Lose weight by eating less salt! - Go on! - Try it! - You will feel so much better!
See my website
Wilde About Steroids

Read my Mensa article on Obesity and the Salt Connection

Read my Mensa article on Cruelty, Negligence and the Abuse of Power in the NHS: Fighting the System

Read about the cruel treatment I suffered at the Sheffield Dental Hospital: Long In The Toothache

You can contact me by email from my website. The site does not sell anything and has no banners, sponsors or adverts - just helpful information about how salt can cause obesity.

Saturday, 30 April 2011

More bribery by Johnson and Johnson, the drug company

"Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), the world’s second-biggest seller of medical products, will pay $70 million after admitting that the company bribed doctors in Europe and paid kickbacks in Iraq to win contracts and sell drugs and artificial joints. Subsidiaries of J&J paid bribes to doctors and hospital administrators in Greece, Poland and Romania, the Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Justice said today in filings at U.S. District Court in Washington. The company also made illegal payments to Iraqi officials to win contracts under the U.N. oil-for-food program, the filings said. J&J, based in New Brunswick, New Jersey, used slush funds, sham contracts and off-shore companies in the Isle of Man to carry out the bribery, the SEC said."
Read article at Bloomberg.com

Friday, 29 April 2011

The Royal Wedding

Although I am not a believer I really enjoyed watching the lovely wedding service today. I hope you watched and enjoyed it too. Everything seemed to go perfectly and fortunately the threatened rain held off. The happiness of the young couple, and the joy and delight and good wishes of the hundreds of thousands of people in London expressly to be part of the occasion and to celebrate, was a pleasure to see. So much of the news these days is tragic, but this royal wedding day will have lifted the spirits of many millions around the world, even if only briefly. I thought the music was magnificent, and particularly enjoyed Blest Pair of Sirens, glorious music by Parry, wonderful words by Milton, a Parliamentarian in the time of the Civil War.

I wish Prince William and his beautiful bride a long and happy marriage and I wish everyone else a very happy holiday weekend.

Egyptian Nobel laureate ElBaradei urges ICC trial of George W Bush

Egyptian Nobel peace laureate and former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, says former US President George W. Bush and his administration's officials should be put on trial in the "International Criminal Court" (ICC) for waging war on Iraq. ElBaradei in a new memoir, "The Age of Deception," says that the Bush administration officials should face international criminal investigation for the "shame of a needless war" in Iraq.
Read article on the Press TV website (Iran)

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Interested in cholesterol and saturated fats?

Interested in cholesterol and saturated fats?- Then spare 2 minutes 35 seconds to watch the little video on this webpage. And read this new article by Dr Briffa. If you eat those special margarines that promise cholesterol-reducing (like Benecol and Flora pro.activ) you may like to think again about whether they may be harming the cells of your heart.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Conflicts of interest and the drug companies

Major philanthropic foundations, such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, regularly make the news with their donations and initiatives aimed at improving global health. But there is an aspect to their efforts that may be overlooked - such organizations can have links with drugmakers that could constitute a conflict of interest, according to an analysis published in PLoS Medicine.
Read article at pharmalot.com
The Dr Rath Health Foundation comments: The PLoS analysis adds significantly to the information about the Gates Foundation that was published by the Los Angeles Times in January 2007. In particular, the researchers found that several members of the Gates Foundation’s management committee, leadership teams, affiliates, and major funders are currently or were previously members of the boards or executive branches of major drugmakers, including Merck and Novartis. To examine the commercial network of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, click here and here. For further information about Bill Gates, click here.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Energy saving light bulbs emit carcinogens when switched on

Read the report in the Telegraph. It is by no means the first time that there have been reports of cancer-causing chemicals in energy saving light bulbs, as you will see if you type something like 'light bulb cancer warning' into your favourite search box. But it has become a greater and more pressing problem for us now because of the "EU direction to phase out traditional incandescent lighting by the end of this year." There is also the big problem of the mercury that is contained within these bulbs. The mercury may well become a big contamination problem on landfill sites of the future. We little realised the multiplicity of costly, harmful problems that being a member of the EU would prove to be, when, with no mandate to do so, a former Tory government signed us into membership of this wasteful, kleptocratic and dangerous federation.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Do you remember Energen Rolls? - Supposedly an aid to slimming...

