Archive for the ‘Ethics of Physicians’ Category

Worse than a Disease Diagnosis – This Mistake Can Land You in the E.R.

By Dr. Mercola

In 1776, Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, foretold a grim scenario that has now taken shape right before our eyes. He said:

“Unless we put medical freedom into the Constitution the time will come when medicine will organize itself into an undercover dictatorship. To restrict the art of healing to doctors and deny equal privileges to others will constitute the Bastille of medical science. All such laws are un-American and despotic.”

Now, in 2012, we are very much facing this reality, as we live in an era where our medical freedom is increasingly under attack, and “healing” has been replaced with “treating” disease, most often with toxic chemicals and surgery. This drug-driven medical paradigm not only depends on the sacrifice and, some might say, torture, of animals in medical research, but also in many ways uses humans as sacrificial lambs.

Modern Medical Care is a Leading Cause of Death

There were nearly 4.6 million drug-related visits to emergency roomsi in the United States in 2009, with more than half due to adverse reactions to prescription medications – most of which were being taken exactly as prescribedii. The fact of the matter is, as echoed by a study released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA)iii, it is a mistake to assume there’s no risk in prescribed medicines! As Sayer Ji writes on GreenMedInfo.comiv:

“The “medicines” themselves are often devoid of intrinsic value, being nothing more than rebranded and re-purposed chemicals, intended (though all too often failing) to be administered in sub-lethal concentrations. Indeed, many of these chemicals are too toxic to be legally released into the environment, and should never be administered intentionally to a human who is already sick. You need look no farther than a typical drug package insert to find proof that the side effects of most drugs far outnumber their purported beneficial effects.

These chemicals, in fact, are so highly leveraged against their true value (or lack thereof), that they can sell for as much as 500,000% percent from cost! Only medical/pharmaceutical and financial institutions (e.g. Federal Reserve) are legally empowered to generate the illusion that they are creating something of value out of nothing of value, on this scale.”

Medical care is actually one of the leading causes of death in the U.S., with medical errors, adverse drug reactions, and hospital-acquired infectionsv killing an unacceptable number of Americans each and every day! Drug-related ER visits jumped by more than half between 2004 and 2008vi, stirring health officials to look for ways to stop what has become a near-epidemic that often ends in deathvii.

And when you consider that 2.7 million of those visitsviii involved prescriptions for largely preventable health issues, you can’t help but wonder why we have strayed so far from true health care in lieu of health treatments.

You may be tempted to point your finger at your physician. After all, he or she is on the “front lines” doing most of the prescribing and advising. But whether or not doctors succeed in upholding the Hippocratic Oath — the promise to Do No Harm — is not always entirely in their own hands.

The conventional medical system is simply not designed to give them that freedom. It’s VITAL that you understand that regardless of their personal opinions, many times they’re simply not allowed to offer you any other alternatives than what the “standard protocol” demands. As written on GreenMedInfo.comix:

“Within our present dominant medical system, healing has not simply been forgotten but intentionally exorcized as it represents the antithesis of perpetual profitability which requires the incurability of the human body. Were the truth be told, and the body’s self-regenerative capabilities acknowledged, the entire superstructure of drug-based medicine and hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue it generates annually, would crumble overnight.”

Are You Intentionally Being Misled about Your Body’s Innate Healing Abilities?

This issue runs much deeper than your physician’s office. The entire medical system as it currently stands has been quite carefully orchestrated to make you believe that drugs, vaccinations, screening tests, and surgery are what is required to be well, while an assault has been launched against natural strategies and supplements that have proven vital to well-being for centuries.

For instance, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has launched a full-fledged war against the sale of raw milk, a substance that provides many natural beneficial and healing properties, even though between 1999 and 2010 there was an average of only 42 cases of illness per year attributed to raw milk, and that includes both “confirmed” and “presumed” cases. Meanwhile, they have allowed livestock producers to continue to add low doses of antibiotics to animal feed for growth promotion, even though this practice is undeniably linked to the spread of deadly antibiotic-resistant disease!

They have also issued new Draft Guidance on New Dietary Ingredients that threatens to remove some of your most commonly used supplements from the market, all while approving drugs, prescribed by doctors every day, that kill over 125,000 Americans a year.

They are but one government agency that is so thoroughly enmeshed in the drug-medical paradigm that they are utterly unable to protect you. The American Medical Association (AMA) has maintained a decades-long battle against “alternative” healing traditions, dating back to the 1920s and arguably even earlier. The courts eventually ruled in favor of the chiropractors in 1987, finding the AMA guilty of a conspiracy to take down the chiropractic profession, but their battle has continued on anyway.

