Saturday, April 19, 2014

Are You Ready For The Price Of Food To More Than Double By The End Of This Decade?

© ECB

Do you think that the price of food is high now?  Just wait.  If current trends continue, many of the most common food items that Americans buy will cost more than twice as much by the end of this decade.  Global demand for food continues to rise steadily as crippling droughts ravage key agricultural regions all over the planet.  You see, it isn't just the multi-year California drought that is affecting food prices.  Down in Brazil (one of the leading exporters of food in the world), the drought has gotten so bad that 142 cities were rationing water at one point earlier this year.  And outbreaks of disease are also having a significant impact on our food supply.  A devastating pig virus that has never been seen in the U.S. before has already killed up to 6 million pigs.  Even if nothing else bad happens (and that is a very questionable assumption to make), our food prices are going to be moving aggressively upward for the foreseeable future.  But what if something does happen?  In recent years, global food reserves have dipped to extremely low levels, and a single major global event (war, pandemic, terror attack, planetary natural disaster, etc.) could create an unprecedented global food crisis very rapidly.

A professor at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University named Timothy Richards has calculated what the drought in California is going to do to produce prices at our supermarkets in the near future.  His projections are quite sobering...
  • Avocados likely to go up 17  to 35 cents to as much as $1.60 each.
  • Berries likely to rise 21 to 43 cents to as much as $3.46 per clamshell container.
  • Broccoli likely to go up 20 to 40 cents to a possible $2.18 per pound.
  • Grapes likely to rise 26 to 50 cents to a possible $2.93 per pound.
  • Lettuce likely to rise 31 to 62 cents to as much as $2.44 per head.
  • Packaged salad likely to go up 17 to 34 cents to a possible $3.03 per bag.
  • Peppers likely to go up 18 to 35 cents to a possible $2.48 per pound.
  • Tomatoes likely to rise 22 to 45 cents to a possible $2.84 per pound.
So what happens if the drought does not end any time soon?

Scientist Lynn Ingram, who has studied the climate history of the state of California extensively, told CBS News that we could potentially be facing "a century-long megadrought" in California.  If that does indeed turn out to be the case, we could be facing huge price increases for produce year after year.

And it isn't just crops that are grown in the United States that we need to be concerned about.  As NBC News recently reported, the price of cocoa is absolutely soaring and that is going to mean much higher prices for chocolate...
As cocoa prices surge to near-record highs on demand for emerging markets, chocoholics brace for a hike in price – and maybe even a different taste, as chocolate makers hunt out cheaper ingredients.

Cocoa futures are up 10 percent so far this year, hitting almost £1,900 on ($3,195) a ton in March. Last year prices rose 20 percent.
In fact, experts are now warning that chocolate may soon become a "high-end luxury item" because it is becoming so expensive.

Meat prices are also starting to spiral out of control.

A virus known as porcine epidemic diarrhea has pushed pork prices up to new all-time record highs.  It has already spread to 27 states, and as I mentioned above, it has already killed up to 6 million pigs.  It is being projected that U.S. pork production will decline by about 7 percent this year as a result, and Americans could end up paying up to 20 percent more for pork by the end of the year.

The price of beef has also soared to a brand new all-time record high.  Due to the drought that never seems to let up in the western half of the country, the total size of the U.S. cattle herd has been declining for seven years in a row, and it is now the smallest that is has been since 1951.

If the overall price of food in this country increases by just an average of a little more than 12 percent a year, it will double by the end of this decade.

What would you do if you suddenly walked into the grocery store and everything was twice as much?
That is a frightening thing to think about.

Meanwhile, all of our other bills just keep going up as well.  For example, we just learned that the price of electricity hit a brand new all-time record high for the month of March.

If our incomes were keeping up with all of these price increases, that would be one thing.  Unfortunately, that is not the case.  As I wrote about earlier this week, the quality of our jobs continues to go down and more Americans fall out of the middle class every single day.

According to CNBC, there are hundreds of thousands of Americans with college degrees that are working for minimum wage right now...
While a college degree might help get a job, it doesn't necessarily mean a good salary. According to a report released last month by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some 260,000 workers with bachelor's degrees and 200,000 workers with associate's degrees are making the minimum wage.
The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, and the minimum wage for tipped workers is $2.13 an hour. Some cities and states have recently raised their minimum wage, but the BLS report defines only those making $7.25 an hour or less as "minimum wage workers."
And according to the U.S. Census Bureau, median household income in the United States has dropped for five years in a row.

This is why so many families are financially stressed these days.  The cost of living is going up at a steady pace, but for the most part our paychecks are not keeping up.  Average Americans are having to stretch their money farther than ever, and many families have reached the breaking point.

So what is going on in your neck of the woods?  Are you starting to see prices rise at the grocery stores where you live?  Please feel free to join the discussion by leaving a comment below...

Russia Announces It Will Not Import GMO Products


Prevent Disease | Apr 18, 2014 | Natasha Longo

Russia has embraced a GMO-free platform for many years and according to the official information there is no growing of GMOs in Russia for commercial purposes. The country’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has now officially announced that it will not import GMO products, adding that the nation has enough space and resources to produce organic food.

A decision last year by the Russians to suspended authorization for American GM corn threatening to trigger a transatlantic commercial and diplomatic row. The Russian Prime Minister then ordered the same agencies to consider a possible ban on all GMO imports into Russia.

A growing body of scientific research - done mostly in Europe, Russia, and other countries - showing that diets containing engineered corn or soya cause serious health problems in laboratory mice and rats.

Experts at the University of Caen conducted an experiment running for the full lives of rats - two years.

Moscow has no reason to encourage the production of genetically modified products or import them into the country, Medvedev told a congress of deputies from rural settlements.

