the holistic radical

April 9, 2008

Shocker: Doctors Think Nationalized Health Care Is a Good Idea

For one, it lets them do their job without being concerned about being paid (“reimbursed”) by a heartless corporation only concerned with profit. But hey, maybe someday we’ll join other industrialized nations who believe in treating their citizens like human beings.

Why do you think Big Media isn’t reporting this?

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Doctors Support Universal Health Care: Survey
By Maggie Fox
Reuters

Monday 31 March 2008

Washington – More than half of U.S. doctors now favor switching to a national health care plan and fewer than a third oppose the idea, according to a survey published on Monday.

The survey suggests that opinions have changed substantially since the last survey in 2002 and as the country debates serious changes to the health care system.

Of more than 2,000 doctors surveyed, 59 percent said they support legislation to establish a national health insurance program, while 32 percent said they opposed it, researchers reported in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

The 2002 survey found that 49 percent of physicians supported national health insurance and 40 percent opposed it.

“Many claim to speak for physicians and represent their views. We asked doctors directly and found that, contrary to conventional wisdom, most doctors support national health insurance,” said Dr. Aaron Carroll of the Indiana University School of Medicine, who led the study.

“As doctors, we find that our patients suffer because of increasing deductibles, co-payments, and restrictions on patient care,” said Dr. Ronald Ackermann, who worked on the study with Carroll. “More and more, physicians are turning to national health insurance as a solution to this problem.”

Patchwork

The United States has no single organized health care system. Instead it relies on a patchwork of insurance provided by the federal and state governments to the elderly, poor, disabled and to some children, along with private insurance and employer-sponsored plans.

Many other countries have national plans, including Britain, France and Canada, and several studies have shown the United States spends more per capita on health care, without achieving better results for patients.

An estimated 47 million people have no insurance coverage at all, meaning they must pay out of their pockets for health care or skip it.

Contenders in the election for president in November all have proposed various changes, but none of the major party candidates has called for a fully national health plan.

Insurance companies, retailers and other employers have joined forces with unions and other interest groups to propose their own plans.

“Across the board, more physicians feel that our fragmented and for-profit insurance system is obstructing good patient care, and a majority now support national insurance as the remedy,” Ackermann said in a statement.

The Indiana survey found that 83 percent of psychiatrists, 69 percent of emergency medicine specialists, 65 percent of pediatricians, 64 percent of internists, 60 percent of family physicians and 55 percent of general surgeons favor a national health insurance plan.

The researchers said they believe the survey was representative of the 800,000 U.S. medical doctors.


Reporting by Maggie Fox; editing by Will Dunham and Xavier Briand.

http://www.truthout.org/issues_06/040108HA.shtml

April 8, 2008

Pesticides and Parkinson’s: If the Western Way of Life is So Great, Why Is It Killing Us?

When is the system going to change, when are we going to stop needless suffering?

When consumers, through their actions, tell the market how to act. Don’t wait for the government–where’s, say, the FDA on this? Buy organic!

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Study Links Parkinson’s Disease to Long-Term Pesticide Exposure
By Alok Jha
The Guardian UK

Friday 28 March 2008

Scientists have found further evidence of a link between Parkinson’s disease and long-term exposure to pesticides.

A study of more than 300 people with the neurological disease – which can affect movements such as walking, talking and writing – found that sufferers were more than twice as likely to report heavy exposure to pesticides over their lifetime as family members without the disease.

Previous studies have pointed to a possible link between pesticide exposure and Parkinson’s and public authorities are trying to work out whether these risks should be classed as significant. A £906,000 project to study the links launched in 2006 by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for example, is due to report this summer.

Variations in several genes have been identified that contribute to the disease, but these defects are rare and only account for a small proportion of the incidence of the disease, which afflicts around 120,000 people in the UK. The majority of cases are thought to be a result of an interaction between genes and the environment.

Lifetime Exposure

The new research, led by American scientists, looked at the lifetime pesticide exposure of 319 Parkinson’s patients and more than 200 of their relatives without the disease. The results, published today in the journal BMC Neurology, showed that people with Parkinson’s were 1.6 times as likely to report an exposure to pesticides in their lifetimes compared with the controls.

In addition, people with the Parkinson’s were 2.4 times as likely as people without the disease to report heavy exposure to pesticides, classed as more than 215 days over a lifetime.

The strongest associations were between people with Parkinson’s who had been exposed to herbicide and insecticide chemicals such as organochlorides and organophosphates. No links were found between Parkinson’s disease and drinking well-water or living or working on a farm, two commonly used proxies for pesticide exposures.

“In this dataset, these tended to be people who used a lot of pesticides in their homes and in their hobbies,” said William Scott of the University of Miami, who took part in the study. “There were not many people who routinely used pesticides for their occupation.”

Though the evidence is growing, the researchers said that there was not enough biological evidence yet to conclude that Parkinson’s was definitely caused by pesticide exposure. The biological mechanism linking the two is still unknown. The researchers added that future genetic studies of Parkinson’s could consider the influence of pesticides, because exposure to these chemicals may trigger the disease in genetically predisposed people.

Key Role

Kieran Breen, director of research at the Parkinson’s Disease Society (PDS), said: “The association between pesticides and Parkinson’s has been recognised for some time, and this study supports this link and strengthens the fact that pesticides play a key role.”

The PDS has carried out a survey of more than 10,000 people with Parkinson’s and preliminary results show that 9% had long-term pesticide or herbicide exposure, which is defined as exposure for more than a year.

“Of the 3,000 carers surveyed, most of whom were family members, less than 2% had had similar exposure,” said Breen. “This demonstrates that pesticides may be contributing to nerve cell death in some people with Parkinson’s, but is unlikely to be the only cause.”

Symptoms of the disease first tend to appear when a patient is older than 50, and can include tremors and muscle rigidity. The Parkinson’s Disease Society estimates that around 10,000 new diagnoses of the disease are made every year in the UK.

http://www.truthout.org/issues_06/033108HA.shtml

March 26, 2008

The Dangers of Artificial Food Colorings

Filed under: autism/adhd, big agriculture, FDA — Tags: , , , , , , — sesame seed @ 3:09 pm

Many people with autism/adhd have had great success following the Feingold diet, which, in part, eliminates all foods with conventional (read: unnatural) food colorings. Do a web search for the “Feingold diet.” In general, white/refined sugar and wheat, colorings, and flavors aren’t good for anyone, but especially not autistics.

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How food companies fool consumers with food coloring ingredients made from petrochemicals

by Mike Adams

Have you ever wondered why companies use artificial colors? You might think it’s because they want to make their food look good, but there’s another reason — a far deeper reason — why companies use artificial colors to make their foods more appealing to consumers. Keep reading to learn what that is.

Why do foods with more vibrant, saturated colors look more appealing to consumers? Why does a bright-red apple look more appealing than a dull-red apple or a green apple? Why are foods sold to us in neon green, yellow and orange packages? The reason is that of the color of food speaks to humans’ innate perceptions about the value of food items.

Humans are born with brains that are preprogrammed with the ability to learn language; or to recognize certain inherent dangers such as falling off a ledge. We also have all kinds of behaviors built in for survival. One of the survival strategies our ancestors developed was the ability to recognize foods containing usable energy or nutrition. They could walk through a field and instantly spot foods that contained potent, healing phytonutrients and calories that would give them usable energy, healthy brain function, boost immune function and boost overall survivability. The natural medicines found in food often appear in bright colors, and calorie-rich foods designed to appeal to primates (such as apples or berries) are also brightly colored. It is these colors that appeal to our built-in perceptions about the value of food. (Birds have a similar system and also tend to judge food by its color.)

Color is a reliable indicator of the healthful quality of foods. An apple that has red in its peel, for example, actually sends a message: “Hey, I’m here. I have some healing medicine in my skin.” That’s why humans are naturally attracted to more vibrant-looking apples. Berries, fruits, root vegetables and other foods broadcast similar messages through their own coloring.

Eating the rainbow diet

You may have heard of the rainbow diet, in which you eat foods of different colors. It is based on the idea that different foods carry different energies and provide different types of nutritional medicine. There is a real science to that, and an art as well. You can examine phytochemicals and their healing effects, and categorize them by color. There are foods that are purple, blue, green, yellow, red, orange, brown — all the colors of the spectrum — and each food has a different medicine. Our ancestors learned to recognize foods by their color, and they also learned that foods with more vibrant colors in their natural environment contain a lot more medicine.

For example, a red cabbage that is actually a dull grey doesn’t look very appealing, but a purple cabbage with a saturated, bright-purple color looks fantastic. That’s because we have an innate perception gauge telling us we should be attracted to these foods — they are healthier for us, and the health quality is indicated by the saturation of the color.

This is what food-manufacturing companies are exploiting when they enhance colors artificially.

Food makers use harmful dyes to get you to buy

When you shop for oranges, you’re looking for a bright, deeply colored orange. You don’t want a yellowish orange, because that tells you it’s not ripe; if it’s not ripe, it hasn’t developed all its medicine. (That’s one reason why so much of the produce available in grocery stores lacks real nutrition these days — it’s all picked before it has a chance to ripen on the plant.)

