March 23, 2012
By Dr. Daniel Zagst
What happened to the winter? Spring has started early and with an early bloom comes a long year for seasonal allergy sufferers. If you are one of the millions suffering from springtime allergies already in March, wouldn’t you like to enjoy the summer allergy-free? A simple solution exists that can help you rid the meds and enjoy the outdoors.
There’s no doubt that our country is over-medicated, not to mention broke from paying for expensive medications. On top of this, terrible side effects with allergy medications make them a gamble to take. The side effects of a popular prescription allergy drug includes: fatigue, coughing, sneezing, headache, nausea, sleeplessness, sore throat, dizziness and even severe allergic reactions! Wait, isn’t the medication supposed to prevent allergies and all of these symptoms? What if you could take something safe and natural with no side effects that you don’t need a prescription for and costs well under $20?
For The Full Report Go To Natural News
January 23, 2012
By Mike Adams
Falls are the leading cause of accidental death in the elderly population of adults over 65 years of age. A recent study found that elderly people who suffer from dementia are more likely to suffer falls if they are given anti-depressants.
Selective serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are frequently prescribed to dementia patients, who often also experience depression. The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology reported that the risk of elderly injuring themselves from falls was TRIPLED after they were given SSRIs. This class of drugs includes the popular depression drugs Prozac and Paxil, which have long been considered first-line therapy for treatment of depression in older adults.
The high risk of falls following treatment with older anti-depressant medications is well established, as these drugs have long been shown to cause unpleasant and dangerous side effects in elderly such as dizziness and unsteadiness.
September 2nd, 2011
By: Alice Park
The government’s recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans had some familiar recommendations for health: eat more fruits and vegetables, exercise more and lower the amount of salt you eat.
Now a new study from Europe challenges that last piece of advice by suggesting that reducing dietary salt may not benefit your heart health after all. Previous studies have shown that people with high blood pressure can lower their risk of developing hypertension and heart disease by eating less salt. But in the new study, people who had the most salt in their diets actually had the lowest risk of dying from heart disease.
Yes, that’s right. The study involved 3,681 people without heart problems, most of whom also had normal blood pressure. Reporting in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the researchers found that those with the highest levels of sodium in their urine (the most accurate way to measure how much salt a person consumes) were more than four times less likely to die from heart disease than those with the lowest intake of sodium. During the nearly eight years of follow up, the heart-related death rate was 0.8% among those with the highest sodium levels and 4% among those with the lowest levels.
“Yes, the findings surprised me and those of us at the American Heart Association (AHA),” says Dr. Ralph Sacco, president of the AHA and chairman of neurology at University of Miami. The AHA is hoping to get Americans to lower their sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day by 2020, far below the 2,300 mg daily maximum that the U.S. Department of Agriculture now advises.
“We have to remember that many people are at high risk for high blood pressure,” says Sacco. “And when we start going up in age, the proportion of people with high blood pressure approaches 70% to 80% or more, so your lifetime risk of high blood pressure is exceedingly high.”
Salt can play a role in blood pressure, and the current study confirmed this, finding that the systolic pressure (the upper number in the blood pressure reading) was slightly higher among those consuming the most salt, compared with those consuming the least. Even so, those people were at no higher risk of developing hypertension.
The current study fuels the brewing debate over whether low-salt standards should apply equally to everyone. Some experts suggest that certain people may be more sensitive to salt than others, or that people with normal blood pressure may not benefit from lowering their sodium intake. Most of the gold-standard studies on salt — in which people are randomly assigned to consume diets high or low in sodium — have involved people who either have hypertension or are at high risk of developing it. Based on that data, scientists just assumed that the same low-salt principle would benefit people at lower risk as well.
But as one of the study authors, Dr. Jan Staessen, professor of medicine at University of Leuven in Belgium, told JAMA in a Q&A, “If you decrease sodium intake a lot, you activate some of the systems that conserve sodium and they are known to have a negative influence on cardiovascular outcomes.” While it’s not know if this is indeed the reason for the contrary findings, it could explain why lower sodium levels were linked to greater heart problems in the trial.
Still, Sacco, as well as the authors, acknowledge that there might be other reasons for the surprising results. First, the study population was relatively young on the whole (participants’ ages ranged from 20 to over 60), and therefore at lower risk of hypertension than an older population. The impact that sodium can have on the heart may differ depending on age.
