New FDA Approved Treatment for Scorpion Stings

(C) 2011, Written by Will Blesch

Over the course of my life I have been stung by scorpions twice. Nasty little buggers! Thankfully, I was never stung by one of the 25, deadly species of scorpions known to man. Each time I was stung, I was living in the south western United States. I don’t know what the exact species was…I just know I got stung…and then the scorpion got dead.

The only deadly species that’s found in New Mexico is the Bark Scorpion…and I believe it is only found in the western part of the state.

(It also happens to be the only deadly scorpion native to North America.)

Good news for me since I lived, at the time, in the eastern portion of New Mexico. Gawd awful, ugly place. Never want to live there again.

But, I digress.

Since scorpions can be found on almost every major land mass, they pose at least some medical risk to the people that live there. That risk is mostly to the very young, the very old, or those with compromised immune systems.

I wouldn’t normally talk about scorpions, spiders or any other creepy crawly sort of thing, but the FDA just approved a new treatment for scorpion stings. Since I normally write about general and alternative health matters, I felt that this was a worthy topic for today.

The treatment is called Anascorp. It’s Manufactured by Instituto Bioclon.  Anascorp, is an injection made from the plasma of horses immunized with scorpion venom.

FDA approval is based on results from a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial involving 15 children with neurological signs and scorpion stings. The injection will be distributed by Accredo Health Group, a subsidiary of Medco Health Solutions.

The interesting thing about this treatment is that it is designed specifically (to my knowledge) to deal with the stings of scorpions from the Centruroides family of scorpions of which the Bark Scorpion is a member.

ok…now that I am thoroughly creeped out just by talking about these creatures, I’m going to go do something else and try to forget about them.

*Shudder.*

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Green Gelatin…Soylent Green….

(C) 2011 Written by Will Blesch

According to the website, Greenmuze.com, a website dedicated to environmentally friendly ideas and innovations, we could all be taking a nose dive into a world eerily similar to that of the 1973 film:

Soylent Green.”

The plot of this “B” grade sci-fi/horror film involves the populace eating a product called “Soylent Green.” The synopsis of the film says, “In an overpopulated futuristic Earth, a New York police detective finds himself marked for murder by government agents when he gets too close to a bizarre state secret involving the origins of a revolutionary and needed new foodstuff.

That foodstuff turns out to be people. There’s a memorable scene where the film’s star, Charlton Heston staggers about during a scene after finding out that Soylent Green is made from processed humans. In awesome, scenery chewing style he screams:

“It’s PEOPLE! ….IT’S…PEOPLLLLLLLE!!!!….”

Yeah, ok. But did you know that human derived gelatin could replace some of the 300,000 tons of animal derived gelatin used yearly in foodstuffs such as sweets (candies), desserts, a whole plethora of other processed foods, and in medication capsules?

Gross.

And more than gross, according to the article on Greenmuze.com, you won’t be able to tell the difference between human derived or animal derived gelatin at all.

Chinese researchers, publishing their findings in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, suggest an alternative to the gelatin taken from slaughtered livestock (cows, pigs) bones and skin, using human gelatin genes that are genetically spliced into yeast genes.

No more gummy bears or gummy worms for me thanks….


Too Many Women Being Tested for HPV

(C) 2011, Written by Will Blesch

I know I just recently wrote an article about the HPV vaccine, Gardasil. I actually debated with myself as to whether I should write another one…quite so soon.

I mean, people will likely say that I am merely on a crusade against Merck pharmaceutical’s HPV vaccine, Gardasil. Don’t get me wrong. I believe in protecting people against viruses that can cause cancer. The problem lies in really having some great, documented proof of the success of a vaccine…as well as significantly low side effects.

(And none of the side effects, ‘adverse events,’ should even remotely be life threatening!)

Sadly, one can’t say that regarding Gardasil.

I was doing some reading, and in an article written by Ginevra Pittman, published on Medscape, and entitled “Too Many Women Get HPV Tests: Study” the author says that according to a new study, “Doctors are testing women for human papillomavirus, or HPV, more often than guidelines recommend.” More than that, “The researchers say that in young women, a positive test gives very little information, since HPV is common in women in their 20’s and probably won’t lead to cancer.”

“There’s a much greater emphasis on avoiding a single cancer versus literally thousands of women being over-screened and over-treated,” said Philip Castle from the American Society for Clinical Pathology in Chicago, whose commentary on the new study was published along with it on June 20th in Obstetrics & Gynecology.”