Growers know about this color preference, so some of them — in Florida for example — hijack that instinctual process by dipping some of their oranges in a cancer-causing red dye that makes the peel look more orange. The FDA has banned that dye from use in foods, because it is a carcinogen, but they say it’s okay to dip an orange in it, because people don’t eat the peel. If a consumer is comparing two oranges — one of them is yellow, and one of them is deep, rich orange — most consumers are going to pick up the deeper, richer looking orange.

Food manufacturers use artificial colors because, when they make their foods more colorful, it turns on the light switch in our brains that says, “This is good stuff.” We’ve been fooled; we’ve been drawn like a moth to a flame. If you took one nacho chip with flavors but no color and put it beside another nacho chip with the exact same flavors but lots of artificial colors to make it look more orange, and you asked people to pick which chip they think would taste better, almost everyone will choose the chip with the color. The color can actually fool your mind into thinking that these foods taste better.

Food colors are made from petroleum

Coal tar and petrochemicals are the sources of the artificial colors that go into our foods, and these artificial coloring ingredients are dangerous to our health. The human body was not designed to eat petrochemicals. You don’t see people digging up petroleum and drinking it with a straw. That’s not the kind of energy we’re designed to run on. So why are we putting petrochemicals in our foods?

The food companies are doing it to sell a product and generate a profit, regardless of the health effects on consumers — and the health effects have been worrisome. In fact, more than one artificial color has been banned and pulled off the market over the last several decades because it was ultimately found to cause cancer. The safety of those still allowed on the market is highly questionable.

Eventually, artificial colors used in the food supply will likely be outlawed because they contribute to all sorts of health problems, the most notable of which are the symptoms diagnosed as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a behavioral pattern often brought on by Yellow #2 food dye. Children are being fed these chemicals in such large quantities that they begin to have nervous system malfunctions that ultimately are misdiagnosed as ADHD, learning disabilities, or violent behavior.

If you want to reverse these so-called diseases in your children, one of the best things you can do is stop feeding them petrochemicals. That means you, as the parent, have to understand that your very instincts are being hijacked by food companies’ use of artificial colors to sell their garbage products. It’s automatic, it’s innate and it’s unconscious. You look at foods and you instantly evaluate them by their color. It’s something that you can’t stop doing because it’s part of your perception hardware. Food companies know this and they exploit it to sell you unhealthy foods artificially colored to look nutritious.

How to defend yourself against dishonest food companies

So what’s your defense against this? How can you take control over your own mind and make better decisions at the grocery store? You’re taking the first step right now by reading this: you’re educating yourself. All you have to do is take this information and apply it by reading ingredient labels. Look for artificial food coloring ingredients like Yellow #2, Red #5 or Blue Lake #40, and then avoid them. Don’t buy those products. It’s as simple as that. Instead, you look for natural food coloring ingredients. There are products colored with beet juice, a much healthier way to color food; annatto, a very healthy plant source; or turmeric, a fantastic herb with anticancer, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

With a little checking around, you will discover that all the cheap, low-grade, disease-promoting products in the grocery store tend to use these artificial colors. You will also find that the same snack chips, processed foods, boxed dinner meals, and junk food made by the biggest food companies also contain refined white flour, MSG and hydrogenated oils. It’s really no surprise they mostly all contain an artificial color of one kind or another.

Also, you should watch out for artificial colors in fruit drinks and candy. There are loads of artificial colors in candy, which makes for a very bad combination — especially for children. If you give kids a load of sugar and petrochemicals together in the same meal, their nervous systems go crazy. That’s why you have kids climbing the walls after feeding them candy and sugary drinks with artificial colors.

Another repeat offender in this category is “sport drinks,” which are loaded with petrochemical artificial colors that have no purpose other than to make the beverage visually appealing to consumers. There’s no nutritional value whatsoever to using artificial colors, which means most sports drinks are a complete waste of money: they’re just salt water with sugar and artificial colors added. If you want a real sports drink, you should juice some celery and cucumber, or just drink coconut water. That’s real replenishment.

The confectionery industry relies heavily on artificial colors to make its foods — like cake and icing — look appealing as well. Icing is usually made of hydrogenated soybean oil, which is a nerve toxin, combined with refined sugars, which are dietary poisons that cause diabetes. The petrochemical-based artificial colors are used to top it off. If you really want to commit nutritional suicide, eat a lot of icing. Get yourself some iced doughnuts, cakes and pastries, and load up.

You’ll notice artificial colors in foods like blueberry muffins or blueberry bagels, too. Read the ingredients on blueberry bagels at your local grocery store next time, and you’ll find that there are really no blueberries but plenty of artificial blue and green colors to create the impression of little blueberry bits. They can’t even put blueberries in their bagels. They have to trick you with artificial colors.

Do you know what liquid they’re using to hold the color? Propylene glycol — the same chemical you put into your RV when you want to winterize it. It is antifreeze. You’re eating antifreeze and petrochemicals — and that’s just the blueberry part. We haven’t even gotten to everything else, like refined sugars, chemical preservatives and refined bleached white flour, which has diabetes-causing contaminants. A blueberry bagel is no longer a blueberry bagel. When you really understand what’s in the foods, it’s mind blowing.

Artificial colors sometimes find their way into salmon before it even becomes food

Artificial colors turn up in a lot of interesting places. Many salmon farms are adding artificial color to their food to make the salmon flesh appear more red because that’s what consumers will buy. They’ll buy red or pink salmon over grey salmon any day of the week because their instincts tell them deeper, richer colors are healthier. Imitation crab meat has artificial colors added to make part of the meat look red — but at least the label includes the word “artificial,” so you can avoid it if you read labels.

The biggest form of dishonesty across the entire food industry is the use of artificial colors that influence you to buy and consume foods that actually harm your health (such as snack chips made with MSG). The food companies have figured out how to hack into your perception hardware. They send one message to your eyes, but they manufacture foods out of something entirely different. The bottom line is that foods, through the use of artificial colors, are sending an incongruent message: “I’m a healthy food.” But the reality is, “I’m harmful junk food.”

These companies employ tens of thousands of food scientists in the United States alone. They figure out how to make foods more palatable and less expensive by using the cheapest ingredients possible while prettying them up with artificial food colors made from petrochemicals.

Food coloring from insects

I have one more interesting tidbit I’d like to share with you. You may be familiar with a red color ingredient called carmine; it can be found in strawberry yogurt and a variety of other products. Carmine is sourced from a mash made by grinding up beetles grown in Peru and the Canary Islands. The mash is strained out to obtain a red liquid. That liquid, made from insects, is then shipped to the United States to food companies, where it is dumped into the yogurt to make it look like there are strawberries in there. Folks, it’s not strawberry. It’s insect juice. That’s what’s in your yogurt (and a lot of candy and children’s foods as well).

Some people have a dangerous allergic reaction to this ingredient. They can go into anaphylactic shock, which puts them in a coma (or worse!). As this demonstrates, some of these color additives can be extremely dangerous, but you’ll notice companies don’t put this information on their labels. “Insect juice” is never listed on your yogurt. They merely list “carmine,” and they leave it up to you to figure out what that means. Ninety-nine percent of people in this world have no idea what carmine really is, but now you do.  

http://www.naturalnews.com/z022870.html

Trouble in Paradise: Whole Truth on Whole Foods

Filed under: FDA — Tags: , , , — sesame seed @ 3:05 pm

Interesting article. Again, where’s our FDA on allowing WF and others to sell rGBH, MSG, etc? Why is it completely permissible to sell these toxins in foods? Where’s the oversight? And where’s the consumer action? It’s great to have informed consumers, but who’s protecting the most vulnerable and least informed?

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The Whole Story About Whole Foods Market

Tuesday, March 25, 2008 by: Barbara L. Minton (see all articles by this author)
| Key concepts: whole foods, Wild Oats and MSG(NaturalNews) Organic food has become the mantra of consumers who are aware of the dangers of pesticides, chemicals and hormones used in the growing and processing practices of the commercial food industry. Many of us have come to trust stores making the implied agreement with us that the food they are selling is largely organic, pure and free from pesticides, chemicals and hormones. We enjoy those stores where we can revel in nature’s bounty, enjoy righteous culinary delights, and take home whatever appeals to us because we’re sure it’s also good for us. Unfortunately, the merger of Whole Foods and Wild Oats may be a signal that it’s time to take off the rose colored glasses.

Behind the Merger

It came as no surprise that this merger was allowed even though it effectively wiped out the major competition in the organic market segment. The surprise involved the bizarre, pseudonymous behavior of Whole Foods CEO John Mackey during the six years between the first offer Whole Foods made to acquire Wild Oats, which was rebuffed, and the second offer made in February, 2007.

During those years Mackey posted almost daily on the Yahoo message board for Wild Oats’ stock under the name of “Rahodeb” (an anagram of his wife’s name). In these posts he belittled Wild Oats whenever its stock price rose, without disclosing who he was. In a post written in March of 2006, Mackey as Rahodeb said, “Whole Foods says they will open 25 stores in OATS territories in the next 2 years. The end game is now underway for OATs… Whole Foods is systematically destroying their viability as a business – market by market, city by city.”

