Health News Round-Up
Latest Developments in the World of Nutrition, Politics, and Medical Fraud
How the mighty are falling! The latest developments in medicine are conjuring up images of bastions collapsing into a heap of rubble. Medicine is supposed to be a science. That means looking for disproof of any new hypothesis, not manufacturing supportive evidence. Doubt of one’s own judgment is the chief characteristic of scientific thinking. Unfortunately medicine is a science that creates big business – and doubt delays or interferes with making big bucks fast, so the garbage gets a chance to pile up.
Recent findings are shaking the foundations of long-held medical myths. For example, it turns out that cholesterol doesn’t cause heart attacks after all; proton pump inhibitor (PPI) drugs for heartburn promote dementia big time; dietary mantras cautioning against fat and eggs are nothing more than hot air; and ever more ghostwritten fraud on the safety of psychiatric drugs appears in print. Thankfully, those who are stepping up to challenge the fraudulent research are determined medical researchers and frontline clinicians who cannot abide the for-profit-only lies and refuse to be part of the damage caused to patients.
New Dietary Guidelines Shake Up Industry
The U.S. government’s Dietary Guidelines for 2015-2020 have just been released. Amazing changes are to be found here which will cause bottom-line problems for the food industry, especially when it comes to processed grains – those sugar-loaded dead breakfast cereals, for example. Even more astonishing is the advice to reduce sugar intake to close to the maximum level proposed years ago by then Director General of the World Health Organization, Gro Brundtland, namely to 50 grams daily. Compare this to the approximately 350 grams per day currently consumed by Americans. The sugar industry was then (1990) still very powerful. Its representatives visited Brundtland and told her they would cause U.S. financial contributions to the WHO to be stopped if she did not retract her scientific report on sugar intake. She responded by immediately calling a press conference and making this attempted blackmail public. However, it took more than two decades for the “official” advice to change. Now it has.
Also interesting is the attack in the new Dietary Guidelines on artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame, Equal, etc. Banned in several countries already, and twice banned by the FDA because of causal links to brain cancer, Aspartame was lobbied into acceptance by food regulators thanks to Donald Rumsfeld at the start of the Reagan administration (for timeline of events see rense.com). The new Guidelines also state that these sweeteners should not be used for weight loss purposes; this reflects, as Dr. Mercola observes, the overwhelming evidence that the use of diet drinks increases weight gain in addition to being toxic.
Furthermore, the meat industry in the U.S. will be shocked to learn that the new Dietary Guidelines admonish a reduction in protein consumption, especially from meat. The WHO recently classified processed meat as a Group 1 carcinogen because it has been causally linked to colorectal cancer (as has smoking).
Decades of nonsense about dietary cholesterol have disappeared in these Guidelines too. The Guidelines state: “Cholesterol is not considered a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.” Eggs and butter are now officially recognized as nutritious foods. Since cholesterol is an important factor in all hormones in our bodies, and protects us especially when it is high (there goes another myth) against heavy metals entering the central nervous system, is indispensable for the production of vitamin D, serves as a key component of all cell repair functions, and feeds the brain’s memory centres, we might now look forward to a more intelligent population in future.
The lack of condemnation of fats in the Guidelines is also important. “We really need to sing it from the rooftops that the low-fat diet concept is dead. There are no health benefits to it.” Thus spoke Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, of Tufts University, upon hearing of the new Dietary Guidelines. Overall, the reaction of the American Medical Association was like a scholarly high-fiving, and many expressed their hopes that the Mediterranean Diet would now become more accepted. (In August of 2015, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition had published a landmark article which reviewed all the research on dietary cholesterol and cardiovascular disease from 1979 to the present. The researchers found that all of those studies “lacked the methodologic rigor to draw any conclusions regarding the effects of dietary cholesterol on CVD risk.”)
On the other hand, the Guidelines’ misinformation on saturated fats continues. Maybe by 2020 they will get this right. The in-depth analysis of these new dietary guidelines is available on http://www.mercola.com (February 10, 2016). It is encouraging to see how good research and clinical evidence slowly but surely makes it into the official policy arena. Along the way some hilarity brightens the day.