What’s going on here?

I don’t like the idea of assuming that all these women are being over-tested and over-treated because the doctors are in collusion with the pharmaceutical companies.

There’s no doubt that various HPV strains can cause rare forms of cancer, genital warts etc. (The strains for one do not cause the other.) However, it is also true that in the vast majority of cases, the body’s own immune system fights off the HPV virus over a period of about two years.

So again…why the HUGE push to get pre-teen girls vaccinated with Gardasil? Why are doctors pushing to have women tested for HPV infection so strenuously? Do they know something that isn’t being published? Probably not.

In all reality, I think doctors by and large are being duped by the hype.

Merck Pharmaceutical which makes Gardasil is repped by Cohn & Wolfe, which also represents Allergan, Genzyme, Sanofi-Aventis, and Boehringer-Ingelheim. They also represented Time Warner as of 2010.

If you don’t think the pharmaceutical companies have the cash to call in the big advertizing guns, you’ve been living on another planet.

The pharmaceutical companies’ claims are spun by some of the best PR magicians around.


Progeria: New Hope on the Horizon

(c) 2011, Written by Will Blesch

What if, for every year you were alive, you aged ten years? That’s what happens to kids who have the extremely rare genetic disease, Progeria.

Only one child in eight million…that’s 1 in 8,000,000 children gets this disease.

But, for those who do…their life expectancy is horrifyingly low.

Most who have Progeria die between the ages of 8 and 21 years. When they do, they have all the signs of extreme, advanced age. Their hair falls out, they have pronounced wrinkles, their subcutaneous fat layers have all but disappeared, their teeth come in late or not at all, and their skin is thin and papery.

Aweful.

There is some good news on the horizon however. According to a report on Genome.gov, “Researchers from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at the National Institutes of Health, the University of Maryland and Massachusetts General Hospital have shown that cells from patients with the rare premature aging condition Hutchinson-Gilford progeria respond to treatment with the antibiotic rapamycin.”

That’s very cool. Why? Because while Progeria only effects one in eight million people…normal people still age, and normal people still die of old age.

That’s a “no duh” statement.

But! Research into the causes of Progeria is shedding light on our normal aging mechanisms. Progeria just happens to speed things up for those with the disease. (An over simplification perhaps.)

Here’s the thing though, In a study, published June 29, 2011in the early online edition of Science Translational Medicine, “researchers treated cells of patients affected by progeria with rapamycin. Rapamycin, currently used to reduce the risk of organ transplant rejection, reversed damage to the cell nucleus seen in progeria, damage caused by an accumulation of the toxic protein progerin inside the cell. The study also showed that rapamycin flushes progerin out of the cell.”

Lead author Kan Cao, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics at the University of Maryland, College Park, a position she has held since September 2010. According to Dr. Cao, ‘Progerin collects as large collections of debris in the cytoplasm after mitosis. Rapamycin helps the clearance of progerin from the cytoplasm. In time, accumulation of progerin is significantly delayed by the affect of rapamycin.”

How does this relate to normal aging?

Dr. Dimitri Krainc, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School says, “During normal aging our cells accumulate by products of normal cell function. The ability of cells to remove this debris declines with aging. It is thought that even a small activation of these degradation systems that normally exists in cells would extend the health and lifespan of our cells and organs.”

One of the effects of rapamycin is to activate debris-degradation systems in cells.

Dr. Krainc went on to say that, “Progerin that causes progeria also accumulates, although in very small amounts, in normal aging. However, if rapamycin proves to have beneficial effects in lifespan in humans it is safe to assume that it will not be just because it may clear progerin from cells, but also because it clears other toxic products that accumulate during aging.”

The cool thing about all of this, is that this is just the beginning of this type of research. As I’ve noted elsewhere, there is not enough government funding for medical research. With amazing research like that being conducted by Dr. Cao and Dr. Krainc, let’s hope that the government as well as private funders take note…and start pouring on the cash.

Based on the results of the studies mentioned above, a clinical trial looking at the effects of rapamycin in children with progeria is currently being explored.

Let’s hope for a future without aging for all of us.

References:

National Genome Human Research Institute, “Researchers identify potential treatment for the lethal premature aging disorder progeria”, June 29, 2011 http://www.genome.gov, WEB


Government Funding for Medical Research

(c) 2011, Written by Will Blesch

There simply is not enough government funding for medical research…let alone research that falls outside “normal” parameters.

