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Mon, 20 Nov 2017
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Ambulance

How you can protect yourself from horrific medical mistakes

Hospitals are typically thought of as places where lives are saved, but statistics show they're actually one of the most dangerous places you could possibly enter.1,2 Each day, more than 40,000 harmful and/or lethal medical errors occur, placing the patient in a worse situation than what they came in with.3

According to a 2013 study,4,5 preventable medical errors kill around 440,000 patients each year - more than 10 times the number of deaths caused by motor vehicle crashes. A 2016 study6 calculated the annual death toll to be around 250,000.

Medical Mistakes Are the Third Leading Cause of Death in the US

Either way, medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the U.S., and have been since at least 2000, when the late Dr. Barbara Starfield published her shocking conclusion that doctors kill 225,000 patients each year. Her findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.7 Ironically, Starfield ended up a statistic herself.

She died suddenly in June 2011, a death her husband attributed to the adverse effects of the blood thinner Plavix taken in combination with aspirin.8 Her death certificate, however, makes no mention of this possibility. Indeed, one of the reasons why many are still surprised by these statistics is due to fundamental flaws in the tracking of medical errors, which has shielded the reality of the situation and kept it out of the public eye.

While there are codes that capture iatrogenic causes of death, published mortality statistics do not take them into account. They only look at the condition that led the individual to seek medical treatment in the first place. As a result, even if a doctor lists medical errors in the death certificate, they are not included in the CDC's mortality statistics, and without that data, medical mistakes remain a largely hidden problem.

Health

Insulin, not cholesterol, is the true culprit in heart disease

© Nonnakrit / Shutterstock
  • About 80 percent of the cholesterol in your body is made internally, primarily by your liver. The remaining 20 percent comes from your diet. If you consume less, your body will compensate by making more, and vice versa.
  • By themselves, total cholesterol and LDL are virtually useless predictors for cardiovascular disease. However, elevated LDL may be a good marker for insulin resistance.
  • Evidence suggests high total cholesterol and even high LDL are insignificant when trying to determine your heart disease risk. Your best predictor is your insulin sensitivity

The video above, "The Fat Emperor: Insulin Versus Cholesterol," features Ivor Cummins, a biochemical engineer with a background in medical device engineering and leading teams in complex problem solving.

In 2013, Cummins ran into health problems. His serum ferritin was very high (which is a potent risk factor for heart disease), as were his liver enzymes. After consulting with three different doctors, he realized none of them really understood the root cause of these problems, or how to address them.

As a result, he delved into the medical literature, found the problem and reversed his abnormal test results. He also dropped 35 pounds in the process.

Comment: Any time would be a good time to stop obsessing about cholesterol levels, focusing instead on insulin and how well it is working. See also:


Attention

New mainstream study concludes fluoride lowers IQ

© Wikipedia
Explosive: new mainstream study concludes fluorides are lowering children's IQ.

The study referred to in this interview was published in Environmental Health Perspectives, in September 2017. It is titled: "Prenatal Fluoride Exposure and Cognitive Outcomes in Children at 4 and 6-12 Years of Age." It is often referred to as the Bashash study, after its first listed author.

The study concluded:
"...higher prenatal fluoride exposure, in the general range of exposures reported for other general population samples of pregnant women and nonpregnant adults, was associated with lower scores on tests of cognitive function in the offspring at age 4 and 6-12 y."
In short, pregnant women exposed to fluorides give birth to children who later show up with lower IQ.

I interviewed Paul Connett, PhD.

From his CV: "Paul Connett is Professor Emeritus in Environmental Chemistry at St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY. For the past 30 years, Paul has put his scientific knowledge to work by helping (without fee) communities around the world understand the science of controversial issues like...fluoridation. In addition to explaining the dangers of these practices he offers details of the alternatives...[Dr. Connett is the author of] The Case Against Fluoride (Chelsea Green, 2011, co-authored with James Beck & H. Spedding Micklem)."

"Paul has researched the literature on fluoride's toxicity and the fluoridation debate for 17 years. He helped to found the Fluoride Action Network (FAN)."

Ambulance

Why are more black women dying during childbirth?

It was her second time lying numb in a hospital bed in North Bergen, New Jersey, with blood streaming down her legs and fear creeping into her heart.

At that moment, Timoria McQueen Saba thought to herself, "there's no way in the world that I'm the only woman who had this happen," she said.

In 2010, after giving birth vaginally to her oldest daughter, Gigi, one late afternoon in April, postpartum hemorrhage or excessive bleeding -- the leading cause of maternal death worldwide -- nearly killed her.

Then, about a year later, she started bleeding profusely in the small bathroom of a frozen yogurt shop. The blood was from a miscarriage, which left her feeling helpless in that hospital bed. She didn't know she was pregnant.

"I was all the way back to where I was the year before, and I realized ... I hadn't healed from the near-fatal traumatic experience the year before," said Saba, now the 39-year-old mother of two girls.

Alarm Clock

Organ-donor group battles in court over 'brain-dead' declarations

© Shutterstock
The New York Organ Donor Network is trying to block a judge's order to release medical records to a whistleblower who claims the group pushed hospital staff to declare patients brain dead so their body parts could be harvested.