Second, the scientists took only one urinary sodium reading over a 24-hour period from each participant, and such readings can vary; an average of several measurements might have more accurately captured the participants’ true sodium intake.
And, finally, given the young age of the volunteers, an eight-year follow up may not have been long enough to capture the full risk of heart events or death from heart attacks, which tend to occur in advanced middle age and later.
It appears that the question about how salt affects heart risk is a complicated one. There is certainly strong and undisputed evidence that people with high blood pressure can lower their readings by reducing their salt intake. So it would stand to reason that the same applies to healthy people with normal blood pressure — even if there isn’t the gold-standard scientific evidence to support that.
Of course, dropping blood pressure too low comes with its own health risks — dizziness, fainting and even shock — but most U.S. adults aren’t at risk of hypotension. Sacco points out also that because high blood pressure is associated with both age and obesity, there’s good reason for large swaths of the American public to hold off on the sodium.
“Our population is aging, and more and more people are obese, and less physically active, so we felt that [the AHA's] recommendation for all Americans to lower their salt intake is important because a large proportion of Americans are intermediate to high risk for developing high blood pressure,” he says. “One study should not change all the other great evidence out there that says we should be lowering sodium. Lowering blood pressure even by a few millimeters can have an impact over a lifetime. So don’t reach for that salt shaker.”
July 6th, 2011
By: Martha Rosenberg
The discovery that many people with life problems or occasional bad moods would willingly dose themselves with antidepressants sailed the drug industry through the 2000s. A good chunk of the $4.5 billion a year direct-to-consumer advertising has been devoted to convincing people they don’t have problems with their job, the economy and their family, they have depression. Especially because depression can’t be diagnosed from a blood test.
Unfortunately, three things dried up the depression gravy train for the drug industry. Blockbusters went off patent and generics took off, antidepressants were linked with gory and unpredictable violence, especially in young users and — they didn’t even work, according to medical articles!
That’s when the drug industry began debuting the concept of “treatment resistant depression.” It wasn’t that their drugs didn’t work (or you didn’t have depression in the first place), you had “treatment resistant depression.” Your first expensive and dangerous drug needed to be coupled with more expensive and dangerous drugs because monotherapy, one drug alone, wasn’t doing the trick!
You’ve got to admire the drug industry’s audacity with this upsell strategy. Adding drugs to your treatment resistant depression triples its take, patients don’t know which drug is working so they’ll take all of them and the defective drugs are exonerated! (Because the problem is you.)
Now the drug industry has a new whisper campaign to keep the antidepressant boat afloat. Your depression is “progressive.”
Once upon a time, when depression was neither seasonal, atypical, bipolar or treatment resistant, it was considered to be a self-limiting disease. In fact, just about the only good thing you could say about depression was it wouldn’t last forever.
But now, the drug industry is giving depression the don’t-wait scare treatment like coronary events (statins), asthma attacks (”controller” drugs) and thinning bones (Sally Field). If you don’t hurry and take medication, your depression will get worse!
“Depressive episodes become more easily triggered over time,” floats an article on the physician Web site Medscape (flanked by ads for the antidepressant Pristiq.) “As the number of major depressive episodes increase, the risk for subsequent episodes is predicted more from the number of prior episodes and less from the occurrence of a recent life stress.” The article, unabashedly titled “Neurobiology of Depression: Major Depressive Disorder as a Progressive Illness,” is written by Vladimir Maletic who happens to have served on Eli Lilly’s Speaker’s Bureau, says the disclosure information, and whose co-authors are each employees and/or Lilly shareholders.
On WebMD, a sister site to Medscape, the depression sell is even less subtle. An article called Recognizing the Symptoms of Depression, smothered with five ads for the Eli Lilly antidepressant, Cymbalta, submits, “Most of us know about the emotional symptoms of depression. But you may not know that depression can be associated with many physical symptoms, too.”
Depression may masquerade as headaches, insomnia, fatigue, backache, dizziness, lightheadedness or appetite problems mongers the article. “You might feel queasy or nauseous. You might have diarrhea or become chronically constipated.” And here, you thought it was something you ate!
The danger with these symptoms says the article is that you would fail to diagnose yourself as suffering from a psychiatric problem and buy an over-the-counter drug like a normal person. “Because these symptoms occur with many conditions, many depressed people never get help, because they don’t know that their physical symptoms might be caused by depression. A lot of doctors miss the symptoms, too.”
