tagged w/ CDC
CHINESE officials have revealed they are struggling to source the cause of the deadly H7N9 virus, as two more people have died from the new strain of avian influenza – bringing the total number of deaths to 16.
The latest victims were from the commercial capital of Shanghai, where the majority of the 77 cases have been found, according to local reports.
Because the source of the infection has not been effectively controlled, it is possible that the number of cases of infections could continue to rise, China's National Health and Family Planning Commission warned.
Zeng Guang, the chief scientist in charge of epidemiology at the China Disease Prevention and Control Centre (CDPCC), has said about 40 percent of the victims have no clear history of poultry exposure.
"How did these people get infected? It's a mystery," Zeng said.
Human-to-human spread of the virus has not been confirmed, but samples have tested positive in some birds in poultry markets that remain the focus of investigations by China and the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The exact source of infection remains unknown
How did these people get infected? It's a mystery
Zeng Guang, chief scientist
The panic over bird flu has caused many Chinese to shun eating chicken for fear of catching the virus.
China's poultry sector has recorded losses of more than 10 billion yuan (£1.0bn) since reports emerged of the new strain two weeks ago, an official at the country's National Poultry Industry Association said.
Authorities have slaughtered thousands of birds and closed live poultry markets in Shanghai and Beijing in an attempt to reduce the rate of human infection.
As fears have heightened over the possibility of a pandemic, an international team of flu experts will go to China this week to help with investigations into the virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed.
China said on Sunday the virus had spread outside the Yangtze River delta region in eastern China, with cases reported in the capital Beijing and the central province of Henan.
Experts have said the deadly strain is still evolving, making it hard for scientists to predict how dangerous it might become.
Influenza experts say the H7N9 strain is probably still swapping genes with other strains, seeking to select ones that might make it fitter.
If it succeeds, the world could be facing the threat of a deadly flu pandemic, scientists fear.
Genetic analyses has also shown the virus – which before March had never been seen in humans – has already acquired some mutations that make it more likely be able to spread between mammals, and more able to spark a human pandemic, scientists revealed.
A study in the online journal Eurosurveillance by leading flu experts Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin and Masato Tashiro at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Tokyo, said the H7N9 sequences "possess several characteristic features of mammalian influenza viruses, which are likely to contribute to their ability to infect humans".
These features, the scientists wrote, "raise concerns regarding their pandemic potential".
The virus had previously only been found in people direcly exposed to poultry
Elsewhere, bird flu has been discovered at a poultry farm in Suffolk, according to environment agency Defra.
The outbreak was confirmed at the Bernard Matthews farm but Defra said initial tests were negative for the H5 and H7 strains which are potentially lethal for humans.
However, movement restrictions are in place at the farm and further tests are due to be carried out.
A company spokesman said: "Bernard Matthews can confirm that Defra have undertaken tests for avian influenza on one of its farms following notification by the company after some birds showed signs of ill health over the weekend."
A Defra spokesman said: "We are awaiting further laboratory test results from an on-going investigation into suspect avian disease at a premises in the South East.
"The premises remains under restriction pending further results.
"Public Health England are aware and are ready to take the necessary action pending further test results."CHINESE officials have revealed they are struggling to source the cause of the deadly... more
A novel coronavirus (nCoV) with what one Canadian researcher calls a "very alarming" death rate has triggered rapid research efforts to determine where it came from and where it may strike next. Two Canadian research teams are among those involved in the global response.
As of Mar. 26, the World Health Organization (WHO) had been informed of 17 confirmed cases since April 2012, with nine resulting deaths (for a mortality rate of 56%). Most cases (11) were in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Jordan, although three were in the United Kingdom. The primary UK patient had recently travelled to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, and was the source of infection for two people in his household, confirming human-to-human transmission of the virus.
Canada, however, is currently at low risk for the virus, says Dr. Kamran Khan, an infectious disease physician and scientist at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, Ontario. Still, he says, "It's fair to say that this has pandemic potential. Whether it will evolve into one depends on many things."
Khan says two aspects could lead to a pandemic: human-to-human transmission and the possibility that cases have escaped detection to date. "We might be looking at the tip of the iceberg, only seeing those with serious forms [of the disease]. Others may have milder forms but might be capable of transmitting the disease to others."
"We don't yet know the course — whether it will continue at a slow pace, accelerate or fizzle out." One of the factors affecting the course is international travel patterns, which played a major role in the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic.
Khan and his team studied the risk of infection from Saudi Arabia during the H1N1 influenza pandemic, focusing on the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, which brings 1.7 million international pilgrims to the country (J Travel Med 2010;17:75-81). Khan's figures indicate that Canada receives only 0.5% of travellers leaving the Saudi Arabia region, and the United States only 2%.
Of more concern is that 25% of travellers leaving the Saudi Arabia region travel to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, and 13% travel to Egypt. "Countries that are low-income, developing and without robust public health systems receive a large proportion of the travel," explains Khan. "The thinking right now is that main source areas [for nCoV] are those three [Middle Eastern] countries. So the risk is low. If, however, we have cases circulating in other areas that we don't know about, the risk assessment is quite different."
