Big Business Behind Doctors' Diagnosis

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"We have a system that nobody but Big Pharma is happy with"

The hidden big business behind your doctor's diagnosis
By Susan Kelleher and Duff Wilson · Seattle Times staff reporters


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You walk into your doctor's office for a physical exam and step on the scale. Last year, the doctor said you were overweight. Now he says you are obese — at the same weight.

A nurse takes your blood pressure. You have hypertension — with the same previously healthy reading you've had for years.

The doctor scans your wrist bone. You have a condition called "osteopenia" — with the same bone density that was fine last time you were measured.

You mention you are not enjoying sex as much as you used to. Diagnosis: a new kind of sexual dysfunction.

You leave the office with a head full of worry and a fistful of new prescriptions, joining more than 40 percent of Americans who take one or more prescribed drugs daily in the effort to stave off more serious trouble.

You are suddenly sick, simply because the definitions of disease have changed. And behind those changes, a Seattle Times examination has found, are the companies that make all those newly prescribed pills.

The Times found that:

• Pharmaceutical firms have commandeered the process by which diseases are defined. Many decision makers at the World Health Organization, the U.S. National Institutes of Health and some of America's most prestigious medical societies take money from the drug companies and then promote the industry's agenda.

• Some diseases have been radically redefined without a strong basis in medical evidence.

• The drug industry has bolstered its position by marketing directly to the health-conscious consumer, leading younger and healthier people to consider themselves at risk and to start taking medications.

Every time the boundary of a disease is expanded — the hypertension threshold is lowered by 10 blood-pressure points, the guideline for obesity is lowered by 5 pounds — the market for drugs expands by millions of consumers and billions of dollars.

The result? Skyrocketing sales of prescription drugs. Soaring health-care costs. Escalating patient anxiety. Worst of all, millions of people taking drugs that may carry a greater risk than the underlying condition. The treatment, in fact, may make them sick or even kill them.

Dartmouth Medical School researchers estimate that during the 1990s, tens of millions more Americans were classified as having hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes or obesity simply because the definitions of those diseases were changed.

Today, three of every four Americans technically have at least one of those diseases. But millions of them are not truly sick and may never be, even without medication. The Dartmouth researchers said it was unknown whether those people would benefit from early detection and treatment, while it is "an open question" whether branding them diseased and feeding them drugs may be causing significant physical or psychological harm.

The medical profession's term for these people is "the worried well." They are otherwise healthy people who have risk factors, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol, but may never suffer a heart attack or stroke.

Dr. Alfred Berg, chairman of family medicine at the University of Washington and a past chairman of a federal task force that fights drug-industry influence on disease and treatment guidelines, said the best advice for many people at risk of so-called "lifestyle diseases" is to simply change their lifestyles.

"Diet and exercise and righteous living — but nobody wants to hear that," Berg said.

Instead, he says, a "commercial prevention" industry has emerged, focused on selling drugs to people who don't really need them but who can pay for them.

"We have a system that nobody but Big Pharma is happy with," says Dr. John Kitzhaber of The Foundation for Medical Excellence in Portland, who was Oregon's governor from 1995 to 2003.

But the drug companies can't do it alone. They need, and receive, support from much of the world's medical establishment.

Treatment guidelines established by international and national health organizations instruct physicians on diagnosis and treatment of disease and are meant to be scientifically pristine. But many of those groups lack any process for preventing or disclosing conflicts of interest.

The Times found that for a broad spectrum of diseases, the experts writing the treatment guidelines had drug-company ties ranging from research contracts to consultancies to stock ownership.

Berg's group, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, flatly prohibits any conflicts of interest, either in money or previous research. As a result, it is consistently more conservative in its recommendations than other medicalguideline-writing groups and pushes fewer drugs.

Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, a Dartmouth medical professor and editor of Effective Clinical Practice, a journal of the American College of Physicians, agrees that his profession shares the blame for what he sees as an overdose of preventive medicine.

The problem begins, he said, with the expanding definitions of disease.

"You can't tell me that three-quarters of my population is sick before I start," he said. "That just doesn't pass the laugh test.

"Our business is in a hard place right now," Welch said. "A lot of docs know it's not right."

Duff Wilson reported and co-wrote this story while working for The Seattle Times. He now reports for The New York Times. Send comments to suddenlysick@seattletimes.com or call Susan Kelleher: 206-464-2508.