According to Naturopathy Digest, the AMA and other medical groups justify their opposition to natural medicine, a primary principle of which is supporting your body’s own innate healing potential, on the basis of three areas of concernx:

  • Quality of patient care
  • Patient safety
  • Quality of education of medical practitioners

As the article so eloquently points out, none of these arguments hold up, and most are based on medical and pharmaceutical industry propaganda. If they were TRULY concerned about patient care and safety, they would not be targeting natural medicine, which has an incredibly low incidence of adverse consequences and proven successes, but instead going after their own allopathic medical practices that are leaving a trail of death and destruction.

Other medical associations whose claims that they exist for the betterment of public health are entirely questionable include the following:

  • American Dental Association (ADA): Continues to support the use of mercury fillings and demonizes biological dentists who oppose the use of mercury in dentistry; continues to support fluoridation, in spite of the evidence it does more harm than good.
  • American Cancer Society (ACS): This charity has close ties to the mammography industry, the cancer drug industry, and the pesticide industry; has rampant conflicts of interest; consistently promotes drugs and screening procedures while ignoring environmental causes of cancer.
  • National Cancer Institute (NCI): Has spent billions of taxpayer dollars promoting treatments while ignoring strategies for preventing cancer; abundant ties to the cancer drug industry (for more information, read Samuel Epstein’s new book, National Cancer Institute and American Cancer Society: Criminal Indifference to Cancer Prevention and Conflicts of Interest)xi
  • American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP): Claiming to be protecting your children, the AAP is largely funded by vaccine manufacturers but refuses to disclose just how much money it gets from them; partners with Congress to protect pediatricians and drug companies from liability for vaccine injuries, while preventing you from getting truthful vaccine information.

However, even the government is not at the top of the totem pole when it comes to this attack on your ability to access natural therapies and obtain optimal health. GreenMedInfo.com continuesxii:

“Although the American Medical Association (AMA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) behave as if they are at the top of this pyramid of power relations, they serve far lower on the hierarchy. While the government of the United States and American corporate lobbying groups may appear to be behind the FDA’s shameless pandering to the interests of the drug companies, transnational corporations and organizations — and a hand full of elite governing them — are in fact pulling the strings.”

Natural Therapies are Increasingly Under Attack, or Intentionally Suppressed

Did you know a cream containing eggplant extract, known as BEC and BEC5, appears to eliminate most non-melanoma skin cancers in several weeks time? Or that studies conducted so far show significant potential for the use of cannabis in the prevention and treatment of a wide range of health conditions, including cancer?

Have you heard about Dr. Nick Gonzalez, who has had remarkable success treating patients with some of the most lethal forms of cancer that conventional medicine cannot effectively address using a three-pronged nutritional approach?

There’s a good chance you answered “no” to these questions, and that’s not a coincidence. Information like this is not easy to come by in the mainstream press or from most conventional health care authorities, which is one of the primary reasons why I started this site. Alternatives to drugs and surgery are out there, but unless there is a profit to be had, you aren’t likely to hear about them. In fact, the system is set up to make sure that you don’t.

One of the prime examples of this is vitamin D.

Over 800 studies already show that vitamin D could have cancer-prevention and/or treatment possibilities. But the problem is that it’s a natural substance that can’t be patented as a simple supplement, meaning there’s no real revenue in it, compared to a prescription brand drug. That’s why many drug studies involving vitamins of any kind hinge on how the FDA defines drugs and supplements.

A drug is defined as a product meant for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of a diseasexiii. A supplement is defined as a product that is meant to simply “supplement” or “enhance” a normal diet within the daily allowances recommended by the FDAxiv. Retailers who sell supplements are not allowed to tell you that vitamin D can possibly “prevent, mitigate or cure” cancer without having the FDA accuse them of selling a drug that hasn’t been approved through the proper FDA process.

That process of getting a drug to market costs an average $359 millionxv and takes nearly 10 years – with a good portion of the money going directly to the FDA through user feesxvi. Over the years these fees have become a major funding source for the FDA. What drug companies get in return is faster FDA reviews and drug approvals.

As a result, a kind of you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours scenario has ensued, with drug companies maintaining major leverage over the FDA when it comes to protecting their revenue sources, including making sure the $60 billion-a-year supplement business doesn’t get in the way of drug salesxvii. The history of FDA laws and regulations on file at Harvard Law School, explains how years ago an FDA task force long ago established this policy…

“… to ensure that the presence of dietary supplements on the market does not act as a disincentive to drug development.”

What Can You do to Support Real Health and Healing?

