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Child Abuse! More Toddlers, Young Children Given Antipsychotics

Researchers question the 'worrisome' trend

The rate of children aged 2 to 5 who are given antipsychotic medications has doubled in recent years, a new study has found.

Yet little is known about either the effectiveness or the safety of these powerful psychiatric medications in children this age, said researchers from Columbia University and Rutgers University, who looked at data on more than 1 million children with private health insurance.

"It is a worrisome trend, partly because very little is known about the short-term, let alone the long-term, safety of these drugs in this age group," said study author Dr. Mark Olfson, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University in New York City.


Vitamin D and the Flu: More about the Science

Bill Faloon, Co-founder of Life Extension Foundation, recently summarized some of the science showing the critical role of Vitamin D in preventing and controlling infections due to the flu. An excerpt from his article in the January 2010 Life Extension Magazine follows:

Evidence that Vitamin D Combats Winter Infections

As daylight hours grow colder and shorter, incidences of the common cold, flu, and respiratory infections spike upwards. Scientists have identified reduced vitamin D levels in winter months as a prime suspect for this increase in infectious disease cases.

Vitamin D in all forms (sunlight, sun lamps, or supplements) reduces the incidence of respiratory infections.[24,26] Dutch children with the least sun exposure are twice as likely to develop a cough and three times more likely to develop a runny nose compared with children with the most sun exposure.[35]


Rethinking Education as the Practice of Freedom: Paulo Freire and the Promise of Critical Pedagogy

© Henry A. Giroux
Paulo Freire and Henry A. Giroux, Amherst, Massachusetts, 1981
Too many classrooms at all levels of schooling now resemble a "dead zone," where any vestige of critical thinking, self-reflection and imagination quickly migrate to sites outside of the school only to be mediated and corrupted by a corporate-driven media culture.

Paulo Freire is one of the most important critical educators of the 20th century.[1] Not only is he considered one of the founders of critical pedagogy, but he also played a crucial role in developing a highly successful literacy campaign in Brazil before the onslaught of the junta in 1964. Once the military took over the government, Freire was imprisoned for a short time for his efforts. He eventually was released and went into exile, primarily in Chile and later in Geneva, Switzerland, for a number of years. Once a semblance of democracy returned to Brazil, he went back to his country in 1980 and played a significant role in shaping its educational policies until his untimely death in 1997. His book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, is considered one of the classic texts of critical pedagogy, and has sold over a million copies, influencing generations of teachers and intellectuals both in the United States and abroad. Since the 1980s, there has been no intellectual on the North American educational scene who has matched either his theoretical rigor or his moral courage. Most schools and colleges of education are now dominated by conservative ideologies, hooked on methods, slavishly wedded to instrumentalized accountability measures and run by administrators who lack either a broader vision or critical understanding of education as a force for strengthening the imagination and expanding democratic public life.

Comment: In a world dominated by pathocratic values, Freire's ideals were always going to be challenged and suppressed; if only school teachers really knew the role they are 'taught' to play in the larger pathological process.


Three Approved GMOs Linked to Organ Damage

In what is being described as the first ever and most comprehensive study of the effects of genetically modified foods on mammalian health, researchers have linked organ damage with consumption of Monsanto's GM maize.

All three varieties of GM corn, Mon 810, Mon 863 and NK 603, were approved for consumption by US, European and several other national food safety authorities. Made public by European authorities in 2005, Monsanto's confidential raw data of its 2002 feeding trials on rats that these researchers analyzed is the same data, ironically, that was used to approve them in different parts of the world.


More U.S. Patients Receive Multiple Psychotropic Medications

An increasing number of U.S. adults are being prescribed combinations of antidepressants and antipsychotic medications, according to a report in the January issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

In some clinical situations, evidence suggests that more than one psychotropic (affecting the brain or mind) medication may be beneficial, according to background information in the article. For instance, a patient with depression who does not respond to one medication alone might require a second antidepressant, or an individual who has depression with psychotic features might respond to a combination of an antidepressant and an antipsychotic. "In routine psychiatric practice, however, patients often receive psychiatric medication combinations that are not well supported by controlled clinical trials," the authors write.

