Jan 072014
 

bat

You may have noticed that the last post for this blog was October 21st of this year. On October 22nd, OHSU hospital called me up to offer a donor heart. At the finish of my antibiotic I.V. treatments for the infection I had at summer’s end, the timing for pulling all of the electronica out of my body as preparation for a full transplant was perfect. No more pacemaker/defibrillator and enough with the Cheneyesque LVAD pumping oxygenated blood. This time, a fully compatible heart from a donor was transplanted inside of me. The toughest part of this exchange is the idea that the donor has tragically lost his life as part of the circumstance for my receiving this life-saving surgery. I normally choose not to disclose this type of personal info, but the circumstances are so unusual that they will likely be the subject of future updates.

The truth is I’m hosting a life inside of me, now. My life is becoming a shared experience. The transplant is a success by all measures so far. Although most of last year was spent inside a hospital, 2013 was a fortunate year for me as OHSU’s cardiac team elected to save my life twice during this period.  I view the doctors and staff involved as the few gems doing their job and inadvertently bucking the genocidal health scheme, which is an observation this allopathic skeptic will never forget.

Thanks to everyone for their support and well wishes during this period. The world is disintegrating further in the direction most of us predicted with ease. The Intercept will continue its commitment to posting all original material (no longer reposting news stories). Look for radio transmissions, “Tales of the Inconceivable”, a new “Let’s Get Into Trouble, Baby” site, and additional posts about election fraud, 9/11, ecological catastrophes real or imagined, false flags, war crimes, federal power grabs, propaganda and all other subjects aimed at prompting you to share a laugh at the coming apocolypse. Happy New Year!

J.T.

May 212013
 

GeoEngineering Watch
Gary Attalla

Chemtrails over USA

My name is Gary Attalla from New Jersey. I work for the State Health Department for 36  years as an Environmental Health Specialist with a broad background in food safety and microbiology, water, pollutions, regulated medical waste, health care facilities and other issues. I graduated from Rutgers University with a science degree and was premed, though i never went to medical school. I am pursuing this issue as a private citizen, which allows for me to be more cavalier, much more.

Around January 2013, all at once I began to notice  chem trails. It happened in an instant, if not less. Then I began to observe day in, day out ,the relentless spraying. I drive all over the state of NJ. Here is what I have noticed. At any given moment there are dozens of planes in the sky, criss crossing, going back and forth, parallel lines, half circles etc..with the pencil line trails, eventually fanning out to form, for lack of a better word; “clouds”. The sky then becomes milky white that i call  2%, really, and many times a strange iridescent purple. After observing for some time, i began to be able to immediately identify the plumes (that’s it, we’ll call them plumes) even if i did not see the actual planes. Then I came across a movie on You Tube called “What in The World Are They Spraying” on you tube, which  eventually led me to Dane Wigington. I came to an independent conclusion (factoring in my background in public health and many days of research), that this is the most pressing issue facing us all. This information was passed on to my brother Mark, who lives 60 miles north of me. The exact same spraying is going on where he lives.  There are many pressing issues; hydro-fracking, vaccines with mercury, beef production, yes beef production, genetically modified organisms, banking scandals, deforestation and so many more.

Breathing in toxic aluminum oxide, strontium, barium, silver iodide, mercury and other mystery chemicals (because testing can’t be done for everything) is the most pressing. And when it rains, the soil and food supply soak up these chemicals. So when you thing your eating organic, you are not. Because this is going on worldwide and heavy in the USA, the chemicals travel with the trade winds,  gulf stream and other winds, and can/do travel thousands of miles. So nobody is safe, not even the rich and famous.

After speaking to Dane many times and having my brother Mark visit with him for 4 days, we have complete confidence with this brilliant, nice, persistent man. If you don’t have persistence, it matters not how brilliant.  I’d like to think that the chemical spraying of citizens is vitamin C and E,  but it isn’t. In truth it is fumigation. We are being fumigated. Nice word huhhh. Our oxygen is slowly being replaced by the above chemicals. Aluminum is a  highly toxic substance. Most people don’t even cook with aluminum pots anymore. Remember, we are doing far worse breathing in these nanoparticles than cooking with them. And that is only the aluminum.

If American Idol and Dancing with the Stars moves you more than this, then we really do have a problem.  To think that we have no power over this would be THE biggest mistake.

