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Posted April 29, 2014: by Bill Sardi
Modern medicine has no impetus to be affordable. Pharmaceutical companies are cooking up expensive cures that are in no way cost effective and then telling Medicare, Medicaid and insurance plans they had better come up with the money. Patient clamor for the cure, and insurance companies just increase the premiums. But in the case of public-funded health insurance pools, there is limited money. Medicare is already trillions of dollars underfunded.
Strikingly, there is no requirement that patients utilize less expensive approaches to deal with hepatitis C than the ($1000/day – $80,000 pharmaceutical cure (Sovaldi). Patients will demand the expensive cure. Now what? Well, the pharma companies know what it costs for a lifetime of Hep-C treatment, so they gauge that determine the top price they can garner.
Posted April 28, 2014: by Bill Sardi
This is a topic I have written about before, but newly published science calls for it to be revisited.
The misdirection started in the 1960s with Ancel Keys’ mistaken claim that saturated fat rather than refined sugar spawns heart disease. Fat phobia reigned and many brands of health foods bragged they were entirely fat free. It took till 2010 for studies to reveal there is no significant evidence to conclude that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease. Bottom line, fat-phobia was indelibly inculcated into the public psyche.
Posted April 27, 2014: by Bill Sardi
New and controversial guidelines for heart health have been issued and commercial interests have prevailed in expanding the number of Americans who should be on statin cholesterol-lowering drugs by millions. Some doctors agree with the new guidelines, others don’t. Where does that leave you?
The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) recently dealt with this issue in an article entitled The Guidelines Battle On Starting Statins [New England Journal Medicine Vol. 370: page 1652, April 24, 2014]
The NEJM article posed a hypothetical case of a 52-year old jogger who smokes tobacco, has a family history of blindness (father) due to diabetes, often works under stress as a busy tax accountant, has a total cholesterol of 180 and low HDL “good” cholesterol of 35 and blood pressure of 130/85.
This man has three risk factors for heart disease: smoking, being male and low HDL cholesterol. His 10-year risk for a heart attack is 10.9%. The new guidelines suggest he start taking a statin drug. Under old guidelines statin drugs would not be recommended.
Posted April 26, 2014: by Bill Sardi
It’s the era of injectable drugs.
A new experimental drug that can protect against the AIDS virus for months at a time has just been successfully tested in animals. The drug would eliminate the need to take pills every single day and improve effectiveness since patients often forget to take their pills. [NBC News, March 4, 2014]
Two new experimental drugs, one delivered intravenously and the other by injection, are posed to help prevent migraine headache attacks for prolonged periods of time. After 5-8 weeks the intravenous drug was shown to reduce migraine attacks by 66% compared to 52% when patients were given an inactive placebo pill. [WebMD, April 22, 2014] The effect was not dramatically better than no treatment, but it did eliminate the need for daily use of medications.
Posted April 25, 2014: by Bill Sardi
Geneticists have made a stunning breakthrough, at least in their own minds. Though not quite ready for human application, they have “edited” DNA to cure a disease in an adult animal.
News reports don’t quite put this development into perspective. It is one thing to insert a new gene in animal eggs so the next generation can benefit but quite another to do this in a fully developed adult with full-blown disease. What this means is that single-gene mutation diseases humans were born with can possibly be cured today, not just corrected in the next generation.
Posted April 18, 2014: by Bill Sardi
A New England Journal of Medicine report is the latest to condemn mammography. Its title (Abolishing Mammography Screening Programs) suggests it’s time to close up breast cancer screening centers altogether.
Cited as evidence is a 25-year study among thousands of women detected just 484 cancers and 22% of them were unnecessarily treated with surgery, radiation or other therapies.
Also cited was a larger trial of over a half-million women that showed no evidence that mammography screening reduces over-all mortality. The report is even more sobering. For every breast-cancer death prevented in the U.S. prevented by annual screening beginning at age 50, 460-670 women are likely to have a false positive mammogram with repeat examination; 70-100 a needless biopsy and 3 to 14 an over-diagnosed case of cancer that would never be life threatening.
Posted April 17, 2014: by Bill Sardi
The incidence of herpes zoster (the shingles) has risen by 39% over the past decade and a leading medical authority with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says they don’t know why. [Medscape April 14, 2014] The varicella zoster virus is acquired during childhood and emanates as chicken pox and the virus is harbored in nerve sheaths where it erupts much later in life as a painful skin rash.
The Centers for Disease control is a public health agency that serves as a shill for the pharmaceutical industry. So it is no surprise to hear CDC representatives advise adults over age 60 to receive zoster vaccine. However, the vaccine is a little bit of the disease itself and the virus may spread to other family members of the vaccinated.
Posted April 15, 2014: by Knowledge of Health
Arrows indicate multiple patchy calcified sites on the descending aorta and bilateral femoral arteries.
Posted April 14, 2014: by Bill Sardi
A Bloomberg News report delved into the reasons why a few patients respond to experimental cancer treatments while most others do not. Investigators still aren’t sure why some patients respond “miraculously” to treatment that largely fails others. It may be genetic predisposition. [Cancer ‘Miracle’ Patients Studied Anew For Disease Clues]. Readers were invited to comment on the report. Here is what one commentator posted:
Please, don’t be stupid with these alternative treatments. If you don’t understand how disease/cure works on cellular level defer it to professionals. Stephen Jobs was so arrogant that he delayed his treatment for 7 months trying to find alternative treatment. Please, don’t make same mistakes. Simple answers never work for complex questions. The Dark ages ended some time ago.
Posted March 25, 2014: by Bill Sardi
Vitamin D was discovered to cure rickets in 1922. A short time later ergocalciferol, synthetic vitamin D, was developed and is still today the only FDA-approved prescription form of vitamin D despite it being inferior to natural form cholecalciferol – vitamin D3.
Over 90 years have passed since that discovery. The 1920 and 1930s was the era of vitamin discovery. During that time the practice of medicine gravitated away from use of crude medicines such as quinine, opium, cocaine, digitalis and nitroglycerin to synthetic molecules like procaine and barbital that garnered patent protection for pharmaceutical companies. Atabrine was among the first patentable drugs approved for many uses and is related to melfoquine used today to treat malaria.