For starters, recognize that health does not come from a pill … and no disease is caused by a “drug or vaccine deficiency.” As written on GreenMedInfo.comxviii:

” … is there any greater absurdity than a medical model that treats the symptoms of disease with sub-lethal dosages of toxic chemicals and in which there is no attempt to uncover, understand or remove the causes of those imbalances?

After all, what disease has ever been found to be caused by a lack of a drug?

Is acid reflux caused by a lack of proton-pump inhibitors?

Is heart disease caused by a lack of statin drugs?

Is osteoporosis caused by a lack of Fosamax?

Is cancer caused by a lack of chemotherapy?

Is depression caused by a lack of Paxil?

Absolutely not! Then why would anyone consider it sound practice to use potentially toxic chemicals as a first-line treatment for conditions that are not caused by a lack of a chemical? To the contrary many diseases are caused exactly by culminative exposures to chemicals that not unlike drugs are biologically alien to the body, i.e we are treating poisoning with poisons! Can we dignify this approach by calling it medicine? Or, is it more accurately described as a form of sorcery?”

Until real systemic change takes place, your best health strategy is quite simply to employ and maintain a naturally healthy lifestyle that will optimize your body’s innate healing abilities and minimize your need for the drug companies’ latest concoctions. We are, however, working hard to change the system and help protect your health freedoms from corrupt influences like the drug industry; you can learn more about our newest initiative toward this end, Health Liberty, now.

It is, of course, of paramount importance to take control of your health so you can stay well naturally, without the use of drugs or even frequent conventional medical care. If you adhere to a healthy lifestyle, you most likely will not need medications in the first place. This encompasses several principles, including:

  • Proper Food Choices

For a comprehensive guide on which foods to eat and which to avoid, see my nutrition plan. Generally speaking, you should be looking to focus your diet on whole, unprocessed foods (vegetables, meats, raw dairy, nuts, and so forth) that come from healthy, sustainable, local sources, such as a small organic farm not far from your home.

For the best nutrition and health benefits, you will want to have raw food as a good portion of your diet. Personally, I aim to eat about 80-85 percent of my food raw, including raw eggs and humanely raised organic animal products that have not been raised on a CAFO (confined animal feeding operation).

Nearly as important as knowing which foods to eat more of is knowing which foods to avoid, and topping the list is fructose. Sugar, and fructose in particular, contributes to multiple disease processes in your body, not the least of which is insulin resistance, a major cause of accelerated aging.

  • Comprehensive Exercise Program, including High-Intensity Exercise like Peak Fitness

Even if you’re eating the healthiest diet in the world, you still need to exercise to reach the highest levels of health, and you need to be exercising effectively, which means including not only core-strengthening exercises, strength training, and stretching but also high-intensity activities into your rotation. High-intensity, interval-type training boosts human growth hormone (HGH) production, which is essential for optimal health, strength and vigor. I’ve discussed the importance of Peak Fitness for your health on numerous occasions, so for more information please review this previous article.

  • Stress Reduction and Positive Thinking

You cannot be optimally healthy if you avoid addressing the emotional component of your health and longevity, as your emotional state plays a role in nearly every physical disease — from heart disease and depression, to arthritis and cancer. Effective coping mechanisms are a major longevity-promoting factor in part because stress has a direct impact on inflammation, which in turn underlies many of the chronic diseases that kill people prematurely every day. Meditation, prayer, social support and exercise are all viable options that can help you maintain emotional and mental equilibrium.

  • Proper Sun Exposure to Optimize Vitamin D

We have long known that it is best to get your vitamin D from sun exposure, and if at all possible, I strongly urge you to make sure you’re getting out in the sun on a daily basis or if this is not an option use a safe tanning bed.

Just keep in mind that it’s really best to get ALL your vitamin D from the sun. It appears that vitamin D plays a crucial role in sulfur metabolismxix and when you swallow it orally it may not have the same benefit as getting it from the sun.

  • Take High Quality Animal-Based Omega-3 Fats

Animal-based omega-3 fat is a strong factor in helping people live longer, and many experts believe that it is likely the predominant reason why the Japanese are the longest lived people on the planet.

  • Avoid as Many Chemicals, Toxins, and Pollutants as Possible

This includes tossing out your toxic household cleaners, soaps, personal hygiene products, air fresheners, bug sprays, lawn pesticides, and insecticides, just to name a few, and replacing them with non-toxic alternatives.

