Sunday, October 24, 2010

New Improved Blog

Please visit my Bigger, Better, IMPROVED Drjoesdiyhealth’s Blog .

Click here

Friday, October 8, 2010

Facts Not Fear For Flu

As winter ends in the southern hemisphere it is worth looking at the winter flu season just passed and see how our friends the “experts” fared this year.

In May we had dire predictions of a “horror” flu season due to the H1N1 virus. These predictions came at around the time that vaccination of children under five was suspended sue to side effects including seizures and the death of a toddler after being vaccinated.

The government continued to promote the importance of being vaccinated against swine flu due to a much-feared “second wave”. Exactly how you can have a second wave when there was no first wave is another question. Of course the government had paid some $AUD140 million for vaccines which were not being used.

The facts speak for themselves. Figures from the Federal Health department shows that between January and the start of September some 417 cases of H1N1 had been notified. Now to be fair there may be many people with a flu like illness where the test to identify the strain is not done so more people likely had the flu.

And therein lies the first key point. This was just another winter like all others-no horror; no second wave just some people getting ill and the vast, vast majority getting better. Every year some people die with the flu (mostly these people have other illness already) and this year was no different.

Despite all the hysteria from health “experts” and the offer of a free vaccine, only 18% of Australians were vaccinated. The two main reasons were that people perceived swine flu as a mild illness and not a serious threat to their health. The other main reason given was concerns about the vaccine itself.

Here the plot thickens. The program to vaccinate children under age five was suspended due to side effects. A significant number had febrile convulsions (seizures) and there was at least one death. The coroners report ultimately found the vaccine might have contributed to the toddler’s death. Proving causation was never going to be possible. The child was well before the vaccination and died after it. We can draw our own conclusions.

And given the number of hospitalizations and issues with this vaccine, what was the main concern of the authorities? That an “important “ vaccination program was being held up. Never mind that more harm than good was being done.

Regular readers will know my views on swine flu, which are on the record from April 2009. This was always a normal flu like illness and there was no need for panic, hysteria and the waste of billions of dollars. Inquires are being held into the behavior of the WHO and conflicts of interest by those giving advice to governments and also advising vaccine makers.

At no time were the public given the truth. At no time was any useful advice about how to strengthen your immune system given. Basic things like drinking enough water, getting enough sleep, managing stress, eating enough fruits and vegetables. Let alone more specific information about having adequate intake of zinc, antioxidant vitamins, folate and vitamin D.

The web of deceit is starting to unravel. A major analysis published in the journal Eurosurveillance shows the flu vaccine caused more harm than good. For every hospital admission prevented there were two or three hospital admissions due to seizures.

Yet the response of the “experts” remains the same. According to the Australian TGA “the overall risk-benefit balance …remains positive” and the chief medical officer feels that the vaccine should not be withdrawn but that the government would reassess.

There is no point relying on so-called experts or the government. There is no need to get caught up in hysteria. The best way to stay healthy and keep your children healthy is to be in charge of your own health.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Reliance On Drugs HasA Human And Economic Cost

When too many of us take too many drugs, there are consequences. These are both economic and human. The solution is to use drugs judiciously and not as a replacement for being responsible for what we put in our mouths.

Human inventions are not intrinsically good or bad. It is how they are used which determines this. For example a knife is useful to cut your food but can also be used to stab someone. Fire can warm us on a cold night but has the potential to burn the house down if not used correctly.

And so it is with pharmaceutical agents. They have the capacity to do enormous good when used correctly. However when misused or used inappropriately or when they are not really needed problems can and do occur.

Figures from the USA show that almost one in two Americans take at least one prescription drug per month, an increase of 10% over ten years. A staggering one in five children 11 years and younger were in the same boat. Spending on prescription drugs more than doubled to USD 234 billion over the decade to 2008.

Amongst the commoner medications used were those for cholesterol and depression in adults and for ADHD in adolescents.

British researchers have previously noted that 7% of NHS spending on drugs went on drugs for diabetes. Between 2000 and 2008 the number of prescriptions had risen 50% but costs had risen 104%. This reflects use of newer and more expensive (but not always better) medications. One of these is rosiglitazone.

The fundamental question that never gets asked is whether the best way to manage a problem is with medication? The second question which also is rarely asked is what other consequences might occur if medications are used?

We have just seen the withdrawal of diabetes drug rosiglitazone (Avandia) from sale in Europe and severe restrictions on its use in the USA. A report in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) had earlier called for the drugs withdrawal and questioned whether its use should ever have been approved.

The drug has been shown to lead to an increase in rates of heart attack and strokes in people taking the drug compared to those not. In 2007 a study showed a 43% increased risk of heart attack.

John Yudkin of University College London said in the BMJ “We need to be absolutely certain that our long term treatments for type 2 diabetes are not causing the very harm they are meant to prevent”.

Type 2 diabetes comes about predominantly from people eating too much processed and sugary foods, being obese and not exercising. Logic would dictate that the primary treatments would be correcting what led to the problem. Some people may still end up needing drugs but it would be far fewer and they may not need drugs as potent (or costly) as rosigltizone.

It has also emerged that another diabetes drug, pioglitazone (Actos) is being investigated as it may increase the risk of bladder cancer. It has also been shown that bisphosphonate drugs used for osteoporosis can double the rate of esophageal cancer.

None of this is to say that there is not a role for drugs. However when we are dealing with conditions that come about from lifestyle choices we make, reliance on drugs in preference to making the necessary lifestyle changes are not without other consequences. These examples show that just “popping a pill” may seem an easy option but may not be.