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article archives at abelards news and comment zonehealth archives
1 2 3 | III-2004: 11 25 30 31 | IV-2004:07 20 | V-2004: 28 | VI-2004: 25 | VIII-2004: 13 | XI-2004: 14 | XII-2004: 23 | II-2005: 11 13 | IV-2005: 13 | VII-2005: 17 | VIII-2005: 03 X-2005: 08 14 | XI-2005: 23 | XII-2005: 30
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“smoking [on its own] is estimated to have caused 21 percent of deaths from cancer worldwide”

“More than one third of 7 million cancer deaths are caused by 9 avoidable risk factors”

“ The nine risk factors were

  • overweight and obesity,
  • low fruit and vegetable intake,
  • physical inactivity,
  • smoking,
  • alcohol use,
  • unsafe sex,
  • urban air pollution,
  • indoor smoke from household use of coal and
  • contaminated injections in healthcare settings.”

“In high-income countries, these nine risks caused 760,000 cancer deaths; smoking, alcohol, and overweight and obesity were the most important causes of cancer in these nations.

“In low- and middle-income regions the nine risks caused 1.67 million cancer deaths; and smoking, alcohol consumption and low fruit and vegetable intake were the leading risk factors for these deaths. Sexual transmission of human papillomavirus is the leading risk factor for cervical cancer in women in low- and middle-income countries, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, where access to cervical screening is also limited.”

Also from the same source:

“New research from the Harvard School of Public Health finds that cigarette makers are targeting young smokers with candy and liqueur-flavored new brands that mask the harsh and toxic properties found in tobacco smoke, and in one case, embedding a hidden flavor pellet within the filter. Despite assurances from cigarette makers that they no longer target the youth market, the researchers found that new brands are being marketed to young smokers and racial/ethnic groups using colorful and stylish packaging and exploiting adolescents' attraction to candy flavors. The study appears in the November/December issue of the journal, Health Affairs." [Quoted from harvard.edu]

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/health2004.php#health_risks_231105

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malaria

  • anti-scientific ‘environmentalists’ kill, the case for ddt

    “Why does Europe impede Uganda's fight against malaria? The standard answer starts with "Silent Spring," the book that helped launch the environmental movement in the 1960s and that painted a scary picture of DDT's potential impact on the food chain. But this is only half right. The book's overblown claims led to the banning of DDT in the United States in 1972 and its disappearance from aid-funded programs thereafter. But "Silent Spring" was really about the dangers of large-scale agricultural use of DDT, not the limited spraying of houses. Today mainstream environmental groups concede that in the context of malarial countries, the certain health benefits of anti-malarial spraying may outweigh the speculative environmental risks.”

    From an informed article on the use of DDT to fight malaria.
    Lead from
    the auroran sunset
  • glowball attack on malaria
    “ To solve the problem, his team altered the DNA of the mosquito species Anopheles stephensi, the principal carrier of malaria in Asia, so that the males expressed a fluorescent green protein in their sperm. A sorting machine based on laser light separated male from female larvae, according to whether they glowed or not. Writing in Nature Biotechnology today, the scientists say the machine could sort 180,000 larvae in 10 hours.”
the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/health2004.php#malaria_141005
new important vaccine approaches acceptance

The first major study of an experimental vaccine to prevent cervical cancer found it was 100 percent effective, in the short term, at blocking the disease and lesions likely to turn cancerous, drug maker Merck & Co. said.

“Gardasil, a genetically engineered vaccine, blocks infection with two of the 100-plus types of human papilloma virus, HPV 16 and 18. The two sexually transmitted viruses together cause about 70 percent of cervical cancers.

“Other types of HPV also can cause cervical cancer and painful genital warts. About 20 million Americans have some form of HPV.”

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/health2004.php#cervical_cancer_vaccine_081005

interesting comments on anti-malarial dual treatments and subsidies

“To add to the complexity of the situation, by the late 1990s, the leading authorities on malaria had endorsed the concept of combination therapy as the new standard. The prime motivation was to preserve the effectiveness of the artemisinins and other still-effective antimalarial partner drugs in artemisinin-based combination therapies. As in the treatment of AIDS and tuberculosis, two effective drugs with different mechanisms of action can protect each other from the survival of resistant pathogens. Malaria knows no political boundaries, so for combination therapy to delay the emergence of resistance, it must be used in preference to artemisinin monotherapy as widely as possible. If monotherapies persist in some places, resistant strains will develop and spread globally.”

