Archives for 2012

Antibiotics During Pregnancy Increases Risk of Epilepsy in Children

foodconsumer.org – Prenatal antibiotics linked to high risk of epilepsyMonday Oct 22, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) — A new study in Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology suggests that taking cystitis antibiotics during pregnancy increases risk of epilepsy in children. J. E. Miller of School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles, CA and colleagues conducted the study and found taking cystitis antibiotics during pregnancy was associated with 10 to 20 percent increased risk of epilepsy in children.

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Reference
Miller JE, Pedersen LH, Sun Y, Olsen J. Maternal Use of Cystitis Medication and Childhood Epilepsy in a Danish Population-based Cohort. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol 2012; 26 (6): 589-95.

 

Branding Illness

Pharmaceutical companies have an important role in providing us with the medication we need. But if one looks closely, it becomes obvious that this industry sells fewer drugs than…diseases, since the best way to multiply their earnings is to continuously invent new diseases, make us all feel that we are sick and in need of cures or prevention.

A woman in the grip of pre-menstrual dysphoric disease slams grocery carts outside a supermarket in frustration. A concerned young Japanese woman asks her husband if he has ever been happy. Peppy actors in lab coats reassure the audience that depression is like “a cold of the soul.”

These are scenes from some of the many pharmaceutical ads that pepper Maladies à vendre/Branding Illness (2010), a French eye-opening documentary about how big drug companies create diseases and then supply the medications that can cure them.

It’s a reversal of the traditional approach—trying to discover a drug that cures an illness—and one that relies far more heavily on marketing than on research.

The film offers case after startling case of how big pharma creates the conversation around new diseases and then offers up the solutions. Take pre-menstrual dysphoric disease. It appeared right about the time the patent on Prozac was about to expire, representing a significant loss of income. Enter PMDD. Prozac manufacturer Eli Lilly rebranded the drug, changed its colour, jacked up the price, and had a potentially profitable new medication to sell as a treatment for a disease few had ever heard of before.

Featuring at times acerbic commentary from experts including physicians, historians and medical anthropologists (among them maverick academic David Healy), BRANDING ILLNESS offers unprecedented insight into the ways illnesses and their potential cures are marketed. No claim seems too outrageous—whether it’s convincing the Japanese they have widespread depression, urging millions of healthy adults they need medication to lower their cholesterol, or even proposing that all adults over 50 take a “poly-pill” to lower their risk of common diseases.

In one particularly striking segment, a member of the Dutch Institute for Rational Use of Medicine recounts how her group pretended to represent a pharmaceutical company and created a fake awareness campaign for a drug to treat excessive flatulence. Their brochures were welcomed in doctors’ offices, their posters hung in medical centres, and television news reported on the “problem” and the treatment available.

The Internet is supposed to make medical information more accessible, but as the film points out, it’s very hard to know who is behind the information users find. A seemingly innocuous awareness campaign could be part of an expensive PR effort. Antoine Vial of the French Health Regulatory Agency puts a campaign for ankylosing spondylitis under the microscope, and finds that what it doesn’t say may be more revealing than what it does.

And if it’s hard for consumers to get access to objective opinions, it’s no easier for independent-minded academics. Medical anthropologist Kalman Applbaum says 80% of clinical trials and 97% of the most influential clinical trials are commercially funded.

Even science has become a tool to advance the sales of drugs.

Pomegranates & Cancer

Pomegranate may inhibit metastatic breast cancer(NaturalNews) Pomegranate juice is already known to be active against several cancers, but a new study out of California has just shown for the first time that it potently inhibits three key processes involved in breast cancer metastasis. The researchers were so impressed, they remarked that pomegranate juice is “potentially a very effective treatment to prevent cancer progression in general.”

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References

Rocha A, Wang L, Penichet M, Martins-Green M. Pomegranate juice and specific components inhibit cell and molecular processes critical for metastasis of breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2012, DOI: 10.1007/s10549-012-2264-5

Adhami VM, Khan N, Mukhtar H. Cancer Chemoprevention by Pomegranate: Laboratory and Clinical Evidence. Nutr Cancer. 2009 November; 61(6): 811–815.