These posts were designed to keep down the price of Wild Oats shares. The lower the Wild Oats stock price, the sweeter would be the merger price for Whole Foods. Mackey’s efforts to hold down the price may have also helped create pressure by OATS shareholders for their board to accept the depressed bid when it finally came. This sort of conventional commitment to the bottom line belies the feel-good healthy vibes pumped out by the Whole Foods publicity department, and it smacks of the behavior of more traditional corporate scoundrels.

Whole Foods: Image vs. Reality

Mackey has had great success at marketing Whole Foods to the typical affluent, well-educated, liberal organic supermarket customer. This is a lifestyle customer with a need to feel that he or she is contributing to the betterment of himself, mankind and the earth.

But it is harder than ever to make the case that shopping at Whole Foods is socially commendable. Whole Foods has faced well-deserved criticism for the effects it has on the environment, and its employees. In Michael Pollan’s bestseller, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, he describes Whole Foods as an “industrial organic” company that has done away with the counter-cuisine and local distribution that were the center of the 1960’s back-to-nature movement. As Pollan points out, there is nothing environmentally friendly or health conscious about Whole Food’s practice of flying asparagus from Argentina in January.

Whole Foods has responded to criticism by initiating programs to fund low-interest loans to local farmers, and put farmer’s market space in their parking lots. Follow-through on this initiative has been minimal although the store windows have been plastered with posters extolling the benefits of eating locally grown foods and spotlighting individual farmers.

But again, as one tours the produce section there is the perception that image and reality are quite different. In displays of largesse, fruits and vegetables are heaped into towering displays. Most of them have tags declaring their points of origin, and these points are California and Mexico for the most part, no matter where the store is located, no matter what the season.

Labor unions are also upset with Mackey. Although the image of the stores is abundance, bounty and the good life, Whole Foods is the second largest union-free food retailer, behind Wal-Mart. In its twenty-seven year history, only its store in Madison, Wisconsin successfully unionized, and that fell apart with no contract to show for the efforts of workers. Whole Foods has taken the position that unions are not valid, and has a pamphlet to give workers titled “Beyond Unions”. The chain has also fended off unionizing attempts in Berkeley, California; St. Paul Minnesota; and Falls Church, Virginia.

Quality Standards at Whole Foods

According to the Quality Standards page of the store’s website, Whole Foods features products that are “natural”, meaning “free of artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and hydrogenated oils”. It does not claim that all their products are free of such ingredients, just the featured products. They claim commitment to foods that are fresh, wholesome and safe to eat. This is the extent of the quality pledge the store makes to its customers. It does not claim that all the foods it sells are organic or free of everything troublesome.

There is an extensive Unacceptable Food Ingredients list posted on the website, and the impression is that these ingredients are not to be found in any foods sold at Whole Foods. Notably missing from this list is any mention of recombinant bovine growth hormone.

The quality standard for meat and poultry is “best tasting, freshest and most wholesome, naturally raised meat available”. There is no promise that its meat and poultry is free range, vegetarian fed, rBGH free, pastured or organic, although it does carry some organic meats. The word ‘naturally’ is not defined, nor does it have an industry standard definition. As applied to meat and poultry it can apparently mean anything from ‘free of all chemical additives’ to ‘not born with two heads’.

For produce the quality standard is “colorful and lovingly stacked”. Clearly Whole Foods shines in its variety of fresh organic fruits and vegetables, most of which has come a long distance from large corporate farms. There is little locally grown produce. Along side the organics are colorful and lovingly stacked conventional fruits and vegetables, priced as though they were organic.

Whole Foods conventional produce is grown under the same conditions as produce at the ‘regular’ supermarkets. This means it may be grown in depleted soil and fertilized with chemical fertilizers. Unless conventional produce is tagged as being pesticide free, it probably isn’t. And remember that other countries do not generally have the level of laws restricting the use of extremely toxic chemicals on produce that are in force in the US. Growers will tend to use the most cost effective pesticides rather than the least harmful.

Grocery items including cleaning products, pet foods, dairy and bulk are held to the standard of being “natural”. Many grocery items contain organic ingredients. Some of them are formulated identically with items sold at ‘regular’ stores, but sell at much higher prices.

Many of the canned or boxed items such as, soups, chili, stews, gravies, and prepared frozen or boxed entrees and meals contain MSG although it is on Whole Foods list of unacceptable food ingredients. Because MSG is so ubiquitous in formulations, you can suspect its presence in large numbers of bagged, bottled, frozen or canned foods at all stores including Whole Foods, but it is often hidden under another name. When you see any of these ingredients, you know the product contains MSG:

* Vegetable Protein Extract

* Gelatin

* Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein

* Autolyzed Vegetable Protein

* Textured Vegetable Protein

* Yeast Extract

* Autolyzed Yeast Extract

* Sodium Caseinate

* Calcium Caseinate

* Soup Base

* Textured Whey Protein

Foods containing these ingredients often contain MSG:

* Malted Barley

* Maltodextrin

* Broth

* Bouillon

* Carrageenan

* Protein Isolate

* Pectin

* Enzymes

* Seasonings

* Spices

* Soy Protein or Soy Protein Isolates

* Cornstarch

* Rice or Oat Protein

* and anything fermented or modified with enzymes

None of these appear on the unacceptable food ingredients’ page. Apparently if it’s called something else, MSG is acceptable at Whole Foods.

Dairy products may or may not contain rBGH. The ones that don’t are displayed next to the ones that do. Some are organic, some are not.

Bakery items contain no bleached or bromated flour. Many do contain processed white sugar.

Personal care products contain many of the ingredients listed on the unacceptable food ingredients’ list. Apparently if it enters your body through the skin instead of the mouth it is okay with them.

The crown jewel of Whole Foods is probably its hot and cold prepared foods. Again, the quality standard for these foods is the nebulous word ‘natural’. There are no artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors, or synthetic preservatives in their prepared foods.

The salad bar contains a few organic items, denoted by red tongs. Most items on the salad bar are conventional, the kind that are found in salad bars everywhere.

The deli dishes as well as those on the hot bar are also made to the ‘natural’ standard. They contain almost no organic ingredients. Some contain MSG in the form of vegetable/beef/chicken stock, or hydrolyzed vegetable proteins. Many are liberally laced with canola oil.

What it All Means

Whole Foods is a Fortune 500 Company, a huge and highly profitable corporation that owes its allegiance to its shareholders. As every good corporation yearns to do, Whole Foods is exploiting a niche market in which it is the only big player. Since it has cleared the field of major competitors, it is free to raise prices and reduce quality. But if prices go too high or quality too low, another competitor will come along. This is the way of big business. That the schism between image and reality may be less at Whole Foods than at many corporations is of some comfort.

About the author

Barbara is a school psychologist, a published author in the area of personal finance, a breast cancer survivor using “alternative” treatments, a born existentialist, and a student of nature and all things natural.

http://www.naturalnews.com/022881.html

March 19, 2008

Outrage of the Day: Protest the MOTHERS Act

If you need an explanation of why antidepressants aren’t good for fetuses (let alone adults and teens), I don’t know what to say. Read the article, sign the petition, contact your representatives. Psychotropic drugs–> mind control. Herbs, diet, and exercise–> things Big Pharma can’t profit from. We must be the change! Social change can come from good health and good nutrition. Don’t make yourself a hostage to Big Pharma!

NaturalNews.com printable article

Originally published March 6 2008

MOTHERS Act Seeks to Drug Expectant Mothers with Antidepressants to “Treat” Postpartum Depression

by Mike Adams

(NaturalNews) A new law being considered in the U.S. Congress would attempt to prevent postpartum depression in new moms by drugging them with SSRI antidepressant drugs while they’re still pregnant. This legislation is being aggressively pushed by pro-pharma front groups in an effort to expand the customer base for SSRI drugs by targeting pregnant women as new “customers” for the chemicals. It’s an example of the latest insanity from Big Pharma, whose drugs are already killing over 100,000 Americans each year while inciting violence and suicides in teens. Every single shooting massacre we’ve seen in the last ten years has been carried out by a person taking SSRI antidepressant drugs. The mainstream media pays no attention to this link, and the FDA ignores the reports in order to keep these drugs on the market.

SSRI drugs have never been approved for use on newborns, yet this new MOTHERS Act will effectively drug unborn babies and newborns with drugs like Prozac. This will certainly have an impact on their developing brains, and the bulk of the research available today shows that the impact will be negative. Will these children be more prone to violent thoughts and behavior? Will they contemplate suicide at younger ages? And what will be the impact of the drugs on the mother?

For one mother who was drugged with antidepressants — Amy Philo — the drugs caused her to experience thoughts of violence against her own newborn babies. After taking antidepressants prescribed by her doctor, she had visions of killing them (and herself). Upon returning to her doctor, Amy was told to increase the dosage! Eventually, Amy realized the drugs were wrecking her own brain chemistry, and she stopped taking the pills entirely, causing the thoughts of violence and suicide to subside.