References:


  • i InfoFacts: Drug-Related Hospital Emergency Room Visits, National Institute on Drug Abuse, May 2011.
  • ii Highlights of the 2009 Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) Findings on Drug-Related Emergency Department Visits, The DAWN Report, December 28, 2010.
  • iii Emergency Department Visits Involving Adverse Reactions to Medications among Older Adults, The Dawn Report, February 24, 2011. (PDF)
  • iv Has Drug-Driven Medicine Become A Form of Human Sacrifice?, GreenMedInfo.com, December 29, 2011: Sayer Ji.
  • v New Study Shows Sepsis and Pneumonia Caused by Hospital-acquired Infections Kill 48,000 Patients, EurekAlert, February 22, 2010. (Press release)
  • vi Rx Side Effects Causing More Hospitalizations, American Medical News, May 2, 2011: Kevin B. O’Reilly.
  • vii Prescription Drugs More Overdoses in U.S. Than Heroin and Cocaine, Bloomberg, July 8, 2011: Oliver Renick.
  • viii Rx Side Effects Causing More Hospitalizations, American Medical News, May 2, 2011: Kevin B. O’Reilly.
  • ix Has Drug-Driven Medicine Become A Form of Human Sacrifice?, GreenMedInfo.com, December 29, 2011: Sayer Ji.
  • x AMA Declares War on Naturopathic Medicine, Patient Safety and Freedom of Choice in Health Care, Naturopathy Digest, 2006: Alex Vasquez.
  • xi National Cancer Institute and American Cancer Society: Criminal Indifference to Cancer Prevention and Conflicts of Interest, Amazon.com, May 17, 2011: Samuel S. Epstein, MD.
  • xii Has Drug-Driven Medicine Become A Form of Human Sacrifice?, GreenMedInfo.com, December 29, 2011: Sayer Ji.
  • xiii Cosmetics, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, July 8, 2002.
  • xiv Drugs, U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
  • xv What Does It Cost to Bring a New Drug to Market?, Answers Encyclopedia.
  • xvi How Long Does Drug Development Take?, PharmTech.com, January 15, 2009.
  • xvii Dietary Supplement Industry Contributes Billion to National Economy, Natural Products Foundation, April 5, 2010.
  • xviii Has Drug-Driven Medicine Become A Form of Human Sacrifice?, GreenMedInfo.com, December 29, 2011: Sayer Ji.
  • xix Critical Role of Vitamin D in Sulfate Homeostasis: Regulation of the Sodium-Sulfate Cotransporter by 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism, October 2004: 287(4); E744-E749, Merry J.G. Bolt, et al.

Why Aren’t These Fraudulent Papers Retracted?

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Posted 15 May 2012 — by James Street
Category Ethics of Physicians, Ethics of Science, Finance and Politics of cancer research and treatment, Legal
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Monday, 14 May 2012 00:00 By Martha Rosenberg, Truthout | News Analysis

Glasses over text(Photo: Elvire.R.)

 

According to Science Times,(1) the Tuesday science section in The New York Times, scientific retractions are on the rise because of a “dysfunctional scientific climate” that has created a “winner-take-all game with perverse incentives that lead scientists to cut corners and, in some cases, commit acts of misconduct.”

But elsewhere, audacious, falsified research stands unretracted – including the work of authors who actually went to prison for fraud!

Richard Borison MD, former psychiatry chief at the Augusta Veterans Affairs medical center and Medical College of Georgia, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for a $10 million clinical trial fraud,(2) but his 1996 US Seroquel® Study Group research is unretracted.(3) In fact, it is cited in 173 works and medical textbooks, misleading future medical professionals.(4)

Scott Reuben MD, the “Bernie Madoff” of medicine who published research on clinical trials that never existed, was sentenced to six months in prison in 2010.(5) But his “research” on popular pain killers like Celebrex and Lyrica is unretracted.(6) If going to prison for research fraud is not enough reason for retraction, what is?

Wayne MacFadden MD, resigned as US medical director for Seroquel in 2006, after sexual affairs with two coworker women researchers surfaced,(7) but the related work is unretracted and was even part of Seroquel’s FDA approval package for bipolar disorder.(8)

More than 50 ghostwritten papers about hormone therapy (HT) written by Pfizer’s marketing firm, Designwrite, ran in medical journals, according to unsealed court documents on the University of California – San Francisco’s Drug Industry Document Archive.(9) Though the papers claimed no link between HT and breast cancer and false cardiac and cognitive benefits and were ghostwritten by marketing professionals not doctors, none has been retracted.

For example, a paper written by DesignWrite’s Karen Mittleman,(10) according to court-obtained documents, titled “Is there an association between hormone replacement therapy and breast cancer?” in the Journal of Women’s Health(11) finds, “these data fail to provide definitive evidence that the use of postmenopausal HRT is associated with an increased incidence of breast cancer,” and is unretracted.

