June 29th, 2011
By: Chris Iliades, MD
Most of us consider sadness to be the hallmark sign of depression. In truth, some people experience depression without a whole lot of tearfulness and sorrow.
Depression without sadness sounds like a mental-health oxymoron, but it’s a very real condition that’s especially common in older adults. But because other symptoms of depression are present — trouble concentrating, fatigue, rumination — it too often gets dismissed as “just getting old.”
Overlooking the signs of depression in seniors can be a dangerous mistake. The highest rates of suicide occur in men over the age of 85, and studies show that many of these men had visited their doctors in the month before their suicide — but their depression was not recognized.
“Older people don’t always say ‘I’m depressed.’ They tend to focus on physical symptoms instead of on sadness,” says Vineeth John, MD, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. “The diagnosis is frequently missed.”
10 Signs of Depression Sans Sadness
Depression is not a normal part of aging, even though the symptoms are often mistaken as so.
“Although elderly people with depression may have classic depression symptoms such as hopelessness, they may also express their sadness as headache or nonspecific aches and pains,” explains Dr. John. “This may result in them being given pain medications instead of being treated for their depression.”
Signs of depression without sadness include:
- Personality changes
- Isolation and loss of motivation
- Loss of appetite and loss of weight
- Agitation and combativeness
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Poor concentration
- Deterioration in home and self-care
- Who’s at Risk for Depression in Old Age?
“Changes in the brain and illnesses that occur in aging may make it harder for the elderly to cope with stress and adapt to change, but depression is not a normal part of aging,” says John. Still, certain risk factors increase the risk of depression in the elderly — and knowing these risk factors may help doctors and loved ones spot depression (and start treatment).
Risk factors include:
- Loss of a spouse
- Loss of mobility and independence
- Change in living arrangements
- Chronic illness
- Recent heart attack or stroke
- Use of alcohol or drugs
- How Depression Is Diagnosed and Treated
“Sometimes the best person to recognize signs of depression in the elderly is a friend or family member who knows the elderly person’s level of functioning very well and notices a significant change,” explains John.
Mental health professionals may use a diagnostic tool called the Geriatric Depression Scale to help diagnose depression in the elderly. Some of the questions asked on the scale include:
- Have you dropped many of your interests and activities?
- Would you rather stay at home than go out and do new things?
- Do you fear that something bad is going to happen to you?
- Do you feel you have more difficulty with memory than most people?
- Do you feel that you are full of energy?
Doctors must also factor in the effects of all medications being taken and search for medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, thyroid disorders, or Alzheimer’s disease that increase the risk of depression.
“The good news is that depression in the elderly is very treatable, just as it is in younger adults,” notes John. “And treating depression may also improve the symptoms of other co-existing conditions.”
Depression and aging don’t always go hand in hand, but it is a common problem that often gets missed. Knowing the risk factors and signs of depression (even when sadness isn’t one of them), however, can help prevent a misdiagnosis.
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June 28th, 2011
By: Ethan A. Huff
Remember when Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano claimed back in 2010 that the US Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) naked body scanners had been proven safe by research conducted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)? A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request recently brought to light internal emails that were sent by NIST to DHS that basically decry Napolitano’s false assertion that NIST had verified the safety of the naked body scanners.
Amid the string of emails discussing the matter, an undisclosed sender explains that NIST was “a little concerned” over Napolitano’s public reassurances that TSA’s naked body scanners are safe. After all, NIST does not test products, and it never tested the naked body scanners in the first place. Napolitano apparently took the individual machine dose measurements that NIST had gathered and twisted them to say what she wanted them to say, which was that the machines are safe.
You can view a partially-censored copy of that email exchange here: http://epic.org/privacy/backscatter/USAToday.pdf
Worse, NIST had actually warned DHS and TSA that the machines were not necessarily safe, and that airport screening agents should avoid standing next to them because of the harmful radiation they emit. It is unclear whether or not this warning was ever taken seriously by TSA officials.
Napolitano also falsely claimed that research conducted by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory confirms the safety of naked body scanners, even though the research actually suggests the opposite. Dr. Michael Love from the school publicly stated that the machines are going to give people skin cancer, and the specific findings of the report indicate that “radiation zones” around the machines emit enough radiation to exceed the “General Public Dose Limit.”