Now, Amy is leading a campaign to stop the MOTHERS Act. She’s posted a heart-wrenching 5-minute video on YouTube that tells her story (with pictures of her babies, too!):
http://youtube.com/watch?v=LQW23XCmOCw

A local news station also covered her story, and that report can be viewed here:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=W4B8I_8wz6I

An article explaining more about the effort to stop the MOTHERS Act is found here:
http://birthfriend.wordpress.com/2008/0…

As you’ll learn from these videos and articles, the real purpose of the MOTHERS Act is to drug the mothers. Thus, it should really be called the Drug the MOTHERS Act! It’s being pushed by drug companies, of course, and backed by psychiatrists and corrupt government officials who have close ties to the pharmaceutical industry. The whole point of this act is not to protect mothers from depression, but to recruit mothers as patients and, by doing so, also expose newborns to psychiatric drugs that will destroy their normal brain function and turn them into lifelong customers requiring ongoing chemical treatment.

We must stop the MOTHERS Act. It is a dangerous law created for marketing purposes, not medical purposes. Treating pregnant women with antidepressant drugs (and thereby exposing their unborn babies to those drugs) is one of the most outrageous pro-pharma ideas to come along in many years. It’s not enough to drug the teenagers and children with these dangerous pharmaceuticals, now Big Pharma wants to start drugging children before they’re even born!

If this law is passed and implemented, I fear for the future of our babies. Imbalanced by these dangerous pharmaceuticals, mothers are likely to commit acts of extreme violence against their children. Then they will be thrown into the prison system, of course, where they will be drugged with yet more psychiatric drugs (generating yet more profits for Big Pharma). Their children, meanwhile, will be taken away by Child Protective Services and treated with psychiatric drugs under the care of a “psychiatric doctors” who, of course, will poison that child’s brain with a never-ending regimen of Big Pharma’s chemicals. Do you see the scam here? By “screening” pregnant women for depression, they can create TWO new patients for psychiatric drugs, even though a family is destroyed in the process.

This is precisely the aim of Big Pharma: Sell more drugs, create more markets, and earn more profits regardless of the cost in human suffering. Big Pharma has zero concern for families and zero compassion for human beings. It only seeks to poison the minds of the people through television advertising and psychiatric drugs, all while maximizing its own profits.

What you can do to stop the MOTHERS Act

We must work together to stop this dangerous act that would recruit mothers to be treated with dangerous psychiatric drugs (while exposing their unborn babies to those same drugs).

Sign the petition:
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/stop-t…

Also, see Unite For Life at:
http://uniteforlife.org/MOTHERSact.htm#…

By the way, this is not an article about pro-life vs. pro-choice on the issue of unborn babies, and I use the term “unborn babies” in a purely humanitarian sense, because a child that’s in the womb and about to be born is clearly an “unborn baby” whose health must be protected. I am opposed to the drugging of mothers during any trimester. Pharmaceuticals simply do not belong in expectant mothers. Those pharmaceuticals pass straight through to the blood of the fetus. Regardless of whether you’re pro-life or pro-choice on the issue of abortion, I hope you agree that pregnant women should not be drugged with antidepressants!

Press release from UNITE / CHAADA

UNITE / CHAADA / ICFDA / COPES Foundation Objection to the Proposed MOTHERS Act – Bill before Senate Puts Young Children and Mothers in Serious Danger

To the HELP Committee of the United States Senate:

For years, the March of Dimes has warned not to use meds while pregnant. Why now encourage mothers to take drugs?

Please register this extreme objection to the proposed MOTHERS Act (S. 1375) which is now before you in committee. It is my earnest hope that you will immediately defeat this bill in committee. The bill has been brought to you under the guise of ensuring safety or support for new mothers; however, nothing could be further from the truth.

The bill was originally proposed in response to the death by suicide of Melanie Stokes, a pharmaceutical rep. who took her own life by leaping from a balcony several stories off of the ground. Contrary to popular understanding it was not post-partum depression that killed Melanie, but the numerous antidepressant drugs she was taking, which the FDA confirmed double the suicide risk.

Nobody is suggesting that new moms do not ever experience mood swings, depression, or even psychotic episodes. The more important issue is what the effect of this bill will be and why nobody is addressing potential methods of prevention. Everyone knows how many young moms experience gestational diabetes, but who is addressing the even higher rate of gestational hypoglycemia, which often initially manifests as depression? This is a physical condition that is treated with diet and is exacerbated by antidepressants (which list hypoglycemia as a side effect).

To simply screen women for post-partum mood disorders and ensure that they get “treatment,” we would be setting families up for the expectation of tragedy and increasing the chances of that actually happening when we refer them to medical “professionals” who are oblivious to the negative mind-altering effects of psychiatric drugs. A popular opinion among medical caregivers these days is that “post-partum mood disorders” must be a sign of an underlying biochemical imbalance and would be corrected with drugs.

Current drugs used on post-partum women include SSRIs, atypical antidepressants, and even antipsychotic drugs. These pose a significant risk to the immediate safety and health of women as well as their children and families. SSRIs carry a black box warning for suicide and the most popular one, Effexor (the same medication Andrea Yates was taking when she drowned her 5 children), has the words “homicidal ideation” listed as a side effect. Nearly every recent case of infanticide which has made news can be clearly linked back to a psychiatric drug. These drugs endanger babies and mothers.

Additionally, the drugs can be extremely addictive and also pose a risk to nurslings or babies exposed in subsequent pregnancies. Some babies have died from SIDS linked to exposure from pregnancy or nursing; others have experienced coma, seizures, GI bleeding, heart defects, lung problems, and many babies died before reaching full term or soon after birth.

The bill does not address the fact that studies show that biological agents (antidepressants for example) cited in the bill and already prescribed to pregnant women can cause congenital heart birth defects where children have had to undergo open-heart surgeries to correct this. Also, some babies are being born with organs outside their bodies, requiring immediate surgery.

In closing I want to re-emphasize the total lack of any real answer to post-partum depression posed by this bill. If we can prevent post-partum depression or support moms through it, or offer proven SAFE and EFFECTIVE natural alternatives to dangerous drugs, then we should. However we should never, ever become party to a pharmaceutical campaign to push drugs on the public. We will set ourselves up for disaster if we allow an invasion into the privacy of every family in the country and suggest to our most vulnerable citizens that they might be mentally ill.

We must do everything in our power to protect innocent children, and giving their mothers addictive drugs which pose a significant risk of causing suicide and violence does not protect anyone. It does cause the child to become addicted while still in the womb and sets up drug dependence which can be lifelong.

We still have no idea what effect most drugs have on developing brains. It might take decades for the impact on the developing brain to become apparent.

For information on the research pertaining to the risks of antidepressants and other treatments for new moms and their babies, details about the Melanie Stokes case (or you can read the letter by Dr. Ann Blake Tracy at http://uniteforlife.org/MOTHERSact.htm#…), as well as information on prevention strategies and safe, effective treatments for post-partum mood disorders, please contact us.

Sincerely,

Amy Philo
Founder, www.uniteforlife.org
Co-Founder, www.chaada.org

Camille Milke
Founder, www.copesfoundation.com
New Mexico State Director of the ICFDA http://www.drugawareness.org/home.html
Mother of a victim of psychiatric drug-induced suicide and grandmother to a now motherless child

Dr. Ann Blake Tracy
Executive Director of the ICFDA
http://www.drugawareness.org/home.html
Author of Prozac: Pancaea or Pandora? Our Serotonin Nightmare

December 21, 2007

Mercola on Media: Why Media Consolidation is Bad for Your Health

Media outlets and Big Pharma demonstrate incredible collusion, to say the least. They are serving up disinformation concerning your most vital resource, your health.

Dr. Mercola’s newsletter is one of the best on the internet to help you 1. sort out disinformation; 2. get on the road to better health; 3. learn how to think logically and holistically (a corollary of 1 & 2).

Why You Are Being Deceived by the News Media

http://v.mercola.com/blogs/public_blog/Why-You-Are-Being-Deceived-by-the-News-Media-20815.aspx

In the last 15 years, your sources for news have shrunk drastically.

Whereas in 1983, 50 corporations ruled the U.S. news media, by 2004 this number decreased to a minuscule six corporations.

When Ben Bagdikian predicted this more than 20 years ago in his book The Media Monopoly, he was called “alarmist”. But when he updated his book in the 1990’s, there were already fewer than two dozen media corporations controlling almost all of America’s newspapers, magazines, TV stations, radio stations, books, records, movies, videos, wire services and photo agencies. He predicted that the number would fall even farther, and was greeted with skepticism. But his critics have been proven wrong as an increasingly small number of corporations control an increasingly huge percentage of the media market.

I

Media Reform Information Center

Dr. Mercola’s Comment:

Today, your mind is controlled by Time Warner, Disney, Murdoch’s News Corporation, Bertelsmann of Germany, Viacom (formerly CBS) and General Electric’s NBC. These are the top owners of the entire media industry, which includes everything you read and hear in newspapers, magazines, TV and radio stations, books, records, movies, videos, wire services and photo agencies. Is this a problem?

You bet it is!

There is Virtually No Competition in the Media Market Today Whatsoever

With a paltry six mega-corporations deciding what’s news and what’s not, you end up with a watered-down, hyped-up, “Paris-Hilton-Daily-Blow-By-Blow” censored for entertainment-value type information, which somehow now passes for news.

The Internet has Become the Last Bastion of Independent, Free-Thinking News

And health-related information is no exception to this rule. These mega-companies wield incredible power when it comes to slamming down the natural health industry and dumbing down the public. You have seen proof of it on numerous occasions already, with their “shocking news that vitamins are bad for your health” articles, just as an example.