Pfizer/Parke-Davis placed 13 ghostwritten articles(12) in medical journals promoting Neurontin for off-label uses, including a supplement to the Cleveland Clinic,(13) but only Cochrane Database Systematic Reviews and Protocols has retracted the specious articles.(14)

Since 2008, when Pharma-slanted science forced Congressional investigation,(15) major journals have instituted systems to obviate fraud and financial corruption and implemented stronger disclosure policies. One of the key figures investigated in 2008 for Pharma financial links was Alan F. Schatzberg MD, former American Psychiatric Association president, in whose co-written textbook the Borison research still appears! Researchers and doctor authors also have a new awareness of the dangers of working from second-hand data that they have not personally collected or analyzed.

Nor is the phony science just a product of “Big Pharma.” In 2008, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) was forced to print a correction stating that authors of an article arguing for a higher recommended dietary allowance of protein were, in fact, industry operatives.(16) Sharon L. Miller was “formerly employed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association,” and author Robert R. Wolfe PhD, received money from the Egg Nutrition Center, the National Dairy Council, the National Pork Board and the Beef Checkoff through the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, said the clarification. Miller’s email address, in fact was smiller@beef.org, which should might have been the JAMA editors’ first tip-off.(17) The article has also not been retracted.

Footnotes:

1. See here.

2. Steve Stecklow and Laura Johannes, “Test Case: Drug Makers Relied on Two Researchers Who Now Await Trial,” Wall Street Journal, August 8, 1997.

3. Richard Borison et al., “ICI 204,636, an Atypical Antipsychotic: Efficacy and Safety in a Multicenter, Placebo-Controlled Trial in Patients with Schizophrenia,” Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology 16, no. 2 (April 1996): 158–69.

4. Alan F. Schatzberg and Charles B. Nemeroff, Textbook of Psychopharmacology (New York: American Psychiatric Publishing, 2009) p. 609.

5. See here.

6. Scott Reuben et al., “The Analgesic Efficacy of Celecoxib, Pregabalin and Their Combination for Spinal Fusion Surgery,” Anesthesia & Analgesia 103, no. 5 (November 2006): 1271–77.

7. See here.

8. See here. (BOLDER study.)

9. Martha Rosenberg, “Flash Back. The Troubling Revival of Hormone Therapy. Consumers Digest, November 2010.

10. See here.

11. 1998 December; 7(10):1231-46.

12. Kristina Fiore, “Journals Aided in Marketing of Gabapentin,” MedPage Today, September 11, 2009.

13. United States District Court, District of Massachusetts, Report on the Use of Neurontin for Bipolar and Other Mood Disorders.

14. P. J. Wiffen et al., “WITHDRAWN: Gabapentin for Acute and Chronic Pain,” Cochrane Database Systematic Reviews and Protocols 16, no. 3 (March 16, 2011); P. J. Wiffen et al., “WITHDRAWN: Anticonvulsant Drugs for Acute and Chronic Pain,” Cochrane Database Systematic Reviews and Protocols no. 1 (January 20, 2010).

15. See here.

16. See here.

17. See here.

Leader quits Texas cancer initiative over grant-review concerns

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Posted 11 May 2012 — by James Street
Category Ethics of Physicians, Ethics of Science, Finance and Politics of cancer research and treatment
By Todd Ackerman

Updated 11:36 a.m., Friday, May 11, 2012

The top scientific officer of Texas’ $3 billion cancer-fighting initiative is resigning, citing concerns about the review process that allocated $20 million of taxpayer money to two Houston institutions.

Dr. Alfred Gilman, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas‘ chief scientific adviser since its 2009 launch, appealed in a resignation letter for the agency to revise its rules to keep further awards from going to programs that “were not described and therefore could not have been reviewed.” The big award in question involved a joint proposal by the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and Rice University.

“I will stay until (the Oct. 5th Scientific Review Committee meeting) to be certain that those who are preparing applications to be submitted by May 31 will still encounter a functional peer review system,” Gilman, a Nobel Prize-winning biochemist, wrote Tuesday in his letter to William Gimson, the organization’s executive director. “Negative action (in a July meeting) would in addition be extremely harmful to the research community’s view of science in Texas, and thus on the ability to recruit scientists to the state.”

He wrote that Gimson’s most critical concern will be to keep the external peer review systems intact and says Gimson’s ability to do that is “dependent on the attitude of CPRIT leadership, particularly the oversight committee.” The tone suggested anxiety that the grant-judging system he set up – composed of “some of the best cancer researchers and physicians in the country, free of conflicts of interest and all coming from outside of Texas” – is threatened.

