Where's That Then? No 26

After all the troubling pictures I've given you recently, or failing to put one up at all last week, I thought I'd make it a bit easier today. Certainly one of my favourite towns, it has a very fine and comprehensive viewpoint on the south side, for which I am very grateful. I first saw it on a December morning in 1978, with folks gathering to buy mistletoe in the market hall and round-ended boxes of 'Eat Me' dates on a fruiterer's window sill. Visiting again recently, I'm pleased to report that a stroll around the streets is as rewarding as anywhere, particularly on a sunny Sunday morning with the bells from that church tower ringing out over the rooftops, as indeed they were when this photograph was taken. Extra toast and black pudding for anyone who can remember the poetry which has this couplet about the town in it: Oh I have been to ------ fair / And left my necktie God knows where. Or something like that, I haven't got it immediately to hand.

Purposeful Confusion?

UPDATE: 31 May 2010 (original post 6/19/09) -
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lost its bid to overturn a health claim for selenium-containing dietary supplements last Thursday in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. District Court Judge Ellen Huvelle ruled unconstitutional the FDA’s censorship of selenium dietary supplement claims relating to the reduction of cancer risk. Jonathan Emord of Emord & Associates on behalf of the plaintiffs in the case (including lead plaintiff ANH-USA; Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw; and the Coalition to End FDA and FTC Censorship. The verdict, unless reversed on appeal, protects the First Amendment right of dietary supplement manufacturers to provide “qualified health claims”, which accurately communicate the state of science concerning dietary supplements. This is a remarkable seventh victory over the FDA by the Emord firm (six of which invalidated FDA health claim censorship).
The lawsuit was initiated last summer in response to the FDA’s 19th June 2009 decision to suppress selenium/cancer-risk reduction claims. Ten of the claims (all appealed by the plaintiffs) were held unconstitutionally censored. The plaintiffs expressed their belief that this violated their right to communicate truthful health information to the public. The judge found that the FDA had denied claims despite credible evidence supporting them and had thereby infringed on free speech.
Prior to this ruling the FDA required near conclusive scientific evidence for any nutrient claim. The judge ruled that so long as the claim is an accurate reflection of the state of science, the First Amendment protects it.
UPDATE: 8 July - Please read what one of the good health organizations has to say about US censorship of scientifically-backed health claims for selenium.
UPDATE: 21 June - Government Intervening in Vitamin Industry
Other reports on Centrum can be found here at Natural Health News using SEARCH.
By Lorraine Heller
“Multivitamins and minerals were the subject of one quarter of Adverse Event Reports (AERs) filed with FDA in the first six months of last year, but this does not mean that this product category is problematic, says the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA).

The trade group analyzed 598 AERs received by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) between January 1 and June 30 2008, which highlighted potential adverse health effects of dietary supplement products.

However, although 25 per cent of these were for mainstream multivitamins and minerals, the findings must not be misinterpreted as identifying this as the most dangerous class of products, said Michael McGuffin, director AHPA.

‘This is not a cause and effect reporting system, it’s an association system. So although a large part of the AERs are linked to multivitamins, this does not mean that they are dangerous. It simply reflects usage patterns, and the most used dietary supplements are multivitamins,’ McGuffin told NutraIngredients-USA.com.

The AER reports were obtained by AHPA via Freedom of Information (FOI) requests with FDA. AHPA revealed its analysis of these reports at the recent SupplySide East trade show in Secaucus, New Jersey.

A number of supplement brands or products were repeatedly flagged up in the AERs. The most common single product reports were for:

• Total Body Formula (93 reports)
Bayer One a Day (all formulas) (81 reports)
• Centrum (all formulas) (25 reports)
• Flintstones Vitamins (all formulas) (24 reports)
• Mainstream calcium products (25 reports)

However, McGuffin again cautioned that this does not implicate these brands or products as being dangerous. It reflects the frequency of reporting by a select number of companies, which have put systematic reporting systems in place, he explained.

Out of the 600 AERs reviewed by AHPA, 44 percent were for combination products, 25 percent were for vitamins and minerals, 10 percent were for ‘other primary ingredients’ products, and 5 percent were for herbals.

The majority (almost 60 percent) of reports had been submitted by companies, while just under a third (30 percent) were submitted by consumers. Around 10 percent were sent in by health professionals.

The majority of cases (73 percent) were female consumers, and 54 percent of reports were for people aged between 50 and 79. Again, this reflects supplement usage, said McGuffin.”

Back in the 1980s there were daily publications of articles promoting the health benefit of selenium to protect men's prostate health. I've posted an ACS article from 2002 that shows this information below.

Several weeks ago I posted a discussion about a study that attacked selenium, showing mostly the ignorance of the people involved or interviewed regarding the effective form of selenium.

Generally inexpensive sodium selenite is the form used in synthetic products and it isn't always properly absorbed.

Now today Bayer is taking flack over its synthetic product, One-A-Day for Men. Well they should but not because of the concerns about synthetic vitamins, but for the fact that selenium - in the right form - is helpful for men's health and that of the prostate too.

Isn't it confusing? And do you really think medicine is progressing in providing prevention?
Group: Bayer ads mislead about prostate
Published: June 19, 2009 at 12:17 AM

A U.S. advocacy group notified Bayer Healthcare it will sue if the company continues to claim the selenium in its vitamins may reduce prostate cancer risk.

David Schardt, senior nutritionist at The Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington, said advertisements and labels for One A Day Men's 50-plus Advantage and One A Day Men's Health Formula multivitamins claim "emerging research" suggests selenium may reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

However, leading prostate cancer researchers say there is scant evidence to support such a claim and have joined CSPI in urging the Federal Trade Commission to put an immediate stop to the claims, Schardt says.

"Bayer is exploiting men's fear of prostate cancer just to sell more pills," Schardt says in a statement. "The largest prostate cancer prevention trial has found that selenium is no more effective than a placebo. Bayer is ripping people off when it suggests otherwise in these dishonest ads."