“If the Americans like to eat GMO products, let them eat it then. We don’t need to do that; we have enough space and opportunities to produce organic food,” he said.

The prime minister said he ordered widespread monitoring of the agricultural sector. He added that despite rather strict restrictions, a certain amount of GMO products and seeds have made it to the Russian market.

Earlier, agriculture minister Nikolay Fyodorov also stated that Russia should remain free of genetically modified products.

There is currently no limitation on the trade or production of GMO-containing food in Russia. However, when the percentage of GMO exceeds 0.9 percent, the producer must label such goods and warn consumers. Last autumn, the government passed a resolution allowing the listing of genetically modified plants in the Unified State Register. The resolution will come into force in July.

The biotech industry and university researchers involved in GM research have mounted a major PR campaign over the last year to win over skeptical consumers. Pro-GM scientists have been lining up to undermine the experiments and criticise the way they were conducted.

However, a number of independent academics have praised several studies showing the toxicity of GMOs.

Sources:
rt.com

Natasha Longo has a master's degree in nutrition and is a certified fitness and nutritional counselor. She has consulted on public health policy and procurement in Canada, Australia, Spain, Ireland, England and Germany.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Roundup Herbicide 125 Times More Toxic Than Regulators Say

Roundup Killer
© Green Med Info
Green Med Info | Apr 14, 2014 | Sayer Ji

A highly concerning new study published in the journal Biomedical Research International reveals that despite the still relatively benign reputation of agrochemicals such as Roundup herbicide, many chemical formulations upon which the modern agricultural system depend are far more toxic than present regulatory tests performed on them reveal. Roundup herbicide, for instance, was found to be 125 times more toxic than its active ingredient glyphosate studied in isolation.

Titled, "Major pesticides are more toxic to human cells than their declared active principles," the study evaluated to what extent the active principle (AP) and the so-called 'inert ingredients,' i.e. adjuvants, in globally popular formulations account for the toxicity of 9 major pesticides: 3 herbicides, 3 insecticides, and 3 fungicides.
 
The Deceptive Semantics of Pesticide Formulations And Their Regulation 

The paper describes how the agrochemical industry conceals the true toxicity of their chemical formulations by focusing on the health risks associated with only one so-called 'active principle' (AP) in their complex formulations, and sets the public up for mass poisoning through the determination of an 'acceptable level of harm' via the calculation of the so-called 'acceptable daily intake (ADI)' based on the toxicological risk profile of only a single ingredient:
"Pesticides are used throughout the world as mixtures called formulations. They contain adjuvants, which are often kept confidential and are called inerts by the manufacturing companies, plus a declared active principle (AP), which is the only one tested in the longest toxicological regulatory tests performed on mammals. This allows the calculation of the acceptable daily intake (ADI)—the level of exposure that is claimed to be safe for humans over the long term—and justifies the presence of residues of these pesticides at "admissible" levels in the environment and organisms. Only the AP and one metabolite are used as markers, but this does not exclude the presence of adjuvants, which are cell penetrants."
The problem of underestimated toxicological risk is so severe that the researchers describe previous research which found unexpected toxicity in so-called 'inert' adjuvants that were up to 10,000 times more toxic than the so-called active principle glyphosate itself, revealing them to be a greater source for secondary side effects than the main ingredient itself. [i] They also note that this 'synergistic toxicity' may explain the results of previous long-term animal research where glyphosate-based formulations showed toxicity in the parts-per-trillion range (.1 part per billion) that could not be explained by glyphosate alone.[ii] [iii]

Dr. Kelly Brogan, MD, commented on this phenomena in connection with the study recently on her blog: "Similar to the non-placebo-controlled trials on vaccines, adjuvants and preservatives are considered innocent bystanders in the consideration of risk profile." According to Dr. Brogan, an understanding of "Toxicant synergy has exploded the simplistic notion of "the dose makes the poison.""

The Test Method and Results 

In order to ascertain the toxicity of various chemical formulations and their ingredients, the researchers used embryonic (HEK293), placental (JEG3), and hepatic (HepG2) human cell lines, "because they are well characterized and validated as useful models to test toxicities of pesticides, corresponding to what is observed on fresh tissue or primary cells."  They noted, "these cells lines are even in some instances less sensitive than primary cells, and therefore do not overestimate cellular toxicity."

The researchers describe the their method of determining toxicity:
We assayed their mitochondrial succinate dehydrogenase (SD) activity (MTT assay) after 24h pesticide exposure, which is one of the most accurate cytotoxicity assays for measuring the toxicity of pesticide adjuvants such as surfactants [26]. Cytotoxicity was confirmed by the measurement of apoptosis and necrosis, respectively, by caspases 3/7 activation [27] and adenylate kinase leakage after membrane alterations [28]
The results of the study were clear. Except for one pesticide (Matin), "All formulations were cytotoxic and far more toxic than their APs [active principles]."

Key findings included:
  • On human cells, among the tested products, fungicides were the most toxic (Figure 1), being cytotoxic from doses 300–600 times lower than agricultural dilutions, followed by herbicides (except Matin) and then insecticides.
  • In all cell types, fungicides were the most toxic (mean LC50 12ppm).
  • The herbicide Roundup (LC50 63ppm) was next in toxicity to fungicides, twice as toxic as Starane, and more than 10 times as toxic as the 3 insecticides, which represent the less toxic group (mean LC50 720ppm).
Discussion 

The researchers noted that theirs was the first study to test all these formulated pesticides on human cells at concentrations well below agricultural dilutions – indicating the relevance of their results to every day human exposures.