Russian Leader Weighs in on GMOs, Vaccinations, and Organic Food
In January 2016, Vladimir Putin told the Russian Security Council in a report: “We as a species have the choice to continue to develop our bodies and brains in a healthy upward trajectory, or we can follow the Western example of recent decades and intentionally poison our population with genetically altered food, pharmaceuticals, vaccinations, and fast food that should be classified as a dangerous, addictive drug…
“A physically and intellectually disabled population is not in our interests … [Westerners are] intensively vaccinated, borderline autistic, fat [people] slumped in front of a screen battling a high-fructose corn syrup comedown.”
Putin has signed laws that ban GMO foods and wants Russia to become the No. 1 exporter of organic foods. His opinion is grounded in research published by the Russian Academy of Sciences, which showed that GMO foods cause cancer and general organ dysfunction in animals. This research was endorsed by the American Academy for Environmental Medicine.
In January, the Campbell’s Soup Company, the world’s largest soup producer, announced that it will list any and all GMO ingredients on its labels. It also announced its support of the proposal for a federal law to make GMO labeling mandatory for all foods.
Antacid Drugs Linked to Senile Dementia
Heartburn, or GERD (Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease), is one of Big Pharma’s cash cows. Yet these drugs prescribed to reduce stomach acid, known as proton-pump inhibitors (PPI), are among the most harmful available. The Journal of the American Medical Association acknowledged this when they published a shocker on February 15 this year under the title “Association of Proton Pump Inhibitors With Risk of Dementia.”
This was the second threat to Big Pharma’s antacid medication profits. The first one was in the 1980s when Australian gastroenterologist, Barry Marshall, challenged the medical status quo which prescribed antacid therapy for ulcers. He swallowed bacteria collected from one of his peptic ulcer patients to prove that the H.Pylori bacteria was the cause of gastritis and ulceration. He got seriously sick within days, and proved that an overpopulation of H. pylori drastically reduced stomach acidity and, therefore, did not require further reduction through antacids. The industry went after him to protect their sales, but a Nobel Prize saved him and medical science. The whole hair-raising story is found in Merrill Goozner’s 2004 book The $800 million Pill. The current 2016 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) report shows that using PPI drugs increases the risk of developing dementia by 70% in elderly patients.
Antidepressant Drugs Linked to Suicides and Violence
Proponents of antidepressants were forced into a major reality check with the re-analysis of ‘Study 329’ (published originally in 2001) which had supposedly shown that the SSRI antidepressant Paxil was safe for children and adolescents. (This is the same drug that caused the U.S. government to fine GlaxoSmithKline $3 billion for defrauding the U.S. Medicare plan in 2012.) In fact, this GlaxoSmithKline-funded ‘Study 329’ was ghostwritten by a professional ghostwriting company hired by GSK for this purpose, and the raw data and treatment protocols were protected from examination as trade secrets. That phony study alleging safety resulted in Paxil becoming the number one antidepressant in the U.S., generating sales of $340 million in 2001. Recently the European Union’s drug agency made access to drug companies’ data mandatory and rejected the concept of “proprietary information,” and so a full-scale re-analysis was made possible by U.S. and Canadian researchers as well. The result: the raw data shows that Paxil increases suicidal behaviour.
Antidepressants have as their foundation the serotonin hypothesis which was totally disproved in 2005 in a PloS Medicine article of November 8. In 2012, the psychiatric community publicly agreed that serotonin was “just a metaphor,” and acknowledged that low serotonin has never been shown to cause or be associated with depression. In fact, human trials, in which people were fed a special diet to reduce serotonin artificially to very low levels, proved there is no association with mood.
What antidepressants do confer is an increased risk of cancer, diabetes, autism in children born to SSRI-drugged women, and have now been linked to nine out of 10 of the infamous school shootings of the past several years. For constantly updated information on which antidepressants are involved in which school shooting, visit www.ssristories.com
Physicians Demand Transparency of Drug Industry Data
Dr. Elia Abi-Jaoude, a psychiatrist at Toronto’s Sick Children’s Hospital and a member of the team that re-analyzed the Paxil ‘Study 329’ when the study data and protocols became available via Europe, said to CBC News on September 16, 2015, that “without access to the data and without access to the study protocol, you know very little about what happened [even if] published in a top journal.”
