastic or stone cutting boards are safest for raw meat.
  • Don’t reuse utensils after they have touched raw meat, fish or chicken, until you have washed them very thoroughly.
  • Keep rubbish in a covered bin that you empty and clean regularly.
  • Keep the kitchen door and windows open as much as possible to provide good ventilation; this helps prevent the growth of mold and fungus.
- Updated by Olivia Rose-Innes, Health24, June 2011

How safe is imported food?: Health24: Enviro Health : News

How safe is imported food?: Health24: Enviro Health : News:

Last week 22 tonnes of imported Irish cheddar were destroyed when found to be contaminated with deadly E.coli bacteria. How safe is imported food really?

According to Gareth Lloyd, Managing Director of Ecowize, a leading hygiene and sanitation company servicing the South African food and healthcare sector, the cheddar contamination incident highlights the issue of safety standards of imported foodstuffs.

He says that as more components are added into the supply chain, it becomes more difficult to guarantee the hygiene and safety of the end product.

By “supply chain”, food industry specialists mean the length of time and the number of steps it takes to get a foodstuff from the farm to your plate: the longer the route, the greater the potential for it to become contaminated. Imported food has a much longer supply chain, involving complex crucial elements like longer periods of refrigeration, than food sourced locally.

Says Lloyd: “With a longer supply chain, logistics and hazards become harder to control. In developing countries, with poorer infrastructure, the hygiene levels may be lower and the hazards of the longer supply chain higher.”
But the increased risk for imports being contaminated extends to those from the developed world too. The “cheddar incident” involved a first-world product, after all.
“Some countries have excellent food safety standards – Australian meat products for example. But standards for poultry and pork in Europe, let’s say, are really only just standard.”
What about checks done on imports when they arrive? We simply do not have the capacity and infrastructure to test all food imports, says Lloyd.
“It’s one in a million products that are tested. Even the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States is only able to inspect about 1% of imports.”
“I’m not saying that it’s bad to buy imported – there are some great products – but just that we need to be aware of the risks and keep demanding better regulation.”
How to avoid contaminated food
Consumers and retailers should make sure a foodstuff looks and smells “OK”, read labels and check expiry dates.
Unfortunately, says Lloyd, that may not always be sufficient.
“Not all bacteria change the smell and taste of food. There will always be bacteria on food, but it’s a matter of safe and dangerous levels. The shelf-life is related to how long it takes before bacterial growth gets to levels that will cause illness. With E.coli, for example, you only need a low level to make you sick. In the case of some other food-borne bacteria, like Salmonella, you need a higher level of exposure.”
The process of bacterial growth continues in your fridge too:
“People often don’t check to see if a product should be frozen or just refrigerated. In the food industry, we need to measure and maintain refrigeration temperatures very accurately, and home fridges aren’t too accurate. They should be set at between 0 and 4 degrees; I’d be surprised if most home fridges are below 4. At 5-20 degrees – that’s like fertilizer for bacteria.”
More on how to avoid food poisoning

Coffee A Day May Reduce Liver Cancer Risk

Coffee A Day May Reduce Liver Cancer Risk | Before It's News:

There have been numerous studies about the many benefits of coffee. I even discussed some of them which includes stroke risks and aging. In recent studies in Japan and in some part of Europe, coffee has been identified to reduce the risk of liver cancer to humans. This article will give you an insight regarding the truth about this great news.

Coffee has an abundant source of antioxidants which has the potential to help inhibit cancer development particularly in the liver. Hepatocellar carcinoma (HCC), is the primary cancer compound of the liver which results to the third largest cancer deaths in the world behind only to lung and stomach cancer.

Various studies which includes Milan (Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri), Finland (University of Helsinki) and Japan (National Cancer Tokyo) have all similar outcome with regards to the effects of coffee to liver cancer. They concluded that a cup of coffee or two a day can lower your risk of liver cancer.

There study were based on quantitative estimation from thousands of coffee drinkers and its association with hepatocellar carcinoma. The presence of hepatocellar carcinoma have at least 41% reduction for coffee drinkers which are also said to help prevents cirrhosis.