The researchers noted that in the present study, the cells were exposed to the chemicals for no longer than 48 hours, but in previous research they observed increased toxicity with time (i.e. "time-amplifying effect"), such that, "the differential toxicity between the AP [active principle] glyphosate and Roundup is increased by 5 times in 72h."  In accordance with this phenomena, they provide the example:

For instance, in this experiment, after 24h, 63ppm of Roundup was found to be toxic to cells, but in our previous experiment, after two years in rats, only 0.1ppb of Roundup was found to be sufficient to provoke pathologies [2].
The study discussion also addressed the profound problem in semantics indicated by the use of the term "inert" to describe chemical adjuvants that amplify the toxicity of the active principle (AP) in a herbicidal formulation by up t 1,000 times:
"Adjuvants in pesticides are generally declared as inerts, and for this reason they are not tested in long-term regulatory experiments. It is thus very surprising that they amplify up to 1000 times the toxicity of their APs in 100% of the cases where they are indicated to be present by the manufacturer (Table 1). In fact, the differential toxicity between formulations of pesticides and their APs now appears to be a general feature of pesticides toxicology. As we have seen, the role of adjuvants is to increase AP solubility and to protect it from degradation, increasing its half-life, helping cell penetration, and thus enhancing its pesticidal activity [32] and consequently side effects. They can even add their own toxicity [1]. The definition of adjuvants as "inerts" is thus nonsense; even if the US Environmental Protection Agency has recently changed the appellation for "other ingredients," pesticide adjuvants should be considered as toxic "active" compounds."
According to the researchers, Roundup herbicide is emblematic of the cognitive dissonance between scientific fact and industrial claim to the still widely held belief that many of the chemicals routinely applied to our food and feed crops are relative safety:
It is commonly believed that Roundup is among the safest pesticides. This idea is spread by manufacturers, mostly in the reviews they promote [39, 40], which are often cited in toxicological evaluations of glyphosate-based herbicides. However, Roundup was found in this experiment to be 125 times more toxic than glyphosate. Moreover, despite its reputation, Roundup was by far the most toxic among the herbicides and insecticides tested. This inconsistency between scientific fact and industrial claim may be attributed to huge economic interests, which have been found to falsify health risk assessments and delay health policy decisions [41].
The researchers conclude their study by proposing their experimental results challenge the ultimate relevance of the acceptable daily intake (ADI), "because it is calculated today from the toxicity of the AP alone in vivo." They go further and suggest that the ADI's should be revised taking into account an "adjuvant factor," which would require a reduction by at least 100 be applied to ADIs, especially if their preliminary cell research is confirmed through future animal studies. This would mean that the present ADI for glyphosate which is .3 ppm should be reduced to 3 parts per billion or less. They note, however, that this will not replace direct study of the commercial formulation with its adjuvants in regulatory tests. They conclude the study with the following remarks:
"[A]n exposure to a single formulated pesticide must be considered as coexposure to an active principle and the adjuvants. In addition, the study of combinatorial effects of several APs together may be very secondary if the toxicity of the combinations of each AP with its adjuvants is neglected or unknown. Even if all these factors were known and taken into account in the regulatory process, this would not exclude an endocrine-disrupting effect below the toxicity threshold. The chronic tests of pesticides may not reflect relevant environmental exposures if only one ingredient is tested alone."
Clearly, research like this represents a paradigm shift in the way we look at agrochemical toxicity and the risk of exposure. If the harm's associated with pesticidal or herbicidal contamination of our food, water, or air, are up to 1,000 times higher than the present regulatory system believes, we can no longer label as 'an acceptable level of harm' the mass poisoning we are experiencing at the hands of the industrial, biotech and chemical-industry driven agricultural system.

Join the free Food Revolution Summit to learn more about how we can take back control of our food system and our health by registering here.

04.18.2014: 7.2 Earthquake Strikes Mexico

Daboo77 | Apr 18, 2014 | CHANNEL


More info at links:

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquake...

http://quakes.globalincidentmap.com/

Vermont Senate votes 26-2 for GMO labeling

© BurlingtonFreePress

MONTPELIER — The Senate gave a decisive 26-2 vote Tuesday for a bill that would require labeling of foods that contain genetically modified ingredients, a strong indication that Vermont could become the first state in the nation to enact such a law.

“We are saying people have a right to know what’s in their food,” said Senate President Pro Tempore John Campbell, D-Windsor.

Campbell and other supporters argued that they believe they have written a bill that is legally defensible. They nonetheless created a fund in the legislation to help pay the state’s legal bills, as many assume that food manufacturers will sue.

The bill would require food sold in Vermont stores that contain genetically modified ingredients to be labeled starting July 2016. The legislation is up for another vote in the Senate Wednesday before it goes back to the House, which passed a slightly different version last year. Gov. Peter Shumlin has indicated he’s likely to sign the bill.

Two other states — Connecticut and Maine — have passed labeling laws, but both delayed implementation until neighboring states join them, a strategy designed to insulate them from being sued. Voters in Washington and California defeated labeling measures there.

Supporters said they hoped Vermont would lead the way on the issue. “Vermont’s always first,” said Will Allen, an organic farmer from Fairlee, citing the state’s ban on slavery, passage of civil unions and same-sex marriage as other firsts.

Many foods, including an estimated 88 percent of the corn crop in the United States, contain ingredients that have plants or animals that were genetically modified, typically to increase disease resistance or extend shelf life. Opponents argue that the process may be harmful to humans. Supporters contend there is no evidence of that. Sixty countries, including the European Union, require labeling.

Sen. David Zuckerman, P/D-Chittenden, noted as he introduced the bill on the Senate floor Tuesday that questions remain about the safety of the genetically modified foods because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration relies on testing done by the food producers rather than independent sources.

