Firm: Mercury Emitted in Indonesia

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Associated Press
Thursday, December 23, 2004; Page A18
http://www.washingtonpost.com

JAKARTA, Indonesia, Dec. 22 -- A U.S. mining company acknowledged Wednesday that it released tons of mercury into the air and water over five years at one of its gold mines in Indonesia but denied causing harm to anyone's health.

The acknowledgment by Newmont Mining Corp. is its latest setback in a six-month battle to defend itself against allegations that it polluted the area. Indonesian police have accused the company's local subsidiary, Newmont Minahasa Raya, of dumping heavy metals into Buyat Bay, causing residents to develop skin diseases and tumors.

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December 21, 2004

By GARDINER HARRIS

A new study has found that Aleve, a popular over-the-counter painkiller made by Bayer, could increase heart problems, and federal officials are warning patients not to exceed the recommended dose of two 200-milligram pills a day or continue therapy for more than 10 days without consulting a physician. It was the fourth big-selling pain medicine in recent months to be suspected of hurting the heart, and federal drug officials said that similar drugs, like Advil, might also increase heart risks.

The study, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, was intended to measure whether Aleve and Celebrex, made by Pfizer, might prevent Alzheimer's disease. Nearly 2,500 patients were given one of the two drugs or a placebo and were followed for three years. Those taking Aleve had a 50 percent greater rate of heart problems - including heart attacks and stroke - than those given a placebo. The Celebrex patients saw no increase in heart events. The latest findings follow an announcement Friday that a different national study found that those given high doses of Celebrex had a 240 percent increase in heart problems, including death.

Merck executives withdrew their painkiller Vioxx after a study found that it increased the risk of heart attack and stroke by more than 100 percent. Also, Pfizer announced recently that a study of Bextra found that it increased the risk of heart attacks in those who have had cardiac surgery. "This illustrates the fundamental dynamic that all drugs have risks," said Dr. Steven Galson, acting director of the Food and Drug Administration's center for drug evaluation and research. "All should be taken carefully."

Federal drug officials said that the entire class of painkillers known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories - drugs that include Celebrex, Advil and Mobic - could cause worrisome effects on the heart. Sales of Celebrex, along with other anti-inflammatories like Advil and Mobic, are expected to fall as a result.

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Alternatives to Vioxx

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ABC Submits Letter to the Editor of the WSJ Regarding Natural Alternatives to Vioxx

In the wake of the recent recall of the popular drug Vioxx due to recent research demonstrating that it can increase the risk of heart disease, there has been a rush by media to cover this story. The Wall St. Journal (WSJ) is one of the many media outlets producing articles on this topic.

On Saturday, October 2, ABC Founder and Executive Director, Mark Blumenthal, was interviewed by WSJ reporter Paul Davies for a story on various natural alternatives in the dietary supplement industry that consumers might use an acceptable substitute for Vioxx® (the multibillion dollar pain reliever from Merck). Unfortunately, none of Blumenthal’s comments were used in the article published Tuesday, October 5, 2004. As a result, Blumenthal wrote a letter to the editor of the WSJ that has not been published. Additionally, ABC has received no response from the author for repeated requests for a copy of the article.

Vioxx is a known for its primary mechanism of action of inhibiting the enzyme cycloogygenase-2 (COX-2), an enzyme involved in the production of prostaglandins and the resulting inflammatory process. Inhibition of COX-2 is a successful strategy developed recently for pharmaceutical drugs for controlling inflammation and associated pain.

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HerbalGram. 2004;64:19-20 © American Botanical Council

by Katherine Purcell

Times are changing for sweet Annie, an herb that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine and noted for its compounds that can effectively treat malaria. Sweet Annie (Artemisia annua L., Asteraceae), also called sweet wormwood, is sometimes referred to by its Chinese name qing hao (green herb). Artemisinin, and some of the related compounds derived directly from the herb, are sometimes referred to as quinghaosu (extract of green herb). These compounds, and their synthetic derivatives, have been described in The New York Times as “strikingly effective against malaria.”1

The antimalarial artemisinin-derived compounds include, but are not limited to, artesunate, artemether, and dihydroartemisinin. Artemisinin, used in the semi-synthesis of related compounds in Artemisinin-based Combination Therapies (ACT), are found mainly in the leaves and flowers of sweet Annie (little artemisinin is found in the stems, and none is found in seeds or roots).2

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December 15, 2004

Food supply vulnerable to contamination by drugs and plastics from gene-altered crops UCS calls for ban on food crops genetically engineered to produce pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals

WASHINGTON, D.C. - For more than a decade, corn, soybeans, and other food crops genetically engineered to produce drugs, vaccines, and industrial chemicals have been grown on American farms. But a new report by six agricultural experts now warns that the food supply is vulnerable to contamination by these "pharmaceutical crops" unless substantial changes are made in the ways and places such crops are grown and managed.