Khan is working with a group called HealthMap, based at Children's Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School in Massachusetts, to monitor international Internet "chatter" about infectious diseases as a type of "early warning system" about disease outbreaks.
David Kelvin, senior scientist at Toronto General Research Institute in Ontario, agrees that surveillance is essential. An expert in emerging infectious diseases with research programs in Canada, China and Europe, Kelvin is working with international colleagues to set up surveillance studies in four global regions to screen for coronaviruses and determine infection rates.
"Without a rigorous surveillance program, we do not know the entire number of infections. Therefore, we do not know the denominator for calculating the true mortality rate." Nevertheless, the fact that 9 cases have resulted in death is "very alarming," Kelvin says.
Kelvin's team has studied the immune response to the SARS coronavirus and vaccination in an animal model (PLoS One 2012;7:e45842) and is currently working on a potential vaccine for nCoV. In the quest for a vaccine, the discovery of the likely receptor for nCoV published Mar. 14 (Nature 2013;495:251-4) "is an important piece of the puzzle," explains Kelvin. While most coronaviruses cause only mild colds in humans, SARS and nCoV bind to cells deep within the lungs, leading to pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome.
The nCoV receptor is found in the lungs of humans and also of other mammals, explaining how the disease has "jumped" from one species to others. A recent study found that nCoV is most closely related to two coronaviruses in bats in China and Japan (Emerg MicrobesInfect 2012;1:e35). SARS has also been linked genetically to a bat coronavirus (PLoS One 2012;7:e45842), thought to have "jumped" to civet cats and then from civet cats in Chinese markets to humans. nCoV may be infecting humans directly from bats or from another "intermediate" host.
"Most viruses over time cause only very mild symptoms in the natural host," explains Kelvin. "The reason for this is evolutionary — efficient transmission relies on relatively healthy individuals. I suspect the high mortality rate in humans is because the nCoV is adapted to bats, and when it jumps to humans it can cause severe disease."
Finding out how the patients acquired the disease, through contact with exotic species or humans, is key to understanding this outbreak, he says.
Khan says Canadian physicians can play a role in tracking the disease by being alert to possible cases. "From a public health perspective, the community has to be thinking of the worst-case scenario," he says.
The Public Health Agency of Canada and the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have both published notices to physicians about nCoV. CDC advises that patients with severe acute lower respiratory illness within 10 days after travelling from the Arabian peninsula or neighbouring countries should be evaluated.
Khan agrees, saying diagnosis is "actually quite challenging when you have a severe undifferentiated respiratory illness. After excluding all the usual suspects, we should check into recent travel and contacts with others with severe illness."
— Carolyn Brown, Ottawa, Ont.A novel coronavirus (nCoV) with what one Canadian researcher calls a "very... more
As cities around the country experiment with gun-buybacks to get weapons off the street, one man has started a group to do just the opposite. It's called the "Armed Citizen Project," and it aims to provide guns to poor Americans in high crime neighborhoods.
"As criminals have more reason to fear the citizenry, crime begins to drop as a result," Kyle Coplen, the founder, told FoxNews.com.
This week, the group gave out its first weapons.
"We just trained and armed a class of 10 women. They are now empowered with the knowledge and tools to put holes in those that would do them harm," Coplen said.
To test his theory that guns will make people safer, Coplen also plans to arm an entire neighborhood in Houston that currently has a lot of crime, and use that as a case study to find out what happens to the crime rate after residents have been armed and trained
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/03/31/group-wants-to-give-guns-to-poor/#ixzz2PGzw7dOMAs cities around the country experiment with gun-buybacks to get weapons off the... more
There's some disturbing news out today about a disease we don't hear about much these days: gonorrhea. Federal health officials announced that the sexually transmitted infection is getting dangerously close to being untreatable.
As a result, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines for how doctors should treat gonorrhea. The guidelines are designed to keep one of the remaining effective antibiotics useful for as long as possible by restricting the use of the other drug that works against the disease.
"We are sounding the alarm," said Gail Bolan, who heads the CDC's division of STD prevention.
Gonorrhea has been plaguing humanity for centuries. But ever since penicillin came along a dose of antibiotics would usually take care of the disease.
"Gonorrhea used to be susceptible to penicillin, ampicillin, tetracycline and doxycycline — very commonly used drugs," said Jonathan Zenilman, who studies infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins.
But one by one, each of those antibiotics — and almost every new one that has come along since — eventually stopped working. One reason is that the bacterium that causes gonorrhea can mutate quickly to defend itself, Zenilman said.
"If this was a person, this person would be incredibly creative," he said. "The bug has an incredible ability to adapt and just develop new mechanisms of resisting the impact of these drugs."