Source: GM Watch

Medical misdiagnosis affects 12 million Americans a year – study

Joe Raedle / Getty Images / AFP
RT | Apr 17, 2014

Around one in every 20 adults who seeks medical care in a US emergency room or community health clinic receives a misguided diagnosis, a new study found, estimating that 12 million Americans a year are affected by erroneous medical conclusions.

Of those misdiagnoses, about six million could prove harmful to patients with delicate or serious conditions, according to lead researcher and patient safety expert Dr. Hardeep Singh, of the Veterans Affairs Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety.

The study, published Wednesday in the journal BMJ Quality and Safety, is the first to offer vast population-level data on wrong outpatient assessments. Investigating misdiagnoses is difficult, as researchers use different definitions for such mistakes, and it is not easy to track medical cases from an array of providers over time.

Singh and his colleagues utilized data from three previous studies that focused on patterns of return visits to primary care providers, the relative lack of follow-up after finding abnormalities related to colorectal cancer, and consecutive cases of lung cancer. The data was based on electronically-flagged record errors at two large health care systems in 2006 to 2007 and reports of lung cancer at the two systems. Analytical definitions and estimates were consistent, as Singh’s own researchers conducted the past studies.

They found that in just over five percent of cases, an original diagnosis was off, though it could have been detected by the information available during the first meeting.

“It is surprising — five percent,” Singh said, according to NBC News. “Yet on the other hand, this evidence has been coming together.”

Previous studies have predicted the rate of misdiagnosis might be as high, NBC News reported, though some believe that five percent is still a conservative estimate.

“I think [Singh’s study] does give us a good a hard number. Previously, we had softer numbers,” Dr. Gordon Schiff, a patient safety expert at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said. “But the numbers probably overlook other error activity. I would say this is a minimum.”

Misdiagnoses occur, Singh said, for a variety of reasons. Time with patients is often limited and symptoms can be complex, especially amid a “fairly chaotic outpatient environment,” he said. Doctors often lack support and technical help that could help the process, he added.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Some Psychiatrists Distancing Themselves from Profession as Drug Company Dominance Makes Some Shrinks Very Rich, and Many Patients Over Drugged

© Alternet.org
Alternet | Apr 16, 2014 | Bruce E. Levine

Psychiatry has a real credibility problem on its hands.

 What does it tell us about the state of psychiatry when some of the biggest names in the psychiatric establishment are distancing themselves from psychiatry’s diagnostic system and its treatments?

In 2013, National Institute Mental Health director Thomas Insel, citing the lack of scientific validity of psychiatry’s official diagnostic manual, the DSM, stated that, “NIMH will be re-orienting its research away from DSM categories.” In response, Robert Whitaker, investigative reporter and author of Anatomy of an Epidemic, observed, “This is like the King of Psychiatry saying that the discipline has no clothes.”

“When Insel states that the disorders haven’t been validated,” Whitaker points out, “he is stating that the entire edifice that modern psychiatry is built upon is flawed, and unsupported by science... If the public loses faith in the DSM, and comes to see it as unscientific, then psychiatry has a real credibility problem on its hands.”

Other establishment psychiatrists are also distancing themselves from psychiatry’s diagnostic manual. Psychiatrist Allen Frances, the former chair of the DSM-4 task force, now writes about how the DSM is a money machine for drug companies (“Last Plea To DSM-5: Save Grief From the Drug Companies”).

Frances, emeritus professor of psychiatry at Duke University, was until recently among the most inside of insider psychiatrists. However, in an April 11, 2014 New York Times article about “sluggish cognitive tempo,” which would add 2 million more children to the already 6 million diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Frances stated, “Just as ADHD has been the diagnosis du jour for 15 years or so, this is the beginning of another. This is a public health experiment on millions of kids.”

That’s the kind of language that once so marginalized mental health professionals critical of establishment psychiatry that we were not quoted in the New York Times or any other mainstream media.

NIMH director Insel has also increasingly been distancing himself from standard psychiatry drug treatments. In 2009, Insel wrote: “For too many people, antipsychotics and antidepressants are not effective, and even when they are helpful, they reduce symptoms without eliciting recovery.”

The sad fact is that treatment-resistant depression is increasing, and there is a great deal of evidence that the reason is long-term use of antidepressants. A review of the research in 2011 in the journal Medical Hypotheses concluded: “Depressed patients who ultimately become treatment resistant frequently have had a positive initial response to antidepressants and invariably have received these agents for prolonged time periods at high doses.”

In 2013, Insel announced that the latest research shows that psychiatry’s standard drug treatment for people diagnosed with schizophrenia and other psychoses needs to change. In February 2014, the New York Times published a feature story on Insel, noting that his questioning the long-term use of antipsychotics caused a major stir in psychiatry.

But while politically astute establishment psychiatrists such as Insel, Frances and others are calling for reform, the institution of psychiatry may well be so damaged by a generation of drug company corruption that it cannot be reformed in any meaningful way.

Too Corrupt

The DSM is published by the American Psychiatric Association, and according to the journal PLOS Medicine, “69% of the DSM-5 task force members report having ties to the pharmaceutical industry.” The corruption of the APA by Big Pharma is nothing new. In 2008, the New York Times reported the following about APA: “In 2006, the latest year for which numbers are available, the drug industry accounted for about 30 percent of the association's $62.5 million in financing.”

Congressional investigators in 2008 also discovered that then president-elect of APA (Alan Schatzberg of Stanford University) had $4.8 million stock holdings in a drug development company.

Perhaps Big Pharma’s biggest bang for its buck has come through “thought leader” psychiatrists who popularize new diagnoses and drug treatments. One of psychiatry’s most influential thought leaders is Harvard’s Joseph Biederman who put pediatric bipolar disorder on the map. Due in great part to Biederman's influence, the number of American children and adolescents treated for bipolar disorder increased 40-fold from 1994 to 2003.

