Enter your Email


Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz


Archive for February, 2008

STUDY: NEW GENERATION ANTI-DEPRESSANTS HAVE LITTLE CLINICAL BENEFIT FOR MOST PATIENTS

Posted in Health Watch, New Scientific Data, News Brief on February 26th, 2008

BRITISH RESEARCH GROUP CONCLUDES THAT THE DRUGS ACTIVELY HELP ONLY A SMALL GROUP OF THE MOST SEVERELY DEPRESSED

2007-08-20-painpills1.jpgWhat if Tom Cruise and his Scientology friends are really right? What if anti-depressants are just another high priced way to separate a nation of depressed people from their money, and really have little if any clinical benefit? Scary thought, but perhaps not as far fetched as it sounds.

Dominating the news cycle today along with all of the squabbling between Clinton and Obama is the release of a new study by a group of British University researchers, which contends that those happy pills that far too many of us take really provide little if any benefit to all but the most severely depressed.

The study, by researchers from the University of Hull in Great Britain, reviewed published clinical trial data, and unpublished data, secured under Freedom of Information legislation, on 47 clinical trials before publishing their
findings in the journal PLoS Medicine.

The British team focused on drugs, which work by increasing levels of the mood controlling chemical serotonin in the brain. These included fluoxetine (Prozac) and paroxetine (Seroxat), from the class known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), alongside another similar drug called venlafaxine (Efexor) – all commonly prescribed in here in the United States.

Per the BBC, The researchers found that the drugs did have a positive impact on people with mild depression – but the effect was no bigger than that achieved by giving patients a sugar-coated “dummy” pill.

“This means that depressed people can improve without chemical treatments,” according to lead researcher, Professor Irving Kirsch. “Given these results, there seems little reason to prescribe anti-depressant medication to any but the most severely depressed patients, unless alternative treatments have failed to provide a benefit.”

As might be expected, this news has triggered vocal responses from Big Pharma with the makers of Prozac and Seroxat, two of the commonest anti-depressants, the first to rush into print with their denials.

- LIB

READ MORE…

Share:
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Fark
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • YahooMyWeb
  • Netscape
  • Slashdot
  • MySpace

PLANT RESPONSIBLE FOR 143 MILLION POUND BEEF RECALL, EXPECTED TO CLOSE

Posted in Corporate Carelessness, Corporate Greed, Corruption Watch, Health Watch, News Brief, Toxic Food on February 25th, 2008

CALIFORNIA MEATPACKER A MAJOR SUPPLIER TO THE NATIONAL SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM

sickcowa11.jpgThe death knell is sounding for Chino, California meatpacker, Hallmark/Westland, following last weeks recall of 143 million pounds of fresh and frozen beef processed at the privately held California plant.

The recall, the industry’s largest, was ordered by the USDA following the release of an undercover video by the Humane Society of the United States, showing workers at the company’s Chino, California facility attempting to force injured or sick cows to stand with forklifts and electric-shock devices.

USDA rules prohibit “downer” cows from entering the food supply as the inability to stand can often be a symptom of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, better known to us mere mortals as mad-cow disease.

But the company’s alleged offenses did not stop there. The USDA also claims to have evidence that Hallmark/Westland employees had permitted some “downer” cows to go to slaughter after the cows had previously passed a preslaughter inspection. In such instances, meatpackers are required to contact USDA veterinarians for an additional inspection, something that the regulatory agency claims that Hallmark/Westland did not do.

As one who enjoys a good cheeseburger from time to time, I find myself unable, no make that unwilling, to feel all that bad for this company. Mad cow is nothing to be trifled with, as is any of the food borne illnesses. The failure to be conscious of this and to act accordingly reflects that this company, like so many others, possesses a culture which rewards greed and not employees dong what is best for their product’s end users. Employees do not make these sort of decisions on their own. Management was either aware of this or was so incompetent that they do not deserve to be in a business where their actions can impact on so many of our lives. What makes this situation particularly infuriating is that Hallmark/Westland is a major supplier of meat products to the National School Lunch Program.

Hopefully a fair investigation will be pursued and those found culpable charged in the appropriate jurisdiction.

One of the unfortunate realities of life today is that the majority of American corporations cannot be trusted to act in the best interest of their customers. The lure of record profits is enough in far too many instances for companies to be willing to play the odds. In this case, they got caught. But what about all of the times that this sort of action takes place and the first we know of it is when people start getting sick? Perhaps if we started holding the leaders of companies personally responsible for the actions of their companies, sincere efforts would be taken to ensure safer manufacturing processes. There is nothing like the threat of a protracted legal matter to make one think twice about committing criminal acts.

But then again, to do this, we would need to have a sufficient number of line inspectors to oversee these plants. Maybe when George Bush has ridden off into the sunset we will once again return sanity to the corporate arena.

- LIB

READ MORE….

Link to Humane Society Video

Share:
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Fark
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • YahooMyWeb
  • Netscape
  • Slashdot
  • MySpace

AMAZON RAINFOREST NUTS HELP FUEL FIRST BIOFUEL FLIGHT

Posted in Clean Energy, Conscious Actions, Eco Warriors, Ethical Business, News Brief, Sustainable Transportation on February 25th, 2008

A VIRGIN ATLANTIC JUMBO JET FLIES FROM LONDON TO AMSTERDAM WITH ONE OF ITS FUEL TANKS FILLED WITH A BIO-JET BLEND OF BABASSU OIL AND COCONUT OIL

virginjet2.jpegBritish billionaire Richard Branson, the principle shareholder of Virgin Atlantic Airways and numerous other Virgin named companies, went on record the latter part of last year pledging to incorporate bio fuels into his airline’s fuel mix. Yesterday, he did so.

A biofuel mix is reported to have provided 25 percent of the fuel for yesterdays jumbo jet flight from London to Amsterdam. The biofuel was a blend of 20 percent neat biofuel composed of among other ingredients, Babassu oil and coconut oil, and 80 percent conventional jet fuel. According to Branson, tests have shown it was possible to fly with as much as a 40 percent blend.

Branson went on to say that it was unlikely the nut of the wild growing babassu palm would play a key role as airlines turn to renewable fuel sources. The nut was used for the test, as the company did not want to use any product where they would be “competing with staple food sources.”

Branson agrees with yours truly that algae produced in places like sewage treatment farms is the most likely future source of renewable fuel for the airline industry.

This is not Virgin’s first experiment with bio-fuels. Last year, Virgin started to power some of its trains using a fuel containing 20 percent biodiesel produced mainly using British rapeseed oil blended with U.S. soybean oil and palm oil from the Far East.

READ MORE….

Share:
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Fark
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • YahooMyWeb
  • Netscape
  • Slashdot
  • MySpace

MOVE OVER, TUPPERWARE. THE ECOMOM PARTY HAS ARRIVED

Posted in Conscious Actions, Eco Warriors, News Brief, Sustainable Living on February 19th, 2008

PART “HINTS FROM HELOISE” AND PART POLITICAL SELF-HELP GROUP, THE ECOMOM ALLIANCE JOINS A GROWING SUBCULTURE DEDICATED TO THE “GREEN MOM

ecomoms.jpegMove over, Tupperware. The EcoMom party has arrived, with its ever-expanding “to do” list that includes preparing waste-free school lunches; lobbying for green building codes; transforming oneself into a “locovore,” eating locally grown food; and remembering not to idle the car when picking up children from school (if one must drive). Here, the small talk is about the volatile compounds emitted by dry-erase markers at school.

Perhaps not since the days of “dishpan hands” has the household been so all-consuming. But instead of gleaming floors and sparkling dishes, the obsession is on installing compact fluorescent light bulbs, buying in bulk and using “smart” power strips that shut off electricity to the espresso machine, microwave, X-Box, VCR, coffee grinder, television and laptop when not in use.

READ MORE…

Share:
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Fark
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • YahooMyWeb
  • Netscape
  • Slashdot
  • MySpace

PENDING PENNSYLVANIA LEGISLATION WOULD ALLOW DOCTORS TO DENY ABORTIONS AND CONTRACEPTION ON RELIGIOUS GROUNDS

Posted in News Brief, Pseudoscientific Babble on February 19th, 2008

BILL WOULD ABSOLVE MEDICAL CARE PROVIDERS OF LIABILITY IN CASES WHERE REPRODUCTIVE CARE WAS DENIED BASED ON A PRACTITIONER’S RELIGIOUS OR MORAL BELIEFS.

xin_54070416093561120577112.jpgPennsylvania Senate Bill 1255, aka the Conscientious Objection Act, is just the latest attempt by evangelical Christians to force their way of life on mainstream society. For that reason, it must be defeated.

The legislation in question would allow medical professions to withhold, with immunity, services including performing an abortion, artificial insemination, and prescribing birth control or emergency contraception. While there have been scattered instances, nationwide, of such services being denied in recent years, this is the first attempt to pass legislation granting immunity to those who refuse.

If the Pennsylvania doctors and other medical professionals feel so strongly about this issue, they should find work in circumstances where they are shielded from such requests rather than attempting to legislate their belief systems.

- LIB

READ MORE

Share:
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Fark
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • YahooMyWeb
  • Netscape
  • Slashdot
  • MySpace

RECORD BEEF RECALL

Posted in Corporate Greed, Corruption Watch, Health Watch, Toxic Food on February 19th, 2008

CALIFORNIA SLAUGHTERHOUSE PROVIDED BEEF TO SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAMS

2007-10-05-meat_patties1.jpgThe US Agriculture Department has ordered the recall of 143 million pounds of frozen beef from Chino, California based Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. The slaughterhouse, the subject of an animal-abuse investigation, is alleged to have not routinely contacted its veterinarian when cattle became non-ambulatory after passing inspection, which is a violation of health regulations.