The oversight committee, the institute’s governing board, is appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the House.

Gimson called the matter a difference of opinion over which committee should have reviewed the joint M.D. Anderson-Rice proposal, a kind of business plan to accelerate the availability of life-saving treatment now in development. Gimson said the proposal was evaluated by the CPRIT committee that reviews commercialization grants; Gilman, he said, wanted it evaluated by the committee that reviews scientific grants.

Says advice not sought

In an email Thursday night to the Chronicle, Gilman called Gimson “polite in saying we had a ‘difference of opinion’ ” and added that he is “entitled to put whatever interpretation on the situation he desires.”

But Gilman asked why CPRIT’s biggest grant ever was given to M.D. Anderson for a proposal that was submitted very late in the process and included only 6.5 pages of “non-scientific description of a plan to conduct early-stage, preclinical drug discovery?”

“Drug discovery is research,” Gilman wrote in the email. “The advice of CPRIT’s excellent, out-of-state research reviewers was not sought.”

The provosts at M.D. Anderson and Rice said they submitted their application in response to a CPRIT request for proposals in the commercialization category and that the funding decision was then up to CPRIT judges. Rice Provost George McLendon said the review of commercialization proposals by business experts is just as rigorous as the review of research proposals by science experts.

Search for successor

In the email, Gilman also asked why “seven very highly regarded and highly scored multi-investigator collaborative research applications (selected by competitive peer review from a group of 40) were not even brought to the oversight committee for consideration?”

Gimson said he has “no concern whatsoever” about the oversight committee’s commitment to the integrity of peer-review committees. He said the committees’ attrition rates, 20 percent, are in keeping with most peer-review committees and assured that future members would continue to come from outside Texas.

Gilman, 70, who came to CPRIT from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, wrote that he plans to resign Oct. 12. Gimson said CPRIT will start looking for a successor as early as next week.

Under Gilman’s direction, CPRIT has invested $500 million in cancer research projects and attracted almost 40 cancer research scholars to Texas.

 

todd.ackerman@chron.com

Woman with brain tumor says she was kicked out of hospital for using medical marijuana

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Posted 14 Mar 2012 — by James Street
Category Cannabis, Ethics of Physicians, Ethics of Science, Finance and Politics of cancer research and treatment, Legal

View more videos at: http://nbcbayarea.com.

By Cheryl Hurd, NBCBayArea.com

SAN FRANCISCO — A medical marijuana celebrity with a brain condition said a local hospital kicked her out after she attempted to use medical marijuana inside.

Angel Raich, who fought for the right to use medical cannabis in a case that went to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2004 and 2005, talked to us outside of UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco moments after she said they booted her out.

“The pharmacist says ‘you’re not allowed to have cannabis in this hospital,’” Raich said. “‘And if you’re gonna try to have cannabis in this hospital we’re going to call the feds.’”

Raich said she checked into the hospital Monday morning for doctor-ordered tests on her brain. She suffers from chronic pain and seizures from an inoperable brain tumor and doctors didn’t give her very long to live, she said.

“You’re basically saying if I stay it’s like giving me a death sentence ’cause I’d have to be without my cannabis,’” Raich said she told a hospital employee.

Raich said she had no choice but to leave the hospital.

“I’m in a state university hospital in the state of California,” Raich said. “I have the right to have the same medical care as any other patient does.”

UCSF Medical Center released the following statement:

“UCSF is a smoke-free campus and this includes medical marijuana. Several members of the media have asked if UCSF allows the use of a vaporized form of marijuana. It does not. Even a vaporized form of medical marijuana releases particles in the air that are damaging to the lung. Any particles from vapor and odor could have an impact on other patients and hospital employees.

Under federal and state law, a physician is at legal risk related to any activity that could be construed as prescribing medical marijuana to a patient.”

During our interview with Raich, she appeared to have a seizure. When the fire department and paramedics arrived, Raich refused to return to UCSF. Instead, they took her to St. Mary’s Hospital.

Physicians in Congress Committing Malpractice on Millions

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Posted 13 Mar 2012 — by James Street
Category Big Pharma, Ethics of Physicians, Finance and Politics of cancer research and treatment
Friday 9 March 2012
by: Dr. Brian Moench, Truthout | News Analysis

The sun setting behind a thick layer of air polution. (Photo: D’Arcy Norman / Flickr)

What would you think if your physician told you, “Keep smoking because quitting would kill tobacco and health care jobs.” Or, “Don’t take your high blood pressure medicine, you can’t afford it.” And, “Don’t lose weight, no one has proven obesity is bad for you.”

