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6 June 2008

The Coming Energy Wars

This spring, average gas prices in the U.S. started edging towards $4 per gallon, and America's notoriously profligate ways started to change fast. Americans are driving less, using mass transit more, buying fewer big cars, and shopping with less abandon.

There are more changes to come. Oil prices climbed from $10 per barrel in 1999 to $95 in 2007, and have continued to climb. Many are realizing that long-term demand, led by China and India, is only going to grow, and that the supply threats such as falling investment, industry bottlenecks and downward estimates of big field reserves aren't going away any time soon. The $200 per barrel barrier could be passed within the next two years.

Skyrocketing oil prices are already causing real pain for ordinary people and threatening global economic growth. The price pressure is now particularly acute in big emerging markets like China and India. Americans now making up for their losses at the gas pump by flocking to Wal-Mart for cheap Chinese goods may soon be out of luck. $200 oil in 2009 would be a painful shock, not just a tax on gas guzzlers. No industry will be unaffected.

Some analysts are predicting a shift toward regional trade, and even a major reversal of globalization itself, due to rising transport costs. A major increase in oil prices would also boost the fortunes of troublesome oil autocrats throughout the world.

There is increasing concern that as higher oil prices force many Asian economies to reduce or even cut their generous fuel subsidies, growth will slow sharply, and there could be social unrest as the world's poorest become more desperate. As areas like the Mideast and Africa, Russia and Venezuela continue to rise, there will likely be increasing energy greed, aggressive behaviors and neocolonial actions. Blood will almost certainly be spilled.


* Newsweek June 9, 2008

6 Die After Being Given Antibody Vaccines

Six people have died after being injected with a human antibody in eastern China.

They died shortly after being given immune globulin, an antibody extracted from blood plasma that is used protect against hepatitis A.

An initial inspection of samples of the antibody confirmed there were some abnormalities, and the company that sold the drugs was ordered to stop selling them. It is as yet unknown whether any immune globulin from the same batch has been used to treat patients outside of China.


* San Jose Mercury News June 2, 2008

Vitamin C About to be Made Illegal in Canada!

What if, just for taking vitamin C, you could be thrown in jail for up to 2 years and fined up to $5,000,000?

That scenario could very well soon become a reality in Canada. The Canadian Government is trying to pass a bill known as Bill C51. According to some interpretations of the bill, it would remove all supplements from over-the-counter availability, by only allowing MD’s to prescribe them as they see fit.

This would mean that if you wanted to take a multivitamin, you would have to book an appointment with your doctor and try to convince your doctor that you are in need of these supplements. If your doctor decides a certain drug would be better for you, then you won't have access to your supplements anymore.

Consequences of the bill could include:

* No more supplement stores
* Supplements made illegal unless obtained through a prescription; 70 percent of all current supplements on the market could be removed
* Fines of up to $5,000,000.00 and/or 2 years in jail per incident of being caught breaking this law


* EZine Articles

Why Brain Surgeons Are Avoiding Cell Phones

Last week, three prominent neurosurgeons told CNN interviewer Larry King that they did not hold cell phones next to their ears. Dr. Keith Black, Dr. Vini Khurana, and CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta all maintained that the practice could be unsafe.

Along with Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s recent diagnosis of a glioma, a type of tumor that critics have long associated with cell phone use, the doctors’ remarks have helped reignite the debate about cell phones and cancer.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, three large epidemiology studies since 2000 have shown no harmful effects. However, that the average period of phone use in those studies was about three years, which provides no information about the long-term exposures that could lead to cancer.

“What we’re seeing is suggestions in epidemiological studies that have looked at people using phones for 10 or more years,” says Louis Slesin, editor of Microwave News, an industry publication that tracks the research.


* New York Times June 3, 2008

Relief From Hay Fever ... Provided by Bacteria

A probiotic drink may help keep hay fever away. Probiotic, or "good" bacteria, taken in a daily drink, can change the immune system's response to grass pollen, a common cause of allergies.

Probiotics contain live micro-organisms that colonize the intestine. They are sold as supplements but are also found naturally in many fermented foods. Humans carry several pounds of bacteria in their intestines, which are crucial for digestion and immune system function.

Researchers took blood samples from study participants before the grass pollen season, at its peak, and after the end of season. They found that people who drank a probiotic drink daily had lower levels of an antibody that help produce allergy symptoms. They also had higher levels of a different antibody, called IgG, that may play a protective role against allergic reactions.


* Reuters June 3, 2008

FDA Scientists Decamp to Drug Companies

Drug companies are hiring scientists from the FDA with increasing frequency. As these companies siphon off the FDA's most experienced scientists, they are leaving an increasingly smaller, less confident staff behind.

