Sunday, May 15, 2011

American Council on Science and Health, 2011: Week 18

The presence of linked articles here are merely a way of showing what is going on, whether I agree or disagree with the positions presented.   I have highlighted what I think are "must read" articles with four asterisks. - Rich Kozlovich

****Has glass ever been “proven safe”? The first lines of Dominique Browning's op-ed in yesterday's The New York Times gave us a glimmer of hope that the newspaper was finally starting to publish sound science opinion pieces about the baseless controversy surrounding bisphenol A (BPA).

My Take - Although this question may seem a bit silly on the surface, it is in reality most serious.  Those pushing the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) aren't merely asking for an "update" on products as claimed.  This bill will require manufacturers to prove that their products are "safe" before they can be used.  The reality is that this is impossible to prove anything is safe.  It is called proving a negative and is scientifically impossible.  By creating this impossible standard they will have effectively imposed the Precautionary Principle on the nation.  Yet.....the vast majority of products we use have never been proven to the "safe", including glass.  We know glass isn't safe....it breaks and cuts people.  I would also like to know how they would create a standard for "safe" since this is impossible to prove and what testing could they possibly require to prove the impossible.  To get this in perspective; ask someone if they are cheating on their spouse.  When they say "no"; ask them to prove it.  They can't!  You can only prove what people are doing, not what they are not doing.  The same is true of products.  Once again.....You cannot prove a negative.

Appendicitis: Not so fast with the scalpel A new study in The Lancet led by Dr. Corinne Vons of the Assistance Publique-Hopitaux de Paris and Université Paris XI finds that assessing the need for surgery in appendicitis patients using radiological tests (such as CT scans) is not sufficiently reliable to avoid surgery by treating with antibiotics.

Outsourcing clinical trials — this is supposed to make our drugs safer?
Clinical drug trials are going global as big pharma seeks to further cut costs while also accumulating "treatment-naïve" patients who may be more suitable for testing new drugs.

****Childhood leukemia and proximity to nuclear power plants: No link
Although this concern seemed alarmist from the start, it is comforting to know that the results of a just-released 35-year study conducted by scientists on the Committee of the Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE) find that there is no increased risk for leukemia among children living near nuclear power plants in the U.K.

My Take - It is time that we got rid of the idea that "no level of radiation is safe".  That is nonsense.  We are exposed to natural levels of radiation that is often time higher than the levels caused by industrial accidents.  There is one more issue here, and that is cancer clusters.  No one....and I mean no one.....has been able to explain these clusters, or link them to any exposure of any kind anywhere; which is one of the reasons they have stopped investigating them.  Get over it!  

New Zealand Health Ministry opinion on e-cigarettes is pro-harm reduction ACSH gives two cheers to the New Zealand Ministry of Health for acknowledging that electronic cigarettes are "far safer" than traditional cigarettes.

FDA approves rapid MRSA diagnostic test The FDA has just approved a new diagnostic test that will expedite the time needed to confirm a methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection.

Interval breast cancers may be more aggressive New research shows that breast cancers discovered between regular mammogram screenings (interval cancers) are more aggressive than those detected during routine screening.

Crying over chocolate milk: L.A. schools’ ban of flavored milk would accomplish nothing The nation's second largest school district, Los Angeles Unified, may ban chocolate- and strawberry-milk from school menus next year in response to activists, as well as to Food Revolution TV host Jamie Oliver, all of whom consider flavored milk a significant contributor to the obesity epidemic.

****More autism in South Korea? Autism may occur more frequently in South Korean children than among those in the U.S., according to a new study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

****Parents of autistic kids have enough problems without quack “cures” An article appearing in the Los Angeles Times reveals the extremes to which desperate parents will go to help their autistic children.

My Take - This is such an emotional issue for so many parents who are suffering the anxiety and concern for their children's future.  They all have to ask the same question; what happens to my children after I am gone.  We have to stop thinking the government will be family for us.  We have to stop underming, as a society, the very concept of traditional family and the loyalties and responsibilities that concept imparts. 

Colonoscopies: Many need longer pause between screenings We here at ACSH have persistently advised Americans 50 years of age and older to have a colonoscopy at intervals recommended by the G.I. experts, and we have detected sub-optimal rates of these cancer-preventing procedures.

Who knew? (Not enough folks): Smoking causes blindness
Is there a link between smoking and blindness? If you weren't aware that there is, it's probably for lack of a national awareness campaign.


****Are breastfed babies better behaved?British researchers have found yet another reason for mothers to breastfeed their babies.

Hospital sanitary measures need improvement Is your doctor's necktie transmitting resistant bacteria to your hospitalized loved-one? Quite possibly.

****The Hijacking of Earth Day (The American Spectator) By Dr. Gilbert Ross. The last weekend in April saw the confluence of Earth Day and World Malaria Day. The very first Earth Day back in 1970 found many of us devoted to saving the world from polluting corporations and their toxic smog. And in fact, over the course of the next two decades or so, major strides were made in cleaning up our air and water.

These next three are for those suffering from arthritis pain 24/7

Not so fast with the celebrations over Celebrex Published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, a new study led by Dr. Nadir Arber of Tel Aviv University found that people taking Pfizer's anti-inflammatory pain pill Celebrex (celecoxib) were less likely to develop polyps in their colon, but they did experience a higher risk of cardiovascular problems.

NSAIDs and heart attacks: More bark than biteA startling headline warns that patients may be at risk of heart attack or death following even short-term treatment with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Blood cancer risk with acetaminophen use may be small, but other risks still exist Yet another new study will have people questioning the safety of medications long believed to be as harmless as rainwater.

Drugs as good as invasive procedure for heart disease, but not enough docs prescribe them In 2007, a large 33.5-million-dollar trial, known as the COURAGE trial, found that percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) offered fewer benefits over drug therapy for the treatment of stable heart disease.

HIV treatment: an incredible advance We reported on a study in November about the marked efficacy of Gilead Sciences, Inc.'s HIV drug Truvada for protection against the transmission of HIV between male partners. Now a new trial carried out by researchers with the HIV Prevention Trials Network shows that such preventive anti-retroviral protocols dramatically reduce HIV transmission in heterosexual couples.

Menthol controversy keeps smoldering A potential ban on menthol cigarettes got some momentum, based upon three studies published in the latest edition of The American Journal of Public Health.

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If there is a health scare today, the American Council on Science and Health will most likely have the answer by tomorrow; and for members it will appear in your e-mail. No effort on your part, except to read the answer. All that the ACSH is interested in are the facts and they are prepared to follow them wherever they lead. Who can ask for more?  Please Donate Now!

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