A seven-year study found last year that selenium does not prevent prostate cancer in healthy men, Schardt says.

"We are aware of CSPI's complaint and are in the process of reviewing their allegations, in the meantime, we stand behind all claims made in support of our products, including One A Day multivitamins," Bayer officials said in a statement to WebMD. "The claims made in support of selenium are based on an FDA-approved qualified health claim."

© 2009 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Study Links Selenium and Age to Prostate Cancer Risk
Mineral May Reduce Risk
Article date: 2002/01/02 from the American cancer Society

A new study suggests that the mineral selenium may be important in reducing prostate cancer risk as men age, according to a report in the Journal of Urology (Vol. 166, No. 6: 2034-2038).

The research suggests that the older men get, the less selenium they are likely to have in their blood. This may explain why a man's chance of getting prostate cancer goes up as he ages, since there may be a relationship between very low selenium levels and increased risk of prostate cancer.

“Our results suggest the possibility that selenium supplements may be especially beneficial for older men,” said lead author, James D. Brooks, MD, assistant professor of urology at Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto, Calif.

Brooks cautioned that too much selenium can be toxic. The Institute of Medicine, a government organization that determines the recommended dietary allowances (RDA) of vitamins and minerals, suggests a daily selenium intake of 55 micrograms (mcg) daily for men over the age of 14. Selenium is found in organ meats (liver), seafood and vegetables (which depend on the selenium content of the soil). The maximum intake daily of selenium should not exceed 400 mcg daily from all sources.

Lowest Selenium Levels Raised Prostate Cancer Risk
Most Americans get enough selenium, Brooks noted, but in some areas of the US there is not much selenium in the soil, so there may not be enough in drinking water or in food.

To study the relationship between selenium and prostate cancer, Brooks and colleagues compared the levels of selenium in the blood from 52 men taken before they developed prostate cancer, to the selenium levels in blood given by 96 men who did not later develop prostate cancer.

These men were all part of an ongoing study called the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. They were examined about every two years over a long period of time.

Men with the least amount of blood selenium were four to five times more likely to develop prostate cancer in the next few years than those with more, the researchers found.

“There may be a threshold level — a certain amount needed to lower risk — but beyond that, adding more selenium may not offer any more protection,” said Brooks.

Study First to Link Selenium Levels, Risk and Age
An American Cancer Society (ACS) expert on cancer and nutrition said the Stanford study confirms earlier studies that show selenium may reduce risk of prostate cancer by as much as 60%, and it adds new information as well.

“This is the first study to show that selenium levels may drop as age increases, which could help explain why men’s chances of developing prostate cancer go up as they get older,” said Carmen Rodriguez, MD, a senior epidemiologist in the ACS department of Epidemiology and Surveillance Research.

But Rodriguez cautioned that the study had so few men in it that it’s difficult to be sure that conclusions from it are meaningful.

And she expressed concern that blood samples weren’t necessarily collected at the same ages from men who developed prostate cancer later and from those who didn’t, making the comparison not as equal as a better matched one.

Study Raises Questions Likely to be Addressed by SELECT Trial
Rodriguez said men interested in those questions and in learning more about reducing their risk of prostate cancer with selenium and/or vitamin E may want to participate in the SELECT Trial trial, or wait for its outcome, she noted.

“In the meantime, all men can use the knowledge we already have to keep their prostate cancer risk as low as possible by learning the risk factors for prostate cancer, and how to actively reduce their chances of developing the disease,” noted Rodriguez.

Men's Health

Phoenix Faced with Infection Outbreak

I see this again and again in the news from different parts of the country and worldwide.
I do not see any change in the way response is directed, and as I read more and more over the years since 1993 when I began to find other ways to approach the long standing problems from over use and abuse of antibiotics, I see it continues to fester under mainstream medicine.
When I happened on the article I sent this response to the reporter -
Phoenix-area hospitals fight highly toxic 'supergerm'
Please see this page on my web site. http://leaflady.org/sane_cln.htm
and from Natural Health News:
and this with related information and comments from a 2004 item posted on line, several times -
This is a topic I have been working on since 1993.  Current mainstream approaches just are not working. 
Please feel free to share and I am happy to speak with you.

Does Red Wine Protect the Cardiovascular System?

The 'French paradox' rears its ugly head again. The reasoning goes something like this: French people eat more saturated animal fat than any other affluent nation, and have the second-lowest rate of coronary heart disease (only after Japan, which has a much higher stroke rate than France). French people drink red wine. Therefore, red wine must be protecting them against the artery-clogging yogurt, beef and butter.

The latest study to fall into this myth was published in the AJCN recently (1). Investigators showed that 1/3 bottle of red wine per day for 21 days increased blood flow in forearm vessels of healthy volunteers, which they interpreted as "enhanced vascular endothelial function". The novel finding in this paper is that red wine consumption increases the migration of certain cells into blood vessels that are thought to maintain and repair the vessels. There were no control groups for comparison, neither abstainers nor a group drinking a different type of alcohol.

The investigators then went on to speculate that the various antioxidant polyphenols in red wine, such as the molecule resveratrol, could be involved. This could be true, but there's another possible mechanism here...

Ethanol-- plain old alcohol. You could drink a 40 oz bottle of malt liquor every night and it might do the same thing.

No matter what the source, alcohol consumption is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease out to about 3-4 drinks per day, after which the risk goes back up (2, 3)*. The association is not trivial-- up to a 62% lower risk associated with alcohol use. Controlled trials have shown that alcohol, regardless of the source, increases HDL cholesterol and reduces the tendency to clot (4).

Should we all start downing three drinks a day? Not so fast. Although alcohol does probably decrease heart attack risk, the effect on total mortality is equivocal. That's because it increases the risk of cancers and accidents. Alcohol is a drug, and my opinion is that like all drugs, overall it will not benefit the health of a person with an otherwise good diet and lifestyle. That being said, it's enjoyable, so I have no problem with drinking it in moderation. Just don't think you're doing it for your health.