Though I do work for the Department of Health, I have chosen to contact the Commissioner of Health (my ultimate Boss) as a private citizen, thru email. I do this on my own time and on my own computer (vs my work computer). I feel that this gives me more leeway to fight, and also to bring other people into the arena. I don’t have to go thru all the layers of management and the constraints of my job, which in itself is a tough balancing act. My job has been very good to me over my 36 years. I have no idea what response i will get.  My main hurdle is to convince people that there is a serious problem, and this won’t be easy.

Jersey also has a Department of Environmental Protection (aka DEP). I plan to contact them too. And since they are not my employer, I can be a little more daring.

Gary Attalla
Continue reading »

Apr 222013
 

Green Med Info
Eleni Roumeliotou

Could 89% of Landmark Cancer Research Be Untruthful?

The last years several different studies investigating the objectivity of scientific research have shown that this quality of science may be seriously compromised by industrial funding. In fact, it looks like the scientific literature is contaminated with a growing number of tainted studies, which may reach 89%, the results of which are not reproducible by any means. This means that to an extent, we have based our healthcare and clinical guidelines on fake studies that reported untruthful results in order to accommodate the interests of industrial corporations.

Cancer is a major killer in US. The American Cancer Society reports that in 2012, more than half a million Americans died from cancer, while more than 1.6 million new cases were diagnosed. Given the seriousness of these statistics and the necessity of evidence-based medicine, it would make sense to trust that honest, objective research is tirelessly trying to find the best cancer therapies out there. In March 2012, Nature, the famous high-impact factor scientific journal, published a shocking study. Glenn Begley and Lee Ellis double checked the results of 53 landmark studies in cancer research, but they were only able to reproduce the published results in 11% of them.

There are two very worrying points here. First of all, the cross-checked studies were published in high-impact factor journals and secondly, they have served as the basis for the “state of the art” cancer therapies that millions of people are receiving this very moment. Unfortunately, the authors were not able to disclose these fake studies, because when they contacted the original authors and asked for details of the experiments, they had to sign an agreement that they would not disclose their findings or sources. This shows that the scientists, who published the tainted research, were all along, fully aware of the discrepancies of their articles and criminally conscious of the fact that they were misleading the medical and public opinion.

The connection and support that many scientists enjoy from big pharmaceutical companies seems to be the core of this problem.  Exposing such connections should be enough to either limit this situation or at least put the credibility of the study in question. However, most people involved in such interactions try to hide them as much as possible. While all authors are gently encouraged to sign the conflict of interest and funding statements prior to publication of their work, data show that only a small percentage of scientists publishing research on anticancer targeted therapies disclose potential sources of bias. A study from the University of Michigan has found that only 29% of cancer studies report conflict of interest.

This situation is certainly not limited to the area of cancer research.  In fact, clinical guidelines may be severely biased as well. While very few authors of clinical practice guidelines declare conflict of interest, a big percentage of those who do, have financial relationships with the pharmaceutical industry that may range from consultancy, equity/stock ownership to old-fashioned research support. These reports paint a disturbing picture indeed and suggest that there is good chance that the greatest part of the clinical healthcare and medical system has slowly been established on corrupted foundations.


References

Feb 022013
 

Huffington Post
Dr. Mercola

A recently-published Harvard University meta-analysis funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has concluded that children who live in areas with highly fluoridated water have “significantly lower” IQ scores than those who live in low fluoride areas.

In a 32-page report that can be downloaded free of charge from Environmental Health Perspectives, the researchers said:

A recent report from the U.S. National Research Council (NRC 2006) concluded that adverse effects of high fluoride concentrations in drinking water may be of concern and that additional research is warranted. Fluoride may cause neurotoxicity in laboratory animals, including effects on learning and memory …
To summarize the available literature, we performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies on increased fluoride exposure in drinking water and neurodevelopmental delays. We specifically targeted studies carried out in rural China that have not been widely disseminated, thus complementing the studies that have been included in previous reviews and risk assessment reports …

Findings from our meta-analyses of 27 studies published over 22 years suggest an inverse association between high fluoride exposure and children’s intelligence … The results suggest that fluoride may be a developmental neurotoxicant that affects brain development at exposures much below those that can cause toxicity in adults …

Serum-fluoride concentrations associated with high intakes from drinking-water may exceed 1 mg/L, or 50 Smol/L, thus more than 1000-times the levels of some other neurotoxicants that cause neurodevelopmental damage. Supporting the plausibility of our findings, rats exposed to 1 ppm (50 Smol/L) of water-fluoride for one year showed morphological alterations in the brain and increased levels of aluminum in brain tissue compared with controls …

In conclusion, our results support the possibility of adverse effects of fluoride exposures on children’s neurodevelopment. Future research should formally evaluate dose-response relations based on individual-level measures of exposure over time, including more precise prenatal exposure assessment and more extensive standardized measures of neurobehavioral performance, in addition to improving assessment and control of potential confounders.