When President Eisenhower said in his famous farewell speech on January 17th, 1961 that scientists could become captives of government funding, with contracts becoming “virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity,” no one could have predicted how correct his warning was.

Fast forward to 2011.

President Eisenhower’s warning is exemplified by the fact that scientists around the country find it hard to gain government funding for anything outside the prescribed parameters dictated by government policy. This, in turn, stifles scientific curiosity…effectively narrowing it to only those avenues which are “approved”…sometimes by mere bureaucrats who are not scientists themselves.

Even should the government decision maker be a scientist, because of the rigidity in grant guidelines and funding methods, scientific areas of exploration are not only limited, but ideas become entrenched. Thoughts that fall outside those entrenchments are disregarded or even actively attacked as illegitimate.

Groundbreaking discoveries are not a miracle, they are a process. Government policies and regulations regarding funding, many times limit those discovery processes.

This is exemplified by a case reported by Thomas H. Maugh II in the L.A. Times on June 25, 2011.  Dr. Denise Faustman of Massachusetts General Hospital is now preparing for a phase 2 clinical trial of a technique she believes could be a “cure” for Type 1 Diabetes.

First trials suggest that, “injecting patients with Type 1 diabetes with an inexpensive vaccine normally used to prevent tuberculosis can block destruction of insulin-secreting pancreatic cells in humans and allow regeneration of the pancreas.

However, Dr. Faustman “had great difficulty obtaining research funds because her ideas were so contrary to the prevailing wisdom. One person who believed in her, however, was Lee A. Iacocca, the former chief of Chrysler Corp., whose wife died of diabetes. Iacocca wrote her a check for $1 million and by 2006; his Iacocca Family Foundation had raised more than $11 million for her research.”

As noted elsewhere on this blog, it’s amazing that the National Institute of Health’s annual budget is only 29.5 billion dollars. Think about that…an organization that helps fund major medical research only has 29.5 billion dollars per year…PER YEAR!…when the war in Iraq (just ONE war)…costs the American tax payer 1 billion dollars per DAY.

That means that if we were spending the amounts of money we spend on the war inIraqon medical research, the NIH would have 12 times the funding it currently has. Imagine the breakthroughs that could come if government policies regarding funding were widened…and if we spent more on medical research than on war!

Private  funders should not have to provide the bulk of funding when it comes to what some might consider, “alternative” medical research, and no avenue should be left unexplored.

Even the most absurd idea should have the freedom to be examined in the light of scientific study!


Gardasil Vaccine: Safe for Girls?

(c) 2011, Written by Will Blesch

Gardasil is currently one of two vaccines on the market to fight against the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infection. Merck & Co., Inc manufactures Gardasil. The FDA approved it for use in 2006. Since then, over 23 million doses of Gardasil have been shipped.

However, is Gardasil safe? Is it really, really safe for your daughter? Your son?

Absolutely not.

Because of the potentially harmful and even downright deadly side effects of the Gardasil vaccine, you as a parent of a preteen girl (or boy) would do well to learn as much as possible before giving your consent for a vaccination.

Vaccinations are recommended most often for girls between the ages of 11-12, and to date, vaccinations of boys against HPV are not urged in the same way that vaccinations for teenage girls are.

In April 2010, in Albuquerque, N.M., Tracy Wolf showed Action 7 News all her daughters’ doctor records after getting the Gardasil vaccine.

Wolf’s daughter Alexis has been sick for the past three years with uncontrollable vomiting and seizures that left her brain damaged. – Tracy Wolf has since filed suit against Merck & Co., Inc. (Action 7 News)

Although FDA approved, Gardasil is suspected in 21,474 adverse events and 93 deaths reported after HPV vaccinations, as reported by Radha Chitale in an article for ABC News entitled, “CDC Report Stirs Controversy for Merck’s Gardasil Vaccine.”  (ABC News Online)

Moreover, in 2008 the public interest group Judicial Watch got hold of thousands of reports obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. Those reports told of, “everything from massive wart outbreaks to seizures, paralysis and death.” (LifeSiteNews.com)

According to Gardasil’s own website, side effects of the vaccine include, “pain, swelling, itching, bruising, and redness at the injection site, headache, fever, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, fainting.” (Gardasil.com)

A VAERS report (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) from a physician stated a female patient was inoculated with a dose of Gardasil and, “Subsequently, the patient experienced a coma and is now paralyzed.” (LifeSiteNews.com)

One has to wonder how a drug with so many side effects, and reported adverse events…and deaths…could gain FDA approval in the first place! Moreover, once these adverse events and deaths were reported, why did this drug remain approved? Why wasn’t approval withdrawn?