So does red wine decrease the risk of having a heart attack? Probably, yes, just like malt liquor does. I do think it's interesting to speculate about why alcohol (probably) reduces heart attack risk. Could it be because it relaxes us? I'm going to ponder that over a glass of whiskey...

* The first study is really interesting. For once, I see no evidence of "healthy user bias". Rates of healthy behaviors were virtually identical across quintiles of alcohol intake. This gives me a higher degree of confidence in the results.

Cod Liver Oil Helps Prevent Diabetes

"Cod-Liver Oil for Babies Can Ward Off Diabetes" -

Giving cod-liver oil to babies reduces the risk of getting diabetes later in life, researchers have found.

Studies carried out by scientists in Norway revealed that infants regularly given a spoonful of the oil during their 1st year were 25% less likely to develop diabetes. Scientists believe that the key ingredient could be long-chain fatty acids.

More about the benefits of Cod Liver Oil and healthy fats like butter in your diet.

Benefit from CLO

Problems with Palm Oil

How an Ingredient Found in Everything from Chocolate to Chips Is Causing Massive Environmental Destruction

The production of palm oil, the common ingredient in an astounding number of products, is causing deforestation, global warming emissions and a loss of biodiversity.

Read complete article

Supplements ARE Safe

I always get riled when I see a report in the media attacking supplements because some poorly designed government "study" came to a (pre-planned) conclusion that supplements are bad.

I also get riled when I read that a health care provider who uses a formulary mostly based on the use of plants, says that there are no studies, when thousands do exist, about the efficacy of herbs or supplements.  At the same time the FDA faces daily the problem of poorly studied pharmaceuticals that kill hundreds of thousands of people every year.

One attacking tome appeared recently in Scientific American, and yet at the very same time one providing evidence of effectiveness says -
"Decades ago, when Linus Pauling and Abram Hoffer first proposed mega-dose vitamin therapy as a serious treatment, mainstream medicine, aided by the press, promptly discredited this as quackery.  To this day, the media faithfully bombards us with the message that vitamins and minerals are useless, harmful or even killing us.(1-6)  When one considers the lowly vitamin pill as an economic rival to drugs, and the dependence of the media on drug company advertising, the motivation to discredit mega-dose vitamins becomes all too obvious.  Seemingly oblivious to this negative message, physicians quietly go about their business using megadose vitamin therapy in the intensive care unit with considerable success.  Recent reports of this have been appearing in medical journals, finally vindicating Linus Pauling and Abram Hoffer as yes, of course, they were right all along.(7-9)"
Problems with Big PhRMA are rampant, have been reported for years, and few changes happen. 
"There are not many wonder drugs still to be discovered, and new pharmaceutical developments are usually more about improving quality of life than saving lives. Often the biomedical companies' latest product is just the same old pill in a new package, so they need to spend billions of dollars on marketing, advertising and lobbying to ensure sales". Read complete article
With all the research that exists about herbs one wonders what are government employees are doing with foolish spending of taxpayer money.  And perhaps there is a reason why Orthomolecular Medicine isn't indexed in PubMed.

Exercises Help Sleep Apnea

UPDATE: 12 June - related article from Australian nursing journal 


Throat Exercises Can Relieve Sleep Apnea

For people suffering from sleep apnea, specialized breathing machines are the standard treatment.
The machines use a method called continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, which keeps the airway open and relieves potentially dangerous pauses in breathing during the night. But the machines are expensive, and some people complain that the mask and headgear cause uncomfortable side effects, like congestion.
One free and fairly simple alternative may be exercises that strengthen the throat. While they aren’t as established or as well studied as breathing machines, some research suggests they may reduce the severity of sleep apnea by building up muscles around the airway, making them less likely to collapse at night.
In a study published last year in The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, scientists recruited a group of people with obstructive sleep apnea and split them into two groups. One was trained to do breathing exercises daily, while the other did 30 minutes of throat exercises, including swallowing and chewing motions, placing the tip of the tongue against the front of the palate and sliding it back, and pronouncing certain vowels quickly and continuously.
After three months, subjects who did the throat exercises snored less, slept better and reduced the severity of their condition by 39 percent. They also showed reductions in neck circumference, a known risk factor for apnea. The control group showed almost no improvement.
Other randomized studies have found similar effects. One even showed that playing instruments that strengthen the airways, like the didgeridoo, can ease sleep apnea.
For people with sleep apnea, throat exercises may be a cheap and useful therapy.

More about disturbed sleep ---


Pollution linked to sleep problems

Published: June 16, 2010 at 1:32 AM

BOSTON, June 16 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers have linked air pollution and sleep-disordered breathing -- a known cause of heart disease.

Antonella Zanobetti, Dr. Susan Redline, Dr. Diane Gold of Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Harvard School of Public Health and colleagues used data from the Sleep Heart Health Study, which included more than 6,000 participants from 1995 to 1998, as well as federal air pollution monitoring data from Framingham, Mass.; Minneapolis; New York; Phoenix; Pittsburgh; Sacramento; and Tucson.

The researchers said sleep-disordered breathing affects as many as 17 percent of U.S. adults.

Over all seasons, the study found short-term elevations in temperature were linked with increased in Respiratory Disturbance Index, which was used to gauge the severity of sleep-disordered breathing.

"Particles may influence sleep through effects on the central nervous system, as well as the upper airways," Zanobetti said in a statement. "Poor sleep may disproportionately afflict poor urban populations. Our findings suggest that one mechanism for poor sleep and sleep health disparities may relate to environmental pollution levels."