Biederman's financial relationships with drug companies was discovered by the public in 2008, when congressional investigations revealed he was on the take for $1.6 million in consulting fees from drug makers from 2000 to 2007. As part of legal proceedings, Biederman was forced to provide documents about his interactions with Johnson & Johnson, the giant pharmaceutical company; Biederman pitched Johnson & Johnson that his proposed research studies on its antipsychotic drug Risperdal would turn out favorably for Johnson & Johnson — and then he delivered the goods.

Biederman is not alone among psychiatrists lining their pockets with drug company money. The New York Times reporting on the 2008 congressional investigation of psychiatry, stated this about Charles Nemeroff: “One of the nation's most influential psychiatrists earned more than $2.8 million in consulting arrangements with drug makers from 2000 to 2007.”

While psychiatrists have grabbed the big money from drug companies, a few thought leader psychologists are picking up Big Pharma loose change. A major popularizer of sluggish cognitive tempo (SCT) is psychologist Russell Barkley. The Times recently reported that Barkley said, “SCT is a newly recognized disorder”; that he received $118,000 from 2009 to 2012 from Eli Lilly for consulting and speaking engagements; and that Barkley stated Lilly’s drug Strattera’s performance on SCT symptoms was “an exciting finding.”

Psychiatrists routinely dominate ProPublica’s “Dollars for Docs” list of large payments from pharmaceutical companies. And being on the take from Big Pharma affects prescribing practices. The New York Times reported in 2007, “Psychiatrists who took the most money from makers of antipsychotic drugs tended to prescribe the drugs to children the most often.” A 2007 analysis of Minnesota psychiatrists revealed that psychiatrists who received at least $5,000 from makers of newer-generation antipsychotic drugs wrote, on average, three times as many prescriptions to children for these drugs as psychiatrists who received less money or none.

In her bookThe Truth about the Drug Companies (2004), Marcia Angell, physician and former editor in chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, documents the corruption of medicine by Big Pharma, with some of the most egregious examples being in psychiatry. Angell details how the head of the psychiatry department at Brown University Medical School made over $500,000 in one year consulting for drug companies that make antidepressants. Angell writes, “When the New England Journal of Medicine, under my editorship, published a study by him and his colleagues of an antidepressant agent, there wasn’t enough room to print all the authors’ conflict-of-interest disclosures. The full list had to be put on the website.”
In Surviving America’s Depression Epidemic, I document several areas in which Big Pharma has corrupted psychiatry, including funding university psychiatry departments (Harvard Medical School’s psychiatry department at Massachusetts General Hospital received $6.5 million from four drug companies).

Insane and Ridiculous

The Oxford dictionary defines insane as “a state of mind that prevents normal perception, behavior, or social interaction; seriously mentally ill.” Has the institution of psychiatry become insane, and is that why politically astute psychiatrists are trying to distance themselves from it?

Besides drug company payoffs, another way psychiatry as an institution has been prevented from having “normal perceptions” is that most psychiatrists no longer talk to their patients to discover the context of why they behave as they do. Robert Spitzer, perhaps the most inside of all insider psychiatrists in the 1980s and the chair of the DSM-3 task force, is now critical of the DSM’s inattention to context that results in the medicalizing of normal reactions.

In 2011, the New York Times reported, “A 2005 government survey found that just 11 percent of psychiatrists provided talk therapy to all patients.” The article points out that psychiatrists can make far more money primarily providing “medication management.” A typical medication management session consists of checking symptoms and updating prescriptions, and patients are usually in and out with a new prescription in five or 10 minutes.

When Big Pharma is paying thought leader psychiatrists who invent and popularize “illnesses” such as pediatric bipolar disorder, and when most psychiatrists are only conducting medication managements, tragically insane treatments becomes the “standard of care.” The high-profile case of Tufts-New England Medical Center (a bastion of the psychiatric establishment) and Rebecca Riley, covered by “60 Minutes,” reveals that standard of care in psychiatry has become insane.

When Rebecca Riley was 28 months old, based primarily on the complaints of her mother that she was “hyper” and had difficulty sleeping, psychiatrist Kayoko Kifuji diagnosed the toddler with ADHD. Kifuji prescribed clonidine, a drug with significant sedating properties, a drug Kifuji also prescribed to Rebecca’s older sister and brother. The goal of the Riley parents — obvious to many people in their community and later to juries — was to attain psychiatric diagnoses for their children that would qualify them for disability payments and to sedate their children making them easy to manage. But apparently this was not obvious to Kifuji who, when Rebecca was three years old, added a bipolar disorder diagnosis and prescribed two additional heavily sedating drugs, the antipsychotic Seroquel and the anticonvulsant Depakote. Rebecca died at the age of four years old, due to the toxicity of these drugs. After her death, Tufts-New England Medical Center, Kifuji’s employer, told “60 Minutes,” “The care we provided was appropriate and within responsible professional standards.”

Psychiatry has a long history of ridiculous and invalid disorders and insane and dehumanizing treatments. Until the early 1970s, homosexuality was an official DSM mental illness and was treated with aversive conditioning, which included electro-shocking same-sex attraction.

Since 1980, the DSM has pathologized stubborn, rebellious and noncompliant young people, diagnosing them with opposition defiant disorder (ODD); symptoms include “often actively defies or refuses to comply with adult requests or rules” and “often argues with adults.” And once again, a ridiculous and invalid “illness” has a dehumanizing and insane treatment. In December 2012, the Archives of General Psychiatry reported that, between 1993-2009, there was a seven-fold increase of children 13 years and younger being prescribed antipsychotic drugs, and that “disruptive behavior disorders” — which includes ODD — were the most common diagnoses in children medicated with antipsychotics, accounting for 63 percent of those medicated.