I am proud to be a top-ranked independent voice in the vastness of corporate monopoly, offering information to empower you with alternative choices that can revolutionize your health, open your eyes to the truth, and keep you safely out of the pharmaceutical sickness loop.

http://www.mercola.com/2003/nov/22/reuters.htm

World’s Largest Media Source Controlled by World’s Largest Drug Company

 
By Dr. Joseph MercolaReuters supplies the global business community and news media with a range of products including real-time financial data, transaction systems, access to numeric and textual historical databases, news and pictures. In my view they are the strongest news collection agency in the world, and they supply the majority of the news you hear on the radio, see on TV or read in the paper. They are also a major source of news for my Web site and my blog.

Three years ago Glaxo Wellcome-SmithKline merged with Beecham to create the world’s largest drug company. This company is one of the primary distributors of hepatitis B vaccine, which I frequently warn about.

Well, a Texas attorney provided me with some documentation that shows a strong link between Glaxo and Reuters. As shown on the GlaxoSmithKline Web site, Sir Christopher Hogg is Glaxo’s non-executive chairman. Sir Christopher Hogg was born in 1936 and has an MBA from Harvard. Interestingly, Sir Christopher is also the non-executive chairman at Reuters.

It does not take much intelligence to understand that Reuters, the world’s primary source of news information, is heavily prejudiced in favor of the drug company. We have a major uphill battle to fight against these forces. Fortunately, the Internet and technology has seriously leveled the playing field and is one of the primary reasons why I remain highly confident that we are making more than a dent in the process.

For one, this newsletter is starting to make a difference. Earlier this year I began promoting raw milk and it started to make a national impact–so much so that an investigative reporter from the Wall Street Journal did an extensive interview with me for a recent front-page story on the topic. National Fox News also did an extensive interview with me on the same topic. Interestingly, both of these organizations neglected to include me in their final stories.

The important point to realize though is that this newsletter–and you–are making a difference. The major national media is starting to pay attention. They have no choice. We have to capture media attention to expand the message of health care freedom from the drug company tyranny. SO, please continue to encourage all your friends and relatives to sign up for the free newsletter so you and your children can have a healthier future.

Most Media Coverage of Drugs Highly Biased

 
A study of how the mainstream mass media covers health found that many news stories on drugs fail to report side effects or researchers’ financial ties to the companies that make the medications. The researchers looked at 207 newspaper and TV stories from 1994 to 1998 on three drugs: aspirin; Zocor, a cholesterol-lowering drug; and Fosamax, an osteoporosis drug.In the 170 stories that cited experts or scientific studies, half included at least one expert or study with financial ties to the drug’s manufacturer. Of those, only 40 percent reported the potential conflict of interest. The study also found that fewer than half the news stories reported the drugs’ side effects and only 30 percent noted their cost.This report was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, whose incoming editor has been charged by the FDA for an apparent conflict of interest involving a drug company. He has admitted that he may have made a mistake last year when he praised a new asthma drug made by a company that had hired him to evaluate studies about the medication.

Additionally, forty percent of the stories studied did not report the numbers behind the claims of medical benefits. Also, 83 percent of the studies reported only the relative benefit, 2 percent reported only the absolute benefit, and only 15 percent reported both.

For example, many 1996 stories about a Fosamax study said the drug would cut an osteoporosis patient’s risk of a broken hip in half – the relative benefit. But most failed to include the absolute reduction in risk, from a 2 percent chance of a hip fracture to 1 percent.

Reporting only the relative benefit is an approach that has been shown to increase the enthusiasm of doctors and patients for long-term preventive treatments and that could be viewed as potentially misleading. In addition, while most of the top medical journals require researchers to report their financial ties to drug companies, some studies do not include the information because a researcher fails to disclose it.

New England Journal of Medicine 2000; 342: 1668-1671.

COMMENT: Here we have it again. NEJM comes up with two winner articles documenting the incredible influence that the drug companies have on the media. With their new editor coming in my guess is that we will not see these types of articles published again in the near future.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be fooled. That is the purpose of this newsletter, to give you the truth behind the health news you see on TV or read in the paper or periodicals. I have access to the same wire feeds that the news media does, but no drug company is funding me to influence what I have to say. If you feel that this service is helpful and would like to help your friends and relatives receive the truth behind the headlines you can encourage them to subscribe to the newsletter by clicking on the button below. My goal is to have this news reach as many people as possible. If a significant mass of people understand the truth we will be able to change the way health care is done in this country. I believe the goal is achievable as the Internet levels the playing field. It will happen eventually, but you can facilitate that process by helping to spread the word.

http://www.mercola.com/2003/apr/2/drug_companies.htm

More Drug Company Conflict of Interests

A government review of widely prescribed anti-depressant drugs may not be trustworthy as most of the members have ties to the drug manufacturers.

The side effects of Seroxat, Prozac and other antidepressant drugs in the SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) class were undergoing an “intensive review” because many patients have reported severe withdrawal symptoms when trying to come off Seroxat.

Additionally, the drugs have been associated with a small number of suicides, committed shortly after patients, who were not previously in severely depressed states, began taking the drugs.

However, two of the four scientists on the review board hold shares in GlaxoSmithKline, manufacturers of Seroxat. Two other members of the review team were involved in the promotional press launch of Seroxat, and the chairman of the team was one of the signatories to a paper that concluded withdrawal symptoms from SSRIs are rare and relatively mild.

In addition, the review will not take into account first-hand evidence from patients, only reports from their doctors.

The team was drawn from the committee on the safety of medicines, which is part of the Department of Health’s medicines control agency. The committee maintains that team members leave the room if they have personal interests such as shareholdings to an aspect of the discussion.

Reportedly, several members of the team did declare personal interests and left the room during some discussions, however meeting minutes showed that all members did not declare all of their manufacturer connections.

The medicines control agency stated that the system for preventing conflicts of interests works well and that there has been no evidence showing that team members did not act with integrity.

The Guardian March 17, 2003


Dr. Mercola’s Comment

The traditional medical paradigm is fatally flawed. Relying on drugs and surgeries to correct diseases caused by poor diet and stress is a prescription for disaster.

If you haven’t seen the signs around you please take notice. Health costs are rising through the roof, and shortly we will be spending over 2 trillion dollars a year for health care in the U.S.

It is safe to estimate that over three-fourths of this money is wasted on short-term fixes, primarily drugs and surgeries, which in no way address the long-term cause of the problem.

If those funds were redirected to optimize food and stress concerns, we would have more than enough funds left over to help the more than 40 million uninsured Americans.

The above article provides a solid review of the pervasive influence of drug companies.

By being aware of their self-interested motives you can keep yourself from falling into their deceptive traps.

November 30, 2007

Need more reasons to hate Big Pharma?

Folks, 1. how about asking yourself if you really need a drug or 2. asking first if a non-invasive herb could do the job of a drug?

Or, change your diet and activity level–for free–so that you don’t get sick, and don’t need a doctor.

30-Nov-2007

Dear Cecil:

I recently heard a statistic on a radio talk show that in the U.S. alone there are over 7,000 deaths per year due to mistakes made by pharmacists because of the physicians’ illegible handwriting on the prescription! Can this be true? — Don Jones, Berea, Ohio

Cecil replies:

You’d almost hope so, Don, given that Time magazine saw fit to lead with it: “Doctors’ sloppy handwriting,” a January 2007 article begins, “kills more than 7,000 people annually.” (I’d bet Darvon to doughnuts that’s where the radio personality you heard saw it.) But the author may have had some difficulty deciphering his own notes: the actual stat alluded to — apparently from a 1998 Lancet paper via subsequent reports by the Institute of Medicine — is that each year 7,000 U.S. deaths result from all medication-related errors of any sort, inside and outside hospitals, and not just those tied to poor penmanship.

Which, of course, is still plenty to ponder while popping your next pill, and there’s more where that came from. Scanning an IOM report from last year we learn:

  • About 1,400 prescribing errors are made per every 1,000 hospital admissions (remember that a typical inpatient may receive 20-plus doses of meds daily), more than 100 of them serious.
  • Two leading studies of medication errors made by nursing home staff didn’t even include the most common mistake, administering drugs at the wrong time, and still found between 12 and 15 errors per 100 doses.
  • A 2003 study reported that nearly one in eight prescriptions phoned in to pharmacies contain misinformation, while estimates of pharmacists’ error rate in dispensing drugs range from under 2 percent up to nearly 24 percent. Even using the lowest figure, that’s more than 50 million mistakes a year nationwide.

(Anecdotal evidence break: My assistant Una says she gets the same six prescriptions filled monthly and guesses the pharmacy commits one serious screwup every other month — an 8 percent error rate on refills, for God’s sake.)

But whatever the incidence of medication errors (and more figures got thrown around last week following the heparin overdose reportedly given to Dennis Quaid’s infant twins), it’s hard to pin down the role of handwriting. One small-scale study from 2002 found that 15 percent of handwritten medical records at a Spanish hospital were unclear due to legibility problems (the surgeons’ notes were the worst), a 2001 British paper reported that more than 10 percent of handwritten prescriptions contained errors, and U.S. studies have found that 20 percent of prescriptions or more were unreadable or readable only with effort. Some experts estimate that maybe a quarter of medication errors are due to illegibility. But time-honored notions aside, comparative studies disagree over whether those who’ve earned an MD do tend to have worse handwriting than those who haven’t. Maybe it only seems that way when that little scrap of paper could determine whether you live or die.

