New Study Shows That The FDA Drug Testing Process Fails Miserably

United States consumers have always been told that their outrageously high cost of prescription drugs is due to the lengthy, expensive and vital regiment of testing that the Food and Drug Administration requires to insure the safety of new drugs before their release in the US market. Drug manufacturers have always used these rigid, and in their propaganda, burdensomely expensive, regulations as their rationale for prices that are unaffordable to most people, and to keep foreign-made drugs they allege as unsafe due to lessor regulations in other countries from becoming available for purchase in the US.

Is all this just a big pile of lies and deceit, used merely as a pretext to justify such outrageous prices? Well, a new study released this week from researchers at the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital has found that, in effect, such FDA testing requirements may be practically worthless, as they determined that 31% of 222 drugs approved between 2001 and 2010, have had significant post-release safety concerns, including 61 that received what are called “boxed warnings” which are issued when new, life-threatening risks are identified, 59 that had elicited safety communications, which are issued when new, serious risks are identified, and three that were found to have safety concerns serious enough to have been totally withdrawn from the market. There was overlap among drugs receiving these concerns, as the total number of drugs receiving them was 71 of the 222.

The study, “Postmarket Safety Events Among Novel Therapeutics Approved by the US Food and Drug Administration Between 2001 and 2010”, published on May 9, 2017 in the Journal of the American Medical Association should give pause to everyone who takes prescription drugs Read More…

Nature, Quality of Medical Care Can Differ by Doctors Political Party

In a new study published in the journal of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the type of counseling and treatment decisions provided by a sampling of doctors was shown to differ greatly according to their individual political party affiliation ("Democratic and Republican physicians provide different care on politicized health issues").

According to the authors of the study, its significance is as follows:

“Our evidence suggests that political beliefs predict the professional decisions of primary care physicians. On politicized health issues, like marijuana and abortion, physicians' partisan identity is highly correlated with their treatment decisions. Because physicians regularly interact with patients on politically sensitive health issues and because the medical profession is increasingly politicized, it is necessary to understand how doctors’ own political worldviews may impact their actions in the medical examination room.” Read More…

Study Indicates Coffee Consumption May Reduce Risk of Dementia

The recent Women's Health Initiative Memory Study (“Relationships Between Caffeine Intake and Risk for Probable Dementia or Global Cognitive Impairment”), funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, brings new evidence of possible significant health benefits of drinking coffee. The study analyzed the coffee, tea and cola consumption of 6,467 women aged 65 and older over a ten-year span of follow-up evaluations that included annual cognitive assessments, The assessments were used to pinpoint the possible development of dementia, which the study reported was found in 388 of the subjects.

But, the study’s findings indicated that women who consumed more than 261 milligrams of caffeine, the equivalent of two to three eight-ounce cups of coffee daily, had a 36% lower risk of a diagnosis of probable dementia or cognitive impairment than did women who consumed a low amount of caffeine, defined in the study as less than 64 milligrams, or no more than one-half to one cup of coffee per day.

The study accounted for numerous other possible confounding factors including age, race, body mass index, smoking status, alcohol intake, depression, high blood pressure, sleep quality, and history of cardiovascular disease.
Read More…

Using Sound Therapy to Treat High Blood Pressure, Migraines and More

Researchers from Wake Forest University's School of Medicine have presented a pair of recent studies to the American Heart Association's Council on Hypertension 2016 Scientific Sessions demonstrating early success of a revolutionary new diagnostic and treatment for a variety of stress-related disorders ranging from high blood pressure to migraines to depression to insomnia.

The team, headed by study author Hossam A. Shaltout, uses sound waves to measure electrical activity and to detect imbalances between the left and right brain. Based on the theory that such imbalances reflect improper regulation of the autonomic nervous system that is responsible for controlling unconscious bodily functions such as breathing and heart rate, once detected numerous conditions can be treated by restoring a proper balance.

The treatment involves a computer detecting the imbalance, determining the dominant brain frequencies, and then the use of a software program that coverts these brain frequencies into auditory tones, which are played back to the patient who listens to these sounds through headphones. Read More…

Effects of Concussions Shown to Last 30-plus Years

A first-of-its kind study conducted at the University of Montreal and published online Jan. 28 in the journal Brain, has found that athletes who suffer a concussion can experience declines in their mental and physical processes more than 30 years later.

The bulk of research on the topic has focused on immediate, post-concussion periods and on deciding when it's safe for an athlete suffering a concussed to return to action. Studying the long-term effects of concussion had been overlooked, until now, when researchers examined 40 former university-level athletes between the ages of 50 and 60, and in good health, 19 of which had suffered concussions more than 30 years earlier, while the remaining 21 had no history of concussions.

In comparing them to those who were concussion-free, the subjects who'd been concussed once or twice in their early adulthood showed declines in attention, declines in memory, and a slowing of some types of movement. Read More…

Moderate Alcohol Consumption Promotes Health and Fitness in Later Life

A study conducted at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine and published in the online American Journal of Epidemiology, has found that healthy people 50 years of age and older who were light-to-moderate drinkers were 25% less likely to suffer physical disabilities that cause many seniors to lose their independence, and were thus more likely to be able to continue to carrying out daily activities such as walking, dressing, eating, running errands, and other such activities, later in life.

Conversely, the study showed that at opposite ends of the spectrum - heavy drinkers and abstainers - there were higher risks of disabilities that would limit such activities. Also, the study found that in participants who began the study in poor health, there was no reported benefit from moderate alcohol consumption.

This was the first such study to follow a large, nationally representative sample of people over a period of years to look at the relationship between alcohol and physical disabilities. Read More…

Study Links Lack of Sleep and Colds

A study conducted at Carnegie Mellon University and published in the Jan. 12 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine is the first to show that getting less than seven to eight hours of "solid" sleep a night can lower resistance to the common cold virus. Findings demonstrated that with less than seven hours of sleep a night, you are three times more likely to catch a cold, and if you sleep poorly, you are up to five times more susceptible to the cold virus.

Psychology professor and lead author Sheldon Cohen stated that "longer sleep duration and better sleep efficiency are both associated with greater resistance to the common cold," and further related that the immune system's ability to fight off infectious disease may in part be influenced by regular sleep habits.

In fact, earlier studies have shown both that sleep deprivation impairs some immune function and that people who sleep seven to eight hours a night have the lowest rates of heart disease and death. Read More…

Computerization of Medical Records - Disaster in the Waiting

President-Elect Obama continues to espouse perceived merits in the computerization of personal medical records, as he did yet again in a speech yesterday morning. The substantial damages of such a system far outweigh any alleged benefits, and the special interests that are pushing so hard for such a system have only their own selfish and financial interests at heart.

A major point to consider is exactly what is in your medical records? Alas, there is much more than just health-care related information - perhaps sensitive, extremely personal information - that may well include details about family relationships, sexual behavior, substance usage and what could be considered by some to be abuse, not to mention extremely private descriptions of thoughts, dreams, and/or fantasies, related during psychotherapy sessions. It goes without saying that any actual disease or serious physical disorder with which you may suffer is of course a private matter. All of this could be placed online, for programmers, technicians, clerks, hackers, and much of the world to see.

Such information is used by lenders in making credit decisions, by prospective employers in making hiring decisions, by insurers making coverage and rate decisions, by colleges in making admissions decisions, and in limitless other social, economic and personal situations. Read More…