Comment: The danger of taking antidepressants.


Angina In The Legs? Time To Alert Patients And Physicians

Edmonton researchers recommend that people over age 40 be screened for peripheral artery disease (PAD), which puts people at high risk for serious medical complications including heart disease, stroke, and possible lower limb amputation.

It contributes to thousands of deaths every year yet nobody knows for sure how many Canadians have PAD.

"PAD is under diagnosed and under treated," Heart and Stroke Foundation researcher Dr. Ross Tsuyuki told the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress 2009, co-hosted by the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society.

"PAD is caused by a narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the legs. The pain some PAD patients experience is the lower limb equivalent of the chest pain from the heart," says Dr. Tsuyuki. Since the leg artery narrowings seen in PAD usually imply similar narrowings in heart and brain arteries, PAD is a strong marker for heart disease and stroke.


Study: Quitting smoking increases risk of developing type 2 diabetes

© BackFortyTobacco
Hung tobacco leaves: good for you!
Individuals who quit smoking are placed at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the first six years, a new study finds.

According to the study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, those who stop smoking are 70 percent more likely to develop diabetes. The risk is highest in the first three years and returns to normal after 10 years.

Extra weight gain occurring after an individual quits smoking is the main reason accounting for the increased diabetes risk in this population, the study finds.

Comment: We reckon it's safe to ignore the last two paragraphs of this article: they were obviously added to ensure the study passed the medical censors. And so, another good reason to smoke is added to the list:

Let's All Light Up!


Scientists Discover How Cordyceps Mushrooms Fight Cancer

For thousands of years, the mushroom known as Cordyceps has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat problems ranging from coughs and fatigue to impotence and cancer. And once Western scientists started considering that anecdotal reports of the mushroom's curative powers might be something more than "folk tales", research started accumulating that backs up many ancient claims about Cordyceps' health benefits.

For example, scientists from the University of Nottingham in Great Britain say they've documented how Cordiceps can fight cancer -- and the new discovery could increase the effectiveness of mushroom-derived cancer treatments.

For the study, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Dr. Cornelia de Moor of the University of Nottingham and her colleagues investigated a drug called cordycepin, which was originally extracted from wild growing Cordyceps and is now prepared from a cultivated form of the mushroom.


Obesity Will Cost U.S. $344 Billion a Year in Health Care Costs

An analysis of projected health care costs has revealed that by the year 2018, obesity-related medical expenses will top $344 billion. Current estimates suggest that in just ten years 43 percent of Americans will be obese if obesity continues to rise at the current rate.

According to Reed Tuckson of the United Health Foundation, an average healthy adult in 2018 will incur about $5,855 in medical expenses a year. An obese person will sustain about 42 more in medical expenses in the same year. If obesity rates continue to rise at the current rate, Colorado could be the only state in 2018 with at least 70 percent of its residents at a healthy weight.

Tuckson emphasized that most of the obesity-related diseases that are set to flood the health care system are preventable. He hopes that the report will spur action in dealing with the risk factors that contribute to obesity. By implementing preventive measures, the financial burden caused by treating obesity-related diseases will be greatly reduced.


Scans Show Learning 'Sculpts' The Brain's Connections

© iStockphoto/Sebastian Kaulitzki
Artist's rendering of active neurons.
Spontaneous brain activity formerly thought to be "white noise" measurably changes after a person learns a new task, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of Chieti, Italy, have shown.

Scientists also report that the degree of change reflects how well subjects have learned to perform the task. Their study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"Recent studies have shown that in the absence of any overt behavior, and even during sleep or anesthesia, the brain's spontaneous activity is not random, but organized in patterns of correlated activity that occur in anatomically and functionally connected regions," says senior author Maurizio Corbetta, M.D., Norman J. Stupp Professor of Neurology.