Health & Wellness


More Americans getting multiple chronic illnesses

Washington - More Americans are burdened by chronic illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure, often having more than three at a time, and this has helped fuel a big rise in out-of-pocket medical expenses, a study released on Tuesday showed.

With prescription drugs playing a key role, average annual out-of-pocket medical costs -- those not covered by health insurance -- rose from $427 per American in 1996 to $741 in 2005, researchers wrote in the journal Health Affairs.

Adjusting for inflation, that translated to 39 percent more in out-of-pocket spending per person over that time, according to Kathryn Paez of Maryland-based health research organization Social & Scientific Systems Inc. and colleagues.

Playing golf can 'damage hearing'


Modern clubs make more noise hitting the ball
Keen golfers are being warned by doctors that they could be risking their hearing for their sport.

Players who use a new generation of thin-faced titanium drivers to propel the ball further should consider wearing ear plugs, experts advise.

Ear specialists suspect the "sonic boom" the metal club head makes when it strikes the ball damaged the hearing of a 55-year-old golfer they treated.

Helper Parrots, Guide Horses Face Legal Challenges

© Rebecca Skloot
Jim Eggers carries his parrot Sadie around with him in this cage converted into a backpack.
Chances are you've seen a blind person accompanied by a guide dog. But what about a guide horse, a service parrot or a monkey trained to help an agoraphobic?

These are just a few of the nontraditional service animals that are used across the country to help people with disabilities and psychological disorders. As their uses are expanding, however, the government is considering a proposal that would limit the definition of "service animal" to "a dog or other common domestic animal."

In an article in the upcoming New York Times Magazine, Rebecca Skloot outlines why many people are upset about the pending law. Sometimes less familiar animals make better helpers, she tells Alex Cohen.

Miniature horses, for example, live much longer than dogs, which means that their owners don't have to readjust to a new guide as often.

"Horses tend to live and work into their 30s, whereas a guide dog will work six to eight years total," she explains.

And while guide horses may prompt more questions when entering a store or restaurant than guide dogs, their strengths can make it worth it, she explains. In addition to having amazing vision, they instinctually work in synchronicity with their owner.

"They are herd animals, so they naturally work really well with other people," she says, adding that "they are aware of their surroundings in a way dogs aren't because they are prey animals as opposed to predators."

Extreme Mercury Toxicity Sidelines Actor Jeremy Piven

Chicago actor Jeremy Piven has unexpectedly left the cast of the Broadway revival of "Speed-the-Plow" because of a mercury count that his doctor said was the highest level he'd ever seen.

Piven, 43, wanted to continue but he was advised to stop. Dr. Carlon Colker, who had been treating Piven, said Piven was suffering from "extreme mercury toxicity" and that "a test revealed that Jeremy had ... six times a healthy amount of mercury in his system." Piven has long been a sushi eater, often twice a day, which may be the ultimate cause of the problem.

A major symptom of mercury poisoning is extreme fatigue. Piven was also experiencing neuro-muscular dysfunction, which resulted in his having trouble lifting his arms and legs.

Comment: Dr. Mercola adds...

This announcement comes just weeks after the U.S. FDA began arguing that pregnant women should eat more fish, even if it contains mercury! Although no definitive link has proven that Jeremy Piven's twice-a-day sushi habit is what caused his excessively high mercury levels, common sense would indicate that there is likely a connection.

Recent testing of sushi bars show that sushi does often appear to be contaminated with mercury, and in some cases worse so than other fish.

Laboratory tests in New York released last year found so much mercury in tuna sushi that two or three pieces a week at some restaurants could be a health hazard.

In fact, eight out of the 44 pieces of sushi purchased by the New York Times for testing had mercury levels so high that the FDA could take legal action to remove the fish from the market. And the problem is certainly not isolated to New York.

