Archive for the ‘medical’ Category

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Holistic Spain Network will be launched on 26 July 2011

July 18, 2011

Only a week to go until the launch of my holistic network, at HolisticSpain.net.
Holistic Spain is a network of holistic resources – including therapists, teachers, training programs, health-orientated holidays and retreats, hotels and so on – covering the whole of Spain. We will also be offering a free information and referral service. Launch date is 26 July 2011. Please visit the site for further information.

Press Release

Solo queda una semana para el lanzamiento de mi red holística en at HolisticSpain.net.
Holistic Spain es una red de recursos holísticos que incluye, entre otros, a terapeutas, profesores, programas de formación, retiros y vacaciones orientadas a la salud y hoteles en toda España. También ofreceremos un servicio gratuito de información y referencias. La fecha de lanzamiento es el 26 de julio de 2011. Visite el sitio web para obtener más información.

NOTA DE PRENSA

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Pasties and Hot Sauce

June 29, 2011


“World’s oldest woman enjoyed pasties with hot sauce”
was one of the headlines on the BBC website this week.

Apparently a Brazilian woman thought to have been the world’s oldest person has died at the age of 114.

“Reports” like this really annoy me.

Are we supposed to infer that pasties with hot sauce is the recipe for great longevity?

Maybe this old lady – well, dead lady, to be more precise – only started eating pasties with hot sauce a month ago, and that’s what killed her.

Maybe if the reporter who submitted this article had taken the trouble to question members of the woman’s family they’d have told him or her: “She was doing fine until she started eating those damned pasties with hot sauce.”

We just don’t know.

It’s like those non-meat eaters who delight in telling you that GB Shaw was a vegetarian, and he lived to the age of 94 (after which, ironically, he became dead meat himself).

Adolf Hitler was a vegetarian too, but they never mention him.

Incidentally, Shaw’s father had a bad squint (is there such a thing as a good squint?) which Oscar Wilde’s father, who was a renowned Dublin surgeon at the time, tried – without success – to correct. So Shaw the elder died with his squint intact. For all we know his family had it framed and mounted.

Anyway, to get back to the point I was making, Shaw was a veggie and he lived to be 94. It’s hardly scientific proof of anything, is it? George Burns smoked fifteen cigars every day for most of his adult life, and he lived to be 100. Are we to conclude that smoking cigars is marginally better for one’s health than living on lettuce?

Turtles are herbivores, and they live twice as long as humans. But are they herbivores by choice, you have to wonder, or because they can’t move fast enough to catch anything tasty? They’re not exactly designed to be effective predators. It’s hard to imagine a turtle sneaking up on a gazelle at a watering hole and lunging for its throat. By the time a turtle crept up on any animal it would already have died of old age.

Unless it was a parrot, of course. Some species of parrot can live up to 100 years. But parrots, like most humans, are omnivores, so their longevity can’t be attributed to not eating meat. On the other hand they don’t smoke cigars, so where does that leave us?

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Cholera kills 300 in Haiti. So where’s the vaccine?

October 27, 2010

The cholera epidemic in Haiti continues to spread. So far, over 3,000 cases have been reported, and almost 300 people have died from the disease.

Health officials say they have stepped up disease prevention measures and are “racing against time”, with medics “administering intravenous drips to patients” etc.

So what’s wrong with this picture?

Just this: While the health authorities are supposedly “doing everything possible” to fight this outbreak, there has been no mention at all of what would appear to be the most obvious and simple solution: make the cholera vaccine available to those most at risk.

There are several cholera vaccines, including Dukoral (which can be taken orally).

So why hasn’t the vaccine been made available? Why allow all these people to die if there is a vaccine that can give them instant immunity from the disease?

The vaccine isn’t being made available for the same reason vaccinations are never made available during the early stages of epidemics: they don’t work, and it would quickly become apparent that they don’t work, because the number of cases would continue to rise.

No vaccination program has ever stopped a viral or bacterial epidemic in its tracks (cholera is caused by a bacterium), and the cholera vaccine is no exception.

So here we see yet another epidemic running its deadly course and causing hundreds of deaths while the purported antidote isn’t being made available. We recently saw the same thing with the swine flu vaccine, whose distribution was mysteriously delayed until the disease had already lost its potency.

What is the vaccine supposed to be for, if not to prevent the disease from spreading? What’s the point of spending billions of dollars researching and developing vaccines if they are not going to be used when they are most needed? When hundreds of people are dying from the disease that the vaccination is supposedly able to prevent?

The health authorities know perfectly well that vaccination doesn’t work, and would have no effect on the course of this outbreak. As always, the vaccine will be made available (if at all) when the disease has run its natural course and people are no longer dying from it. Then the health authorities will point to the disappearance of the disease as evidence of the effectiveness of vaccination – as they have with every other infectious disease.

The risk of a cholera outbreak in Haiti has been known for some time, following the earthquake. Back in January Pier Luigi Testa, emergency co-ordinator for Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), warned that an outbreak of cholera was to be expected. The authorities had more than enough time to organise a mass vaccination program. In fact this could have been done in just a few days, given that the vaccine can be administered orally, in a drink or on a sugar cube, making it far easier to distribute and administer than vaccines which have to be injected by trained medical personnel.

If the cholera vaccine works, as the manufacturers claim, why hasn’t it been made available to the people of Haiti, or at least to those who are most at risk of contracting this wretched disease?