In the 1970s, before Big Pharma corrupted and virtually annexed psychiatry, and when most psychiatrists knew something about their patients’ lives, it was not all that radical for psychiatrists to make connections between emotional suffering and societal problems. With Big Pharma corruption of psychiatry, a denial of the importance of society, politics, and culture to our emotional well-being has ensued.

As I wrote last year, the Centers for Disease Control reported on May 3, 2013 that the suicide rate among Americans age 35-64 years increased 28.4 percent between 1999-2010. The Lancet estimates that the three-year recessionary period from 2008 thru 2010 was a source in the United States for “4,750 excess suicide deaths.” But how much has the American public heard from psychiatry that suicide and depression are related to a crappy economy and societal misery?

A generation ago, the institution of psychiatry, with the backing of Big Pharma, began to exclusively focus on patients’ symptoms, and stopped focusing on anything but superficial aspects of their patients’ lives, while at the same time self-promoting its progress in diagnostics, research and the prescribing of drugs. Today, as Robert Whitaker puts it, “We see that its diagnostics are being dismissed as invalid; its research has failed to identify the biology of mental disorders to validate its diagnostics; and its drug treatments are increasingly being seen as not very effective or even harmful. That is the story of a profession that has reason to feel insecure about its place in the marketplace.”

Bruce E. Levine is a practicing clinical psychologist. His latest book is "Get Up, Stand Up: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporate Elite." His website is brucelevine.net.

Blockbuster new study: Vegetarians are less healthy than meat eaters in key health categories

© Natural News
Natural News | Apr 16, 2014 | Tony Issacs

Vegans take note: A blockbuster new study from Austria which is sure to send shock waves and generate massive denials among vegetarians has concluded that people who eat only vegetables are less healthy in key health categories and have a poorer quality of life than people who include some meat in their diets.

[Editor's note: I don't necessarily agree with every conclusion of this study, but I thought this would be an interesting item for discussion, even among vegetarians. - Mike]

Among the study findings:
  • Vegetarians visit their doctors more often and are more prone to allergies
  • They also have a 50% increased risk of both heart attacks and cancer
  • They are also more likely to develop depression and anxiety disorders
The study did find that vegetarians had some significant health advantages, such as being more physically active, drinking less alcohol and smoking less tobacco; however, vegetarians' health overall was deemed to be unhealthy compared to those who included some meat in their diets.

Avoiding meat entirely often leads to nutritional deficiencies 

Meats contain some essential nutrients that either are not found in vegetables or are found in very small amounts. Though it is possible for vegetarians to be very healthy if they plan well and supplement well, apparently most do not do so. As a result, many who avoid meat entirely are often deficient in essential nutrients which are needed for optimum health.

The most glaring example of nutritional deficiencies in non-meat eaters is vitamin B12 deficiency. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2009 found that a whopping 90% of vegetarians were deficient in vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that helps keep the body's nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells.

According to the study, people who avoid meat entirely are 50% more likely to have heart attacks and 50% more likely to have cancer. The study also found that the huge majority of non-meat eaters are deficient in essential nutrients. The most glaring example found was that a whopping 90% of vegetarians were deficient in essential vitamin B12.

Among the benefits of adequate vitamin B12:
  • Protection against cancer
  • Reductions in depression, stress and brain shrinkage
  • Maintaining a healthy digestive system
  • Reduction of fatigue
  • Healthy skin, hair and nails
Details of the new study 

The study was conducted by researchers at the Medical University of Graz in Austria and was published in PLOS ONE. It was a cross-sectional study from Austrian Health Interview Survey data which examined participants' dietary habits, demographic characteristics and general lifestyle differences.

Participants were divided into four groups:
  • Vegetarian
  • Carnivorous diet rich in fruits and vegetables
  • Carnivorous diet less rich in meat
  • Carnivorous diet rich in meat
Those in the "Carnivorous diet less rich in meat" came out on top in more measured categories than any other group, though other groups scored higher in some individual health categories. The researchers concluded that "Our study has shown that Austrian adults who consume a vegetarian diet are less healthy (in terms of cancer, allergies, and mental health disorders), have a lower quality of life, and also require more medical treatment."

Perhaps a better conclusion is that some meat, but not too much meat, is needed for a healthy diet -- and this author notes that the study failed to distinguish between vegetarian and vegan. It should go without saying that, when you do consume meat, choose healthy meats such as organic, free-range, grass-fed beef, cage-free, organic chicken, wild-caught fish, etc. instead of non-organic, processed meat products, meat subject to feed lot practices and farmed fish.

Sources included:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk

http://atlanta.cbslocal.com

http://www.plosone.org

http://ajcn.nutrition.org

http://ods.od.nih.gov

http://www.newsmax.com

http://science.naturalnews.com

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Do People That Eat Margarine Really Know How It's Manufactured?

© Prevent Disease
Prevent Disease | Apr 15, 2014 | Natasha Longo

Polyunsaturated margarine became a major part of the Western diet and had overtaken butter in popularity in the mid-20th century. Despite their best efforts, the margarine lobby has failed to convince most people that their synthetic concoctions are healthy. So what is not obvious to most of the people who consume it? The manufacturing process of course, which is very similar to the way plastic is produced.

 Did you know that numerous types of margarine carry the approved recommendations and seal of agencies that also promote cardiovascular health, such as heart and stroke foundations?

These days there are other con artists such as Earth's Balance deceiving consumers and convincing perhaps millions of unsuspecting vegetarians and vegans into thinking they have the next best spread to replace butter when all they contain is genetically modified ingredients and more toxic oils like Canola.