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/071130.html

By the way, folks, don’t let this mass-media stuff about handwriting errors fool you into the propaganda that health records really need to be “computerized” and scannable and available everywhere, or even in a chip (or verichip), because suddenly doctors are just so stupid. There is a technology to get your records quickly from one doctor to another. It is called a fax machine. These medical errors are caused by overmedication just as much as handwriting flaws. Not to mention that the FDA takes bribes and approves drugs and foods that have not been fully tested and which are harmful (aspartame, vioxx, etc).

November 27, 2007

Understanding Verichip/ RFID for busy people 2

Some of the more relevant, less repetitive articles I come across…these are just three from the wide collection at infowars.com–which, in turn, is culled from many others. This trend cannot be denied; consequently, it is our responsibility to understand and inform our legislators and power-makers that we do not want this invisibly sewn into our clothes, or planted into our flesh.

Human chips more than skin-deep

C Net | August 23 2004

There’s not a lot of middle ground on the subject of implanting electronic identification chips in humans.

Advocates of technologies like radio frequency identification tags say their potentially life-saving benefits far outweigh any Orwellian concerns about privacy. RFID tags sewn into clothing or even embedded under people’s skin could curb identity theft, help identify disaster victims and improve medical care, they say.

Critics, however, say such technologies would make it easier for government agencies to track a person’s every movement and allow widespread invasion of privacy. Abuse could take countless other forms, including corporations surreptitiously identifying shoppers for relentless sales pitches. Critics also speculate about a day when people’s possessions will be tagged–allowing nosy subway riders with the right technology to examine the contents of nearby purses and backpacks.

“Invasion of privacy is going to be impossible to avoid,” said Katherine Albrecht, the founder and director of Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering, or CASPIAN, a watchdog group created to monitor the use of data collected in the so-called loyalty programs used increasingly by supermarkets. Albrecht worries about a day when “every physical item is registered to its owner.”

The overriding idea behind tagging people with chips–whether through implants or wearable devices such as bracelets–is to improve identification and, consequently, tighten access to restricted information or physical areas.

But on top of civil liberties and other policy issues, such technologies face visceral objections from many people who frown on the idea of being implanted with tags that can track them like migrating tuna. Complaints have led several companies to abandon plans to use RFID technologies in products, much less in human bodies.

The concept of implanting chips for tracking purposes was introduced to the general public more than a decade ago, when pet owners began using them to keep tabs on dogs and cats. The notion of embedding RFID tags in the human body, though, remained largely theoretical until the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, when a technology executive saw firefighters writing their badge numbers on their arms so that they could be identified in case they became disfigured or trapped.

Richard Seelig, vice president of medical applications at security specialist Applied Digital Solutions, inserted a tracking tag in his own arm and told the company’s CEO that it worked. A new product, the VeriChip, was born.

Applied Digital formed a division named after the chip and says it has sold about 7,000 of the electronic tags. An estimated 1,000 have been inserted in humans, mostly outside the United States, with no harmful physical side effects reported from the subcutaneous implants, the company said.

“It is used instead of other biometric applications,” such as fingerprints, said Angela Fulcher, vice president of marketing at VeriChip, which is based in Palm Beach, Fla. The basic technology comes from Digital Angel, a sister company under the Applied corporate umbrella that has sold thousands of tags for identifying pets and other animals.

VeriChip makes 11-millimeter RFID tags that are implanted in the fatty tissue below the right tricep. When near a scanner, the chip is activated and emits an ID number. When a person’s tag number matches an ID in a database, the person is allowed to enter a secured room or complete a financial transaction.

So far, enhancing physical security–controlling access to buildings or other areas–remains the most common application. RFID chips cannot track someone in real time the way the Global Positioning System does, but they can provide information such as whether a particular individual has gone through a door.

Latin American customers are looking at both technologies for security purposes, which partly explains why some of VeriChip’s early clients included Mexico’s attorney general, as well as a Mexican agency trying to curb the country’s kidnapping epidemic, and commercial distributors in Venezuela and Colombia.

The value of these technologies was underscored recently by a CNET News.com reader who wrote from Puerto Rico to inquire about their development. In her e-mail, Frances Pabon said she hopes that RFID or GPS technologies can be used for her husband, who must travel through neighborhoods in San Juan that are infested with crack dealers.

“I think safeguarding his safety doesn’t necessarily violate his privacy,” she wrote. “And if I am made to choose between keeping him safe versus keeping him private, I’d rather keep him safe and then change private data such as credit cards, bank accounts, etc., after.”

Safety has been a primary driver in some U.S. applications as well. An Arizona company called Technology Systems International, for example, says it has improved security in prisons with an RFID-like system for inmates and guards. The company’s products came out in 2001 and are based on technology licensed from Motorola, which created it for the U.S. military to find gear lost in battle.

TSI’s wristbands for inmates transmit signals every two seconds to a battery of antennas mounted in the prison facility. By examining the time the signal is received by each antenna, a computer can determine the exact location of each prisoner at any given time and can reconstruct prisoners’ movements later, if necessary to investigate their actions.

Since the technology was installed at participating prisons, violence is down up to 60 percent in some facilities, said TSI President Greg Oester, who says the wristbands are designed for the “uncooperative user.” TSI, a division of security company Alanco Technologies, has installed the system in four prisons and will add a fifth soon.

“Inmates know they are being monitored and know they will get caught. The word spreads very quickly,” Oester said. “It increases the safety in facilities.”

In a California prison that uses the TSI technology, an inmate confessed to stabbing another prisoner 20 minutes after authorities showed him data from his radio transmitter that placed him in the victim’s cell at the time of the stabbing, Oester said. A women’s prison in the state has begun a pilot program to test whether the technology prevents sexual assaults.

Conversely, at an Illinois prison, Oester said, convicts have pointed to this sort of data as a way to prove that they weren’t involved in prison incidents. Guards have similar tags, embedded in pagers rather than wristbands, which set off an alarm if they are removed or tampered with.

Tagging hospital patients…and alumni?
Beyond law enforcement, the technology is drawing interest from a variety of industries that have pressing security needs. Companies that operate highly sensitive facilities, such as nuclear power plants, are looking at TSI’s technology.

Hospitals in Europe and the United States are also experimenting with inserting tags in ID bracelets. The Jacobi Medical Center in New York, along with Siemens Business Services, has launched a pilot program that will outfit more than 200 patients with radio bracelets.

This technology is designed to enable various health care professionals to obtain patient information such as X-rays and medical histories from a database securely and more quickly. The system will also use antennas to track individuals as they walk about the hospital and send alerts if a patient begins to collapse. Other pilot systems are being tested specifically to monitor patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

As such tagging systems become more widely known, some industries that hadn’t been expected to use the technology are considering innovative applications of it. A South Carolina firearms maker, FN Manufacturing, is evaluating the technology for use in “smart guns” equipped with grip sensors that would allow only their owners to use them.

In a less violent but practical application, Ray Hogan of Princeton University’s alumni association has contemplated distributing RFID bracelets among meeting attendees to track attendance at events that have multiple components. The technology would let organizers see which programs attendees find most valuable by virtue of how long they stay. Like others, however, Hogan says privacy issues may well keep the idea from becoming a reality.

When such technologies are employed, they can be even more effective if implanted in the body. Supporters and critics both say RFID tags under the skin would invariably increase the volume and quality of personal data, with the benefit of, at the very least, reducing the margin of error for misidentification in the event of a disaster.

The problem, detractors say, is that the vast quantities of accumulated data would be vulnerable to theft and abuse. They cite historical practices of retail establishments, which for years have listened in on customer conversations and viewed consumer behavior on remote cameras to improve sales. Supermarkets routinely collect data about individual shoppers’ purchases and buying habits through “loyalty programs,” along with credit card and electronic banking transactions.

Even random individuals could spy on those with tags, because today’s RFID technologies do not yet have the processing power to encrypt information. “I don’t see how you can get enough power into those things” to encrypt data, said Whitfield Diffie, a fellow and security expert at Sun Microsystems.

Some consumers have described scenarios in which a hacker could extract a person’s identification number with an RFID reader, create a chip with the same number and then impersonate them. But even if such chip forgery were possible, alerts would probably be sounded as soon as a system detected that the same person was in two different places at once.

Still, implanting RFID chips could vastly increase the potential for police surveillance of ordinary citizens. Conceivably, every wall socket could become an RFID reader that feeds into a government database.

Critics contend that if tagging gets out of control, the day will eventually come when the cops will be able to trace junk thrown in a public trash can back to the person who tossed it.

“Do you want the people in power to have that much power?” Albrecht asked rhetorically. “The infrastructure obstacle has been overcome. It is called electricity and the Internet. ”

———

What the FDA Won’t Tell You about the VeriChip

CBN News | December 10, 2004

A little electronic capsule, smaller than a dime, could be one of the biggest technological advances in how we share and store private medical records. It may also be one of the most controversial.

Known as the VeriChip, it is a microchip that is implanted under a person’s skin, and then scanned with a special reader device to reveal important medical data about that person.