Studies Have Repeatedly Linked Fluoride to Reduced IQ and Brain Damage

There are so many scientific studies showing the direct, toxic effects of fluoride on your body, it’s truly remarkable that it’s NOT considered a scientific consensus by now. Despite the evidence against it, fluoride is still added to 70 percent of U.S. public drinking water supplies.

It amazes me that the medical (and dental) communities are so stubbornly resistant to connect the dots when it comes to the skyrocketing increase of cognitive decline in adults and behavioral issues in children (ADD, ADHD, depression and learning disabilities of all kinds). In fact, there have been more than 23 human studies and 100 animal studies linking fluoride to brain damage. Fluoride can also increase manganese absorption, compounding problems, since manganese in drinking water has also been linked to lower IQ in children.

Reported effects of fluoride on your brain include:

• Reduction in nicotinic acetylcholine receptors
• Damage to your hippocampus
• Formation of beta-amyloid plaques (the classic brain abnormality in Alzheimer’s disease)
• Reduction in lipid content
• Damage to purkinje cells
• Exacerbation of lesions induced by iodine deficiency
• Impaired antioxidant defense systems
• Increased uptake of aluminum
• Accumulation of fluoride in your pineal gland

Six Facts You Need to Know About Water Fluoridation

2013-01-15-waterfluoridationfacts.jpg

Harmful Effects Have Been Known for Half a Century

What is perhaps most surprising is that the harmful effects of fluoride have been known by conventional medical organizations for over half a century. For example, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) stated in their Sept. 18, 1943 issue that fluorides are general protoplasmic poisons that change the permeability of the cell membrane by certain enzymes. And, an editorial published in the Journal of the American Dental Association on Oct. 1, 1944, stated:

Drinking water containing as little as 1.2 ppm fluoride will cause developmental disturbances. We cannot run the risk of producing such serious systemic disturbances. The potentialities for harm outweigh those for good. Continue reading »

Jan 122013
 
Wall Street Journal
Louise Radnofsky
Americans die younger and have more illnesses and accidents on average than people in other high-income countries—even wealthier, insured, college-educated Americans, a report said Wednesday.

The study by the federally sponsored National Research Council and Institute of Medicine found the U.S. near the bottom of 17 affluent countries for life expectancy, with high rates of obesity and diabetes, heart disease, chronic lung disease and arthritis, as well as infant mortality, injuries, homicides, teen pregnancy, drug deaths and sexually transmitted diseases.

“The [U.S.] health disadvantage is pervasive—it affects all age groups up to age 75 and is observed for multiple diseases, biological and behavioral risk factors, and injuries,” said the report’s authors, who are public-health and medicine academics recruited by the government panels.

The shorter life expectancy for Americans largely was attributed to high mortality for men under age 50, from car crashes, accidents and violence. But the report also said U.S. women’s gains in life expectancy had been lagging behind other well-off countries.

The authors offered a range of possible explanations for Americans’ worse health and mortality, including social inequality. They also described criticisms including limited availability of contraception for teenagers, community designs that discourage physical activity such as walking, air pollution and access to firearms, as well as individual behaviors such as high calorie consumption.
The U.S. health-care system wasn’t spared criticism, with authors describing it as fragmented, lacking sufficient primary-care physicians and posing financial barriers to millions of Americans who lack insurance or are unable to afford out-of-pocket medical costs.

But the chairman of the panel of authors, Steven Woolf, a professor of family medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University, said the report showed that health outcomes were determined “by much more than health care.”

“Our health as Americans is only partly aided by having a very good health-care system,” he said. “Much of our health disadvantage comes from factors outside of the clinical system and outside of what doctors and hospitals can do.”

The Obama administration has aimed to improve Americans’ health by expanding insurance coverage through the 2010 Affordable Care Act, while Republicans have pushed for giving the private sector a greater role in managing health care through changes to such programs as Medicare.

Public health has received relatively little attention from lawmakers, despite campaigns by high-profile figures such as first lady Michelle Obama on childhood obesity and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on smoking, gun control and the sale of high-calorie beverages.

“The political environment on health is so wrapped up right now around implementation of health reform that we need to have the space to have this larger conversation and for people to understand that having health insurance is necessary but not sufficient to close this gap,” said Jeff Levi, head of the Trust for America’s Health, a public health advocacy group. He wasn’t involved in the study.