I remember Energen Rolls. Were they from the 60s? or the 70s? - I'm not sure.- They were claimed to help with 'slimming' and were intended to be eaten in place of bread. They were roughly spherical, if I remember correctly, and 'slimmers' cut them in half and spread each half with butter - or more likely, a 'low-calorie' butter substitute 'low-fat' spread - and with other fillings such as what would normally go into a sandwich.

And again, if I remember correctly, they were made of cellulose! - more akin to wood than to what we think of as food! But they had been processed to be light and airy and easy to eat. - Energen Rolls were not really food for people, even if the people were 'slimmers'. Not being termites, people could not digest cellulose and so could not obtain calories or indeed any nutrition from these early junk foods.

But to lose excess weight, you don't need to play tricks on your body and to fool your stomach into thinking it's had a satisfying meal when it's really only had pretend food. The easiest, safest, fastest way to lose excess weight is to eat real food - the sort of food our paleolithic ancestors ate millions of years ago. That is the sort of food on which our bodies evolved and so it the food best suited to our species. - Leave the cellulose for the termites!

I don't know which species to suggest you leave the low-fat spread to! - It is a laboratory-invented concoction on which no species evolved. - Likewise artificial colorings and flavourings and other non-food additives. - Steer clear of them; they are up to no good, you may be sure! - Go for fresh foods, home-cooked and unsalted, not factory-produced processed junk.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Renewed request from the Soil Association for help in opposing Foston Pig Factory. They write:

Thanks to everyone who signed up to support our Not in my Banger Campaign. We objected to the local council (South Derbyshire) about the proposal for an intensive pig unit in Foston, Derbyshire, that would contain 2,500 mother pigs (sows) and around 20,000 piglets at any one time. Approximately 1000 pigs will leave the farm for slaughter each week. All the pigs will spend their entire lives indoors.

We have just heard that the planning application has been resubmitted to Derbyshire County Council.

Here at the Soil Association we will be renewing our opposition to the proposal by outlining the original concerns we had about the pig factory.

If you agree with us, then make your voice heard officially by registering your opposition to the planners on the Derbyshire County Council website. You can see some of the key points of our original evidence here.

We only have until May 13th to respond to the planning application so
please make your voice heard.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Asthma sufferers benefit if they cut down on salt and salty food

I met an asthma sufferer today who didn't know that cutting down on salt/sodium is helpful for people with asthma, so I thought I'd draw attention to this again.

A crucial dietary measure that reduces the incidence and severity of childhood asthma is to avoid feeding children salty meals and snacks. - See this article, where you will read, "According to a new study published in the American Dietetic Association, high-salt foods and snacks are linked to lung changes that trigger asthma symptoms.," and that researchers in Greece found, using questionnaires, "Kids who ate high-salt foods more than three times a week saw their risk of asthma symptoms go up almost five times."

We read in this Telegraph report of research in Rome, Italy, led by Dr Giuseppe Corbo. "The study of 20,000 six and seven-year-olds, published in the medical journal Epidemiology, confirmed a strong link with asthma and obesity, but found that salt was the biggest risk. Those with the highest intake were two and a half times more likely to develop asthma." (My emphasis)

If an asthma sufferer uses or has ever used a steroid inhaler it is even more helpful to reduce salt intake. This is because prescribed steroids can, and usually do, cause salt sensitivity/sodium retention/water weight. - See Prescribed Steroids. And for information about the salt content of foods, see Sodium in Foods.

This Patient.co.uk webpage contains excellent comprehensive information about Inhalers for Asthma. Patient.co.uk is free from any commercial conflicts of interest.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Is there a link between antidepressants and breast and ovarian cancer?

Is there a link between antidepressants and breast and ovarian cancer? A new meta-analysis of 61 trials identified a connection in nearly 33 percent of the epidemiological and pre-clinical studies conducted between 1965 and 2010 found an association between cancer and antidepressants. And the link was stronger among women using selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. Moreover, the study found researchers with industry ties were significantly less likely than researchers without those affiliations to conclude antidepressants increase the risk of breast or ovarian cancer. The authors of the meta-analysis, which was published in PLoS Medicines, suggest the findings raise public health and policy issues, “because there is increasing evidence that financial ties among industry, investigators, and academic institutions can affect the research process.”
Read article at pharmalot.com And see antidepressants.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Depression, Mental Illness, Women's Mental Health and their Sex/Gender/Social Rôles

The relationship between women's mental health and their sex/gender/social rôles.