Based on the experts' findings, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) today called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to immediately ban the field production of corn, soybeans, and other food crops engineered to produce pharmaceutical and industrial chemicals. UCS recommends that the USDA spearhead a major campaign to encourage and fund safer alternatives like non-food crops or growing pharmaceutical food crops indoors.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2004 commentary:
Alternative Medicine Forum

Cancer Industry spreads fear and disinformation to scare people away from learning about alternative treatments for cancer on the Internet The public was recently warned about getting information from the internet on cancer prevention and curing cancer. New headlines blared that cancer sites posed a health risk. This has been propagated around the world in newspapers and news sites, and it's based on nothing more than a tiny sample of 32 websites that one professor says recommend treatments that are not supported by scientific evidence.

He says, "There is not good evidence that any complementary treatment can prevent cancer." This sort of statement borders on the most ignorant statement I've ever heard from anyone in modern medicine --and believe me, there's a lot of competition for that designation. An analysis of 32 websites is abysmal in terms of looking at the vast amount of information available on the internet, and what's very clear is that this is a campaign of fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) initiated by purveyors of modern medicine in order to scare people away from finding information about cancer on the internet.

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Rocket Fuel Chemical Found in Organic Milk

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WASHINGTON - The government has found traces of a rocket fuel chemical in organic milk in Maryland, green leaf lettuce grown in Arizona and bottled spring water from Texas and California. What's not clear is the significance of the data, collected by the Food and Drug Administration (news - web sites) through Aug. 19.
Sufficient amounts of perchlorate can affect the thyroid, potentially causing delayed development and other problems.

But Environmental Protection Agency (news - web sites) official Kevin Mayer called for calm, saying in an interview Tuesday: "Alarm is not warranted. That is clear."

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Glaxo Defends Testing AIDS Drugs in Children

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LONDON (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline Plc Tuesday defended trials of AIDS/HIV drugs in children in care homes, saying clinical studies involving children were legal and not unusual.

A BBC television documentary entitled "Guinea Pig Kids," being shown later in the day, revives criticism of company-sponsored studies at the Incarnation Children's Center, a New York care home that specializes in treating HIV.
British newspapers have previously highlighted how deprived HIV-positive children were enrolled in drug tests.

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Estrogen dominance and Hormonal imbalances

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Researchers believe that several decades of environmental exposure to toxins (including the dioxin found in tampons) and malabsorption of nutrients (from long-term use of antibiotics, birth control pills and steroids) have caused a prevalence of female problems. A major factor in the progression of these diseases is an insufficient production of progesterone during the second phase of a woman's cycle, called the luteal phase. As a result of this imbalance, estrogen controls the second half of the menstrual cycle too. This is called a luteal phase defect. A common factor in hormonal imbalance involves the pituitary gland. The pituitary detects elevated estrogen levels, and lets the ovaries know they can start producing less of it. When the pituitary gland generates too much prolactin, a specific hormone, luteal phase defects may result.
Too much Prolactin can lead to an imbalance in the female sex hormones. Estrogen Dominance and Hormonal imbalances are frequently caused by: Pesticide laden non-organic foods, excessive amounts of rBGH (growth hormones) present in dairy, red meats, caffeine, refined sugar, chocolate and alcohol.
Due to their high 'fat' content, Dairy and red meat sponge up many environmental Contaminants (dioxins, etc). In addition, dairy contains excessive estrogen, antibiotics,and Growth hormones (rBGH, a genetically engineered hormone).
Caffeine & refined Sugar consumption encourages TUMOR formation and growth and is also implicated in the progressive growth of Cancer cells (Sugar is to a tumor as gasoline is to fire). Caffeine is a major factor in tumor formation. It promotes cell dehydration and constipation.

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New York's HIV experiment

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HIV positive children and their loved ones have few rights if they choose to battle with social work authorities in New York City.

Jacklyn Hoerger's job was to treat children with HIV at a New York children's home. But nobody had told her that the drugs she was administering were experimental and highly toxic.

"We were told that if they were vomiting, if they lost their ability to walk, if they were having diarrhoea, if they were dying, then all of this was because of their HIV infection."

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