The new report noted that average life expectancy for American men, at 75.6 years, was the lowest among the 17 countries and almost four years shorter than for Switzerland, the best-performing nation.

American women’s average life expectancy, 80.8 years, was second-lowest among the countries and five years shorter than Japan’s, which had the highest expectancy.
The report’s authors were particularly critical of the availability of guns, writing: “One behavior that probably explains the excess lethality of violence and unintentional injuries in the United States is the widespread possession of firearms and the common practice of storing them [often unlocked] at home.”

The authors noted that Americans who lived past age 75 had higher survival rates compared with similar countries, and Americans overall had better rates of surviving cancer and strokes. They also said the U.S. better controls high blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking rates and use of alcohol than many other nations.

The report didn’t directly consider U.S. health in the context of spending on care, but noted that America’s low outcomes were striking given that U.S. per capita health spending exceeds that of other countries.

Continue reading »

Nov 272012
 

Medical marijuana is now legal in 18 states, but it’s clear we’ve discovered a fraction of its potential for health.

Alternet
Allen Badiner

There are now legal medical cannabis programs in 18 states plus Washington, DC, with pot fully legal for adults in two other states. Ironically, however, the actual healing power of the plant has barely been tapped. Smoking marijuana with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), or better, vaporizing it (using a device to bake the plant material and inhale the active ingredients), has an indisputably palliative effect and can be medically useful for pain relief, calming and appetite stimulation. It already has confirmed benefits against glaucoma, epilepsy and other specific diseases and disorders. It also gets people high. THC triggers cannabinoid receptors in the brain and this produces the sensation of being stoned. These receptors are found in the parts of the brain linked to pleasure, memory, concentration, and time perception.

But, based mostly on research overseas there is an increasing consensus that the medicinal benefits of psychoactive THC pale in comparison to the non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD) from the leaves of the same plant–raw and unheated. Depending on the strain, some plants are high in CBD but also contain a lesser amount of THC which is said to enhance the healing potentiality. CBD does not make people feel “stoned” and actually counters some of the effects of THC (for example, suppressing the appetite vs. stimulating it). CBD is beginning to be recognized by researchers at mainstream medical institutions around the world as a potentially very powerful weapon against cancer.

Researchers Sean D. McAllister and Pierre Desprez, who conducted studies of CBD’s effect on cancer cells for California Pacific Medical Center, suggest that these non-psychoactive compounds from the cannabis plant might, in short order, render chemotherapy and radiation distant second and third options for cancer patients. Based on a more recent study, McAllister and Desprez feel that CBD’s “could stop breast cancer from spreading.”

Dr. Donald Abrams, a cancer specialist and professor of integrative medicine at UCSF, conducted early trials involving THC medical cannabis, and now he is excited about the powerful impacts of CBD on cancer cells. The National Cancer Institute was busy researching this in the 1970s, Abrams explains, but restrictions on the use of cannabis for research in the United States resulted in most of the research on this subject disappearing in the U.S., and being picked up in other countries, such as Israel, Spain and Italy. He says existing studies point to a remarkable ability of CBD to arrest cancer cell division, cell migration, metastasis, and invasiveness.

Other studies point to CBD as having great promise as a defense against Alzheimer’s disease. In a 2006 study published in Molecular Pharmaceutics, a team of University of Connecticut researchers reported that cannabis “could be considerably better at suppressing the abnormal clumping of malformed proteins that is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease than any currently approved prescription.” The research team predicted that cannabinoid-based medications “will be the new breakout medicine treatments of the near future.”

Medical cannabis has a long history of use, starting in India, and then in China and the Middle East some 6,000 years ago. It came to the West in the 1800s, where it was listed in the U.S. Pharmacopeia until the 1930s. Used for over 100 ailments, cannabis was a favorite of our grandparents for cough remedies, analgesics, and tonics and was available over the counter at every local drugstore as well as companies such as Sears, Roebuck and Co. Banned in 1937 via the Marijuana Tax Act as part of a politically and racially driven prohibition craze, it was gradually removed from the pharmacopeia and research was discouraged and later prohibited via drug scheduling. The FBI linked the herb with insanity and claimed a direct correlation between cannabis and violence, and even death, especially when used by people of color.