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Report of Ritalin Risks Prompts a Federal Study
By GARDINER HARRIS
Published: July 1, 2005

ROCKVILLE, Md., June 30 - Federal health officials said Thursday that they were looking into a suggestion by a small Texas study that Ritalin and other stimulant drugs given to children might increase their risk of cancer later in life.

A team of experts from the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health and the Environmental Protection Agency went to Texas on May 23 to examine the methods used by the researchers, who found damage to the chromosomes of 12 children who took Ritalin for three months.

Ritalin, which entered the market in 1955, has been used for decades to treat children for attention or hyperactivity problems.

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Fluoride water `causes cancer'

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Fluoride water `causes cancer'
Bob Woffinden

* Scientists inhibited from publicising adverse findings
* Young boys affected
* No understanding as to why males are affected rather than females
* Fluoride alters bone structure, leading to cancer

FLUORIDE IN tap water can cause bone cancer in boys, a disturbing new study indicates, although there is no evidence of a link for girls. New American research suggests that boys exposed to fluoride between the ages of five and 10 will suffer an increased rate of osteosarcoma — bone cancer — between the ages of 10 and 19.

In the U.K., fluoride is added to tap water. About 10 per cent of the population, six million people, receive fluoridated water.

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Panel calls chemical a 'likely carcinogen'
By Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY

A chemical used to make Teflon, Gore-Tex and stain-resistant coatings is more likely to cause cancer than the government has previously acknowledged, according to a scientific panel.

PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid, is a "likely carcinogen" according to an advisory board to the Environmental Protection Agency. The science panel's pronouncement is the first step in a process that could result in the agency regulating or even banning some uses of the popular manufacturing agent.

The independent science board disagrees with a risk assessment of PFOA that the EPA drafted and released earlier this year in which the chemical was described as a "suggested" carcinogen.

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I just watched a documentary, produced by Kevin Miller, that takes up the subject of international health legislation, as promoted by the European Union, Codex Alimentarius, the FDA and other, lesser players. "We become silent" is the first comprehensive effort to bring together testimony and information about an ongoing battle for health freedom.

Under the pretext of "protecting consumers", international rules are being put into effect, first in Europe but soon in other parts of the world, to tightly regulate healthy foods. The upshot is: kiss your vitamins good bye. And not only vitamins are due to be legislated out of existence. These new rules passed in secrecy will make it impossible to say NO to pharma-dominated medicine because one by one, the natural alternatives will all have been eliminated.

See the only known footage from inside a Codex Alimentarius meeting. Find out how, starting from Germany, the health madness spread all over Europe and is soon to engulf the rest of the world. And see what US legislators have to say about the mechanism of enforcement by which these new rules are going to be made binding, even on the mighty US. If you don't know Codex Alimentarius like the back of your hand or if anyone has told you that Codex is "nothing to worry about", like snopes.com recently did, you should see this film.

If you use supplements or natural medicine in any form, you should see the film to find out what's coming your way - and please ... SPREAD THE WORD.

See the Video here: "We become silent"

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A Scottish lady, who has lived for much of her life in Lincolnshire in England, says that suffering from adrenal exhaustion has been an ordeal that health professionals don't seem to be interested in. Rena Scott-Murphy has written a complaint naming British prime minster Tony Blair as the major political figure responsible for and in a position to do something about the pollution and the progressive depletion of health-giving nutrients that are at the heart of the problem.

Although called a "criminal complaint", the work is a personal review of the science of health as applicable to a number of illnesses that are officially left by the wayside. Sufferers these environmentally induced diseases are often told it's "all in your head", when in fact there are physical problems that are more than real.

See also this article on chemical sensitivity and an interview with Martin Walker, author of an excellent book titled SKEWED to get some insight into the interests that lie behind the official negation of all health problems, apparently chemically caused.

Here is what Rena says about her complaint.

The complete text is at the end of this article:


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Deadly Immunity: Mercury Autism Disaster Exposed

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In an article titled Deadly Immunity, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. details his investigation of the US government covering up the mercury/autism scandal. The article was first published in Rolling Stone Magazine and - unprecedented in publishing history - at the same time is posted on Salon.com. The scandal, not really new to those who are following Big Pharma's misdeeds, is getting the exposure it deserves. Others have picked it up, see here, here, here and here. Although it's not (yet) in the mainstream press, the urgency to do something about this absolutely vile and clearly intentional poisoning of children in America and in several developing countries that have adopted American vaccine programs, is now widely felt.

