Depressed over Prozac
Antidepressants dangerous and should be banned, crusader says

By Elaine Jarvik
Source: Deseret Morning News

      Ann Tracy knows hundreds of grisly stories: the professor on Prozac who bit her mother to death; the Stanford graduate on Paxil who stabbed herself in the kitchen while her parents slept; the mother who bludgeoned her son and then drank a can of Drano; the 12-year-old girl who strangled herself with a bungee cord she attached to a plant hanger on the wall.

      Sit with Tracy for an hour and pretty soon your head is swimming in details: the shooting at Columbine, a study of violent mice, the conversation she had with Rusty Yates, whose wife drowned their five children in a bathtub. Andrea Yates was on maximum doses of Effexor and Remeron, she reminds you. The world according to Ann Tracy is a place full of people who were put on antidepressants and then went on to do horrible things.
      Tracy is executive director of the International Coalition for Drug Awareness, which she operates out of her home office in West Jordan, a home she has mortgaged twice to pay for her 15-year crusade against antidepressants and the pharmaceutical companies who make them.
      She is heartened by recent scrutiny of the drugs. Last year, the British version of the FDA banned all antidepressants other than Prozac for use in children under 18. In March, the Food and Drug Administration issued a Public Health Advisory about antidepressants — urging doctors and families to monitor adult and child patients on the drugs — and then appointed a panel of experts to reanalyze the incidence of suicide attempts during clinical trials of teens. In June, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer sued the makers of Paxil for consumer fraud, and 30 Utahns joined a nationwide class-action suit charging that GlaxoSmithKline "concealed, suppressed and downplayed" severe withdrawal reactions in people trying to go off the antidepressant.
      But Tracy won't be happy until the drugs are banned altogether. They cause people to become violently suicidal and homicidal, she argues. They cause cancer, she says, and heart disease and diabetes and divorce.
      Some people call her a visionary. Others roll their eyes and call her misinformed — and worry that she is hurting the very people she wants to help.

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Popular Prozac rival linked to 118 British deaths
21/08/2004 - 09:56:32
Source: Ireland On Line

An anti-depressant prescribed almost 200,000 times a year to Irish patients has been directly linked to 118 deaths in the UK.

The drug is sold here under the name Efexor.

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Many Stroke Patients Get Wrong Therapy in Hospitals
Mon Jul 26,11:47 PM ET
Source: Yahoo News

MONDAY, July 26 (HealthDayNews) --New research suggests that up to 65 percent of stroke patients are likely to be treated for hypertension in their first four days in the hospital, despite current guidelines that say such treatment can extend and worsen stroke symptoms.

The report appears in the July 27 issue of Neurology.

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Science panel urges food safety, cites risks posed by genetically modified crops
Mike Toner
July 28, 2004
Source: NPIcenter.com

ATLANTA -- Unintended changes in the allergens, toxins and nutrients in genetically modified crops pose human health risks of uncertain magnitude, a panel of the National Academies warned Tuesday.

The academies' Institute of Medicine also reported that while the potential for human health effects appears greatest for genetically engineered crops, even conventional techniques that have been used to "improve" crops for centuries need some new form of government regulation.

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Exposure to mercury linked to neurobehavioral disease epidemic in children

By Curt Andersen
Source: The Green Bay News-Chronicle

The recent furor over the use of mercury in vaccines for children has gotten my attention. I really want to believe that all the money we spend for an agency like the Center For Disease Control (CDC) is doing some good, and yet there is troubling information that casts a long shadow over this organization.

Many people are surprised to hear that mercury is still used in vaccines for anyone, let alone little children, whose tolerance for such potent neurotoxins is very low. I was even able to find Merthiolate (the trade name for Thimerosal) antiseptic available on the Web, and I suspect there is still lots of it in the back of medicine chests all over the country.

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'Keep our water free of fluoride'
by Howard Williamson
Source: Leeds Today

28 July 2004

PURE water campaigners are urging Yorkshire Water shareholders to oppose fluoridation of the county's supplies.
They will lobby them before the YW annual meeting tomorrow at the Marriott Hotel in Leeds.

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Letter
Residents need to be informed about fluoride
07/28/2004
Source: Buffalo Reflex

Dear Editor,

Buffalo residents must answer the fluoride issue. It isn't going away by itself. If you have Internet, here are some sites to help your research and help you cast an informed vote.

From http://emporium.turnpike.net: "Fluoride in any fSend to Jimorm - drops, tablets or vitamins - has never been approved by the Food and Drug Administration..." "The alarming discovery that fluoride has never been approved as a prescription drug was announced by New Jersey State Assemblyman John V. Kelly in 1993...When the Honorable Mr. Kelly asked the FDA for the records of tests used to verify the safety of fluoride, the FDA initially refused to comply...Later, under the freedom of Information Act the FDA was required to turn over the required documents, and again they did not comply...Eventually they had to return to the court to explain themselves, they revealed that there is no drug application for fluoride approval and none has ever been submitted."

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New study puts hospital error death rate at twice IOM's total
By Don Long
Source: The Worldwide Biotechnology News and Information Source
Published: July 28, 2004

Medical Device Daily Managing Editor

People frequently die in hospitals because of medication errors and other mistakes. And when discussing this unfortunate reality, most put this yearly death total at 98,000 - a figure provided by the 1999 report "To Err is Human," by the Institute of Medicine (IOM; Washington). But that figure may be too low.

Way too low, according to HealthGrades (Lakewood, Colorado), a company that specializes in tracking patient outcomes and giving awards to hospitals that they assess as performing the best.

HealthGrades yesterday released a report setting the figure at double the IOM's estimates - a total of 195,000 - the result of what the organization terms "potentially preventable, in-hospital medical errors."

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Report Says 195,000 Deaths Due to Hospital Error
Tue Jul 27, 2004 06:23 PM ET
Source: Reuters.com

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - As many as 195,000 people a year could be dying in U.S. hospitals because of easily prevented errors, a company said on Tuesday in an estimate that doubles previous figures.

Lakewood, Colorado-based HealthGrades Inc. said its data covers all 50 states and is more up-to-date than a 1999 study from the Institute of Medicine that said 98,000 people a year die from medical errors.

"The HealthGrades study shows that the IOM report may have underestimated the number of deaths due to medical errors, and, moreover, that there is little evidence that patient safety has improved in the last five years," said Dr. Samantha Collier, vice president of medical affairs at the company.

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All voices not heard at Aids conference
July 23, 2004
Source: The Nation

The 15th International Aids Conference in Bangkok had the noble theme, “Access For All”. According to the conference promoters: “We will ensure that all voices, all experiences and all concerns are represented.”

Unfortunately the truth falls short of the hype. All voices were not represented, and access for was not granted.

Let’s take the issue of HIV testing. In the US, most of Europe and Australia, a person is not considered HIV infected until a minimum of two criteria have been satisfied - testing positive first to a screening test, which is usually an ELISA test, and then to a confirmatory test, which is almost always the Western Blot.

In the US, in fact, if the ELISA is positive, it is usually repeated, then if positive again the Western Blot is run.

And if that’s positive, the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that the entire set of tests be run again, on a new blood sample, to reduce the chances that the tests could be reacting to one of the over 70 common conditions that are documented to cause false positives.

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