Currently, science increasingly recognizes the role that cannabinoids play in almost every major life function in the human body. It wasn’t until 1990 that endocannabinoids, produced by the human body, were discovered to act as a bio-regulatory mechanism for most human life processes and have receptors sites throughout the human body. CB2 receptors are found almost exclusively in the immune system, with the greatest density in the spleen. These CB2 receptors appear to be responsible for the anti-inflammatory and other newly recognized and very significant therapeutic effects of cannabis.

Cannabis medicine has distinct advantages. CBD, as well as THC, can be given in massive doses with no side effects. In fact, it has performed very effectively as an anti-psychotic when given in high doses. CBD selectively targets and destroys tumor cells while leaving normal healthy cells unmolested. On the other hand, chemotherapy and radiation are highly toxic and indiscriminately injure healthy cells in the brain and the body. Industrial hemp is often high in healing CBD and very low in THC. Hemp CBD is a waste product — it’s thrown out by the ton every year when it could easily be harvested for tumor shrinking.

Medical cannabis farm Tikun Olam in Israel has been developing a strain of cannabis that is high in CBD (15.8%) but very low in THC (1%). This new strain is called Avidekel and seems to have the highest CBD to THC ratio of any other variant strain. Zack Klein of Tikun Olam told Reuters: “Sometimes the high is not always what is needed. Sometimes it is an unwanted side effect. For some of the people it’s not even pleasant.”

The THC industry and its users worry that once CBD medicine grows in popularity, the medical badge might be torn from the sticky buds that makes being “stoned” possible. Aside from THC’s significant medical benefits, surely its ability to make people feel happier and less stressed should not be considered without therapeutic value. More likely, all options will thrive, and 1,000 cannabis flowers will blossom: Indica, Sativa, CBD + THC, CBD Only, etc.

Meanwhile, it’s useful to note that since 2003, the U.S. federal government has held a “medical patent” for the marketing of cannabinoids as antioxidants or neuroprotective agents. The patent states that cannabinoids are “useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases such as inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia.”

However, stoners may have it all wrong, medically speaking. It is unlikely a person can get a sufficient level of cannabidiol (pronounced kan-nəbə-dī’-ˌȯl) from smoking the raw plant to impact diseases like cancer in a curative manner, says Desprez. The marijuana plant offers many uses, but it may come as a surprise to most users that you have to choose early in a plant’s life if you want it to make you high or to heal you. Research suggests that cannabis is most beneficial when the whole spectrum of cannabinoids are represented, including some THC. It is the ratio of cannabinoids in a specific strain of cannabis that most determines its therapeutic potential. Juicing the cannabis leaves raw, along with some carrots or other green veggies, has proven very beneficial as it involves the ingestion of the acid form of cannabinoids, which are non-psychoactive (even the THC). Cannabis oil also has enthusiastic fans who claim it has cured their cancers.

In India there are still large numbers of people who partake in an ancient practice of having a fresh raw cannabis drink called “Thandai” in which fresh cannabis leaves are made into a paste along with almonds, milk and sugar. This tasty drink is often consumed at religious festivals, and in some cities the government maintains distribution points for cannabis. A rolled sweet ball with similar ingredients is called “Bhang,” familiar for over a century to many Western seekers walking the ghats of sacred Banaras.

Cannabis edibles in the West are emerging as one of the fastest growing new sectors of the food industry. Dispensaries in 18 states offer such goodies as ice cream, cough drops, peanut butter, honey, saliva tea, and myriad baked goods and savory snacks–all dosed with THC. Given the huge potential market for non-psychoactive cannabis, the introduction of CBD-rich medicine at the dispensary level has been surprisingly sluggish. Owners have been reluctant to stock CBD-rich strains or edibles because their present customers are seeking —or are not adverse to— cannabis that provides euphoria or sedation. THC content is a known seller. Once the medical benefits of non-psychoactive cannabis become more widely known, one can only imagine the variety and volume of CBD-rich foods that will rush to market.

Smoking, as opposed to vaporization, may be the least effective method of using cannabis as a medicine. But many raw cannabis users are convinced that CBD is the source of medical miracles. Restrictions on research have impacted the accuracy with which we can prescribe cannabis and determine the most effective and least harmful ways to utilize its benefits. Perhaps in the very near future, instead of smoking cannabis to reduce nausea from chemotherapy, cancer patients will be consuming raw non-psychoactive cannabis, and be healed without having to suffer the additional damage of radiation and chemotherapy at all.

Allan Badiner is a writer, activist, and editor of three books: Dharma Gaia: A Harvest of Essays in Buddhism and Ecology, Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics, and Mindfulness in the Marketplace: Compassionate Responses to Consumerism.