Another reason is that antibiotics are used way too frequently, giving gonorrhea and many other nasty germs too many chances to learn how to survive.
"A lot of this is occurring not because of treatment for gonorrhea but overuse for other infections, such as urinary tract infections, upper respiratory tract infections and so forth," Zenilman said.
It got to the point recently where doctors had only two antibiotics left that still worked well against gonorrhea — cefixime and ceftriaxone.
But on Thursday, federal health officials announced that one of their worst fears had come true: Evidence had emerged that gonorrhea had started to become resistant to cefixime in the United States.
"We're basically down to one drug, you know, as the most effective treatment for gonorrhea," Bolan said.
Cefixime and ceftriaxone are in the same class of antibiotics. That means it's only a matter of time before ceftriaxon goes, too, she says.
"The big worry is that we potentially could have untreatable gonorrhea in the United States," Bolan said.
That's already happened in other countries. Totally untreatable gonorrhea is popping up in Asia and Europe.
So the CDC declared that doctors should immediately stop using the cefixime.
"We feel we need to a take a critical step to preserve the last remaining drug we know is effective to treat gonorrhea," Bolan said.
About 700,000 Americans get gonorrhea every year. If untreated, gonorrhea can cause serious complications, including infertility and life-threatening ectopic pregnancies.
"I think it should be a real clarion call to every American that we've got a looming public health crisis on our hands and potentially hundreds of thousands of cases of untreatable gonorrhea in this country every year," said William Smith, who heads the National Coalition of STD Directors.
Officials know adopting the new guidelines won't be easy. For one thing, ceftriaxone is an intra-muscular shot instead of a pill. And they want doctors to give it along with at least one other antibiotic and test patients to make sure they're cured.
But they know that all this will help only for a while, and that they can't stop the clock from ticking on the one drug left.
"We think it's only a matter of time based on the history of this organism until resistance does develop," Bolan said.
So scientists are searching for new combinations of antibiotics that might work. And officials are pushing for new weapons that might stay one step ahead of gonorrhea and the growing list of antibiotic-resistant infections.
http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/08/10/158464908/gonorrhea-evades-antibiotics-leaving-only-one-drug-to-treat-diseaseThere's some disturbing news out today about a disease we don't hear about... more
Now that Florida’s only operating TB hospital, A.G. Holley has been closed, thanks to Rick Scott’s austerity measures, how are current patients being treated? Warning: you’re not going to like the answer.
http://veracitystew.com/?p=38825Now that Florida’s only operating TB hospital, A.G. Holley has been closed,... more
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released this study? Huh...? Is texting considered a disease now?
More than half of high school seniors admit they text or email while driving — the first federal statistics on how common the dangerous habit is in teens.
An anonymous national survey conducted last year found that 58 percent of high school seniors said they had texted or emailed while driving during the previous month. About 43 percent of high school juniors acknowledged they did the same thing
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the survey results Thursday. Some earlier studies had suggested teen texting while driving was common though perhaps not quite so high.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released this study? Huh...? Is texting... more
Someone did perform safety studies the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should have mandated be performed and vetted BEFORE numerous vaccines were released into the public sector for mass vaccinations.
Lead investigator Laura Hewitson, PhD, probably dropped a bombshell when she and her colleagues completed a macaque monkey (primates) study of the very same vaccines given to children during 1994-1999, i.e., the Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine and several Thimerosal mercury-containing vaccines injected into children during that time frame when the autism spectrum disorder skyrocketed.
The results of that pilot study were published as a Research Paper in Acta Neurobiological Experimentals in 2010 and titled “Influence of pediatric vaccines on amydgala growth and opioid ligand binding in rhesus macaque infants: A pilot study.”  Even though there was alleged controversy revolving around Hewitson’s monkey studies, e.g., charges of conflicts of interest since she filed a claim with the vaccine court on behalf of her child,  the information generated needs to be revisited and duplicate studies need to be undertaken. Why haven’t they? Is there too much influence from vaccine makers not to do them? Parents need to make demands on the U.S. Congress to require such safety studies on monkeys be duplicated immediately, plus suspend all mandates on vaccinations until the study results are in. Did Dr Hewitson become another professional persona non-grata because she may have been on the right track?
Full Story: http://vactruth.com/2012/04/29/monkeys-get-autism/Someone did perform safety studies the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention... more
There are all kinds of emergencies out there that we can prepare for. Take a zombie apocalypse for example. That’s right, I said z-o-m-b-i-e a-p-o-c-a-l-y-p-s-e. You may laugh now, but when it happens you’ll be happy you read this, and hey, maybe you’ll even learn a thing or two about how to prepare for a real emergencyThere are all kinds of emergencies out there that we can prepare for. Take a zombie... more
Okay...seriously? I did not realize that attack of Zombies was that much of a threat. So, Center for Disease Control believes this is a possibility. How did it get that far? Just what are they making in those research laboratories anyhow? I hear the US Army has a handbook just for the "next Zombie apocalypse." Next? when was the first one?Okay...seriously? I did not realize that attack of Zombies was that much of a threat.... more
1 year ago
(NaturalNews) CDC researcher Poul Thorsen, who famously headed up the "Denmark Study" that many claim disproved any link between autism and vaccines, has been indicted in Atlanta by a federal grand jury on charges of wire fraud, money laundering and defrauding research institutions of grant money.