When sushi samples from 10 high-rated Chicago sushi restaurants were tested it was found that:
- 70 percent exceeded the Illinois Environmental Protection agency's (IEPA) special advisory threshold for methylmercury. At that level, women of childbearing age and children are advised to eat no more than one serving per month

- 14 percent had a concentration higher than 0.730 ppm -- a level that no women or children should ever consume

- 10 percent of the tuna samples were unsafe for all consumers, because they contained mercury levels above 1.0 ppm, which is the legal action limit for fish sold in the U.S.
The dangers of consuming too much mercury are often focused on children and pregnant women because of the known damage it can pose to a baby's developing central nervous system. However, as Jeremy Piven would surely attest to, too much mercury is dangerous for adults too.

The Risks of Mercury Poisoning

Thousands of tons of mercury are released into the air each year through pollution and waste. In the environment the mercury can transform into organic mercury, which is known as methylmercury, and accumulate in streams, oceans, water and soil.

Methylmercury also accumulates in the food chain, so each fish absorbs the mercury in other fish and organisms it eats. For this reason, larger and older fish such as shark, tuna and swordfish contain the highest levels of methylmercury.

People who regularly eat fish have higher levels of methylmercury than those who don't, which is concerning, considering that methylmercury toxicity can result in paraesthesia (a tingling sensation on your skin), depression, and blurred vision.

In fetuses and developing infants it can also have negative effects on attention span, language, visual-spatial skills, memory and coordination. It is estimated that nearly 60,000 children each year are born at risk for neurological problems due to methylmercury exposure in the womb.

Mercury is especially damaging to your central nervous system (CNS), and studies show that mercury in the CNS causes psychological, neurological, and immunological problems including:
- Arrhythmias and cardiomyopathies
- Tremors
- Insomnia
- Personality changes and irritability
- Headaches

- Weakness
- Blurred vision
- Slowed mental response
- Unsteady gait
To make matters worse, mercury bonds very firmly to structures in your CNS. Unless actively removed, mercury has an extremely long half-life of somewhere between 15 and 30 years in the CNS!

Fish is Not the Only Source of Mercury

Eating fish frequently is one way to elevate your mercury levels, but it is not the only one. Silver dental fillings (amalgams) are another major contributor.

Amalgams are made up of 50 percent mercury. More than 100 million mercury fillings are placed each year in the United States, as over 90 percent of dentists use them for restoring posterior teeth.

The average individual has eight amalgam fillings and could absorb up to 120 micrograms of mercury per day from their amalgams. For comparison, estimates of the daily absorption of all forms of mercury from fish and seafood is 2.3 micrograms and from all other foods, air and water is 0.3 micrograms per day.

Adults with four or more amalgams run a significant risk of mercury-related health problems from them, while in children as few as two amalgams will contribute to health problems.

In most children, meanwhile, the largest source of mercury is that received from vaccinations or that transferred to them in utero from their mother.

Steps to Remove Mercury from Your Body

First of all, you should reduce your exposure to additional mercury as much as possible by:
- Avoiding fish (unless it has been lab-tested and found to be free of harmful levels of mercury)
- Not having anymore silver fillings put in (if you need a filling, see a biological dentist who uses mercury-free materials)
- Avoiding vaccinations that contain mercury, such as flu shots
- Making sure any herbal remedies you're taking are from a reputable source with strict quality testing (some low-quality remedies can be high in mercury and other toxic metals)
Next, I recommend that you have any existing amalgam fillings removed ... but avoid making the mistake I did 20 years ago by having it done by a non-biological dentist. I'd say only about 5 percent of dentists know how to remove these fillings safely, so do your research and seek out a highly qualified biological dentist.

You see, when you have these fillings removed you can be exposed to significant amounts of mercury vapors if the dentist doesn't know what he or she is doing.

My mercury exposure from having this done improperly nearly caused me to lose both my kidneys and go on dialysis. For this reason, I suggest you get healthy BEFORE having your fillings removed, as you want your detoxification mechanisms optimized prior to removal.

To remove mercury that has already accumulated in your body, I highly recommend reviewing my Mercury Detoxification Protocol, which details the things you can do right now to help detoxify your body of this toxic substance. If your mercury levels are seriously elevated, you should work with a knowledgeable health care practitioner to help you through the detoxification process.