Significantly, Kennedy in his concluding remarks describes the extent of the disaster, alluding to a growing loss of confidence in pharmaceutical medicine, not only in the First World, but also in those developing countries that have incautiously followed America's lead in pushing poisonous vaccinations for huge numbers of kids:

I devoted time to study this issue because I believe that this is a moral crisis that must be addressed. If, as the evidence suggests, our public-health authorities knowingly allowed the pharmaceutical industry to poison an entire generation of American children, their actions arguably constitute one of the biggest scandals in the annals of American medicine. "The CDC is guilty of incompetence and gross negligence," says Mark Blaxill, vice president of Safe Minds, a nonprofit organization concerned about the role of mercury in medicines. "The damage caused by vaccine exposure is massive. It's bigger than asbestos, bigger than tobacco, bigger than anything you've ever seen."

It's hard to calculate the damage to our country -- and to the international efforts to eradicate epidemic diseases -- if Third World nations come to believe that America's most heralded foreign-aid initiative is poisoning their children. It's not difficult to predict how this scenario will be interpreted by America's enemies abroad. The scientists and researchers -- many of them sincere, even idealistic -- who are participating in efforts to hide the science on thimerosal claim that they are trying to advance the lofty goal of protecting children in developing nations from disease pandemics. They are badly misguided. Their failure to come clean on thimerosal will come back horribly to haunt our country and the world's poorest populations.

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I had heard of using hydrogen peroxide before, especially as an intravenous infusion. Ed McCabe, who wrote Flood Your Body with Oxygen was thrown in prison for advocating its use. Big Pharma's shock troops, the quackbusters, have set their sights on yet another doctor, South Carolina physician James Shortt, M.D., using peroxide with his patients, as reported by Chris Gupta in this article.

Educate-Yourself has a good summary on using hydrogen peroxide and what it does for your health, but just today I read an account that I would like to share, as it's a real personal experience, the kind of story we can all relate to, and perhaps learn from.

Bill Munro says that using hydrogen peroxide in the ways normally suggested did not appeal to him. He was not keen to take baths in it, drink it or get the intravenous infusions. So he decided to inhale 3% peroxide, using a nasal spray pump. He also used peroxide in his garden and much to his delight, the bugs vanished while his veggies grew larger and healthier than before.

"Hydrogen Peroxide is the most over looked chemical used by man. New uses of it are coming to light every day. Bad bugs be they, in your garden or your body, they cannot live in an oxygen rich environment."

See Bill's excellent article on hydrogen peroxide here.

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Alternative Medicine Links

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I would like to share a collection of natural medicine links compiled by Frank of the Alternative Medicine Forum, a Yahoo group that has consistently good and timely information about natural health topics.

The links might come in handy in your search for alternatives to pharma-dominated medicine, and I recommend, if you have any interest in Natural Medicine, to subscribe to the Yahoo group and get their e-mail updates. Warning: It's a fairly heavy traffic list, so you might want to get the once-daily digest, rather than all the individual messages, if you opt for getting emails.

Date: Wed, 15 Jun 2005
From: "califpacific"
Subject: Here are the links in our "links library" so that members can educate themselves

Here are the links in our "links library" so that members can educate themselves on different aspects of alternative health and healing.

We also have files in our files section, etc. We have 30,000 searchable articles/messages in our arcives. We have on line message boards sorted by subject.

We have provided a wealth of information here for members to learn with. The responsibility if any for you to learn is yours not ours.

regards,
Frank


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India has approved BT (genetically modified) cotton to be planted in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab, but issues of biosafety, it seems, have not been given due attention. Dr. Arpad Pusztai, the scientist who has discovered that genetically modified potatoes caused rats to get sick and was fired for insisting that the study results be made public, has stated in testimony to the Supreme Court of India that we're dealing with

"a potentially toxic crop whose anti-nutrients, (toxins such as gossypol, cyclopropenoid fatty acids or the potent carcinogenic aflatoxins, are well-known to accumulate in the subcutaneous fatty tissues of consumers."

A Public Interest Petition charges that the Indian government is blindly following FDA "approval" of biotech crops, although the FDA has never done testing to confirm that genetically modified plants are indeed safe for human or animal consumption.

Where multinational interests of profit and monopoly meet the people's interests of uncontaminated and healthy foods, it seems, governments are on the side of the corporations. India is no exception.

Thanks to Aruna Rodrigues for forwarding the text of the petition.

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