“Centralized procurement from producers will have some important additional advantages. First, it will make it easier to enforce quality standards. Second, the procurement facility will guarantee the purchase of qualifying products for several years without waiting for orders from individual countries, providing an incentive for the drug manufacturers and the farmers who grow A. annua to enter the market. Currently, there is an artemisinin shortage. In this case, the long-run commitment is the solution to the short-term problem. Third, the proposed mechanism for the delivery of foreign aid - as a subsidy through the existing antimalarial-supply chains - is relatively undemanding of institutional capacity on the part of governments. In many of the poorest countries, the scarcest resource is not funding but, rather, the administrative capacity for procurement, financial management, and delivery logistics. This mechanism would bypass those potential bottlenecks.”

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/health2004.php#anti_malarial_030805

will you have the steak and chips or the insects and chips sir?

“An estimated 2,000 insect species are consumed around the world, and people do not just eat insects, they relish them as delicacies. In Africa, caterpillars and winged termites are fried and eaten as roadside snacks (after wings, legs, and bristles are removed, of course), and often considered tastier than meat. Grasshoppers and bee larvae seasoned with soy sauce are favorites in Japan, where pricey canned insects are also available. Papua New Guinea is known for its nutty-flavored sago grubs (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus papuanus or R. bilineatus), beetle larvae that inhabit dead sago palm trees and are honored at annual festivals.

“Insects often contain more protein, fat, and carbohydrates than equal amounts of beef or fish, and a higher energy value than soybeans, maize, beef, fish, lentils, or other beans. According to a 2004 United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report, caterpillars of many species are rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron, as well as B-vitamins. In some African regions, children fight malnutrition by eating flour made out of dried caterpillars. Pregnant and nursing women as well as anemic people also eat caterpillar species high in protein, calcium, and iron.”

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/health2004.php#insect_nutrition_170705

traditional brass containers kill disease organisms

“Reed, with his colleagues Puja Tandon and Sanjay Chhibber, carried out two series of experiments. In Britain, the researchers filled brass and earthenware vessels with a diluted culture of Escherichia coli bacteria, which can cause illnesses such as dysentery. They then counted the surviving bacteria after 6, 24 and 48 hours. A similar test was carried out in India using naturally contaminated water.

“The amount of live E. coli in the brass vessels dropped dramatically over time, and after 48 hours they fell to undetectable levels [....]”

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/health2004.php#brass_130405

summary article on mercury as a poison

“ Seafood is one of the two most common sources of mercury exposure in adults. Although concentrations of mercury in air and water are increasing, they are still too small for alarm. But bacteria process the mercury in lakes and oceans into a form that accumulates in living tissue. Plankton take in the bacteria and are in turn eaten by small fish. With each meal, the mercury concentration rises. Then larger fish eat the small fish, increasing tissue concentrations still more. Fish at the top of the food chain accumulate the most mercury. The species singled out by the recent FDA advisory - big predators such as albacore tuna, shark, and swordfish - can have 100 times more mercury in their tissues than smaller fish do.” [Quoted from discover.com, article page 1]

“During that period, federal health officials added four new kinds of vaccines to the childhood immunization schedule, and the amount of mercury routinely administered to infants in the first six months of life more than doubled. Throughout the 1990s, a 3-month-old baby might receive as much as 63 micrograms of mercury in a single visit to a doctor - roughly 100 times the daily EPA safety level. By the age of 6 months, properly immunized children were exposed to at least 188 micrograms of mercury in a series of at least nine injections. Although the 1999 FDA action minimized such exposure, some infant flu vaccines still contain 12.5 micrograms of mercury per dose - more than 10 times the daily EPA safety level for a 20-pound baby.” [Quoted from discover.com, article page 2]