That’s exactly the quality of medical advice we are getting from the 18 Republican physicians currently serving in Congress. Some of the most well known are the father and son team of Rep. Ron Paul and Sen. Rand Paul, and Sen. Tom Coburn. Almost all of these physician/Congressmen have been key soldiers in the Republican war on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), calling it a “job killer,” pronouncing relevant health science “unproven,” claiming we “can’t afford” their regulations.

In the last ten years, over 2,000 scientific studies published in the mainstream medical literature have revealed that air pollution has much of the same physiologic and disease consequence as first- and second-hand cigarette smoke.(1, 2) Those studies show that just as there is no safe number of cigarettes a person can smoke, there is no safe level of air pollution a person can breathe. Even pollution at “background” levels still causes health consequences, including increased mortality rates.(3, 4)

Air pollution contributes to and/or exacerbates, virtually every lung disease known, in every age group, from newborns to the elderly. The connection is as solid as that between smoking and lung cancer; in fact, air pollution also causes lung cancer. But air pollution damages much more than the lungs. It causes a systemic low-grade arterial inflammation,(5) impairing and increasing the disease potential of virtually every organ system, especially the heart, lungs, brain and placenta. Heart attacks, strokes, sudden death, poor birth outcomes, higher infant mortality rates, autism, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and breast cancer are just some of the many diseases found to occur in significantly higher rates among people who breathe more air pollution. Even people who are otherwise healthy are harmed. Air pollution accelerates the aging process, increases the average person’s blood pressure and shortens life expectancy even if it causes no obvious symptoms.(6, 7, 8, 9, 10)

Particulate air pollution, the primary focus of EPA regulations, can travel from the lungs to the arteries and eventually penetrate any cell in the body. For example, the chemicals and heavy metals within particulate pollution can actually penetrate brain tissue, causing loss of intelligence and memory and learning impairment in children.(11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16)

Pollution particles can even penetrate subcellular structures like the cell nucleus where the all-important chromosomes lie. Particulate air pollution can alter and damage chromosomes, especially serious if occurring during early embryonic development. By causing chromosomal dysfunction, air pollution can even impair the health of future generations.(17, 18, 19, 20, 21)

The nation’s premier pollution and health experts, the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) regularly review all new medical research and advise the EPA on updating the national air pollution standards. Every time the CASAC has made that review, they have called for making those standards more strict, as they are doing right now and have been since 2006.

Supporting the CASAC in calling for standards even stricter than what Republicans are bludgeoning the EPA for, is virtually every major medical and public health organization in the country, specifically, the American Medical Association, the American Thoracic Society, the American Lung Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Public Health Association and the National Association of Local Boards of Health. Indeed, there is no reputable health group that disagrees with the CASAC’s recommendations.(22, 23) because they understand and accept new research, apparently unlike our physician/Congressmen.

Every study not funded by fossil fuel industries has shown economic and health benefits of controlling air pollution far exceeding the costs of implementing those controls, even if pollution levels are already low. In fact, the benefits average 30 times greater than the costs, and those benefits create jobs, not kill them.(24) That kind of rate of return on investment should be impressive, even to someone who works for Bain Capital. (By the way, someone should tell Mitt Romney, he could do a leveraged buy out of the EPA.)

Being on the front lines of patient care, in a specialty where the margins between life and death can be very thin, I’m reluctant to accuse other physicians of malpractice. However, it is obvious these lawmakers have let political fealty co-opt their medical judgment. Moreover, their malfeasance has the potential to sabotage the health of millions, not just a handful of their own patients. This is malpractice on a grand scale.

Footnotes:

1. Peters, A. “Air Quality and Cardiovascular Health: Smoke and Pollution Matter,” Circulation. 2009: 120:924-927

2. Eugenia E. Calle and Michael J. Thun C. Arden Pope, III, Richard T. Burnett, Daniel Krewski, Michael Jerrett, Yuanli Shi. Circulation. 2009; 120:941-948. “Cardiovascular Mortality and Exposure to Airbourne Fine Particulate Matter and Cigarette Smoke.”

3. Elliott CT, Copes R. “Burden of mortality due to ambient fine particulate air pollution.” (PM2.5) in interior and Northern BC. Can J Public Health. 2011 September-October;102 (5):390-3.

4. Peters, A, and Pope, CA III Editorial, Lancet. Vol 360, Oct 19, 2002.

5. American College of Cardiology.(2008, August 14) “Air Pollution Damages More Than Lungs: Heart And Blood Vessels Suffer Too.”