Poul Thorson is a scientist who formerly worked for the CDC, and over the last several years, he oversaw millions of dollars in grant money that was used to conduct research to "prove" that vaccines have no link to autism. Dr. Thorson's research papers include the famous "Danish Study" entitled Thimerosal and the occurrence of autism: negative ecological evidence from Danish population-based data.
Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/032216_Thorsen_fraud.html#ixzz1KqdWeEeq(NaturalNews) CDC researcher Poul Thorsen, who famously headed up the "Denmark... more
Immense thanks to "misti," who brought to my attention this article, which I'd like to now copy and paste right here, so you all can see it...
The Ingenuity of the Commons
How To Remove Radioactive Iodine-131 From Drinking Water
Apr. 7 2011 - 9:03 am
IPhoto: mage of a water drop - Photo by spettacolopuro via flickr
The Environmental Protection Agency recommends reverse osmosis water treatment to remove radioactive isotopes that emit beta-particle radiation. But iodine-131, a beta emitter, is typically present in water as a dissolved gas, and reverse osmosis is known to be ineffective at capturing gases.
A combination of technologies, however, may remove most or all of the iodine-131 that finds its way into tap water, all available in consumer products for home water treatment.
First, the standard disclaimers: Every government agency involved in radiation monitoring—the EPA, FDA, USDA, NRC, CDC, etc.—has stressed that the radiation now reaching the United States has been found at levels thousands of times lower than standards of health concern. When it found iodine-131 in drinking water samples from Boise, Idaho and Richland, Washington this weekend, the EPA declared:
An infant would have to drink almost 7,000 liters of this water to receive a radiation dose equivalent to a day’s worth of the natural background radiation exposure we experience continuously from natural sources of radioactivity in our environment.”
But not everyone accepts the government’s reassurances. Notably, Physicians for Social Responsibility has insisted there is no safe level of exposure to radionuclides, regardless of the fact that we encounter them naturally:
There is no safe level of radionuclide exposure, whether from food, water or other sources. Period,” said Jeff Patterson, DO, immediate past president of Physicians for Social Responsibility. “Exposure to radionuclides, such as iodine-131 and cesium-137, increases the incidence of cancer. For this reason, every effort must be taken to minimize the radionuclide content in food and water.”
via Physicians for Social Responsibility, psr.org
No matter where you stand on that debate, you might be someone who simply prefers not to ingest anything that escaped from a damaged nuclear reactor. If so, here’s what we know:
The EPA recommends reverse osmosis water treatment for most kinds of radioactive particles. Iodine-131 emits a small amount of gamma radiation but much larger amounts of beta radiation, and so is considered a beta emitter:
Reverse osmosis has been identified by EPA as a “best available technology” (BAT) and Small System Compliance Technology (SSCT) for uranium, radium, gross alpha, and beta particles and photon emitters. It can remove up to 99 percent of these radionuclides, as well as many other contaminants (e.g., arsenic, nitrate, and microbial contaminants). Reverse osmosis units can be automated and compact making them appropriate for small systems.
via EPA, Radionuclides in Drinking Water
However, EPA designed its recommendations for the contaminants typically found in municipal water systems, so it doesn’t specify Iodine-131 by name. The same document goes on to say, “Reverse osmosis does not remove gaseous contaminants such as carbon dioxide and radon.”
Iodine-131 escapes from damaged nuclear plants as a gas, and this is why it disperses so quickly through the atmosphere. It is captured as a gas in atmospheric water, falls to the earth in rain and enters the water supply.
This is what happened in Boise, Idaho, where iodine-131 was found in rainwater samples last week and then in drinking water samples a few days later.
Reverse osmosis works by forcing water through material with very tiny pores—as tiny as .0001 microns—so that almost nothing except water emerges on the other side. Almost nothing.
“Dissolved gases and materials that readily turn into gases also can easily pass through most reverse osmosis membranes,” according to the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. For this reason, “many reverse osmosis units have an activated carbon unit to remove or reduce the concentration of most organic compounds.”
That raises the next question: does activated carbon remove iodine-131? There is some evidence that it does. Scientists have used activated carbon to remove iodine-131 from the liquid fuel for nuclear solution reactors. And Carbon air filtration is used by employees of Perkin Elmer, a leading environmental monitoring and health safety firm, when they work with iodine-131 in closed quarters. At least one university has adopted Perkin Elmer’s procedures.
Activated carbon works by absorbing contaminants, and fixing them, as water passes through it. It has a disadvantage, however: it eventually reaches a load capacity and ceases to absorb new contaminants.