Applied Digital, the Florida-based company that makes the VeriChip, hopes the implant will revolutionize how doctors obtain medical information, particularly in emergency situations. Theoretically, if a person can’t speak, medics could scan that person and quickly be linked to a database that would provide crucial information like the patient’s identity, blood type and drug allergies.

Dr. Csaba Magassi, a plastic surgeon in Northern Virginia, is among a nationwide network of doctors who are ready and waiting to implant the VeriChip into willing patients. His office receives calls daily from people inquiring about the chip.

Dr. Magassi said, “If you are in an auto accident, [and] you are unconscious, they could scan you, know exactly who you are; your medical history can easily be printed out onto the hospital record.”

Dr. Magassi added, “If a patient comes in requesting the VeriChip, I usually tell them it takes between two and five minutes to place the device in place. A needle which contains the VeriChip is inserted. The needle pushes the device through, and it is implanted permanently. Put a bandaid on and you are done.”

Dr. Magassi demonstrated the procedure for CBN News on an apple. Once the microchip was inserted, the hand-held scanner read the number on the chip using radio frequency waves. Think of it as a human barcode.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the VeriChip implant for medical use in humans in October, a huge victory for Applied Digital.

In an effort to jumpstart interest, the company launched the “Get Chipped” campaign. It is offering a discount to the first few hundred people who get the implant, and also plans to donate hundreds of scanners to the nation’s trauma units to promote use of the VeriChip.

But in a letter obtained by CBN News from the FDA to the VeriChip makers, the microchip is not completely safe. In fact, the letter lists a whole host of health risks associated with the device, including “adverse tissue reaction,” “electrical hazards” and “MRI incompatibility.”

Applied Digital and the Food and Drug Administration refused our requests for an interview to discuss these risks.

Consumer privacy advocate Katherine Albrecht said, “There are millions of people that have read the press reports about all the positives of this technology, but really have no idea about its dangers.”

Albrecht strongly opposes the VeriChip for the physical risks it poses, as well as the privacy risks. She has been called “the Erin Brokovich of RFID chips.”

On her Web site, http://www.spychips.com, Albrecht reveals the potential dangers of the VeriChip and other radio frequency identification methods.

Albrecht said, “There’s a very serious concern that, already, engineers and people who think along those lines are already thinking like hackers and criminals — they’re already starting to say, how can this system be compromised, how can it be abused? When you are dealing with a radio frequency device, by design, it is transmitting info using invisible radio waves at a distance. In this case, that distance is only a couple of inches or a couple of feet so it’s not a huge distance, but it means that anyone who can get within a couple of inches or a few feet of you, even with a reader device they have hidden in a backpack or a purse, would be able to scan that number, obtain that info and potentially duplicate it.”

And it is not just private medical information at stake. The microchip implant technology has been around for several years now, and has been used for a variety of different applications.

Thousands of chips have been implanted in pets by veterinarians for identification purposes. Livestock is now chipped to track things like mad-cow disease. Manufacturers are putting chips in products like clothing and shoes for marketing research.

In Mexico, the attorney general and his top aides were chipped for security purposes. And, in Spain at the Baja Beach Club, patrons can get a microchip with their financial information implanted, so they can pay for their cocktails with a swipe of the arm. As these pictures seem to suggest, getting chipped is fun and painless.

Applied Digital also launched a brand new application for the chip last year called the “VeriPay.” This implant would hold all of a person’s financial information. Rather than swipe a card or pay cash, consumers would scan their wrists for purchases. And, if a swipe of the wrist becomes too troublesome, there are already prototypes made of doorway portals that can simply scan a person and their purchases as they walk through the door.

Allbrecht said, “I think there is a very real concern that, down the road, such a chip would become mandatory. And not necessarily initially, but it would be voluntary, in the same way let’s say as credit cards or a drivers license is voluntary. No one forces you to have a driver’s license or to have a cell phone, but yet the vast majority of people do, because it is very difficult to function in a normal society without it.”

For now, though, a microchip implant is voluntary. Only a few thousand chips have been sold and only a fraction of those have been implanted in humans.

For someone who wants an implant for medical purposes, Dr. Magassi and others are standing by. Magassi says, “If they want it, God love ‘em. I’ll put it in. It’s as simple as that.”

The VeriChip just recently made its debut in a Miami, Florida nightclub, where patrons had the opportunity to “Get Chipped,” much like the Baja Beach club patrons in Spain.

—-

LIFE WITH BIG BROTHER
People-tracking closer to reality Deal forged to equip VeriChip with global positioning satellite

WorldNetDaily | December 23, 2004

Setting the stage for controversial tracking technology, the satellite telecommunications company ORBCOMM has signed an agreement with VeriChip Corp., maker of the world’s first implantable radio frequency identification microchip.

VeriChip, a subsidiary of Applied Digital , will work with ORBCOMM to develop and market new military, security and healthcare applications in the U.S. and around the world, the company said.

As WorldNetDaily reported , Applied Digital has created and successfully field-tested a prototype of an implant for humans with GPS, or global positioning satellite, technology.

Satellites monitored 24 hours a day from ORBCOMM’s Network Control Center in Dulles, Va. (photo courtesy: ORBCOMM)

Once inserted into a human, it can be tracked by GPS technology and the information relayed wirelessly to the Internet, where an individual’s location, movements and vital signs can be stored in a database for future reference.

“ORBCOMM’s relationship with VeriChip provides yet another new and important industry that will use the ORBCOMM satellite system and its ground infrastructure network to transmit messages globally,” ORBCOMM CEO Jerry Eisenberg said.

Initially, after privacy concerns and verbal protests over marketing the technology for government use , Applied backed away from public discussion about such implants and the possibility of using them to usher in a “cashless society.”

In addition, to quell privacy concerns , the company issued numerous denials , stating it had no plans for implants.

When WND reported in April 2002 that the company planned such implant technology, Applied Digital spokesman Matthew Cossolotto accused WND of intentionally printing falsehoods.

Less than three weeks later, however, the company issued a press release announcing that it was accelerating development on a GPS implant.

Companies Will Jointly Develop and Market Innovative Military, Security and Healthcare Applications for VeriChip(TM), the World’s First Implantable Microchip

Business Wire | December 15, 2004

FORT LEE, N.J. — Companies Will Jointly Develop and Market Innovative Military, Security and Healthcare Applications for VeriChip(TM), the World’s First Implantable Microchip

ORBCOMM, a global satellite telecommunications company, today announced that it has executed an agreement with VeriChip(TM) Corporation, a subsidiary of Applied Digital (NASDAQ:ADSX), to be its provider of satellite and telecommunication services for applications to be developed for use with the world’s first implantable radio frequency identification (RFID) microchip, also called VeriChip(TM).

Under the terms of the agreement, the companies will also work together to develop and market new military, security, and healthcare applications for use in the United States and around the world.

VeriChip(TM) Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of Applied Digital. The VeriChip product is a subdermal RFID microtransponder that can be used in a variety of security, financial, emergency identification and healthcare applications. About the size of a grain of rice, each VeriChip Device contains a unique verification number that is captured by briefly passing a proprietary scanner over the VeriChip. In October 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared VeriChip for medical applications in the United States. VeriChip is not a FDA-regulated device with regards to its security, financial, personal identification/safety applications.

“ORBCOMM’s relationship with VeriChip(TM) provides yet another new and important industry that will use the ORBCOMM satellite system and its ground infrastructure network to transmit messages globally,” Jerry Eisenberg, CEO of ORBCOMM, said.

About ORBCOMM

ORBCOMM is a wireless telecommunications company that provides reliable, cost effective data communications services to customers around the world through its unique low-earth orbit (LEO) satellite network and global ground infrastructure. A diverse customer base, including industry leaders General Electric, Caterpillar Inc., Volvo Trucks, XATA, and AirIQ, uses ORBCOMM services to track, monitor and control mobile and fixed assets including trucks, containers, marine vessels, locomotives, heavy machinery, pipelines, oil wells, utility meters and storage tanks anywhere in the world. For more information call 1-800-ORBCOMM or visit its Web site at www.ORBCOMM.com.

About Applied Digital

Applied Digital develops innovative security products for consumer, commercial and government sectors worldwide. Its unique and often proprietary products provide security for people, animals, the food supply, government/military arena and commercial assets. Included in this diversified product line are RFID applications, end-to-end food safety systems, GPS/Satellite communications and telecomm and security infrastructure, positioning Applied Digital as the leader of Security Through Innovation. Applied Digital is the owner of a majority position in Digital Angel Corporation (AMEX: DOC). For more information, visit the company’s website at http://www.adsx.com .

This release contains forward-looking statements, including statements regarding ORBCOMM’s expected commercial operations. These forward-looking statements are based on a number of assumptions and ORBCOMM’s actual results and operations may be materially different from those expressed or implied by such statements.

 

Important news about cell phones and autism

I thought I would share this in the public interest because, again, this is information that needs to be known and studied before we go marching blindly into the future. I have autism-like symptoms, and I can definitely feel when there are multiple wifi signals in my apartment (but finding decent, affordable housing is difficult enough).

