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Sat, 25 Feb 2017
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Health & Wellness


Australian Courts Rule that Vioxx Should Never Have Been Approved for Sale

© Getty Images
Australian courts recently ruled that Vioxx, a popular prescription painkiller, should never have been approved and allowed on the market. The case represents the world's first successful class action lawsuit against a drug company for damage caused by its drugs.

Merck, the drug giant that produced Vioxx, was deemed by the courts as negligent for failing to properly inform doctors who were prescribing the drug about the dangers and health risks associated with the drug. As a result, thousands of patients around the world have suffered severe injury or death because of Vioxx.

Graeme Peterson, a 59-year-old man represented in the case, was awarded the equivalent of about $266,000 for injuries inflicted upon him by Vioxx. He suffered a heart attack from the drug in 2003 that has left him unable to work since. He took the drug for more than four years, and still keeps a Vioxx tablet with him as a reminder of what almost killed him.


Arsenic in Water Poisoned 77 Million Bangladeshis

© Agence France-Presse
Between 35 and 77 million people in Bangladesh have been chronically exposed to arsenic-contaminated water
Dhaka - Up to 77 million Bangladeshis have been exposed to toxic levels of arsenic from contaminated drinking water, and even low-level exposure to the poison is not risk-free, The Lancet medical journal reported.

Over the past decade, more than 20 percent of deaths recorded in a study that monitored nearly 12,000 people in the Araihazar district of the capital Dhaka appear to have been caused by arsenic-tainted well water.

By some estimates, between 35 and 77 million people in Bangladesh have been chronically exposed to arsenic-contaminated water as a result of a catastrophically misguided campaign in the 1970s.


Viruses & Lectins- The Missing Links

The role of viruses and lectins in the development of disease has been one of the most amazing topics that I have researched over the past seven years. I include these together because there is a fascinating interaction between these two entities that helps to explain many of the conditions we still refer to as "idiopathic", a term to which I now take exception. The only concept that upsets me more is "autoimmune disorder", a term that implies that our immune system does not know what it is doing. I wholeheartedly disagree with that premise and a better understanding of viruses and lectins supports my dissent.

Let's start with lectins. In my quest for solutions to "idiopathic" problems, the study of these antibody-sized proteins/glycoproteins yielded answers to many of the questions that were haunting me as I tried to explain how my dietary changes could yield such phenomenal results. Lectins are carbohydrate-binding glycoproteins or proteins that are ubiquitous in nature, with plants, animals and even bacteria producing these remarkable compounds. Although the true role of lectins in plants is still under investigation, we know that these proteins play numerous important roles in animals and man. They serve to bind circulating glycoproteins to cells, such as those in the liver, to facilitate their removal. Our body produces lectins that are involved in immune responses (e.g. mannose-binding lectin), the adhesion of cells, and the removal of pathogens through binding to carbohydrates on their surfaces. In the case of neurons, the oligodendrocyte produces two different lectins- one that helps nourish the neuron and another that can kill it. Bacteria produce lectins that enable them to adhere to tissue. Finally, certain foods contain lectins that can do serious harm to susceptible individuals. Therefore, there are "good" and "bad" lectins in nature- those that promote health and others that contribute to disease.

Black Cat

It's true, your boss is a psychopath. And other surprising insights from the social sciences

Watching the news some days, you'd think a lot of companies were run by psychopaths. And, according to a recent study, some might well be. One of the authors of the study was hired by companies to evaluate managers - mostly middle-aged, college-educated, white males - for a management development program. It turns out that these managers scored higher on measures of psychopathy than the overall population, and some who had very high scores were candidates for, or held, senior positions. In general, managers with higher scores were seen as better communicators, better strategic thinkers, and more creative. However, they were also seen as having poor management style, not being team players, and delivering poor performance. But, apparently, this didn't prevent some of them from being seen as having leadership potential. The authors conclude that "the very skills that make the psychopath so unpleasant (and sometimes abusive) in society can facilitate a career in business even in the face of negative performance ratings."

Babiak, P. et al., "Corporate Psychopathy: Talking the Walk," Behavioral Sciences & the Law (March/April 2010).

Bad Guys

The Chemist's War: U.S. Government Poisoned Its Own Citizens During Prohibition

© The New York Times
Detroit police inspecting a clandestine underground brewery during Prohibition
The little-told story of how the U.S. government poisoned alcohol during Prohibition with deadly consequences.