The EPA also recommends ion exchange for removing radioactive compounds from drinking water. The process used in water softeners, ion exchange removes contaminants when water passes through resins that contain sodium ions. The sodium ions readily exchange with contaminants.
Ion exchange is particularly recommended for removing Cesium-137, which has been found in rain samples in the U.S., but not yet in drinking water here. Some resins have been specifically designed for capturing Cesium-137, and ion exchange was used to clean up legacy nuclear waste from an old reactor at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site.
The best solution may be the one used routinely to treat water at the Savannah River Site. The process combines activated carbon, reverse osmosis, and ion exchange. If one doesn’t get the iodine-131, two others have a chance to capture the radiation through other means.
And that may be the best solution for the average drinker of tap water as well.
Once you have access to cleaned water, be sure to use it to wash your vegetables. The FDA has not yet begun monitoring U.S. produce for radiation because, the agency says, there is not yet a radiation threat here. The Chinese have been monitoring vegetables, and they’ve urged their citizens to wash their spinach:
The Ministry of Health also issued a statement Wednesday evening saying trace levels of radioactive isotope iodine-131 had been found in spinach planted in the open fields within the three regions.
It is has been proven that washing the spinach with water can effectively remove radioactive materials, the Health Ministry said.
It is believed that recent rains in these regions helped drop the radioactive iodine from the air to the ground, and the radioactive materials fell onto the surface of the spinach, the ministry said.”
via XinhuaImmense thanks to "misti," who brought to my attention this article, which... more
Misuse of antibiotics has led to a global health threat: the rise of dangerous—or even fatal—superbugs. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is now attacking both patients in hospitals and also in the community and a deadly new multi-drug resistant bacteria called carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae, or CRKP is now in the headlines. Last year, antibiotic resistant infections killed 25,000 people in Europe, the Guardian reports.
Unless steps are taken to address this crisis, the cures doctors have counted on to battle bacteria will soon be useless. CRKP has now been reported in 36 US states—and health officials suspect that it may also be triggering infections in the other 14 states where reporting isn’t required. High rates have been found in long-term care facilities in Los Angeles County, where the superbug was previously believed to be rare, according to a study presented earlier this month. CRKP is even scarier than MRSA because the new superbug is resistant to almost all antibiotics, while a few types of antibiotics still work on MRSA. Who’s at risk for superbugs—and what can you do to protect yourself and family members? Here’s a guide to these dangerous bacteria.
Understanding different types of bacteria.
What is antibiotic resistance? Almost every type of bacteria has evolved and mutated to become less and less responsive to common antibiotics, largely due to overuse of these medications. Because superbugs are resistant to these drugs, they can quickly spread in hospitals and the community, causing infections that are hard or even impossible to cure. Doctors are forced to turn to more expensive and sometimes more toxic drugs of last resort. The problem is that every time antibiotics are used, some bacteria survive, giving rise to dangerous new strains like MRSA and CRKP, the CDC reports.
What are CRKP and MRSA? Klebsiella is a common type of gram-negative bacteria that are found in our intestines (where the bugs don’t cause disease). The CRKP strain is resistant to almost all antibiotics, including carbapenems, the so-called “antibiotics of last resort.” MRSA (methacillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) is a type of bacteria that live on the skin and can burrow deep into the body if someone has cuts or wounds, including those from surgery.
More at the link...
http://health.yahoo.net/experts/dayinhealth/antibiotic-superbugs-crkp-mrsa-riskMisuse of antibiotics has led to a global health threat: the rise of... more
2 years ago
"Mercury and the Kidney"
A study published in the Journal of Occupational Medicine in 2010 revealed that the kidney retains more mercury than any other organ in the body and estimation of urinary mercury concentration is of limited value in the diagnosis of mercurialism, as high excretion rates may be seen without clinical disorder, or mercurialism may be present when urinary excretion is low.
Download the study of read more about it here:
Why would this be such a big deal ?
More than 26 million Americans have chronic kidney disease and most don’t know it.
From The National Kidney Foundation: according to investigators at Johns Hopkins and Tufts-New England Medical Center, a recently-published study based on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey estimated that there are 26,000,000 adults with evidence of kidney disease in the United States alone and most are completely unaware of their condition. This number increases the most recent estimates of the rate of chronic kidney disease (CKD) by 30%, from 10% of the U.S. population (1988-1994) to 13.1% (1999-2004).”
Amalgam Risk Assessment finds 120 million Americans over daily safe dose of mercury from amalgam fillings.
it was determined that some 67.2 million Americans would exceed the Hg dose associated with the REL of 0.3 ug/m3 established by the US Environmental Protection Agency in 1995, whereas 122.3 million Americans would exceed the dose associated with the REL of 0.03 ug/m3 established by the California Environmental Protection Agency in 2008."
In addition, Inorganic mercury levels in Americans rose from 2% in 1999 to over 30% in 2006 and was associated with a rise in liver, immune and pituitary dysfunction.