One thing is for sure, though. Many current and former TSA agents who have developed cancers are now speaking out against the machines, as they believe repeated and continual exposure to them is responsible for their conditions. Many TSA agents have repeatedly requested that they be given dosimeters to wear that will warn them of dangerous radiation exposure — but TSA higher-ups have never followed through in addressing their concerns, despite empty promises that they would.
June 28th, 2011
By: Greg Hunter
The Federal Reserve has been a clandestine organization since its inception. It is not really part of the federal government; it is merely a subcontractor for monetary policy. The Fed is basically a cartel of both U.S. and European banks. It has pulled the levers in the economy from behind a curtain of secrecy since 1913 and has always enjoyed a certain degree of respect and admiration. All that changed when the economy melted down in 2008. The respect and admiration of the Federal Reserve is being shredded right along with its veil of secrecy. The Fed allowed everyone to think the cost of controlling the 2008 financial crash was just a measly $3.3 trillion. This giant lie was exposed after Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont put a provision in last year’s financial reform bill that forced the Fed to come clean on $9 trillion in additional emergency loans and bailout money. The Fed funneled cash to foreign banks and companies right along with American banks and companies. It basically rewarded reckless and illegal behavior of greedy Wall Street bankers that caused the mess we are in now.
Nothing is fixed and nothing has really changed. The economy is still a wreck, and the Fed still wants its secrets. CNBC reported last week that the Fed refuses to tell how much cash it sent to Iraq just after the invasion because it came from the “oil for food” program. The Fed claims it has to obey “rules.” The report said, “The Fed’s lack of disclosure is making it difficult for the inspector general to follow the paper trail of billions of dollars that went missing in the chaotic rush to finance the Iraq occupation, and to determine how much of that money was stolen.” Taxpayers would be on the hook for the missing cash that the Defense Department says is $6.6 billion. This could represent the largest theft in history. The Fed didn’t obey any “rules” when it hid $9 trillion in bailout money. Doesn’t the Fed work for the U.S.? Apparently not.
Last week in Congressman Ron Paul’s Monetary Policy Subcommittee, Treasury Inspector General Eric Thorson assured Congress U.S. gold was safe. The gold is under the control of the Federal Reserve, and it has not been audited in decades. Paul wants an audit, and there are plenty of folks at the Fed who are against it. CNN reported last week on the hearing and said, “During the hearing, Paul suggested that the Federal Reserve of New York, which has 5% of the U.S. gold reserves, has the ability to secretly sell or swap gold with other countries without anyone knowing. “The Fed is pretty secret, you know,” said Paul, who leans Libertarian. “Congress doesn’t have much say on what’s going on over there. They do a lot of hiding.”
Also last week, Fed Chief Ben Bernanke held a press conference and said, “We don’t have a precise read on why this slower pace of growth is persisting.” This is an astounding admission from the head of the Federal Reserve. Bernanke doesn’t know why the economy is failing? Economist John Williams from Shadowstats.com isn’t buying it. In his most recent report, Williams said, “It is hard to believe that Mr. Bernanke, the presidents of the regional Federal Reserve Banks and the extensive staff of fine economists throughout the Federal Reserve System do not understand why the economic and systemic-liquidity crises persist. If indeed the problems really are not understood, Mr. Bernanke should not be Fed Chairman. More likely, the problems are understood, but Bernanke’s admitting that would entail his admitting that circumstances are beyond control, and that the Fed lacks the ability to address the issues effectively. . . . There is the possibility, though, that the comments were deliberate, intended as a warning of things to come. . .”
The Federal Reserve wants its dealings with bailouts and our nation’s gold to be kept secret. I don’t know if Bernanke is just incompetent, or if he continually lies about what is happening in the economy to keep the public from panicking. Do we really need the Fed with all their secrets and lies?
June 28th, 2011
By: Jack Farchy
The US dollar will lose its status as the global reserve currency over the next 25 years, according to a survey of central bank reserve managers who collectively control more than $8,000bn.
More than half the managers, who were polled by UBS, predicted that the dollar would be replaced by a portfolio of currencies within the next 25 years.
That marks a departure from previous years, when the central bank reserve managers have said the dollar would retain its status as the sole reserve currency.
UBS surveyed more than 80 central bank reserve managers, sovereign wealth funds and multilateral institutions with more than $8,000bn in assets at its annual seminar for sovereign institutions last week. The results were not weighted for assets under management.
The results are the latest sign of dissatisfaction with the dollar as a reserve currency, amid concerns over the US government’s inability to rein in spending and the Federal Reserve’s huge expansion of its balance sheet.
