Super weeds 'run rampant in fields near GM crops'.
GM crops have failed to deliver higher food yields but have created dangerous super weeds, a report warns. Health and conservation groups from Africa, Asia and Latin America say that the fast-growing weeds smother other crops planted in fields near where GM crops have been grown.
Read article in the Daily Mail (UK)
Friday, October 28, 2011
Super weeds 'run rampant in fields near GM crops'.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Screening for lung cancer by routine chest X-rays gets the thumbs down from the American Cancer Society. See this CBS News report. - Well that's another bit of good news today! - The fewer damaging doses of ionising radiation people get, the better. I am not in favour of screening by X-rays.
"The 13-year study tracked more than 150,000 Americans between the ages of 55 and 74 and found those who had four annual chest X-ray screenings were just as likely to die of lung cancer as those who didn't get screened. Whether they smoked didn't matter. Screening refers to routine tests in people without symptoms. Doctors still support chest X-rays for diagnosing people with lung cancer symptoms, including coughing up blood and a persistent cough."
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Saturday, October 22, 2011
I've just been listening to Evan Davis chairing The Bottom Line on Radio 4. "With protests continuing around the world against the financial sector, three guests from that industry swap candid thoughts about it. Evan puts to them a fundamental question: is their industry creating genuine wealth, or is it essentially parasitic, finding clever ways of distributing other people's wealth to its own workers? Joining Evan in the studio are Ken Olisa, chairman of boutique technology merchant bank Restoration Partners; Ian Gorham, chief executive of financial advisory firm Hargreaves Lansdown; Julian Roberts, chief executive of savings and investment group Old Mutual".
Well, give him his due, Evan Davis really homed in, again and again, on the key outrage of the rôle of the bankers in the worldwide financial woes of recent years - namely their lack of accountability. Try as he might, however, and despite his repeatedly drawing attention to the great suffering endured by so many innocent people who were taken for a ride by being allowed/persuaded/conned to borrow money they could not pay back, he could not obtain much sympathy/understanding for the victims. He pointed out that 'Heads we win, tails you (i.e. the taxpayers) lose' was not right or fair, but it was largely a dialogue with the deaf. He was informed that it was a matter of 'Caveat Emptor!' (Let the buyer beware!') and if people were stupid enough to fall for dodgy deals, they must take the consequences.
"In 1996, shortly after we began tracking the pharmaceutical industry, we spent time looking at obesity research and the latest diet pills. In doing so, we noticed that a panel that was assembled by the government to develop a guideline for the overweight known as the Body Mass Index. And it was populated by experts, nearly all of whom had a financial tie to a drugmaker selling or developing such pills. The finding, of course, was not all that new, but the practice continues, according to a new study in BMJ, which examined panels responsible for generating clinical practice guidelines on screening and/or treatment for high cholesterol or diabetes in the US and Canada between 2000 and 2010. A good many of the panelists - and panel chairs - had conflicts of interest. But not all were disclosed."
Read article at pharmalot.com
See also Dr Briffa's recent article on conflicts of interest.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Ex-president should be arrested, activists say
Lawyers Against War, the Canadian Centre for International Justice, and the Centre for Constitutional Rights have sent a letter to the attorney general of Canada urging him to open a criminal investigation against the former U.S. president for his administration’s alleged use of torture on detainees.
Read article at metronews.ca (Canada)
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
The Daily Mail reports that patients are being struck off GPs' lists just for daring to make a complaint
The Daily Mail reports that patients are being struck off GPs' lists just for daring to make a complaint. The article is commenting on a report by Health Service Ombudsman Ann Abraham.
"In one case, an elderly woman and her husband were removed after she wrote to the practice manager to complain that receptionists did not answer the phone while she was trying to book an appointment for their seasonal flu jabs. In a telephone call the practice manager warned them he would ‘get you struck off for this’. Shortly afterwards they were removed from the surgery’s list."
So making a complaint is punishable by being removed from the doctor's list... I invite you to compare this mean-spirited injustice with the way that complaints are dealt with in the commercial world. If you were to complain to Sainsburys or Tesco or M & S, I think you could be pretty sure that the complaint would be investigated and that you would receive a prompt, polite response with a detailed explanation for what had gone wrong, together with thanks for drawing the matter to their attention, apology for your inconvenience and very probably a voucher as recompense. And you could be absolutely sure that you would not be threatened with being banned from their stores! Decent businesses use complaints to improve their service to the public. Not so the NHS.
GPs are, as near as dammit, unaccountable to the public who pay their bloated salaries. (UK doctors are the highest-paid in Europe.) Even extremely grave errors routinely incur neither censure nor penalty. - Read Can you trust your doctor? The non-accountability of doctors encourages arrogance and increasing careless professional negligence. - Here is my own dreadful experience of the NHS Complaints Procedures. Why do so many doctors give such poor service? - Because they can.
Our present government claims that it is seeking to provide greater patient choice. What nonsense! Patient choice in the UK is, as ever, Like it or Lump it!
Update, Wed 19th October 2011: also see today's Daily Mail follow-up article on this subject.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Study suggests promising results for epilepsy surgery as you can read in this BBC News report. "The most common type of surgery undertaken on people in the study was temporal lobe surgery, which focuses on the area of the brain behind the forehead between the ear and the eye, where most seizures originate. Researchers who carried out the study, published in The Lancet, reported that 63% of all patients were free of seizures two years after surgery (excluding simple partial seizures), 52% after five years and 47% after 10 years." - I can't say I'd consider these percentages very 'promising' myself...
