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Old Health and Medicine Articles from 2007 and Before

A gigantic uncontrolled experiment

Since the beginning of the modern psychopharmaceutical era, the proportion of the population diagnosed with depression has skyrocketed. A condition that once affected fewer than one person out of a thousand now afflicts more than one out of twenty. Today major depression is the leading cause of disability for adults between the ages of 15 and 43.

During that same period, consumption of antidepressants also has skyrocketed. Currently one in six American women between the ages of 20 and 44 (an age bracket corresponding to the prime childbearing years) is taking some kind of antidepressant medication. Since more than half of pregnancies are unplanned, and many women continue taking antidepressants after learning they are pregnant, untold numbers of babies have been exposed to these drugs in the womb. These drugs readily cross the placenta and become part of the environment bathing the developing fetus, and not one of them was tested for safety and effectiveness in pregnant women before being released. This is a gigantic uncontrolled experiment.

Part I: “Please don’t forget about me”: Antidepressants and birth defects
Part II: A gigantic uncontrolled experiment
Part III: I was Absolutely Distraught
Part IV: Patient safety is our highest concern

By Patrick D Hahn - Thursday, June 8, 2017 - Full Story

“Please don’t forget about me”: Antidepressants and birth defects

“Life was amazing.”

That is how Amery Schultz recalls life with his wife Christiane – before she began taking Wyeth’s blockbuster drug Effexor while pregnant. Since then, their lives have changed in ways they never could have imagined.

Amery and Christiane were born in the same hospital, just a month apart. They weren’t childhood sweethearts, but they grew up together in the same small town in British Columbia. Christiane remembers her adolescence as a rocky time. “At school I was being bullied really bad, and my parents weren’t helping.” At 14 she left home and moved in with her older sister. “She wanted me to have fun, so she pushed me to go partying. I was drugged and assaulted a couple of times, and she wouldn’t help me.” Christiane turned to her old friend Amery for consolation, and when she got married for the first time at the age of 21, Amery was the best man at the wedding – at Christiane’s behest.

Part I: “Please don’t forget about me”: Antidepressants and birth defects
Part II: A gigantic uncontrolled experiment
Part III: I was Absolutely Distraught
Part IV: Patient safety is our highest concern

By Patrick D Hahn - Thursday, June 8, 2017 - Full Story

Concussion: What Surprised Me about Its Treatment

How should hockey star Sidney Crosby, or my own child, be treated if he suffered a brain concussion? To answer this question I interviewed Dr. Andrew Saul, Editor-in-Chief of the Orthomolecular Medical News Service, and a world authority on nutrition. Dr. Saul confirmed what I suspected, that bruised brains are not receiving the treatment they desperately need.

Newton’s Law states, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Unfortunately, our Maker didn’t use screws to anchor the human brain inside its skull. So, without this protection, sudden blows to the head toss the brain   against a formidable hard skull, causing various degrees of injury.

By Dr. Gifford Jones - Monday, June 5, 2017 - Full Story

Sugar sponges sop up and release glucose as needed

Many diabetes patients must inject themselves with insulin, sometimes several times a day, while others take medications orally to control blood sugar. The injections, as well as the side effects from both regimens, can be painful. Now, one team reports in the Journal of the American Chemical Society progress toward an insulin-free diabetes treatment that requires fewer injections.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, current trends predict that one in three adults in the U.S. will have diabetes by 2050. Treatments include insulin injections, which can be painful. In addition, the injections can involve different types of insulin — a slow-acting one before bed or a fast-acting one before meals — which can be confusing. Pills are not much better, as patients sometimes forget to take them. Both drugs and injections can have various side effects, including nerve damage, infections and insulin resistance. Non-invasive insulin-dependent systems that include hydrogels and polymers have developed in the laboratory, but they also can trigger these complications. So Jianzhong Du and colleagues wanted to develop a method that would be easy to use and that would avoid side effects.

The researchers nicknamed their treatment the “sugar sponge.” It’s an injected lectin-coated polymer vesicle that sopped up and bound glucose when glucose levels were high, and released the sugar when its concentrations were low in laboratory tests. They also tested the sponge in mice with type-I diabetes, and within two days, they saw antidiabetic effects. The researchers say that the sponge could one day serve as a treatment for either type-I or type-II diabetes.