Paller CJ, Ye X, Wozniak PJ, Gillespie BK, Sieber PR, Greengold RH, Stockton BR et al. A randomized phase II study of pomegranate extract for men with rising PSA following initial therapy for localized prostate cancer. Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis 2012 Jun 12. doi: 10.1038/pcan.2012.20.

Jeune MA, Kumi-Diaka J, Brown J. Anticancer activities of pomegranate extracts and genistein in human breast cancer cells. J Med Food 2005; 8 (4): 469-475.

Prenatal Mercury Exposure May be Associated with Risk of ADHD-related Behaviors

Fish consumption may be associated with lower risk

GravidCHICAGO – A study of children in the New Bedford, Mass., area suggests that low-level prenatal mercury exposure may be associated with a greater risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)-related behaviors and that fish consumption during pregnancy may be associated with a lower risk of these behaviors, according to a report published Online First by Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, a JAMA Network publication.

ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood and affects 8 percent to 12 percent of children worldwide, although its cause is not well understood. The developmental neurotoxicity of mercury is known, but the findings from epidemiological studies are inconsistent with some studies showing associations between mercury exposure and ADHD-related behaviors and others reporting null associations, according to the study background.

Nonoccupational methylmercury exposure comes primarily from eating fish, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have recommended pregnant women limit their total fish intake to no more than two, six-ounce servings per week. However, fish is also a source of nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to benefit brain development, potentially confounding mercury-related risk estimates, the study background also indicates.

Sharon K. Sagiv

Sharon K. Sagiv, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the Boston University School of Public Health, and colleagues analyzed data from the New Bedford birth cohort, a group of infants born between 1993 and 1998, to investigate the association of peripartum maternal hair mercury levels (n=421) and prenatal fish intake (n=515) with ADHD-related behaviors at age 8 years.

“In this population-based prospective cohort study, hair mercury levels were consistently associated with ADHD-related behaviors, including inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity. We also found that higher prenatal fish consumption was protective for these behaviors,” the authors comment.

Statistical analysis indicates mercury exposure appeared to be associated with inattention and impulsivity/hyperactivity and some outcomes had an apparent threshold with associations at 1 μg/g (microgram/per gram) or greater of mercury. For example, at 1 μg/g or greater, the adjusted risk ratios for mild/markedly atypical inattentive and impulsive/hyperactive behaviors were 1.4 and 1.7 respectively, according to the study results.

There also appeared to be a “protective” (lower risk) association for fish consumption of greater than two servings per week with ADHD-related behaviors, particularly impulsive/hyperactive behaviors (relative risk = 0.4), the study results show.

“In summary, these results suggest that prenatal mercury exposure is associated with a higher risk of ADHD-related behaviors, and fish consumption during pregnancy is associated with a lower risk of these behaviors,” the authors conclude. “Although a single estimate combining these beneficial vs. detrimental effects vis-à-vis fish intake is not possible with these data, these findings are consistent with a growing literature showing risk of mercury exposure and benefits of maternal consumption of fish on fetal brain development and are important for informing dietary recommendations for pregnant women.”

 

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder a Preventable Epidemic?

Bruce P. Lanphear

In an editorial, Bruce P. Lanphear, M.D., M.P.H., of Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, writes: “The study by Sagiv et al, which tested whether prenatal exposure to methyl mercury was associated with the development of ADHD-related behaviors, is an important and rigorously conducted prospective birth cohort study.”

“What are the implications of the Sagiv et al study and other research on environmental contaminants and ADHD? First, we can take some comfort in recent legislation to reduce mercury contamination, at least from domestic sources. Second, these studies should spur our efforts to enhance the collection of data needed to calculate national estimates and trends in ADHD,” Lanphear continues.

“Third, it is time to convene a national scientific advisory panel to evaluate environmental influences of ADHD and make recommendations about what can be done to prevent it. Fourth, this study and a flurry of new evidence linking environmental contaminants with ADHD reinforce the urgency of revising the regulatory framework for environmental contaminants and toxicants,” Lanphear concludes.

 

References

Sagiv SK, Thurston SW, Bellinger DV, Amarasiriwardena C, Korrick SA. Prenatal Exposure to Mercury and Fish Consumption During Pregnancy and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder–Related Behavior in Children. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012;():1-9. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2012.1286.