This was a discussion paper I wrote years ago when I was studying Women's Issues. Some of it is rather dated, therefore, but I hope that readers will recognise the continuing relevance of most of it, e.g. here.


Let us consider what constitutes 'mental health' and 'mental illness'.

In Law, Liberty and Psychiatry, (British Edition, 1974), Professor Thomas Szasz notes that mental health lacks the integrity of a scientific definition and has simply come to mean conformity to the demands of society, viz. "mental health is the ability to play the game of social living, and to play it well." But in Schizophrenia, (1979), he concludes that it "has a great deal to do with competence, earned by struggling for excellence, with compassion, hard won by confronting conflict; and with modesty and patience, acquired through silence and suffering." This seems a good definition to me.

The orthodox psychiatric view of mental health is that the brain is organically and functionally healthy. The 'anti-psychiatric' (Laing, Foucault and others) view is of an authentic or true self.

Similarly, mental illness is variously attributed to social deviance, variation from the norm, organic brain defect, organic brain disease, problems in living, criminality, dangerousness, etc.

Certainly it is the case that mental illness or madness manifests itself in contexts peculiar to the society/culture which contains it.

A woman's gender rôle encompasses the attitudes, qualities and abilities expected of her by the society in which she lives and the social rôles she is expected to take on, e.g. wife, mother, nurturer rôles, exhibiting compassion, selflessness, passivity and other 'feminine' traits.

Since these gender rôles are in the main learned and culturally determined, they can impose stresses on women, extrinsically by being arduous in themselves, and intrinsically when they are at variance with the woman's personal needs, aptitudes and aspirations.


Because of my personal interest in medical/psychiatric oppression, especially of women, I should .like to start with this as a particular topic and then broaden the discussion later.

Throughout Szasz's writings he asserts, and I agree with his assertion, that there is no such thing as 'mental illness.' "Psychiatry is 100% juridical," he stated in a television interview with Jonathan Miller. When there is something organically wrong with the brain, as in tertiary syphilis, this should be called organic brain disease. This is not what is usually meant by the term 'mental illness'. Problems in living should not be called illness, should not be medicalised, should not be treated with drugs or incarceration. These responses are unjust and inappropriate.

In the Autumn term of 1985 I attended Tim Kendall's Politics of Madness course run by Sheffield University's Department of Continuing Education, and there I learned that it is only relatively recently in the history of civilisation that madness or deviation from a supposedly desirable norm came to be thought of as a medical problem. Up to the 17th century Court Jesters, for instance, with their 'madness', fulfilled a social rôle and were considered wise in many ways. Madness was often thought of as a creative gift. Also villages might have their village idiots but they were not excluded from the life of the village and their foibles were tolerated.

With increasingly crowded urban groupings and with the growth of capitalism and the profit motive, and the parallel growth therefore also of pauperism and the desire of wealthy rate-payers to keep down charges on the rates, social 'dregs' began to appear. These were variously placed into 'hospitals', workhouses, madhouses, etc. e.g. the Hôpital Général in Paris. Within months of its opening, 1% of the population of Paris was in it. No longer was it acceptable for people to be odd. And their oddnesses took on an ethical hue. Anyone who did not fit in - criminal, mad, sex offender, etc. - was incarcerated.

At first there were manacles and chains for the mad. Gradually these were replaced by different forms of restraint. At the York Retreat, for example, moral restraint imposed silence; there was no dialogue with the mad. There were observation and assessment, reliance on self-discipline, perpetual judgment and reassessment by the Guardians.

Responsibility and authority came into play: tone of voice, etc. Doctors as respected members of society tended to be appointed Guardians. Thus came about the medicalisation of madness and the birth of mental illness. During this period of recent history, medicine has been a patriarchal and paternalistic profession, except for midwifery and the wise women with their herbs and folk medicines. Rowbotham in Hidden from History, 1973, writes:
"... women healers were increasingly associated with witchcraft and the practice of the black arts. As medicine became a science, the terms of entry into training excluded women, protecting the profession for the sons of families who could afford education."
The barring of women from access to medical schools and universities effectively stopped them from entering the medical profession until the end of the 19th century. More women are now being admitted to training as doctors, but because of the hierarchical power structure of the medical profession and because of the prevailing male ideology and authoritarianism this is not as helpful to women as it might be.