The study appears online ahead of the print edition of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.   © 2010 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Who Pays for Complications

Refusing to Pay for Complications

Ojo Images/Getty Images
A number of insurers, including Medicare and Medicaid, no longer pay doctors to treat complications “that could reasonably have been prevented.” These are often called “never events,” because they should never have happened.
The goal is to force hospitals and doctors to improve safety practices and cover the costs associated with their own errors. The idea is good in theory, writes Dr. Pauline Chen in today’s Doctor and Patient column, but when it comes to complications, all patients aren’t created equal.
Data from almost 900,000 cases in over 1,000 hospitals…found that patient characteristics could have a marked impact on the rate of several of these payer-specific “never event” complications. Preexisting conditions like diabetes, chronic lung disease or malnutrition rendered patients more susceptible to certain complications no matter how much the physician intervened. In fact, the researchers were even able to predict the degree of susceptibility with the use of mathematical modeling.
“There are many things we can be doing to improve quality,” said Dr. Donald E. Fry, lead author of the study and executive vice president for Michael Pine and Associates. “But there has to be the understanding that high-risk patients can affect the rate of certain complications.”
To learn more, read the full column, “Who Pays for Medical Complications?”

Avoiding Drug Side Effects

"A study linking drug side effects and emergency room admissions found that a large number of Americans -- as many as 700,000 annually -- land in the hospital from taking medications. But the good news is that there are precautions you can take to avoid some of the worst adverse drug events detailed in the study."

In this report, which is helpful to some extent, item number 1 is 
Ask your doctor about side effects.
Yes, you should ask anytime any provider offers you a prescription, but don't forget that it is the provider's responsibility to thoroughly inform you, so that you should not have to ask.
You are also supposed to be told of any drug interaction that may occur from a combination of drugs you may be getting from your provider.
Too often this is ignored, and it places your health at risk.
Item 5 has real value, but my suggestion is to do this at least once every six months, even better to do it quarterly.
If you suspect a side-effect, even if it is one you were not informed of, call your provider and pharmacist immediately.
Health Forensics offers drug nutrient depletion information and interaction review services.

Vexing Varmints

It never ceases to amaze me that with so many effective natural, non-toxic treatments available for lice, so little has changed in the way this issue is addressed.

Yes, treating lice may be time consuming but it will clean-up the problem in your household or school room with some dedication and your time.

This morning as I was perusing the news I came across a recent article in the NYT.  Reading through it I was quite astonished that the writer made no effort to include natural lice treatment in her article.

I thought it was interesting to read about an expensive heat cap and lice removal parlours with hefty price tags.

Here's a softer way...

Why Wait? Boost T-Cells Now with Supplements

Improving your supplement regimen now will do a great deal to boost T-cell function.

Zinc is one of the key minerals that can help your T-cells work much more effectively.

Other supplements include those that support thymus function because this is where T-cells are activated.

Supplements already have a known history of safety, so you won't be playing a "wild card".
T-cell vaccine could treat cancer
NORMAN, Okla., May 28 (UPI) -- Vaccines that activate T-cells in the immune system may someday be used to treat cancer, HIV and other viral diseases, scientists in Oklahoma said.

Researchers at the University of Oklahoma have been working on a T-cell vaccine for West Nile virus that could be applied to other viral diseases, project team leader William Hildebrand said.

"No one has ever done this with a T-cell vaccine, so we're learning; but now we are starting to get some traction. We are finding that a T-cell vaccine can work," Hildebrand told The Oklahoman in a story published Friday.

T-cells kill virus-infected cells in the body, including cells that become cancerous.

Until now, vaccine research has focused on generating antibodies to prevent illness. Many antibody vaccines work well, but are not effective against all viral diseases, Hildebrand and his team wrote in a recent issue of the Journal of Immunology.

T-cell vaccines would activate specific parts of the immune system to target a virus and kill it, said Hildebrand, who worked on the project with scientists at Washington University in St. Louis.


Why Read & Support Natural Health News

Natural Health News has been bringing you factual information for 7 years based on our medical and scientific background, coupled with one of the most in depth knowledge of natural health found today (50+ years of study, research, and use)
Be very selective about what you learn through the media and what you begin to believe.

Take the skeptic view first so it will help lead you to facts, not claims.

Today facts are in short supply.
Make a donation today, which in turn helps us continue to bring you good information that helps you understand fact, and improve your health.

How to protect yourself from infectious diseases in the workplace

Have you ever trudged off to work with chills, achy bones and a fever? If so, you’re not alone. Studies show that about half of U.S. workers reported to work ill in the past year. Oft-cited reasons for spreading germs at the workplace are fear of lost wages — many people have minimal or no paid sick leave — or guilt about missing work.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some viruses and bacteria can live two hours or longer on surfaces like computer keyboards, desks, phones and fax machines. As icky as it sounds, the co-worker who’s coughing all over the conference room table or racing to the restroom because of a nasty stomach bug can turn your office into an incubator for all manner of infectious bugs.

To protect yourself and your co-workers from these and other germs:

* Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue every time you cough or sneeze, and throw the used tissue in a wastebasket. If you don't have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve, not your hands.

* Wash your hands often, especially after coughing, sneezing or using the restroom. Use soap and warm water and rub your hands together for about 20 seconds, making sure to scrub all the surfaces. Rinse your hands under clean, running water and dry them with a paper towel. No soap and water available? Alcohol-based hand sanitizer can inactivate most germs in a jiffy, so always keep some at your workstation.

* Get a flu shot (or the nasal vaccine if you don’t like needles). A yearly flu vaccination is the single best way to lower your chances of getting the flu. If you get the vaccine but still get sick, the vaccine can make the bug milder.

* Avoid close contact with co-workers who are obviously ill, and if you’re sick, stay home and keep your germs to yourself.

* Steer clear of the damp sponge that might be lurking in the sink in your office kitchen. Squishy sponges are breeding grounds for disease-causing bacteria.

* Use alcohol-based wipes or other approved sanitizers to disinfect your keyboard, telephone, desk and mouse.

Speaking of your computer mouse, don’t overlook the living, breathing variety that might come out at night to dance on your desk and keyboard. According to University of Arizona researchers, your office toilet is probably 400 times cleaner than your desk, but the latter is your preferred lunch venue. As unappetizing as it sounds, crumbs that lodge between the keys will encourage the growth of bacteria and could become tasty morsels for all manner of disease-carrying vermin. Dust is a problem too, because it will trap moisture that becomes a breeding ground for insects.