Update 20 November

It is over a month since the start of the cholera epidemic in Haiti, and the death toll has now reached 1,200 – and still there is no mention of the vaccine. Why not, if, as we are told, it gives protection against the disease? If the vaccine works, why were these people allowed to die?
According to the BBC website today, the outbreak has now spread to Haiti’s largest jail, the national prison in Port-au-Prince, which houses around 2,000 prisoners. Thirty prisoners are infected with the disease, and thirteen have already died. This is a relatively small, isolated group of people. It would take less than a day to vaccinate all the prisoners (the cholera vaccination can be administered orally). Why hasn’t this happened?
The disease has also now spread into neighbouring Dominican Republic.
Again, the medical authorities – including the World Health Organization and the US Center for Disease Control – have endorsed the cholera vaccine, as, of course, have the various companies that manufacture it.
The truth is, vaccines are only ever made available when there is no immediate threat from the disease against which they are supposed to offer protection. They are never made available when they would supposedly save hundreds or thousands of lives – ie, while epidemics are ongoing. That’s because they don’t work; and the fact that they don’t work would be apparent if vaccinated populations continued to become infected.

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Where did global warming go?

January 20, 2010

According to a report on the BBC website today:

Climate body admits glacier error
A top UN panel gave the wrong date for Himalayan glacier melt, but says it does not change the picture of man-made climate change.

Wasn’t the original claim that these glaciers were melting as a result of global warming? “Climate change” is a different animal altogether, and can include a whole range of factors (radioactive particles in the air, deforestation, oceanic pollution etc.) that have nothing at all to do with the global temperature rising as a result of human-produced CO2 emissions.

In recent months, the term “global warming” seems to have fallen into disuse by most MMGW adherents – and by the media – and the much more ambiguous term “climate change” is increasingly being used instead.

“Climate change”, of course, covers just about every contingency. If the earth warms up, that would be climate change. If a new ice age arrives, that would be climate change too.

As the climate has been changing periodically since the beginning of the earth’s history, it’s a pretty safe bet that it will continue to change in the future. Predicting “climate change” is a bit like backing every horse in a race.

So what happened to global warming? Does the abandonment of this term by MMGW adherents signal a private acceptance on their part that the much-heralded warming might not actually happen? After a decade in which global temperatures have gone steadily down and global ice is still at normal levels; and particularly after one of the coldest winters on record – not to mention the revelation that senior members of the IPCC manipulated data and resorted to blackmail and threats to prevent MMGW sceptics from publishing their views – claims of an impending rise in the temperature are beginning to strain people’s credibility.

Perhaps it’s my imagination, but it looks to me as if the goalposts in this game are on the move, and that pretty soon they’ll be telling us that “it’s not just warming that’s the problem”, and accusing sceptics of putting too much emphasis on “one particular aspect of climate change”.

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We’re creating a Master Race of mice

August 5, 2009

sarah_outenSo this week Sarah Outen (left) became the first woman to row solo across the Indian Ocean.
She set off from the west coast of Australia in April and landed on the island of Mauritius on Monday, 3 Aug, after spending a total of 124 days at sea.
Which just goes to prove that Brits will do anything to save on travel expenses.
Sarah, a biologist from Rutland, UK, said it had been “an astonishing experience” and she had seen the elements “in all their states”.
“In the last days I’d have whales surfing past the boat and albatrosses flying overhead,” she told the BBC website.
It’s when you start seeing whales flying overhead that you know you’re in trouble, Sarah.

This week there was great news for epileptic mice – but not much joy for humans with the condition.
“Scientists halt epilepsy in mice,” was the BBC website headline on Monday.
Great. Now they’ll be able to drive trucks and operate heavy machinery.
Has epilepsy been a big problem for mice? Not that I am aware of. I don’t know a single mouse whose life has been ruined by epileptic seizures.
Meanwhile, rodents everywhere have also been celebrating (with cheese and wine parties, presumably) the discovery of a drug – aptly named rapamycin – which has been found to extend life in mice, according to a study published on July 8 in the journal Nature.
The research, conducted as part of the National Institute of Aging Interventions Testing Program, took place at three separate test sites and involved nearly 2,000 genetically similar mice.
Exactly how rapamycin works is “still an open question,” says Randy Strong, a pharmacology professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and one of three lead authors of the study.
And then comes the inevitable disclaimer: “Earlier human trials have shown, however, that rapamycin can have serious side effects”.
In other words the drug will kill you long before it extends your life.

I’m getting a bit tired of reading about medical “breakthroughs” in mice that never seem to translate into cures for people.
At this stage there must be a miracle cure available for every disease known to mousedom. Hardly a day goes by without news of some new medical advance that has been successfully tested on mice.
We’re breeding a master race of rodents – while we humans are still dying from the same old diseases that killed our distant ancestors.
Isn’t it about time the medical boffins came up with a few genuine cures for human diseases – such as cancer and coronary disease?
For all their “breakthroughs” with mice, they have yet to produce a single cure for any of the most common diseases that kill humans.
This is the 21st century. A cure for cancer is long overdue. Yes, I know it’s a complex and difficult disease, but you’d think that after more than a hundred years of intensive medical research – involving tens of thousands of researchers and costing countless millions of dollars – they’d have made a bit more progress towards finding a cure than they have.
In any event their failure to find cures for these common killer diseases might be a bit easier to accept if they didn’t keep reminding us in their smug and arrogant way of how clever they are.
At finding theoretical cures for diseases in mice.
The sad truth is that most of the medical research effort goes into developing (profitable) drugs to “treat” diseases, rather than finding (far less profitable) cures to eradicate them.