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Massachusetts police department fed up with Big Pharma's role in creating addiction through prescription painkillers

Ready for a positive police story? Where will it lead - you decide.

Yesterday, I reported at Natural Blaze that a Gloucester, Massachusetts police department fed up with Big Pharma posted the top 5 CEO salaries and emails online. Their Facebook status erupted with cheers in the comments and many shares. The department bemoaned the city's drug problem and took aim at Big Pharma's role in creating addiction through prescription opioid painkillers.

The Big Pharma salaries were as follows:

5. Eli Lilly - John Lechleiter $14.48 million [email protected] 317-276-2000

4. Abbott Labs - Miles D. White $17.7 million [email protected] 847-937-6100

3. Merck - Kenneth C. Frazier $25 million + cool private jet. [email protected] 908-423-1000

2. Johnson & Johnson - Alex Gorsky $20.38 million [email protected] 732-524-0400

1. Pfizer - Ian Read $23.3 million [email protected] 212-573-2323

Comment: Health advocates target Big Pharma to combat opioid epidemic
Many in Gloucester said they would follow the police department's lead in contacting the executives of the pharmaceutical companies. "The war on drugs should always have been against big Pharma," said one commenter. "They are the real drug dealers but they line too many pockets with too much."


Melatonin may give relief to patients with multiple sclerosis

Melatonin shows potential to regulate relapses in multiple sclerosis.
Insomniacs and world travelers alike use melatonin—a hormone that regulates the body's internal clock—to help them fall asleep and get some extra shuteye. Now, a new study shows that the "sleep hormone" may also give relief to patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), a debilitating neurological disorder that can quickly morph from remission into attacks that last days, months, or even years.

MS is a rare disease in which the body's own immune cells attack neurons by eating away at their protective, fatty layer. This layer—the "myelin sheath"—insulates the part of the neuron that transmits signals, just like flexible plastic protects telephone cables. In MS patients, the damaged sheath disables cell-to-cell communication, knocking out vision, balance, and muscle coordination, while impairing thinking and memory. The root cause of MS is still unknown, and scientists suspect that environmental factors like low vitamin D, obesity, and viral infections could contribute.

Comment: The Importance of Melatonin:


Concerns rise that Corporate interests might take over USDA's organic certification process, is it really organic?

Some organic food experts are worried that the term used to describe non-genetically modified crops and produce may soon become nearly meaningless, thanks in large part to undue (read corporate) influence on the Department of Agriculture.

According to Jerome Rigot, PhD, writing in a blog posted at the National Organic Standard Board backed by science, it may no longer be accurate to rely on the USDA's "organic" labeling as remaining "true to its mandate of assuring consumers that food under this label is truly healthy and grown or raised with minimal impact to the environment," as well as respecting "the health and well-being of the workers and animals involved."

Rigot notes that, among other concerns, Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports, recently downgraded its rating of the Agriculture Department's organic seal and label. The director of the Consumer Safety and Sustainability Center for the magazine, Dr. Urvashi Rangan, testified to the National Organic Standards Board in late 2014: "Organic is slipping. And as a result, we have downgraded its rating from highly meaningful to meaningful." He further noted that the rule of the magazine "is to help educate people about what organic means as well as what it doesn't mean."

Comment: More info:


Indoor pesticides associated with 47% increased risk for childhood leukemia

According to a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, children exposed to indoor insecticides have a higher risk of developing childhood cancers, including leukemia and lymphoma. With pesticides being used inside homes, preventive measures should be considered to reduce children's exposure to these deadly carcinogens.

In a recent meta-analysis consisting of 16 previous studies of children exposed to indoor and outdoor pesticides, researchers found that indoor insecticides were associated with a 47 percent increased risk for childhood leukemia. Indoor residential pesticides, including professional pest control services, indoor flea foggers, flea and tick pet collars, and various roach and ant sprays, were also associated with a 43 percent increased risk for childhood lymphomas.

Although outdoor pesticides used as weed killers were associated with a 26 percent increased risk for brain tumors, the association did not reach statistical significance.

Comment: Number one cause of childhood death in U.S.? Cancer


Humans may now be identified by their own unique microbial cloud

© Viputheshwar Sitaraman, of Draw Science
We each give off millions of bacteria from our human microbiome to the air around us every day, and that cloud of bacteria can be traced back to an individual. New research focused on the personal microbial cloud -- the airborne microbes we emit into the air -- examined the microbial connection we have with the air around us. The findings demonstrate the extent to which humans possess a unique 'microbial cloud signature'.

To test the individualized nature of the personal microbial cloud, University of Oregon researchers sequenced microbes from the air surrounding 11 different people in a sanitized experimental chamber. The study found that most of the occupants sitting alone in the chamber could be identified within 4 hours just by the unique combinations of bacteria in the surrounding air. The findings appear in the September 22 issue of the open-access, peer-reviewed journal PeerJ.


Gene expression reveals annual differences in human immunity and physiology

© Spencer Platt/Getty Images News
Do you ever wonder why stiff joints are more common on winter or why it's more difficult to lose weight during this season? While you can blame the latter on the holidays, science says it's all because of your genes.