Help Us Transmit This Story

  Add to Your Blogger Account   Put it On Facebook   Tweet this post   Print it from your printer   Email and a collection of other outlets   Try even more services
Oct 052012
 

ICE and the DOJ have now seized more than 1,500 websites for alleged copyright infringement in the past two years


Grant Gross
Two U.S. agencies have seized 686 websites accused of selling counterfeit and illegal medicines as part of an international crackdown on online sales of fake drugs.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations division, along with the U.S. Department of Justice, seized the websites in the past week, ICE said in a press release. The U.S. operation, nicknamed Bitter Pill, was part of an Interpol operation aimed at disrupting organized crime networks allegedly behind illegal online drug sales.
The new seizures by ICE and the DOJ nearly double the number of websites shut down by the agencies in the name of copyright enforcement. As of July, the agencies had seized 839 websites for alleged copyright infringement over the past two years.
Civil liberties groups have criticized the seizure efforts, saying they lack due process for the website owners. In August, the DOJ dropped chargesagainst two sports streaming websites after shutting them down for 17 months.
The new worldwide effort, involving 100 countries, resulted in 79 arrests and the seizure of 3.7 million doses of counterfeit medicines worth an estimated US$10.5 million, ICE said. Worldwide, about 18,000 websites were shuttered during the weeklong operation, which ended Tuesday.
“These international partnerships are essential in the global fight against the trafficking of counterfeit drugs,” ICE Director John Morton said in a statement. “Instead of taking potentially life-saving medicines, customers are duped into purchasing drugs that are fake or untested and could ultimately do them more harm than good.”
During the operation, U.S. Customs and Border Protection intercepted packages that were believed to contain fake or illicit drugs. Payment processing companies supported the operation by identifying and blocking payments connected to illicit online pharmacies, identifying individuals responsible for sending spam emails and identifying abuse of electronic payment systems, ICE said.
During the operation, ICE special agents made undercover purchases of counterfeit drugs from multiple websites. The counterfeit drugs seized during Bitter Pill included anti-cancer medication, antibiotics and erectile dysfunction pills as well as weight loss and food supplements.
The new effort is part of Operation in Our Sites, a two-year-old effort by ICE and the DOJ to target the sale of counterfeit merchandise on the Internet. The agencies shut down the seized websites and took custody of their domain names.


Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant’s e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Help Us Transmit This Story

  Add to Your Blogger Account   Put it On Facebook   Tweet this post   Print it from your printer   Email and a collection of other outlets   Try even more services
Sep 262012
 

Washington Post
Jamie Schram

The New York Organ Donor Network pressured hospital staffers to declare patients brain dead so their body parts could be harvested — and even hired “coaches” to train staffers how to be more persuasive, a bombshell lawsuit charged yesterday.

The federally funded nonprofit used a “quota” system, and leaned heavily on the next of kin to sign consent forms when patients were not registered as organ donors, the suit charged.

“They’re playing God,” said plaintiff Patrick McMahon, 50, an Air Force combat veteran and nurse practitioner who claims he was fired as a transplant coordinator after just four months for protesting the practice.

Patrick McMahon

The suit, filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, cited four examples of improper organ harvesting.

In September 2011, a 19-year-old man injured in a car wreck was admitted to Nassau University Medical Center. He was still trying to breathe and showed signs of brain activity, the suit charged.

But doctors declared him brain dead under pressure from donor-network officials, including Director Michael Goldstein, who allegedly said during a conference call: “This kid is dead, you got that?” the suit charged.

The patient’s family consented to have the organs harvested.
“I have been in Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan in combat. I worked on massive brain injuries, trauma, gunshot wounds, IEDs. I have seen worse cases than this and the victims recover,” McMahon told The Post.

That same month, a woman was admitted to St. Barnabas Hospital in The Bronx still showing signs of life, the suit said.

She had a kidney transplant earlier in life and network officials used that to pressure her daughter into giving consent.

“They say to her, ‘If you give us permission we will use your mother’s organs and we will help many, many people who need them,’ ” he said.

McMahon’s objections were ignored by a neurologist, who declared her brain dead — and her organs were harvested, according to the suit. McMahon even claims he tried to get a second opinion.
A month later, a man was admitted to Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, again showing brain activity, the suit said. McMahon claims his protests were again blown off by hospital and donor-network staff, and the man was declared brain dead and his organs harvested.

In November 2011, a woman admitted to Staten Island University Hospital after a drug overdose was declared brain dead and her organs were about to be harvested when McMahon noticed that she was being given “a paralyzing anesthetic” because her body was still jerking.