“Right now there is great concern out there around the financial trajectory that the US is on,” said Larry Hatheway, chief economist at UBS.
The US currency has slid 5 per cent so far this year, and is trading close to its lowest ever level against a basket of the world’s major currencies.
Holders of large reserves, most notably China, have been diversifying away from the dollar. In the first four months of this year, three quarters of the $200bn expansion in China’s foreign exchange reserves was invested in non-US dollar assets, Standard Chartered estimates.
The prediction of a multipolar currency world replacing the current dollar dominance chimes with the thinking of some leading policymakers.
Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank, last year proposed a new monetary system involving a number of major global currencies, including the dollar, euro, yen, pound and renminbi.
The system should also make use of gold, Mr Zoellick added. The results of the UBS poll also point to a growing role for bullion, with 6 per cent of reserve managers surveyed saying the biggest change in their reserves over the next decade would be the addition of more gold. In contrast to previous years, none of the managers surveyed was intending to make significant sales of gold in the next decade.
Central banks have bought about 151 tonnes of gold so far this year, led by Russia and Mexico, according to the World Gold Council, and are on track to make their largest annual purchases of bullion since the collapse in 1971 of the Bretton Woods system, which pegged the value of the dollar to gold.
The reserve managers predicted that gold would be the best performing asset class over the next year, citing sovereign defaults as the chief risk to the global economy.
The yellow metal has risen 19.5 per cent in the past year to trade at about $1,500 a troy ounce on Monday, buoyed by the emergence of sovereign debt concerns in the US as well as eurozone debt woes.
June 28th, 2011
By: Jonathan Benson
The Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Co.’s pharmaceutical division just cannot seem to get its act together. A recent recall involving 16,000 bottles of its schizophrenia drug Risperdal, and 24,000 bottles of a generic version of the same drug, mark yet another in the growing dozens the company has initiated over the past several years. And once again, the cause of the most recent recall involves the same strange odors caused by a palette chemical used to ship the drugs that also spurred earlier recalls.
According to a recent Reuters report, trace amounts of tribromoanisole, a chemical used to treat the wood palettes that store and ship the company’s drugs, apparently keep contaminating the drugs themselves, which is the same reason why the company had to initiate earlier recalls of Tylenol, Motrin, Benadryl, and others. Though the company claims, without much evidence of course, that the chemical is not harmful to health, officials admit it is at least a nuisance.
“While not considered to be toxic, TBA can generate an offensive odor and a very small number of patients have reported temporary gastrointestinal symptoms when taking other products with this odor,” said J&J in a recent press release.
Sold by the company’s Patriot Pharmaceuticals unit, Risperdal, known generically as risperidone, is the same harmful drug that prompted personnel from Michigan’s Child Protective Service (CPS) to target the now-infamous Maryanne Godboldo. As many NaturalNews readers now know, Godboldo had stopped giving her daughter Risperdal because its side effects were making the girl’s condition worse, which was her right to do, and was later raided by a SWAT team that illegally abducted her daughter.
Risperdal is known to cause abdominal pain, vomiting, aggression, anxiety, dizziness, and lack of coordination. Add to that the scent and taste of toxic chemicals, and it becomes obvious why J&J is opting to voluntarily recall the tainted drug, even if it supposedly poses no additional health risks.
To see the long list of J&J recalls that have taken place in recent years, visit: http://www.naturalnews.com/J&J.html
June 28th, 2011
By: Ethan A. Huff
Those still in denial about the connection between the so-called “humanitarian” efforts of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the bigger agenda to thrust genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) on the populations of the world (among other things), need look no further than the Golden Rice Project (GRP) for proof that things are not as they seem. Hailed as the solution to “micronutrient deficiencies in developing countries,” GRP is actually nothing more than an attempted Trojan horse to usher GMOs into countries that have thus far rejected them.
According to a recent story published by Food Consumer, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has donated $20 million to develop “golden rice,” a type of GM rice that allegedly contains higher than normal levels of vitamin A. Monsanto, creator of this “Frankenrice,” claims the crop will help end the epidemic of vitamin A deficiency (VAD) that afflicts many living in poor Asian countries. Sounds great, right? Except for the fact that introducing the rice threatens to actually worsen the VAD crisis, and promote economic and ecological debacles of epic proportions.
“Golden rice is a Trojan horse for pushing through GE-friendly biosafety regulations under the guise of humanitarian aid,” reports Food Freedom. “Once in place, these regulations open the door for the biotech industry to bring in commercial, patented GE crops; USAID and Monsanto accomplished exactly this in Kenya with their sweet potato project.”