A large research conducted by Professor John Todd of Cambridge University and his team discovered that some of the immunity genes tend to be more active in certain seasons such as the winter. There are also times when they tend to be "off."

The basis of the study was a chance discovery. A PhD student under him learned that white blood cells, the type of blood cell that is responsible for fighting infection and building immunity, tend to have more active immunity genes once the season gets a lot colder.

From this, they analyzed more than 20,000 different types of genes from over 15,000 people around the world who provided samples of their tissues and blood. The diversified sample is presumably because of the varying season patterns.

Upon their analyses, the team discovered that those who lived in a region where seasons tend to be more consistent such as Iceland, the degree of changes in their genes is pretty low. However, in countries that experience significant seasonal changes such as the UK, immune genes become more active when it's winter. In areas where seasons are limited, such as in Asia where they have only dry and wet season, there's more gene activity once the rainy season came along. Overall, at least 25% of the studied genes showed response to the changing seasons.

Researchers have no clear explanation why this happens except that it may be related to evolution or the genes simply react to environmental cues like light or temperature. Nevertheless, it's possible that the body increases the body's immunity as a way of preparing it from the possible diseases that can occur within a season.

The increased immunity may also be the reason why inflammatory diseases such as arthritis are more common during winter. As the immune system is increased, there's a good chance it can go into a hyperdrive, attacking instead of protecting the body.

The study is available in Nature Communications.


World Health Organization plans to market vaccines like Coca-Cola

To overcome worldwide resistance to vaccines, the UN's World Health Organization (WHO) enlisted the marketing advice of the International Food and Beverage Alliance, whose 11 members comprise the world's most successful marketers, among them The Coca Cola Company, Pepsico and McDonalds. WHO liked what it heard and, in a major report released last fall, decided to accept the food and beverage industry's recommendations: forget facts, sell vaccines the way Coca-Cola is sold, on the basis of emotion.

Comment: Read more: Monsanto herbicide faces global fallout after World Health Organization labels it a probable carcinogen


New human virus discovered in old blood samples

© David Marchal/Science Source
Human hepegivirus 1 has parts of both hepatitis C virus (above) and human pegivirus.
Don't panic. That's the emphatic message coming from researchers who have discovered a new virus in human blood. Though it's unclear how common the pathogen is, there's no evidence that it has caused anyone harm, and half of those infected appear to have cleared it.

The newfound virus's genetic sequence shows that it has similarities to hepatitis C, which can cause serious liver damage, and to the harmless—and even helpful—human pegivirus (formerly dubbed hepatitis G). Amit Kapoor, a virologist at Columbia University led the team that identified the new virus—and which has named it human hepegivirus 1, or HHpgV-1—notes that many people understand that humans coexist with myriad bacteria that are not dangerous, but they don't realize the same holds true for some viruses.

The team made the discovery thanks to new, sophisticated techniques for sequencing fragments of RNA and DNA. As part of a search for novel human viruses, the group scoured blood samples from a cohort of 46 people that were collected before and after they received a blood transfusion between 1974 and 1980. Today, stricter policies determine who can donate blood and the blood itself is screened more rigorously. "I thought if I want to know whatever is circulating and unknown these are the best samples," Kapoor says.

Using what's known as "deep sequencing" techniques, Kapoor's team fished for nucleic acid sequences (the building blocks of DNA) of known viruses, and found two people who posttransfusion had what looked like a novel flavivirus, the family that includes hepatitis C and human pegivirus. Based on later blood samples that were analyzed, both of these people subsequently cleared the virus, the team reports online today in mBio. Kapoor and his colleagues then looked at 70 more people from that cohort but did not find the HHpgV-1 sequence again.

An analysis of a different batch of stored blood samples, from 106 people who had received many blood products because they had hemophilia, found two more people who harbored HHpgV-1 sequences. These people had persistent infections, one of which lasted at least 5.4 years, but no evidence of a related disease.


Once again! Annual report reveals: No deaths from any nutritional supplements

The warnings of dire consequences seem to be everywhere. Whether on the back of nutritional supplement packages or in the disapproving look of your own family physician, the implication is always there: nutritional supplements can ruin your health, even cause your death.

Fortunately, all those red flags are unnecessary. For all the hand-wringing, predictions of catastrophe and strong-worded reservations, a recent study of all poisonings shows there has not been a single death traced to the use of nutritional supplements.
Meanwhile, prescription drugs - those properly prescribed - account for 128,000 deaths and 2.74 million serious adverse reactions each year.



Aluminum toxicity: Why it should not be put into vaccines

Chemicals that are commonly used in the production of vaccines, according to the CDC, are done so to improve the effectiveness of the vaccine. Adjuvants like aluminum (one of the most common) are a component of vaccines that potentates the immune response to an antigen. The adjuvant is basically used to invoke the desired immune response.

Aluminum has been added to vaccines for approximately 90 years, and since then, a lot of controversy, especially in recent years, has emerged regarding their safety and effectiveness.

This controversy comes as a result of a number of recent studies (some of which are presented in this article) outlining clear concerns over the use of aluminum in this manner, as well as the fact that over the past few years, billions of dollars have been paid to families with vaccine injured children.

Comment: More on the evils of Aluminum: