Health

The Fight Over Obamacare Was a Giant Political Charade By Sonali Kolhatkar

July 7, 2015

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 25 that the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) subsidies for health insurance for the poor were indeed constitutional, liberals cheered. The last-ditch attempt by the right to gut President Obama’s signature act failed. In his weekly address, Obama triumphantly announced that “after more than fifty votes in Congress to repeal or weaken this law; after a Presidential election based in part on preserving or repealing this law; after multiple challenges to this law before the Supreme Court, we can now say this for certain: the Affordable Care Act still stands, it is working, and it is here to stay.” The case at the heart of the ruling was King v. Burwell, a legal challenge that was based on a technicality. The Los Angeles Timesexplained that legal experts saw it “as a fatuous misreading of the law and a tortured effort to bend the process of statutory interpretation for ideological ends.” But the constant attacks on the ACA, including this last attempt, were less ideological than political, and in the end, the Supreme Court ruling was an affirmation of the supremacy of capitalism over human needs. It is true that 6.4 million Americanscurrently receiving subsidies for insurance

Countries must deal with health risks of more frequent heatwaves: UN By Agnes PEDRERO

July 7, 2015

The UN urged countries Wednesday to create preparedness systems to counter the health risks of heatwaves, as they become ever more frequent and intense, and dangerous, due to climate change. For the first time, the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) and its World Meteorological Organization (WMO) have joined forces to create guidelines for experts and authorities for how to lower the health risks of heatwaves like the ones currently scorching Asia and Europe. “Heatwaves have emerged as an important hydrometeorological hazard and will remain so, given projected changes in the frequency of extreme heat events associated with human-induced climate change,” the text warns. The main recommendation? To create heatwave warning systems that highlight the health hazards and inform people what they should do to protect themselves. Such systems exist in a range of developed countries, like France, which introduced an alert system after it was hit hard by a 2003 heatwave that caused tens of thousands of deaths across Europe. But elsewhere, such systems are uncommon, Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum of WHO told AFP, voicing concern about places like Pakistan, where more than 1,200 people have died amid soaring temperatures in the south of the country. That crisis came a month after

Impact of Rapid Urbanization on Health by CESAR CHELALA

July 7, 2015

Rapid urbanization has significant repercussions on migrants’ health. The increasing movement of people from rural to urban areas often alters the characteristic epidemiological disease profile of the country, and at the same time new diseases appear or old ones reemerge. Such is the case of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Urbanization is also associated with changes in diet and exercise that increase the prevalence of obesity with increased risks of type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Additional mobility-related risks among migrants include poverty, vulnerability to sexual abuse and exploitation, dangerous working conditions and separation from social support networks. Many of these conditions affect the most vulnerable segments of the population: women, children and the elderly. Although many migrants are young and healthy when they arrive in the cities, poor and overcrowding conditions increase the incidence of some diseases such as malaria, typhoid fever and respiratory diseases when compared to local residents. In recent years, for example, tuberculosis has shown higher rates of infection, a problem compounded by delayed diagnosis and inadequate care. In addition, migrants show high rates of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS. Because of their high mobility, migrants tend to spread the virus when they return to the countryside,

New Scientific Review: ‘No Evidence’ Water Fluoridation Prevents Cavities – Anthony Gucciardi

July 6, 2015

A new and highly-needed scientific review has found that there’s no real evidence linking water fluoridation with cavity prevention, further proving that the IQ-damaging substance known as sodium fluoride truly does not have a place in our water supply. It was back in 2012 that I shared with you the results from a major Harvard study that revealed the dark relationship between IQ levels and sodium fluoride consumption. Specifically, the Harvard researchers detailed the fact that children who lived in areas with high sodium fluoride content had ‘significantly lower’ IQ than those in areas with less added fluoride content. What’s more, this research was published in a federal government medical journal known as Environmental Health Perspectives. The researchers from Harvard specifically stated: “The children in high fluoride areas had significantly lower IQ than those who lived in low fluoride areas.” Remember, this was back in 2012. So why has almost nothing changed? A particularly valid question when we note that in 2011, the government actually called for ‘lower fluoride levels’ amid a growing body of research that it was negatively affecting the health of Americans. Fast forward to April of 2015, and finally the federal government decides to lower fluoride levels for the first time in 50 years. A monumental event in the history

Why meditation should be taught in schools – Lea Waters

July 6, 2015

New research in the fields of psychology, education and neuroscience shows teaching meditation in schools is having positive effects on students’ well-being, social skills and academic skills. A recent meta-review of the impact of meditation in schools combined the results from 15 studies and almost 1800 students from Australia, Canada, India, the UK, the US and Taiwan. The research showed meditation is beneficial in most cases and led to three broad outcomes for students: higher well-being, better social skills and greater academic skills. Students who were taught meditation at school reported higher optimism, more positive emotions, stronger self-identity, greater self-acceptance and took better care of their health as well as experiencing reduced anxiety, stress and depression. This was compared to before the meditation programs and compared to peers who were not taught meditation. The review also showed that meditation helps the social life of students by leading to increases in pro-social behaviour (like helping others) and decreases in anti-social behaviour (like anger and disobedience). Finally, meditation was found to improve a host of academic and learning skills in students. These included faster information processing, greater focus, more effective working memory, more creativity and cognitive flexibility. How meditation is taught “Mindfulness” meditation is one