Lanphear BP. Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder A Preventable Epidemic? Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012;():1-3. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2012.1900.

 

An Inconvenient Tooth

“An Inconvenient Tooth” is a documentary film by Guy Wagner about fluoride. It was released September 6th, 2012 at the city hall in Portland, Oregon. On the same day a public hearing was held before the five-member City Council about whether or not the city should fluoridate its water supplies.  http://AnInconvenientTooth.org

 

Hannah’s Anecdote

This is a film about Hannah Bradley who was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor in 2011, age 26.  Even after surgery and radiotherapy, Hannah’s future was still severely limited. Her partner Pete Cohen searched for a solution and found Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski.

Burzynski had been developing a treatment for cancer for over 40 years. Although very controversial and expensive, Hannah was accepted onto phase 2 of an FDA trial for the treatment in Texas. This is their story.

 

A film by Jamie Lowe & Pete Cohen

 

More Information

To follow Hannah’s progress and find out more about the treatment go to http://www.teamhannah.com 

 Burzynski, the Movie: Cancer Is Serious Business

Zinc and Inflammation

Zinc deficiency affects nearly 2 billion people in the developing world resulting in growth retardation, hypogonadism, immune dysfunction and cognitive impairment. Additionally, the roles of this divalent cation in the human body have not been clearly elucidated, since the essentiality of zinc has only been known within the last 50 years. However, it has been clearly documented that the supplementation of zinc improves many conditions such as; acute diarrhea in children, the common cold, infections in the elderly, oxidative stress and generation of inflammatory cytokines. Janet Ludwig, Ph.D. has worked in this area of study specifically modifying cellular injury by zinc supplementation.

This presentation from a webinar in May 2012 explore the following areas in order to begin to understand the therapeutic role of zinc in many inflammatory conditions:

•             Zinc roles in the body-metalloenzymes

•             Zinc as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent

•             Membrane stabilization by zinc

•             Inflammatory diseases ameliorated by zinc supplementation.

 

 

Janet Ludwig, PhD

Janet Ludwig, PhD has worked in the area of zinc and inflammation for more than 25 years. She was at the Division of Surgical Biology at the Arizona Health Sciences Center studying zinc and cell injury induced by alcohol and carbon tetrachloride, an effective hepatotoxin. Additionally, she studied the mechanisms and structural identification of the potent class of inflammatory mediators, Platelet-Activating Factors (PAFs), at the Department of Pathology, University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio. She has taught courses in inflammation, biochemistry and nutrition at various Universities. She also travels to Bangkok, Thailand to give nutritional advice in a non-governmental organization that aids in improving the conditions for impoverished women and their children. Currently she is on the Hawthorn University faculty.

 

Cancer is Curable Now

The documentary “Cancer is Curable Now” (2010) brings together more than 30 international, holistic professionals who have been working passionately in the field of cancer alternatives — doctors, scientists, researchers and writers from around the world.

Marcus Freudenmann and his wife Sabrina, a naturopathic doctor, traveled the world with their four children for almost 3 years to meet the experts. Their mission was to create a film about natural cancer treatments that would “wake up the world.” This video  is the result of their work.

What Really Causes Schizophrenia

Dr. Harold D. Foster, Ph.D. (1933 – 2009) was one of the giants in orthomolecular medicine with boundless enthusiasm and a prolific gift of writing. He was a researcher with a soaring scientific mind who made unique contributions to the understanding of health and disease. Dr. Foster was professor of geography at the University of Victoria.

Using evidence from disciplines as diverse as history, geography, biochemistry and genetics, Dr. Foster demonstrates in the book “What Really Causes Schizophrenia” (2003) that schizophrenia is caused by the hallucinogen adrenochrome and its derivatives. Effective treatment involves orthomolecular substances that reduce adrenochrome production or mitigate its impact.

Dr. Abram Hoffer (1917 – 2009) wrote in 2004 a book review of “What Really Causes Schizophrenia” in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine. For more information on the science and research based on Dr.Foster’s work, visit The Harold Foster Foundation and Foster Health.