Sugar-Breathing Glycopolymersomes for Regulating Glucose Level

By American Chemical Society - Saturday, June 3, 2017 - Full Story

Israeli device simplifies hernia surgery and recovery

Some five million Americans have a hernia, a protrusion of an organ or tissue through a weak spot in the abdomen or groin, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

Traditionally, open hernia-repair surgery involved stitching a mesh patch, or surrounding tissue, in place over the weak tissue. Today, many hernias are repaired laparoscopically, which is less invasive. Because suturing through tiny laparoscopic incisions is difficult, most surgeons use a less ideal solution — screw-like tacks to secure the mesh to the abdominal wall or bone.

“So we invented a way to deliver suturing in a minimally invasive way. It potentially reduces scar tissue and enables a strong connection of mesh to tissue,” says Lena Levin, cofounder and CFO of Via Surgical in Amirim, Israel.

Via Surgical’s unique FasTouch cartridge system affixes prosthetic material to soft tissue. It is designed like sutures and delivered like tacks, with the goal of providing the best of both worlds for laparoscopic hernia repair.  —More…

By ISRAEL21c - Saturday, June 3, 2017 - Full Story

Suffer From Headaches, Blurred Vision and Tingling In Ear?

A friend recently asked, “Giff, what’s happened? You’ve lost weight!”  He was wrong, as my weight has remained the same for years. But this is not the first time this has happened. It’s because I’ve never liked dress shirts with tight collars. Loose collars exposing the neck convey the impression of weight loss. But surprise! They also help to protect wearers from glaucoma, the second leading cause of blindness in North America.

While a student at the Harvard Medical School, I heard this story. A 55 year old businessman complained of headaches, blurred vision and a tingling sensation in the right ear. Harvard professors were not able to make a diagnosis. So he consulted doctors at The Mayo Clinic and famous Harley Street doctors in London, England. None could diagnose his problem.


By Dr. Gifford Jones - Monday, May 29, 2017 - Full Story

Obamacare’s replacement allows women to customize their care at lower costs

DENVER — Women make the majority of decisions about care and insurance for our families, and we generally consume more healthcare than men.  As a result, women have a lot at stake when it comes to the laws that govern American health care and insurance.

In 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) made it illegal for insurers to charge women more than men, and it mandated that insurance plans cover women’s preventive care, including birth control, with no copay.

Therefore, some now suggest that repealing the Affordable Care Act would be a threat to women.  But the opposite is true: Repeal will allow women greater choice and lower costs when it comes to insurance plans, doctors and care.

By Guest Column -- Hadley Heath Manning- Friday, May 26, 2017 - Full Story

Paper test strip could help heart failure patients monitor their condition at home

Contrary to the condition’s name, heart failure doesn’t mean the heart has stopped pumping — it’s just not working at full strength. It can often be managed with medications and lifestyle changes, but its progression needs to be monitored closely. Now scientists have developed a new test strip that could potentially allow patients to do this at home for the first time. Their study appears in the journal ACS Nano.

By American Chemical Society - Wednesday, May 24, 2017 - Full Story

The impact of the rise in new drug rejections

The number of new drug applications rejected by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been on the rise. The cover story of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, explores why this is happening and what it means for patients.

Ann Thayer, a senior correspondent for C&EN, notes that in 2016, the FDA turned down 14 applications for novel drugs, more than the agency has rejected in recent years. Concurrent with this increase is a growing reliance on outside manufacturers. While outsourcing gives drug companies access to specialized manufacturing plants, it also opens them up to any problems those external firms might have. Often, drug rejections are due to these companies’ failure to comply with good manufacturing practices.

Many drug companies and manufacturers eventually resolve the glitches and get their drugs approved. But the process can take a few months to a few years, which can leave patients with fewer treatment options while the snags get addressed. To help reduce delays, the FDA is providing guidance to drug companies for drawing up manufacturing-quality agreements with outside firms to help fix these problems before they have a chance to hold up applications.

Read the story here.

By American Chemical Society - Sunday, May 21, 2017 - Full Story

Can cannabis turn back the aging process?

As our brain ages, our cognitive abilities naturally decrease and it becomes more difficult to learn new things or devote attention to several things at the same time.

Researchers have long been looking for ways to slow down or even reverse this process.

Scientists at the University of Bonn in Germany and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem report in Nature Medicine that they have now achieved this goal in mice by administering a small quantity of THC, the active ingredient in the hemp plant (cannabis).

Mice have a short lifespan and begin displaying pronounced cognitive deficits even at one year old. So the researchers gave doses of THC to lab mice at the ages of 12 and 18 months over a period of four weeks.

A low dose was chosen to avoid any intoxicating effect in the mice.—More…

By ISRAEL21c - Wednesday, May 17, 2017 - Full Story