So we've established that mercury levels are rising to levels where we see adverse health effects in the population and the dental amalgam fillings are the number one source of mercury exposure in over 120 million americans. Also the kidney retains more mercury than any other organ and that 26 million Americans have kidney disease and estimation of urinary mercury concentration is of limited value in the diagnosis of mercurialism, as high excretion rates may be seen without clinical disorder, or mercurialism may be present when urinary excretion is low."Mercury and the Kidney"
A study published in the Journal of Occupational... more
Small amounts of radiation headed for California, but no health risk seen
Very low levels of radioactive isotopes from the damaged Japanese nuclear plant are expected to reach California as soon as Friday, but experts say the amount will be well within safe limits. A network of radiation monitors is keeping close watch.
By Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times
March 17, 2011
Small amounts of radioactive isotopes from the crippled Japanese nuclear power plant are being blown toward North America high in the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean and will reach California as soon as Friday, according to experts.
A network of sensors in the U.S. and around the world is watching for the first signs of that fallout, though experts said they were confident that the amount of radiation would be well within safe limits.
Operated by the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. network known as Radnet is a system of 100 radiation monitors that work 24 hours a day, spread across the country in places such as Anaheim, Bakersfield and Eureka. In addition, a network of 63 sensors is operated by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, an international agency allied with the United Nations.
Atmospheric experts said the material should begin showing up on the West Coast as early as Friday, though it could take up to an additional week for the 5,000-mile trip from Japan to Southern California. Although the organization has told its member countries that the first indication of radiation would hit on Friday, the plume from a North Korean nuclear test in 2006 took about two weeks to travel to North America, U.N. officials said.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which oversees the U.S. nuclear industry, said Wednesday that it did not expect dangerous levels of radioactivity to hit the West Coast, Hawaii, Alaska or U.S. territories in the Pacific. But whatever levels reach the U.S. initially are likely to increase in subsequent days, because radioactive emissions from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have grown since the disaster began Friday. The NRC sharply raised its warning to American citizens in Japan, urging them to evacuate an area within 50 miles of the Fukushima complex. Japanese authorities have ordered an evacuation within about 12 miles of the plant.
The NRC released computerized projections showing that within half a mile of the plant, radiation levels were so high that one could receive a fatal dose, and that even 50 miles away one could receive more than 16 times the average annual dose all people are exposed to from natural sources.
Those numbers were sharply higher than ones the NRC released days earlier. But although the Fukushima reactors are leaking more radiation now, experts continued to say that the particles would wash out of the atmosphere before they could reach the U.S.
So far, Tokyo Electric Power Co., which operates the Fukushima facility, and the Japanese government have not released any measurements or estimates of the total amount of radioactivity released by the accident. These numbers would be crucial to better project whether the material could affect other Asian nations, the Pacific islands or even the U.S.
Edwin Lyman, a specialist at the nuclear watchdog group Union of Concerned Scientists, said that although it was true that the more radioactivity released in Japan the more could migrate away from the region, he did not think the U.S. was at serious risk.
"We can never say never," Lyman said. "My judgment is that there will probably be measurable radiation, but except for a few hot spots it is not something we should really worry about."
Lyman said that the NRC's warning Wednesday to Americans in Japan to evacuate 50 miles from the Fukushima reactors was a long-overdue admission that the agency's prior warnings of a 10-mile exclusion zone from U.S. reactors during an emergency was inadequate.
Key federal officials involved in the Radnet monitoring program have so far not disclosed their predictions for U.S. radioactive exposure. The projections are being developed by the National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center operated at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Northern California. The center, part of the Energy Department, uses sophisticated models on supercomputers to project the movement of radioactive particles and other toxic substances through the atmosphere.
However, a computer model of atmospheric movements developed by the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy shows that the Fukushima plumes could travel across the Pacific, though the levels of radioactivity that could reach the West Coast of the U.S. remain unclear.
It appears that all of the models, however, are not based on measurements of radioactivity at the source and a projection of actual radioactive fallout in the U.S., but rather project a relative scale of radioactivity. Since Japanese authorities have said little about the amount of the releases at Fukushima, nobody can say how much radioactivity will hit California.
The models show that even with prevailing easterly winds, the plumes whip back and forth over a wide area of Japan's east coast, Russia's Kamchatka peninsula and Alaska's Aleutian Islands. It is unknown whether nuclear fallout is hitting the vast wilderness of northeastern Asia.
Of particular concern, however, is radiation emanating from Fukushima's No. 3 reactor. That reactor uses plutonium fuel, which poses a special health risk even in small quantities if the fallout were to reach U.S. shores.
A leading radiological health expert at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Wednesday that the CDC was still confident that there would be no serious health consequences here. But CDC officials are watching the situation carefully.
"We have a saying: 'Modeling is OK, but measurement is everything,'" he said.
The Environmental Protection Agency said that it was watching the situation closely, but that its Radnet system had not yet detected radioactivity. It has added seven additional portable radiation monitors: two in Guam, three in Alaska and two in Hawaii.