Even if you don’t eat at your desk, your fingers come in contact with all kinds of germs over the course of a work day, and the bugs end up on your phone and keyboard. Hitting the "delete" key won’t sweep these germs away. To stay healthy, keep your keyboard crumb-free, wash your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer often — especially before you eat — and clean your entire work area regularly with disinfectant wipes

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Home Product Chemicals Contaminating Water

For decades I have been advising people about this very issue, learn more here and here
Household Detergents, Shampoos May Form Harmful Substance in Wastewater
ScienceDaily (May 27, 2010) — Scientists are reporting evidence that certain ingredients in shampoo, detergents and other household cleaning agents may be a source of precursor materials for formation of a suspected cancer-causing contaminant in water supplies that receive water from sewage treatment plants. The study sheds new light on possible environmental sources of this poorly understood water contaminant, called NDMA, which is of ongoing concern to health officials.
Contact us to learn how to do your laundry without commercial products, dishwasher, hand washing too...
Procter & Gamble to Reduce Toxic Contaminant in Herbal Essences Shampoo New Product Tests reveal 1,4-dioxane in Major Laundry Detergent Brands, Too

Laundry Detergent Test Results
Tide (P&G) – 55 ppm
Ivory Snow Gentle (P&G) – 31 ppm
Tide Free (P&G) – 29 ppm
Purex (Dial Corp) – 25 ppm
Gain 2X Ultra (P&G) – 21 ppm
Cheer BrightClean Detergent (P&G) – 20 ppm
Era 2X Ultra (P&G) – 14 ppm
Arm & Hammer (Church & Dwight Co.) – 5.0 ppm
Wisk 2X Ultra (Sun Products Corp) – 3.9 ppm
Woolite complete detergent (Reckitt Benckiser) – 1.3 ppm
All Laundry Detergent (Unilever) – 0.6 ppm
Dreft powdered detergent (P&G) - ND
Sun Burst  (Sun Products Corp.) – ND

“Natural” Brands:
Planet Ultra Liquid Laundry detergent – 6.1 ppm
Mrs. Meyers Laundry detergent – 1.5 ppm
Clorox Green Works Natural Laundry detergent- ND
ECOS Laundry Detergent (Earth Friendly Products) – ND
Life Tree Laundry Liquid – ND
Method Squeaky Green Laundry Detergent - ND
Seventh Generation Free & Clear laundry detergent– ND

(ppm = parts per million; ND=not detected)
The independent third-party laboratory, Exova, known for rigorous testing and chain-of-custody protocols, performed all testing. The press conference was held in cooperation with The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC), a national coalition of health and environmental groups.
ABOUT 1,4-DIOXANE - 1,4-dioxane is generated as a byproduct of ethoxylation, a process used by some companies to provide mildness to harsh cleaning ingredients, which requires use of the cancer-causing petrochemical ethylene oxide. 1,4-dioxane is considered a chemical “known to the State of California to cause cancer” under Proposition 65, and is also suspected as a kidney toxicant, neurotoxicant and respiratory toxicant, among others, according to the California EPA.

New Statin Drug Warnings

UPDATE: 4 June -  
Cholesterol is unlikely killer

Some statins have unintended effects and warrant closer monitoring, study finds

ScienceDaily (2010-05-27) -- The type and dosage of statin drugs given to patients to treat heart disease should be proactively monitored as they can have unintended adverse effects, concludes a new study. ... > read full article

Energy Independence Revisited

What happened to railroad energy independence by 2000 as Carter pledged in '74?