Heart - Black

AIDS Fraud Exposed: HIV Science Papers from 1984 were Falsified

Top Scientists Ask Medical Journal Science To Retract Original AIDS Papers

San Francisco - The international nonprofit scientific organization Rethinking AIDS gave its full support today to 37 senior researchers, medical doctors and legal professionals who are requesting that the medical journal Science withdraw four seminal papers on HIV authored by Dr. Robert Gallo - papers widely touted as proof that HIV is the "probable cause of AIDS." An online posting of the letter can be found here.

"With new findings that undermine the scientific integrity and veracity of Gallo's four papers, the entire basis of the theory that HIV causes AIDS may now be questioned," says Rethinking AIDS president David Crowe.

The letter to the journal comes at a time when the microbiology world is abuzz about Gallo's omission from the 2008 Nobel Prize in medicine for the discovery of HIV, contrary to an international agreement that the two teams should share credit. French scientists Drs. Luc Montagnier and Francoise Barré-Sinoussi are instead to be given the award, a decision that also implicitly questions the scientific integrity of Gallo's claim of the discovery. Montagnier, however, admitted on camera more than a decade ago that his experiments did not purify any virus.

Vaccinating older people against pneumonia is a 'waste of time'

Giving jabs to older people against an infection which causes pneumonia is a waste of time, say researchers.

Adult-onset Diabetes Slows Mental Functioning In Several Ways, With Deficits Appearing Early

Adults with diabetes experience a slowdown in several types of mental processing, which appears early in the disease and persists into old age, according to new research. Given the sharp rise in new cases of diabetes, this finding means that more adults may soon be living with mild but lasting deficits in their thought processes.

A full analysis appears in the January issue of Neuropsychology, which is published by the American Psychological Association.

Researchers at Canada's University of Alberta analyzed a cross-section of adults with and without adult-onset Type 2 diabetes, all followed in the Victoria Longitudinal Study. At three-year intervals, this study tracks three independent samples of initially healthy older adults to assess biomedical, health, cognitive and neurocognitive aspects of aging. The Neuropsychology study involved 41 adults with diabetes and 424 adults in good health, between ages 53 and 90.

Scientists find a gene that makes cancer spread

Chicago - A single gene appears to play a crucial role in deadly breast cancers, increasing the chances the cancer will spread and making it resistant to chemotherapy, U.S. researchers said on Monday.

They found people with aggressive breast cancers have abnormal genetic alterations in a gene called MTDH, and drugs that block the gene could keep local tumors from metastasizing or spreading, increasing a woman's chances for survival.

"Not only has a new metastasis gene been identified, but this also is one of a few such genes for which the exact mode of action has been elucidated," said Dr. Michael Reiss of The Cancer Institute of New Jersey in New Brunswick, whose study appears in the journal Cancer Cell.

Canada: Missed vaccinations lead to school suspension threat

Threatened with suspension - when an opt out process exists (!) - which is covered in the fourth-last paragraph of this article. You wouldn't know it from the headline, though. Perhaps the question journalists should be asking is - how much funding does the school board get for dispensing each shot? In any case, the bottom line for your rights is - the state does not own your children, and it has no right to impose coercive medication on them. Vaccinate your kids if you're comfortable with the risk level. Keep your hands off of everyone else's.

Comment: Sott has carried many article on the dangers of vaccinations. The search function found at the upper right will bring up a wealth of information.


Alternative visual paths guide blind man through obstacle course in study

A man who is clinically blind was able to navigate an obstacle course successfully using "ancient visual paths," European researchers say in a study to be released Tuesday.

The Swiss patient, a doctor known as TN, was left blind after consecutive strokes. Tests showed he had no activity in the visual cortex, the main region of the brain that processes what people see. The man had selective damage to the visual cortex in both sides of the brain.

"This is absolutely the first study of this ability in humans," said Beatrice de Gelder of Tilburg University, the Netherlands, and of the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Harvard in Massachusetts.