It was Christmas Eve 1926, the streets aglitter with snow and lights, when the man afraid of Santa Claus stumbled into the emergency room at New York City's Bellevue Hospital. He was flushed, gasping with fear: Santa Claus, he kept telling the nurses, was just behind him, wielding a baseball bat.

Before hospital staff realized how sick he was - the alcohol-induced hallucination was just a symptom - the man died. So did another holiday partygoer. And another. As dusk fell on Christmas, the hospital staff tallied up more than 60 people made desperately ill by alcohol and eight dead from it. Within the next two days, yet another 23 people died in the city from celebrating the season.


Circadian Clock in Pancreas Directly Linked to Diabetes

© zbyszek80/stock/xchng
The pancreas has its own molecular clock. Now, for the first time, a Northwestern University study has shown this ancient circadian clock regulates the production of insulin. If the clock is faulty, the result is diabetes.

The researchers show that insulin-secreting islet cells in the pancreas, called beta-cells, have their own dedicated clock. The clock governs the rhythmic behavior of proteins and genes involved in insulin secretion, with oscillations over a 24-hour cycle.

The findings, which will be published June 18 by the journal Nature, shine a light on a system that hasn't been recognized as having a strong effect on the process of glucose homeostasis.

"This is the first evidence of how the circadian clock may affect the development of diabetes," said Joe Bass, M.D., associate professor of medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine and of neurobiology and physiology at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. "The biological programs in animals for harvesting energy -- much like the photosynthesis of plants -- are under control of the clock. Our findings will help us figure out the causes of glucose abnormalities, but we still have a lot to learn."


Milk Is A Deadly Poison

Eye 2

The Gulf Of Mexico Oil Spill Is Making A Lot Of People Really Sick

© BP
The Gulf of Mexico oil spill is already the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, but what most people don't know is that it is rapidly turning into a public health disaster of frightening proportions. Reports are scattered and mostly anecdotal at this point (as BP and the U.S. government try to keep a lid on information getting out), but it is becoming increasingly clear that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and/or the chemical dispersants being used are making a lot of people sick. So far most of the reports have been about breathing difficulties, vomiting and various flu-like symptoms. But it is the health effects that will take a long time to show up that are the most concerning. For example, this oil spill has released massive amounts of benzene into the Gulf. Benzene actually enters human cells and damages DNA material. In fact, the Department of Health and Human Services tells us that exposure to benzene has been proven to cause leukemia. So are we about to see a massive wave of cancer sweep the Gulf coast?

At this point nobody knows. What is becoming clear is that a whole lot of people are becoming ill.

Several days ago, the state of Louisiana announced that 71 cases of oil spill-related illnesses had been reported to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals up to that point. A significant number of those had not even been involved in any of the clean up efforts.


Food Firms Spend Millions to Combat Simple Food Labeling Signs


Health conscious? Food giants are spending millions in a bid to kill off 'traffic light' warning labels
Food companies are spending millions of pounds to kill off a system of 'traffic light' warning labels that would help customers identify unhealthy products.

Doctors and consumer groups say the labeling is vital to helping families choose a healthy diet and avoid products high in fat, sugar and salt.

Shoppers support the red, amber and green color coding on the front of packs, according to research by the Food Standards Agency and consumer group Which?.


85% of Childrens' Drinks Contain Lead Exceeding Federal Limits for Young Kids

© Godnik/Getty
According to the Environmental Law Foundation, 85 percent of kids' drinks contain so much lead they may exceed federal limits for young children.
It's a little hard to swallow: more than 85 percent of kids' drinks contain so much lead they may exceed federal limits for young children.

Both organic and conventional juices were among the lead-tainted products, according to the Environmental Law Foundation, a Bay Area-based environmental nonprofit that used a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency certified lab to test 400 samples of 150 products marketed to kids.

Comment: For more information about the serious negative health effects of lead read the following articles:

Why Lead Poisoning May Be Causing Your Health Problems
Studies Show Danger of Even Small Amounts of Lead in Children's Blood
No Wonder People in D.C. Are Brain Dead: Congressional Report Prompts Fear and Anger Over Lead in D.C. Water