Just more corrupt politics and greed...
The Gulf Oil Spill
Jerald L. Schnoor

At the time of this writing, the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has continued unabated for one month. On April 20, 2010, the Mississippi Canyon 252 Deepwater Horizon oil well exploded, killing 11 people. The rig sank on April 22. Since then, we have witnessed a series of failed efforts to stop the oil discharge followed by a flurry of accusations and recriminations by BP, Transoceanic (the operator of the rig), Halliburton (the contractor employed to expedite the drilling operation), and the U.S. government. But none of these parties are fully responsible—our addiction to oil is really to blame.
When you are addicted, you will do anything necessary to satisfy your habit, even drilling in 5000 ft (1.5 km) of water to a depth of 5 mi (8 km) under the sea, jeopardizing the entire Gulf ecosystem. And when you are addicted to oil, it is difficult to imagine any other alternative. Somehow, we need a 12-step recovery program from the Obama administration.
This isn’t the first time I’ve written about an oil spill for ES&T. As a young Associate Editor, I invited research articles following the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound, Alaska, by visiting the cleanup operation and meeting with researchers on-site. We published some of the first technical papers explaining the fate, transport, and eco-effects of the oil, and the bioremediation of Alaskan beaches. By means of this editorial, I’m similarly issuing a call to Gulf researchers to consider submitting your scientific articles about the oil spill here. We pledge to peer-review them rapidly (and thoroughly) and publish them with high quality and high impact.
Every oil spill is different, and that’s what makes emergency preparedness so difficult. In the case of the Exxon Valdez spill, emergency response was handicapped by jurisdictional quandaries, and that has proven to be the case again. In Prince William Sound, 2000 mi (3200 km) of shoreline were contaminated, and the plume traveled up to 500 miles (800 km). The high energy tides (15 ft [4.6 m]) caused skimming and burning the oil spill to be difficult, and it drove oil deep into some beaches. Cold water in Alaska caused oil to biodegrade more slowly and caused fisheries to have lower rates of reproduction and slow recovery times.
The BP Gulf of Mexico spill is the first to emanate from 5000 ft beneath the sea. It is the first to make major use of dispersants at the source of the leak, and it is the first to result in a major submerged plume. The vast area potentially impacted by the spill is also unprecedented. Already it is 16,000 sq. mi. (41,400 km2) of sea surface covered by oil slick and 46,000 sq. mi. (119,000 km2) of area closed to fishing (roughly the size of Pennsylvania). Obviously, it’s imperative that the oil discharge be stopped and stopped soon before the spill contaminates the entire Gulf. But no one knows what the final economic and environmental burden will be. Larry Schweiger, President of the National Wildlife Federation, was quoted in an AP story, “The Gulf of Mexico is a crime scene, and the perpetrator cannot be left in charge of assessing the damage.”
Assessing the damages is tricky and highly site-specific. If the Gulf oil spill continues to stay mostly at sea, it will affect more open-water fisheries and less shoreline habitats and spawning than previous massive spills. The use of dispersants could prove to be a brilliant decision that broke-up the spill and allowed biodegradation of billions of tiny droplets more easily. Or it could be a disaster that served to submerge the plume, spread it into the Loop Current, and transport it to the ecologically rich Florida Keys. When the plume is submerged, it is no longer subject to volatilization and photodegradation, important processes in the weathering of the oil, which could further delay recovery. When millions of gallons of dispersants are used, it is yet another toxicological stressor on ecosystems.
No energy source comes without risks and environmental impacts, but our addiction to oil is particularly vexing because of the energy insecurity it fosters. Our addiction is largely one of liquid transportation fuels for driving more and more miles each year. If we could solve our overdependence on cars and trucks, we would solve our addiction to oil.
Imagine a world without oil—and with efficient plug-in hybrid electric cars running on solar, wind, and geothermal power. We’d have less dependence on foreign oil, less greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, a better balance of payments, lower debt burden, a stronger dollar, a more resilient energy infrastructure, cleaner air, and less emphysema and asthma.
Years ago, I said, “The oil spill at Prince William Sound was caused by human error and was largely preventable. We hope to learn from these disasters so we do not have to relive them” (Environ. Sci. Technol. DOI 10.1021/es00013a600 [1991, 25 (1), 14]).
Just repeat the refrain. But add a real plan to end our oil addiction.
Environ. Sci. Technol., Publication Date (Web): May 27, 2010
Copyright © 2010 American Chemical Society

E-GADS! Danone Makes This and People Eat It...

I live in a very small, rural community that sponsors a food program each month through our local Grange. Everyone in the community gets a box of food, and our Grange Master delivered my May box today.

I was happy to get rhubarb, mangoes, pears, apples, tomatoes, lettuce, and the organic green beans.

I'll also use some of the canned goods included and then pass on to a family I know, that is in great need, what I won't use.

With the food box was a yogurt six-pack. I enjoy yoghurt and usually make my own or get plain, organic, whole milk or 2% at the health section in my favorite market.

The shock to me was that the six-pack was Dannon.

I started eating Dannon yoghurt about 1954 or thereabouts. At that time this was real yoghurt and it came in flavors like lemon, banana, coffee, prune (which I loved), vanilla, and plain.

Now it is every artificial flavor you could ever think of and it is made with non fat milk so you can't absorb the calcium.

What was so shocking to me in this product, Light & Fit, were the sweetening additives. These included - from the label - Fructose, Sucralose, Aspartame, and Acesulfame potassium (K).

I don't know how anyone could stand that level of artificially produced sweetness. And I don't know how any one in their right mind would ingest such a chemical blend that is made up of very harmful chemicals.

If you read Natural Health News regularly you are aware that we have covered the problems with these artificial sweeteners, the new recombinant stevia/erythritol blends, and fructose.

I'm adding a comment here from a keen resource for the facts on the problematic sweeteners Danone is happy for you to consume -
Yes I will pass it along. That seems to be the new thing, instead of one sweetener they blend several together, like they do now with gum. Isn't one poison enough? At least it was on the label because you remember Mr. Pape from the National Yogurt Assn has petitioned the FDA to allow aspartame in yogurt unlabeled and dairy products. I don't believe a decision has been made. Even Jerome Bressler said that was illegal, but you never put anything pass the FDA. Also, consider the interaction, Maybe they figure it would be hard to tell which one poisoned you. Sucralose is a chlorocarbon poison, and Acesulfame potassium caused cancer and leukemia in original studies. Aspartame, of course, is an addictive excitoneurotoxic carcinogenic, genetically engineered drug and adjuvant.

There was a study in Liverpool some years ago on combing additives. The Liverpool team reported that when mouse nerve cells were exposed to MSG and brilliant blue or aspartame and quinoline yellow in laboratory conditions, combined in concentrations that theoretically reflect the compound that enters the bloodstream after a typical children's snack and drink, the additives stopped the nerve cells growing and interfered with proper signalling systems.http://www.organicconsumers.org/toxic/msg010306.cfm

Unfortunately government agencies ignore the studies done so have full knowledge of what is going on, and do nothing.

All my best,
www.mpwhi.com, www.dorway.com and www.wnho.net
Aspartame Toxicity Center, www.holisticmed.com/aspartame

At 08:00 PM 5/27/2010, Dr. Gayle wrote:

Hi Betty,

I just received a food delivery and they sent me a six pack of yogurt by Dannon (Danone) made with no fat which means you can't absorb the calcium, and sweetened with a combination of - from the label - "Fructose, Sucralose, Aspartame, and Acesulfame potassium".

Obviously it is a candidate for the trash bin but can you imagine needing that much sweet taste?

Hope you'll pass this along.

Pie-Chart Showing ODSP Income Expenditures

Income from ODSP: $863.00

Graph shows cost of living when taking specialized transit.

The following graphs show how the cost of living swallows up our ODSP cheques really quickly... too quickly.

The first graph is of my budget - for real. Note the absense of cable and funds to pay for the unforeseen events, clothing, social and/or recreational activities, etc. Also, note how this month, with the increased cost for transit, I had $0.50 left over. In reality, I had no choice but to shortchange the cost of medical supplies so, on Monday, my Internet will have to be cut off. There's not much else I can do.

