Category Archives: Health

Minimizing the risk of radiation skin burns

Patients who are to undergo radiation for head, neck and breast cancer learn about a litany of possible side effects from the treatment. Among the warnings I received was that about 90% of patients will experience some radiation dermatitis. What the doctor meant was that skin burns occur to about 90% of all patients receiving radiation to the head and neck. The odds are about the same for breast cancer. Continue reading

Alabama OB-GYN whose patient died, pushed for ‘drive-through deliveries’

Sen. Larry Stutts fought law enacted to require longer hospital stays for mothers and newborns

During his campaign for the Alabama legislature last year, now-state Sen. Larry Stutts, a Sheffield Republican and OB-GYN, vowed to get the government out of the middle of the patient-physician relationship. He made no mention of the fact that what he really had in mind was putting insurance companies back in the middle of that relationship. Continue reading

Something in the USA has to work right: A non-profit hospital in Virginia actually does

It is easy to severely criticize the state of many things in the United States of America: the US president and Congress bowing to the demands of the national security community to exempt their $1 trillion (US) spending from sequestration mandates. The demise of Detroit, Michigan, and another round of water shut-offs scheduled for April that will affect nearly 100,000 residents (the Detroit bankruptcy case judge’s ruled that residents have no inherent right to clean water). The geopolitical brinkmanship with Russia and China that, if pushed too far, could lead to World War III. The odious double standards applied to “leakers” of classified military and intelligence information js repulsive: former US Army general and CIA director David Petraeus gets no jail time for passing off military secrets to his lover Paula Broadwell, yet former CIA analyst John Kiriakou gets two years in federal prison. Continue reading

Fukushima radiation found in sample of green tea from Japan

Four years after the multiple explosions and melt-downs at Fukushima, it seems the scary stories have only just begun to surface. Continue reading

If Obamacare critics win high court case, effects will be wildly disparate

Kentucky residents would be unaffected, Tennesseans devastated

If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the plaintiffs in King v. Burwell, nowhere will the effect be more stark than along the 400-mile border between two states my family has called home, Tennessee and Kentucky. Continue reading

Ebola update: Global vaccination

Last October, during America’s Ebola scare, I wrote an article that questioned the motives behind the Obama administration’s decision to not ban flights traveling out of Ebola-stricken countries. Specifically, I questioned the conflict-of-interest connections between the Council on Foreign Relations, the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Bill Gates’ corporate-philanthropic investments. More specifically, I questioned whether the potential outbreak was being mismanaged by the Obama administration in order to justify global health regulations proposed by the CFR and to amass profits in Gates’ pharmaceutical and vaccine sales. Continue reading

American defense contractors are now health care providers

Tracking patient data like tracking a missile

“Defense contractor” is no longer a valid term for US weapons makers. Continue reading

Elimination of ‘public option’ threw consumers to the insurance wolves

Big firms and their campaign cash found a friend in Joe Lieberman

When members of Congress caved to demands from the insurance industry and ditched their plan to establish a “public option” health plan, the lawmakers also ditched one of their favorite talking points, that a government-run plan was necessary to “keep insurers honest.” Continue reading

FDA Commissioner Hamburg appointed who as a deputy?

Many had high hopes for the FDA when Margaret Hamburg was confirmed as commissioner in 2009 because of her public health background. But she swiftly moved to loosen conflict of interest rules governing those who can serve on FDA expert advisory panels, claiming it was too hard to find experts without Pharma financial links. Continue reading

Medical neglect in Israel’s gulag

Conditions for Palestinians in Israeli prisons are horrific by any standard. Some of the worst anywhere. Continue reading

Reason Number 13,336 why capitalism will be the death of us

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria—the “superbugs”—if left unchecked, could result in 10 million deaths a year by 2050. New drugs to fight the superbugs are desperately needed. But a panel advising President Obama warned in September that “there isn’t a sufficiently robust pipeline of new drugs to replace the ones rendered ineffective by antibiotic resistance.” Continue reading