The management of health and sickness is effectively almost a male preserve. The profession is dominated by men. This means that the medical system is strategic to women's oppression. As Ehrenreich and English, in Complaints and Disorders, 1974, state:
"Medical science has been one of the most powerful sources of sexist ideology in our culture. Justification for sexual discrimination - in education, in jobs, in public life - must ultimately rest on the one thing that differentiates women from men: their bodies. Theories of male superiority ultimately rest on biology.

...Biology discovers hormones: doctors make public judgements on whether "hormonal imbalances" make women infit for public office. More generally, biology traces the origins of disease; doctors pass judgement on who is sick and who is well.

Medicine's prime contribution to sexist ideology has been to describe women and sick, and as potentially sickening to men."
As far as women are concerned, medicine's spurious scientism still retains covert and overt sex prejudice.

Women's' physical problems such as painful periods, heavy periods, pre-menstrual tension, exhaustion after childbirth, fatigue from too much caring for others, etc. are nowadays more likely to be diagnosed as psychological than to be physically investigated. If men consulted the doctor about heavy bleeding, excessive clumsiness, exhaustion, etc. it is far more likely that they would be physically examined and physically diagnosed and helped.

To this existing plethora of medical sexism, Freud and the other psycho-analysts added their new 'diseases' with their respectable Latin names - hysteria, neurasthenia, et al.

Societal reaction theorists (says Gove in The Labelling Perspective in The Labelling of Deviance, 1975) have found that people who have little power and few resources are those least able to resist labelling. And, says Erickson (Notes on the Sociology of Deviance, 1962) in our culture, labelling is almost irreversible.

Women in our society often are those very people 'who have little power and few resources' and are therefore easily labelled.

Put together then the long sexist prejudice and oppression of women by doctors, the evolved rôle of the doctor as an agent of social control, the fashionable predilection for ascribing more and more problems to psychological causative factors, the widespread urge to label, the relative powerlessness of women, and you have in part the explanation of why women, rather than men, are so often labelled 'mentally ill', if they get into the hands of doctors. - And women 'get into the hands of doctors' more often than men, necessarily, because of their biology and their child-bearing (child-bearing in our society being a medical matter). Many women are also by now conditioned to see themselves as mentally ill.

Williams in Women, Sex-Rôle Stereotyping, ed. by Hartnett, Boden and Fuller, 1979, in her summary of the findings of Gove, 1972, and Landau, 1973, tells us that:
Compared with men, women are significantly more likely to seek help and be treated for mental disorder, and this applies whether the diagnosis is neurosis, psychosis, transient situational disorder, or attempted suicide.

The incident rate of these disorders in women has been increasing in the last few decades.

These findings seem mainly related to the types of social rôle women are expected to fulfil.
Let us now therefore look at Social Origins of Depression: A Study of Psychiatric Disorder in Women, by Brown and Harrison, 1978, which examines the social rôles of women as causative factors in mental ill-health. They write:
"We have concentrated on demonstrating that there is a link between clinical depression and a woman's daily experiences."
One description of depression: Feeling worthless, outside world meaningless, future hopeless, easily reduced to tears by fairly trivial matters, feeling of sadness, loss of interest in things and people, restlessness, indecisiveness, weariness, possibly suicidal thoughts.

Loss and disappointment are the central features of most provoking events which bring about depression. Long-term and not short-term threats are important. Separations or deaths seemed the most unpleasant events.

Ongoing self-esteem is crucial in determining whether generalised depression develops.

Failure to work through grief can lead to clinical depression. So can denial of the loss, failure to weep and failure to talk about the loss. (Young children do not readily mourn, and reaction to later losses is influenced by earlier reactions. This may account for the increased vulnerability to depression of women who lost their mothers before the age of 11.)

The main lesson which emerges from this study is that the causes of women's depression in our urban society are largely social and largely the result of being wives and mothers as such. The authors found that there are vulnerability factors which predispose to depression, these being: having three or more children under the age of 14 at home, losing one's mother before the age of 11, paucity of close confiding relationships with ready access, low self-esteem, a negative cognitive set and lack of work outside the home. Clearly most of these are part and parcel of the rôle of wife and mother which is forced onto many women. And equally clearly it is wrong to diagnose an individual woman as suffering from a medical complaint, viz. mental illness, and to give her medication for it, when what is really the case is that social, economic and cultural reforms are necessary.