But you may be very hesitant about embarking on brain surgery - and I'd certainly be with you on that! - and you probably wish there could be a third option, i.e. not surgery and not drugs either. - I'd be with you about avoiding anti-epilepsy drugs too because they tend to have undesirable side-effects, don't they? (Though some of the serious side-effects, e.g. weight gain, from anti-epileptics such as Epilim, can be greatly reduced by cutting down on salt and salty food. See amitriptyline and other drugs.)
Well there is indeed a third option, and it has much to commend it. - Maybe you have already heard of it? - The ketogenic diet? - The ketogenic diet is a high fat, adequate protein, low carbohydrate diet. Maybe you have heard of it but been advised that it is a difficult diet to stick to, and so you haven't given it further thought. - But compared with brain surgery! - Surely it's a no-brainer as an option to brain surgery!? - Check out this excellent, reassuring article about this kind of diet. As a matter of fact, although I do not suffer from epilepsy, I nevertheless eat a ketogenic diet and have done so for many months now and it suits me very well. You may like to consider it and discuss it with your medical adviser and read further about it on the internet.
Friday, October 14, 2011
You think that painkillers are relatively harmless? Then I think you may be wrong. See these most recent reports about harm caused by painkillers:
J&J To Pay $48M To Man Hurt By Motrin
A Los Angeles jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson and its McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit to pay $48.2 million to a man who developed a severe skin disorder and blood blisters in his mouth after taking the Motrin over-the-counter pain reliever.
Read article at pharmalot.com
Diclofenac Deaths May Dwarf Vioxx Disaster: Health Agencies Helped It Happen
The world was shocked by the number of deaths caused Vioxx, but that number may be dwarfed by another NSAID, diclofenac. Vioxx was sold only by prescription. Diclofenac is sold both by prescription and over the counter.
Read article at gaia-health.com
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Medical Xpress reports that Vitamin D is crucial in human immune response to tuberculosis. The researchers "found that T-cells, which are white blood cells that play a central role in immunity, release a protein called interferon-gamma that triggers communication between cells and directs the infected immune cells to attack the invading tuberculosis bacteria. However, this activation requires sufficient levels of vitamin D to be effective."
This important finding stirs very mixed emotions in me. In childhood and adolescence I suffered repeated bouts of pulmonary tuberculosis, after which time I was advised by health professionals to avoid exposing my skin to sunshine in case it reawakened the dormant TB germs. Vitamin D is known as the 'sunshine vitamin'. Clearly, in the light of this research finding (published online today,Oct. 12, in the peer-reviewed journal, Science Translational Medicine) the advice that I was given was completely wrong, and since I followed that advice for a long time, it cannot but have compromised my health. More and more, researchers are reporting the many health benefits that vitamin D bestows on us, and the many disbenefits that are caused by inadequate levels of vitamin D.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Friday, October 07, 2011
Taking sleeping pills or medication for anxiety is linked to an increased risk of death, according to a study by a University of Laval researcher in Quebec City.
Psychologist Geneviève Belleville found a rise of 36 per cent in the mortality rate among Canadians who reported having used anxiolytic and hypnotic medication to treat insomnia or anxiety at least once in the previous month.
Read article on the CBC News website (Canada)
Years ago I took prescribed sleeping pills and experienced many adverse side-effects, the most harmful and distressing of which was probably memory loss. I also found they were extremely addictive and it took me about 8 months of great struggle to get off them. Some months ago I started to take melatonin and have found these helpful and without any side-effects.
More than three-quarters of cancer patients have insufficient levels of vitamin D (25-hydroxy-vitamin D) and the lowest levels are associated with more advanced cancer, according to a study presented on October 2, 2011, at the 53rd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).
Read article at medicalxpress.com
Monday, October 03, 2011
People taking oral steroids are twice as likely as the general population to have severe vitamin D deficiency, according to a study of more than 31,000 children and adults by scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. Their findings, in the September 28 online edition of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, suggest that physicians should more diligently monitor vitamin D levels in patients being treated with oral steroids. Read this Medical Xpress report.
""When doctors write that prescription for steroids and they're sending the patients for lab tests, they should also get the vitamin D level measured," said study lead author Amy Skversky, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of pediatrics at Einstein and Montefiore Medical Center, the University Hospital for Einstein."
And remember, steroids include HRT and other oestrogen-containing drugs. And remember also that research in recent years has found that low vitamin D levels are very common indeed. And children are at even higher risk than adults are from adverse steroid side-effects.
Sunday, October 02, 2011
Is the unaccountability of NHS staff the greatest threat to the health of UK citizens? - Certainly many people would be of that opinion - especially if they have had personal experience of serious NHS negligence or a member of their family has suffered because of it. - Until you experience the NHS Complaints Procedures for yourself you can have no conception of how useless, evil and corrupt they are: how the NHS routinely and literally gets away with murder. Read in today's Telegraph report how despite presiding over the avoidable suffering and deaths of around 400 patients at that infamous, inhuman Stafford hospital between January 2005 and March 2009, Martin Yeates is not even going to appear at the public inquiry into the scandal. Like many another overpaid apology for a public servant he is claiming to be too ill to be questioned. - That 'illness' is Cowardice.