“Mercury was a naturally occurring element in Earth's atmosphere long before coal-fired generators, medical-waste incinerators, and chlor-alkali plants put more there. Some mercury escapes into the air when volcanoes erupt and mountains erode. It stands to reason that mercury has been accumulating in the flesh of fish, shellfish, and marine mammals since humankind began eating them-which is most likely why humans have a protein called metallothione to help detoxify mercury and other heavy metals.” [Quoted from discover.com, article page 3]

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/health2004.php#mercury_130205

ain’t the british ‘national health’ ‘service’wonderful? well, no it ain’t

“The answer is clear. If you are a woman with breast cancer in Britain, you have (or at least a few years ago you had, since all medical statistics are a few years old) a 46 per cent chance of dying from it. In America, your chances of dying are far lower - only 25 per cent. Britain has one of the worst survival rates in the advanced world and America has the best.

“If you are a man and you are diagnosed as having cancer of the prostate in Britain, you are more likely to die of it than not. You have a 57 per cent chance of departing this life. But in America you are likely to live. Your chances of dying from the disease are only 19 per cent. Once again, Britain is at the bottom of the class and America at the top.”

“[...] It is not that America is good at running healthcare. It is just that British state-run healthcare is so amazingly, achingly, miserably and mortally incompetent.”

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/health2004.php#nhs_110205

what is 'the freedom initiative'?

“The president's commission found that "despite their prevalence, mental disorders often go undiagnosed" and recommended comprehensive mental health screening for "consumers of all ages," including preschool children. According to the commission, "Each year, young children are expelled from preschools and childcare facilities for severely disruptive behaviours and emotional disorders." Schools, wrote the commission, are in a "key position" to screen the 52 million students and 6 million adults who work at the schools.

“The commission also recommended "Linkage [of screening] with treatment and supports" including "state-of-the-art treatments" using "specific medications for specific conditions." The commission commended the Texas Medication Algorithm Project (TMAP) as a "model" medication treatment plan that "illustrates an evidence-based practice that results in better consumer outcomes." ”

[
“ Eli Lilly, manufacturer of olanzapine, has multiple ties to the Bush administration. George Bush Sr. was a member of Lilly's board of directors and Bush Jr. appointed Lilly's chief executive officer, Sidney Taurel, to a seat on the Homeland Security Council. Lilly made $1.6m in political contributions in 2000 - 82 percent of which went to Bush and the Republican Party.”
]

related links
misuse and corruption in science
ritalin briefing document

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/health2004.php#freedom_initiative231204

regeneration of brain cells after alcohol abstinence
(rat study)

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill scientists have reported - for the first time - a burst in new brain cell development during abstinence from chronic alcohol consumption.

For decades, neuroscientists believed the number of new cells, or neurons, in the adult brain was fixed early in life. Adaptive processes such as learning, memory and mood were thought tied to changes in synapses, connections between neurons.

More recently, studies have shown that the adult human brain is capable of producing new brain cells throughout life, a neurogenesis resulting in formation of hundreds of thousands of new neurons each month.

When used in excess, alcohol damages brain structure and function. Alcoholics have impairments in the ability to reason, plan or remember," said Crews, also professor of pharmacology and psychiatry in UNC’s School of Medicine. "A variety of psychological tests show alcoholics have a difficulty in ability to understand negative consequences.

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/health2004.php#alcohol

eating brother monkey and sister crocodile

“The HIV virus has jumped from primates to people on at least seven separate occasions in recent history, not twice as is commonly thought.

“And people in Cameroon are showing up with symptoms of HIV, but are testing negative for both the virus and its primate equivalent SIV, the virus from which HIV is thought to have evolved. That suggests that new strains of an HIV-like virus are circulating in wild animals and infecting people who eat them, sparking fears that such strains could fuel an already disastrous global HIV pandemic.

“The warnings come from experts who gathered this week for the annual meeting of the Society for Conservation Biology at Columbia University, New York. They say that deforestation and the trade in bush meat are creating the ideal conditions for new diseases to emerge, as people have ever closer contact with exotic animals that harbour novel pathogens.”

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/health2004.php#eating
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