When he objected, another network employee told hospital personnel McMahon was “an untrained troublemaker with a history of raising frivolous issues and questions,” the suit charged.
“I had a reputation for raising a red flag,” he said.

In order to harvest organs, the network needs a “Note” — an official declaration by a hospital that a patient is brain dead — and consent from next of kin.

The network hired marketing and sales professionals to “coach” workers to tailor their pitches based on the family’s demographics, said the suit, filed by McMahon’s lawyers Michael Borrelli, Alexander Coleman and Bennitta Joseph.

The suit said that on Nov. 4, McMahon told Helen Irving, president and CEO of the network, “one in five patients declared brain dead show signs of brain activity at the time the Note is issued.”
Irving, the suit said, replied: “This is how things are done.”

Network spokeswoman Julia Rivera said she hadn’t seen the suit, but noted that only doctors can declare a patient brain dead.

She called McMahon’s claims of a quota system “ridiculous. There are no quotas.”
A Staten Island University Hospital spokeswoman declined comment. Reps for the other three hospitals could not immediately be reached.

Additional reporting by Bob Fredericks

Help Us Transmit This Story

  Add to Your Blogger Account   Put it On Facebook   Tweet this post   Print it from your printer   Email and a collection of other outlets   Try even more services
Sep 202012
 

The Independent 
Jeremy Laurance

Fines are not enough to reform drug industry, warn lawyers

The global pharmaceutical industry has racked up fines of more than $11bn in the past three years for criminal wrongdoing, including withholding safety data and promoting drugs for use beyond their licensed conditions.

In all, 26 companies, including eight of the 10 top players in the global industry, have been found to be acting dishonestly. The scale of the wrongdoing, revealed for the first time, has undermined public and professional trust in the industry and is holding back clinical progress, according to two papers published in today’s New England Journal of Medicine. Leading lawyers have warned that the multibillion-dollar fines are not enough to change the industry’s behaviour.

The 26 firms are under “corporate integrity agreements”, which are imposed in the US when healthcare wrongdoing is detected, and place the companies on notice for good behaviour for up to five years.

The largest fine of $3bn, imposed on the UK-based company GlaxoSmith-Kline in July after it admitted three counts of criminal behaviour in the US courts, was the largest ever. But GSK is not alone – nine other companies have had fines imposed, ranging from $420m on Novartis to $2.3bn on Pfizer since 2009, totalling over $11bn.

Kevin Outterson, a lawyer at Boston University, says that despite the eye watering size of the fines they amount to a small proportion of the companies’ total revenues and may be regarded as a “cost of doing business”. The $3bn fine on GSK represents 10.8 per cent of its revenue while the $1.5bn fine imposed on Abbott Laboratories, for promoting a drug (Depakote) with inadequate evidence of its effectiveness, amounted to 12 per cent.

Mr Outterson said: “Companies might well view such fines as a quite small percentage of their global revenue. If so, little has been done to change the system. The government merely recoups a portion of the financial fruit of firms’ past misdeeds.”

He argues that penalties should be imposed on executives rather than the company as whole. He cites a Boston whistleblower attorney, Robert Thomas who observed that GSK had committed a $1bn crime and “no individual has been held responsible”.

Following GSK’s admission that it had withheld safety data about its best-selling diabetes drug Avandia, the company pledged to make more clinical trial information available. But the pledge has “disturbing exceptions”, according to Mr Outterson, and in any case is made under the corporate integrity agreement, which expires in five years.

Trust in the industry among doctors has fallen so low that they dismiss clinical trials funded by it, even when the trials have been conducted with scientific rigour, according to a second paper in the journal by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston. This could have serious implications because most medical research is funded by the drug industry and “if physicians are reluctant to trust all such research, it could hinder the translation of … research into practice,” said Aaron Kesselheim, who led the study.

Andrew Witty, the chief executive of GSK, said at the time of the $3bn settlement last July that it had resolved “difficult, long-standing matters” for the company and that there had since been a “fundamental change in procedures” including the removal of staff engaged in misconduct and changes to incentive payments.

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry said practices in the industry had improved and more changes to “build greater levels of trust” would be made. The UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency said it monitored the conduct of companies and took “appropriate action” when it uncovered malpractice.

Alzheimer’s funding ‘must continue’

Governments, universities and charities should step in to ensure funding is maintained for research into Alzheimer’s disease, following a series of failed drug trials, experts said yesterday.