One might argue that out of 23 million doses, which were shipped between 2006 and 2008, there were only 93 deaths.

“Only?”

If you were the parent of one of those 93 girls that died, would you be happy that “only” 93 girls had died? One death is too many.

Of course, if you are making the kind of money that Merck & Co., Inc. has been making off the Gardasil vaccine…the cost of these 93 human lives is worth it.

In any case, if you don’t want to take such a pessimistic view on the matter, you still have to ask yourself why the FDA together with Merck & Co., Inc. have made such a giant marketing effort geared towards lawmakers and healthcare providers. This is especially the case when there are obviously very serious questions that  Merck Pharmaceutical (and the FDA) should be forced to answer before Gardasil is forced into the systems of a million more young girls!

Amazingly, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, “Debate is heating up about whether or not to require girls to be vaccinated against Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which causes virtually all cases of cervical cancer and genital warts.

This flurry of state activity stems from the June 2006 recommendation by the national Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) that routine vaccination is recommended for girls between ages 11 and 12.”

This debate has gone so far as to mandate vaccination with or without parental approval.

“The Michigan Senate was the first to introduce legislation (S.B. 1416) in September of 2006 to require the HPV vaccine for girls entering sixth grade, but the bill was not enacted. Ohio also considered legislation in late 2006 to require the vaccine (H.B. 703), which also failed.  Legislators in at least 41 states and D.C. have introduced legislation to require, fund or educate the public about the HPV Vaccine and at least 20 states have enacted this legislation, including Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri,  Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Washington.”  (NCSL)

“On February 2, 2007, Texas became the first state to enact a mandate-by executive order from the governor-that all females entering the sixth grade receive the vaccine, with some exceptions.  Legislators in Texas passed H.B. 1098 to override the executive order and the governor withheld his veto.” (NCSL)

Are these legislators simply ignorant? Has Merck & Co., Inc. bought them off?

The push to vaccinate every young woman entering the sixth grade is simply horrifying in light of the documented adverse effects, side effects, and deaths surrounding the use of Gardasil.

Every parent should make themselves aware…read the literature…and then take on those that would take away their parental right of consent, take on the FDA and Merck & Co., Inc. and demand that this dangerous drug be removed from the market immediately.

It is not safe, and has been out there doing damage for far too long.

Gardasil makes the claim on their site that, “Only a doctor or health care professional can decide if GARDASIL is right for you or your child.” (Gardasil.com)

That is not true. You’re the parent. You make the decision.

 

References:
Chitale, Radha “CDC Report Stirs Controversy for Merck’s Gardasil Vaccine” ABC News, 19 August, 2009 WEB

HPV Vaccine: State Legislation and Statutes, NCSL.org, WEB

Local Parent Files Lawsuit against Makers of Gardasil

Mother Warns Parents against Vaccine Dangers, Action 7 News, KOAT.com, 18 April, 2010 WEB

Smith, Peter J. “Controversial HPV Vaccine Causing One Death per Month: FDA Report” Lifesitenews.com, 3 July, 2008 WEB

Gardasil Side Effects, Gardasil.com, WEB


The FDA Goes on the Attack Against Natural Health Products

(c) 2011, written by Will Blesch

The FDA went on the attack against companies they assert are making unproven claims regarding certain products that are marketed to treat, prevent, or cure sexually transmitted diseases.

On May 3, 2011the FDA put out a consumer update on at least 30 different products made by about 12 different companies that the FDA claims are “bogus” and “Fraudulent.”

These are some big claims.

The list of products the FDA is warning against includes: ImmuneGlory, Viruxo, Disintegrate Formula, Echinacea/Golden Seal, Detox Formula, Burdock Extract, Oil of Oregano P73 Physician’s Strength, Essaic Tonic Liquid Drops, Colloidal Silver 500ppm Liquid, Gene-Eden, Herpeset, Wartrol, H-Stop Dx, H-Guard Dx, Molluscum Dx, Wart Dx,, H-Stop Dx, H-Guard Dx, Molluscum Dx, Wart Dx, Medavir, ViraBalm, Vyristic Immune Support, Medavir H-Elimination Kit, O2xygen Force (Oxygen Force/OxyForce), DMSO Cream, DMSO Roll-on, DMSO Cream w/Aloe, AlkaLif, EverCLR3, C-Cure.