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Good Diets Fight Bad Alzheimer Genes

Diets high in fish oil have a beneficial effect in patients at risk

Scientists today agree that there are five molecules that are known to affect or cause Alzheimer’s disease, which plagues an estimated five million Americans. The potency of these molecules is linked to environmental factors such as diet and lifestyle.

Professor Daniel Michaelson of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Neurobiologyat the George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences has illuminating news about one of these five molecules — APOE, created by the apolipoprotein E gene found in all of our bodies.

Professor Michaelson says APOE comes in two forms, a “good” APOE gene and a “bad” APOE gene, called APOE4. He has developed animal models to investigate the effects of diet and environment on carriers of APOE4, the presence of which is a known risk factor for Alzheimer’s. It appears in 50% of all Alzheimer’s patients, and in 15% of the general population which due to APOE4 is the population which is at risk of getting the disease.

The good news? A diet high in Omega 3 oils and low in cholesterol appears to significantly reduce the negative effects of the APOE4 gene in mouse models.

Exercise is not enough — and may be worse

Prof. Daniel Michaelson

In differentiating between the good and bad variants of the APOE gene, Professor Michaelson and his team studied many variables. They determined that while a rich and stimulating environment is good for carriers of “good” APOE, the same environment has a negative effect on those at risk for Alzheimer’s because they carry the APOE4 gene. While this environment stimulated the formation of new neuronal connections in the “good APOE” mice, it caused the death of brain neurons in the “bad APOE” mice. The stimulating environment included running wheels and tubes for hiding and sliding, as well as ropes and other toys for the mice to play on, replaced and updated with new toys weekly. Those in a non-stimulating environment had access to no toys at all.

“Conditions that are generally considered good can be harmful if the mouse is a carrier of the APOE4 gene. Extrapolating this to the human population, individuals with the bad APOE4 gene are more susceptible to stress caused by an environment that stimulates their brain,” says Professor Michaelson.

The following is an abstract of a study by the research group of Professor Michaelson. The study is published in Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease (2012; 28 (3): 667-83):

“Apolipoprotein E4 (apoE4) is the most prevalent genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Epidemiological studies revealed that consumption of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA: 22 : 6 (ω3)), a major brain polyunsaturated fatty acid, is protective for AD and that elevated cholesterol levels are an AD risk factor. We presently investigated the extent to which the pathological effects of apoE4 in vivo can be prevented by consuming fish oil (DHA) or can be modified by cholesterol. Accordingly, apoE3- and apoE4-targeted replacement mice were subjected, following weaning, to a fish oil dietenriched in DHA and to a cholesterol-containing diet under regular and enriched environments. Cholesterol metabolism in the hippocampus and the corresponding phospholipid and fatty acid levels were affected by fish oil (DHA) and cholesterol diets and by environmental stimulation. Importantly, cholesterol metabolism and the fatty acid levels were not affected by apoE4. The phospholipid levels were, however, affected by apoE4. This effect was most pronounced in the cholesterol-fed mice and was abolished by the fish oil (DHA) diet. ApoE4 elevated hippocampal intraneuronal amyloid-β levels under regular conditions and lowered them following environmental stimulation, relative to those of the apoE3 mice. ApoE4 also elevated the levels of the presynaptic transporters Vglut and Vgat, and decreased behavioral performance in an object recognition test. Importantly, all of these apoE4 phenotypes were abolished by the fish oil (DHA) diet, whereas the cholesterol diet modified them. These findings suggest that a fish oil (DHA)diet could be used to attenuate the effects of apoE4 in AD.”

When it’s good, it’s good

“The main take-away message here is that good diets can alleviate the effects of bad genes. Of course nutritionists have had this general idea for a while, but it’s nice to be able to show that this approach can be applied to specifically counteract the negative effects of Alzheimer’s disease-related genes,” says Professor Michaelson.

 

 Reference

Kariv-Inbal Z, Yacobson S, Berkecz R, Peter M, Janaky T, Lütjohann D, Broersen LM, Hartmann T, Michaelson DM. The isoform-specific pathological effects of apoE4 in vivo are prevented by a fish oil (DHA) diet and are modified by cholesterol. J Alzheimers Dis 2012; 28 (3): 667-83.