6. Urch B, Silverman F, Corey P, Brook J, Lukic K, Rajagopalan S, Brook R. “Acute Blood Pressure Responses in Healthy Adults During Controlled Air Pollution Exposures.” Environ Health Perspect. 2005 August; 113 (8): 1052–1055.

7. Sérgio Chiarelli P, Amador Pereira LA, Nascimento Saldiva PH, Ferreira Filho C, Bueno Garcia ML, Ferreira Braga AL, Conceição Martins L. “The association between air pollution and blood pressure in traffic controllers in Santo André, São Paulo, Brazil.” Environ Res. 2011 May 11. (Epub ahead of print.)

8. Brook RD, Shin HH, Bard RL, Burnett RT, Vette A, Croghan C, Thornburg J, Rodes C, Williams R. “Exploration of the rapid effects of personal fine particulate matter exposure on arterial hemodynamics and vascular function during the same day.” Environ Health Perspect. 2011 May;119 (5):688-94.

9. Adar SD, Klein R, Klein BE, Szpiro AA, Cotch MF, Wong TY, O’Neill MS, Shrager S, Barr RG, Siscovick DS, Daviglus ML, Sampson PD, Kaufman JD. “Air Pollution and the Microvasculature: A Cross-Sectional Assessment of In Vivo Retinal Images in the Population-Based Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA)” PLoS Med. 2010 November 30;7 (11):e1000372.

10. Pope, CA III, Ezzate, M., Dockery, D. “Fine-Particulate Air Pollution and Life Expectancy in the United States.” NEJM. Vol. 360:376-386 January 22, 2009, Num. 4.

11. Calderon-Garciduenas, L. et al. (2002) “Air pollution and brain damage.” Toxicol. Pathol. 30, 373–389

12. Calderon-Garciduenas, L. et al. (2003) “DNA damage in nasal and brain tissues of canines exposed to air pollutants is associated with evidence of chronic brain inflammation and neurodegeneration.” Toxicol. Pathol. 31, 524–538 .

13. Mateen F, Brook R. “Air Pollution as an Emerging Global Risk Factor for Stroke,” JAMA. 2011;305 (12):1240-1241.doi:10.1001/jama.2011.352.

14. Morgan TE, Davis DA, Iwata N, Tanner JA, Snyder D, Ning Z, et al. 2011. “Glutamatergic Neurons in Rodent Models Respond to Nanoscale Particulate Urban Air Pollutants In Vivo and In Vitro.” Environ Health Perspect : doi:10.1289/ehp.1002973.

15. Gackière F, Saliba L, Baude A, Bosler O, Strube C. “Ozone inhalation activates stress-responsive regions of the central nervous system.” J Neurochem. 2011 April 6. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2011.07267.x. (Epub ahead of print.)

16. Calderón-Garcidueñas L, D’Angiulli A, Kulesza RJ, Torres-Jardón R, Osnaya N, Romero L, Keefe S, Herritt L, Brooks DM, Avila-Ramirez J, Delgado-Chávez R, Medina-Cortina H, González-González LO. “Air pollution is associated with brainstem auditory nuclei pathology and delayed brainstem auditory evoked potentials.” Int J Dev Neurosci. 2011 March 31. (Epub ahead of print.)

17. Bocskay K, Tang D, Orjuela M, et al. “Chromosomal Aberrations in Cord Blood Are Associated with Prenatal Exposure to Carcinogenic Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons.” Cancer Epidem Biomarkers and Prev. Vol. 14, 506-511, February 2005.

18. Perera F, Tang D, Tu Y, “Biomarkers in Maternal and Newborn Blood Indicate Heightened Fetal Susceptibility to Procarcinogenic DNA Damage.” Environ Health Persp Vol 112 Number 10 July 2004.

19. Pilsner JR, Hu H, Ettinger A, Sanchez BN, et al. “Influence of prenatal lead exposure on genomic methaylation of cord blood DNA.” Environ Health Persp, April 2009.

20. Baccarelli A. “Breathe deeply into your genes!: genetic variants and air pollution effects,” Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2009 March 15;179 (6):431-2.

21. Baccarelli A, Wright RO, Bollati V, Tarantini L, Litonjua AA, Suh HH, Zanobetti A, Sparrow D, Vokonas PS, Schwartz J. “Rapid DNA methylation changes after exposure to traffic particles.” Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2009 April 1; 179 (7):523-4.

22. Letter from the CASAC to EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson, September 29, 2006.

23. Letter from 1,882 physicians and health care professionals to Congress, February 9, 2011.

24. EPA report “The Benefits and Costs of the Clean Air Act: 1990 to 2020.”