Many consumers are also now choosing a particular imitation buttery spread because its label says it contains omega-3, not realizing the fatty acid is inferior compared with omega-3 from fish oil. For instance, Unilever Canada has been actively promoting the health aspects of margarine, particularly with its Becel line of products. Nearly all Becel products contains omega-3 derived from plant oils and usually through toxic extraction.

The problem is most consumers don't have the nutrition savvy to know or understand how omega-3s are extracted and that they are not all the same.

Many of these spreads are only accentuating the all too pervasive imbalance that vegetable oils are causing with our omega-6 to omega-3 ratios. That imbalance has been linked to an increased risk for heart disease and may contribute to cancer, asthma, osteoporosis, inflammation, depression and other ailments. A growing body of evidence suggests the overconsumption of omega-6 needs attention.

Toxic GMO Soybean oil alone is now so ubiquitous in fast foods and processed foods that an astounding 20 percent of the calories in the American diet are estimated to come from this single source.

The ideal ratio between these two fatty acids is 1:1 and the nutritional habits of most people in developed nations has this ratio soaring more than 15:1 (omega 6: omega 3). So unless you are consuming reasonable amounts of omega 3 in your diet, you should stay away from any type of spread or oil saturated with omega 6. Omega-3 and omega-6 compete for the same metabolic enzymes. The dietary imbalance that exists in rice bran oil can create all sorts of problems to body processes, including a tendency towards inflammation.


© Prevent Disease


Manufacturing Process

The basic method of making margarine today consists of emulsifying a blend of vegetable oils and fats, which can be modified using fractionation, interesterification, and/or hydrogenation of plant fats, chilling the mixture to solidify it and working it to improve the texture. Those fats that are liquid at room temperature are oils.

The oils are hydrogenated by passing hydrogen through the oil in the presence of a nickel catalyst. The addition of hydrogen effectively increases the melting point of the oil and thus "hardening" it. Margarines made in this way contain hydrogenated fat. If some of the chemical bonds aren't hydrogenated during the process, they will still be present in the final margarine in molecules of trans fats the consumption of which has been shown to be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

To boost its health profile, modern margarines are making their products from wide variety of animal or vegetable fats, mixed with skim milk, and emulsifiers, such as soy lecithin to help disperse the water phase evenly throughout the oil, and preservatives are also commonly added.

The margarine industry has also taken to promoting the fact it's low in saturated fat, a thinly veiled jab at butter. But growing evidence is now firmly establishing that saturated fat may not be a problem at all. A false interpretation of scientific studies has led to millions being "over-medicated" with statin drugs due to the proliferation of myths in the medical community regarding the role of saturated fat in heart disease.

Certainly if saturated fat was a problem, then coconut oil would be the unhealthiest oil on Earth, yet it's the healthiest.

Actually butter contains many nutrients that protect us from heart disease. First among these is vitamin A which is needed for the health of the thyroid and adrenal glands, both of which play a role in maintaining the proper functioning of the heart and cardiovascular system. Abnormalities of the heart and larger blood vessels occur in babies born to vitamin A deficient mothers. Butter was and is still is recognized by many as the most easily absorbed source of vitamin A.

Butter contains lecithin, a substance that assists in the proper assimilation and metabolism of cholesterol and other fat constituents.

Butter also contains a number of anti-oxidants that protect against the kind of free radical damage that weakens the arteries. Vitamin A and vitamin E found in butter both play a strong anti-oxidant role. Butter is a very rich source of selenium, a vital anti-oxidant--containing more per gram than herring or wheat germ.


Why You Should Avoid Margarine, Shortening and Spreads

There are a myriad of unhealthy components to margarine and other butter imposters, including:
  • Trans fats: These unnatural fats in margarine, shortenings and spreads are formed during the process of hydrogenation, which turns liquid vegetable oils into a solid fat

    Trans fats contribute to heart disease, cancer, bone problems, hormonal imbalance and skin disease; infertility, difficulties in pregnancy and problems with lactation; and low birth weight, growth problems and learning disabilities in children.
    A U.S. government panel of scientists determined that man-made trans fats are unsafe at any level. (Small amounts of natural trans fats occur in butter and other animal fats, but these are not harmful.)
  • Free radicals: Free radicals and other toxic breakdown products are the result of high temperature industrial processing of vegetable oils. They contribute to numerous health problems, including cancer and heart disease.
  • Synthetic vitamins: Synthetic vitamin A and other vitamins are added to margarine and spreads. These often have an opposite (and detrimental) effect compared to the natural vitamins in butter.
  • Emulsifiers and preservatives: Numerous additives of questionable safety are added to margarines and spreads. Most vegetable shortening is stabilized with preservatives like BHT.
  • Hexane and other solvents: Used in the extraction process, these industrial chemicals can have toxic effects.
  • Bleach: The natural color of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil is grey so manufacturers bleach it to make it white. Yellow coloring is then added to margarine and spreads.
  • Artificial flavors: These help mask the terrible taste and odor of partially hydrogenated oils, and provide a fake butter taste.
  • Mono- and di-glycerides: These contain trans fats that manufacturers do not have to list on the label. They are used in high amounts in so-called "low-trans" spreads.
  • Soy protein isolate: This highly processed powder is added to "low-trans" spreads to give them body. It can contribute to thyroid dysfunction, digestive disorders and many other health problems.
  • Sterols: Often added to spreads to give them cholesterol-lowering qualities, these estrogen compounds can cause endocrine problems; in animals these sterols contribute to sexual inversion.

I don't eat much butter myself but I would select it as an option on any opportunity over these chemical and so-called healthier spreads. If you really want to use a healthy spread, try coconut butter or one of many healthy nut or hemp butters available. The further you stay away from chemical and genetically modified spreads made with GMO oils, the healthier your diet will be.