PHOTO: A Radnet monitor on the roof of the Bay Area Air Quality Management building in San Francisco. (Associated Press)Small amounts of radiation headed for California, but no health risk seen
Very low... more
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on Tuesday that one-third Americans have high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels. These two are the major risk factors for strokes, heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases which kill nearly 800,000 people annually.The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on Tuesday that... more
2 years ago
ATLANTA — Fluoride in drinking water — credited with dramatically cutting cavities and tooth decay — may now be too much of a good thing. It's causing spots on some kids' teeth.
A reported increase in the spotting problem is one reason the federal government will announce Friday it plans to lower the recommended limit for fluoride in water supplies — the first such change in nearly 50 years.
About 2 out of 5 adolescents have tooth streaking or spottiness because of too much fluoride, a surprising government study found recently. In some extreme cases, teeth can even be pitted by the mineral — though many cases are so mild only dentists notice it.
Health officials note that most communities have fluoride in their water supplies, and toothpaste has it too. Some kids are even given fluoride supplements.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is announcing a proposal to change the recommended fluoride level to 0.7 milligrams per liter of water. And the Environmental Protection Agency will review whether the maximum cutoff of 4 milligrams per liter is too high.
The standard since 1962 has been a range of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter.
Unexpectedly common problem
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the splotchy tooth condition, fluorosis, is unexpectedly common in kids ages 12 through 15. And it appears to have grown much more common since the 1980s.
"One of the things that we're most concerned about is exactly that," said an administration official who was not authorized to speak publicly before the release of the report. The official described the government's plans in an interview with The Associated Press.
The government also is expected to release two related EPA studies which look at the ways Americans are exposed to fluoride and the potential health effects. This shift away from government's long-standing praise of the benefits of fluoride is sure to re-energize groups that still oppose it.
Fluoride is a mineral that exists naturally in water and soil. Scientists in the early 1940s discovered that people who lived where water supplies naturally had more fluoride also had fewer cavities. Some locales have naturally occurring fluoridation levels above 1.2.
Today, most public drinking water supplies are fluoridated, especially in larger cities. Counting everyone, including those who live in rural areas, about 64 percent of Americans drink fluoridated water.
Fluoridation has been fought for decades by people who worried about its effects, including conspiracy theorists who feared it was a plot to make people submissive to government power.
Maryland is the most fluoridated state, with nearly every resident on a fluoridated water system. In contrast, only about 11 percent of Hawaii residents are on fluoridated water, according to government statistics.
Drinking water patterns have changed over the years, so that some stark regional differences in fluoride consumption are leveling out. There was initially a range in recommended levels because people in hotter climates drank more water. But with air conditioning and sodas, Americans in the South and Southwest don't necessarily consume more water than those in colder states, said one senior administration official.
Story: Kids' radiation exposure common and dangerous
Fluorosis is considered the main downside related to fluoridation.
According to the CDC, nearly 23 percent of children ages 12-15 had fluorosis in a study done in 1986 and 1987. That rose to 41 percent in the more recent study, which covered the years 1999 through 2004.
"We're not necessarily surprised to see this slow rise in mild fluorosis," Dr. William Kohn, director of the CDC's division of oral health, said in a recent interview.
Cavities still a worry
Health officials have hesitated to call it a problem, however. In most kids, it's barely noticeable; even dentists have trouble seeing it, and sometimes don't bother to tell their unknowing patients. Except in the most severe cases, health officials considered the discoloring of fluorosis to be a welcome trade-off for the protection fluoride provides against cavities.
"One of water fluoridation's biggest advantages is that it benefits all residents of a community — at home, work, school, or play. And fluoridation's effectiveness in preventing tooth decay is not limited to children, but extends throughout life, resulting in improved oral health," said HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Howard Koh, in a statement.
Indeed, many health leaders continue to be worried about cavities, particularly among poor families with kids who eat a lot of sweets but don't get much dental care. The American Public Health Association in November adopted a resolution calling for coordinated programs to be established at public health, dental and medical clinics to offer fluoride varnish — a highly concentrated lacquer painted on teeth to prevent cavities.
Secretary Kathleen Sebelius could make a final decision within a few months, the administration official said.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40962808/ns/health-kids_and_parenting/ATLANTA — Fluoride in drinking water — credited with dramatically cutting... more
MicrobeWorld Video presents episode 33 of This Week in Virology. Hosts Vincent Racaniello, Alan Dove, Dick Despommier and guest Raul Andino recorded TWiV live at the ASM General Meeting in Philadelphia, where they discussed increased arterial blood pressure caused by cytomegalovirus infection, restriction of influenza replication at low temperature by the avian viral glycoproteins, first isolation of West Nile virus in Pennsylvania, and current status of influenza.