The network has appealed Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Arlene Bluth's April order to disclose the charts of four dead patients to Patrick McMahon, a nurse practitioner who claims he was fired as a transplant coordinator in 2011 after protesting against the practice. The network has denied McMahon's claims, but it also refuses to hand over the documents.

Network lawyers say family members of two of the deceased have "explicitly objected" to the release. The lawyers also say the disclosure would violate the families' privacy rights.

Bluth ruled that "organ procurement organizations" are not covered by legislation. She added that there's a confidentiality order that would prevent anyone except for McMahon and his attorneys from viewing the records.

Comment:


Health

Study suggests folic acid taken early in pregnancy can reduce risk of severe language delay in children

© Shutterstock.com
Pediatricians will tell you how important it is for expectant mothers to take prenatal vitamins during pregnancy. Pregnancy is a time when it's essential for mothers and their developing babies have access to all the vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients their bodies require.

Among the most important of these essential nutrients is folic acid, sometimes also referred to as folate, or vitamin B9. It is a standard component of nearly all high quality, prenatal multivitamins. Folic acid has been associated with proper neurological development during gestation and early infancy. It's also been known sideline other potential health risks, such as stroke and prostate cancer, later in life.

The Importance of Folic Acid During Pregnancy There is little dispute among medical experts regarding the overall importance of folic acid. New findings presented by research scientists working with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, in Oslo, suggest the role it plays during pre and postnatal brain development may be even more important, and specific, than previously realized [1].

Comment: Supplements and fortified foods usually contain folic acid, not folate. While folate occurs naturally in foods, folic acid is synthetic. The human body doesn't seem to handle folic acid very well, and has trouble converting it into the active form of vitamin B9. The best sources of folate are whole foods, such as leafy green vegetables. However, if you need to take supplements, methyl folate is the better alternative.
The difference between folic acid and folate

Unlike most folate, the majority of folic acid is not converted to the active form of vitamin B9, 5-MTHF, in the digestive system. Instead, it needs to be converted in the liver or other tissues.Yet this process is slow and inefficient. After taking a folic acid supplement, it takes time for the body to convert all of it to 5-MTHF.

Even a small dose, such as 200 - 400 mcg per day, may not be completely metabolized until the next dose is taken. This problem is even worse when fortified foods are eaten along with folic acid supplements.

As a result, un-metabolized folic acid is commonly detected in people's bloodstreams, even in the fasted state.

This is a cause for concern, since high levels of un-metabolized folic acid have been associated with several health problems.
See also:
Signs and symptoms of a deficiency in each of the B vitamins
What are MTHFR mutations?


Health

New study: Ireland on track to becoming Europe's fattest country within 10 years

© West Coast Surfer / Global Look Press
Ireland is on track to be the fattest country in Europe within the next ten years.

It will also result in a dramatic increase in chronic diseases.

The Obesity Care Conference in Dublin heard six out of ten Irish people are overweight or obese.

Excess weight is responsible for 4.5 per cent of cancers in Ireland.

Each year, 300 cancer deaths are down to overweight.

Based on body mass index, a report from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing, Trinity College, evaluating obesity in adults over 50, found 36 per cent are obese.

Comment: Ireland is giving the UK a run for its money, it seems: UK is fattest country in Western Europe with 63% of adults overweight & obese - OECD study


Health

A symptom is not a disease: The tyranny of the 'essential hypertension' concept

© Thinkstock
Hypertension is regularly mismanaged in conventional and naturopathic medicine. The tyranny of the concept of "essential hypertension," coupled with the widespread tendency to treat hypertension as a disease rather than a symptom, is at the root of this problem. Here, a more holistic approach to the patient with elevated blood pressure will be promoted, primarily one that attempts to find the causes of the problem rather than just treating the symptom.

Comment: See also:


Pills

Non-addictive painkiller outperforms morphine created by Russian scientists

Department head of the Volgograd State Medical University and RAS Member, Alexander Spasov, told TASS on Friday in Pyatigorsk have announced that clinical tests have begun on a new painkiller that is not addictive but outperforms morphine.

"Together with our colleagues from the South Federal University, we created a drug which still has no specific name but is only referred to as RU-1205," Spasov announced at the 3rd International Research and Practice Conference on Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology.

Comment: See also: The healing potential of different light wavelengths now being studied for treating numerous conditions


Wolf

Man's best friend: Owning a dog could be beneficial to your health

© Vasily Fedosenko / Reuters
A woman holds a dog during a charity event to match homeless dogs and cats to prospective new owners.
Most people treat their dogs like members of the family or best friends, and while the enjoyment of owning one is clear for many, perhaps the benefits have been underestimated.

A team of researchers from Sweden's Uppsala University has linked dog ownership to longer life. In a study, published Friday in the journal Scientific Reports, the team lists a whole host of reasons why owning a Fido or Lassie could be beneficial to your health.

Specifically, the scientists found that canine fans had a greatly reduced risk of cardiovascular disease compared to their dog-shy counterparts, during the 12-year period studied. They posit that this has something to do with the amount of exercise, from walking their companions for example, or playing fetch in the park, dog owners get.

Though it also may be a case of more active people choosing to own a dog over their couch potato peers. In addition, the benefits for dog-loving singletons are clear.

Comment: See also: New study offers insights into a dog's life in families with children