Rent: $170.04 (19.7% of income)
Food: $216.00 (25% of income)
Specialized Transit: $194.75 (22.6% of income)
Telephone/Internet: $ 85.00 (9.8% of income)
Cell Phone: $ 79.00 (9.1% of income)
Medical Supplies: $118.11 (13.7% of income)
Balance: $0.50.


  • The rent is subsidized.
  • The cell phone is locked into a 3 year contract. I bought it when I was working full-time and was not on ODSP. It is also mandatory for safety
  • The home phone is mandatory so I can open the front door to the apartment building
  • The medical supplies were short-changed this month so I could afford to pay for transit.
  • The Access Bus has a separate fare structure from the City Bus (which is subsidized for low-income people).
  • To save money so I can afford the bus, I gave myself a brush cut (I'm a female)
  • I cannot get the Special Diet allowance because I do not have one of the named conditions.
Income from ODSP = $863.40

This graph shows how much I would save if I could apply the same transportation subsidy that low-income Kingstonian's get for Kingston Transit, on the Access Bus.

Rent: $170.04 (19.7%)
Food: $216.00 (25%)
Transit: $44.00 (5.1%)
Phone/Internet: $85.00 (9.8%)
Cell Phone: $79.00 (9.1%)
Medical Supplies: $118.11 (13.7%)
Balance: $151.25 (17.5%)

Since ODSP was first introduced by the Mike Harris Conservatives in 1998 the rate of inflation has gone up a lot more than our cheques have gone. The maximum income a single person could get on ODSP if they did not live in subsidized housing was $930.00.

This amount was the amount we were getting on the old system before Mike Harris changed it to a better program, where at least those who were lucky could get financial help from family and friends (within reason) and not be penalized. The maximum rate for a disability pension was actually frozen by Bob Rae in 1994.

So, if you go to this inflation calculator and put the put $930 in the first box, select the year 1994 (the year the rates were frozen) and then click calculate, you will see the amount in today's dollars, should be $1,263.23. In reality, the maximum amount for ODSP today, is $1,042.00. This means we can buy $221.23 less goods per month than we could in 1994.

If you want to try another tool, try this one. It's called, "Do the Math." Click on this link (http://dothemath.thestop.org/), and give it a whirl using the amount you spend each month to survive. I bet you will find you cannot afford to survive.

Maximum ODSP for a single person in 1994 = $930.00
Maximum ODSP for a single person in 2010 = $1,042.00

Please, I urge you, lobby the province to raise the rates for people with disabilities. I had a full-time job for 18 months, then new community barriers prevented me from continuing to work. As a result, I had to go back on ODSP and discover that, because several accessible stores downtown have closed, and conventional transit is not accessible enough, I have to take more specialized transit trips. As these graphs clearly illustrate, I cannot afford to survive.

Please read my other Blogs:
Transit: http://wheelchairdemon-transit.blogspot.com
Health: http://wheelchairdemon-health.blogspot.com

Sick Care

"Ours is a sick-care system, and until we understand and value the role of nutrition and specific nutrients in preventing disease processes (not to mention the role of environmental toxins and the impact of endocrine disruptors on nuclear receptors), it won't be fixed. We can argue, blame, name-call, damn the insurance companies, or whatever, but the bottom line is that chronic diseases will continue to grow exponentially as they have over the last 30 to 40 years. Vitamin D3 deficiency, for example, appears to be related to the pathology of at least 17 different cancers. It converts to the most potent steroid hormone in the human body and nobody does anything with this information. Accumulation of toxins and chemicals are directly related to obesity/diabetes, according to extensive research. Why don't we know this?? It's simple...true disease prevention is not profitable. This is the crux of the problem."

A comment from a medical list I receive.

All Fired Up

Sorry about my absence. I have now moved to my other piano, as it were, and so can speak to Unmitigated England again. But thankyou to Only Daughter for stepping in, and Commentator Diplo for both verbal and written warnings to pull myself together. So how about this? On Saturday afternoon we raced over to Norfolk in order to get the remaining photographs for a book chapter. Without having seen a timetable, or even knowing exactly where it was, we broadsided to a halt at Holt, the terminus of the North Norfolk Railway line from Sheringham. Arriving on the platform I looked at the schedule. The trains were alternating between steam-hauled and diesel, and the next one was steam at 3.23pm. I looked at my watch. 3.23pm, honestly. And then immediately heard the screech of a whistle over the Norfolk pines. Youngest Son stared in astonishment as the black tank engine arrived with its rake of BR maroon coaches, tightening his grip on my hand as it clanked by with that heady scent of steam and oil. He's still talking about it.

Eating Fast Adds to Overweight

Eating Fast Is Associated With Being Overweight
By Stathis Constantin PhD

It seems obvious that what we eat is associated with how much we weigh, but scientific research is now suggesting that how we eat may also play a role in determining our likelihood of being overweight. Specifically, eating quickly is now known to have an association with being overweight. Three interesting research studies conducted in recent years have looked at different aspects of this association, and taken together provide a comprehensive look at the effects of eating rate on weight.

The earliest of the three studies, published in the 2002 edition of the British Medical Journal, demonstrated that two behaviors—eating quickly and eating until full—have a significant association with being overweight. The study, conducted by Maruyama et al. of Japan, surveyed 4140 adults and analyzed the self-reported data they provided. The researchers found that the participants who were fast eaters also had the highest values for weight, body mass index, and total energy intake. The results showed that eating quickly increased the participants' odds of being overweight, and suggested that the combination of fast eating and eating until full may have a significant effect on weight.



Once again NPR's Dr Zorba is handing out crazy advice. He just suggested Neurontin (he called it gabapentin using the generic name) for sleep.

I hope the fellow that called in for the advice does more research on the problems with gabapentin!

Veterans, Psych Drugs, and Deaths

Recently reported in Marine Corps Times and other media venues including Preventive Psychiatry E-Newsletter, it has been noted that psychotropic drug-induced sudden deaths are increasing in Iraq War Veterans.