Social factors are clearly causes of depression. Attention to a person's environment may therefore be effective in treating it.

Working class husbands tend to view housework and childcare as easy and thereby trivialise them and lower the wife's self-esteem.

It is probably fair to say that the working class wife and mother is the female 'norm' in our society. The work of Brown and Harris shows that being a working class wife and mother is a literally depressing rôle.

Typically, a woman's conditioning would tend to leave her with lower feelings of self-esteem and mastery than a man. Also her great involvement in interpersonal relationships, again the result of conditioning, means she will tend to be more affected than a man would be by separations and deaths, which we have seen are the most unpleasant life-events. Among people clinically diagnosed as depressed, there are from two to six women for every man (Arieti, 1979, and others).

(Also on a political level, sexual discrimination and inequality lead to economic and legal disadvantage and dependence on others, in turn leading to low self-esteem, low aspirations, low achievement and a tendency to depression.

It is the poor, the unproductive - in terms of a Capitalist economy - the rebellious, the disadvantaged, the unhappy, the social misfits, and the socially inept who tend to be labelled as mentally ill. Women are often in these categories.

So women are likely to be given demeaning labels and to have their suffering trivialised rather than receive real help from the patriarchal society which fostered their distress in the first place.)

Brown and Harris, despite their evident compassion, fail to appreciate that the label 'mentally ill' can bring a depressed woman extra problems in its wake. They do not think it really matters whether depression is called mental illness or not. - But it does matter.

"Mental illness designations are highly stigmatising and thus impose reductions in power and social standing." (Schur, The Politics of Deviance, 1980).

He goes on to say:
Psychiatry has been attacked by women's liberationists on a number of grounds - for adopting and perpetuating untenable theories of basic female passivity and dependence: for over-diagnosing women's problems as being personal rather than institutional in nature: for treating women as though they should, in all situations, be the ones to 'adjust'. Even if these critiques have not yet led to substantial changes in psychiatric practice, they have publicly exposed the previously latent gender politics of psychiatry.
As we have seen above, the medical system is a prime source of sexist ideology and a reinforcer of sex rôles.

Broverman et al. 1970, (1) and Abramovitz et al. 1973 (2):
(1) Traditionally there has been an almost mythological belief that mental health is contingent on the successful adoption of the appropriate sex-typed personality characteristics.

e.g. (2) that passivity, dependence, nurturance are healthy female attributes and that assertiveness is a sign of neuroticism would seem to prevail among mental health professionals.
If any conclusion can be reached, it is that whereas the adoption of sex-appropriate traits in males as associated with mental health, the same does not hold for females. High levels of femininity in women are positively associated with anxiety and negatively with adjustment, ego strength and autonomy.

The results of a study by Spence, Helmreich and Stapp (1975):
showed that high androgynous people were the highest in self-esteem, followed by those high in masculine qualities, and then those high in feminine qualities, while those who were low in androgyny were lowest in self-esteem.

It can be speculated that women who possess a high level of feminine traits are likely to deal effectively with interpersonal relationships and have a passive orientation to many aspects of the environment - both these factors contributing to a reduction of stressful life events. In contrast, women who possess a high level of masculine traits are likely to have an active orientation to the environment, and also be less likely to deal effectively with interpersonal relationships - both these factors contributing to an increase of stressful life events. The possession of high levels of both masculinity and femininity in the high androgynous (HA) group lead to effectiveness in both expressive and instrumental domains and is reflected in the low life stress reported in this group.
Androgyny then gives a woman a flexible, wide repertoire of behavioural possibilities and a more autonomous life. But typically, women are not brought up to be androgynous, autonomous people.

'The primary source of women's pathology is social, not personal: external, not internal.' (Rawlings and Carter, 1977a, quoted in Women: Psychology's Puzzle, Rohrbaugh, 1979.) As we have seen above, the overwhelming causes of women's depression are social and environmental, yet depressed women are treated as individually mentally ill medical cases.