READ MORE….

Share:
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Fark
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • YahooMyWeb
  • Netscape
  • Slashdot
  • MySpace

DC APPELATE COURT STRIKES DOWN EPA LIMITS ON MERCURY EMISSIONS FROM COAL-FIRED POWER PLANTS

Posted in Administrative Arrogance, Corporate Polluters, Healthy Food, News Brief on February 10th, 2008

CITES THE AGENCY FOR IGNORING ITS LEGAL OBLIGATION TO REQUIRE THE STRICTEST POSSIBLE CONTROLS ON THE TOXIC METAL OR TO JUSTIFY AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH

The regulation, which the panel unanimously struck down, was issued in 2005. It aimed to reduce power-plant emissions of mercury 70 percent by 2018, through a system that capped total emissions, set the amounts of mercury that power plants could emit and let cleaner plants sell unneeded allowances.

A coalition of environmental groups in alliance with 17 states, mostly on the receiving end of power emissions, sued, arguing that the law required tighter, more expensive controls that could eliminate up to 90 percent of mercury emissions.

This decision is but the latest judicial rebuke of administration environmental policy during George Bush’s time in office.

Other instances included the Supreme Court decision which forced the EPA to take a broader, more aggressive approach to regulate factories and power plants that add capacity or make renovations that increase air pollutants.

Then there was the Supreme Court ruling rejecting the agency’s contention that it had no authority to regulate the greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

Prior to that, the United States Court for the District of Columbia Circuit, the source of this most recent ruling, ordered the agency to enforce the Clean Air Act as written by Congress and interpreted by this court.”

READ MORE…

Share:
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Fark
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • YahooMyWeb
  • Netscape
  • Slashdot
  • MySpace

STUDY: LONELY PEOPLE MORE LIKELY TO BELIEVE IN SUPERNATURAL

Posted in Consciousness, News Brief on February 10th, 2008

THOSE WHO FEEL ISOLATED TRY TO CREATE SOCIAL CONNECTIONS ELSEWHERE

2007-08-10-smartteen.jpgWhen people feel lonely, they may try to rekindle old friendships, seek out new ones or they may create social connections by anthropomorphizing nearby gadgets, such as computers or cars, pets, or by believing in supernatural events or religious figures, according to University of Chicago researcher Nicholas Epley, who led the study.

Epley and his colleagues plan to probe the issue further to see if anthropomorphizing pets or believing in anthropomorphized supernatural agents is what is responsible for alleviating feelings of loneliness. If it is, it could provide alternate means for people to feel socially connected when connecting to humans isn’t an option.

“There are health benefits that come from being connected to other people, and those same benefits seem to come from connection with pets and with religious agents, too,” Epley said.

READ MORE…

Source: LiveScience.com.

Share:
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Fark
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • YahooMyWeb
  • Netscape
  • Slashdot
  • MySpace

STUDY: CORN ETHANOL NO CLIMATE SOLUTION

Posted in Corporate Polluters, Global Warming, News Brief on February 8th, 2008

GREENHOUSE EMISSIONS OF ETHANOL MADE FROM CORN NEARLY TWICE THAT OF GASOLINE IF LAND USE FACTORED IN

maize1.jpgFinally, those in the know have seen through the ethanol from corn scam that we have been warning readers about, for some time now.

Guess what, my friends, he says trying not to gloat all that much, the widespread use of ethanol made from corn could result in nearly “twice the amount of greenhouse gas emissions being released into the atmosphere than the gasoline it is supposed to replace”, when one factors into the equation the carbon dioxide filtering trees and plants, which would be uprooted to make way for the corn. Previous surveys did not take into account this fact

Take that ADM and Cargill!

The study goes on to agree with the LIB in recommending that ethanol be manufactured from waste products that do not require re-purposing existing land.

-LIB

READ MORE…

SOURCE: Iowa State University, the Woods Hole Research Center and the Agricultural Conservation Economics.

Share:
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Fark
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • YahooMyWeb
  • Netscape
  • Slashdot
  • MySpace

PREPARING FOR GLOBAL WARMING’S HEALTH CRISIS

Posted in Global Warming, Health Watch on February 8th, 2008

GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE IS MORE THAN A WEATHER PHENOMENON; IT IS ALSO A MAJOR PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUE

globalwarming.jpgThe environmental threats (of Global Warming) are increasingly appreciated, but the human health effects have received less attention. And the effects — caused by intense weather events such as heat waves, wildfires and floods, and indirectly from changes in water, air, agriculture and infectious disease patterns — are troubling.

The World Health Organization estimates that our shifting climate is now responsible for widespread health effects, including millions of illnesses and 160,000 deaths each year, many from the spread of malaria into new areas where mosquitoes were once unable to survive. In the absence of uncontrolled greenhouse gases, the projections are far more sobering.

READ MORE…

Share:
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Fark
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • YahooMyWeb
  • Netscape
  • Slashdot
  • MySpace