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
May 12th, 2011
By: Linda Doell
Bristol-Myers Squibb recalled one lot of its blood thinner medicine Coumadin after tests showed the tablets could be more potent than the dosage, said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Coumadin — also known as warfarin sodium — is prescribed to treat and prevent blood clots, and to lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes. However, too much of the active ingredient in the medication means there would be an increased risk of bleeding, the FDA said.
Consumers should talk to their doctors immediately if they experience any problems, including pain, swelling, headache and dizziness, unusual bruising, nosebleeds and bleeding from cuts that take a long time to stop.
Included in the recall is one lot of 1,000-count bottles of Coumadin Crystalline 5 mg tablets, lot number 9H49374A, with an expiration date of September 30, 2012. The bottles were distributed to pharmacies for further dispensing to consumers.
Bristol-Myers Squibb said the recall is precautionary and is based on the company’s testing of tablets from a returned bottle. The tests showed a single table was higher in potency than expected.
Consumers should continue taking the medicine but should contact their pharmacist to see if they have tablets from the recalled lot. If so, they should contact their doctors immediately.
For further information, consumers can call Bristol-Myers Squib at (866) 918-8739.
In February, Upsher-Smith Laboratories recalled a single lot of its Jantoven Warfarin Sodium USP 3 mg tablets because a bottle contained higher-strength (10 mg) tablets.
April 6th, 2011
By: Sherry Baker
Millions of Americans take antidepressant drugs — most are Prozac and related antidepressant medications in the class known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). A gigantic money maker for the drug giants, the SSRIs bring in billions to Big Pharma a year. They are promoted and prescribed as safe treatments for depression, anxiety and even premenstrual tension — despite a long list of possible side effects ranging from sexual dysfunction and headaches to dizziness and suicide.
Now you can add another reason to think twice before agreeing to take antidepressants. At the American College of Cardiology meeting in New Orleans, Emory University School of Medicine scientists have just announced they`ve discovered that the drugs are linked to thicker arteries. The significance? The findings strongly suggest Prozac and similar meds could raise the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Depression is sometimes listed as a risk for heart disease. But that was not the explanation for the Emory findings, according to Amit Shah, MD, a cardiology fellow at Emory University School of Medicine. Instead, Dr. Shah said in a press statement, the data indicates the effect of antidepressant use on arteries that was revealed by the study is separate and independent from depression.
Dr. Shah worked with Viola Vaccarino, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Epidemiology at Emory`s Rollins School of Public Health, on the groundbreaking study which involved 513 middle-aged male twins who both served in the U.S. military during the Vietnam War. Twins are genetically the same but may be different when it comes to other risk factors such as diet, smoking and exercise, so studying them is a good way to factor out the effects of genetics.
The Emory research team measured the thickness of the lining of the main arteries in the neck (carotid intima-media thickness, or IMT) by ultrasound. The results showed that among the 59 pairs of twins where only one brother took antidepressants, the one taking the medication had a significantly higher carotid IMT — even when heart disease risk factors such as smoking were taken into account. In fact, the thicker arteries were found in antidepressant users whether or not they had ever had a stroke or heart attack in the past.
In the new study, the scientists documented higher carotid IMT in research subjects who used SSRIs (60 percent of those who took antidepressants) as well as those who used other kinds of antidepressants. Curiously, higher levels of depressive symptoms were associated with thicker arteries only in those taking antidepressants — so the Big Pharma meds themselves seem to be the key to this disturbing change in the cardiovascular system.
“One of the strongest and best-studied factors that thickens someone`s arteries is age, and that happens at around 10 microns per year,” Dr. Shah stated. “In our study, users of antidepressants see an average 40 micron increase in IMT, so their carotid arteries are in effect four years older.”
How could antidepressants have an effect on blood vessels? The Emory scientists think it may result from changes in serotonin. The SSRIs are the most commonly prescribed antidepressants and they are known to increase the level of serotonin in the brain. Other kinds of antidepressant drugs also impact serotonin levels. And, although serotonin is a chemical that helps some brain cells communicate, what is often ignored in the hyping of SSRIs is that serotonin functions outside the brain, too.
Actually, most of the body`s serotonin is found outside the brain, especially in the intestines, Dr. Shah stated in a media release. What`s more, serotonin is stored by platelets, the cells that promote blood clotting; the chemical is released when platelets bind to a clot. The chemical can, in fact, act in a variety of ways and either constrict or relax blood vessels, depending on whether the vessels are damaged or not.