Monsanto repeatedly uses the same strategy to sneak its Frankencrops into poor countries. It grabs hold of a food or agriculture crisis, and claims it has the solution. Its solution, of course, is always the same — persuade farmers to adopt its patented crops, and lock them into a system where they must rely on Monsanto for expensive pesticides and the yearly purchase of new, self-destructing GM seeds.
The real solution for poor countries — including those in Asia that are stricken by high rates of VAD — is to increase their agricultural biodiversity, and cultivate an enhanced system of small-scale, family-owned farms that produce a variety of nutrient-rich, natural foods.
“In a biodiverse farm, a family would have easy access to all these [beta carotene and vitamin A-rich foods]. But the mono-cropping agricultural technology (promoted by Monsanto) … has to a large extent, destroyed dietary biodiversity in rural Asia, which is the main cause of malnutrition,” wrote the Pesticides Action Network Asia & the Pacific (PANAP) in a press release, emphasizing that Monsanto and the Gates Foundation’s “solution” of golden rice will only exacerbate the problem of nutrient deficiency.
“[Monoculture] has seriously aggravated VAD. In fact, the Green Revolution has caused the loss of thousands of diverse local rice varieties … [m]any of these local varieties had special nutritional value. Golden rice perpetuates the industrial model of agriculture and so instead of reducing VAD, it will actually contribute to worsening its rate of occurrence.”
June 28th, 2011
By: J.D. Heyes
Another new study has confirmed what we’ve known for quite some time – that olive oil contributes to better health.
According to researchers who followed about 7,000 people aged 65 and older in three French cities for five years, olive oil can help greatly reduce the incidence of stroke.
Scientists conducting the study said they found that people who used a lot of olive oil either in their cooking or as a dip for bread and other foods had lower rates of stroke than people who never use it.
The scientists, who published their results in the medical journal Neurology, say people should be given new advice about their diets to include wider use of olive oil, based on the study’s results.
“Stroke is so common in older people, and olive oil would be an inexpensive and easy way to help prevent it,” said Dr Cecilia Samieri, of the University of Bordeaux, the study’s lead author.
“Our research suggests that a new set of dietary recommendations should be issued to prevent stroke in people 65 and older.”
Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Internet Stroke Center, which tracks the disease. In all, more than 143,500 people die each year in the U.S. from strokes, out of 795,000 who experience a stroke.
The health benefits of olive oil are well known. An earlier study by Italian researchers found that olive oil, combined with green leafy vegetables, help prevent heart disease.
Another study found that the culinary oil helps prevent oxidative stress, which has been linked to a number of health issues, on the liver.
Still another found that extra virgin olive oil helps combat breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), a woman in the United States is diagnosed with breast cancer every three minutes.
In an age when fast food reigns and home cooking is on the downward trend, incorporating more olive oil in your diet seems to be a simple, effective and inexpensive way to maintain better overall health.
“Olive oil has long been known to have potential health benefits,” said Sharlin Ahmed of Britain’s Stroke Association. “It is believed that it could protect against conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease and so it’s promising to see that it could have a similar protective function against stroke.”
June 28th, 2011
Stunned and nearly speechless after hearing the verdicts against him, former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich will wake up Tuesday to the stark reality that he is likely headed to federal prison within months, leaving behind his wife, two young daughters and comfortable home in a leafy Chicago neighborhood.
A jury convicted him Monday on 17 charges, including trying to sell or trade President Obama’s old Senate seat and attempting to shake down executives for campaign cash. The convictions carry a combined maximum prison sentence of around 300 years, but legal experts say a federal judge is likely to send him away for around a decade, give or take a few years.
An irrepressible Blagojevich had said before the retrial began that he refused to even contemplate the prospect of prison. But red-eyed, his face drawn and frowning, he hurried out of the courthouse after the verdict was read.
The broke and impeached ex-governor told reporters that he and his wife, Patti, “have to get home to our little girls and talk to them and explain things to them and then try to sort things out.” His two daughters are 8 and 14.
Uncharacteristically, the 54-year-old Democrat had little more to say, adding only that he was stunned by the verdict.
“Well, among the many lessons I’ve learned from this whole experience is to try to speak a little bit less, so I’m going to keep my remarks kind of short,” Blagojevich said.
He is almost certain to appeal the convictions, and his defense attorneys filed a number of motions to lay the groundwork for that.