They were responding to a report in The Independent that the world’s leading drug companies are giving up on the search for a cure, scaling back their neuroscience departments and focusing on symptomatic, rather than disease-modifying, treatments.

A spokesman for the Alzheimer’s Society said: “This is not the time to back away from dementia research. Despite costing the economy more than cancer and heart disease, funding for research into dementia is only a fraction of these conditions. More funding is urgently needed if we are to defeat it.”

Help Us Transmit This Story

  Add to Your Blogger Account   Put it On Facebook   Tweet this post   Print it from your printer   Email and a collection of other outlets   Try even more services
Sep 132012
 
GreenMediaInfo
Sayer Ji


A new study on aspartame has the potential to reignite the decades-old controversy behind this artificial sweetener’s safety, or lack thereof.  As far back as 1996, folks were writing about the potential link between aspartame and increasing brain tumor rates.[i] Indeed, its intrinsic neurotoxicity and carcinogenicity has been confirmed in the biomedical literature. And yet, aspartame has been approved for use in thousands of consumer products in over 90 countries, [ii] and is still being consumed by millions worldwide on a daily basis – despite the fact that over 40 adverse health effects of aspartame have been documented.

The new study, published in the September edition of the Journal of Bioscience and titled, “Effect of chronic exposure to aspartame on oxidative stress in the brain of albino rats,” aimed to test the hypothesis that chronic consumption of aspartame may be causing neurological damage in exposed populations.
They found that chronic (90 day) administration of aspartame to rats, at ranges only 50% above what the FDA considers safe for human consumption, resulted in blood and brain tissue changes consistent with brain damage.

Aspartame is metabolized into three distinct components: aspartic acid, methanol and phenylalanine. While aspartic acid is a well-known excitotoxin, phenylalanine only presents a serious health concern to those with a genetic disorder known as phenyletonuria. Methanol, on the other hand, is far more problematic, as it is not naturally found in significant quantities in the human diet.

According to a recent review

Until 200 years ago, methanol was an extremely rare component of the human diet and is still rarely consumed in contemporary hunter and gatherer cultures. With the invention of canning in the 1800s, canned and bottled fruits and vegetables, whose methanol content greatly exceeds that of their fresh counterparts, became far more prevalent. The recent dietary introduction of aspartame, an artificial sweetener 11% methanol by weight, has also greatly increased methanol consumption.[iii]

Moreover, the aspartame metabolite methanol (also known as wood alcohol) is highly toxic and is metabolized into the known human carcinogen formaldehyde and formic acid,[iv] which is known to be highly toxic to the central nervous system. Considering the fact that the normal human body temperature is approximately 98.6 degrees Farenheit, and that aspartame will convert to its toxic metabolites at temperatures as low as 86 degrees Farenheit, the finding that aspartame is neurotoxic to animals is not a surprise. The authors of the new study surmised that the observed adverse brain changes were due to the generation of oxidative stress in brain regions.

Aspartame, of course, is a proprietary synthetic chemical not found in nature, and exists primarily because plants like stevia, which have significant, clinically-substantiated healing properties, can be grown in your back yard for free and are therefore not profitable commodities that can be produced and controlled only by a few.
But, aspartame is not the only toxic sweetener on the market. A growing body of research now shows that sucralose, known by the brand-name Splenda, is also capable of suppressing the immune system, causing inflammatory bowel conditions such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, migraine headaches, and DNA damage.[v]

The trick is to stick with naturally occurring compounds, whose sweetness is not associated with adverse health effects. Below is a list of natural alternatives, along with the number of potential health benefits associated with each, as indexed on our website.

Compounds whose sweetness is not associated with adverse health effects


[i] J W Olney, N B Farber, E Spitznagel, L N Robins. Increasing brain tumor rates: is there a link to aspartame? J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 1996 Nov;55(11):1115-23. PMID: 8939194
[ii] ”Aspartame”. Sugar Substitutes. Health Canada. Archived from the original on October 09 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-08.
[iii] Woodrow C Monte. Methanol: a chemical Trojan horse as the root of the inscrutable U. Med Hypotheses. 2010 Mar;74(3):493-6. Epub 2009 Nov 5. PMID: 19896282
[iv] Harris, Gardiner (10 June 2011). “Government Says 2 Common Materials Pose Risk of Cancer”. New York Times. Retrieved 2011-06-11.
[v] GreenMedInfo.com, Sucralose Toxicity Research

Help Us Transmit This Story

  Add to Your Blogger Account   Put it On Facebook   Tweet this post   Print it from your printer   Email and a collection of other outlets   Try even more services