“I think we have to keep an open mind about the effects of antidepressants on neurochemicals like serotonin in places outside the brain, such as the vasculature. The body often compensates over time for drugs` immediate effects,” Dr. Shah said.
February 16th, 2011
By: Catherine Donaldson Evans
When CBS Los Angeles reporter Serene Branson suddenly fumbled her words and appeared to lose the ability to speak during her live Grammy’s coverage Sunday night, many chalked it up to an embarrassing gaffe.
But many now believe that Branson suffered a mild stroke or other neurological problem during the post-awards show telecast.
The station’s website initially said that Branson was checked by paramedics after the episode and her vital signs were normal, so she was sent home with a colleague. Monday evening, however, the station reported on air that Branson had gone to see a doctor for testing. She was said to be resting at home.
Watch a video on the incident from the “Today” show. Article continues below.
A number of experts believe Branson should have immediately gone to the hospital following the episode, even though her vital signs were normal.
“She could have recovered and had perfectly normal function, normal vital signs and gone home. Not the right thing to do,” NBC chief medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman told the “Today” show on Tuesday. “This could be a harbinger of more things to come.”
Her symptoms point to what could be a serious neurological problem.
“Stroke is the number one possibility,” Dr. John Krakauer told CBS News. Krakauer, an associate professor of neurology and neuroscience at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, said that about 50,000 people under the age of 50 have a stroke every year.
Krakauer, Snyderman and others believe Branson could have experienced a miniature temporary stroke called a transient ischemic attack, or TIA.
“This is in real time what I would call a transient ischemic attack or a mild stroke,” said Snyderman. “Something has happened to the circuitry of her brain such that she cannot speak.”
Dr. Keith Black, the head of the department of neurosurgery at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center, said a TIA is caused by a blockage of blood flow to the brain.
“This is what we’d call a classic neurological event,” he told “Today.” “She was obviously aware that she was having difficulty.”
A stroke of any kind can also cause sudden vision loss, dizziness, difficulty walking, numbness in the face and loss of feeling on one side of the body, according to the American Heart Association. Distorted speech is a tell-tale warning sign.
“Well, a very heavy du-burtation tonight,” Branson said incomprehensibly during the Grammy Awards, grinning. The slurring worsened quickly, and her chatter deteriorated into gibberish.
Drugs and alcohol can be ruled out, explained Snyderman, partly because of Branson’s “stellar history” and partly because the video of the event paints another picture.
“The right side of her face gets a little weak, and if you watch her eyes, you can see she senses something is wrong,” she told “Today.”
Branson may also have had a small seizure caused by a brain tumor, infection, blood clot or other health problem, according to experts.
No matter what happened, the TV reporter will have to be closely monitored by doctors, since neurological occurrences like a TIA can raise the risk of a full-blown stroke later.
“She’s going to have a long-term relationship with a neurologist,” explained Snyderman. “This is not something where doctors will say, ‘Oh, okay, fine. You’re okay.’”
The Los Angeles CBS station said Branson appreciates the concern shown by the public and hopes to return to work soon.
December 28th, 2010
By: Amy Chaves
The November 2010 issue of Nature reported that several large pharmaceutical companies, including AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline, have chosen to pull out of the psychiatric pharmacology in the treatment of schizophrenia. The reason is obvious, according to Nature author, Abbott: The first generation of schizophrenia drugs (manufactured in the 1950s) and the second generation (manufactured in the 1990s) have not addressed the adverse side effects of antipsychotic drugs on patients.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes schizophrenia as a mental disorder that interferes with a person’s ability to identify what is real. A person affected with this disorder is not able to manage emotions, cognition, as well as communication. Symptoms could appear in early adolescence as “early flickers of paranoia, hypersensitivity, and hallucination” (Dobbs, 2010). According to WHO, schizophrenia is usually characterized by disruptions in the most fundamental human attributes such as perception, language, thought, emotion, and sense of self. In 2001, WHO estimated that schizophrenia affects 7 per thousand of the adult population (the equivalent of 24 million worldwide), mostly between 15 to 35 years old.
The same November 2010 issue of Nature discussed about a US clinical trial involving nearly 1,500 patients in 57 clinical sites, and at a cost of US$43 million. This trial examined an array of second generation antipsychotic drugs to determine if they were better than the first generation antipsychotic drugs. The clinical trial spanned from 2001-2005. When the results of the unblinded trial were released in 2005, the psychiatric community and pharmacological companies were astounded: the findings suggest that the new drugs were barely different from the old ones.