The FDA's staffing pains have caught the attention of lawmakers and consumers, who blame declining inspections for recent problems with tainted food and drugs, including salmonella-infected peanut butter, poisonous pet food and the contaminated blood thinner heparin, which has been associated with dozens of deaths.

The FDA's leadership is struggling to recruit a new generation of regulators. Outside advisers say that frustration with FDA culture is a major reason its turnover rate is twice that of other agencies. Staffers who disagree with management are reportedly discouraged from speaking up.


* USA Today June 3, 2008

3 June 2008

1.5 Million More People to Be Prescribed Useless Cholesterol Drugs

New national guidelines in England and Wales will increase the number of adults prescribed cholesterol-lowering statin drugs by 1.5 million.

Under the latest recommendations, computer software would be used to pick out those aged 40 to 75 years who are considered to be at high risk. The risk assessment would take into account factors beyond high cholesterol, including age, sex, blood pressure and whether or not they smoke.

About 4 million people in England and Wales are already taking statins. The additional drugs will cost 35 million British pounds annually.


* BBC News May 27, 2008

Why You Need to Stretch During Pregnancy

Stretching exercises may be more effective at reducing the risk of preeclampsia than walking for pregnant women who have already experienced the condition and who do not follow a workout routine.

Preeclampsia, or pregnancy-induced hypertension, is among the leading causes of maternal and fetal illness and death worldwide.

Previous studies and literature have suggested that rigorous exercise is the most effective way to reduce the risk of preeclampsia. However, at the end of a recent study, almost 15 percent of women who exercised by walking developed preeclampsia, while less than 5 percent in a group that stretched instead developed the condition.

Stretching my provide protection against preeclampsia by causing the body to produce transferrin, a plasma protein that transports iron through the blood and protects against oxidative stress on the body.


* Eurekalert May 28, 2008

Work Out to Ward Off Cancer

Men who exercise often are less likely to die from cancer, according to a study looking at the effect of physical activity and cancer risk in more than 40,000 men.

Men who walked or cycled for at least 30 minutes a day had an 33 percent higher cancer survival rate. Walking and cycling for between 60 and 90 minutes and a day led to a l6 percent lower incidence of cancer.

The researchers asked men from in central Sweden about their lifestyle and the amount of physical activity they did. They then scored these responses and compared the results with data officially recorded in a central cancer registry over a seven year period.


* Science Daily May 29, 2008

Rebel Scientist Battles Dangerous Vaccines and Antibiotics

Dr. Shiv Chopra, as a vaccine and drug regulator for Health Canada for nearly forty years, evaluated every red-hot topic in public health. He tried, sometimes successfully, to protect the public from ineffective and harmful vaccines, genetically modified foods, pesticides, carcinogenic antibiotics and hormones used in food-producing animals, and agricultural practices that promote Mad Cow Disease.

Unsurprisingly, he was fired from Health Canada in 2004 for “insubordination” -- in other words, refusing to bow to corporate and government pressure to give a pass to unsafe substances. Dr. Chopra has now written a book, Corrupt to the Core, about his decades of struggle to have the law recognized as being above political policy.

Chopra observes that despite vaccinations, some childhood diseases are appearing with increasing frequency in the very populations that have been vaccinated for several generations. He finds it alarming that “the list of vaccines being administered to young children has been enlarged to include many more viral and bacterial infections with little or no scientific rationale.” The U.S. Center for Disease Control continues to argue that 36,000 people die annually of the flu, even though available statistics show that the true number is less than 100. Meanwhile, current research, has shown that merely increasing vitamin D levels reduces the incidence of the flu by more than 70 percent.

Vaccination programs whose scientific basis is so flawed as to border on the absurd include Tamiflu, which has been discontinued in Japan because of so many deaths from sudden serious psychiatric disorders, and Gardasil, which during the first year of its use has resulted in more than 3,500 adverse events, more than any vaccine in history. Gardasil contains a whopping 675 micrograms of toxic aluminum, and one of the scientists who developed it, Diane M. Harper, warned that the vaccine had never been tested on young girls before it was released for widespread use by them.

Perhaps the words is MMR, which supposedly provides immunity against mumps, measles, chickenpox, and whooping cough. More than 4,900 U.S. families have filed lawsuits after their children became autistic within days of getting this shot.

A second area of concern in Dr. Chopra’s career was bacterial antibiotic resistance, which is wholly avoidable and caused solely by use of antibiotics in food-producing animals and the reckless over-prescribing habits of doctors. There are currently entire classes of antibiotics that should not even be on the market; Dr. Chopra fought vigorously and unsuccessfully to keep Baytril and Revelor-H off the market. They were finally banned more than a decade after his warnings because of the undeniable harm they caused.


* Vitality Magazine April 2008