But people need to ask themselves, “Is this the equivalent of The People Vs. Larry Flynt?” Whose side is the FDA on? Are they acting purely as a benign nanny to all the poor, misinformed masses? Whose interests are the FDA looking out for? Why the witch hunt and crusade against these herbal, or otherwise natural, products?

The FDA’s “expert” spokesman, Debbie Birnkrant, M.D is featured on the FDA’s website denouncing these companies. Some of the things she says of these products is the following:

“Let me be clear. These products won’t work, and…they could hurt you.”

How does she know this? How does she know they don’t work? Does she have clinical evidence to say that these products are bogus? Oh! That’s right…none of these products have undergone a double blind clinical trial.

Some, or all, of these products like the Gene-Eden product listed above, have scientific papers published for everyone to see on Pubmed.gov and elsewhere…but because the companies that manufacture these products don’t have the gigantic monetary resources of the big pharmaceutical companies…they can’t pay for double blind clinical trials.

Therefore it is illegal in theU.S.for these companies to claim that their products “treat”, “prevent”, or “cure” any disease.

It’s purely legal, and purely technical.

Some of these products may indeed be bogus, but some of them may also have real health benefits that simply haven’t been fully evaluated.

(As if the drugs made by Pfizer among others have been completely, fully, 100% evaluated and found to be “good for you.” In fact, most FDA approved drugs have horrific side-effects…but hey, they’re FDA approved and your doctor can prescribe them. Trust the FDA…they love you. Er…they love the money the big pharmaceutical companies [such as Pfizer] dish out in order to get their drugs FDA approved.)

Dr. Birnkrant continues in the video to say that, “There’s no way around it. You’ve got to go to a doctor’s office or clinic to find out if you’ve got an STD and to get treated.”

Can I just say, “No shit, Sherlock?”

Really, who is the FDA kidding? Is the public really stupid enough to think that any of the products listed as bogus are saying you DON’T need to go to a doctor to get diagnosed? Hmmm…well, the public may not be stupid, but apparently the FDA thinks they are.

Dr. Birnkrant continues: “Why? Because these diseases CAN be treated, and only healthcare providers can prescribe FDA approved medications and vaccines proven to treat and prevent STDs.”

Did you get that? She’s lying through her teeth.

For diseases such as Herpes and HPV, there is NO cure, and NO prevention through the use of drugs. There is no FDA approved drug that cures these diseases. Any treatment is designed to treat the symptoms rather than the cause of the disease. The only proven prevention is through barrier methods such as condom use.

She’s right that only healthcare providers can prescribe FDA approved drugs to treat these diseases…but like I’ve noted elsewhere…most of these drugs have heavy duty side effects that harm the body, and these drugs are pushed heavily by the drug companies who manufacture them.

It’s all about power and money. It’s not REALLY about your health. Good health is a side effect.

Dr. Birnkrant continues, “And, some STD treatments that you can buy over the counter without a prescription have untested ingredients that could make you sicker…”

Again, “untested” means there have been no double blind clinical trials done on these particular products. Forget about any other scientific literature which has been published…just drink the FDA’s coolaid.

One of the things that just blew my mind was when she said the following, “If you’re not using an FDA approved medication, you’re not only putting your health at risk, but that of your partner.”

So…with all the side effects, and nasty things that FDA approved drugs can potentially do to a person…you’re NOT putting your health at risk? At all? Not even a little?

The author of a blog entitled “Wonder Ponder” said: “What the fuck is wrong with people? Did you really think that bottle of AIDS-Away was going to work?”

The poor darling has apparently dropped her IQ by a significant factor by thinking that everything the FDA does is really for the benefit of the general public. Of course there are products out there that make outrageous claims.

But, shouldn’t the public have the right to make choices for themselves?

Can’t consumers do some research and reading for themselves? Or does everyone need Big Brother to tell them what to think, eat, and drink?

The fact of the matter is that there are products that don’t work. The fact of the matter is that even with double blind clinical trials there are drugs approved by the FDA that only marginally work, or that work but have terrible side effects…and the fact of the matter is that some of these products deserve to have double blind clinical trials done if they could only get the money to do so.

But then, Big Pharma has a monopoly, the FDA is their mouthpiece, and they don’t want natural health and alternative medicine moving in on their territory.

Money and Power…

…The FDA has too much of it!