I try to minimize my cell phone use, though it is still far above Dr. Mercola’s acceptable levels. I would love to have a land line if noise issues didn’t cause me to move so often. Isn’t it interesting that sidewalk pay phones are becoming a rarer and rarer sight in our cities?


http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2007/11/27/how-cell-phones-may-cause-autism.aspx

Rates of autism, a disabling neurodevelopmental disorder, have increased nearly 60-fold since the late 1970s, with the most significant increases occurring in the past decade.

The cause of autism is unknown, although theories include such potential causes as:

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Inability to clear heavy metals
  • Increased vulnerability to oxidative stress
  • Environmental exposures including mercury preservatives in vaccines
  • Trans-generational accumulation of toxic heavy metals

Now a groundbreaking new theory has been suggested by a study published in the Journal of the Australasian College of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine: electromagnetic radiation (EMR) from cell phones, cell towers, Wi-Fi devices and other similar wireless technologies as an accelerating factor in autism.

EMR May be the Missing Link

The study, which involved over five years of research on children with autism and other membrane sensitivity disorders, found that EMR negatively affects cell membranes, and allows heavy metal toxins, which are associated with autism, to build up in your body.

Meanwhile, the researchers pointed out that autism rates have increased concurrently along with the proliferation of cell phones and wireless use.

EMR, the researchers say, could impact autism by facilitating early onset of symptoms or by trapping heavy metals inside of nerve cells, which could accelerate the onset of symptoms of heavy metal toxicity and hinder therapeutic clearance of the toxins .

Speaking in reference to the huge rise in autism rates, Dr. George Carlo, the study’s co-author, said, “A rise of this magnitude must have a major environmental cause. Our data offer a reasonable mechanistic explanation for a connection between autism and wireless technology.”

They also suggest that EMR from wireless devices works in conjunction with environmental and genetic factors to cause autism.

Primary researcher for this article is Tamara Mariea. Her clinic is called Internal Balance™ Inc.(www.internalbalance.com) and is a state-of-the-art Detoxification Clinic located in the Nashville, TN area. Her objective is to provide high quality and current up-to-date information on the hottest topics in the natural health industry including sound advice on how to implement a personal wellness and detoxification program that works.

One of the most successful programs offered at Internal Balance is the unique strategies implemented for autistic children. In working backward through the autistic child’s life, making changes to their environment, diet and implementing State-of-the-Art detoxification strategies, the Internal Balance team has witnessed numerous changes and improvements in the lives and families of these children. In a few cases, they have witnessed miracles that have changed lives forever, including Mariea’s team.

Parents consistently report back that during and after the detoxification process and most importantly after making modifications to their home, they see huge changes in their children’s developmental progress and a decrease in the children’s general sensory discomfort.

Although Mariea believes that autism is a complicated condition that must have several factors at play for a child to fall to this diagnosis, she does believe that the three largest factors at play are

  • Genetically determined detoxification capacity
  • Early insult to immune system via contaminated vaccines and
  • Being born with high levels of toxic burden and into a technologically advanced society riddled with ever increasing levels of radiation

Wireless Radiation in the Etiology and Treatment of Autism (PDF Download Page)

Dr. Mercola’s Comments: I am absolutely convinced that the explosion of cell phone usage around the world is one of the primary contributors to the autism epidemic. The information-carrying radio waves from cell phone base stations and cell phones makes children’s exposure to vaccines and heavy metals much more dangerous than they typically are.

Why?

Because EMR may actually trap heavy metals inside your cells, allowing them to cause damage and hindering your body from detoxifying them.

While I realize that most people will not avoid cell phones because of their convenience, I would urge you to not let your kids use them.

I warned of these dangers on my Today Show interview last month, but the media blacklisted it and only showed a short section of what I had to say.

So let me say it again here: the density of your child’s skull is far less than an adult’s, and their brain is far more susceptible to these information-carrying radio waves.

For this reason, you should not allow your child to use a cell phone, and you should also never hold an infant while you’re talking on one — when you are on a cell phone the radiation plume can easily reach an infant in your other arm and penetrate their skull.

In October, I spent two full days with Dr. George Carlo, who is the co-author of this groundbreaking study and an undisputed world expert in cell phone safety. I was so compelled with the information I heard that my next book in 2009 will detail the reasons why I believe using cell phones is far more dangerous than smoking cigarettes ever was.

Largest Study Ever on Cell Phone Safety

Dr. Carlo was given a $28-million grant from the cell phone industry in the ’90s to prove cell phones were safe. He is an MD, taught as a professor at George Washington Medical School, and has a degree in public health — so he was up for the challenge.

However, Dr. Carlo did not come up with the results the cell phone industry would have wanted. After his research he found that they DO, in fact, cause damage. The cell phone industry offered him a position for $1 million a year to silence him, but he refused, and started a non-profit institute called The Safe Wireless Initiative to inform the world of this danger.

Folks, by the end of this year it’s expected that 4 billion cell phones will have been sold. This is a massive explosion in cell phone use, and one that is undoubtedly linked to health problems, including autism.

The information-carrying radio waves from cell phones may:

  • Damage your cell membranes
  • Decrease your intracellular communication by disrupting microtubular connections that allow biophotons to communicate between cells
  • Increase deposits of heavy metals into your cells, which increases intracellular production of free radicals and can radically decrease cellular production of energy — thus making you incredibly fatigued

Cell phone users are also 240 percent more prone to brain tumors, and a study back in 2004 found that your risk of acoustic neuroma (a tumor on your auditory nerve) was nearly four times greater on the side of your head where your phone was most frequently held.

What is even more concerning, though, is that there is VERY solid evidence that the number of brain tumors will increase to 500,000 per YEAR in 2010 — and this will double to 1 million every year by 2015 if the causes are not addressed.

Folks, this is the real deal and represents an impending health care crisis.

Can Cell Phones Ever be Used Safely?

Ideally, I believe you should not use cell phones. In reality, though, I know that’s not a practical option for many of you.

If you choose to use a cell phone you should use the speakerphone function whenever possible — and keep the phone about two feet away from any body part. Do not keep the phone on your belt or in your pocket even when you’re not using it, as the radiation WILL penetrate your body wherever the phone is attached. Instead, stow it away in a purse, backpack, or your car’s glove compartment.

For times when a speakerphone isn’t practical, you can use a NON-Blue Tooth headset, such as the Blue Tube headset. While Blue Tooth is certainly safer than no headset at all, it is still broadcasting its own information-carrying radio waves into your brain, just at a lower intensity than a cell phone. And there quite simply is no safe biological threshold for either of them.

I feel SO STRONGLY about the dangers that cell phones pose to your health, and your children’s, that I agreed to host an event with Dr. Carlo in Chicago in the near future.

Understanding implantable RFID for busy people

I’m just copying and pasting some of the easiest to understand material I’ve gleaned from my own research, because there is a fair quantity of information/ interpretation/editorials out there and it is true that this information needs to be known, but people are busy.

Assuming there is no such thing as a mind control implant, the accounts appearing in our in-boxes (and across the internet) raise disturbing questions about our society. Is our ubiquitous surveillance technology creating a surge in neurosis and mental illness? Research suggests that people do tend to get paranoid if they believe they have no way of knowing when they are being watched. Perhaps the rise in CCTV cameras, database profiling, and guerilla marketing is making us all a little nuts, and some people express it more overtly than others.

-Katherine Albrecht

Think pedophiles and/or illegal aliens should be tagged with RFID?
I’d say that’s a very bad idea.

Living in this surveillance and power-mad century, there’s a wise Chinese proverb we should all keep in mind:

“The fire you kindle for your enemy often burns you more than it burns him.”

While some people may, at first glance, think it’s a good idea to tag the more dangerous and unsavory elements of society with a computer chip, it’s actually a very bad idea in the long run. An industry that’s built around tagging human beings against their will, whether they’re illegal immigrants, criminals, or even mass murderers, will grow fat and powerful and bureaucratic from feeding at the trough of our tax dollars. An infrastructure of human tagging will take root, then, like all industries, it will want to see its market expand. (Think of the prison-industrial complex today — or any powerful lobby.)

The human-implant-prison-industrial-complex will shmooze at political fundraisers and send lobbyists to urge politicians to expand the mandatory chipping program to other “markets.” They’ll urge the tagging of parolees and ex-felons. In fact, they’ll say, society would be safer if all criminals — rapists, drug dealers, prostitutes, thieves, and domestic abusers — had a chip implant, along with gun law violators, marijuana smokers, drunk drivers, custody violators, tax cheats, habitual traffic violators, shoplifters, protesters who won’t stay in their designated First Amendment zones, rowdy college revelers, and eventually the guy who didn’t fill out the right paperwork to add a deck onto the back of his house.

Once the mandatory chipping lobby really gets going, they won’t stop at criminals. For our own safety, they’ll get the lawmakers to agree that we ought to chip nuclear plant workers, anyone handling biological or chemical agents, drivers transporting hazardous materials, anyone owning a gun, anyone working with children, anyone preparing food for public consumption, anyone…

Get the picture yet?

No matter who you are and how saintly a life you lead, I can almost promise you that if we light this fire to burn the pedophiles, somewhere down the road it will burn us and our children, too.

Big Brother has surrounded us with dried kindling and he’s hankering for a match. Don’t hand it to him.

– Katherine Albrecht

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