David Hill in The Politics of Schizophrenia, 1983, emphasises that this individualisation of social disadvantage masks the need for social change programmes and keeps women subjugated in a patriarchal society. Psychiatrists are basically white, middle class males who seek to maintain the patriarchal status quo. He says that assertive females tend to be 'punished' by psychiatrists by being diagnosed as mentally ill because they have stepped outside their 'normal' sex rôle. But the normal subordinate female rôle leads to low self-esteem and the likelihood of depression.


Women's traditional sex/gender/social rôles in our society militate against their mental health, and mental health professionals tend to reinforce those very rôles which are damaging to the self-esteem and autonomy of the individual woman. The medical model of mental illness as individual pathology often serves to hide social injustice and the need for reform. This is particularly the case when we think of the social causes of depression in women.

Along with political goals of more and more equality of opportunity and equal pay and status for women, an end to sexual prejudice in all its forms, we need personal goals of more autonomy and self-fulfillment for women. This means in particular educating parents, future parents and teachers to avoid sexist conditioning in bringing up children.

Feminist re-appraisal of mental illness would help not just women, but all the disadvantaged, oppressed by psychiatry. It would be more caring of sufferers. It would be more sensitive in treating them - i.e. it would eschew the idea of "treating" them as such, and more expressly set itself the task of helping them. This might mean social help like being re-housed, say. It might mean personal help in the form of assertiveness training, say. Where medical help is offered it should be autonomous psychotherapy (if desired by the patient) rather than psychotropic drugs.

As we move towards a more equal society made up of more autonomous citizens, so women's lives will become less dictated by their gender, and their mental health - whatever we mean by that! - will improve.

Margaret Wilde © 2011

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Counterfeit medicine fraud: man jailed

I must confess this BBC News report caused me a double-take. "A man has been jailed for eight years for his part in what has been described as the most serious fake medicine fraud in the European Union. Peter Gillespie, 64, from Hertfordshire, was part of a £4.7m plot to bring two million doses of counterfeit drugs from China to the UK. He was convicted of conspiring to defraud pharmaceutical wholesalers, pharmacists and members of the public." The fake drugs "contained only a fraction of the correct dosage. They included Zyprexa, a medicine to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder."

The prosecution claimed that patients had been put at risk by this fraud. - I seriously wonder about this. - Zyprexa is such a dangerous drug. See Drug information about Zyprexa. And, perhaps more pertinently, read this damning Bloomberg report about the criminally fraudulent claims made about Zyprexa by the drug's manufacturers and the great harm (including death) the drug caused to unfortunate patients who took it. Maybe patients would have been a great deal less at risk from counterfeit Zyprexa than from the real thing...

I believe that the only health in which drug companies are interested is the health of their own financial profits.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Doctors are prescribing more and more antidepressants

The depressing news that doctors are prescribing more and more antidepressants, e.g. Prozac, has been widely reported this week, and it has been suggested that debt and job worries have contributed to this situation. It has also been suggested by Dr Clare Gerada, head of the Royal College of GPs, in this BBC News report, that "some of the rise in prescribing was also likely to be due to increased awareness about the condition and doctors getting better at diagnosis."

Let's just have a think about this. - Yes, there will certainly be more people with money problems and worries, and worries about having lost their jobs or whether they will be losing their jobs. To feel depressed/upset/worried is normal in these circumstances. - How does it help at all to label this normal reaction a mental illness with a catchall name of Depression? And how can taking psychotropic drugs help with money problems or with holding onto a job or obtaining another job? - It can't.

Drugs cannot help with the practical problems of being short of money or being out of work. Nor do they help lift the spirits, despite their erroneously being referred to sometimes as 'happy pills'. Antidepressant drugs work no better than dummy pills , and they frequently cause great harm (adverse side-effects) to the people who take them.

I wonder whether Dr Gerada has considered getting a job as a comedian? The idea that doctors are 'getting better at diagnosis' of 'depression' has me in stitches...(o: - Every time we read a newspaper there is some spokesperson or other explaining that depression/mental illness is on the rise, and that 1 in ? of us (insert your own figures for the incidence of this putative illness) will experience it before we die. It would be a good idea if doctors were to give up 'diagnosing depression' and making their patients more ill by prescribing toxic antidepressants, and instead ordered tests for anaemia, vitamin D deficiency, etc. and concentrated on helping the patients by advocating dietary changes where necessary, and prescribing vitamin and mineral supplements to remedy nutritional problems. - This would undoubtedly make their patients feel a lot better and would make them physically and mentally much more efficient and so more likely to remain/become employed.