Caffeine, a substance commonly found in coffee, has been shown to activate some liver enzymes which helps block carcinogenic detoxification in the liver. But uncontrolled consumption of coffee may spell disaster for your health as it can cause palpitations, intensifies the side effects of antibiotics, hypertension and many others.

Although these studies suggests the positive effects of coffee to liver carcinomas, they are quick to note that the research should continuously be repeated in other groups to achieve concrete results.

Whether these studies are just speculation of the true nature of coffee or not, it certainly help proves that there is a link between coffee and liver cancer through various drinking behaviors around the world. This includes Americans, Europeans and Japanese (who less patronize coffee). The results seems justified based from how they performed their research. However, the discussion is up for the public's own point of view.

What is more important is that we already know that drinking coffee a day can give positive health benefits and over-consumption may pose health risks.

For more news and information on health and wellness, please make sure to visit


Vaccines Never Worked, Never Will, But You'll Never Hear This From Mainstream Medicine

Vaccines Never Worked, Never Will, But You'll Never Hear This From Mainstream Medicine | Before It's News:

They have single digit success rates, they're full of toxic chemicals and they cause diseases to a greater percentage of the population that receive them than those who don't. It's time to reassess the reality that vaccines do not work and never have.

The main advances in combating disease over the last 200 years have been cleaner drinking water (until they added fluoride), improved sanitation, less overcrowded and better living conditions. Vaccines have never been proven to prevent any disease ever. The have not advanced the health of human beings in any way.

The reality of two centuries of mortality graphs, and disease declines and vaccine effectiveness vs. dangers is always in stark contradiction to the claims of government health officials.

My typical 9 questions which receive only ludicrous answers from the conventional medical community are as follows:

1. Could you please provide one non-biased, independently monitored, double-blind, placebo-controlled study that can prove the safety and effectiveness of vaccines? It's quite laughable, but there have some pathetic attempts to answer the question with mainstream medical journals controlled by the pharmaceutical industry.

2. Could you please provide scientific evidence on ANY study which can confirm the long-term safety and effectiveness of vaccines?

3. Could you please provide non-biased, independently monitored scientific evidence which can prove that disease reduction in any part of the world, at any point in history was attributable to inoculation of populations?

4. Could you please explain how the safety and mechanism of vaccines in the human body are scientifically proven if their pharmacokinetics (the study of bodily absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion of ingredients) are never examined or analyzed in any vaccine study?

5. Could you please provide scientific justification as to how injecting a human being with a confirmed neurotoxin is beneficial to human health and prevents disease?

6. Can you provide a risk/benefit profile on how the benefits of injecting a known neurotoxin exceeds its risks to human health for the intended goal of preventing disease?

7. Could you please provide scientific justification on how bypassing the respiratory tract (or mucous membrane) is advantageous and how directly injecting viruses into the bloodstream enhances immune functioning and prevents future infections?

8. Could you please provide scientific justification on how a vaccine would prevent viruses from mutating?

9. Could you please provide scientific justification as to how a vaccination can target a virus in an infected individual who does not have the exact viral configuration or strain the vaccine was developed for?

One of the most critical elements which defines the toxicity potential of any vaccine are its pharmacokinetic properties. Drug companies and health agencies refuse to consider the study, analysis or evaluation of the pharmacokinetic properties of any vaccine.

There is not one double-blind, placebo-controlled study in the history of vaccine development that has ever proven their safety, effectiveness or achievements (unless those achievements have underlined their damage to human health).

There are also no controlled studies completed in any country which have objectively proven that vaccines have had any direct or consequential effect on the reduction of any type of disease in any
part of the world.

Every single study that has ever attempted to validate the safety and effectiveness of vaccines has conclusively established carcinogenic, mutagenic, neurotoxic or fertility impairments, but they won't address those.