Damning New Analysis Reveals Deadly Lack of Police Training on Mental Illness – Deirdre Fulton

July 1, 2015

One quarter of the men and women shot and killed by police in the first six months of 2015 were “in the throes of mental or emotional crisis,” according to a new analysis published by the Washington Post on Tuesday, suggesting that law enforcement officers lack training on how to deal with the mentally ill. “On average, police shot and killed someone who was in mental crisis every 36 hours in the first six months of this year,” write journalists Wesley Lowery, Kimberly Kindy, and Keith L. Alexander. Responding to a dearth of federal data on such killings, the Post is compiling a database of every fatal shooting in the United States by a police officer in the line of duty in 2015, along with details about each incident—including the race of the deceased, the circumstances of the shooting, and whether the person was armed—sourced from local news reports and independent databases, such as Killed by Police andFatal Encounters. The Post database shows that in the first six months of this year, 461 people have been shot to death by police—including 123 killings “in which the mental health of the victim appeared to play a role, either because the person expressed suicidal intentions or because police or family members confirmed a history

Fraudulent Big Pharma science leads to half a million psych drug deaths every year by David Gutierrez

June 30, 2015

Psychiatric drugs kill an estimated 500,000 people per year, looking only at people over age 65 living in Western countries, according to an analysis conducted by a world-renowned Danish researcher. Peter Gotzsche, research director at the Nordic Cochrane Centre, cited the figure in an article published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), in which he argues that psychiatric drugs have only “minimal” benefits but very severe side effects. Most use of these drugs could be halted without doing any harm, he says. The article is part of a discussion published in the journal as a lead-up to a debate that took place at King’s College London on May 13. The debate and discussion both focused on whether psychiatric drugs do more harm than good. In the BMJ discussion, the article supporting the importance of psychiatric drugs was co-authored by John Crace – a psychiatric patient who writes for the Guardian – and Allan Young, a researcher who admits to major financial involvement with the drug industry. Minimal benefit Gotzsche is a highly reliable critic of the drug industry. A physician since 1984, he specialized in internal medicine and spent much of his early career as a representative for drug companies. He later established a medical department at a drug

New Study: DDT Exposure Linked to 4-Fold Breast Cancer Increase – Christina Sarich

June 30, 2015

It’s been decades since the world was exposed to the pesticide DDT, but almost everyone is suffering after being exposed to the chemical during WWII and from the 1950’s and 60’s in the US, until today in places globally that, unfortunately, still use it. New damning evidence is proving that DDT is more noxious than ever, causing a four-fold increase in breast cancer risk. But that’s not all . . . The pesticide infiltrated our food supply. The USDA found DDT breakdown products in 60% of heavy cream samples, 42% of kale greens, 28% of carrots, and lower percentages of many other foods, according to Panna.org. DDT doesn’t go away for decades. DDT breakdown products were found in the blood of 99% of the people tested by CDC. Women and Girls are Especially Vulnerable. Girls exposed to DDT before puberty are 5 times more likely to develop breast cancer in middle age, according to the President’s Cancer Panel. DDT’s toxicity became world-renown in Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring, but the story doesn’t end. New research conducted in California has found that women exposed to DDT in the womb are more likely to develop cancer almost a half a century later. Shanna Swan, an environmental health scientist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York is concerned about

5 Most Common Regrets The Dying Have by BRONNIE WARE

June 30, 2015

Priorities become crystal clear when people know their days are numbered, Bronnie Ware realised while working with terminally ill patients. She shares the five most common regrets the dying have. For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives. People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them. When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five: 1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many

More than a third of children were physically assaulted in the last year

June 30, 2015

More than a third of children and teens 17 and younger experienced a physical assault in the last year, primarily at the hands of siblings and peers, according to an article published online by JAMA Pediatrics. Violence against children is a national and international public health and public policy issue. The U.S. Department of Justice and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention initiated in 2008 the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence (NatSCEV) to provide ongoing estimates of a wide range of violence against youth. Assessments have occurred in three-year intervals in 2011 and now in 2014. Researcher David Finkelhor, Ph.D., of the University of New Hampshire, Durham, and co-authors analyzed data from the survey for 4,000 children and adolescents (17 and younger) to provide current estimates of exposure to violence, crime and abuse. Survey information was collected in telephone interviews (from August 2013 to April 2014) with caregivers and young people. Key findings (that respondents reported occurred in the past year): ▪   40.9 percent of children and youth had more than one direct experience of violence, crime or abuse; 10.1 percent had six or more and 1.2 percent had 10 or more. ▪   37.3 experienced a physical assault
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