Wise words

Chris Kresser has written a wise article about Acceptance, particularly with regard to chronic illness. I recommend it.

Study finds gestational diabetes linked to vitamin D deficiency

Experts say all pregnant women should be tested for vitamin D deficiency after a new study found low levels are strongly linked to gestational diabetes. The study of 147 pregnant woman at Sydney's Westmead Hospital gestational diabetes clinic found 41 per cent were vitamin D deficient.
Read article in the Canberra Times (Australia)

Bees in Decline

A growing volume of evidence suggests that neonicotinoid insecticides are a major factor behind the decline in the number of honey bees and other pollinators, yet the European commission sidesteps demands to suspend their use.
Read article at theparliament.com

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

CT scans may be being over-used on children

CT scans may be being over-used on children. See the report in the Los Angeles Times, where you will read that "CT scans are first-rate diagnostic tools, but they rely on radiation -- and children are more vulnerable than adults to the risks of radiation. Their smaller organs are more sensitive to it and they have more years in which to develop cumulative radiation damage."

I personally believe that X-rays and CT scans are routinely being used more than is necessary or desirable - e.g. mammography screening for breast cancer - and I decline them when I judge it to be the safer option.

You may be interested to look at this Radiation Chart and at this extremely informative webpage about the use of diagnostic technologies.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Study links antidepressant use with increased risk of heart disease and stroke

Study of 513 middle-aged male twins links antidepressant use with increased risk of heart disease and stroke, as reported by the Times of India.

It should be recognised that antidepressant drugs work no better than dummy pills in any case and should not be being prescribed. Most antidepressants make you fatter and damage your health in many other ways, including causing brain damage years later. It is best to avoid these harmful, useless drugs.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

NHS-funded drug-pushing continues to increase

The Telegraph reports that the amount of drugs prescribed by GPs has tripled over 15 years.

It's high time to have legal curbs put on GPs' wanton over-prescribing, with severe sanctions against routine offenders. Pharmaceutical drugs are not the pathway to health; the NHS's over-reliance on drugs does far more harm than good to most of the patients who take them.

Vitamin D deficiency now a worldwide problem

A study conducted by the Department of Health Sciences at Qatar University (QU) has shown that 53.5% of Qatari females of college age are severely vitamin D deficient and 43.6% have insufficient levels of the vitamin. Previous studies have shown that 68.8% of Qatari children aged 11-16 have insufficient levels of vitamin D, which can have an effect on skeletal and muscle development.
Read article in The Gulf Times (Qatar).

This is comment from the Dr Rath Foundation: Vitamin D deficiency is now a worldwide problem. In the United States, Canada, the UK and throughout the EU, for example, deficiencies of the vitamin are now widespread. Significantly, therefore, Anthony Norman, a distinguished professor emeritus of biochemistry and biomedical sciences and an international expert on vitamin D, notes that half the people in North America and Western Europe get insufficient amounts of vitamin D and that merely eating vitamin D-rich foods is not adequate to solve the problem. Elsewhere in the world, the problem is no less serious. Pregnant Arab women, for example, have an "extraordinarily high prevalence" of vitamin D deficiency, whilst India is also now home to a growing epidemic of vitamin D deficiency. Even Australia, a land with plentiful sunshine and an outdoor lifestyle, now has a “mind-boggling” rate of deficiencies in this nutrient.

Friday, 1 April 2011

BBC News reports that Prostate Cancer screening does not save lives

BBC News reports that prostate cancer screening does not save lives and indeed does more harm than good. This is the conclusion of a 20 year study published in the British Medical Journal.

I regard this as excellent news since hopefully it will save many men from going for screening and suffering the needless harm and worry that this screening entails.

I am similarly against mammography being used to screen women for evidence of breast cancer. I have always considered routine mammography screening as an expensive political pretence of concern for women's health that actually does far more harm than good to the women screened.

Screening is not prevention, though it seems to be promoted as prevention. Prevention should be the primary aim where cancer is concerned, though the Cancer Research Industry accords little value to, and puts little effort into, cancer prevention.

Lipitor linked to raised risk of Diabetes

More evidence has linked the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, especially in patients who have multiple diabetes risk factors, according to a study published on Monday.
Read article at redorbit.com (USA)