Natasha Longo has a master's degree in nutrition and is a certified fitness and nutritional counselor. She has consulted on public health policy and procurement in Canada, Australia, Spain, Ireland, England and Germany.

Groundbreaking New Study: 42% of Drug Reactions are Vaccine Related


Natural Society | Apr 14, 2014 | Christina Sarich

A pioneering new drug study testing the safety of many common pharmaceutical drugs has revealed that almost half of all adverse drug reactions reported in Shanghai, from anaphylaxis to death, were caused by vaccines.

The study is published in an all access journal called PLos, titled, “Adverse Drug Reactions of Spontaneous Reports in Shanghai Pediatric Population,” and within it Chinese pediatric populations were studied via spontaneous reports gathered from physicians (52.03%), pharmacists (24.27%) and other health care practitioners (15.46%), with only 2.52% coming from ‘consumers.’

This is a significant study for those who are anxious to dismiss vaccine dangers as just consumer confusion or merely anecdotal reports from those who are without real facts. Since many are wary to give weight to any reports that are not from a clinical setting, it is difficult to argue with this particular study’s findings.

This is also one of the first-ever studies conducted on the topic of vaccines in China.
“Knowledge of drug safety in the pediatric population of China is limited. This study was designed to evaluate ADRs in children reported to the spontaneous reporting system (SRS) of Shanghai in 2009.”
The results were reported as such:
“A male overrepresentation was observed regarding the total number of reports. The most frequently reported group of drugs were vaccines (42.15%). Skin rash and fever were the commonest symptoms reported in the total pediatric dataset. The proportion of children that suffered from a serious ADR was 2.16% and that for drug related deaths was 0.34%. And we found that the multiple drug exposure experienced a high proportion of serious ADRs compared with the single drug use (χ215.99, P<0.0001). Sixty-five percent of ADRs were for children less than 6 years of age. And more than half of reports were from doctors.”
Read: If Publicized, this Study Would be a Vaccination Schedule Bombshell

The study quotes the World Health Organization (WHO) for its definition of an adverse drug reaction (ADRs) as ‘events related to a medication that are noxious, unintended and occur at normal doses used in humans for prophylaxis, diagnosis or therapy of disease, or for modification of physiological function.’ The WHO does not include deliberate or excessive consumption (overdose) in their definition of an ADR.

The Study Findings


The study found that ADRs are so globally problematic that they are in fact one of the leading causes of morbidity in many countries. A 1998 report published in JAMA found that 106,000 Americans die every year from correctly prescribed medications. These are not deaths from overdoses or misuse of drugs – another prevalent problem which is seldom discussed in the scientific community. Furthermore, the study finds that the younger an individual, the more at risk they become for harm due to vaccines and ADRs.

Also at higher risk are males compared to females:

The Young Are More at Risk to ADRs: ”When the data were assessed in terms of age groups, almost two thirds of ADRs were reported for children from birth to 5 years of age (65.01%) and 39.46% concerned children aging 2 months-2 years.” Furthermore, “The highest proportion (6.58%) of serious reports was reported for newborn (0–1 month).”

Males Were More Prone than Females to ADR Dangers: A total of 1790 ADRs (40.41%) and 2640 ADRs (59.59%) were reported for female and male patients, respectively.

Of note in the study – children under five are the most often vaccinated!

The study expands on this fact further:
“The ADR rate causes by vaccine is much higher than other drugs, and this may be related to the types and number of vaccination being used in China, as the types of routine immunization vaccines in China reach up to 15 kinds, which is much higher than 7 kinds in India and Vietnam, 9 kinds in Thailand and 11 kinds in America, and most of the vaccines in China are attenuated live vaccines, which may bring greater potential safety hazard.”
Chinese vaccine schedules are similar to American schedules, often subjecting young children, prior to the full development of their immune systems, to a ‘polypharmacy’ approach, exposing their little bodies and minds to a cornucopia of combined toxins. The total affect of these toxins cannot be minimized. Their interactions are at least part of the reason for such high incidence of ADRs as well as death, not just their singular use. There is no way that small, developing bodies are ready for more than 12 different strains of vaccines before they even leave kindergarten.

Read: Study Shows How Vaccines Stimulate Autoimmune Diseases

This study extrapolates the dangers linked to vaccines further:
“With the seemingly constant flow of new therapeutic agents and new treatment indications for existing medications, polypharmacy is increasingly common. Drug-drug interactions (DDI) occur when two or more drugs are taken in combination and one drug influences the effects of another drug. This may subsequently cause a change in the pharmacodynamic or pharmacokinetic parameters which may lead to lack of efficacy, or to an increase in the number of reported adverse drug reactions.
The association between multiple drug exposure and the incidence of ADRs has been studied, consistently showing an exponentially increased risk with the increase of the number of drugs taken. When assessing the severity of the reported ADRs, our study confirmed that multiple drug exposure experienced a high proportion compared with the single drug use. This finding indicate that in order to minimize the risk of serious ADRs, HCPs should pay particular attention to children who are prescribed two drugs or more.”
Dr. Dr. Kelly Brogan, MD, agrees that vaccine schedules are harmful, if not likely fatal, with the US having one of the highest infant mortality rates of  over 33 developed countries in the world:
“The current schedule has never been studied – not one vaccine in a vaccinated vs. unvaccinated design, let alone multiple delivered at once, or the entire long-term effects of 49 doses of 14 vaccines by age 6.”
This study is monumental, in that it proves the onslaught of vaccines we give our children is not exactly a medical miracle as it has been touted.

The autoimmunity generating properties of vaccines, and other chronic health issues associated with the presence of ‘hidden’ pathogenic viruses in the live and attenuated vaccines most commonly used in China and the underdeveloped or developing world, will become more curious to researchers with eyes to see how ‘preventative’ vaccines really are.