It is a scientifically established fact in literally hundreds of studies that the preservatives and chemical additives in vaccines damage cells. Neurotoxicity, immune suppression, immune-mediated chronic inflammation and carcinogenic proliferation are just a few of several effects that have been observed on the human body. See a list of chemicals in vaccines

Fortunately, the drug companies still tell us the damage vaccines have on the human body. People just don't read them. All you have to do is look at the insert for any vaccine, and it will detail the exact ingredients used. FDA approved flu vaccines and Health Canada approved flu vaccines are perfect examples of the toxic nature of what is being injected.

All promoters of vaccination fail to realize that the respiratory tract of humans (actually all mammals) contains antibodies which initiates natural immune responses within the respiratory tract mucosa. Bypassing this mucosal aspect of the immune system by directly injecting viruses into the bloodstream leads to a corruption in the immune system itself. As a result, the pathogenic viruses or bacteria cannot be eliminated by the immune system and remain in the body, where they will further grow and/or mutate as the individual is exposed to ever more antigens and toxins in the environment which continue to assault the immune system.

Despite the injection of any type of vaccine, viruses continue circulating through the body, mutating and transforming into other organisms. The ability of a vaccine manufacturer to target the exact viral strain without knowing its mutagenic properties is equivalent to shooting a gun at a fixed target that has already been moved from its location. You would be shooting at what was, not what is!

Flu viruses, may mutate, change or adapt several times over a period of one flu season, making the seasonal influenza vaccine 100% redundant and ineffective every single flu season. Ironically, the natural immune defenses of the human body can target these changes but the vaccines cannot.
I have never encountered one pro-vaccine advocate, whether medically or scientifically qualified, who could answer even 1 let alone all 9 of these questions with any credibility at all.

Five Myths to Keep in Mind About Flu Vaccines

Myth 1: The Flu Shot is very effective.
Statistically, you are less likely to get the flu if you haven't had a flu vaccine. A BCTV reporter in Vancouver, commenting on the overload in BC emergency rooms, said that out of 32 people who had received a flu shot, 30 got the flu.

Myth 2: The Flu Shot has a high success rate.
This is a vaccine that only has a 6.25% success rate. This is a pretty big under-achievement, considering that the average reaction to placebo injections of distilled water is 30%.

Myth 3: The Flu Shot is safe.
Hugh Fudenberg MD, who is the world's leading immunogeneticist, says that if a person had 5 flu vaccinations between 1970 and 1980 he/she is 10 times more likely to get Alzheimer's Disease than if he/she had only one or two shots. Fudenberg said that this was because of the aluminum and mercury, which almost every flu vaccine contains. The gradual accumulation of aluminum and mercury in the brain leads to cognitive dysfunction.

Myth 4: There are no harmful ingredients in vaccinations.
Flu vaccines consist primarily of 3 categories of ingredients. First there are viruses and cultured bacteria. The second ingredient is the way in which they can be cultivated. This includes aborted human fetal cells, chick embryos, pig blood, monkey kidney tissue, cowpox pus, and calf serum, and all of these foreign proteins get injected straight into your bloodstream. A bit repulsive just thinking about it, isn't it? The flu shot also contains neutralizers, stabilizers, carrying agents and preservatives such as mercury, aluminum, and formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is something that is used for embalming the dead and is known to cause cancer. There is no amount of formaldehyde considered safe when injected into a living organism.

Myth 5: The Flu Shot works.
The flu shot could actually weaken your immune system and make you more likely to catch this virus. It has absolutely no value and should probably be avoided for your own safety. Not only is it loaded with toxic chemicals, but many people actually get the flu shortly after getting the shot, because it weakens their immune system instead of making it stronger like it is claimed to do.

It's time to end vaccinating people of ANY age. If it's toxic and ineffective, why do we continue this outdated and dangerous practice?

Dave Mihalovic is a Naturopathic Doctor who specializes in vaccine research, cancer prevention and a natural approach to treatment.
Vaccines Did Not Save Us! Two Centuries of Official Statistics
The 7 Myths of the Flu Shot