If he does end up in prison, Blagojevich would follow a path well-trodden by Illinois governors, including Blagojevich’s predecessor, former Republican Gov. George Ryan — now serving 6½ years in a federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind.
In Illinois’s book of political infamy, though, Blagojevich’s chapter may go down as the most ignominious because of the allegations he effectively tried to hock an appointment to Obama’s Senate seat for campaign cash or a job.
Blagojevich will probably receive around 10 years in prison, with little chance he would get more than 15, said former Chicago-based federal prosecutor Jeff Cramer said. Another former prosecutor, Phil Turner, said Judge James Zagel might look to Ryan’s sentence and mete out a similar one for Blagojevich.
Zagel did not set a sentencing date, but Gal Pissetzky, a Chicago attorney who defends clients in federal court, said it’s likely Blagojevich would be sentenced late this year. When he is, Pissetzky said there is a chance he could end up serving in the same prison as George Ryan.
The verdict, coming after his first trial ended last year with the jury deadlocked on most charges, was a bitter defeat for Blagojevich, who spent 2½ years professing his innocence on reality TV shows and later on the witness stand. His defense team insisted that hours of FBI wiretap recordings were just the ramblings of a politician who liked to think out loud.
After hearing the verdict, Blagojevich turned to defense attorney Sheldon Sorosky and asked “What happened?” His wife, Patti, slumped against her brother, then rushed into her husband’s arms.
Before the decision was read, the couple looked flushed, and the former governor blew his wife a kiss across the courtroom, then stood expressionless, with his hands clasped tightly.
The verdict capped a long-running spectacle in which Blagojevich became famous for blurting on a recorded phone call that his ability to appoint Obama’s successor to the Senate was “f—-ing golden” and that he wouldn’t let it go “for f—-ing nothing.”
The case exploded into scandal when Blagojevich was awakened by federal agents on Dec. 9, 2008, at his Chicago home and was led away in handcuffs. Federal prosecutors had been investigating his administration for years, and some of his closest cronies had already been convicted.
Blagojevich was swiftly impeached and removed from office.
The verdict provided affirmation to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, one of the nation’s most prominent prosecutors, who, after the governor’s arrest, had condemned Blagojevich’s dealings as a “political corruption crime spree.”
The key question for the jury was whether to accept the defense suggestion that Blagojevich’s activities amounted to “the kind of political wheeling and dealing that is common in Illinois and around the country.”
“That,” said Fitzgerald, his voice rising, “couldn’t be any further from the truth. … Selling a Senate seat, shaking down a children’s hospital and squeezing a person to give money before you sign a bill that benefits them is not a gray area. It’s a crime.”
Fitzgerald pledged to retry the governor after the first jury failed to reach a decision on all but the least serious of 24 charges against him.
The jury voted to convict on 17 of 20 counts after deliberating nine days heading into Monday. Blagojevich also faces up to five additional years in prison for his previous conviction of lying to the FBI; Pissetzky said Zagel would almost certainly sentence Zagel for all the convictions at once.
Judges have enormous discretion in sentencing and can factor in a host of variables, including whether a defendant took the stand and lied. Prosecutors have said that Blagojevich did just that.
Blagojevich was acquitted of soliciting bribes in the alleged shakedown of a road-building executive. The jury deadlocked on two charges of attempted extortion related to that executive and funding for a school.
Zagel has barred Blagojevich from traveling outside the area without permission. A status hearing to discuss sentencing was set for Aug. 1.
All 12 jurors — 11 women and one man — spoke to reporters after the verdict, identifying themselves only by juror numbers. Their full names were to be released Tuesday.
Jurors said the evidence that Blagojevich tried to secure a high-paying, high-powered position in exchange for the appointment of Obama’s successor in the Senate was the clearest in the case.
“There was so much more evidence to go on,” said Juror No. 140. Jury members said they listened and re-listened to recordings of Blagojevich’s phone conversations with aides. They also acknowledged finding the former governor likable.
“He was personable,” Juror No. 103 said. “It made it hard to separate what we actively had to do as jurors.”
Richard Kling, a professor at Chicago-Kent College of Law who watched much of the trial, said the defense had no choice but to put Blagojevich on the stand, even though doing so was risky.
“The problem was with some of his explanations,” Kling said. “It reminded me of a little kid who gets his hand caught in a cookie jar. He says, `Mommy I wasn’t taking the cookies. I was just trying to protect them and to count them.”‘