Stories in this episode:
Cytomegalovirus infection causes an increase of arterial blood pressure
Avian influenza virus glycoproteins restrict virus replication at low temperature
First West Nile virus isolation of the year in PA
CDC press release of 18 May 2009
Glaxo’s influenza vaccine with adjuvant
NY Times article on Guillain-Barré and a more scientific view
Weekly Science Picks
Dick - National Museum of the History of Science and Medicine, Leiden
Alan - Beginning Mac OS X Programming
Vincent - Vaccinated by Paul Offit
Raul - HubbleSiteMicrobeWorld Video presents episode 33 of This Week in Virology. Hosts Vincent... more
Retracted autism study an 'elaborate fraud,' British journal finds
By the CNN Wire Staff
January 5, 2011 7:11 p.m. EST
Dr. Andrew Wakefield misrepresented or altered medical histories to bolster his 1998 study, an investigation found.
* British journal BMJ accuses Dr. Andrew Wakefield of faking data for his 1998 paper
* "The damage to public health continues" as a result of the autism-vaccine claim
* Vaccination rates dipped, measles cases increased after the study's publication
* The study was retracted and Wakefield lost his license in 2010
(CNN) -- A now-retracted British study that linked autism to childhood vaccines was an "elaborate fraud" that has done long-lasting damage to public health, a leading medical publication reported Wednesday.
An investigation published by the British medical journal BMJ concludes the study's author, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, misrepresented or altered the medical histories of all 12 of the patients whose cases formed the basis of the 1998 study -- and that there was "no doubt" Wakefield was responsible.
"It's one thing to have a bad study, a study full of error, and for the authors then to admit that they made errors," Fiona Godlee, BMJ's editor-in-chief, told CNN. "But in this case, we have a very different picture of what seems to be a deliberate attempt to create an impression that there was a link by falsifying the data."
Britain stripped Wakefield of his medical license in May 2010. Efforts to reach him for comment were unsuccessful Wednesday.
"Meanwhile, the damage to public health continues, fueled by unbalanced media reporting and an ineffective response from government, researchers, journals and the medical profession," BMJ states.
The now-discredited paper panicked many parents and led to a sharp drop in the number of children getting the vaccine that prevents measles, mumps and rubella. Vaccination rates dropped sharply in Britain after its publication, falling as low as 80 percent by 2004. Measles cases have gone up sharply in the ensuing years.
In the United States, more cases of measles were reported in 2008 than in any other year since 1997, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 90 percent of those infected had not been vaccinated or their vaccination status was unknown, the CDC reported.
"But perhaps as important as the scare's effect on infectious disease is the energy, emotion and money that have been diverted away from efforts to understand the real causes of autism and how to help children and families who live with it," the BMJ editorial states.
Wakefield has been unable to reproduce his results in the face of criticism, and other researchers have been unable to match them. Most of his co-authors withdrew their names from the study in 2004 after learning he had had been paid by a law firm that intended to sue vaccine manufacturers -- a serious conflict of interest he failed to disclose. After years on controversy, the Lancet, the prestigious journal that originally published the research, retracted Wakefield's paper last February.
-- Unfortunately, (Wakefield's) core group of supporters is not going to let the facts dissuade their beliefs that MMR causes autism.
--Dr. Max Wiznitzer, pediatric neurologist
The series of articles launched Wednesday are investigative journalism, not results of a clinical study. The writer, Brian Deer, said Wakefield "chiseled" the data before him, "falsifying medical histories of children and essentially concocting a picture, which was the picture he was contracted to find by lawyers hoping to sue vaccine manufacturers and to create a vaccine scare."
According to BMJ, Wakefield received more than 435,000 pounds ($674,000) from the lawyers. Godlee said the study shows that of the 12 cases Wakefield examined in his paper, five showed developmental problems before receiving the MMR vaccine and three never had autism.
"It's always hard to explain fraud and where it affects people to lie in science," Godlee said. "But it does seem a financial motive was underlying this, both in terms of payments by lawyers and through legal aid grants that he received but also through financial schemes that he hoped would benefit him through diagnostic and other tests for autism and MMR-related issues."
Dr. Max Wiznitzer, a pediatric neurologist at Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital in Cleveland, said the reporting "represents Wakefield as a person where the ends justified the means." But he said the latest news may have little effect on those families who still blame vaccines for their children's conditions.
"Unfortunately, his core group of supporters is not going to let the facts dissuade their beliefs that MMR causes autism," Wiznitzer said. "They need to be open-minded and examine the information as everybody else."
Wakefield's defenders include David Kirby, a journalist who has written extensively on autism. He told CNN that Wakefield not only has denied falsifying data, he has said he had no way to do so.
"I have known him for a number of years. He does not strike me as a charlatan or a liar," Kirby said. If the BMJ allegations are true, then Wakefield "did a terrible thing" -- but he added, "I personally find it hard to believe that he did that."
CNN's Elizabeth Cohen and Miriam Falco contributed to this report.Retracted autism study an 'elaborate fraud,' British journal finds
By the... more