Although both generations of anti-psychotic drugs were reported to control hallucinations and delusions, patients taking the second generation drugs remained confused, withdrawn, and devoid of drive, the same side effects observed in the first generation drugs. The result of this clinical trial, according to psychiatrist Jeffrey Lieberman, is frustrating and humbling for the research community and it had a chilling effect on the pharmaceutical industry (Abbott, 2010).
A systematic review in 2003 by Bagnall, et al., examined the effectiveness, safety, and cost-effectiveness of atypical antipsychotic drugs used to treat schizophrenia. The review consisted of 171 randomized, controlled trials, of which 28 were from drug manufacturers. Although the review showed that atypical drugs (i.e., risperidone, amisulpride, olanzipine, and clozapine) were seen to be more effective in relieving symptoms of schizophrenia than typical ones, it nonetheless found the following common side-effects: agitation, movement disorders, impotence, dry mouth, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, and weight gain.
The same systematic review examined the safety of these drugs and some of the following adverse reactions were found: death, malignant syndrome, seizures, hepatic dysfunction, and cardiac problems.
A systematic review, involving the application of scientific strategies to limit bias, is a synthesis of relevant studies that address specific clinical questions. Reviews of this kind are considered as the best evidence for making clinical decisions.
The findings of the 2001-2005 US clinical trial and the systematic review of Bagnall, et al. point to the ineffectiveness of anti-psychotic drugs in dealing with schizophrenia. Considering that up to 1% of the world’s population is estimated to be affected by this disorder, schizophrenia represents a huge market for any pharmaceutical. However, as research have shown, the pharmaceutical industries have done little in 50 years to address the adverse side-effects that patients have experienced from antipsychotic drugs .
December 27th, 2010
By: Melanie Grimes
Amino acids found in watermelon have been shown to lower blood pressure. In addition to healthy vitamins and minerals, watermelon contains two amino acids, L-arginine and L-citrulline, that reduce hypertension.
Other Natural Blood Pressure Lowering Foods
Other foods have also been shown to lower blood pressure. Bananas can lower hypertension, as can raisins, beets and even chocolate.
Researchers at Florida State University used a concentrated extract of watermelon for the research on nine subjects. The dosage used in the study was six grams of the combined watermelon amino acids. After six weeks, all of the participants, 100 percent, showed reduced blood pressure. The study concluded that watermelon could be used by people who have pre-hypertension to keep the condition from progressing to high blood pressure. This means that eating watermelon may allow those at risk for heart disease to avoid taking preventative blood pressure lowering medications that are usually prescribed.
Blood Pressure Prevention Medication Side Effects
Pharmaceutical drugs are frequently prescribed for those with a tendency towards high blood pressure, a condition called pre-hypertension. These medications have been shown to have numerous side effects, including potassium loss that leads to an increased risk of diabetes. Other side effects, reported by Johns Hopkins University, include constipation, frequent urination, headaches, digestive upset, dizziness, and a tendency to dehydration, which causes a number of health issues in itself. Watermelon, on the other hand, has no known side effects.
Watermelon Contains Vitamins and Lycopene
Watermelon also contains healthy nutrients, such as vitamins A, vitamin C and vitamin B6, along with potassium and fiber. Watermelon also contains lycopene, the nutrient plentiful in tomatoes that has been show to have numerous health benefits. Lycopene is an antioxidant. Eating foods high in lycopene has been shown to reduce the incidence of many types of cancer, including breast cancer and prostate cancer. Lycopene has been shown to prevent heart attacks both in studies at John Hopkins University and in international studies. Though tomatoes were used in the studies, other foods known to be rich in lycopene are watermelons, grapefruits, apricots and guavas.
Watermelon Mechanism of Action
Watermelon lowers blood pressure because of its action in production of nitric oxide, researchers surmise. This is because L-citrulline in the watermelon is converted into L-arginine, which is then used to make nitric oxide. Nitric oxide, in turn, helps control blood pressure.
L-Arginine Alone is Not Enough
Taking the amino acids L-arginine by itself is not an effective treatment for high blood pressure, nor is it recommended because the amino acid is not easy to digest and can cause digestive problems, including diarrhea.
Watermelon Dosage to Prevent High Blood Pressure
The dosage used in the watermelon study was four to six grams of watermelon extract, but a healthier alternative is to add raw watermelon to the diet.