Fish show drug effects and we’re drinking the water

You don’t have to see a doctor to imbibe a witch’s brew of prescriptions pain pills, antibiotics and psychiatric, cholesterol, asthma, epilepsy and heart drugs in your drinking water. They are found in many public drinking water systems says the Associated Press. Also found in drinking water is the toxic plastic, Bisphenol A. Some of the Bisphenol A comes from plastic bottled water which people, ironically, drink to avoid tap water risks! Continue reading

Are you walking away from McDonald’s? Many are.

Since its founding in the 1940s, McDonald’s, the world’s largest restaurant, has navigated many threats to its bottom line. Other fast food companies have imitated and sought to improve on its concept. Labor activists have decried its treatment of workers. Food and environmental activists have assailed the way it has industrialized food production. The international community has deplored McDonald’s trade practices and protectionism. Animal welfare activists oppose its wholesale commodification and mistreatment of animals. And, of course, public health experts condemn its hawking of unhealthy, fattening food to children and adults. Continue reading

Broken mental health system makes patients prisoners, says Patrick Kennedy

This month, mental health and correctional professionals from all over the nation gathered in Chicago to address a problem that many are not aware of. People denied mental health services who end up homeless or incarcerated as criminals. Continue reading

Legislating abortion behavior: Lessons from Romania and Prohibition

An unprecedented epidemic of anti-abortion legislation swept across America after Republicans gained control of many state legislatures in 2010. Indeed, more new laws restricting access to or interfering with abortions were passed in 2011-2013 than in the prior decade. Continue reading

US radiation levels exceed evacuation level: Part 2

SAN FRANCISCO—The American EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, is the big agency of the federal government tasked with monitoring and issuing timely reports about harmful levels of radiation to the American people. Well, that is the theory, anyway. Continue reading

Did you or your children use this asthma drug?

Did you or your children use the blockbuster asthma drug Singulair? World sales of Merck’s drug were about $5 billion a year until 2012 when its patent expired and it was the U.S.’s seventh best-selling drug. But last month, data from an FDA committee were presented that acknowledge “safety concerns” about “neuropsychiatric adverse events, including suicide and suicide attempts” with the drug. Continue reading

Sleazy pharma front groups pretend concern for ‘mental illness’ while pushing pills

One out of four people has a “mental illness.” You hear the statistic all the time. People who were once “nervous” or “high strung” now have “general anxiety disorder.” People who have the “blues” from real life issues like job, relationship and family problems now have “major depressive disorder.” People who are “up and down,” again from real life issues, are now “bipolar.” Adults who can’t focus on the work at hand, either because they didn’t get enough sleep or because the work at hand is boring—hello?—have adult ADHD. All need to be on drugs indefinitely, perhaps for the rest of their life. And notably, all suffer from diseases that are medical “judgment calls” that can’t be verified by blood or other diagnostic tests. Ka-ching. Continue reading

US radiation levels exceed evacuation level

SAN FRANCISCO—High radiation levels exceeded the evacuation level requiring the wholesale evacuation of civilians at many locations in the States over the past four years, from 2011 to 2014. Those who remain are supposed to be wearing hazmat suits. Continue reading

Many hope new rules will stop pharma tax dodgers

Just a few months ago, many US health corporations were eyeing tax inversions—reincorporating overseas, often merging with a European entity—to evade US taxes. Following the drug companies Mylan, Actavis, Perrigo, Jazz Pharmaceuticals and Endo, the Illinois-based drug company AbbVie announced inversion plans last summer, to the joy of many investors. Continue reading

CFR analyst says travel ban wouldn’t keep Ebola from spreading to the US

According to a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, Laurie Garrett, “Travel bans would [not] keep Ebola from spreading in the United States.” Continue reading