Most of the newer psych drugs are fluoride based and are known to have cardiac effects among the many problems they cause.

Other over looked problems may be from depleted uranium exposure.

If you suppress respiratory function enough you will impact heart function because of low oxygen levels. Old studies showed that low O2 levels in the blood caused more deaths at 4 AM and that often there was evidence of cardiac arrythmia.

Read complete article
Interactions: Combined Seroquel, Klonopin, Paxil
clonazepam ↔ paroxetine
Applies to: Klonopin (clonazepam), Paxil (paroxetine)

MONITOR: Central nervous system- and/or respiratory-depressant effects may be additively or synergistically increased in patients taking multiple drugs that cause these effects, especially in elderly or debilitated patients.

clonazepam ↔ quetiapine
Applies to: Klonopin (clonazepam), Seroquel (quetiapine)

MONITOR: Central nervous system- and/or respiratory-depressant effects may be additively or synergistically increased in patients taking multiple drugs that cause these effects, especially in elderly or debilitated patients.

paroxetine ↔ quetiapine
Applies to: Paxil (paroxetine), Seroquel (quetiapine)

MONITOR: Central nervous system- and/or respiratory-depressant effects may be additively or synergistically increased in patients taking multiple drugs that cause these effects, especially in elderly or debilitated patients.

MANAGEMENT: During concomitant use of these three drugs, patients should be monitored for potentially excessive or prolonged CNS and respiratory depression . Ambulatory patients should be counseled to avoid hazardous activities requiring mental alertness and motor coordination until they know how these agents affect them, and to notify their physician if they experience excessive or prolonged CNS effects that interfere with their normal activities.

Some tips for safely enjoying Memorial Day Weekend

Temperatures have been in the 80s in Augusta this week, and the forecast is calling for more warm, sunny weather over the long weekend.

Although it's not officially summer, it feels like it.

Keep some of these things in mind as you enjoy the weather and celebrate the holiday:

USDA has several tips for using food thermometers, to avoid under cooking meat. Be careful when you barbecue to prevent foodborne illness.

Having a salad with your barbecue? Remember to check those alfalfa sprouts.

Remember to stay in the shade or take other steps to protect yourself from sunburns and eventual skin cancer.

Going swimming? Think about what you can do to protect yourself and others from recreational water illnesses. And while you're at it, check out www.poolsafely.gov.

Take care and enjoy the weather while it lasts!

Sweet Potatoes

We can debate the nutritional qualities of a food until we're blue in the face, but in the end, we still may not have a very accurate prediction of the health effects of that food. The question we need to answer is this one: has this food sustained healthy traditional cultures?

I'm currently reading a great book edited by Drs. Hugh Trowell and Denis Burkitt, titled Western Diseases: Their Emergence and Prevention. It's a compilation of chapters describing the diet and health of traditional populations around the world as they modernize.

The book contains a chapter on Papua New Guinea highlanders. Here's a description of their diet:
A diet survey was undertaken involving 90 subjects, in which all food consumed by each individual was weighed over a period of seven consecutive days. Sweet potato supplied over 90 percent of their total food intake, while non-tuberous vegetables accounted for less than 5 percent of the food consumed and the intake of meat was negligible... Extensive herds of pigs are maintained and, during exchange ceremonies, large amounts of pork are consumed.
They ate no salt. Their calories were almost entirely supplied by sweet potatoes, with occasional feasts on pork.

How was their health? Like many non-industrial societies, they had a high infant/child mortality rate, such that 43 percent of children died before growing old enough to marry. Surprisingly, protein deficiency was rare. No obvious malnutrition was observed in this population, although iodine-deficiency cretinism occurs in some highlands populations:
Young adults were well built and physically fit and had normal levels of haemoglobin and serum albumin. Further, adult females showed no evidence of malnutrition in spite of the demands by repeated cycles of pregnancy and lactation. On the basis of American standards (Society of Actuaries, 1959), both sexes were close to 100 percent standard weight in their twenties.
The Harvard Pack Test carried out on 152 consecutive subjects demonstrated a high level of physical fitness which was maintained well into middle-age. Use of a bicycle ergometer gave an estimated maximum oxygen uptake of 45.2 ml per kilogram per minute and thus confirmed the high level of cardiopulmonary fitness in this group.
Body weight decreased with age, which is typical of many non-industrial cultures and reflects declining muscle mass but continued leanness.

There was no evidence of coronary heart disease or diabetes. Average blood pressure was on the high side, but did not increase with age. Investigators administered 100 gram glucose tolerance tests and only 3.8 percent of the population had glucose readings above 160 mg/dL, compared to 21 percent of Americans. A study of 7,512 Papuans from several regions with minimal European contact indicated a diabetes prevalence of 0.1 percent, a strikingly low rate. For comparison, in 2007, 10.7 percent of American adults had diabetes (1).

I'm not claiming it's optimal to eat nothing but sweet potatoes. But this is the strongest evidence we're going to come by that sweet potatoes can be eaten in quantity as part of a healthy diet. However, I wish I knew more about the varieties this group ate. Sweet potatoes aren't necessarily sweet. Caribbean 'boniato' sweet potatoes are dry, starchy and off-white. In the US, I prefer the yellow sweet potatoes to the orange variety of sweet potato labeled 'yams', because the former are starchier and less sweet. If I could get my hands on locally grown boniatos here, I'd eat those, but boniatos are decidedly tropical.

Instead, I eat potatoes, but I'm reluctant to recommend them whole-heartedly because I don't know enough about the traditional cultures that consumed them. I believe there are some low-CHD, low-obesity African populations that eat potatoes as part of a starch-based diet, but I haven't looked into it closely enough to make any broad statements. Potatoes have some nutritional advantages over sweet potatoes (higher protein content, better amino acid profile), but also some disadvantages (lower fiber, lower in most micronutrients, toxic glycoalkaloids).