Health & Medicine

An article by Gardiner Harris in the New York Times today, as well as other articles issued by various leading news media, reported that the group ‘Public Citizen’ wants more health warnings about the drug Botox as well as similar drugs, after it was established that at least 16 persons, among them 4 children, died using these drugs. Only one of those patients used the drug for cosmetic reasons – others used it for medical reasons to relieve pain associated with muscle knotting and other unknown complications.

The drug, a neurotoxin that is used to relax muscles and to remove wrinkles, was known to spread to vital organs, Public Citizen says and insists that the drug should come with a far stronger warning label and that patients should be given a letter detailing its risks. Public Citizen filed a petition this Thursday with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the USA. Julie Zawisza, a spokeswoman for the FDA, said she could not comment while the petition was under review.

Allergan, the maker of Botox, issued a statement via their Executives saying that adverse reactions were rare because many patients who get the drug are seriously ill, it is not proven that Botox causes the reactions. Solstice Neurosciences, the maker of a similar drug, Myobloc, did not return a message for comment.

Botox is approved to treat cervical dystonia, a painful knotting of neck muscles and the procedure requires that doctors inject it into multiple spots on the neck, sometimes relieving disabling pain for weeks or months. However, it is reported that the locations of the injection sites sometimes come dangerously close to the esophagus, causing partial paralysis that can lead patients to have difficulty swallowing and to suffer aspiration pneumonia, caused by breathing in food or liquids.

The director of Public Citizen, which is a health research and advocacy group, Dr. Sidney M. Wolf, states that these deaths might have been prevented had patients been adequately warned of the possible dangers. Presently, labels for Botox and Myobloc mention the issue but not prominently enough, Dr. Wolfe said. According to Dr. Wolfe, patients don’t have a clue about these problems and he insists that “Nobody should die from the medical use of Botox”. Dr. Wolfe gave Britain and Germany as good examples of countries that require drug manufacturers to send letters to doctors warning of the dangers. The European drug labels also have a prominent section titled “special warnings and precautions for use” that warns of the dangers of the spread of the toxin and patients in Europe are also advised and warned to seek medical help if they have trouble breathing, experience dry mouth or have trouble swallowing by receiving a leaflet.

Public Citizen also illustrated the procedures of the Danish Medicines Agency (DMA), which published an analysis of adverse events associated with the products on August 9th 2007. Public Citizen’s petition states that the DMA’s analysis found 600 problems associated with the drugs, and that half of the serious problems associated with the drugs occurred after the toxin spread. The DMA also warned that muscle weakness associated with Botox may be long-lasting, especially among children, the elderly and those suffering serious neurological problems.

According to Public Citizen, the drugs’ manufacturers and others in th USA have reported 658 cases of problems associated with Botox and Myobloc to the FDA.

In a report by the, American and Japanese scientists have produced cattle lacking the prion protein, which malfunctions to cause “mad cow” disease and other forms of the ‘prion’ diseases in humans and animals. Cloned cattle have been created by these scientists in an experiment that suggests that cows can be genetically modified to be resistant to the devastating brain condition of the Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. The Creutzfeld-Jakob disease is known to be caused by prion in cows and is not the only prion disease afflicting both animals and humans since the 1950’s.

The report suggests that the cloning of cattle could pave the way for breeding cattle that cannot infect people with prion disease by removing the prion gene (PrPc) completely. This method was used to clone eight Holstein bulls. Tests and comparisons with normal bulls suggest that they are completely healthy, though it was admitted that more research is needed to confirm this. “At over 20 months of age, the cattle are clinically, physiologically, histopathologically, immunologically and reproductively normal,” Dr Richt said. “Prion protein-deficient cattle may be a useful model for prion research.”

The scientists have also said that a more realistic prospect would be to use prion-free cattle, the genetically modified cattle or ‘cloned’ cattle to be more specific in other words, as a source of bovine products for use in medicine and medical research. Calf serum, for example, is used in the culture of vaccines. The research is published in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

What the report does not mention is that there is evidence that prion genes may have a normal function in maintenance of memories over a long period of time and that they are adaptive conduits of memory and inheritance. A report titled “Prions as adaptive conduits of memory and inheritance” by the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Nine Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA, ( showcases definitive evidence for the prion hypothesis and discusses examples in which prion-encoded heritable information has been harnessed during evolution to confer selective advantages. The report further describes situations in which prion-enciphered events might have essential roles in long-term memory formation, transcriptional memory and genome-wide expression patterns.

31 December 2006, ondurag @ 7:43 am

In response to all those who commented on Marc Fischer’s “The Tyranny of Smoke-Free Living” Article; let me say one thing; if all the persons who are so much up in arms about smoke-free, they should work far harder at getting their governments and states to pass even harder laws on air pollution – not the joke laws that President Bush is making or rather, taking away; which, if they didn’t notice, is causing respiratory problems and even death especially in the very young and old.

Read where the US government said that Ground Zero posed no health problems whatsoever and now a large number of those fire officers and others who worked on the scene are now suffering serious lung illnesses:

As the report stated:

“In a series of public statements issued after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assured the people of New York that the air around ground zero was safe to breathe. Unfortunately, the agency lacked authoritative information on which to base these claims, and internal agency data conflicting with this reassuring public posture were ignored. The EPA’s press releases and public statements after 9/11 were vetted by then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, suggesting that the White House placed politics over science when communicating about ground zero’s air quality. Tragically, the impact of this public deception continues to be felt by thousands of rescue workers now plagued by chronic and crippling lung ailments.”

I not only conclude this but draw attention to the fact that this approach is the same general approach that is used in all matters concerning health and pollution. I acknowledge that since the IPCC 4th Assessment Report, the government does however, seem to be doing something about the problem of climate change. Cheers for that.

From UCS USA – Union of Concerned Scientists of the USA:

“Over the last 50 years, the way food animals are raised and fed has changed dramatically—to the detriment of both animals and humans. Many people are surprised to find that most of the food animals in the United States are no longer raised on farms at all. Instead they come from crowded animal factories, also known as large confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs).”

Just like other factories, animal factories are constantly searching for ways to shave their costs. To save money, they’ve redefined what constitutes animal feed, with little consideration of what is best for the animals or for human health. As a result, many of the ingredients used in feed these days are not the kind of food the animals are designed by nature to eat.
Just take a look at what’s being fed to the animals you eat.

  • Same Species Meat
  • Diseased Animals
  • Feathers, Hair, Skin, Hooves, and Blood
  • Manure and Other Animal Waste
  • Plastics
  • Drugs and Chemicals
  • Unhealthy Amounts of Grains

…. Animal feed legally can contain rendered road kill, dead horses, and euthanized cats and dogs.

Rendered feathers, hair, skin, hooves, blood, and intestines can also be found in feed, often under catch-all categories like “animal protein products.” ….. Animal waste used for feed is also allowed to contain dirt, rocks, sand, wood, and other such contaminants.