It is important to let this sink in: we have hundreds of drugs currently on the market for which the prescribing doctor and the patient cannot obtain complete information, but Health Canada tells us that the drug is safe and effective. Yet, legally we are required to give “informed consent” for any medical intervention, which in actuality is a farce.
This situation troubled former MP Terence Young greatly because his daughter Vanessa died at age 15 after taking a drug called Propulsid (incidentally also formerly used for heartburn). It is now banned in many countries, primarily thanks to Young’s efforts. The drug’s true dangers were hidden by the manufacturer. Young’s private member’s Bill C-17, known as Vanessa’s Law, was 14 years in the making and signed into law in 2014. Its intention is to beef up Canada’s Food and Drugs Act (but unfortunately does not stop the drug manufacturer’s use of secrecy).
Fortunately, Matthew Herder, a health law expert at Dalhousie University in Halifax, discovered that there is a clause in the fine print of this new law that can open up access to the whole truth and force Health Canada into making full disclosure of all data and protocols – trumping the industry-protective “business information” clause in favour of the public interest. This clause is hidden in Section 21.1(3) (c) of that former Bill C-17, now an amendment to the Food and Drugs Act. As reported by CBC News on December 22, 2015, Professor Herder published an editorial in the Canadian Medical Association Journal “calling on doctors, researchers and journalists to bombard Ottawa with their own demands for drug industry data” by using this clause.
One heroic doctor is trying! Dr. Navinda Persaud, who teaches at U of T and is a drug researcher at St. Michael’s Hospital, was unhappy with the basic information provided by Duchesnay Inc., the manufacturer of the morning sickness drug Diclectin. The fact that Dr. Presaud asked for the basic industry data on this drug ought to really scare us. (When a drug researcher wants more information, we all should be thankful.) Using freedom-of-information legislation, he asked the manufacturer for all the information. He got it – 35,000 pages, but the section on adverse events was totally blacked out. In addition, Dr. Persaud was compelled to sign a confidentiality agreement preventing any public discussion of his findings. He was also ordered to destroy all that information once he had read it. Despite this, he has been speaking to the media, and even declared on CBC radio’s As it Happens that he will not prescribe this drug to anybody. (Go read the information that is available on Google and scare yourself!)
The internet knows no borders. Sooner or later all information on all drugs will be available to doctors and patients here too, as the avalanche of once-secret information keeps appearing in Europe. Protecting profits over patients’ right to know, and doctors’ right to act with integrity, is becoming rapidly impossible.
- The new US Dietary Guidelines: http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015. Analysis on www.mercola.com
- Sugar Industry threatens to scupper WHO by S. Boseley, The Guardian April 21, 2003, and Helke Ferrie’s article in Vitality on sugar, probably the same year
- Interview with Dr. Sherry Rogers on 50beyond Youtube. http://tinyurl.com/ju9z8ur) Jan. 1, 2014, on cholesterol
- Dr. Mercola in Huffington Post Healthy Living, Nov. 17, 2011. Interview with cholesterol researcher Uffe Ravnskov MD of Dec. 5, 2009: www.mercola.com
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, August 2015, 102(2): 276-94
- Dennis Thompson, HealthDay News, June 26, 2015
- J. R. Lacasse & J. Leo, Serotonin and Depression: A Disconnect between Advertisement and the Scientific Literature, PLoS Medicine 2 (12) 2006
- J. Leo & J. Lacasse, Psychiatry’s Grand Confession, January 23, 2012 on the website of Mad In America. http://www.madinamerica.com/
- On Paxil’s hidden harm: BMJ 2016, 352:i65 January 27, 2016
- CBC radio’s Michael Enright interviewing Robert Whitaker on fraud and antidepressants June 8, 2014
- List of school shootings by people taking antidepressant drugs www.ssristories.com and www.Rxisk.org
- CBC radio, Feb 16, 2016 on proton pump inhibitors. W. Gomm et al. Association of Proton Pump Inhibitors With Risk of Dementia, JAMA Neurology, online February 15, 2016. See also www.mercola.org and his information on GERD April 28, 2014
- J. Wright MD & L. Lenard, Why Stomach Acid is Good For You, 2013 on Dr. Navindra Persaud: The Star, Oct. 14, 2015 and Vanessa Law test CBC December 22, 2015.