Capitalism and the Ebola epidemic

Ebola was identified 40 years ago in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, then called Zaire. Two hundred and eighty people died in this first reported outbreak, out of 318 infected, for a fatality rate of 88 percent. Continue reading

Freedom Rider: Privatized Ebola

Sierra Leone has waved the white flag in the face of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). Its meager infrastructure has buckled under the onslaught of a disease which could have been curtailed. The announcement that infected patients will be treated at home because there is no longer the capacity to treat them in hospitals is a surrender which did not have to happen. Not only did Europe and the United States turn a blind eye to sick and dying Africans but they did so with the help of an unlikely perpetrator. Continue reading

Getting to sleep in a post-Ambien society

Are new or existing sleeping pills any safer?

It has been several years since the bloom fell off the rose of Ambien, the blockbuster sleeping pill. Recently, the FDA has warned about Ambien hangovers, sedation and the risk of dangerous driving and recommended lower doses. The FDA warnings came a year after Kerry Kennedy, daughter of Robert F. Kennedy and former wife of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, was arrested for what was believed to be Ambien-inebriated driving. The arrest came six years after her cousin, former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, son of Sen. Edward Kennedy, was also involved in an apparent Ambien-related traffic mishap. Continue reading

The suicide of Robin Williams: Why we need a grand jury inquest to investigate it

On July 2, 1961, an American icon, Earnest Hemingway, committed suicide at his beloved vacation home in Ketchum, Idaho. He had just flown to Ketchum after being discharged from Mayo Clinic’s psychiatric ward where he had received a series of electroshock “treatments” for a depression that had started after he had experienced the horrors of World War I as an ambulance driver. Continue reading

Author of new book discusses shame and codependency

Codependents often have trouble being open, honest and assertive with intimate partners, says Darlene Lancer, an author and marriage and family therapist. In trying to manage, control and manipulate others, often by “people pleasing” or giving advice, codependents can “turn themselves into pretzels,” says Lancer. Now, in her latest book, “Conquering Shame and Codependency: 8 Steps to Freeing the True You,” Lancer addresses the role of shame and especially childhood shame experiences in codependency. Continue reading

Racism is killing blacks in America

But there is something they can do about it

Black citizens die much younger, on average, than whites. In 2005, the death rate for all cancers combined was an astounding 33% higher in African American men and 16% higher in African American women than in white men and women, respectively. Continue reading

I say diazepam and you say zolpidem; let’s call the whole thing off

First of all, zolpidem is the active ingredient in Ambien, the sleep remedy. But mostly, it’s not what I’ve been taking for years, to go to sleep, which is a five milligram tablet of diazepam. Because a five milligram of diazepam is relatively benign, I’ve been taking it for years with no side effects. Continue reading

AIDS advances may be compromised by legislative inaction

Researchers at Temple University in Philadelphia may have found an entry-way to the cure for AIDS. Continue reading

Hair loss drug linked to disturbing side effects that be permanent

No one should have to choose between their hairline and their health. But increasingly, men who use finasteride, commonly known as Propecia, to treat their male pattern baldness are making that choice, often unwittingly. In the 17 years since Propecia was approved to treat hair loss from male pattern baldness, so many disturbing urogenital and other side effects have emerged, the term Post Finasteride Syndrome (PFS) has been coined and hundreds of lawsuits have been brought. Continue reading

Questions raised about government institute director

It has been four years since Thomas Insel, M.D., director of the National Institute of Mental Health, was suspected of pharmaceutical conflicts of interest. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, he assured the dean of the University of Miami medical school that if the dean hired Charles Nemeroff, government money would not be denied to U. of Miami. Continue reading

The healing powers of lavender for burns and other minor injuries

The Kindle e-book “The Essential Burn Book for Baristas and Cooks,” co-authored by Sara S. DeHart and Kathleen M. Whalen, is a book essential to have in every home, restaurant, business or place where it is possible to suffer a first- or second-degree burn. Continue reading